Friday, April 20, 2007

Eclipse Delivers 3 more

Date: Apr 20, 2007 7:27 PM

FYI...

Today, I spoke with an owner who took delivery this week of his Eclipse. Boy was he excited! I could barely get my questions in. But I did manage to find out these things from him that shed a lot of light on the status of the Eclipse program:

1. For his acceptance flight, they went up to FL410--no special arrangements needed because, according to him, the plane is RVSM approved and the Eclipse pilots all are. The RVSM issue is now resolved.

2. The GPS-based pseudo-DME works fine. The DME issue is now resolved.

3. They verified his plane beat spec for high speed cruise. It did 360 KTAS (I don't know what altitude that was at, but it was likely somewhere around FL350). Book for the his pre-aeromod plane at midweight at FL350 is 354 KTAS. The aerodynamic modifications will add about 15 knots to that.

4. He starts his training Monday morning. The first batch of pilot customers should have completed their training this week and another batch starts Monday.

5. He said there were three deliveries this week. Another is slated for delivery Monday, and there should be others delivered next week as well. He sounded very upbeat, and his enthusiasm seemed well-founded to me. The company still has some hurdles to overcome--the pitot problem obviously needs rapid resolution for instance. But his report suggests that the issues with the Eclipse are indeed getting ironed-out nicely, planes are indeed being delivered, the performance numbers are being met, and pilots are getting trained.

Ken Meyer

88 comments:

lumar said...

Ken, today is April 20th and not FIRST OF APRIL....

EclipseOwner387 said...

Lumar,

Don't be the fool.....

EclipseOwner387 said...

There is no doubt that in my mind that Eclipse is starting to pump out planes with FAA sign off. Eclipse is being quiet about it but I fully expect a big announcement at months end to let the world know whats up. Critics can complain and nit pick but the reality is the following: Eclipse is starting to pump out planes and it appears they are working out the process.

Does this mean I believe they are in the clear? Of course not! But it is better than a poke in the eye with a stick. Much better actually.

bill e. goat said...

Lumar,
You silly funny boy ! :)

We 'Murcuns might be too dumb to tell time, but we can use a calendar !

(um, except for maybe Vern :)

bill e. goat said...

EO387 and Ken,
Thanks for the updates, we will be interested to hear what the Vern proclaims.

Given the plan to swap the avionics suite, it would be interesting to hear what the near-term plans are, I would suspect that, for a change, Vern might want to slow things down (DELIBERATELY- boy, that would be a strange change), until the new system can be certificated and installed.

Or do you think that might be sort of an option, not necessarily a "got to do it ASAP" swap out (e.g., go ahead and use what's there for a while, and come back later, at your convenience?)

I had sort of assumed that there would be a limited number of "must deliver for credibility sake" events, but then things might be put on hold until a more final configuration was ready to go. Not sure if this is an accurate scenerio or not...

BTW, EO/EX-387, our favorite cold fish asked just exactly what I, and I imagine a lot of others, are wondering, regarding the mechanics of "moving on up the line". We don't want to pry, but any info you care to share would be enjoyed.

Thanks!

Niner Zulu said...

Ken,
Thanks for the post & update. I suppose I fall into the category of one of Vern's "naysayers", but I really do wish the best for Eclipse and position holders such as yourself. I'm hoping some of these airplanes are more than just token deliveries like those prior.
I am especially looking forward to hearing your comments about your own aircraft once it is delivered to you. Do you have a delivery date yet?

Niner Zulu said...

This is a post by Mike Press, who took delivery of S/N 4 today - I believe it is from the Eclipse Owners Forum, but can't verify that....

K--back in St. Louis tonight. My wife said I should have just flown the Eclipse here today. Maybe 6 months from now owners can do that after they train in the simulator.

Anyway--first off at FL410 we were getting 325kts at MCT. We went down to around FL340 for the speed run and took it to Mach .64. Don't think I saw 360kts but definitely saw Mach .64 and then we went lower and got to Vmo at 275KEAS. We had about an 80knot tailwind at FL410 so our ground speed was over 400kts.

Synthetic DME was dead on the numbers as we were comparing it to the DME on the Garmin 496.

But back to the beginning.

I showed up at 0800 this morning and Rich Fleming, Manager of Delivery met me and helped me all day through the process. John Walden, Manager Customer Care also spent most the day making sure I had all my questions answered. Rich and John are both great guys and very helpful in making sure the process runs smooth.

I asked to have some pictures taken with Vern but he was in Europe so Peg Billson willingly showed up. We had a nice conversation and then took some pictures in front of the airplane. Peg is great and was about as excited about the delivery as I was.

After going over the papers and discussing JetComplete with Juliet Foster, JetComplete Business Manager, we started our briefing for the flight. Kent Ewing, Chief Pilot and Director of Flight Operations was my pilot. Kent is retired Navy Captain and fighter pilot. We had an acceptance flight checklist to cover and so he told me that while I flew the mission he would complete the checklist and write in the numbers.

We did a preflight and walk around, checking the paint etc. Then I climbed in the left seat and Kent in the right. We filed a round robin to the south MOA and a direct climb to FL410.

This was the first flight in the airplane for me. I was amazed at how quiet it is. Also very comfortable--I am 6 feet tall and 210 lbs (OK in the shower after not eating for two days). Anyway the cockpit felt very roomy to me. The stick and armrest comfortable.

The climb to FL410 was smooth, fast and uneventful. Controls are easy. The ailerons (roll) are heavy as I have I heard. I have been told that with the aeromods there is more roll and roll trim authority. It took us less than 30 minutes to climb to FL410. When we were up there, Kent turned the autopilot off and the airplane was still easy to fly--it was still very stable.

We did some other airwork and then returned to ABQ and shot an ILS and did some touch and goes. As the airplane will be with Eclipse for the next two weeks for training, I did not go through every system check during this flight as we will be ringing it out during the next two weeks. Landings are easy, as the airplane is very stable on approach and during the flare.

It is a fun airplane to fly and appears to be everything we have been dreaming about.

After the flight, John Walden took me over to the service center. The airplane will there this weekend getting the TSO Avidyne displays, the USB data loader for the updated GPS and DME function and some other service items. Then it will be ready for our training to start on Monday morning.

What we have been told, we will have three or four days ground school and then start flying either Thursday or Friday. It is a two week course if the weather and airplane cooperate. We will be going through the training with two professional pilots on s/n 08. My partner is sending his Part 135 check airman (another professional pilot) through the course. So far, all the pilots that have been through the course have been professional pilots (DayJet and s/n 03). I will be the first pilot/owner (non-professional pilot) to go through the course. The pressure is on!!

As for the rest of what is going on:

Peg is still optimistic that the Production Certificate is close at hand.

S/N #9, #10 have passed their CofA. With the CofA of #4 today that completes the four airplanes that the FAA wanted to see under the new processes.

The line is smoothing out. Airplanes are coming off the line without squawks and rework (clean). #5 and #14 were in the pre-delivery hangar, painted and getting ready for CofA. There were one or two others there but I did not take note. #10 was in delivery room and I heard that the owner will be in Monday for delivery. #9 went to Sun and Fun.

Prototype 106 flew to Europe this week and it has all the aeromods on it. I was told it had a good trip over and the performance matched the predicted numbers.

Everyone at Eclipse from Peg down to the crew chiefs and workers on the line were fantastic--happy for me and proud of the product they are delivering. It was a great day and great experience.

Regards,

Mike

Black Tulip said...

Ken,

Would you kindly pass along tail numbers for the Eclipse planes as they are delivered? Others would like to observe aircraft performance via FlightAware.com.

Thanks,
Black Tulip

Eric said...

Congrats to Eclipse! It sounds like they are finally getting their 'stuff' together.

airtaximan said...

nice news out of ABQ...much needed, of course.

After all this time and money and promises, it must be good to deliver some planes.

This does not seem like the previous "delivery stunts"...it feels like the real deal.

It has to, in order for them to raise more money, which they will need, and which they will be able to raise. Deposits, and additional equity/debt.

Mike's wife is roght, he should have been able to fly the plane home...especially after all this time/money.

But we've all come to lower our expectations from ABQ...which is part of the game the management has been playing for years.

I am truly happy for the owners, who are happy to take delivery and fly the plane. This is what e-clips's whole business is really all about.

Well, actually, millions of passengers are going to have to feel the saem way... which I doubt.

Was it doubtfull they could build the plane and attain the revised performance guarantees? Nope. Especially not with all the time and money.

Was it doubful Dayjet will work and require many, many planes? Yes.

Was it doubtful that E-clips really has 2500 orders... yes.

The business case is still in jeopardy... but for the few who have a plane to fly (eventually?) - this is a terrif day...as it is for all the hard work, money and time it's taken to get here!

Congratulations! Some NEVER thought it would even get this far!

Plastic_Planes said...

9Z said:
Prototype 106 flew to Europe this week and it has all the aeromods on it. I was told it had a good trip over and the performance matched the predicted numbers.

The picture that was posted to the Eclipse forum I saw was a LX-2 but it wasn't in the standard Orange-Black scheme. It was also distorted. I remember 106 being an LX-3?

I assume if this really is 106 it's been repainted. Also, I cannot tell from the photo, but did they refit 106 with the ETT's? That must have been a heck of a flight from ABQ to Germany.

Anyway, I heard that one of the A/C delievered was truly squawk free. They are making some progress. We're still along ways from 402, though.

Really, I'm happy for the hard working folks there that they are seeing some good results for a change.

/s/

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Congratulations to Eclipse and Mike Press.

Now about that RVSM and DME claim from our friend Ken.

Without the USB dataloader and TSO displays which Mike Press himself reports are NOT presently installed in his aircraft, the RVSM and synthetic DME functions cease to be legally usable when the original installed database expires, no more than 28 days after the delivery (and likely less than 28 days) - more smoke and mirrors from our favorite illusionist.

That the fix is apparently available as a retrofit is good news (assuming it is a certified fix - assuming with this program is too potentially hazardous for this fish) - wonder why the ships on the line are not being built to that configuration?

That said, I too am encouraged that Eclipse is NOT shouting from the rooftops about these deliveries and that they do seem to finally be training customer pilots, this is ALL very good news.

I just wanted to point out that as delivered, Press's aircraft would be relegated to below FL240 as soon as the database expired. And of course, as delivered, it is still NOT approved for IMC, not approved for FIKI, has limited autopilot functionality, has no FMS, and is not suitable for commercial operations.

Do any of the speculators, investors or would-be owners know if Chapter 4 of the AMM has been changed yet allowing relief from the transparency inspection and replacment schedule as well as the wing bushing inspection? Not interested in a throw-away 'of course it has been Vern said so', I want to know if the AMM which is the ONLY guidance that matters, has been changed yet.

Also, has Eclipse come clean with anything about the brake and tire wear yet? Have they been challenged on it by the EOC?

Any news on the revamped JetComplete pricing and coverage?

Still interested in why EX387 moved up and how the transaction worked out for him re: premiums received or paid (not actual numbers , just the overall picture).

From the cold wet depths.....

airtaximan said...

wetmack:

I guess some of us haven't sufficiently lowered our expectations enough, now have we?

All in all, with everything that's been promised, all the hype, all the money spent, all the employees, and all this time... it is pretty sad.

Good news is good news, nonetheless...right?

gadfly said...

Here’s another gadfly story, so bear with it.

A long, long time ago, I fell in love with a BMW 2002 . . . and bought one . . . 1970. Fantastic little machine . . . low rpm torque, acceleration like no tomorrow . . . handling like nothing else, 90 mph was steady as a rock . . . I could climb our winding two-lane road home (7,100 feet) and corner like nothing else. I even installed two “prototype inertia harness reals” in the little beast . . . aircraft type. You couldn’t ask for anything better. Then I had to drive on ice for 1,500 miles in the fall of 1973 . . . and suddenly not all was “fun” . . . but I made it to Waukesha, and completed my two-month consulting contract . . . and picked up “salt cancer”. Then one day, the “rear end” locked up at about 70 mph in the left lane on I-40, in front of a “Semi” in Albuquerque . . . and I began to get a clue about favorite “toys”. Not learning the lesson the first time, I bought another BMW . . . six cylinder . . . ah, the sound of a straight six like nothing else in the world . . . and soon learned that the Bavarian’s were financing their learning curve by free access to my wallet (Sorry, Lumar!). It was a hard lesson, but it took another German car, then a “Swede” . . . and I finally got cured . . . and drive a couple Lexus (or is it “Lexi” . . . help me out here, Goat).

Me thinks that the little jet will be a barrel of fun . . . for awhile. Me thinks that it will never be an “air taxi”. Me thinks that if the customer has “lots of bucks” the little jet can be kept as a toy . . . like a Porsche 911 . . . and carry about the same “cargo” (almost) . . . but . . . ?

There’s just a whole lot of things that don’t add up. In the mean time, you “owners” enjoy what you have . . . and earn “lots” more money, so you can fly a dinosaur, someday.

gadfly

AlexA said...

With my deposit due date looming and a flurry of rumors surrounding the Eclipse program I decided the best way to make a decision was to visit Eclipse and see for ourselves. I went to ABQ on Friday April 20, with 3 pages of questions and a backup plan to swap my position to a later position if I felt any apprehension about the program.

My wife and I were greeted by Susan Harness and Brian Skupa. Brian was not only fantastic in showing us the entire operation but was straight forward with his responses. I had a chance to meet Mike Press for a second since he was in the process of taking delivery of his aircraft. Mike had a smile from ear to ear.

Our tour started out in the receiving building where it was packed with components floor to ceiling. This is also the building with the FSW equipment. It is evident that the FSW equipment can tackle much bigger jobs than the current E500 fuselage.

There have been rumors that the de-ice boot manufacturer dropped from the program. One of the first things we walked by was a pallet of de-ice boots with a February 2007 bill of lading attached. It looked like plenty of boots for a whole bunch of airplanes. Scratch one thing off my list. As far as the Eclipse staff everyone we spoke to had no idea of fall out with the vendor.

We continued to the initial assembly building where there were numerous aircraft in various stages of production. This is were the empennages are attached to the fuselages before they are moved to the final assembly building.

Question, what is the status of the aero-mods. The cut in production to the new mods is still slated for aircraft #39. In my mind there is no question that this can slide either way on the assembly line. One benefit from a slow ramp up is the ability to identify problems and then implement fixes without affecting too many units out in the field.

Question, what is the status of Avio NG. Eclipse believes that the timeline of implementation and functionality which was released was indeed accurate. In addition it is obvious that they are working hard to implement the NG earlier in the production cycle. My personal guess would be less than 75 aircrafts will receive the “old” system.

FIKI- In my mind FIKI certification was one possible huge black hole for the program. It is my understanding that Cessna had to redesign a number of things in the Mustang to accomplish this. Even though there is still some risk the logic seems sound. It would be expensive to obtain FIKI certification, modify the airframe (aero-mods) and then go back and do FIKI certification flight test all over. The first goal is to get approval for the aero-mods and then move on to FIKI certification. One caveat is that Eclipse had conducted testing in Known Ice (last December I believe) with the original aircraft configuration; they believe they have a good understanding of the aircraft performance in icing condition. Even though there is still risk it certainly appears that the risk is minimal.

When I asked the status of the pitot heating issue I got a big smile. I believe that Eclipse and their OEM were working on a fix long before the general public was notified of the problem. I would expect an announcement resolving the issue within the next 3-4 weeks.

The entire Eclipse staff was also very upbeat as to the PC. Many folks we spoke to believe the PC will happen before this month’s end.

As to the window cracking issue, this now appears to be pretty much mute. Both Eclipse and the window manufacturer have been working to determine why the problem arose. It is believed that the problem arose from improper installation (sequence and torquing) not from a design flaw or flex in the structure as some have suggested. After enough time has gone by without any cracking I would expect a new communication which removes the inspection/replacement cycle.

The bushing “problem” was identified before any aircrafts were delivered. My understanding is that the fix (installation or modification of the procedures for installation) have been implemented in all production aircrafts.

In addition there was a flurry of activity with the Dayjets plane taking off and landing. Mike Press’ beautiful machine was running outside and ready for departure. Another aircraft was in the delivery room waiting for the owner. Based on my memory Eclipse plans on delivering another 2 or 3 aircrafts next week. Based on the number of aircrafts in different stages of assembly I would expect 12-15 in May, 15-20 in June and around 25 in July.

Eclipse’s biggest challenge will be transitioning from aircraft design to manufacturing with consistent quality. There is no doubt in my mind that they have the right team and infrastructure to accomplish this. If my memory serves me correct the employee count is over 1100 with another 200 coming on board within the next few months.

Do I expect to get my plane on time? Probably not. I would surprise if Eclipse can deliver 250 aircrafts before the end of the year.

Many critics are missing the bigger picture. All the structural aluminum parts are CNC’ed. They have the capability to friction stir weld huge components. Once the Avio issues are resolved the background for aircraft control system will be nothing more that a shelf item. Eclipse can then email Fuji and have them ship long wings (E500LW) or swept wings, redesign the empennage and release a single engine variant, etc. The possibilities are endless. The amount of infrastructure is truly impressive, whether or not you like or believe Vern he jump started the VLJ market. He also created a truly impressive organization of highly dedicated and professional employees. Can Eclipse survive? For whatever it is worth, I bet last Friday that they will.

gadfly said...

Long wings? . . . Swept wings? . . . Single engine? . . . Consistent quality? . . . Has Eclipse been reading this blog for the past year? . . . interesting! . . . Maybe there’s hope yet!

For whatever it’s worth . . . there’s never been a question as to the dedication of the work-force, they have been doing their very best to make it all come together.

But when the “leaders” of an organization blame others for their problems, that is a red flag . . . always, and without exception. But people can change!

If that is the case, wonderful! Time will tell!

gadfly

EclipseOwner387 said...

Cold and Wet,

I am being told that the fixes for the USB and Avidyne are similar to an SB and that is why they sre doing them post C of A. Once installed they are ready to be used legally. So the fixes are working and apparently easy to install in a few hours.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

EX387,

Thanks for the straight up answers that EAC apparently chooses to incorporate SB fixes after CofA (they can do it before if they want, but that is another story).

Any idears on my other questions?

Thanks

lumar said...

And now - we can wait...

I think, nearly everthing important about the Eclipse-Jet was told in this forum. As I was in Lakeland today, I was sitting once more in that little sexy aircraft. (They try still to take orders, with a backup of 2500 aircrafts allready sold, why?!)

Well, the aircraft is really nice, but for me a unproved product for a non-existing niche.

To small for airtaxi-business - to complicated for a average owner-pilot. As I said, everything is told...

airtaximan said...

I almost hate to say this, but somehow, after following this story for so long, I smell a rat, here.

a couple of things...
1- random planes in any order coming off the line. Before, when asked, the BS regarding Dayjet priority was offered as an excuse. Now, "S/N #9, #10 have passed their CofA. With the CofA of #4 today that completes the four airplanes that the FAA wanted to see under the new processes.... #5 and #14 were in the pre-delivery hangar... this is an issue - I'm not sure what it means, but it is indicative of something bizarre.
2- the admission today that depite Vern's statement that he was offering info on the Pitot before they had a solution, "When I asked the status of the pitot heating issue I got a big smile. I believe that Eclipse and their OEM were working on a fix long before the general public was notified of the problem" - this is in direct contradiction to what Vern said - why the lie?
3- Alexa's post addresses the issues brought up on this blog, specifically - almost too specifically. The window cracking problem "It is believed that the problem arose from improper installation (sequence and torquing) not from a design flaw or flex in the structure as some have suggested" - this is a strange thing to write. I suspect if t was this simple, the FAA would just dismiss it as an issue, resolved with the torque wrench...hmm...

So, my impression is, something is up..big time. Preparing hard for the IPO, dismissing critics...of course. But I think there's more.

Somehow, it feels like the FAA is doing Quality Assurance for Eclipse, and not the "normal" inspection function. Perhaps planes that fail are set aside, some planes are delivered with "IOU's" which is extraordinary for this process. We'll fix it later, on many things that have "failed" FAA inspection. I belive the Pitot falls into this category, and the avionics were trashed becasue the list of IOU's got too long - they had to promise a replacement system. The windows, as well. Perhaps someone with more expereince than me can elaborate... or tell me I'm way off on this one... I just think that for some reason, the planes are being pushed out the door, incompleted as designed, with many quality issues that have IOUs attached to them, instead of red tags indicating "failed inspection" again.

Then select completed planes are being passed, with the IOU's and some really problematic planes are being set aside for later, without acknowledging the serious problems that casue them to fail, and fail again.

Is the FAA changing their role and provigind QA FOR e-clips? or is this a normal process for them?


** of course this is just my impression of what's going on...and it's only one airtaximan's opinion.

airtaximan said...

um...I guess Dayjet's projected demand for their "per-seat" service is not what they expected...

I can't even belive what someon sent me this evening...I thought it was a BIG FAT JOKE...

Apparenlty not:

Welcome to Dayjet CHARTER SERVICE now called "per-jet" On demand.

I guess the any-farmers, Russian rocket scientists, glowing market studies, $20 million, computer simulations, Research-institute-genome models, 98% efficeincy results and 5 years worth of work, 1 years worth of intense local sales and marketing has led to:

the air-service revolution: CHARTER - now remarketed as 3-passenger "per-jet" service, where you can rent the entire JET.

MAN, this IS cool. Now I can charter a plane - imagine THAT!

I wonder if they figured out this terrific new business model, before or after they raised the last $50million?

Anyone else think Ed read the blog and decided to rethink what his any farmers and computer wizards have been telling him? Or was it the fact that $20 million spent in the first 5 years resulted in 100 companies signing up and 500 potential passengers in the system, means that Dayjet will not really need many planes for THIS model any time soon?

"Well, Nancy, we're getting some planes, we might as well try and rent them out by the hour, the new-old fashioned way!

- vive la Dayjet revolutione!
- vive la 'clips revolutione!

redtailhawk said...

airtaximan, i think you finally slipped off your beaded seat cover. perhaps you've sniffed too many air fresheners.

i can't believe that you actually think that the faa could be on the take, and would actually release aircraft that they felt were unsafe. is there nothing that could pass muster in your eyes?

out of sequence deliveries could be the result of many legitimate reasons, especially in early production aircraft. nothing real sinister.

the "big smile" comment could mean many things. it all depends on your point of view when you read it. it could have meant: 1) gee, i know where you read that, 2) hey, we fixed that long ago, we're just waiting for parts, 3) boy, were we embarrassed to have missed that one, or 4) those tacos i had for lunch are repeating on me. take your pick, or supply your own (which i guess you have).

window cracking - alex was just repeating the party line since he probably didn't hear anything different during his visit.

i've known alex for some time, and i know the fact that he released his deposit says a lot about how the program is maturing. just because eclipse has not provided you with all the answers to your questions, doesn't mean that they haven't made corrections, rsolved problems, and dismissed issues.

redtailhawk said...

"Welcome to Dayjet CHARTER SERVICE now called "per-jet" On demand."

airtaximan, as i just said... just because you weren't aware of some detail of eclipse's or dayjet's operation, it doesn't mean something sinister is going on. the per-jet option has always been in their business plan, and has been on the website for some time. one would think that if seats were available individually, you could also purchase all of the seats. i think you are pretty naive to think that that never occurred to dayjet before you did their analysis for them.

i think you may be in the wrong line of work. you should probably be a big player on wall street instead of a second rate flight instructor. as you've said many times, "sad, really sad."

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I have heard from friends in the FAA and from other OEM's and ancillary aviation businesses that Eclipse IS indeed getting special treatment.

FAA staff on site even though there is no travel budget.

Lots of DER signoff's.

A few interesting Eclipse sponsored findings of equivalent level of safety re: power distribution and avionics redundancies.

The appearance of lots of hanging chads\IOU's.

And a defacto FAA course for Eclipse in BASIC receiving and production quality.

Given the high-caliber of experienced quality personnel at the company early on, one has to wonder what has happened.

While I doubt anyone from the FAA would pass a truly substandard aircraft, they are passing, or more specifically WERE passing aircraft that turned out in short order to have significant issues such as the wing bushing, windshields\windows, and the like.

Not to mention the up until recently (reportedly) un-updatable GPS database which totally blows my mind. And then we have the whole slew of inoperative equipment at delivery (FMS, boots, etc,).

I wonder how many placards it takes to properly label the inoperative systems?

How do you suppose they do it for systems controlled by soft keys on the displays?

sparky said...

Redtail,

Anonymity excuses neither rudeness nor stupidity.

If you looked at all at Ed Iacabucci's business plan, the entire premiss was PER-SEAT on demand charter. He invested millions of dollars on computer modeling to prove this.

The fact that Alex released his deposit means nothing. Until Eclipse gets TC on the new model with ALL the fixes, anything that comes out of ABQ is posturing.

And as far as the FAA goes, since when do they work on saturdays. Have they ever held another OEM's hand and litteraly spoon fed them on their way to TC.

Vern's own word on the Pitot was that we would have word in two weeks, good or bad. Now that's been pushed back.

flyger said...

Would you kindly pass along tail numbers for the Eclipse planes as they are delivered? Others would like to observe aircraft performance via FlightAware.com.

Serial, tail number, and last FA flight date as of today:

1, N508JA, 3/4/07
2, N126DJ, 10/26/06
3, N816KD, never
4, N229BW, never
5, N504RS, never
6, N109DJ, never
7, N110DJ, 4/20/07 (*)
8, N941NC, never
9, N513EA, never
10, N500VK, never

(*) N110DJ made a late evening, early morning run down to Tucson and back Thursday night last week.

I haven't checked later serial numbers, suspect none of them are in FA. So even if we knew what order things got delivered in, there's little information in any case.

bill e. goat said...

I think we all commend Alexa for his cautious and prudent field trip to Eclipse* (and wish we had been there with him!), and thank him (and Ken, 9Z, Mike Post, EOX387, and others), for sharing his observations and impressions gained during the visit.

*Make that an ME5 (Most Excellent Eclipse Exculpatory Evidence Expedition :)

I'm glad deliveries are happening, and the performance of the aircraft is pleasing.

Black Tulip said...

Flyger,

Thanks for the tail numbers. On FlightAware there is an easy way to view all Eclipse aircraft flying by pressing "View Airborne Aircraft" after pressing the ICAO identifier on the first page attached to the tail number. This assumes some aircraft haven't been blocked from view. Note that earlier aircraft carried and an ICAO ID of ECL5 and the last EA50.

Black Tulip

mirage00 said...

Sure is quiet around here since Ken's post. I wonder why? Nevermind, I expected this to happen soon enough.

Stan Blankenship said...

Stick around for a couple of more days mirage.

Lloyd said...

Stan,

You know something the rest of us don't. It has been really quiet the past several days!!

flyger said...

Black Tulip said...

On FlightAware there is an easy way to view all Eclipse aircraft flying by pressing "View Airborne Aircraft"

That only lists aircraft airborne at that moment in time. For Eclipse, that is virtually never. So the only way to find out what has happened is to check every N number.

JetProp Jockey said...

POSTED ON AVWEB 4/23

Paula Abdul either overestimated her star power or underestimated the sort of primeval code of conduct that rules when 100 or more people are packed in an aluminum tube, rebreathing each other's air. The American Idol judge's first mistake was to ask for first-class treatment on the successfully proletariat Southwest Airlines by demanding advanced boarding for a flight from San Jose to Burbank, Calif. Her next move was trying to cash in her star credits. When told that advanced boarding was reserved for the old, the very young and infirm, she reportedly said, “But I’m famous! I need to go on first!” according MonstersAndCritics.com's retelling of tabloid accounts. At that point, her fellow passengers reportedly dissolved into laughter with one quipping "You're no Sanjaya," referring to the talent-challenged contestant whose flamboyance carried him to a final 10 berth in the popular reality TV series. Abdul's final indignity was being forced to rub shoulders (not to mention elbows, knees and likely feet) with the less important people in her seat row because the airplane was full and her lame attempt to reserve the seat beside her was immediately overruled by a flight attendant.

If only Paula would have had an AirTaxi service available, she could have avoided all of this humilliation. I'm sure she could have boarded first and would have been treated like first class.

It's a 252 mile trip - probably would have cost less than the SW tickets. - I wonder if she had an "A" boarding pass.

mirage00 said...

Stick around for a couple of more days mirage.

Oh, I'm not going anywhere.

Lloyd said...

Posted on the owners site, a report on a site visit to Eclipse. Should give you something to talk about....

With my deposit due date looming and a flurry of rumors surrounding the Eclipse program I decided the best way to make a decision was to visit Eclipse and see for ourselves. I went to ABQ on Friday April 20, with 3 pages of questions and a backup plan to swap my position to a later position if I felt any apprehension about the program.

My wife and I were greeted by Susan Harness and Brian Skupa. Brian was not only fantastic in showing us the entire operation but was straight forward with his responses. I had a chance to meet Mike Press for a second since he was in the process of taking delivery of his aircraft. Mike had a smile from ear to ear.

Our tour started out in the receiving building where it was packed with components floor to ceiling. This is also the building with the FSW equipment. It is evident that the FSW equipment can tackle much bigger jobs than the current E500 fuselage.

There have been rumors that the de-ice boot manufacturer dropped from the program. One of the first things we walked by was a pallet of de-ice boots with a February 2007 bill of lading attached. It looked like plenty of boots for a whole bunch of airplanes. Scratch one thing off my list. As far as the Eclipse staff everyone we spoke to had no idea of fall out with the vendor.

We continued to the initial assembly building where there were numerous aircraft in various stages of production. This is were the empennages are attached to the fuselages before they are moved to the final assembly building.

Question, what is the status of the aero-mods. The cut in production to the new mods is still slated for aircraft #39. In my mind there is no question that this can slide either way on the assembly line. One benefit from a slow ramp up is the ability to identify problems and then implement fixes without affecting too many units out in the field.

Question, what is the status of Avio NG. Eclipse believes that the timeline of implementation and functionality which was released was indeed accurate. In addition it is obvious that they are working hard to implement the NG earlier in the production cycle. My personal guess would be less than 75 aircrafts will receive the “old” system.

FIKI- In my mind FIKI certification was one possible huge black hole for the program. It is my understanding that Cessna had to redesign a number of things in the Mustang to accomplish this. Even though there is still some risk the logic seems sound. It would be expensive to obtain FIKI certification, modify the airframe (aero-mods) and then go back and do FIKI certification flight test all over. The first goal is to get approval for the aero-mods and then move on to FIKI certification. One caveat is that Eclipse had conducted testing in Known Ice (last December I believe) with the original aircraft configuration; they believe they have a good understanding of the aircraft performance in icing condition. Even though there is still risk it certainly appears that the risk is minimal.

When I asked the status of the pitot heating issue I got a big smile. I believe that Eclipse and their OEM were working on a fix long before the general public was notified of the problem. I would expect an announcement resolving the issue within the next 3-4 weeks.

The entire Eclipse staff was also very upbeat as to the PC. Many folks we spoke to believe the PC will happen before this month’s end.

As to the window cracking issue, this now appears to be pretty much mute. Both Eclipse and the window manufacturer have been working to determine why the problem arose. It is believed that the problem arose from improper installation (sequence and torquing) not from a design flaw or flex in the structure as some have suggested. After enough time has gone by without any cracking I would expect a new communication which removes the inspection/replacement cycle.

The bushing “problem” was identified before any aircrafts were delivered. My understanding is that the fix (installation or modification of the procedures for installation) have been implemented in all production aircrafts.

In addition there was a flurry of activity with the Dayjets plane taking off and landing. Mike Press’ beautiful machine was running outside and ready for departure. Another aircraft was in the delivery room waiting for the owner. Based on my memory Eclipse plans on delivering another 2 or 3 aircrafts next week. Based on the number of aircrafts in different stages of assembly I would expect 12-15 in May, 15-20 in June and around 25 in July.

Eclipse’s biggest challenge will be transitioning from aircraft design to manufacturing with consistent quality. There is no doubt in my mind that they have the right team and infrastructure to accomplish this. If my memory serves me correct the employee count is over 1100 with another 200 coming on board within the next few months.

Do I expect to get my plane on time? Probably not. I would surprise if Eclipse can deliver 250 aircrafts before the end of the year.

Many critics are missing the bigger picture. All the structural aluminum parts are CNC’ed. They have the capability to friction stir weld huge components. Once the Avio issues are resolved the background for aircraft control system will be nothing more that a shelf item. Eclipse can then email Fuji and have them ship long wings (E500LW) or swept wings, redesign the empennage and release a single engine variant, etc. The possibilities are endless. The amount of infrastructure is truly impressive, whether or not you like or believe Vern he jump started the VLJ market. He also created a truly impressive organization of highly dedicated and professional employees. Can Eclipse survive? For whatever it is worth, I bet last Friday that they will.

Sorry for the lenght of the post!

gadfly said...

Lloyd

Old California Chinese saying: No Tickee . . . No Washee!

Next time sit down with “the man” hisself, in an empty room, with your list, and a lawyer present . . . go item by item with answers in his own handwriting, and get his signature . . . notarized. Surely the man is not too busy that he cannot give a loyal customer fifteen minutes of his time in exchange for your “progress payment”.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

If Mirage is not going anywhere it could be because he already has an Eclipse 500 and...

he has not been trained to fly it,

it is waiting on a transparency or wing bushing inpsection,

the MEA along his route is above FL240 and his plane does not have the USB dataloader and TSO display mod,

the forecast calls for IMC,

the forecast calls for known icing,

or because he does not have a trained mentor pilot available.

Yes, after 8 years and nearly one Beeeeelion dollars, delivering half a dozen semi-functional aircraft will surely silence all those nasty critics.

Just like FIKI and flight IMC for the E-500 - NOT!

BD5 Believer said...

In regards to the FAA giving Eclipse favorable treatment.

How many of you recall the trouble Douglas had in launching the MD11?

Recall the aircraft was rushed through the delivery cycle to keep Douglas afloat in cash. The early airplanes were so bad that American Airlines grounded their fleet for nealry 6 months after taking delivery of the first couple of a/c. Besides aircraft maintenance and performance issues, the maintenace manuals had multiple chapters BLANK...not even issued. After a six month grounding, they came back on line.

No one involved with the support of this a/c could not see what was going on - the FAA was "helping" Douglas get the early a/c out the door and into revenue service. MD80 deleiveries were winding down, and with so much money invested into the MD11, Douglas needed to get the cash moving.

Our inside joke was that if this had been an Airbus, it would have never been allowed to land in the USA, let alone go into revenue service like the MD11 did.

So it is not to far fetched for me to believe that the FAA is giving Vern special treatment....not at all. Especially when their current money grab (user fees) is based on Vern's projections to blacken they sky with VLJ's. As always in politics, just follow the money trail.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Good thing the FAA is helping Eclipse get the planes out the door. And the advantage they are getting is amazing. Years behind schedule and 10's of millions over budget. With friends like the FAA who needs enemies!? And to think they don't have the PC yet with being on the take. Someone needs to explain what "cheating" means to the FAA.

Sigh - this is boring guys.

airtaximan said...

Red-ass Hawk:

yu sayL
"the per-jet option has always been in their business plan, and has been on the website for some time. one would think that if seats were available individually, you could also purchase all of the seats"

I think you mean charter, right?

Soes purchasing ALL the seats on an the airline make sense to you too? This would not change the airlines to charter, and also, would be pretty stupid from a cost perspective.

Where's the revolution?

Travel point-to-point to a few Dayjet airports (routes) or fly charter by booking the plane to where you want to go that is not on their route?

Where's the revolution? There was supposed to be an earth-shattering REVOLUTION?

Sorry red-tail... after $20 million in simulation with ant farmers and rocker scientisist, sorry...I refuse to belive Dayjet sold the revolution based on getting back to charter or routes.

Maybe you think this makes sense, but I'm sure many folks will not.

airtaximan said...

EO,

I personally agree that this IS boring. But, the delay is NOT due to the FAA, in fact, the argument goes that if E-clips is receiving special treatment, the situation would be WORSE and no planes would be delivered after all the time and money you refer to.

The question might be: "is the fox guarding the hen-house?" and if so, "why".

Who knows if this is going on?

When are you getting your plane? It must be very exciting?

gadfly said...

BDCinco

Great analogy . . . “Moving funds” . . . Douglas sinking from lack of money . . . Eclipse (appearing to be) sinking from having too much money (and failing to throw it overboard fast enough) . . . you didn’t say that, but before the goat comments, I decided to bleat him to it.

The MD11 came to an end in 2001 after selling only 2/3 of projection . . . the competition was too much.

gadfly

JetProp Jockey said...

As long as there is a lull in the action, I have a question that has been bugging me for a while.

Why does the FAA issuing a PC to Eclipse make a great deal of difference in delvering aircraft. I will assume that the PC requires and independent QA department that will do just a thorough inspection as the FAA and the delivered aircraft will meet the same standards as the C of A aircraft, except there are more Eclipse hours invested in inspections.

I do work for the military, and when parts are going into critical service, the inspectors that are doing the inspecting must have a direct line of authority to the government agency impowered to make sure the stuff meets standards. The inspectors are required to bipass all internal organization to deal with a quality problem. If something is not right their necks are on the line.

Does a PC give the equivilant department is an aircraft mftr. the same level of authority?

redtailhawk said...

airtaxiinstructor: I think you mean charter, right?

sure it's charter. I didn't say it wasn't. they are simply offering the option to charter the jet, in addition to per seat destinations. the charter service would go to destinations outside of the dayport system. so what! they didn't stop offering the per-seat service.

your students are calling.

airtaximan said...

JPJ:

You are correct. If the FAA was holding up deliveries because they were not available to inspect planes as they come off the line, the PC would be of value as it would speed things up.

We are not being told this is the case at e-clips - to the contrary, we are being told the FAA is bending over backwards.

The only other thing I can think of, is when the PC is issued, it will MEAN that all the bugs are ironed out of the system, and the line can move faster and quality conforming planes will come out the other end to be delivered.

I would think that repeatability at higher rate would be required to be demonstrated beyond delivering 12 planes, which is the rumored trigger for the PC, at this point.

Once again, who knows?

EclipseOwner387 said...

JPJ,

I agree that bad quality would still mean slow deliveries even with PC. However, if planes are conforming then more deliveries would happen for the simple reason that the PC inspectors would work more hours. The FAA I understand is limited to four day work weeks.

As it is right now, I bet each plane is having two inspections done. One by Eclipse and One by FAA. That would also go away with PC.

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sparky said...

I thinkd it's amusing that all the Aclipse backers take a handful of deliveries and say "See, told you you were wrong"

9 years, 1 billion dollars and we have yet to meet the quota that Vern set for Dec 31st of LAST YEAR.

Come talk to me when ABQ consistantly turns out aircraft. If you have trouble understanding what that means, see Cessna, Lear, Bombardier Hawker or Embreaer. Until this happens, all your flying is a press release.

mirage00 said...

Come talk to me when ABQ consistantly turns out aircraft. If you have trouble understanding what that means, see Cessna, Lear, Bombardier Hawker or Embreaer. Until this happens, all your flying is a press release.

I promise I will.

gadfly said...

Niner Zebra (I knew your grandfather . . . back in olden times . . . we’d discuss the “big one”.)

Bangaladore . . . Bangaladesh . . . Bangor (they don’t speak English there, either). . . whatever . . . never happen, my friend, at least not until after the primaries. Governor Bill Richardson, who is running for “presidente” (he thinks we’re still part of Mexico), as you may have noticed, will “insist” that the call center is in Espanola, New Mexico . . . “Habla Espanol?”. (For the great unwashed, Espanola is just north of Santa Fe, where “speed bumps” are at all the exits of town, to keep the “low riders” from leaving.)

Someone said: “Follow the money” . . . as in, Bill Richardson gave Eclipse $10 big ones from the tax payers of New Mexico to come and set up shop . . . ‘just failed to ask us if we would object . . . And I might add, follow the politics of the next election. But please don’t follow too close to our “governor”, who “drives” a Citation with a wet bar. He fully supports Eclipse, with our tax money . . . and be forewarned, he may be landing at an airport near you, soon.

gadfly

(And what was that about the possible dangers of flying at RVSM . . . some of you are funnin’ me, right?)

airtaximan said...

-folks, the fact that the "die-hards" are looking at a few deliveries as "success" and celebrating this major E-clips milestone is very, very, telling. I am sure they are relieved that e-clips can deliver some planes...eventhough they are not really complete. I hate running throught the battery of fixes, NGs and replacement parts...foregive me. For the "die-hards" this IS a big deal, becasue there probably was the question floating around in their minds: "will e-clips ever deliver planes?".

I believe the recent 3 deliveries are the real deal - not stunts. And its been many months to get here, many deceitful press releases regarding certification, first deliveries, etc.. so, I can understand their enthusiasm. There is light at the end of the tunnel.

Someone commented that e-planes are being inspected twice now, once by the FAA and once by e-clips.

Well, I don't care much about the e-clips inspections...this process led to failed cofa's for 9 months now. It's part of the failed attempt to obtain a PC contemporaneous (or almost) with the TC. AS dumb and misguided dream - just like the avidyne avionics, williams engine, and the $779,000 jet. Likewise with the initial performance guarantees. So...

I would think there is added benefit to having the FAA inspect EVERY plane. I know, I would never trust e-clips to be the sole guardian of safety, conformity and quality for my plane.

The trackrecord has been paved in stone on this one...too many broken promises, too many illusory guarantees, too many missed milestones, too many fired employees and suppliers, too many quality problems already, too many failed attempts to deliver planes since the middle of last year.

I'd rather see the FAA inspect every plane...even three or four times, which I suspect HAS been the case on many of these planes - offered as complete, safe, and conforming, only to be FAILED by the FAA.

Remember folks, there has been a reported 30 planes (some say 50) ready for delivery for many, many months.

They've failed...why?

EclipseBlogger said...

Back to Cabbie said... Someone commented that e-planes are being inspected twice now, once by the FAA and once by e-clips.

Where do you get this stuff? Someone comments: "As it is right now, I bet each plane is having two inspections done. One by Eclipse and One by FAA." and you take that as the aircraft are going through multiple inspections and failing. It may be true, and you may be right, but you have no information to that effect.

Cabbie said... Remember folks, there has been a reported 30 planes (some say 50) ready for delivery for many, many months. They've failed...why?

You have no idea as to how many aircraft have been completed. The latest report was that S/N 51 had just emerged from FSW of panel assemblies. You've got 'em stack four high in some warehouse on the back forty because they've failed some inspection.

Unbelievable!!! You know how to tell good yarn as well as Vern.

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATMAN,

Wow what a rant. Are you having a bad day? Or forget to take your medicine? Maybe nipping at the good stuff?

Just kidding. Rational people know that Eclipse is not out of the woods. However, many thought Eclipse would never have made it this far (paraphrasing a post you had earlier.) This is progress. You may not like it since you are on the opposing view but the FAA is the most independant source we have to give us feedback. My voice or yours is not independant. So you guys decide to put forth the view that the FAA must be on the take since they don't agree with you. And when that argument starts to sound foolish you decide to reel off a rant. I must say it was very persausive. I am thinking I am a fool for not seeing your point of view. Keep up the, er, professional work!

airtaximan said...

E-die-hards:

let's be clear:

I have never said the FAA is on the take. In fact, you guys have brought this up a few too many times, so I'm beginning to think you now something I don't.

I believe EO387 said: "I bet each plane is having two inspections done. One by Eclipse and One by FAA"

My comments are designed to enforce that after all this time, all the BS and many failed inspections (if you disagree with this, how do you explain failure to deliver planes for 9 months despite claiming they are finished? Statements from you folks said 30 planes, one report was even higher, like 50...as well as planes now being delivered out of sequence? Recent reports are 12 planes need to be delivered under the "new system?" the old one went by the wayside like the ej22, avidyne, united and now the Q/A system? - serious questions...provide serious answers, not insults, pls.)

So, I was AGREEING with Eo, and you slammed me....why?

After all the BS and failures, do you really feel MORE secure with just E-clips looking at the quality of your plane?

Some have suggested that the FAA has provided valuable guidence, not just oversight. some have suggested that the FAA has bent over backwards to get you your planes.

I would think, based on the track record you would be happier having QA inspections done by the FAA instead of just e-clips?

I guess it takes a drunk asshole like me to think this...

So, explain why after so much time, and so much money, and so many prmises and so many good hardworking people... why the 30 planes that have been completed for months are not delivered?
- why the recent disclosure about the pitot? The FAA required it?
- why the recent jettison of Avidyne?
- why the windshield cracking issue disclosed?
- why the bushing disclosed?

REMEMBER ALL THIS HAPPENED AFTER THE FAILED ATTEMPTS AT CERTIFYING AND DELIVERING YOUR PLANES.

Its been months...its cost millions per month...

perhaps you are better off with the FAA inspecting your planes than without them?

This is my point.

airtaximan said...

die-hards...

one more question:

There were reports of around 30 planes completed months ago...Jan/feb time frame if not before. There were reports of failed attemplts to obtain PC in Sept/Oct timeframe, as well. I will not attempt to be precise, because I don't even think the reports from EAC were clear on this, and I have lost track over 9 months...but...

What have 1,000 employees been doing for MONTHS if not building planes?

Do you disagree that there are somewhere around 30-50 planes completed? I thought there were 30 planes completed a few months ago?

THAT'S 30... where are they?

Whaere are the rest? Has e-clips come to a grinding halt? I personally do no think so. I think they are working on the 400 planes this year plan...so?

Its the end of April... do you think there are between 30-50 planes completed?

- if not, how long has the deposit money adn progress payment been held up on these planes. I HOPE there's 50 planes near (if not) completed.

*** let the deliveries begin!!!

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATMAN,


My understanding is that approximately 23-25 planes have made it to final assmbly where they put on the wings and engines and make the plane capable of flying. In that 23-25 planes, about 8-10 have C of A's and are the planes that have been delivered or are awaiting delivery(guestimate.) There are also a number of planes in initial assembly (without wings or engines.) I don't have a good guess on how many planes are in that stage but I am sure one of the Eclipse onsite vistors gave us some insight into that in a previous post. Sorry if you think I was slamming you - just poking fun at the rant. Thats all. I think you have been a good sport lately!!

I am being told by those that have actually flown the Eclipse that if you fly it you will love it. They have a true hands on experience and I hold that to a higher standard than conjecture on its quality and capabilities.


;-)

mirage00 said...

E387

It's only a matter of time before the bashers take their ball and go home. Thanks to you and Ken for keeping this blog honest. Stan seems to have lost his way.

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

An aircraft is being delivered about every other workday now (for the past 2 weeks "from the end of this week") and as Stan eluded to..... "Stick around for a couple of more days mirage." at least until Thursday! That's enough Koo-Aid for today kids.

KAD1 (aka CAD1)

bill e. goat said...

Back from a few days vaca. Looks like, an atypical quiet had descended for a few days.

Gadfly said,
The MD11 came to an end in 2001 after selling only 2/3 of projection . . . the competition was too much.

Goat sez:
What I heard, it was a case of the MD11 being not enough...I heard what it really needed was a new wing to be competitive, folks in STL thought it would cost too much. Tried to get by on the cheap, didn't work. Also heard it had a hard time meeting fuel burn specs. One "feature" was relaxed pitch stability. The new horizontal stab didn't have enough pitch authority at low speeds, hence unusual vulnerability to gusts during landing. Just what I heard...

9Z said,
"getting warranty work done (what do you mean I have to fly it back to the factory from Maine"

Goat sez;
The REAL fun is going to be, getting warranty work done when I CAN'T fly it back from Maine. This is gonna happen, don't know if Eclipse has the staff and parts for an AOG operation. I imagine it's in the works...

KAD1/CAD1 said:
An aircraft is being delivered about every other workday now (for the past 2 weeks "from the end of this week") and as Stan eluded to..... "Stick around for a couple of more days mirage." at least until Thursday! That's enough Koo-Aid for today kids.


Goat sez,
Regarding the every other workday deliveries, does that just reflect "working off the backup" from the past few months, or "new manufacture" articles?

I assume Vern is going to jump out of a cake with PC on Thursday? (I had wondered what the end of the month stunt would be, given that the end of the month isn't on a weekend this time, maybe he's getting ahead of himself this time.

Could the recent and uncharacteristic quiet, particularly in light of pleasantly impressive recent deliveries be at setup not to steal the "thunder" from PC?

(That's about the only reason I can think of, and I'd probably be playing it the same way).

bill e. goat said...

Goat Rant, part 1 of 2

(okay, so I'm maybe squeezing it in while I can still gripe with a clear conscience, unfettered by reality...).

Regarding the odd quiet from the Vern, I have to agree with ATM. Something doesn't smell quite right here. (The only reason can be that PC is near...). While I am tired of repeated false forecasts of victory (hmmm, “Mission Accomplished”), I do think Eclipse is entitled to a justly deserved victory whoop (hmmmm, “Howard Dean”) for every delivery. And certainly now, as they have been so paltry and difficult to come by. For Vern to be DOWNPLAYING deliveries, well, something just isn't quite right about this picture.

Regarding some above discussion, I am quite certain that the FAA is not “on the take”, and the IOU's mentioned, are somewhat figurative. There is no bribes, nor jobs at Eclipse, but rather, Eclipse is morally offering IOU's in the form of “okay, we didn't quite get it right, but we will make it right later”.

An example of this would seem to be the pitot probe situation. I don't know how they can be delivering airplanes with that known problem. The FAA can stop deliveries right now (and I think should stop deliveries right now) until that is fixed, but they aren't, because Eclipse has given them an IOU, as in IOU a correction to this problem, and will “pay up” (deliver the solution) later.

I know it is not unusual for airplanes to be delivered with flight restrictions, and maybe the pitot situation is addressed with such a restriction, but I haven't heard it mentioned here). In this case, the restriction might be, don't fly the airplane. The way the IOU game works, is, the FAA can put the hammer down, but won't, as long as Eclipse gets the pitot problem fixed before the airplanes are “really” delivered (flown away from ABQ, by non-company pilots- how many times has that happened yet? Maybe more than I know, or maybe none. I'm open to "schooling" here). So the FAA is holding an “IOU a technical solution” mental marker, and can “cash in” and stop the show anytime they want, but as long as it's not a factor (because the airplanes aren't delivered), why make waves? (more about that follows).

There is some talk about the FAA providing QA at Eclipse, for Eclipse. Well, the FAA normally inspects the first X number of airplanes, X being a function of the “newness” of the airplane (derivative, or clean sheet), the reputation of the company (for performing good quality work, with good quality processes), and the gut feel they have on involving the particular environment (say, Boeing during the massive hiring campaign of the late 1990's; the FAA got much more involved then, because of a change in the particular shop floor environment, e.g., an untypical high number of new hires).

Every company tries to minimize the FAA involvement, because the FAA is methodical and thorough (read: comprehensive, but necessarily slow), as appropriate for due stewards of the public trust. Consequently, it is in Eclipse's interest to have proper in-house QA to expedite deliveries, with proper QA throughout the build and checkout process, instead of at the end of the assembly line. And the FAA wants to hand off (delegate) QA authority, to reduce their own workload, so their inspectors can be doing other things, beside babysitting a manufacturer.

Typically, the FAA can “encourage” a manufacturer to get their act together, by not living on-site; “call us when you are really ready”, instead of “we are here to work with you”. It is in the taxpayer's financial interest to have the FAA delegate the inspection process to Eclipse, but they can't until sufficient confidence has been established. The FAA can apply pressure to Eclipse to establish proper quality processes, by NOT spending extra time there (in fact, just the opposite: “quit wasting our time by calling us when you aren't really ready”).

The fact the FAA guys keep returning over and over to Eclipse, and things still aren't right, means there they are under tremendous pressure from the FAA higher management to “make things happen at Eclipse” (e.g., get those airplanes out the door). I believe anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. With that kind of pressure, the informal IOU system is a workable expedient,

The topic of out-of-sequence serial numbers came up. I suspect these the missing serial numbers are airframes that have substantial “issues”, requiring either rework, or lost process paperwork (will require extensive QA recovery effort). It is more expedient to just push them out of the way, for now. (This is not untypical, unless the number of portable storage devices (read, unfinished E-500's) is unduly high, but given Eclipse ramped up production over a year ago, only to flail away with incomplete designs, inadequate process documentation, QA turnover, a new-hire workforce; I suspect there are a number of “lesson learned” articles parked in dark corners.

Regarding the “big smile”, I suspect acting coy is a cover-up. Getting a stupid metal pipe hot is NOT a substantially challenging task. So there must be some other substantially challenging task being concealed. Acting coy is just more BS. I don't doubt that a solution is near at hand, but to be coy about exactly what is being solved is sadly typical, and insulting.

The window cracking issue, I think, was not all it was cracked up to be (so to speak). In-service data and fatigue testing should resolve that issue. I suspect the flight test and demonstrator fleet has enough hours to put that to rest by now. (Has anyone asked about the fatigue testing? I think the FAA issued some waiver, but am not sure if this was an absolute waiver, or just a deferment. It would seem to be in Eclipse's interest to have this completed as soon as possible, if they are even going to do one- not sure if FAR23 requires it- maybe it can all be done by analysis. But in the words of Hollywood, “Analyze this” :).

bill e. goat said...

Goat Rant, part 2 of 2
(so you can all relax shortly).

Alexa mentions:
Avio NG. Eclipse believes that the timeline of implementation and functionality which was released was indeed accurate. In addition it is obvious that they are working hard to implement the NG earlier in the production cycle. My personal guess would be less than 75 aircrafts will receive the “old” system.

Goat sez;
I'm not sure which schedule by Eclipse to use; the end of Q2, or the 40-th airplane: I would say that actuality will be about half way in between (say, 2008Q2- ha!). No, maybe as Alexa suggests, by airplane 75 if the production rate is around 5 to 10 per month (which I think is a little high for an average this year).

I am curious about his observation that “they are working hard to implement the NG earlier in the production cycle)- I wonder if Eclipse has come up with a “dual use” wire harness, which can accommodate either system (Avidyne or Avio-NG); this would greatly simplify the retrofits (then again, it's a small airplane; probably wouldn't be that hard to just rewire it completely).

Alexa also mentions:
Eclipse can then email Fuji and have them ship long wings (E500LW) or swept wings, redesign the empennage and release a single engine variant, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Goat says:
Apparently, so is the fantasy at Eclipse. If there is anyone there, who thinks all they have to do to delivery an airplane is bolt together parts, well, I am very disappointed that there is such an ill-informed corporate culture at Eclipse, that would allow such an ignorant and absurd notion to exist.

By now, if every single manufacturing, administrative, marketing, engineering, support, and management employee doesn't appreciate the scope of new aircraft development, then what kind of b.s. has been floating around the company since the second first flight- say, for the past two and a half years? (“it's all the vendor's and FAA's fault???).

I just can't imagine what kind of atmosphere of denial has been created if this has been dismissed. Will these painful but valuable lessons be ignored on the next product???

Seriously, Eclipse has a talented workforce, by all accounts. For such a gross mis-perception to exist, at ANY level, is a startling testimony poor communication and inadequate resource management.

Alexa says:
The amount of infrastructure is truly impressive, whether or not you like or believe Vern he jump started the VLJ market. He also created a truly impressive organization of highly dedicated and professional employees. Can Eclipse survive? For whatever it is worth, I bet last Friday that they will.

Goat sez:
I concur. From the level of investment, and infrastructure developed (regardless of the current difficulties) I say Eclipse (or Eclipse-NG, a.k.a., the company formerly known as Eclipse**), is in it for the long haul.

**thank you very much Prince- no, I don't mean Vern! :)

So ATM, fasten your seatbelt so you don't slip off your beaded seat cover!!! (But by the way the eerie delivery silence seems to smell, I think I'd break out the air fresheners too :).

airtaximan said...

EO,

I thought there were 20 or so planes already in production in the October timeframe?

What have 1,000 people been doing for 5-6 months?

bill e. goat said...

The same thing 999 of them have been doing for 18 months.

Wonder why "production" was ramped up 18+ months too soon.

Stan Blankenship said...

Photos of the BOD are down to five. Brian Barents is MIA.

Bios of the BOD are down to four. Both Brian and Vern are MIA.

Eric said...

The plot thickens!!!

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

Vern's bio is under the exec team bio. I don't think it has been under BOD bios in recent history. The only thing you have appeared to "uncover" is barents missing.

Plastic_Planes said...

Bios of the BOD are down to four. Both Brian and Vern are MIA.

Brian's bio and picture are gone. Vern's is still on the Exec Team page, though as "CEO and President"

I did hear a rumor from one fo our marketing reps (we are a competing business) that Vern was out. I'm curious.

Also, Cessna has shipped it's first "retail" Mustang (Prod s/n #3) to a type rated customer:

http://www.aero-news.net/index.cfm?ContentBlockID=79558e51-da0b-49f2-831d-e1c15f1e17fb&

/s/

sparky said...

Does anyone have the tail numbers for the DayJet aircraft?

I ran N109DJ, N110DJ and N126DJ, I thought these were the 3 DJ aircraft. they're all still registered to Eclipse.

sparky said...

oh,BTW....none have Cert.'s issued.

cherokee driver said...

Sparky

126DJ has a C of A date of 3-28-07. It showed up on the FAA site 4-16-07.

sparky said...

Sorry, it's got the Cert. date listed as "none"

Still, I thought DayJet took delivery of these.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Sparky,

There is a known lag in FAA updating.

Frank Castle said...

Yea, well, us "bashers" ain't dead......

Mustang Production serial 5 was delivered to Dave and Dawn Goode, NOT #3.

They were ecstatic ! And, glad they don't have to wait for a "Brand X" almost-wanna-be.

I bet Vern was dissappointed that he made it to Europe two days late, with two gaping holes where the all-in-one-glass-wonder BS was supposed to be......

and a handheld GPS...HA !

These so-called E-clops "deliveries" are still smoke and mirrors, because the "owners" are being paid off in the form of rebates just to act happy for the cameras.

One flight to FL410 doesn't make it a useable aircraft. Or complete "as advertised."

Just stay on the porch.

Frank Castle said...

Dave Goode is also the first non-Cessna employee to be type-certed for the Mustang.

Quite an honor.

sparky said...

EO,

I understand beuracratic backlogs, but the FAA updated the C of A for N126DJ, but not who it's registered to?

I believe there was also a question as to the status of the C of A for the other two aircraft delivered that day.

Eclipse responded with a "no comment" when asked about these. There's still nothing on these other two aircraft and, at the time of this post, DayJet has no aircraft registered to them.

Did they take delivery, or is there a big "return to sender" stamped next to the N-numbers?

Excuse my distrust, but this company isn't exactly known for being forthcoming about anything but press releases.

airtaximan said...

Spark:

I'm sure that you now bring this up, the CofA will become CYA.

The die-hards here have said I'm drunk, falling off my beaded seat cover, etc... but from what I jhave seen here, there's going to be a big investigation soon.

Planes that should never have been certified, are somehow making the headlines as "delivered".

Even an idiot cabbie can smell the BS from a local outside the range of the e-clips plane.

Everyone wants to believe...
No one want's to think the worst...

But I'm afradi it's going to slap them in the face again.

Denial is a very powerful thing, and anyone who thinks the e-clips shenannigans with the FAA is a good thing, is very misguided.

I would think the FAA inspections should continue for a long time, over many many planes to show real continuity and quality.

So far, I do not beliveve we've seen continuity of quality, just continuity of BS.

The IOU system that's been invented here should stop - its a bad sign. The planes, after all this time and money SHOULD BE DELIVERED AS ADVERTISED/TYPED COMPLETED AND FINISHED... NO IOU'S.

AFTER ALL THE TIME AND MONEY, FAILURE TO HAVE COMPLETE CONFORMITY AND QUALITY WITHOUT IOU'S MEANS A LACK OF UNDERSTANDING OR COMMITMENT TO QUALITY.

E-clips does not appear to be serious about quality, conformity or laying by the FAA safety rules.

Sorry folks...but this is in character for the Vernster since a long time ago when he started lying, guaranteeing and advertising.

Danger.

sparky said...

ATM,

Couldn't agree more...

This is Aviation, not fisher price "My first aircraft/easy bake oven".

Adam aircraft admitted running into problems, but also came in with a totally new aircraft at under $100M....Without the hype, slight-of-hand and out right lies of EBQ incorporated.

I do though, absolutely love the Quote by Vern about this being a difference of mindset's. He said that in the computer business lack of market was a good thing, whereas in aviation circles it meant it couldn't be done.....

by extrapolation...there's a HUGE market for electric dog polishing equipment , 30 story one-room apartments and fur-lined sinks(Steve Martin fans will get this) Wonder if Vern would license FSW for that?

While I'm venting.......E-believers, you are in no way at the finish line, but at the very starting gates, and stumbling already. Your beloved Vern is delivering aircraft. I'll admit that. But you have to deliver aircraft AT A PROFIT. I know it's hard to wrap you Kool-aid warped minds around this concept, but a little economics 101 here...If you sell a product for less than it costs you to produce.....

Keep in mind that in '48 Tucker delivered a truly revolutionary design, produced 51 units and then went quickly out of business. He also did this without the aid of Uncle Bill, the software Uberkid.

And while I’m at it, what's the *$&% is so revolutionary about this aircraft. It's small......Well, damn. Whish I'd thought of that....Come to think of it, despite the rhetoric coming out of ABQ, so does Vern. Take a quick loom at SATS(small aircraft transportation system) and tell me where Vern and Ed came up with their "revolutionary" ideas.

sparky said...

makes me want to puke.

Just for the hell of it, I'd like to know the backgrounds of the supporters VS. the "nay-syaers"

From what I've seen so far, the people questioning the wonder jet seem to have a long history in the aviation industry. These are people that have lived, breathed and bled aircraft for a long time.

The supporters, on the other hand seem to all be pilots and owners. Known lovingly in my circle of friends as "professional plane breakers".

Now, I know you guys have a lot of cash tied up in this endeaver, and nobody likes to look like a fool, but at what point do you say "what the heck is going on here".

To date, there have been what, 8-10 SEVERELY restricted aircraft questionably delivered, and we're cheering this? Sorry people, but asd far as I'm concerned, moving an aircraft from the production line to the ramp does not count as a delivery.

Fly the damn thing for a couple hunderd hours before you pop the cork. It's my understanding that no comprehensive stress tests have been completed on the bird. Why?

By their own admission, eclipse found their finished product to be lacking. Wing bushings, windscreen cracking, pitot tube freezing, tire and wheel problems, re-designed tip tanks because nobody knew the Reg's and below guaranteed numbers on almost the entire flight envelope.... but that's OK because Vern said "we'll fix it"?

My god, this company, after blowing through almost $1 billion has produced a '72 pinto with wings and your happy?

I don't get it.....

airtaximan said...

Spark:

"you don't get it?..."

Well, if you slept on the sidewalk (as the legend goes) for a few nights 8 years ago waiting to place your deposit, pehaps you would be "gettting IT soon"

Unless of course you showed up on the scene to solve some of Verns problems a few years later with a fleet order - in which case, for no money down, you could BUMP all the real order-placers for a while whicle Vern and Ed get their "insider-trading-scheme" underway...

So, you would "get it" soon...

which in my book entitles you to the following host of problems:

..naw..why list them AGAIN...

Suffice it to say, you would be the proud owner of a plane that cost you twice what you were promised, and will provide less speed, range, payload and cost 2x to operate as well. PLUS, you can have upgrades and new avionics installed at your INconvenience within about a year - and a host of band-aid fixes and inspections to boot.

Congrats, you avoided the hype, and the mess...

airtaximan said...

SATS,

now we're talking.

Another government pit.

'think the gov't is hiding something HERE?

I wonder how they feel about Dayjet's revised plans for per-jet (CHARTER) service...

I think SATS alone cost $80 million...

Peanuts...

..well even the airlines are charging for peanuts these days...so the new fnding proposal with GA user fees makes a little more sense now, doesn't it?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Spark,

The question on the C of A for the DJ "no comment" was cleared up on this blog some time ago. You must have missed it. If my memory serves me, Eclipse cleared it up with a communications to owners and the news source that reported the "no comment" reported on the clarification later.

airtaximan said...

Spark, EO:

EO, youmake it sound so simple.

With no trackrecord of meeting any certification/CofA/Delivery promises, EAC told FI that Dayjet airplanes were delivered. When asked if they all had CofA, the answer was "no comment".

Later, the excuse given was at the time of the interview, 2 Dayjet planes did not have the CofA...but E-clips KNEW they were receving them and were going to be able to deliver in time for the FI publication a day or so later.

curiouser, and curiouser...

many explanations have been offered, here...including "as you get closer to certifying the plane, you can better predict the time"...well, some more planes were promised at the same time, "withn a week" and guess what.... they failed to be delivered on time, too...

Curiouser, and curiouser.

..at least one report on this blog includd "one certified dayjet plane had no interior"...

and after delivery, Dayjet was reportedly sending an inspection team to ABQ...AFTER ACCEPTING DELIVERY?

CURIOUSER...STILL..

- I'm sure theres nothing wrong, here. I'm sure planes wil be cranking out at the rate of a few a week now... all flying high in the sky by their owners who are taking delivery.

Anyone see David Crowes plane recently?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Letter from Vern Raburn on 4/9/2007:


March was a very busy month at Eclipse. I want to wrap up the month with a quick update on our recent progress, and the work that lies ahead over the coming weeks.

The quarter ended with delivery of three aircraft to DayJet at our headquarters in Albuquerque on March 31st. It was a great day for the Eclipse and DayJet teams, and DayJet is excited to begin using these aircraft to kick off their pilot training program. There has been some media confusion about the Certificate of Airworthiness status of the delivered aircraft. I want to clear up any lingering questions and let you know that as is consistent with FAA regulations, all three aircraft had been granted a Certificate of Airworthiness prior to delivery. No aircraft can be delivered to a customer without first achieving this milestone.

We made one other delivery to a private owner in the first quarter, bringing our number of aircraft delivered in the first quarter to four and the total Eclipse 500's delivered to five. While this is shy of our goal, manufacturing and inspection momentum is growing and we are confident that it will continue to accelerate in Q2.

There are now seven additional aircraft in the pre-delivery phase that are either in the FAA inspection process or will soon be presented to the FAA for inspection. We are also making great progress toward our Production Certificate. We completed the FAA District Office audit in February and submitted our formal response plan. I expect to have good news in this area shortly....

airtaximan said...

EO,

This was not the issue... the "no comment" was the issue. Why did Andrew Broom answer "no comment" to the question "HAve all the Dayjet planes received CofA?"

The asnwer: because 2 of the planes were waiting on CofA, eventhough the PR was about delivering them.

Vern is revisiting the issue, becasue it is an issue...his dismissal of it, by avoiding the real issue is misleading. Your use of it here, is also.

There is still the question of "how EAC knew they would absolutely, positively receive CofA on 2 planes that were lacking them when the PR was made, and the "no comment" was serious - it was no mistake.

Have the Dayjet planes flown? I know yu sadi one flew a short trip...what about the other 2 planes? Were they deliverd into hiding? ;)

Thsi whole situation shouldn't be this complicated... planes should be finished, completed and functional as sold, CofA without IOU, and delivered into service...that is flight service, not repaire service - but as usual for EAC, it is.

EclipseOwner387 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EclipseOwner387 said...

My understanding is the DayJet planes are being flown. DJ pilots are being trained in ABQ. You seem to have gotten hung up on an issue that I see as cleared up. You apparently have run out of things to talk about. This is reminiscent of the DME conversation. It is history and when the FAA updates the registration database it will be behind us.

AlexA said...

Airtaximan said:

Have the Dayjet planes flown?

When I visited ABQ last Friday there were at least two Dayjets making sorties all day long. I inquired at the FBO and was told Dayjet was busy type training their pilots.

airtaximan said...

- cool on the training for Dayjet...

- and I guess cool on the rest too, if IOUs are OK with u.

I guess the whole plane has been an IOU for years now - so I have my answer!