Monday, April 30, 2007

Four Events

The FAA's regulatory oversight of the Eclipse program has culminated into four significant events:

Provisional TC, the July 2006 Oshkosh Event -
Most would agree this was largely a ceremonial event of little significance other than to give the Administrator some high visibility in the General Aviation arena and perhaps Eclipse a milestone to trigger additional funding. A previous post made the case this award was likely initiated from the top down, an "Executive Type Certificate." We know what happened and when, we don't know who was pushing the buttons or why?

Full certification, September 30, 2006 - The grievance filed by engineers and test pilots first tasked to qualify the airplane (
www.eclipsecritic.net) puts a bit of a dark cloud over this award. Adjudication of the grievance is pending. Again we know the what and when, we don't know the who or the why this award was put on a no-fault path.

DayJet C of A's, March 31, 2007 - After the reported sacking of one team of FAA inspectors and replacing them with another (better described in the Git-R-Done post), three Certificates of Airworthiness were suddenly awarded allowing Eclipse to deliver the airplanes to the upstart charter operation and the company's biggest customer, DayJet. Hopefully, one day more specifics will be forthcoming especially as relates to an alleged written agreement between the FAA and the company to not further look under floorboards or open access panels. Also it would be nice to learn who and why anybody would encourage this transgression.

PC, April 26, 2007 - A source close to the activities in ABQ e-mailed the following after the PC was issued:

"I am confident now that the planes that rolled out in the last few days are safe."

"Eclipse got their PC today, and, while Eclipse still has a long way to go to be able to gear up production, I am confident that the airplanes being produced under PC will be satisfactory."

"FAA is still inspecting extensively, but the company DOES have significant plans in place to be able to pick up more and more responsibility from FAA."

"The ODAR Airworthiness Reps have been more or less stopped from doing most of the inspection work, and outside DARs and FAA ASI's are taking primary action right now, while the AR's are re-trained, and the company begins making the inspections at the proper points in the process."

End quotes.


This is good news for everyone. It may be an indication our civil aviation institution has not broken down and that we can all have faith in the airplanes we build and the airplanes we fly.

90 comments:

gadfly said...

“A man’s gotta know his limitations!”

A close friend and genius in things aeronautical stopped by this evening. His time is limited because of his high altitude wind current studies of the stratosphere, on the California coast. I asked him his opinions concerning the little jet, strictly from a design standpoint. His record of success as an engineer and leader in scientific investigation . . . and a pilot (among a string of many accomplishments, including critical aeronautical design and many things related to weapons) is beyond the claims of most people in the industry. Were I to share his comments, there would be a furor by the “believers” . . . and this blog would explode.

We discussed things like “drag”, “aspect ratio” of a fuselage, and “empirical wind tunnel tests” . . . and effects of the heating of a high-strength non-weldable aluminum alloy (as in “stir fry welding) and long term effects of intergranular corrosion . . . minor things, really, just the “nerd” stuff that seems to appeal to some of us old guys that have spent most of our lives in the business. Things that no longer matter in view of the "Albuquerque revolution".

This friend made predictions years ago . . . and nothing since has changed to refute those prognostications. All is falling into place as first observed, thank you.

In the mean time, carry on . . . and try not to injure each other. And remember Harry Callahan’s admonition in “Magnum Force” (played by Clint Eastwood, in case you didn’t know).

gadfly

(Goat . . . it’s time you contributed some “organic ball bearings” about now! . . . it might be an improvement to the environment, if you get my whiff . . . er, drift! Please don’t keep the folks waiting . . . I’m counting on you.)

sparky said...

"Eclipse got their PC today, and, while Eclipse still has a long way to go to be able to gear up production, I am confident that the airplanes being produced under PC will be satisfactory."

"FAA is still inspecting extensively, but the company DOES have significant plans in place to be able to pick up more and more responsibility from FAA."

Is this normal? once PC is granted doesn't the FAA usualy take a "hands-off" approach? I would think that after the issuance of the PC the only time you could expect an FAA inspection would be dring a QA audit.

Ken Meyer said...

Hey, Stan, I'm glad to hear even you now think the Eclipse is a safe aircraft. I guess we've come a long way on the blog :)

Along those lines, I learned a couple of interesting tidbits during my recent visit to the factory and from other sources:

1. The cause of the pitot tube problem has been identified. The fix is in testing.

2. The cause of the windshield issue turned out to be an improper installation procedure. Something formal should be released shortly on that one. The wild speculation here about fundamental problems with the airframe itself turned out to be wrong.

3. The synthetic DME works fine.

4. The planes are RVSM compliant--people are taking their planes straight up to FL410 for the test rides if they want.

5. The Avio NG has been in development a lot longer than most of us dreamed. I'm really not at liberty to give a lot of details, but suffice it to say, I was very reassured by what I learned when I visited the lab where the Avio NG work has been done.

6. Much of the testing for FIKI certification has been already completed utilizing the pre-modification aircraft. Therefore, the company has good reason to believe that there will be no big surprises in testing of the final configuration for known icing.

7. The company continues to have a high degree of confidence that the aerodynamic modifications will be cut-in around S/N 39 as planned.

This company is doing a very good job of identifying and fixing the early, "teething-pain" glitches it has encountered. Personally, I think that speaks well for the company, its personnel, and the likelihood that post-sale aircraft support will be excellent.

The awarding of the PC represents a great vote of confidence in the procedures that Eclipse Aviation has developed to ensure delivery of safe, quality, compliant aircraft each and every time. I trust you won't try to reduce the magnitude of that significant accomplishment with more innuendo.

I thought the Type Certification "grievance" you highlighted was way overblown by you--the idea that one out of 11,000 NATCA complaints mentions Eclipse is hard to get excited about particularly since months later the FAA has seen no reason to act upon it in any way. I'll be interested if and when you have facts to support the contention that something was amiss in the awarding of the Type Certificate or Production Certificate. Until then, my carefully considered opinion is that most people will see the suggestion that Eclipse didn't earn its Type Certificate properly as just more sour grapes from those who can't stand the idea that Eclipse is actually succeeding.

Ken

AlexA said...

Sparky,

Thank you for the information on “Impact of Very Light Jet (VLJ) Flights on Airport Terminal Area.” It makes very interesting reading. I don’t mean to split hairs but it wasn’t Vern that stated 67% of sales were to Air Taxi Operators (the report is unspecific of the claim). I have never heard Eclipse publicly state the percentage and probably would not expect them to release this info.

Strangely enough I’m one of the guys that believe the Air Taxi Market to be a short lived fad. But what the heck do I know; I thought the Internet would go along the same lines of the CB Radio. If one is to believe the report it would bode well for Eclipse’s future.

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

Don't put words in my mouth, I am just reporting the opinion of another who appears to be close to the program.

airtaximan said...

Ken:
Everything your wrote was already posted here on this site by others and you before...are you trying to make sure no one misses your glowing report?

Apparently you are into slight of hand…
"the idea that one out of 11,000 NATCA complaints mentions Eclipse is hard to get excited about particularly since months later the FAA has seen no reason to act upon it in any way."

How do you know they have not acted upon this in any way? Apparently the Inspector General is on the case - his job is to protect consumers against fraud.

And, you fail to mention, the grievance file against e-clips was the only "safety-related" grievance filed since 2000 according to the guy in charge…so your reference to 11,000 other grievances (a nice little misleading stat to deflect concern, concocted by your favorite company in ABQ, I’m sure -3 of you die-hards are trying to use it… is just more irrelevant distraction.

The inspector general is on the case, and the grievance was the sole “safety-related” grievance – you know anything about unions?

There is serious concern over this grievance by the union and safety inspectors. Like I said, there's an active Inspector General looking into it.

Also, if you read Stan’s post and mine relating to safety, we basically say some guy who worked there on the inside says the planes are safe – so they must be safe. Why give him a hard time. He’s being more than fair considering the shenanigans…

Another soon-to-be-revealed-in public major issue is the BS order book. There will be damage control soon by e-clips, I’m sure. The truth is coming out about the order book...

This blog is just piecing things together, but there is a smoking gun on this -

Cherokee-driver posted:
“If you notice, 239 firm orders and 70 options are slated to happen in the first 24 months of a 5 year deal. What is going to happen in the final 36 months of this deal?”

I can tell you one thing…the rest of the orders, which do not likely have any appreciable deposits, but account for the balance of 1500 or so planes will have to happen!

Schedule the IPO in the first year or so, or…

Smile and waive, smile and waive…

sparky said...

alexa,

sorry about the miss-quote, i was going off of memory(not as accurate as it once was)

If you read all of the studies, you notice that the only similarities in the business models being created today and the ones outlined in studies are the use of VLJ's

everything else has changed. Single pilot operation, pricing at about $1.75 per passenger mile, the re-distribution of population to more rural areas, and the creation of NGATS.

Read "Fast Company" it's an interview with Ed Iacabucci. In it he parrots, almost verbatim, statistics quoted in the study, and passes them on as his own.(I hate it when people do that)

What is left out is the fact that almost every parameter of the business model he's touting has changed, yet he gets the same results in terms of passenger load.

I've said it before and I'll say it again...IF eclipse buckles down and turns out the aircraft they promised, it will be a nice PERSONAL jet. But, I don't believe for one half second that it's designed for high use/high cycle operations.

Cessna certified the mustang under the rules for BFL. Eclipse didn’t, but said they would test this later. Not that this would be a hard test to accomplish(although you’d have one hell of a time trying it with me in the cabin), but the fix could prove to be impossible.

If I’m designing an aircraft for an air taxi market, I’m going to assure you that if you have an engine failure at rotation in my aircraft you’re not going to make a smoking hole in the tarmac.

Eclipse also stated that included in their test fleet they had one airframe designated for stress tests, but they never took place. Columbia aircraft performed them on their airframes and they’ve never quoted the airframe for high-use.

With all of the twisted bushings, cracked windscreens, brake problems and every other piece of bad news that comes out of ABQ you’d think they would have conducted them.

Eclipse has been quoting reliability and dispatch ability a full year before producing a customer’s aircraft, while at the same time downing their fleet due to “incorrect installation of the wing bushings”. At the time I believe Vern was quoted as saying it wasn’t a big problem, that the holes were only elongated 0.10”. I’m sorry, but a 0.01” elongation is huge, 0.1” you can drive a truck through.

airtaximan said...

sparky,

they've lowered the expectations again and again...now on what a PC means.

Don't be too surprised... the PC means less today than it did before.

Sad...but true.

In the future, someone will say: "XYZ company just got their Production Certificate from the FAA!" and the common rely will be "so what, even that e-clips company got one, and they delivered 8 planes, out of sequence, with all kinds of band aids and promised fixes...the FAA remained there for a long time trying to help them produce quality planes...it means nothing anymore..."

There's a backlog of 30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006...I wonder how long it will take the 1200 workers to finish them under this PC and crank them out the door - they've been in work for around 8 months...

That's around 8000 man-months of work, already on say 40 planes...that's 16 1/2 (sixteen and a half) man-years of work per plane (just the e-clips part of the work) already... under the approved PC system.

Heck, I think they should be drying now, no?

airtaximan said...

sparky,


they claim the plane can get in and our of 5500 private paved runways in the US (there's 19000 total runways...another story)

If they did not do BFL, CAN the plane land and takeoff from runways as short as they claim, with the part 135 margin requirement of 1/3?

any clue?

Dayjet makes the same access claims...

sparky said...

ATM,

it's that new fangled high-production fiasco.

One guy holds a bolt, 1,199 people turn an airplane.

Oh, and the FAA baby sits the whole operation.

sparky said...

ATM,

Don't know, but it would seem to be a question that DayJet and the FAA would have asked, if the same rules applied to Eclipse.

Which begs another question....Why try to deliver aircraft to Dayjet, they can't use the aircraft in their current configuration? Just another PR stunt so Dayjet can secure more funding?

There's so much wqrong here, I wonder if it will ever get sorted out.

Ken Meyer said...

Hey, AT, did you read the grievance? It's great stuff. In a paper about 200 words long, it twice refers to the FAA's "illegally implemented work rules!"

Now who do you suppose they're really grieving against anyway?? Eclipse or the FAA?

Get real. This one is just fluff, and everybody knows it.

Tough luck; try harder next time.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

sparky shorted out with this baloney...
"Which begs another question....Why try to deliver aircraft to Dayjet, they can't use the aircraft in their current configuration?"

The DayJet aircraft are fully-functional in every regard. The planes lacked a third attitude source (required only for Part 135 operations) upon delivery. DayJet rectified that by adding an AI. Ho Hum.

You guys keep attacking with marshmallows.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,

"30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006"

Do you have any clue about what you are writing when you write it, or are you just using "the force?"

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,
"Another soon-to-be-revealed-in public major issue is the BS order book."

You're chanting again, "They don't have 2500 orders; They don't have 2500 orders; Please Lord, they don't have 2500 orders, right?"

Quit the BS. If you have facts, now is the time to show them. Anybody can make up stuff, and you've shown yourself to be very prone to that.

Ken

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken is channeling Mirage - it is funny.

Make simple drive-by posts alleging superior knowledge, insulting the intelligence of other bloggers but with no real substance.

You're a great audience, tip your waitstaff, they'll be here all week.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Perhaps Ken or one of the other true believers would care to explain how the order book has approximately 1500-1600 "firm orders" and approximately 800-900 "options". This strikes me as odd given that DayJet is the largest identified fleet operator and they reportedly only have 70 options.

Who is ordering the remaining 700-800 options? Individuals typically are not 'option' customers, so fleet operators are the only logical explanation unless Eclipse has 'revolutionized' the VERNacular of aviation.

Seems like an awfully big number (approximately half), suggesting the air-taxi market really IS a significant portion of the 'claimed' order book, and therefor a significant part of the business plan - doesn't it?

airtaximan said...

ken,

so you do not see anything phoney-bologna with what's already been disclosed here...hmmm...

put your money where your mouth is...make a wager.

I say that Dayjet makes up more than 1,000 of the e-clips orderbook which they claim is 2500 orders.

I'll send $10,000 to Stan, if you do the same as a wager. Winner gets the other guys $10k.

You in?

sparky said...

Ken,

Good to see your back and haven't missed a step.

I wasn't aware of the STC on the Eclipse for the AI, when did they gt it done? you have the reference numbers, correct.

You, of all people wouldn't just throw something as unsubstantiated as an unknown STC without backing it up would you?

Or is that rant just for people that question the integrity of ABQ inc?

airtaximan said...

icy-fish:

where did you get this...I need to add it to my list of contributions to the order book bologna...

"the order book has approximately 1500-1600 "firm orders" and approximately 800-900 "options"

Funny thing is, I think its really more like the reverse... 800-900 orders, rest options...

sparky said...

3 hours of civility shot to hell, thanks ken.

airtaximan said...

ken,

since you have the accurate inside scoop on all this...perhaps you should give me odds. Maybe 10-1, since I'm just a poor outsider who knows nothing and has no inside priveldged info.

My $10k to your $100k...

This seems fair, no?

Plastic_Planes said...

AT wrote,
Ken said:

"30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006"

Do you have any clue about what you are writing when you write it, or are you just using "the force?"

Ken


Ken,

I left at the end of September. When I left A/c s/n 25 was already in the production line. Talking to a former employee of mine, a/c (undelivered) are stacked up on the floor in SP3. SP2, and major assemblies are stacked up in SP11.

Last weekend, while in ABQ visiting family, I drove by SP2. The parking lot was full (the one at SP11 had very few cars), and talking to this employee, it sounds like the entire production force (sans a few) were working on trying to complete a lot of these a/c.

Now, your first inkling will be to say "see, they are building a/c!", but the important point I'm trying to make is that they are building aircraft by throwing bodies at them. That's no way to build to a sustainable rate. In manufacturing, it's called "the lump in the snake".

I think you can figure out what I'm driving at.

/s/

flyger said...

Ken Meyer said...

The DayJet aircraft are fully-functional in every regard. The planes lacked a third attitude source (required only for Part 135 operations) upon delivery. DayJet rectified that by adding an AI.


Are you saying the third AI is installed? They previously said the third AI would be added by STC at some future date before revenue flights. That doesn't make it sound like it is in there right now.

Are they flying below RVSM because they don't have the LOA or is there some other equipment issue?

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Do you really think these airplanes will be satisfactory because Eclipse has a meaningless piece of paper? Get in one and cruise up to 41K after one or two hard landings.
C'mon, we'll all be waiting to see the smoking crater.
The ONLY way to build safe airplanes is to have a TRAINED workforce with a bullet proof PROCESS, which includes 'open panel inspections', not the handwaving psychic investigations the FAA has been restricted to. Eclipse has neither of these. It is only a matter of time before the craters start appearing.

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

A-A-E:

Who peed in your Cheerios?

There are numerous improvements to be made regarding the process, but I would say that you're way off base. I'm not a customer or a dreamer, but rather an ex-employee (I worked on the Production side). You're way off base. I won't try to refute your way out there thinking, but you really must be pissed at the company.

Eclipse has a pretty robust production process. They need to work harder at following that process, but they aren't flying deathtraps. They are flying a well put together aircraft. It's not perfect, but it's not a "smoking hole" waiting to happen, either.

Wow!

/s/

airtaximan said...

Ken, there are a reportedly 57 planes in production today...we should see some rolling off the line soon…maybe 20-30 quickly, right? Ken, to justify asking for hundreds of progress payments, they claimed all these planes were in work…its been months…where are the planes – I know, the FAA held them up – they don’t work 24/7, but e-clips does…

Perhaps I should have done my calcs in 40hr weeks…we’d be up to many, many more man-years based on 24/7, right?

"The Albuquerque Tribune
Jet-maker ready for mass production
By Erik Siemers (Contact)
Friday, April 27, 2007

Eclipse currently has 57 Eclipse 500s in some stage of production, Billson said. While the company's immediate goal is to see one completed aircraft off the line a day by this summer, Eclipse will eventually reach "two per day, three per day," Billson said."

And, did they begin production at the provisional-TC or the later-TC for this aircraft?
I was being conservative, I chose September timeframe, but I can add some months if you wish - (I remember around 10-15 planes claimed already in production at that time), and used an average of 40 planes and 1000 employees - even though its already 57 planes, and 1200 employees...

Also, on the grievance you just dismiss...along with every other problem at e-clips:
The grievance claims inspectors and test pilots had identified several outstanding safety and regulatory issues, and sought to indemnify any inspectors or test pilots against legal action should there be an accident involving an Eclipse 500.

"Tomaso DiPaolo of the National Air Traffic Controllers Association confirmed the grievance had been filed.

He said it was the first regarding safety of an aircraft since the union began representing FAA certification engineers in 2000."

So who is FOS and making stuff up -I think its you.

Like you've done in the past at the behest of questions raised on this blog, after you've berated and insulted folks and denied everything - go back to e-clips and ask them for transparency on the order book... and ask them why with all the reports from Vern since October, why he did not disclose the grievance? Actually, I'm sure you'll just say he did, just not to the likes of me...I’m used to this tactic already...

I don't think you should be so nasty... you are just defending your "little jet" right... many folks here think you have been very wrong on many issues.

You should admit, there are facts on both sides, and we can debate them openly without being so nasty.

EclipseOwner387 said...

I think Anonama-ass Avionics dude just lost all credibility.

airtaximan said...

p-planes:

this sort of comment really turned me around. people should know that this is really the case.

thanks

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM,

That is from the Eclipse reported orderbook as of NBAA 2005, per a post from Alexa I think in the previous thread. Of course, the Eclipse order book is about as transparent as aluminum and not the clear type from Star Trek - so make of it what you will.

Take DayJet's 300 planes plus 700 options, and you are at 1000 of 2300 orders. Seems like a pretty good chunk of the order book to me.

airtaximan said...

p_planes,

my previosu post was regarding the safety, then I noticed this:

"Ken,

I left at the end of September. When I left A/c s/n 25 was already in the production line."

understand that guys like me who have no "inside" info from VErn and EAC directly have been piecing this together. Its clear they have had 25 or so planes in work since Sept (or earlier)..

Ken knows better, unless they don't show him anything except what they want him to see when he visits...see my Trump earth moving stunt for bankers story..

anyhow, Ken knows better, he visits, asks, receives answers... and he just lies through his teeth and berates people here... It's really terrible.

PPlanes, what do you think about my man-years calc?

You know anyone who can substantiate the Dayjet numbers in the e-orderbook?

airtaximan said...

coldfish,

I want ken's money...

Plastic_Planes said...

ATM Said:

And, did they begin production at the provisional-TC or the later-TC for this aircraft?

Not sure I understand the question, but the first aircraft (David Crowe's) started production in March. The provisional TC was issued during Oshkosh (July). At the time, only A/C 1 and 2 were flying (A/C 2 just barely) The production line was fully into double digits at this time. As I previously mentioned, there were 25 or so in prouction by the end of September. It's not surprising that 50 or 60 are in the line now.

EAC considers a plane "in production" once the first skin (typically a lower cabin panel) is welded.

Primary Assembly (SP11) consists of welded skins through a completed (Cabin and aft) structure.

Final Assembly includes wing mate, engine mate, systems stuffing, functional testing and release to production flight test. Painting should follow (but hasn't typically), and then delivery.

Not what you were asking, but some info for those who "want to know".

/s/

EclipseOwner387 said...

AirJordanMan,

Doesn't it make sense for Eclipse to hold back producing airplanes somewhat until they have PC? This would also make it easier to cut in the new aeromods. Allowing them to work through the production kinks and then smoothly ramp up once you feel you have it tested and working. I don't see a problem with this at all. I fully expect deliveries to ramp up steadily now. Will they get the 400+ planes this year? Based on historical performance, I would say no. This will be a problem if they can't financially manage that setback or if we see a severe inability to accelerate deliveries. Otherwise, progress towards production acceleration and goals will be the litmus test for success.

airtaximan said...

I also want an apology:

Ken said "AT wrote,

"30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006"

Do you have any clue about what you are writing when you write it, or are you just using "the force?"

Ken

Ken:
say you are sorry, and say you were wrong on the facts, and wrong to accuse me of making things up - I was right - admit, I was even conservative in favor of e-clips...charitable, I'd say -

Be a big man, fess up... begin to be civil and deal with the facts...don't dismiss or berate..OK?

Plastic_Planes said...

ATM,

Sorry, I missed your other questions.

I'm too tired to do the math (sorry, but it's getting late and I use my brain all day - there just isn't as much to go around any more...)

Here are some numbers.

Early aircraft probably have around 4000 direct labor hours in them (from weld to flight). Our goal was to achieve 400 hours once we hit a steady three a day rate. That's a relly small number.

Nonetheless, 4000 hours is about ten people consistently working on the aircraft for 10 weeks (ignoring efficiencies, etc.)

All these numbers are estimates, BTW, as we didn't have good labor tracking early on. I suppose they've got that under control by now.

Never was very good with numbers...

/s/

Plastic_Planes said...

Ken:
say you are sorry


I may have to stay awake just for this....

/s/

airtaximan said...

EO,

I'd agree with you, but this does not appear to be the approach they are taking. Like PPlanes says they already had many planes in the works in Sept.

They seem to need to prove that they can deliver lanes, and ask for more deposits and quell the risk associated with delivering at rate.

I'm sure Pplanes is right, they are trying to get planes out the door, and they are piled up all over the place.

There's definately a good point to what you are saying, but layoffs, and piled up planes will probably not help them much now.

Its too late - they planned a rediculous ramp, with an unfinished plane (easy way to list the ious, fixes, mods, etc...OK?)

I would have planned it your way though - a point many expereinced folks here have been saying for a long time.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

I want plastic_planes money. Obviously he has more of it than common sense. NONE of the numbers add up, all the PR is worthless, the paperwork (TC, PC) are worthless. Heck, we are in a rich man's garage here (Bill & Vern). Unless you have been in the conference rooms until 10:00 or 12:00 at night as I have been, you have no idea what you are strapping yourself into. Look at how reliable Windows is.

Good luck dude, god bless the ignorant, but don't expect flowers from me. I will watch fools all day long. I will NOT get in an Eclipse. I have no axe to grind, but I just hate seeing people throw away money and risk their lives.

airtaximan said...

plasticplanes


here's my rough calc that got Kenny's panties in a wad:

There's a backlog of 30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006...I wonder how long it will take the 1200 workers to finish them under this PC and crank them out the door - they've been in work for around 8 months...

That's around 8000 man-months of work, already on say 40 planes...that's 16 1/2 (sixteen and a half) man-years of work per plane (just the e-clips part of the work) already... under the approved PC system.

++ according to you intel, the production planes were started in May....

I think I was being very charitable...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Before any of the true believers hyperventilate and resort to the overabused tactic of trying to obfuscate the real point I am making by mischaracterizing what I said - I am not saying DayJet has 700 options, just saying DayJet has approximately 300 (more like 310) aircraft between their order and options - then add the other 700 or so options from Alexa's post from NBAA 2005.

That is approximately 1000 of the claimed 2350 orders, or over 42% of the ENTIRE orderbook between 1 identified customer and the remaining options.

Of equal concern should be that the orderbook has been almost static (some could say stagnant) for 3 or 4 years.

airtaximan said...

aae,

let it be me who asks, not the die-hards:

- are you still working at e-clips?
- if not, how was th separation...you are a disgruntled employee, right?
- in what general capacity did you work? for how long?
- what can you provide as real evidence of what you are saying... not just your opinion.
- if its your opinion, what led to this, precisely?
- what do you know about the grievance?
- what is unsafe about the plane?
- how many years industry experience do you have?

airtaximan said...

coldwet,

more likely, they've lied about the orderbook for years, and are trying to catch up...

if they have not added many, many planes to the orderbook in the last year alone, its curtains.

Obtain a PC, TC, deliver customer planes...and not add a large chunk of orders?

c'mon...

EclipseOwner387 said...

ColdFish,

I would suspect the order book will increase as more planes are delivered and good news abounds. The other thing that will happen is the early speculators and sellers will eventually be out of "cheap" and earlier delivery supply. Eclipse is competeing with the frugal buyer that has explored the broker market. I do think the order book is being added to though. Just not as fast as it was.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Airtaximan: offline, diver34485@mypacks.net I will probably play ring-around-the-rosie for a few disappearing addresses. Vern has a HUGE legal reach. Ask any of the dozen or so ex-employees that he is currently suing.

airtaximan said...

I think Ken's on the phone with Vern:

"Hello Vern, Ken here. I know its dinner hour, but I have to ask - should I take a $10k bet on Dayjet having less than 1000 of the 2500 orderbook?"

"sure, Ken...Dayjet has MORE than 1,000 orders - you'll win! I'm in for half, OK?"

"Ah, Vern...I'm betting they do not have 1,000 orders - I'm saying they have LESS than 1,000 orders"

"Oh, well, we'll only know that in a few months, you see, they didn't really put down any money...so they really don't have the orders - is that better? I'm still in for half, right?. Ah, when is the bet? 'Cause if its too soon, I need to keep them on the books, y'a see, we have this IPO coming...you understand KEn...can it wait a while?"

click....

"Ken, you're still in for the 60% progress......"

EclipseOwner387 said...

In addition,

I also believe the order book took a hit when they missed the performance guarantees. I don't know the number. I turned in a position way out in the future (14xx SN)and took the 5% interest as I saw the broker market heating up and an opportunity to move up in line.

airtaximan said...

EO,

Vern always said there was no attrition beyond a few planes.

Ever.

Would you be surprised if Dayjet was 1500 of the 2500 or so reported book? What would you think of this?

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Too late airtaximan, sorry but I work for a living. Can't swim with the big fish.

Ken Meyer said...

AT is chanting again. Hear it everybody?--

"There aren't 2500 orders. There aren't 2500 orers. There aren't 2500 orders....Please, Lord; there aren't 2500 orders, right?"

So where are your facts, AT?

Seems like the more I ask you for a shred of evidence to back your lies, the more you chant.

"There aren't 2500 orders. There aren't 2500 orders. Please Lord, there aren't 2500 orders."

Shall we all join in now...

"There aren't 2500 orders. There aren't 2500 orders. Please, Lord, there aren't 2500 orders!!!"

I think we've got your tune down now, guy :)

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ken, what about the wager?

airtaximan said...

AAE,

when?

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATM,

I was also told their was little attrition. I don't know the number. I think I heard a dozen or so at one point but don't know where I heard that. If so, I was one of the few. I had an owner email me to say he was thinking about taking the refund. I don't know if did. I do recall that most of the people I talked to were not going to take the return of deposit offer.

airtaximan said...

Ken,

you are infantile...

"Seems like the more I ask you for a shred of evidence to back your lies, the more you chant"

this blog has posted tons of evidence so, far, and not even the big one, yet... but you still belive eclipse has 2500 orders, and not more than 300 or so are from Daydream...

So, wager...

and where is my appology? you accused me of making stuff up about planes in production, and I was right... s-o-r-r-y... you can say it you know. You'll feel like a bigger man.

airtaximan said...

EO,

I'm a little worried about Ken...
He seems to have popped a vein in his head or something.

You think he's going to be OK?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

EO24,

I do actually hope that once they have the design completed and the final configuration is certified that they are able to deliver a safe and reliable aircraft, and that there are enough orders to keep the company successful - I have many friends directly and indirectly involved in the program.

The problem I see is that order book has been basically stagnant since 2003. Now given the challenges during that time (replace the engine and now avionics and training partner among other things) this is an achievement, but if the delivery numbers of 500 to 750 per year for BREAKEVEN are correct, Eclipse has to see sales volumes similar to that of say Cirrus (across all 3 models) or all of Cessna's piston line (across 6 models), just to break even. That should be a staggering thought.

And that does not allow for investment in any potentially more profitable follow-on designs.

I also believe that Eclipse has no idea of what the challenges will be supporting its' aircraft in the field. Even Cessna was almost destroyed by underestimating service capacity for the Citation fleet - and that was after building them for over 20 years. Beechcraft had a separate business unit just for providing service.

The challenges are just beginning for Eclipse but they seem intent on making it harder by choosing band-aid fixes rather than forward thinking solutions.

gadfly said...

Hey, I’ve finally figured it all out. “Eclipse” is based on the plot for “ Lieutenant Kij√© ”, the Suite composed by Sergei Prokofiev in 1933. It’s all there . . . people pretending that the lieutenant really exists . . . the bureaucracy . . . heroic feats . . . and a burial in the end.

Yep! I knew I’d heard all this before.

The problem is that the Russian play has a happy ending, and no-one gets hurt.

gadfly

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATM,

Why do you engage this AAE guy? His posts are so mean spirited he can't be real - he has some beef that goes beyond the real issue of safety. Otherwise, he would have come on the scene with a clear and unemotional posting about the problems he sees. The anger in his posts makes him lose credibility. Even if he is telling his side of the truth (their are always at least two sides to every story.) Let this hothead rest before he has a heart attack.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

AAT: Probably never. I have to survive in this world. Want to grasp who we are playing with? Look at GWB Jr playing hangman with Saddam over 'who pissed off my paw' to realize how one-sided this country really is. Regardless of the rightness or wrongness of that whole situation, I simply boil it down to the essentials. Money rules, I only work for it honestly. When I walk away, I do so knowing I have done the right thing.

C'ya.

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATM,

The problem is - we have nothing to substatiate the order book either way. All I can say is that in October 2005 I was given SN 14xx. I asked how it was so low with 2400 orders and they said options and orders that were being requested for a later date than mine. I think there is some meat to the question of what is the real order book. But I really don't care. I think Eclipse has a large firm order book. It should be sufficient to get them going. It has to be harder to sell a $1.5m plane than it was to sell a $1m plane. That will get less so as planes are delivered and peole can touch and fly in them.

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,
"and where is my appology? you accused me of making stuff up about planes in production, and I was right."

I'm sure you believe that. Just like you believe in your chant...

"There aren't 2500 orders. There aren't 2500 orders. Please, Lord, there aren't 2500 orders."

I just looked it up. On 10/1/06 the highest serial number in production was S/N 23, and it was just a few FSW parts. Your statement was "There's a backlog of 30-50 planes which have been in work since Sept 2006." That's just wrong like much of what you write.

Ken

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

NZ,

Are you a depositor?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken has finally cracked.

The cognitive dissonance necessary to deliberately confuse the currently certified version and the ever-promised someday "A" model, and carrying the fight for the RVSM\DME\GPS fuax-pas, and clicking his heels saying 'there is no wing bushing problem, there is no wing bushing problem" like Dorothy in her red shoes has warped his brain.

Somebody bump the jukebox, the record is stuck.

EclipseOwner387 said...

ColdFish,

Do you think there is a wing bushing problem still? Are you asserting that the FAA has certified these delivered planes with a known bushing problem? Do you not believe the DME issue is resolved? Do you not believe the EA500 is RVSM equipped and capable once the operator gets approved? Just wanting to know if that is still your position on this or was this just a joke?

bill e. goat said...

I wonder if Vern "allows" the FAA to look at the bushings???

Maybe they have to say please first.

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Hi Gadfly,

Gadfly, you're right. "A man's gotta know his limitations". After contemplating the four issues in Stan's post, I think I've reached mine. Or my limits, anyway.

I have been a steadfast defender of the airplane, what it will become, and the people who are making it what it will become.

I take no joy in what has transpired of late. In fact, just the opposite. I feel a great and noble experiment has been corrupted and poisoned.

I feel the entire FAA and industry have been slandered and soiled by the events surrounding this sad episode.

Ethical standards which every individual are taught to uphold, have been sold down the river for a cheap buck and quick trick, I mean quick cert. Sorry for the vulgarity, but it pales with what has really transpired.

If this were a kit plane, or experimental market, I would say fine, except for the sordid involvement of FAA upper management.

For a FAR-23 airplane, this process has been an unmitigated, monumental disgrace.

I am sorry for everyone at Eclipse who is involved in it, and the good and decent men and women at the FAA who have seen their standards thrown away for political expediency.

This is a sad day in the aviation industry, and in the annals of government- not THE government- OUR government.

gadfly said...

Goat

You missed all the fun . . . a regular brawl in here tonight . . . ‘couldn’t get from here to there without steppin’ in somethin’. They was churnin’ out a blog every five minutes for about five hours . . . then most’ got called home to get their sleep before school, tomorrow. The only safe place was outside lookin’ in through a window. Time for me to take my Lipitor and Zetia, etc., and head on up the trail. ‘Gettin’ so I have to go to bed early ‘bout midnight . . . six AM comes soon.

Some of this crowd is going to get hurt . . . and all we can do is “just watch” and hope a few get the message. But pride has a way of making folks totally blind.

gadfly

(Somehow, I almost think the bushing is a “decoy” to keep folks from looking behind the curtain. “Lions, and Tigers, and Bears . . . Oh my! Say Goodnight, Gracie.)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gadfly,

"But pride has a way of making folks totally blind".

I'm afraid greed does the same thing, at a higher (or should I say lower) level.

"Some of this crowd is going to get hurt..."

I would say, there has already been enough damage done.

Let's hope our fellow man's nobler spirit manifests itself tomorrow, and sets about making things right.

Right with the FAA,
right with the customers,
right with the investors,
right with the employees,
right with the media.

gadfly said...

Good night, Gracie!

airtaximan said...

ken,

its all well and good to be nasty and dismissive...

what about putting your money where you mouth is?

I'm willing to wager $10,000 on the Dayjet thing...you keep calling me a liar...

Why don't you put up, or shut up?
Surely you HAVE $10k? right?
Surely you know for sure Dayjey does not account for 1,000 (or more) of the 2500 e-jets sold...

Make some money....take the bet.

Ken Meyer said...

Flyger wrote,
"Are you saying the third AI is installed? "

Yes.

Ed Iacobucci publicly reported the timeline for the third AI in mid-April and indicated the first three DayJet aircraft would have the installation completed by the third week in April.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,
"you keep calling me a liar..."

I don't recall calling you a liar. I think I commented many times that you have been inaccurate or incorrect about things. Most recently, I think I said what you wrote about the DayJet orders was "BS" and that I thought you made it up. I challenged you to provide evidence of your claims because so far, it looks to me like you're just mindlessly chanting a hopeful wish:

"There aren't 2500 orders. There aren't 2500 orders. Please, Lord, there aren't 2500 orders."

We all waited, but you had no evidence. Whether you were lying or just inaccurate doesn't actually make any difference. What you said was wrong. It's incorrect, and that's all that matters.

Ken

FlightCenter said...

A number of you have been making the case that the Eclipse 500 is an airplane that will cost more to produce than Eclipse is selling it for. Those folks have been making the case that Eclipse’s business model isn’t sustainable.

CWRM said last night - "I also believe that Eclipse has no idea of what the challenges will be supporting its' aircraft in the field."

Now that Eclipse is delivering airplanes, I’d propose that we turn the discussion to the Eclipse 500 support model and consider whether Eclipse’s support model is sustainable.

I believe that the Eclipse 500 is an airplane that will have significantly higher down time and support costs than Eclipse and / or Eclipse 500 owners have budgeted for.

The fact is that there are many highly inter-related systems on this airplane which are provided by independent suppliers. When the airplane’s electronics catches a cold, it is going to be very hard to figure out which system or systems are causing the problem. Let’s look at the problem from the perspective of Eclipse and its vendors.

Many of their suppliers are not naturally aligned, and in many cases they are direct competitors. (Honeywell, Garmin, and Chelton, for example). When problems are found, coordinating the fixes won't be easy. It is not hard to imagine that there will be finger pointing – and assertions of “not my problem” among the vendors.

For example, who is to blame when the aircraft doesn't capture and hold a course correctly? The autopilot manufacturer? (S-Tec) The FMS software provider? (Chelton) The radio provider? (Honeywell) The GPS vendor? (FreeFlight Systems) The display manufacturer? (IS&S) The control system vendor? (Autronics) or the systems integrator? (Eclipse)

What happens if the answer to these questions is that some or all of the above systems will need to be fixed and a new version of several vendors’ products must be released? Then Eclipse will need to coordinate product fixes from up to 7 different companies to provide a fix for a problem that the pilot will perceive as an autopilot problem. Once all 7 companies have produced a fix, then Eclipse is going to need to verify that the fixes are valid.

Let’s look at the problem from the perspective of the support center. How does the repair guy out on the line diagnose and fix problems that could be spread across 7 or 8 vendors? Answer – with great difficulty. Bottom line, an Eclipse 500 is going to spend a lot of time in the shop while the repair guy on the line or the service technician scratches his head...

So the natural reaction will be that he'll pull a lot of boxes out of the airplane and send them back, in the hopes that getting a repaired box will fix the problem.

However, a very high percentage of those boxes are going to work just fine when they make it back to the original vendors’ repair shop. The most likely response will be for the vendor to verify that their equipment is working to specification and to send their box right back to the service center unchanged with a note saying something like no trouble found. The service guy is going to reinstall the boxes and find out that he still has the exact same problem.

Which leads right back to the service tech scratching his head trying to figure out what to do next and how to fix the problem…and the Eclipse 500 owner will be wondering when he is going to be able to fly again. It won’t be long before Eclipse gets a bill for the downtime.

Stan Blankenship said...

Capt Zoom has trouble with accuracy. His article today makes a point the FAA grievance was made public just days after the PC was issued.

For the record, I had known about the grievance for several weeks though I thought it related to the Provisional TC.

Only had the good sense to ask for a copy Tuesday 04-24.

Received a copy of it the next evening and my webmaster got it posted to the eclipsecritic.net site that nite (Wednesday).

The PC was awarded the following day (Thursday).

airtaximan said...

Ken:

Surely you HAVE $10k? right?
AND, you know for sure Dayjey does not account for 1,000 (or more) of the 2500 e-jets sold...

Make some money....take the bet.

Why are you afraid?

Stan Blankenship said...

flightcenter,

Good topic for discussion and I will move your comments up to the front page in a few days. There are a couple of points I would like to add as well.

First I will address the order book. When the next post goes up,

ATM will be looking like this :)

Ken like this :(

me ;)

FlightCenter said...

Stan,

Thanks. I'll be looking forward to the post on the order book.

There are many areas that will require substantial change before Eclipse is able to establish a sustainable business model.

A few of the critical items that come immediately to mind:

1) Orders / Backlog
2) Production Capacity
3) Labor hours per airplane
4) Cash burn rate
5) Break even production rate
6) Funding
7) Product Support Model
8) Insurance for owner pilots

Feel free to suggest additional topics.

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

Stan:

...you might have just cost me $10K.


I think Ken's calling Vern again:

"good morning Vern, I know it’s early..."

"Ken???....hold on, hold on Ken...crunch, crunch, swallow, swallow, crunch, swallow, swallow..."

”Vern, Is that special K, or Honey Nut Cheerios??!” (get it?)

”Ken, never mind the cereal - last night dinner, this morning breakfast...what's going on?"

"Ah Vern, I hate to bother you with this Dayjet order book thing..."

"You didn't take the bet, DID YOU Ken? crunch, crunch..."

"No, I realized it was too risky from what you told me..thanks - and I don’t think we can wait on this either...I know you said it would really be IMPOSSIBLE to tell whether the orders were real or not, and we could swing it...."

"Yup, yup.. - in OUR favor no matter what. Sooo..whats...crunch, crunch, crunch...Uuuuppp? gulp…"

"I think that Stan guy's going to put up some thing that's going to reveal the truth about the Dayjet orders..."

"Hahaha! Ken, you ARE funny... you keep interrupting my meals to tell me this? I tell you, NO ONE can do that, Ken - you don't think I'm stupid do you? Remember the provisional-TC? ...c'mon Ken..that's funny... no way... "

"phew - I knew you had this covered Vern - coo-elll."

(...in the background...whispering into a cell phone…)

"crunch, gulp… Andrew... it rang twice, wanna get fired?!!...anyway… I’m firing up the – NO! not YOU! - the Dodge… I’ll be in soon, and we have to get together right away., I'll need a story on how to discredit this blog guy ..or some cover for project-daylight..."

”Vern, VERN!…Vern, who are you... are you on your cell…?”

"Ken, don’t worry about the order book, it’s under control...gotta run...and, oh yeah, I'm NOT in for half the bet anymore, OK? Got that?"

click....

"Kenny-boy, you ARE still in for the 60% progress pay... Ken...Ken?.."

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

EO24,

You asked:
"Do you think there is a wing bushing problem still?"

Until there is a certified fix the problem exists, that is the law. It is not incumbant on EAC to notify ME the problem is fixed so it may or may not be fixed at this time - I do not know. Is Crowe's aircraft, the flight test aircraft, or the other 'delivered' aircraft still subject to the inspection or not? Unless and until Chapter 4 of the AMM is changed, the problem still exists, period.

"Are you asserting that the FAA has certified these delivered planes with a known bushing problem?"

I am not saying that, see above - but it is possible and would be acceptable. If the production aircraft meets type design (the design as certified) the FAA will sign off on it, even if the type design calls out obscenely repetitive inspections and replacement intervals, this too is the law.

"Do you not believe the DME issue is resolved?"

The DME and subsequent RVSM issues, including use of the GPS for navigation is only solved when the airplane has the USB data loader and TSO'd displays installed as best as I can figure out. This mod is apparently happening AFTER delivery so for aircraft modified as such, the problem would presumably no longer exist, but the aircraft as originally delivered right now cease to be legal for RVSM and GPS Nav when the original GPS database expires. Get the mod it is OK, without the mod, not OK.

"Do you not believe the EA500 is RVSM equipped and capable once the operator gets approved?"

We already know that 'when properly equipped' which includes a valid GPS database, the aircraft is group certified for RVSM. So IF the airplane has the USB dataloader and TSO'd displays installed, AND the operator has RVSM approval, then yes, THAT person in THAT plane should be able to fly in RVSM airspace. Is Crowe's airplane so modified? Is he flying it RVSM? How about the DayJet planes?

"Just wanting to know if that is still your position on this or was this just a joke?"

None of this is funny to me.

Green-or-Red said...

Sparky said "Eclipse also stated that included in their test fleet they had one airframe designated for stress tests, but they never took place. Columbia aircraft performed them on their airframes and they’ve never quoted the airframe for high-use."

I assume by stress tests you mean 'fatigue testing which is to probably start in June. Static testing was completed I beleive in Sept 2005.

Ken Meyer said...

green or red wrote,
"Static testing was completed I beleive in Sept 2005."

Yes, that's right. The static testing ended when the test machinery broke at 193% of design limit load. It's a pretty strong design, and pilots can feel very confident of the plane when they're bouncing around in turbulence.

Ken

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken reminds me of Ron Popeil pitching the Vegamatic or that spray paint for for bald guys.

"...and that's not all, if you place your 60% progress payment before midnight tonight we will include absolutely for free, your own handheld GPS and when we finally get all the modifications necessary to approach the functionality we promised actually certified, we will make those modifications for you at our cost."

Low volume talk fast voiceoiver guy - "The term 'at our cost' does not include the fuel or other costs to transport your aircraft to ABQ, housing for your mentor pilot while here, any down time or loss of use of your aircraft, any damage your aircraft incurs while in our facilities, any wear and tear from flying to or from ABQ or for any functional flight tests."

The RonCo wonderjet, yours for only 92,732 payments of $19.95, call now, operators are standing by...

Ken Meyer said...

"Ken reminds me of Ron Popeil pitching the Vegamatic or that spray paint for for bald guys."

I'll sell the bald spray to you if you need it, but...

It does seem to me that when guys like you wind up finding fault with the buyers of the aircraft instead of the aircraft, you're telling the world the plane is really pretty good.

I notice that there is a lot of that kind of attack on the "stupid buyers" or "true believers" or Kool-Aid Drinkers." So in the back of your mind, you've actually decided it is a good plane and you wish you had one.

That's okay; they're still taking deposits and AT has $10K he wants to give you :)

Ken

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken,

I am intimately familiar with this aircraft, the management, and the company and I do not want one, period. Not sour grapes, just the benefit of industry knowledge and industry experience.

For my money, the late model TBM 700 or new 850, the C-90 or E-90, or the exciting Value Light Jet Citation re-engine program from Sierra better suit most of the mission requirements for what the E-500 is being touted for and I include the suspect air-taxi market in that as well.

I have said repeatedly I hope it turns out to be a great, safe and reliable little airplane for people who have bought into the idea, and I even include you in my well wishes.

With the exception of a few recent joking comments about your ridiculous and substance-less posts lately, you will have to admit I focus on the problems with the plane and with the company, that will not change until they fix those.

flyger said...

Ken Meyer said...

Flyger wrote,
"Are you saying the third AI is installed? "

Yes.

Ed Iacobucci publicly reported the timeline for the third AI in mid-April and indicated the first three DayJet aircraft would have the installation completed by the third week in April.


Um, those are promises that it would be done. Do you actually know that N126DJ, N109DJ, and N110DJ have a third AI installed? It's a long way from "they said it would be done" to "they did it", particularly with Eclipse. I simply don't have the faith that you do that what they say they will do is what happens.

flyger said...

Ken Meyer said...

The static testing ended when the test machinery broke at 193% of design limit load. It's a pretty strong design, and pilots can feel very confident of the plane when they're bouncing around in turbulence.


Contrary to the general intuition, this doesn't necessarily mean the plane will survive overloads better. Also, this means the plane is heavier than it needs to be. Usually, they shoot for failure around 155% or so, a little margin over the 150% required by the regs.

Given that they didn't build a test fixture to handle the load, this suggests they missed their objective failure point. Now that starts to raise questions about whether they know how to build aero structures properly or not. If Boeing had a wing fail at greater than 193%, that would be a terrible embarassment. Boeing's 777 wing failed at 154%.