Wednesday, April 11, 2007


happy birthday

Today is the blog's first anniversary.

Inspiration for this blog came after reading Richard Aboulafia's March 2006 treatise that debunked the major underpinning for the Eclipse business plan, viability of the Eclipse in an air taxi role.

About the same time, I was having a casual conversation with a senior VP from a major general aviation company; Eclipse entered the conversation. This individual expressed genuine cynicism and almost anger at the NAA for awarding the Collier trophy to a start-up company which had yet to succeed at anything. During our conversation, I realized because of his position, this guy could not speak out, his company policy would not allow it. After days of considering the situation, I reached the conclusion, there was nothing stopping me from sharing my views...the blog was born.

The first post covered four topics which encompassed everything I ever intended to say about the program.

The first point was to build a case for my claim the company would not meet their empty weight target of 3,390 lbs and therefore not meet the guaranteed range estimate. I predicted an empty weight of 3,700 lbs that would result in NBAA range closer to 800 nm with four on board. I'd still put money on those numbers for the "A" model. The "B" model might have a bit more range since Eclipse has boosted the maximum takeoff weight but the company will struggle to keep the empty weight below 3,700 lbs.

The second point was to expose the fallacy of friction stir welding. This was a cleverly conceived notion whereby Eclipse would use a new and enabling technology that would allow the company to produce airplanes at a rate unprecedented in the industry. In the course of a year, this topic has been discussed many times and through education, few believe Vern's parlor trick is anything more than a parlor trick.

The third topic covered was Vern's ability to use other peoples money to fund his dream. A year ago the blog categorically stated the investors could not possibly see a return from profits derived by delivering airplanes. They were not the only ones with financial exposure. Vendors were conned into funding development costs and assuming risks as well. This year we add to the list, the initial customers who are unsecured lenders and are at even greater risk of taking a bath in this program.

Lastly, the blog questioned why, if the company was sitting on 2,000 orders was it so actively engaged in so much promotion and self-promotion? While the question remains today, more and more, the answer is becoming clearer and clearer, the 2,000+ orders are probably a myth.

A couple of weeks after the first post, I got to thinking about all the claims Eclipse and the wannbe air taxi companies were making regarding their ability to provide point-to-point air charter at the cost of a full fare coach ticket and a fifty-cents per mile direct operating cost. This was pure BS and needed to be corrected. I resurrected my 40 year old format to determine airplane cost of operation, generated new numbers for the Eclipse and published the second post. And so it went, there was always something more to write about. The year seen a total of 94 posts and several thousand comments.

How do you promote a blog? Thousands of new ones are put up every day, most will never see a hit. I started by sending links to Richard Aboulafia (The Teal Group), Rich Karlgaard (Forbes Magazine), Capt. Zoom and any one else writing on the Eclipse. The responses varied, Aboulafia said I was doing "God's work." Karlgaard said, "always looking for the dark side, eh Stan?" After suggesting to Capt Zoom that he dig deeper into the Eclipse program, he said I was questioning his integrity, threatening him and his family, and he was going to file a police report and a lawsuit and...well, that's just Capt. Zoom.

Eventually, the blog gained traction. One person tells two, those tell two others and growth becomes exponential. There is no counter on the site and I don't care what the numbers might be. If only two or three dozen are reading the blog, that's OK with me.

Having said that, the numbers may be quite high. Last fall, if you were to google 'eclipse aviation' the blog would show up on google's page 34. Today, it has moved up to page 1, item 3, only behind the Eclipse home page and the wikipedia listing.

As the numbers of readers increased, the number of comments increased and this has turned out to be the best part of the blog. The collective insights, knowledge and wisdom of others have all contributed to a better understanding of the Eclipse program. Someone noted that for a blog, this one had a high signal to noise ratio. Couldn't agree more.

The intent of the blog has always been to be informative and entertaining. Today I would add a third point, thought provoking. In the past few months supporters for the Eclipse program have weighed in. Though in the minority, they have their views, make their points and don't back down. The debate is healthy for both sides of the issue, causing everyone to to re-think their positions.

What's in the future for the blog? Who knows. What is store for Eclipse? Who knows.

Several months ago, I declared Eclipse to be a failed program that just hasn't failed yet. Nothing has happened that would change my mind. Nearly every event scheduled and unscheduled is costing the company money. Delays, mod programs, re-engineering, re-testing, re-certification even aircraft deliveries add to the flow of red ink.

The Eclipse goal is to crank up the production line and deliver hundreds of airplanes. Many customers are holding purchase contracts for airplanes near a $1m price when Eclipse itself acknowledges the selling price should be $1.5-1.8m; some believe $2m would be even more realistic. The more they build the more they will lose.

Slow the production line down and fixed costs eat up cash reserves. Tap into investment capital and it will only prolong the inevitable. If you are going to be in the manufacturing business, you must sell your product for more than it costs to build or you can't stay in business. Accounting 101.

My prediction is the airplane will be around for a lot of years but the company will need to be restructured and reorganized under sound management principles. When this happens, the blog will disappear. Meanwhile keep checking in, there will be lots of lively discussions ahead.

179 comments:

airtaximan said...

Stan:

Happy Birthday!

Thanks for the fun, insight and education.

You've done a terrific job, a public service and don't worry about Karlgaard - I'm sure he has a good reason for pumping E-clips so one-sidedly for all these years.

;)

Gunner said...

Happy Birthday, Stan.
You've about said it all. Outstanding summation. I'll leave it to the Faithful to respond.
Gunner

sparky said...

Happy birthday stan.

does anybody have information or links to the first three CTC's?

bill e. goat said...

Happy Birthday Stan!

I laughed when I read the about the initial blog entries:

1) would not meet their empty weight

2) fallacy of friction stir welding.

3) could not possibly see a return from profits derived by delivering airplanes.

4) the 2,000+ orders are probably a myth.

"...the company will need to be restructured and reorganized under sound management principles".

We've all spent a lot of words saying the same thing!

Let's hope the next year will be as intertaining (somehow, I don't think Vern will disappoint us there!!!)

Vmc said...

Happy Annibirthday Stan! Great venue and a necessary tool that promulgates the voice of great minds.

Midshipman Goat (your financial comment seems to have disappeared, but I took the time to respond, so take a sip)

Your analysis is probably not too far off, albeit simplified. It misses one particularly important event...IPO. Assume IPO takes place on or about the time VR successfully delivers 500's that can legally fly, most preferably by their owners who have earned a 500 type. Now assume that occurs without major cash infusion, meaning, sometime this year with the total investment/expeditures equaling around $750 mil. Let's assume there are 7.5 mil shares issued at an investor price of around $100/share. As an example, the offering to the investor community could be 37.5 mil shares at $20/share, which equals $750 mil market cap. Success would mean selling all the shares upon IPO, mostly to institutional investors. Valuation, P/E, and all that other great market speculation could turn the original investor's $100/share into considerable capital gain upon IPO; something on the order of 2-6x. That equals capital repayment for all of VR's nasty spending habits and then some. That is the point at which all option holders/employee investors see $$ and retire from their arduous work as a minion. Then there will be no expertise left at the company and we'll be back to square one; blogging about the next fiasco of a project.

gadfly said...

Thank you, Stan! It is both entertaining and an education.

gadfly

AJ said...

vmc,

I agree with your logic except for some missing factors. You fail to mention whether Eclipse has proven that it can deliver 500 or more planes in a calendar year before IPO. If it has done that or is selling an average of 1.4 planes or more per day for at least 3 months before IPO then Eclipse likely makes everyone rich and establishes itself as a successful company. The employees and investors all get rich and probably retire, but after Eclipse is proven successful you can sure bet other experienced aviation employees will fill the void.

However, if Eclipse cannot prove they can manufacture the 500 planes per year, (or at least convince the street that it is going to be able to do this in the near future) than after IPO the stock likely takes a nose dive and the employees stock options (that they must hold for at least 6 months after IPO) become worthless, and eventually Eclipse fades into bankruptcy. The only other way I can see them keeping a float in this scenario is if they can make a profit with PhostrEx, get bought out by a larger company, or come up with the Eclipse 500 NG or Eclipse 1000, that promises to reap untold future profits.

Like you all say, it sure is going to be interesting to see how this all unfolds.

AJ

Vmc said...

AJ

I concur that VR must establish a steady stream of deliveries, but 500/year may be a little more aggressive than necessary for IPO. Get these birds in the air, flown by owners/operators without operational restrictions, and whammo...watch the big tops over ABQ appear and light up with lots of smoke and plenty of mirrors. The extravaganza of media preparation will make the populace believe the second coming of Christ is happening right in the heart of Kirtland AFB. Seriously, as soon as there are enough planes in the air to allow VR to exclaim victory, AND market conditions are right, VR will push IPO. Just a speculdiction based on observations of VR's motives/actions. He won't wait...he cannot wait...IF he begins delivering a functional product.

1.4/day? Yeah, maybe, but I still don't think the average layman investor will demand 1.4 before signing on. I wager on somewhere between 50-100 fully functional birds before getting in bed with the SEC. Any takers?

My comment about an exodus of expertise following IPO was in jest, but in truth, it is a risk.

bill e. goat said...

VMC,
I didn't want to spoil the birthday party, but since finance comes up (previous posts, and here), I'll throw my 2 cents in (better than $1B!!!) and repost it- thanks for critiquing and commenting.

(Fellow bloggers, please refer to VMC and AJ's previous few posts for corrections to the following):

Well, with a sharp pencil, and dull mind, this is my “spin” on production costs and marketing strategy at Eclipse.

I ballparked costs at:

Labor (1000 employees, average 60K/year including benefits) 300 airplanes per year, equals 200K/aircraft manpower (includes ALL labor costs; planning, administrative, legal, engineering, manufacturing. (This is probably a little low).

Facility overhead (buildings, tooling, operating expenses except labor) 30M per year, divided by 300 airplanes, equals 100K/aircraft. (This is probably a little high).

Labor = 200K
Facility overhead = 100K
Engines* = 300K
Avionics = 300K
Airframe = 200K
Misc. components = 200K

Total = 1.3 M/airplane

*I noted that Stan had the engine cost at 285K each. I had placedd an inquire to some cronies what the engines cost, they said 300K. I assumed this was per shipset (which seemed too low), Stan's 285K per engine seems a little high, but I think he has smarter cronies, or he asks better questions (or both), so I'll add another 300K to my total, and come up with production cost of
1.6 M /airplane

(This is 100K lower than Stan's rule of thumb (engine cost x 3), but pretty close (Stan had 1.7M). Chalk that up to me factoring in no color copies, and spectacular seasonal gala's at the gift shop! :)

To break even on the $1B (I figure they'll have spent by the end of 2007), and using the 2500 orders (for me, that would be 2500/300 year = 8.3 years; they might do it, a l-i-t-t-l-e sooner, maybe a lot sooner, but I doubt by too much). Anyway, $1B / 2500 = 400K/airplane.

I know this doesn't include intrest on investment (which at best will be zero- ha!), but it doesn't take tax breaks into account either (hard to believe that they would add up to all that much, comparatively- Gadfly probably knows the tax environment in ABQ).

So, to “break even”, 1.6 M production cost + 0.4M capital recovery = 2.0M / airplane. This is quite a bit higher than the “teaser” prices, and maybe a bit higher than what the “stabilized” price will be, but I'd guess it's pretty close.

Stan mentioned a typical selling price of engine cost x 4 = 2.27M; I think Eclipse will be keep the price low and settle for breaking even on this model, just to get themselves established in the marketplace. (And try to make a real profit, like the “dinosaur companies” on the next model, whenever and whatever that may be).

Interestingly, if the engine cost were only 300K per shipset, then Stan's rule of thumb would have worked pretty well for the "teaser" prices Eclipse was using up until a couple of years ago: 3x300K for production cost = 900K, and sell for 4x300K = 1.2M.

This would haved allowed the start up cost of a couple of years ago (around $450M) to be recouped after 1500 sales (at 300K per plane profit).

Anyway, it looks like the selling cost will have to be around $2M to stay in business...That's still 25 percent less than a Mustang. Market it at $1.85M, it's an even more attractive comparison, 30 % less, and the airplanes can still be sold at a profit, but the startup cost will take forever to recover. Unless the next Model E-Shazam is really something special...

(And, I consider 300 per year to be on the high side, unless the air taxi thing really takes off...)

Vmc said...

Midshipman Goat

Thanks for reposting your angle. I didn't know goats were so gifted with simplifying complexity--well done by my standard. Curious if EB or KM have a thought or two on the finances.

lumar said...

Happy Birthday!

What will be in one other year?!

- Eclipse has gone (30% chance)
- Eclipse does a redesign (50% chance)
- Eclipse delivers still 1-2 aircraft/month to 'customers' (20% chance)

Good luck, Stan!

EclipseBlogger said...

Goat said... To break even on the $1B (I figure they'll have spent by the end of 2007), and using the 2500 orders (for me, that would be 2500/300 year = 8.3 years; they might do it, a l-i-t-t-l-e sooner, maybe a lot sooner, but I doubt by too much). Anyway, $1B / 2500 = 400K/airplane.

I think you are forgetting that the vast majority of that money is from private investment, and not debt. The investors only get paid back at sale or IPO. The cost basis of that cash does not have to be included in the sale price of the aircraft. That changes your whole cash-flow and profitability scenario.

Black Tulip said...

Stan,

As a relative newcomer to the blog, let me add my congratulations on your fine endeavor.

I'd like to raise a medical aspect of this story that hasn't been touched on. Few know of a condition called MCS - Magazine Cover Syndrome. As soon as the CEO appears on the cover of a magazine, the end is near. It is only a matter of time. Think back on the magazine covers featuring Kozlowski, Ebbers, Scrushy, Rigas, Lay and Skilling.

Another stage of this debilitating disease involves products not people. Products singled out as 'best in class' or 'most innovative' by industry groups or trade organizations seldom make it.

Being awarded a prestigous trophy could be the worst blow of all. I just don't know how any organization could survive the adulation and afterglow.

Someday a cure will be found for this dreaded malady. It has been with us for at least a generation. Back then the buzzwords included, "turbo", "digital" and "quartz". These have been replaced by "paradigm", "disruptive" and "space".

Think what the future may bring.

Black Tulip

airtaximan said...

EB,

Yur comment on the cash coming from private investments and not debt is something that Vern has pushed for a long time. Most companies in this industry count the program cost (Non-recurring engineering (NRE), tooling unless paid for by suppliers and included in their cost, etc... BUT in the case of E-clips, NRE will have to be redefined, becasue the Non-recurring engineering seems to be recurring!!!) and ammortise it over the expected/projected production run of the plane...usually 1,000 units over 10 years or so..
- at 1,000 planes per year and 10, or 20 years, E-clips had a big advantage IF they included it in their cost.
- another financial strategy was to include some of the costs born by the suppliers as IP...as in the licensing of the engine and Avidyne. This becomes an asset, and you can justify NOT paying it back as part of the NRE..

BUT, your the costs were developed on a curve, and the costs drop based on rate - your costs reflect a hih (750 units or more per annum) production run for the plane.

I believe the actual costs relected by Professor-Goat is based on 300 units a year could be 1.5 or more of the cost you show, with the exception of the avionics which is reflected very high, and the labor, which seems very high for Vern assembly process. Perhaps the Misc is too low..all in all probably not a bad number at 750 units/year.

I think at lower production it will be at least 1.5x the number, though. Then, you are basically in an infernal downward spiral of less market/fewer sale leading to lower production. Lower production leads to higher cost...and so on, and so on...

Finally, the development cost, whether repaid on a per plane basis or reflected as a return to new investors probably needs to be considered. I think the accounting of replacing the development cost with fresh equity is "unconventional" or a "revolutionary new way to do business in this industry", as are the other accounting tricks cited above. IMHO they are also a bit of a shell game...it WILL have to be dealt with at some point.

No free lunch...

Just my humble opinion.

Gunner said...

EB-
You're partially correct: Return on Investment is not a requirement for continued operations; but it IS most certainly a requirement for long term survival, whether in the public or private market.

The deal to me is rather simple:
- Hurdle 1: Eclipse must produce and deliver a practical aircraft; not on paper and not "in future". A certified, final design, working, useful, practical aircraft.

- Hurdle 2: Eclipse must then convince the market that the jet worth well over $2 million. The current paper Eclipse is absolutely worth $2.3, IMHO; but we have yet to demonstrate that the actual aircraft is equal to the paper aircraft. The jet may well be worth only $1.6 or $1.8 million. If that happens, there is no amount of hype that's gonna result in profitability.

For the past four months the market has valued deposit positions at less than the list price; that is a data point worth watching.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Rather unfavorable review of the Eclipse program in the April Twin & Turbine.

Of note are items that are not due for inclusion in the aircraft 'till much later than "this summer":

Q4-2007:
A/P Coupled Vnav
FMS Holds
Electronic Checklist
XM Weather
Crew Alert Checklists
Electronic Cruise Performance Management
Electronic Performance Optimizers
Stormscope Option
Audio Entertainment Option

Q2 2008:
Radar Altimeter
Avio FlightBag

None of this is greatly disappointing, though it does demonstrate that there's still a long way to go before this aircraft is what has been promised.

Gunner

JetProp Jockey said...

Happy birthday Stan - Thanks for this interesting forum. It provides me daily entertainment.

Relative to the IPO discussion.

People seen to think that things still work like they did during the .com days.

In those days, companies were producing perspecti that basically said, "We have not made money, we do not intend to make money, but buy our IPO and in three years we will be acquired by a bigger .com and you will be rich"

The amazing thing is that people stood in line to buy the shares and complained when they couldn't buy at the offering price and had to go to the secondary market and pay as much as 2x the offering price to get in on the scheme.

There was a new method of evaluating stock prices for these - multiple of sales. Since there were not any earnings, you couldn't measure this tried and true method - multiple of earnings per share. There were companies selling for 15 time sales per share.

But, a manufacturing company that wants to go public must privide complete and extensive financial statements and projections and get a major accounting firm to confirm that the projections made by the owners and managers who stand to profit from the IPO are reasonabole and supported by an analysis of the past operating performance.

In some respects, Ecliipse might find it easier to project a profitable future now. One they have ramped up to 500 units per year, the present is the future and the value of a share will only be worth a multiple of what they have earned on those 500 per year sales. It certainly will not be reasonable at that point to base future financial projections on the basis of increasing shipments to 2500 per year.

In my optinion, the only company that will have a chance of going public will be a reorganized company after receivership and the initial investors will not profit from the transaction at that point - their money and maybe most of the depositors money will be gone.

Gunner said...

JPJ-
Agree completely with the analysis. Additionally: New laws on the books, in the wake of Enron. Personal liability of corporate officers in regards to prospectus statements is significantly enhanced and criminal penalties involved.

I don't really think Eclipse will be willing to certify its "order book". That alone will have an enormous effect on valuation. Again, if they can start selling at $2.3+ million and maintain orders, they may pull it off; but that requires that they produce $2.3+ million worth of jet value.

I also wonder if they'd be willing to provide full disclosure as to the DayJet relationship.
Gunner
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner gunner (that your new pseudonym now?) wrote,
"Of note are items that are not due for inclusion in the aircraft 'till much later than "this summer":"

Bear in mind Twin and Turbine is just parroting the "Timeline for Functionality" released by Eclipse some weeks ago. It's been available publicly a while; there's nothing new in what you wrote.

The initial release of Avio NG this summer will have most functionality pilots need:

PFD:
ADI, HSI, Trend Vectors, Flight mode annunciators, composite mode (systems)

Autopilot:
Lateral modes, vertical modes, terminal procedures coupling, Advisory VNAV

FMS:
LNAV GPS guidance, terminal procedures, user-defined waypoints, airway-to-airway planning

EFIS software update via USB

Comm/Nav surveilance

Synoptic pages

Active 4-color radar

Audio functions

RVSM

Moving map:
Geo-referenced enroute maps, geo-referenced terminal procedures (Jeppview)

Crew Alerting System

Optional equipment:
Third AHRS, DME, ADF, Skywatch,Class B TAWS, Mode S with diversity

It is true that several items are deferred until Q4 2007 and two insignificant items are deferred until Q1 2008. But the initial release will have all the important things except XM weather and stormscope (coming Q4 this year).

Some of the things in the initial release are niceties that were never planned for Avidyne-Avio. And the timeline for functionality of Avidyne-Avio had slipped such that many of the important items would have been delivered after this summer (if at all) under the old timeline.

Ken

sparky said...

All,

from the TnT report we're still a year and 9 months from a fully functioning aircraft.

By their own estimates, eclipse will be producing 400 aircraft this year and 800 aircraft next year.

They then have to turn around and retrofit these 1,200 aircraft to the fully functioning standards, while also still producing 1.4 aircraft per day.

One of my father's favorite quotes.."If you don't have time to do it right the first time, how are you ever going to find time to fix it."

FlightCenter said...

lumar says....

What will be in one other year?!

- Eclipse has gone (30% chance)
- Eclipse does a redesign (50% chance)
- Eclipse delivers still 1-2 aircraft/month to 'customers' (20% chance)

I agree that the highest probability is that Eclipse unveils the Eclipse 600 which fixes all the problems of the Eclipse 500, just costs a bit more. I'd put the probability at 70%.

Look at Lancair (now Columbia Aircraft) and Cirrus as models. Both introduced a ground breaking newly certified aircraft. Both significantly underestimated their manufacturing costs for the Columbia 300 and the SR20. Both introduced new aircraft at significantly higher prices and capability (Columbia 350 and SR22). Both switched the majority of their backlog and new customers to the new model aircraft.

Vern has spent a lot of time studying how both Cirrus and Columbia made this transition.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

From your post - please define in E-clipspeak...

"initial release"

"will have most functionality..."

"this summer"

Thanks,

;)

airtaximan said...

Gunner:

should we add this to the list of Promised IOU's? It's getting pretty long!

Q4-2007:
A/P Coupled Vnav
FMS Holds
Electronic Checklist
XM Weather
Crew Alert Checklists
Electronic Cruise Performance Management
Electronic Performance Optimizers
Stormscope Option
Audio Entertainment Option

Q2 2008:
Radar Altimeter
Avio FlightBag

airtaximan said...

Spark:

"If you don't have time to do it right the first time, how are you ever going to find time to fix it."

and they had 8 years and $1 billion... man this is telling!

gadfly said...

There’s an old saying that “Figures don’t lie, but liar’s always figure!”

But since we’re all having fun with numbers these days, here’s some actual numbers from a time when the US was at its’ peak efficiency in the aircraft industry. During a five year period (60 months), the nation produced approx. 300,000 military aircraft of all types . . . the greatest amount were bombers, with fighters a close second.

At the peak, in the month of March 1944, a total workforce of 2,100,000 produced 9,000 aircraft. In one month (based on 173.3 hours per man-month), that many people put out 364 billion hours . . . divided by the 9,000 planes, the total man-hours for each plane was 40,000 hours (to distribute throughout all the components of the aircraft). All things considered, greater complexity of radial engines, etc., you might be able to bring that number down by a third, for today’s world, but not much less than that. (And I left out “overtime” to keep the numbers from getting too complicated.) Someone used the rather low number of labor for Eclipse at $60k per year . . . that’s at least $30 per hour, including benefits, etc. So, for a very rough look at the cost in labor (including assembly, engines, avionics, etc.), I would feel safe in saying that the little jet has a built-in base of $900,000 in overall labor . . . 1/3 to ½ of that to be charged to Eclipse employees in assembling the parts.

Then you add in all the other overhead, the cost of raw materials, etc., etc.

If there are 1,000 local employees, and a third of the work (raw labor) is accomplished by them, you come up with 2,080,000 man hours available per year. At 200 aircraft per year, that’s 10,400 hours per aircraft, for assembly alone. Put that alongside a nation on a wartime footing, at the greatest production rate in the history of the world, and you have an almost impossible challenge.

But, then, these are just the observations of someone who has spent a lifetime in aerospace manufacturing and production . . . growing up in the shadow of Lockheed.

gadfly

(I like Sparky's quote, from his Dad . . . an admonition that we have lived by for many years.)

Gunner said...

AT-
I think that list gets into the "druthers/wish list" category as opposed to gotta have...with the notable exception of XM Weather and Stormscope.

As Ken points out, Eclipse produced that time-line chart. My only point was that, judging from Eclipse's rich history for publishing time-lines, this bird is a ways from full certification. I know it's boring to dredge up old stuff, but the fundamentals still just don't work: Anyone who believes that Avio NextGrift is going to be significantly functional in an actual flying aircraft (let alone certified) by this summer is simply dreaming. That's just ONE of the major issues involved.

Meanwhile, cha-ching; cha-ching; cha-ching goes the Expenses Counter.

Gunner

Planet eX said...

I can't remember where I heard it, but...the claim at EA was 700 man-hours per aircraft for assembly (of course, that number doesn't include the man-hours of the components produced by vendors).

sparky said...

Gadfly, my dad would be honored.

I would be interested in knowing how the first three CTC's were reported. I can't find anything on the web or the blog. any body have this information?

Ken Meyer said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ken Meyer said...

not-so-smart sparky said,
"from the TnT report we're still a year and 9 months from a fully functioning aircraft."

Not-so-smart, first quarter 2008, by my calculation is not "a year and 9 months" from now.

And besides are you honestly trying to tell us you believe a "fully functional aircraft" must have a radar altimeter and it must have a way to connect the Electronic Flight Bag to it for synchronization to the onboard avionics? Those are both optional items that have nothing to do with whether the aircraft is fully-functional or not.

I think your conclusion is so off-base that anyone could see your point is solely intended to denigrate.

Ken

lumar said...

Gunnar means: ...Again, if they can start selling at $2.3+ million and maintain orders...

Please note: For $2.3+ million EVERYBODY buys a Cessna-Jet!

lumar said...

Hy flightcenter!

You said: Eclipse 600 which fixes all the problems...

Do you really think that Eclipse will fix all the problems before bankrupty??!!

sparky said...

hi ken, how's that airplane of yours? not there yet, sorry to hear that.

gadfly said...

PlanetX

You're on the right track . . . just take it further.

Whether Eclipse provides the labor, or someone else, the labor remains the single largest cost in anything produced in small quantities. And unless it’s “tin cans”, “ball-point pens” or “light bulbs”, a few thousand of anything is a small production run in today’s economy.

If it were truly 700 hours per aircraft, Eclipse could have produced 2,971 aircraft just last year alone, with 1,000 employees. Car companies often talk about twenty or twenty-five hours per “unit” . . . which is only in the very final collection of parts.

As you correctly noted, that number does not account for the thousands of man hours to fabricate all of the many components. There is a vast difference in cost-per-unit between the tooling that produces “fenders” for a car, and the dies to form a “fairing” for a wing root. Yet, the labor involved in either one may be quite similar.

It is for such things that it is dangerous for “theoretical” engineering types to “guestimate” the requirements for actual production. I have maintained for years, that before an engineer is granted a “degree”, he/she should have “dirty fingernails” and have worked in a machine shop for at least two years. But that’s for another day, and another “blog site”.

gadfly

(Sparky . . . did I feel a draft? . . . just ignore it.)

(Lumar . . . you just made a German out of Gunner (Gunnar), but I don't think he'll mind.)

Gunner said...

Lumar-
I don't think it's a given that most Eclipse customers would trade up to a Mustang, were Eclipse to raise the price to $2.3 Mill. There's a whole lot of private owners like Ken and I that wouldn't mind the tight quarters and couldn't care less about a lav. Personally I can't remember the last time I had need to fly more than 3 passengers in my Baron; I even removed the two rear seats as a result.

Of course, all of this ASS-umes a couple of things: the aircraft, in reality rather than on paper, must prove to be significantly more economical to fly than the Mustang; A $2.3 million Eclipse must rival the Mustang in terms of longevity, reliability, parts and service availability and safety.

The Devil is truly in the details above. There's not doubt in my mind that the Eclipse, even shoddily built, is a money loser at $1.6mill; there's no doubt in my mind that, at a price much over $2mill the Mustang begins to win, hands down, for air taxi. There's some real doubt in my mind that Vern Raburn is capable of producing a $2.3Mil VALUED jet. The demonstrated competence is simply not there.

Just my opinion.
Gunner

sparky said...

ken said:

by my calculation is not "a year and 9 months" from now.

By your calculations, you have a working aircraft

Gunner said...

Ken said:
"are you honestly trying to tell us you believe a "fully functional aircraft" must have a radar altimeter and it must have a way to connect the Electronic Flight Bag"

I agree, as far as you went. But I think a "fully functional jet" MUST have a Stormscope or Weather Radar, at a bare minimum. NexRad or XM Weather even better. When are these supposed to be available, by Eclipse's own (rather tarnished) predictions? End of the year.

Translation? Look to history.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

lumar - You are right of course.

I should have said that Eclipse will introduce the Eclipse 600, which they will claim will fix all the problems of the Eclipse 500. I didn't mean to imply that Eclipse will be able to deliver on those new promises... Just that they will be announcing a new aircraft within the next 12 months. It will be used as a big attention diverter from the issues associated with the Eclipse 500.

Vern has been planning to develop and deliver a family of aircraft since the very first business plan was approved.

The pitch will go something like this...

"We have an excellent trade in program for all of our current depositers if you sign today.... Oh, by the way, we've changed the delivery schedule. Your delivery date for the Eclipse 500 has moved out. But, we will be able to deliver the Eclipse 600 sooner than your delivery date for the Eclipse 500... and it will be a much better aircraft. "


I can't see any other course of action Eclipse could take which would allow them to address all the concerns that have been raised by Stan and company...

They have an airplane that costs more to produce than they can sell it for. They have an airplane that will cost way more to support than they can afford. When problems are found, the fixes won't be easy.

EXEAC said...

Engine price based on 100 AC per year is $400,000 per shipset in year 2003 dollars. It drops to $300,000 per shipset at 750 AC.

On the FSW note, FSW works well, and so well that the rest of the factory cannot keep up with it.

Cost on the aircraft in 2003 was 1 million dollars and that does not factor in 1150 employees or the additional buildings...it also assumed every component would last 2000 hours.

Flying Wolf said...

One other factor to consider, when Eclipse does start delivering planes, within a year they will start to show up on the used market. Now you have customers who may be willing to buy putting money down on a much cheaper aircraft and being able to get it right away. These will certainly be sold at less than factory cost.

The only advantage to this of course is that Eclipse will controlling all of the training for said aircraft, so the new buyers will still have to go to him to get rated.

Actually the more I think about it, it would not be a great idea to buy used. I'm guessing that the traing slot would be moved very far down the line. Servicing would be a problem because all of the other jets need to have their retro-fits done. And the value of the used jet may yet still plumet as people who need to get rid of their aircraft will lowering their price.

People would be holding jets they can not use.

Ken Meyer said...

gunner gunner wrote,
"I think a "fully functional jet" MUST have a Stormscope or Weather Radar, at a bare minimum. NexRad or XM Weather even better. When are these supposed to be available, by Eclipse's own (rather tarnished) predictions? End of the year."

I agree the aircraft needs weather equipment, but keep in mind that even the airplanes being delivered today are coming with Nexrad(provided the owner springs for the subscription). Avio NG will add the onboard color radar to the mix.

I'm a big fan of stormscope, but not that many people care about it as much as I do. In fact, you might be surprised to learn that there is no stormscope option available at all for the Mustang. Eclipse has decided to offer it as an option, but it's not the top item on their priority list.

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I've flown Stormscope and color radar; currently, I fly both. I'm with you...if I have a conflict or a judgment call between the two, the Stormscope has never let me down. I'd rather be wet than whiplashed.

Currently looking at upgrading some avionics, including install of XM weather. With that done, the Color Radar either gets removed or relegated to a "no-fix" item.

Of course, you and I are in the minority on the value of the Stormscope. I think that's why it's not been offered in the Mustang. Still a fairly easy install and integration, I'd suspect.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

lumar wrote,
"Please note: For $2.3+ million EVERYBODY buys a Cessna-Jet!"

You cannot buy any new Citation for $2.3 million. The least expensive "Cessna-Jet" is the Mustang. First available delivery slot is 2009 and pricing is approximately $2.8 million ($2.395 million plus CPI adjustment from 8/02 to 11/08 CPI).

I've been looking at that plane for a while, but it's hard to justify the $1.2+ million additional cost and 40%+ additional ongoing operating expense. It's a nice plane. I like it a lot, but I'm having trouble embracing the $1.2+ million premium. It does have a few attributes better than the Eclipse, but it has several areas where it is not as nice as the Eclipse.

Ken

Gunner said...

You're doing it again, Ken.

You're comparing a production jet to a promised Eclipse. Invalid comparison.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Ken-
By the way (and this is not a trick question), why is the D-Jet not a viable option for the type of flying you typically do?

Does the single engine rule it out at any price?
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Happy Birthday Eclipse Aviation Critic Blog!

Would that a blog such as this was not necessary, but alas it is, so we enjoy.

FlightCenter said...

Technically none of the weather detection systems are required for a "fully functional aircraft", if the definition of fully functional is "fully certified", unless flying Part 135, and then radar is required.

However, the market has spoken when it comes to weather detection equipment. The more the better. Weather detection products are "required" for market acceptance in this class of aircraft.

About 80% of the Piper Mirage and 98% of the Piper Meridian aircraft ship with weather radar, Stormscope and XM.

Radar provides instantaneous picture of rain intensity out to about 40 miles. That's about the limit of an RDR2000. After that it is sort of like shining a flashlight on a dark night, you can only see things if they are fairly close by.

An RDR2000 radar only provides information on the intensity of rain, it doesn't provide any information on convective activity.

Stormscope is a 30 year old lightning detection system that is basically a static electricity detector with some issues regarding bearing and range accuracy within 25 miles of the aircraft.

However, the combination of a radar and a Stormscope gives you what you need - an accurate view of where the clouds are plus an indication of whether there is convective activity in the vicinity. It is a fairly good indicator of lightning when you are looking out as far as 100 or 150 miles.

There are some new lightning detection systems coming out that will provide much more accurate lightning strike information at closer ranges.

As a result, most folks use radar and Stormscope for tactical purposes.

That is where XM comes in. If you aren't flying with XM (or Sirius) on your airplane yet, you need to put it on the airplane. Do not wait. It provides fantastic strategic weather information.

Let's face it, when you are flying 350+ knots it isn't going to take long to fly out of the effective ranges of your radar or Stormscope. 40 miles or even 100 or 150 miles go by pretty fast.

XM provides you with the weather for your entire route of flight at a single glance, both NEXRAD and lightning data. Now you can make decisions about what where you need to be flying to avoid the weather in 30 minutes or an hour from now... information you wouldn't have from your Stormscope or Radar.

In addition, you get all kinds of additional information like, TAFs, winds aloft, temperatures, METARS...

Once you fly with datalink weather, you won't ever want to go on another IFR flight without it.

The downside is that the datalink weather can be anywhere from 5 to 10 minutes old, so that's why you will want to keep the on board sensors.

So, long answer, but yes, I agree, it is a requirement to have radar, stormscope and XM on this class of aircraft.

gadfly said...

The course at United Airlines in Aeronautical Meteorology was possibly the “most fun” course I ever took. It taught me how little man understands of his environment . . . so many variables, and even with “super computers”, so little is really known.

A few minutes ago, our side of Albuquerque experienced “graupel” . . . how many of you know what that is? (OK, I’ll make it easy for you: “Soft Hail” . . . and the word is German)

My next question is: Is it “legal” for the Eclipse to fly through “graupel”? . . . provided that all other conditions are VFR?

‘Just wondering! In any case, we need the moisture, so any form of precipitation is welcome here at high altitude in New Mexico, the “Land of Enchantment”.

‘Wonder if Eclipse made any test flights today. It’s a shame if they weren’t able to make a few circles around the city, and maybe get up over Sandia Crest! Now that’s a sight worth seeing: Coasting in over the 10,678 foot crest, dodging thunderheads that reach to heaven, and snaking in over the city on final approach . . . with the red ball of sun setting to the west over the Rio Grande and the volcanoes . . . at least in a Learjet!

Somehow, I think all this discussion has nothing to do with “airtaxi’s”, and fuel prices, but just the shear joy of flying. Or maybe it’s shear pride . . . proving who is right, and who is wrong. You folks on the blog, with the big bucks, that can argue back and forth over the most economical way to get from “A” to “B” . . . carry on. But some of us have special memories of just the joy of flying . . . the feel of an aircraft responding to our every desire . . . fitting like a glove, and carrying us on to a safe landing, yet in the mean time, allowing us to ride on the wings of the wind.

May you somehow return in your mind to a simpler time, when flying was truly “fun”. Life is brief, and we will every one meet our Maker. It won’t matter then, just how fast and how efficiently you got there . . . and how many rivets where replaced by “stir fried welding”. All my words will pass into thin air . . . I know it . . . but maybe a couple or three will pay attention . . . the words of an old man, living on borrowed time . . . with a young memory!

gadfly

(by the way, I assume that all grounding straps have been properly designed and installed on all movable surfaces . . . speaking as an “A&P”, whose job it once was, to inspect all such things on each and every inspection. ‘Wouldn’t want an elevator or rudder to suddenly be “welded” into a fixed position by a lightning strike.)

Gunner said...

Long winded aside to Gad-

In all the US, ABQ is a most magical destination for a private pilot; especially those of us in piston twins.

It's always a port of call for me, heading west over the Rockies; not as scenic as the northern route over Jackson Hole and not as tortuous as the southern route along the Mexican Border. But it's a "clean" re-staging area; hitting it you know the mountain flying is done, unless you're gonna bump over the Sierra Nevadas for the PRK.

There are many times flying has brought an ear to ear grin to my face. Threading the (relatively easy to navigate) thunder-boomers in FL; convincing ATC in Havana that I really did have an overflight permit; landing just before the weather hit in Norfolk...so many.

But one I remember in particular was a flight out to Phoenix. I was running late (one degree of freedom lost); I was tired and had been flying for nearly 10 hours with one stop (two degrees of freedom lost); it was now dark, in the mountains, (three, four degrees of freedom lost); unpredicted snow flurries hit about half way between AMA and ABQ (five degrees of freedom lost).

I count my tough times in aircraft by "Degrees of Freedom Lost". I don't know the magic number, but 5 is about as far as I'm willing to let it go before I start getting REAL serious about my options. (Lose enough "degrees of freedom" and you end up a pothole in someone's driveway.)

In any case, by the time I'd "poked my nose into it", I was already far closer to ABQ than AMA, with ice building at a moderate rate, and I didn't like the local alternatives. 20 minutes, 15, 10, 8....and then I saw that familiar sight: the lights of Albuquerque appearing as though rising slowly OVER the black mountains. Slid it down under the freezing level and fairly screamed it in, aided by some of the best ATC guys I've come across.

On the ground, THAT was a grin; not one of great satisfaction, but rather one of great relief and a promise that Loss of 4 Degrees of Freedom was my new limit!

ABQ's a special place. Warm beds; good food; great people. I was equipped with the weather stuff and de-ice (more-or-less...they're boots; I hate boots); great modern GNS equipment and a piston aircraft with as rich a history for reliability as any in the world. But, none of it matters one bit once we lose too many "Degrees of Freedom"; that's my concern with what's coming out of ABQ today.
Gunner

gadfly said...

Gunner

Long winded . . . whatever! Your comments made my day, and that's what makes any of us appreciate the privileges of flying . . . and our emotional protection for a long future of safe aircraft.

Thank you very much for that!

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

Gunner,
You're giving Gadfly and Black Tulip a run for their money today, journalisticly!
Glad things turned out okay!

(I'm a three strikes kind of guy, but I know some cat's-have-nine-lives sorts, and knew some cats that only had eight. I think that within 12 months or so, the E-500x will be a pilot's friend, fair weather or foul. Let's hope their is no foul foolishness elevating risk for publicity's sake between now and then).

gadfly said...

goat

It's about time you showed up, to relieve the evening "watch". I'm going home now!

gadfly

airtaximan said...

Gadfly, Gunner,

Nothing like longing for the good old days... when:

"FAA Certification" meant FAA Certification

"guarantees" meant guarantees

"Delivery position" meant delivery position

"6 seats" meant 6 seats

...thanks for the trip down memory lane

twinpilot said...

Stan,

Happy birthday on the blog, and congratulations on your excellent stewardship.

Exeac,
I concur that engines are no more that 200K each. The real direct cost is probably about 1.2 million now so just file Chapter 7 or 11, then raise the price to 1.8 and you can start making a gross profit on each delivery.

Flightcenter,
Interesting argument regarding Cirrus and Lancair. But,I don’t think even the majority of position holders at E-clips would swallow it. They are just too cheap. They are buying price. (remember they were going to get a jet for $837K) The only way out for E-clips it to force them to pay more or refund their money via chapter 11 or flush them all out with chapter 7.

Lumar,
If they can fix all of the problems (and that is a big if) I don’t see why they couldn’t sell about 200 aircraft a year for the first couple of years at a price of 1.8 million. That is still less than the less capable Meridian at over 2 million. Then they would look profitable and could issue the IPO. If the price were 2.3 million I think the volume would be about 50 to 75 per year per year.

airtaximan said...

Eclipse maintenance facility near completion...

READ THE LAST PARAGRAPH...


http://www.gainesville.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070412/LOCAL/704120356/-1/news

flyger said...

SN3 (N816KD) finally showed up on the FAA registry. The owner is listed as:

816 Charter, LLC
21555 Katy Freeway
Katy, TX, 77450

Appears to be a car dealership

www.donmcgilltoyotakaty.com

Wonder if the plane has left ABQ?

The Krell said...

Congrats and Happy Birthday EAC

I wonder if the Mustang becomes a paperweight on the ramp when the temperature drops a little below 0F?

Another round of kool-aid for everyone on me.

Beware Monsters from the Id

airtaximan said...

I guess tomorrow's the big day!

From the Eclipse Owners Board:
April 06, 2007, 02:05:57 PM

We are bumping forward. Got word today that our plane should be "delivered" next week. But there still is no training for owners, other than DayJet, I guess.

bill e. goat said...

Exeac,
Thanks for helping us resolve the engine pricing question. I said 300K/shipset, Stan said 600K/shipset, you say:

"Engine price based on 100 AC per year is $400,000 per shipset in year 2003 dollars. It drops to $300,000 per shipset at 750 AC".

Based on what I've been hearing, I'd say Stan's shipset estimate is too low.

:)

bill e. goat said...

Ken,
I give up!
Pray tell, what the heck went wrong with the Avidyne gig?

You point out many nice features the new system will offer, and I'm sure the new vendors are capable, but Avidyne isn't a bunch of wankers either. Why couldn't they get it right? Was it they didn't see enough "payoff" in it?

The new stuff looks good, but it would seem Avidyne could have had an annual "upgrade" program, and rolled that stuff in also.

What went wrong with the Avidyne arrangement???

bill e. goat said...

Black tulip said:

(contemporary buzzwords:
"paradigm", "disruptive" and "space".

I agree. I think Vern is a dam pariah, disreputable, and spacey.

(But he's our f-a-v-o-r-i-t-e pariah!!! :)

EXEAC said...

It's a well know fact that all 2500 AC are going out the door at a loss to EAC. The price is going to have to jump to close to 1.9 million. I figure EAC will lose 25% of their customers due to the increase. And yes, they really do have 2500 AC sold.

bill e. goat said...

Exeac,
Thanks for the engine pricing. I'm relatively new to the blog too- I hadn't seen you post before, hope to hear from you a lot more.

Regarding:
"On the FSW note, FSW works well, and so well that the rest of the factory cannot keep up with it".

Goat:
I agree. It seems FSW is adequately suited to 1000 to 2000 units per year, but at a few hundred, it might be somewhat of a misapplication.

"Cost on the aircraft in 2003 was 1 million dollars..."

Goat:
What volume was that per-unit manufacturing cost based on? Do you how it "scaled down" to say 300 units per year?

thanks!

bill e. goat said...

Exeac-
ha! I just read your post- thanks!

airtaximan said...

exeac, you said...

"And yes, they really do have 2500 AC sold."

How do you know?

What does "sold" mean?

How much of a deposit does Dayjet have, andhow many planes were "sold" to them?

Thanks

bill e. goat said...

Exeac,
I can (sort of) believe that they DO have 2500 orders, but, what is the time frame- big operators placing orders for 100 "firm" deliveries per year, for 12 years, plus 110 "individual" orders per year for the same 12 years?

I'm not doubting you, I just don't see there being an "instant market" there for the air taxi gig, and I don't see there being that many individual buyers, maybe a "backlog" of a few hundred individual sales.

Thanks!

EXEAC said...

EAC's break even point is at 700 AC per year. The biz plan a few years ago showed 9 days from start to finish for an aircraft. It is now 30 days. They can improve on this but must do so by training the guys building them....and then they need to retain these employees...and we know how well that works.

EXEAC said...

Day Jet is the biggest customer they have. Even though you see that DJ has announced 200 some odd orders, they bought options for many more and that is counting against the 2500 orders. The problem I see with DJ is that they will be operating AC with two pilots. If one were to buy a ticket from ABQ to PHX it would cost $1/mile on the low end (3 pax)and $3/mile on the high end (1 pax)
A ticket on SWA costs $117 RT. and same day service is not an issue. Flights leave on the hour. so, $600 RT o DJ or $125 on SWA?

airtaximan said...

EXEAC,

thanks.

I think you are right about Dayjet, but they are not operating in those kind of markets. They are looking to replace car travel. So they are fighting the cost of a car trip (as if renting a car wont be required at the destination) which cost much less than a plane trip, except for the time. Think Gainsville to Jacksonville - problem is, not alot of folks make this trip, and fewer care to save a few hours... a long shot...

you say:
"Dayjet they bought options for many more and that is counting against the 2500 orders"

Options...did they pay a non-refundable deposit for these options? How many real orders?

Today, Dayjet has said openly that they have 50 of the first hundred E-clipses. This would require them to have already paid E-clipse around $32,500,000 (5% initial plus 60% progress on say a $1 million price...discounted)

Is this the case?

bill e. goat said...

700 !...!

I am a "believer" in the airplane, and want to believe in the company. But now the breakeven point is 700 per year ? (and based on our cost discussions during this thread, I would believe this, especially since Vern was saying 500 per year, a couple of years ago, and it's probably gone up with increasing development costs).

All I can say is, I hope Vern's office doesn't have any windows, and isn't too high! :)

(BTW, thanks to everyone for their very interesting contributions regarding cost and IPO today- besides the Avidyne bust a couple of months ago, this has been the most interesting day so far- a good way to start off Stan's second year!!!)

bill e. goat said...

p.s., I confess, “Vern, I am your father...” NO, not that! :)

I confess, I see the need for an air taxi network. I just don't see the costs getting low enough to make it viable.

I can see how Vern WANTED it to work, and maybe even really did THINK it would work.

But, I'm not sure it's going to work.

What will become of the E-500? Well, it probably depends on what becomes of Eclipse. Do they have an "ace" up their sleeve? (e.g., a truly profitable model in the works, and can they financially sustain the cost of another development program in the near future? I donno...Maybe after Eclipse-NG???)

btw, I'm sure we all agree, the ABQ-PHX is a stunning example of how air taxi routes won't work, in some markets. SWA offers repeated non-stop ABQ-PHX, so it isn't the airtaxi home court.

But using Travelocity, and Santa Fe instead of Albuquerque, and a 4 day notice (out and back on Monday, Apr 16), and one pax, to fly commercial (or drive):

Santa Fe to Cheyenne, WY- $676, fly 6AM-10AM, best rtn 5PM-10PM; 337 nm; 491 sm to drive);

SAF to Flagstaff- $1126, fly 6AM-12:41, ONLY rtn 1:15P-10P; 275 nm; 382 sm to drive);

Santa Fe to Lubbock, TX- can't get there from here (241 nm; 327 sm to drive).

Prices aren't too different for comm. vs. taxi out of Santa Fe (but, it IS a capitol city). But time consumption is significant, typ, 4+ hours each way (+ airport checkin and security at each end) to fly commercial, 4~8 hrs, vs 1~1.5 hr each way for air taxi)... So, there is A market, just not sure how big it is...

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

Regarding "twinpilot's" comments on his post of 7:32 PM, April 12, 2007........

I would say that "Those who paint the world using a "Broad Brush" only cover the truth that much faster!" You are insulting and obviously biased against Eclipse Position Holders to the point that you would "flush them all out with chapter 7". As has been pointed out many times on this Blog by many of it's regulars, we need to look to history for lessons learned. I recommend that you start at the following link.

http://www.historyplace.com
/worldwar2/holocaust/timeline.html

"Broad Brush" hatred of others can destroy our humanity.

KAD1 (aka CAD1)

Gunner said...

Dauntingly inarticulate non sequitur.

But an shiningly exquisite example of Godwin's Law
Gunner

airtaximan said...

KAd-1

I think the comments regarding the restructuring of E-clips is some folks prediction, which could be taken as a warning.

You could say, out of love, not hate.

Stan Blankenship said...

Posted off the top marquee and deserves better billing. With reference to Vern's brief moment of solace:

BD5 Believer said...

I am saddned to see only a few fellow bloggers are calling out Vern's total unprofessional comments about Cessna. "REAL" CEO's do not do that, period.

Vern talks about being transparent, what total BS. This boy is way over his head! You have already lost the debate the minute you go down this road as a CEO.

Totally undignified for the self appointed leader of the VLJ movement. REAL companies have media savy folks to 'hit" the competition, leaving the CEO above the fray.

Very sad, very sad.

7:28 AM, April 13, 2007

Metal Guy said...

Yeah, I agree. I think Vern has been acting a lot like Hitler lately.

Re: Godwin's Law
Gunner - that't pretty funny, how do you find this stuff?

Snow in April??

Gunner said...

MG-
Everyone who posts to an email list, thread, discussion forum or Blog should be made aware of Godwin's Law. It's a positively infallible sign that the one side has lost the rational argument and opted for pure emotional appeal.

Never fails.
Gunner

EXEAC said...

Airtaximan

I cannot verify if money was put down on the additional DJ options. And yes, you are correct about the DJ markets, ABQ to PHX was a bad example.

Metal Guy said...

BTW: I’ve been looking at the system diagrams supplied by eclipse as they relate to the air data computer failures. I can’t find a single point failure that would cause both ADC’s to report invalid data. Humm…

Gunner said...

MG-
I don't think it was single point, but common flaw. EAC has admitted that both primary Pitot Tubes froze up simultaneously; hopefully a simple fix.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

exeac:

Yup... I've seen documents stating Dayjet has more than 1,000 orders, options etc... maybe things have changed since that date, it was a few years back.

I remember very little in the way of money down on these "orders" though. Could have been as little as $2 million.

If this is accurate, whould you agree that E-clips DOES NOT HAVE 2500 "orders"?

Another detail: If I'm a "real" position-holder, with a real deposit amounting to 10% of the purchase price, should I feel badly that someone is "bumping" my position, while they didn't really a deposit?

Also, I bought my e-clips based on BIG demand - thousands of orders reported since 2002 timeframe...and the program is based on high volume for success... should I feel defrauded if there was almost no money behind the Dayjet orders and this was not disclosed to me? They were called "real orders with deposits".

** this is a hypothetical example

Thanks

EXEAC said...

Airtaximan

I really do think Eclipse has legitimate orders that total 2500 AC. They would neeed to prove this to all the companies that did due diligence on them and the $$ are still coming in so that is where my logic comes from. Make sure you read your purchase agreement. I think it states they can add positions in front of yours which also include auctioned AC.

Gunner said...

exeac-
That's one of the problems with the revocation of all SN's and the reason I demanded a refund. People now have only a "delivery date" which Eclipse can basically slip anytime they want (as has been happening).

Dinosaur companies provide an actual Serial Number from which you can track the progress of your plane. Sure, they have open (or internal) positions in all segments of the production schedule. But if your number is 129, you can still track their progress toward delivery. If your have Eclipse Number Q-2/2008 you know only that they're holding $130K of your money, unsecured.

Additionally, we've learned from this Blog that one depositor had a SN in the low 1300's in spring 2005 and I received a SN of something like 1316 in July '06. Most definitely NOT transparent; especially when dealing with unsecured debt.

Gunner

airtaximan said...

exeac,

To gunner's point, "legitimate" orders would require around $30,000,000 for their 50 airplanes of the first hundred. Is that money in E-clips' bank?

People may belive anything they want, and put in whatever money they wish to invest based on what they see and are told.

People can accept the risk associated with 1,000 "orders" on e-clips' books with no commensurate financial backing, and accept the risk. Perhaps they were told a line, like "the money is coming" - and they said OK. I have no clue. somene should be able to point to $30 million in deposits for the first 50 Dayjet planes on "order"...no? Plus deposits for the rest.

My bet is under due diligence, they are shown some contract, and told to belive the air taxi revolution.

This does not mean it is so...see Enron for example.

Also, why the spending on ads and marketing tours at this stage, IF they have 2500 legit orders>
Why no transparency to the order book to investors...uh, I mean depositors? Why no position number matched to a S/N?

Makes no sense.

airtaximan said...

exeac,

for someperspective...

According to Vern, the 50 planes Dayjet is to receive from the first 100 produced will be delivered in the next few months...they still claim 400 deliveries this year...they will have to begin deliveries of dayjet planes in ernest soon, right?
;)

Where's the deposit and progress payment for them?

Gunner said...

AT-
In fairness, I wouldn't expect a fleet order to be backed by deposits in the same manner a single order is. Nor would you expect to buy a dozen Crown Vic's on the same terms as for just one.

However, in any case, you certainly would like to have a hull number, VIN or SN to track the company. I think a more interesting question might be who the "investors" in DayJet are.
Gunner

Gunner said...

DayJet Trivia:
Until 2005, DayJet's real corporate name was Jetson Systems Corporation.

No kidding. I'm not making this stuff up!
Gunner

hrr said...

Happy Birthday, Stan!

Wow, I can't believe I've been reading this thing for a year now. Thanks to all of you for your liveley discussion, and especially to Stan for starting this puppy up.

As a relative newbie in industry (less than 5 years), as opposed to Gadfly's having designed the seatbelts with Wilbur and Orville... ;-) I appreciate the valuable insights.

hrr said...

Ok, let me correct some of my typos...

liveley = lively

Gadfly's having designed the seatbelts with Wilbur and Orville... ;-) = Gadfly's having designed seatbelts FOR Wilbur and Orville.

Ahh, now I feel better.

Stan Blankenship said...

If you have a towel, who needs simulators! From the EOB:


"Some folks have tried using the 496 as the only reference in simulated IMC (towel over the head) with a safety pilot. The verdict is that, with practice, it is doable, but of course not as precise as having a real panel.

Wobbly, but safe. Also, the 496, with its faster refresh rate, makes this task easier than with the 396 or 296.

I agree that it is an amazing little box. It even has GPS approaches, but displays only the final approach segment."

Gunner said...

"Wobbly, but safe."

Please, Dear Lord, tell us this is not typical of the upcoming horde of EA-50X pilots. That's a TRULY frightening statement.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

exeac wrote,
"Day Jet is the biggest customer they have. Even though you see that DJ has announced 200 some odd orders, they bought options for many more and that is counting against the 2500 orders."

...bearing in mind that both Eclipse and Dayjet place those numbers firmly at 239 orders and 70 options, not "many more" (which otherwise suggests that the 2500 number is very soft).

Ken

Stan Blankenship said...

Ok Ken, save your ire. I'll admit, the EOB quote was taken out of context but it still makes me laugh.

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"Please, Dear Lord, tell us this is not typical of the upcoming horde of EA-50X pilots. That's a TRULY frightening statement."

Have you tried it yourself, Rich?

It is difficult to fly a plane in simulated or actual IMC with just a GPS "pseudo-panel" and nothing else. However it is decidedly less difficult than trying it with nothing at all. That is the point. The 496 can be a lifesaver even if every single thing on the panel quits. But it is inherently wobbly. Try it and see.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

goat wrote,
"Ken,
I give up!
Pray tell, what the heck went wrong with the Avidyne gig?"


It turned out they were unable to muster the personnel and fortitude to write the FMS. Avidyne is a great company, but it is small and became overwhelmed with the Eclipse project.

For Avio NG, Eclipse has turned to existing off-the-shelf, proven FMS software to avoid having the same problem again.

Ken

Gunner said...

"Have you tried it yourself?"

Essentially, yes I have; also options that are more challenging. I've just never bragged on it or rendered the verdict that it's "safe" to do so.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

there are 50 planes supposedly coming out of the factory in the next few months... they have to have parts ordered, and they need to be paid for.

Where's the money?

If you had a manufacturing company with 1500 real other orders, why would you screw up your entire business by accepting a piece of paper from a startup for most of your production?

Dayjet does not even need 1000 planes before the rest (of the real orders) are delivered. Why reserve them for them with no money?

It makes for great press - and that's why it's couched as "2500 orders with deposits".

Transparent BS.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

If you are right about the orderbook, ask Vern to disclose the amount of deposit money received so far.

1- inital deposits (10%)
2- progress payments


It's your risk...right? How much has been paid. There should be the first 200 planes or so plus the remainder of the orderbook in 10%ers or so.. That's a big number.

bill e. goat said...

I prepared the following the same time I came up my hocus-pocus cost estimates a couple of days ago. I was less certain of what follows, but based on Gunner's and Exeac's comments above, I think there is -some- accuracy in it.

More insightful folks, please correct as necessary- thanks!

...........

To me, there have been two very strange things of late, regarding Eclipse:

1)Suspension of s/n-based deliveries, or whatever they're calling it, or not calling it; and

2)Marketing tours to drum up sales, when there are already more orders on the books than they can handle (um, even if that number is three :)

Over the past couple of days, some information has soaked in (takes a while, what with the thick skin goats have about their tiny brain):

BIG MYSTERY ITEM # 1
(non serialized deliveries):

The suspension of s/n-based deliveries, already discussed over the weeks; add to this the discussion of “bumping” and “compression”. I'm not sure about “compression”, but “bumping” to me implies, someone gets pushed out of the way. I infer that this means, the guy who “bought” an airplane, say s/n 10, for $1M or so, is now being “bumped” out of the way, by someone willing else. And presumably this is happening because this “someone else” is willing to pay a premium.

This all adds up to, there isn't really a price in the contract, just an agreement that "you have to buy but we don't have to sell", with an escape clause for the buyer if the price rises, they can back out. Ken said as much a couple of days ago, by noting that Eclipse had raised the price in 2005, and given customers the option of bailing out (and he noted that not many did).

So, in reality, since Eclipse must have known prices would rise and trigger “refund” conditions, the contract is simply a pretext for taking deposits. It doesn't specify WHEN your airplane will be delivered, nor at what PRICE.

At best, it seems to put you “in the queue”, and you will be presented with an opportunity to “bid” on your airplane (big deal- it looks like ANYBODY can bid on it, so I don't understand what good a “sales contract” does); if you don't want to bid, fine: you can get a refund (as long as the price has risen by Vernfactor X dollars, above the “opt out” price). If you do want to bid, but lose, fine: you move further back the queue, and will be presented with other 'bidding” opportunities. (This keeps “orders on the books”,

Eclipse has the pleasure of deciding whether to force you to buy if prices drop, or they can sell to somebody else if prices rise).

I had thought there were two categories of customers: air-taxi, and individual operators. But now, I see that instead there are three completely different categories:

1)those who want the plane badly enough to pay a premium

2)those who want the plane, but can't or won't pay a premium (yet anyway, so they remain “in the queue”).

3)those who are speculators, and who DON'T want to own- ever. Instead, they WANT to stay in the queue, until somebody buys them out at an inflated price.

(I'm not quite sure how this last one will work, as I don't understand all the details about “bumping” and “compression”; e.g., how far back, and how many times, can you be “bumped”?).

BIG MYSTERY ITEM # 2
(Marketing tours):

I couldn't figure out why Eclipse would be “trying to sell more airplanes” at this point in time, rather than focusing on finishing development, and the near-term deliveries, like 800 to 2500 of them, particularly since one at a time is giving them fits).

Then it occurred to me, that Eclipse is selling lottery tickets, rather than airplanes: this explains why they are on marketing tours. They are collecting “deposit contracts”, rather than “sales contracts”. They are essentially securing loans, pure and simple.

If your “number comes up”, so to speak, and you don't bid high enough, you don't get your plane (sure you can get a refund, otherwise if you are difficult and refuse to bid up, maybe it will be years before your airplane is “scheduled”. But they have your deposit, starting now).

So Eclipse is selling lottery tickets, for 10% of the purchase price. I was wondering why they are collecting more ORDERS, well they are not. They are collecting more DEPOSITS. There is NO “order”, because they aren't “ordered” to do anything, other than offer you a chance to bid at the auction for your serial number- oops, excuse me, for “production unit xxx, not to be confused with sn xxx).

Eclipse has NOTHING to lose; if prices go up, they ditch you. If prices go down, they force you to buy. And sit on your 10 percent, for years. So they really are just collecting loans, it seems.

So:
For 10% down, you don't buy an airplane, you buy a ticket to the auction.

If this is true, then Eclipse won't need to declare bankruptcy to stay in business. Bankruptcy would allow the next owner to renegotiate the contracts. Instead, Eclipse can renegotiate them unilaterally, right now.

Pretty “creative”, “inventive”, “unethical”, take your pick.

gadfly said...

Maybe the arguments on this blogsite are not so much according to “Godwin’s Law”, but to the “Gore Factor” . . . global warming and all that sort of thing.

(Rumor has it that “George Jetson” is on the “board” and a silent partner . . . and that’s why the “name change”. The little jet is so simple even “Elroy” can fly it.)

gadfly

(Note to hrr: The inertia harness reel kept Orville from being thrown out on the sand, so he could fly another day . . . but I'll have to give the credit to my Dad, although he was born in 1913.)

Seriously, the first life saved with the system was Bill Vukovich, 1954, and the first air crash with lives saved was a Sikorsky "chopper" in the Swiss Alps, 1957. The same system is what you see, today, in the cockpit of almost any Boeing.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

That 496 test was performed by the President of the CVirrus Pilots and Owners organization to see if the Cirrus went dark in IMC could he fly the airplane safely with the 496 as a last resort. I thought it was good to hear that it could work. The 496 is an amazing box. I love mine. Best value in aviation.

Black Tulip said...

I've tried it too - flying an approach under the hood, using the instrument display page of a Garmin handheld. If this blog was oriented toward the Cessna 182 owner, then this could be useful information.

But to discuss this relation to a jet built along transport category guidelines? I wonder how many Eclipse deposit holders and enthusiasts have the ability to step back and ponder the current state of affairs?

In addition to questions about the basic flyablity of the avionics package, airborne radar is months away. I don't know of any current jet pilot who would not consider it a big stepdown to have the radar removed. Uplinked NEXEAD is not a legitimate alternative. As some bloggers have correctly noted, it is of strategic not tactical value.

Black Tulip

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly,
We're all thankful for the wonderful device (inertial reel, to a lesser degree, the E-500).

Did your company also get involved with auto seat belt inertial systems?

Buckerfan said...

Bill.e.goat proposes a very interesting explanation for the curious "bumping" and "compression" we are seeing in the Eclipse delivery schedule. However I think there is an even simpler explanation; some of the earliest on the delivery list are simply refusing to take delivery of their plane until such time as it is fully equipped with all promised eqipment, outfitted with aero mods etc etc. I know I would certainly do so. If I was position holder #<50 and Eclipse told me to come to ABQ, take delivery and pay the rest of my money I would tell them gladly to give my plane to Dayjet or whoever was clamooring for it sooner, and put me further back in line.

JetProp Jockey said...

Do date, there has been little comment relative to the true extent to which not having FIKI will have on the owners and operators of a high performance aircraft.

Let me preface my thoughts by saying that I have read several articles lately, one in the IFR magazine and another I think in the legal article in the AOPA magazine. They indicate that within the past six months or so, the FAA has issued some letters to clarify what they consider a violation of the flight into known icing if you are flying an aircraft that is not so certified.

The gist of the information is that the FAA considers it a violation to venture into or thru an area that has an airmet out for icing. If there are any PIREPS out for actual icing, the go no go is definately a no go.

What made me give some thought to this situaion is what I have experienced this week between Wednesday and today. I live and fly out of a small airport in south east PA and my daughter lives near Pittsburgh. On Wednesday I flew out to pick the family up. The entire route was VFR, but with a solid overcast that was down to about 5000 and up to 14,000 to FL200 at various spots along the way. There were PIREPS out for light to moderate rime and mixed ice. I picked up a reasonably small amount both going up and coming down on both directions. Not alot, just enough to know it was there.

The weather pattern stayed the same all day yesterday and this morning when I left to take them home, another Airmet was in effect for the majority of the Northeast. There were several PIREPS for icing. Again, I picked some up ascending as well and descending into Pitt airspace. That one required a cycle of the boots.

What I realized, is that if I was flying a jet (or a turboprop for that matter) that was not certified for icing, I would have been either grounded for the past 3 days or flying in violation of FAA rules.

If you assume the strictest interperation of the rules, that you so not venture into the areas or altitudes covered by an Airmet, I would say the 100 days of the year I would be grounded. You don't fly JetA burners at 5000 feet to stay below the weather.

I know that when the first Meridians were delivered they did not have the icing certified, but it was done quickly, if believe with a serious amount of money either unpaid or in escrow until the certification was supplied.

airtaximan said...

goat:

running a lottery is illegal in most states - for good reasons

;)

If what you are saying is true, all the planes so far would have been sold for a premium. This is not the case.

Also, eclips could make more money if they offer you the plane and you refuse to take it, IF the plane is seiously (legally)considered finished and aacceptable for delivery (a big if). You refuse, they keep your progress payment and your money, and you have defaulted. This is a big payoff for e-clips, instead of bumping.

I think the obvious answer is:

They really do not have the "orders". Notice the "s

They really do not have the confidence in the "orders"

They have to find customers, or soon, they are sunk.

Unless of course Dayjet HAS put up the progress payments for their 50 aircraft of the first hundred.

- its only $35Mil...

What's $35 mil between friends? Right Gunner?

airtaximan said...

Jetprop:

"If you assume the strictest interperation of the rules"

We're talking about E-clips, here?

ARE YOU JOKING!!????


hahahahah

JetProp Jockey said...

To clarify one item from my post above. The article I read indicated that you would be in vilation if you flew in the clouds in an area covered by an icing Airmet. Certainly you can fly clear of the clouds. In the summer there is almost always an Airmet for icing in clouds associated with thunderstorms, and this would not preclude flight as long as you stay out of the storms.

JetProp Jockey said...

I think there is a much more simple reason that Eclipse is trying to sell more aircraft.

If the deposits are all spent on start up costs and the WIP inventory on the floor, for every airplane you deliver, you need to replace it's spot with a new deposit. If effect, if there are 2500 orders on the books, and no new orders come in, by the time you are ready to make the last 1000 copies, you must spend the money to make the aircraft, but you can only afford to do so with relpacement deposits.

If a company is highly disciplined and only uses paid in capital and/or borrowed capital to do the start up, design and testing, and deposits are only used to purchase materials to build the aircraft, you don't have to replace deposits. If you use deposits for capital, you have created a big whirpool sucking money into it.

Gunner said...

Goat-
Eclipse Management may be incompetent in many ways, but they are most definitely not stupid. A "quiet" auction in the background would be quiet thru about the third "bump"; by then, someone would be P/O'd enough to go public.

No. I'm with BuckerFan on this. There WILL be a natural compression of the starting numbers. First off, how many non-135 jets can DayJet use? Secondly, how many owners would be guys like myself, not at all interested in leaseback or delivery of a jet I can't fly (even with training) except VMC; and far less than enthused by the prospect of taking an A-Model only to have it torn apart for retrofit "starting this summer".

Still, this does not explain the dissolution of the Serial Number system, to my understanding, a first for the industry.

JPJ-
Interesting observation. I'd venture to say that interpretation will ground 70% of General Aviation some significant portion of the year.

Finally on the continued pursuit of sales; no matter how you cut it, it indicates a cash flow issue; if Eclipse believed their own hype, they'd know that, come June or July, they'll be cranking out Jets that will easily command a $1.9-$2.3 million price; with that knowledge they'd be incentivesed to actually place a moratorium on new sales until the inevitable price increase.

Unless, of course, they REALLY need the deposit money. But do the math: that seems like an AWFULLY expensive way to obtain loans, even unsecured loans....asuming, of course, Eclipse believes its own press releases.
Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

Most of you bloggers need to take another trip to the E-clips factory. There you will see a S/N stamped on the side of the aircraft when the cockpit is assembled. As previously stated within this blog the first 54 S/N are assigned. Does anyone here think that the S/Ns are being swithced to facilitate the orders to DayJet?
There are numberous reasons why a higher S/N could be completed prior to a lower number.
1) the number of manufacturing discrepancies that need to have proper paper-work sold to the FAA.
2) options completion
3) flight test shake-out of systems
4 and on and on

Gunner said...

Green or Red-
I understand about the line issues and SN's. The question for me isn't number 43, but number 143 (or 643): nobody "owns" that number until it's assigned to an aircraft and the aircraft assigned to a customer. That leaves an awful lot of wiggle room for the manufacturer, especially when deposits are not secured and fresh money is needed.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

Jetprop wrote,
"They indicate that within the past six months or so, the FAA has issued some letters to clarify what they consider a violation of the flight into known icing if you are flying an aircraft that is not so certified."

Jetprop, there are some longstanding NTSB interpretations of "known icing" that have been employed for years by the FAA. "Known icing" is visibile moisture (clouds or precipitation) combined with freezing or near-freezing temperatures.

What's new right now is that the FAA is proposing a new definition that would take the existing definition: "If the composite information indicates to a reasonable and prudent pilot that he or she will encounter visible moisture at freezing or near freezing temperatures" and add the following: "and that ice will adhere to the aircraft along the proposed route and altitude of flight."

The latter gives the pilot a lot more leeway than he currently has. Today, a great many winter flights with non-FIKI aircraft violate the rules.

All that said, I think you would be extraordinarily hardpressed to find any case in which a pilot was forced to face a ticket action for flight into icing without a FIKI aircraft unless two things happened:

1. There was an accident, and
2. The pilot did not die.

So, there's not that much point in worrying about the definition if you're operating under Part 91. Air taxi guys, of course, have a much greater opportunity for action against them and the stuff I wrote about the likelihood of FAA action would not apply to them.

Eclipse says the plane will have FIKI by 9/30/07. In the meantime, although the icing circuit breakers are supposed to be collared, reports are that the stuff all works if you need it. Naturally, nobody is going to need it until the pitot tube problem is resolved.

Ken

gadfly said...

Goat

To answer your earlier questions, the nineteen patents were assigned to Pacific Scientific Corp. and all related devices were/are manufactured by them. Rather than take up space on this blogsite, you may get in touch with me by email through Stan . . . so as not to clutter up the site with side issues.

gadfly

Gunner said...

Ken-
I asked this a way back in this thread and suspect you didn't see it. Why is the D-Jet not a viable option for the type of flying you typically do? (not a trick question).

Does the single engine rule it out at any price?

If you'd prefer to respond by email: eclipse@thefiringline.com
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"Have you tried it yourself?"

Essentially, yes I have;"


That sounds like an equivocation, but I'll take it as a "yes," so good. If you tried it, you know that it is really just a last-resort measure unlikely to ever be used in real life unless you somehow found yourself in IMC with no instruments. And it turns out it is possible to fly a plane solely by reference to a 496 unit. That was the point of the EOB message.

I have a hunch the 496 will be nice to have in an Eclipse even after Avio NG is certified. I do not at all buy into the argument that the 3 Eclipse panels have a realistic possibility of going dead simultaneously, but the 496 will provide an insurance policy against that remote possibility until the Avio NG units are proven in the field for a year or so. Probably not a bad idea with the Mustang either, given it's recent history of panel shutdowns.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"I asked this a way back in this thread and suspect you didn't see it. Why is the D-Jet not a viable option"

No, I saw it :)

I think the D-Jet looks interesting but has a couple of problems:

1. It will be limited to FL250, so you cannot get over a lot of the weather. I can fly that high now, and sometimes it isn't high enough.

2. Because it is limited to FL250, it has a fuel efficiency problem at highspeed cruise. The range figures they give are at longrange cruise (so are Eclipse's but the difference between HSC and LRC for the Eclipse at FL410 is very small).

3. I'm not entirely thrilled with the prospect of going back to a single engine aircraft. I've never owned a single engine turbine, but we used to own a Mooney. I clearly recall the sickening sensation in my stomach one day when I was flying the 340 talking on the radio to my wife who was flying the Mooney. Suddenly she announced that the oil pressure had just gone to zero, "what do I do?" "Crash?" was all I could think of, but I didn't say it.

4. The last time I checked, they were so far down the road on realistic delivery time that it turned me off to them.

I do think it's an interesting possibility as an owner/pilot aircraft. They've got a long way to go before they have a product. For now, it's really vaporware, just like the PiperJet and the Cirrus "The Jet." Say what you will about Eclipse claiming a finished product before it was (and that's true; they did)--Eclipse is miles ahead of Diamond. There are any number of things that could completely torpedo the D-Jet, but if it reaches completion, I'd certainly take a good look at it.

Maybe it will be my "step-down" airplane when I get a little older :)

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I've also stood downrange while someone performed live fire into a target that I was leaning against. Pretty stupid, huh? I agree.

The point was that there are trainers out there who claim that it gets you ready for a "real gunfight". As I expected to demonstrate, my pulse remained under 72 bpm. It didn't feel anything like a "gunfight"; it just "felt", well, stupid. It's a pretty pointless exercise and I'd hardly call it "safe".

And so it is with the 496 and a towel. Of course it can be done and shouldn't require any special training to do it. So what? Ever tried to descend, Simulated IMC, with nothing but a flashlight suspended from the ceiling as a plumb-bob and a view of your power settings? It CAN be done rather easily, and I've done it. But, from a practical standpoint, it was pretty pointless.

Then again I fly Dinosaur aircraft with mechanical backup redundancy. I do agree, if I owned an Eclipse, I'd absolutely own a 496 if mechanical backups were not available. They are on the Mustang.

Gunner

Gunner said...

Ken-
Thanks for the perspective on the D-Jet. Agreed that Diamond is behind Eclipse in development. But then, Diamond has a terrific history of bringing innovative and safe aircraft to full certification and production; Eclipse has, well, a different kind of history.

Also agreed, the on-paper D-Jet is most certainly a step down from the on-paper EA-50X. But you can't fly a paper aircraft, no matter who manufactures; so it'll be interesting to see how this plays out, once both jets move past the vapor-ware stage.

Appreciate your perspective on it, honestly. Can you quantify or explain the fuel inefficiencies at high speed cruise? I hadn't picked up on it.
Gunner

flyger said...

Ken wrote:

I do not at all buy into the argument that the 3 Eclipse panels have a realistic possibility of going dead simultaneously, but the 496 will provide an insurance policy against that remote possibility until the Avio NG units are proven in the field for a year or so. Probably not a bad idea with the Mustang either, given it's recent history of panel shutdowns.

The Mustang has backup instruments.

The Mustang doesn't have a history of panel black outs as far as I know. Source?

I'm amused that you consider Eclipse panel black outs to be remote enough to bet your life on it, but claim Mustang already has such a history. What makes Mustang vulnerable and Eclipse immune?

If your answer is that Eclipse knows what they are doing and Cessna does not, I'll have a good laugh.

Bambazonke said...

If you want to hear what Ed of Day Dreamers has to say about how he is going to make the VLJ program work in the air taxi line, read here;

http://tinylink.com/?c7wenev7BE

Gunner said...

Bamba-
Linky no worky.

As to Ed Iacobucci: He's one of the few Eclipse pieces that doesn't fit the puzzle. He may be a dreamer, but he's got one helluva successful track record, from what I've read and heard down here (4 miles from his office).
Gunner

gadfly said...

Gunner

The "link" is downloading as I speak . . . although I may not care that much to listen to it. It was at first "blocked" by our firewall . . . it's 13.9MB.

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

bambazonke's link:

http://www.avweb.com/
podcast/podcast/194922-1.html

(audio interview with Big Ed).

Gunner said...

Wow!

Listening to it now. Ed certainly is a "systems guy". He's so wrapped in the Linear Programming aspects, I wonder if he's looked at the basics of the business. Linear Programming models developed in the 1940's and 1950's could probably suffice for his purposes; unless you're serving scores of customers per day on dozens of aircraft....which is, of course, the business plan.

That's the model. You're going from Boca to Gainesville; someone else calls in last minute; they need to be picked up in Sarasota and taken to Jacksonville. No problem...we dump your itinerary into the model and respond whether one of our planes can pick you up, without "inconveniencing" our other "pax".

His model requires LOTS of "pax" and LOTS of DEPENDABLE, fully utilized aircraft. Throw one cracked windshield into the matrix and one can only guess the havoc it could wreak. Still, he's spent 5 years on the software (which is, in his words, the "nugget" of the business plan). Best to him.


Quotes:
"Very modern avionics [stutter] ultimately. We're doing that in 'stages' with Eclipse"

"We intend to take advantage of 'all [of] that' as it becomes available"

"We're adding a third MECHANICAL instrument [AI for 135]". Ken will probably cancel his Deposit as a result. Remember how dangerous he claimed the FAA said those are? ;-)

Perish the thought!
Gunner

gadfly said...

Listen up, everyone out there!

Like bamba said, download the interview at "http://tinylink.com/?c7wenev7BE" . . . the download is 13.9MB, and the interview is 15 minutes 17 seconds in length.

The man tells it like he sees it, yet it should scare the socks off anyone who reads between the lines. I would just as soon buy shares in the Brooklyn Bridge . . . these folks are downright scary! But then that's just the impression of the gadfly.

Oh yeh, listen carefully to the assumptions of the last five minutes. And "No", I do not want a rebuttle. For over three decades I've learned what it takes to "make a profit", and what I just now heard "don't cut it, no how", thank you!

gadfly

Gunner said...

ps:
He left out the part about clear days (VMC) only. ;-)

Personally, I'm not certain why the company even mentioned the Pitot heat problem unless it's more significant than I would guess. Seems to me all you do is turn up the heat with greater current or bigger heaters.

With no sarcasm intended, I'd have expected a problem like that to have been resolved before the report could be made. If it becomes a dragged out problem, Lord knows what Avio NG is gonna require.
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gunner,
I agree with your probe ice solution- turn up the heat (I think that's what's happening to Vern lately too :).

I checked out the Harco website, the only pitot probe I could find is this integrated looking thing:

http://www.harcolabs.com/
air-data-systems/pitot-probes.asp

Maybe the integrated stuff can't take the environment. Says it's TSO'd though...Seems odd.

gadfly said...

OK, folks . . . the week has come to an end and for you who like models, here's a video "just for fun":

http://users.skynet.be/fa926657/files/B29.wmv

gadfly

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

did you read anywhere that Ed was kicked out of his company for misinforming the public, stock manipulation?

Is this impressive to you?

airtaximan said...

guys,

believe it or not, I have it on pretty good authority that it took 7 of the 8 years to convince Vern the pitos needed heat.

Amazing, but true. The system was designed without heat for many, many years.

Low cost has its disadvantages...

airtaximan said...

I've listened to Ed before. What amazed me, and this is completly consistent with Vern, was...

they never considered the market first. It's all about technology.

I would bet the Dayjet human genome, their real time optimization system, etc...will go the way of Avidyne and Williams EJ22...

Only a matter of time...it all looked so good on paper, all looked so good to the investors, all made so much computing/math sense.

None of it mades any market sense -take folks out of their cars, impose stopovers, $3 per mile, discounts for inconvenience factors, really small planes with no ammenities..etc...

BIG FAT JOKE

Computerworld meets real aviation world

Sounds like a little company that burnt millions a few years back, called SLATE

Gunner said...

AT-
Yes, I've heard that Ed was ousted from Citrix. I also know that the company pretty much went downhill after he left.

I've "heard" that my next door neighbor was a wife-beater, that David Koresh was a child molester and that anyone who faces the barrel of a cop's gun "probably had it coming".

I tend to discount those stories, absent real evidence.
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Listening to Ed of Dayjet, I was pleased with his humility and candor. Just like Vern. (Almost:).

He mentions "the optimizer", his software that does the scheduling. If that's the "engine" behind his market plan, maybe he will spin the software off. I would suspect he considers it a proprietary advantage for now, but if his air taxi scheme doesn't work out...

Maybe your next Domino's Pizza delivery will be orchestrated through Ed's "optimizer". (It does seem like there would be a lot of applications to it, including military battle management. Now if Vern can just convert those un-delivered E-500's into drones...)

airtaximan said...

ken:

first hand...this is flat out wrong!

"They've got a long way to go before they have a product. For now, it's really vaporware, just like the PiperJet and the Cirrus "The Jet."

Diamond is way further along than you say

airtaximan said...

It does seem like there would be a lot of applications to it, including military battle management

you would think so, but you are wrong -

there isn't

think about it

airtaximan said...

Gunner, its not "heard" - they lied to the public - Ed was ousted.

Check the public record

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
I don't follow you. If Ed has some whiz bang algorithm to schedule resources "efficiently", in a chaotic and unpredictable environment, well, that sounds perfect for battle management.

F-16's, Subs, Tanks : too much tasking, not enough resources; make the best of what you have through efficient dispatching (and dispatching the bad guys!).

Whether Ed's algorithm actually works or not, tbd. But the idea, business, warfare, political fundraising, pizza deliveries?
We're on the verge of a bright new world, full of disruptive technology!!! Don't be a luddite!

(Seriously, I don't get your point. Opps, gotta run. Pizza's here...)

Gunner said...

AT-
I tried the Public Record. Looks like a Board battle in the midst of a Dot Com crash. There were suits, yes; but they would have happened anyway. There were no charges ever contemplated, to my understanding.

Do you have a source?
Gunner

gadfly said...

goat

Go get em' . . . gotta run . . . 'wonder if the little jet flew today, rain and all that sort of thing . . . 'hope they had their GPU up and running. Good thing it doesn't rain in Florida!

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
btw, I agree with your assesment regarding the HARDWARE:

"None of it mades any market sense -take folks out of their cars, impose stopovers, $3 per mile, discounts for inconvenience factors, really small planes with no ammenities..etc..."

Concerning the SOFTWARE, well, I don't think we know enough about it to discount it (or to invest in it! :).

Also, do you think Ed might consider selling select customers "packages", e.g., X many flights/ Y miles per year with Z hours notice per hop? That might be attractive to both parties. Still not sure the E-500 is the right Hardware for the job.

(Not sure Vern has the right "firmware" upstairs either. Maybe he's due for an upgrade? (Did they get that USB deal working? :)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gadfly,
Thanks for the neat link to the B-29/X-1. That is really cool!

(I'll have Stan "patch me in", too!)

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"Ever tried to descend, Simulated IMC, with nothing but a flashlight suspended from the ceiling as a plumb-bob and a view of your power settings? It CAN be done rather easily, and I've done it."

...Unless you'd like to know which way you're pointing and whether you're going straight or turning :)

A plumb bob is a slip indicator, nothing more, nothing less. You could make a 360 degree turn, and your plumb bob wouldn't show you a thing if it's a coordinated turn. Heck, you could turn left, and the plumb bob says that you're turning right depending upon where you put the rudder! You could do a barrel roll, and think you're rightside up when you're actually upside down!

That one's hogwash, gunner. A plumb bob is not enough to fly a plane in IMC. A Garmin 496 is.

Ken

airtaximan said...

goat,

"well, that sounds perfect for battle management"

sooo...why isn't anyone clamoring to use it for that? Its a non competing business, and could generate $zillions.

There are real systems doing this already, not Dayjet.

By the way... there is not much difference between an airline scheduling system, and dayjet, except you need to match planes with pax at the end, not at the beginning (a schedule). The lack of this understanding is astonishing to me. Millions have been spent on airline reservation systems, fleet management systems, and this is NO different.

airtaximan said...

Ed facination with lowest hourly operating cost, proves they have no strategy to get more than one pax on the plane at a time. Its humerous, or sad.

Why not use the D-jet? He wants to lose as little money as possible on flights with one pax...that IS the strategy.

So what good is his engine? What does it optimize...

Think hard, the airlines fleet management systems do this already, big time.

Ken Meyer said...

at wrote,
"I have it on pretty good authority that it took 7 of the 8 years to convince Vern the pitos needed heat."

That would be pitots, right?

It's hogwash, anyway. Vern Raburn is an accomplished pilot and would not need to be convinced that pitot heat is necessary to prevent the ASI from acting as an altimeter (if the tube and drain are fully blocked with ice) or reading zero (if a pitot tube is blocked but not its drain).

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ed cllaims... his business, simulation, software etc...LEAD HIM TO THIS (not true by the way...)

Gaot says he agrees with:
HARDWARE:

"None of it mades any market sense -take folks out of their cars, impose stopovers, $3 per mile, discounts for inconvenience factors, really small planes with no ammenities..etc..."

But not software...well, Mr. Goat, the software LEAD to this conclusion. He can chose ANY jet he wants, right?

What led him to E-clips?

We all know...just won't say.

It makes for a nice story, but a VLJ does not a taxi make. Sorry Ed.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

Many peoople have worked on the program, bid the program, and have been involved and uninvolved in the design and the development program.

You happen to be dead wrong on this one.

Amazing, isn't it?

Think about your accomplished pilot CEO G_D.

He tried to get the FAA to not reuire bird-strik test on the engines at first, for years, as well. Does this make any sense? NO. But to him, it did. He bought a patent from Williams stating aft config of engines tucked behind the fat part of the fuselage should not reuire bird strike/FOD testing, because ingestion was not possible. Tried to cut this corner on safety. It failed. Crabing happens, and the engines need airflow, so they were moved outboard. Sorry Vern. Something tells me he thought icing the pitots would not be a problem either.

And Avidyen would be a good supplier...

Sorry, Ken.

Untie rubber band, remove needle from arm.

BAD judgement all around.

BTW, lat week we were told someone was told by Vern they would have their plane "delivered" within a week. Where's the promised plane?

I'm sure the CofA was promised, just like Dayjet's. Where's the plane... I thought E-clips was getting better at predicting the deliveries and cofa's since they are closer to delivery - where's the cofaed plane?

airtaximan said...

ken:
t

happy now

Gunner said...

Doncha love it when a plan comes together?

Ken said:
"That one's hogwash, gunner. A plumb bob is not enough to fly a plane in IMC. A Garmin 496 is."

Persactly, Ken.

You can't fly a plane, IMC, with a plumb bob. Now keep believing that a Garmin 496 in your aircraft is all you need. That is, after all, what you clearly proclaim in the last sentence of your statement, "A Garmin 496 is [enough]." Hell, guy. Buy two and you'll have full "redundancy". :-D

Vern should be paying you, not the other way around. You really are the perfect Eclipse customer. No offense intended.
Gunner

Metal Guy said...

Ken Said: I do not at all buy into the argument that the 3 Eclipse panels have a realistic possibility of going dead simultaneously..

I agree with Ken on this one. I too recently looked over the system architecture diagrams and could not find any possibly way that both air data computers could generate bad altitude simultaneously.

Completely unrealistic. And anyone who claims otherwise is simply bashing Eclipse without actual facts. Completely safe. Load up the family.

flyger said...

metal guy wrote:

I too recently looked over the system architecture diagrams and could not find any possibly way that both air data computers could generate bad altitude simultaneously.

This after a letter from Eclipse describing three instances where both ADCs lost airspeed indications at the same time. The only difference between that and altitude is the particular pressure being measured. Otherwise, it could have been altitude if the static ports had a simialr problem.

Just because an engineer at Eclipse thinks they have no coupled faults doesn't mean there aren't any. A wise person would want to hedge their bets with backup instruments. Failure of the panels in IMC is more serious than failure of both engines.

I'd make sure the 496 had a good battery that was fully charged and that I knew how to fly the airplane by it alone. Someone will do it someday.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

And this 'can't happen' hubris sounds familiar because, 37 years ago this week, as the Apollo 13 command module Odysey was on its way to the Moon, at a distance of 199,990 miles from Earth, the number two oxygen tank, one of two tanks contained in the Service Module (SM), exploded. Mission Control had requested that the crew stir the oxygen tanks, a task required to prevent the oxygen ‘slush’ from stratifying. The Teflon-insulated wires that provided electricity to the stirrer motor were damaged, causing a large fire when electricity was passed through them. The fire heated the surrounding oxygen, increasing the pressure inside the tank above its nominal 1,000 PSI (7 MPa) limit, causing the tank to explode.


Jim Lovell: Ah, Houston, we have a problem.

Gene Kranz: EECOM, is this an instrumentation problem, or are we looking at real power loss here?

Sy Liebergot: It's, it's reading a quadruple failure - that can't happen! It's, it's got to be instrumentation.

THOSE WHO DO NOT KNOW HISTORY ARE DOOMED TO REPEAT IT.

Ahh, Albuquerque, we have a problem.

BD5 Believer said...

Stan,

Happy birthday! and thanks for repositioning my post on Vern's comments about Cessna.

Ken Meyer said...

flyger wrote,
"Just because an engineer at Eclipse thinks they have no coupled faults doesn't mean there aren't any. A wise person would want to hedge their bets with backup instruments."

That's decent advice, and Eclipse follows it. It has fulltime backup attitude, airspeed, heading and altitude indicators.

Sounds like maybe you think the two Mustang pitot tubes are immune to freezing because one of them feeds a mechanical backup instrument. That doesn't make any sense to me.

Also, while some members here have complained because Eclipse discovered a fault mode with a pitot probe from a respected manufacturer, I think their redundant 3-probe system worked as designed: the third probe successfully provided the pilots with speed information despite the unexpected failure of the main probes. By the way, Mustang, having only 2 probes, would have lost all pitot information with a similar fault.

"it could have been altitude if the static ports had a simialr problem."

The Mustang has two static sources. So your obseration, I think, is that the Mustang might lose all altitude information if it experienced a similar freezing situation. Could be, but somehow I doubt it. (Incidentally, Eclipse has 4 static sources)

Ken

BD5 Believer said...

In reference to a possible IPO..

In the current market, you will not get an sniff at an IPO without real earnings (EBITDA) with a track record...not just a "surge" or a line of BS.

Whether an IPO , or a straight purchase with private funds...investors are demanding a substainable / verifiable track record of EBITDA and Cash...two numbers you cannot play games with. Your company is either generating EBITDA and Cash - or it is not.

As an earleier poster alluded to, the Dot.Com days of BS'ing your way through an IPO are over. Look at the last years worth of data...it is very hard to float an IPO right now.

That is why I see Vern getting so ornery and pissy - the wheels are spinning off, and he was supposed to exit with his IPO many months ago.

The recent the string of posts on actual production costs verses sell price are very relevant right now. Regardless of the current technical issues, without profitability there is no IPO and Vern has lost his exit strategy. And possibly no Eclipse - not everyone survives chapter 7, 11, or 13.

bill e. goat said...

Ken,
I agree with you regarding pitot probes- it does seem extraordinarily odd that Cessna only has two. A birdstrike could partially damage one, then, like the man with two watches, what time is it really.

Frank, maybe you can check this out for us.

Thanks.

flyger said...

That's decent advice, and Eclipse follows it. It has full time backup attitude, airspeed, heading and altitude indicators.

Note that those backups depend on millions of lines of the same code as the primary, tens of millions of transistors, thousands of parts, and thousands of connections. Not really the same as a gyro mounted right in the panel, or even an independent electronic set of instruments. There's simply too much wiring between the panels, a fault in one could send damaging signals to the others.

Sounds like maybe you think the two Mustang pitot tubes are immune to freezing because one of them feeds a mechanical backup instrument. That doesn't make any sense to me.

They don't feed a mechanical instrument. But the Mustang wouldn't loose both airspeed and AOA from the freeze up of one sensor. In this way, Mustang, with two pitots, two AOAs, actually has 4 sensors to provide airspeed/angle versus Eclipse that has three. Maybe that's why Eclipse has a third pitot, the FAA wouldn't accept the loss of both airspeed and AOA together without a third instrument.

By the way, Mustang, having only 2 probes, would have lost all pitot information with a similar fault.

That's BS. The Mustang pilot would then have two AOA probes which, BTW, are actually more useful than airspeed for critical phases of flight. The Eclipse, by tying AOA to pitot tubes, coupled faults and needs a third system to recover from that.

Once again, Vern is choosing "disruptive" technologies. He just didn't tell us customers were the ones being disrupted. :-)

FlightCenter said...

Ken - I have to call you on this statement...


For Avio NG, Eclipse has turned to existing off-the-shelf, proven FMS software to avoid having the same problem again.

Ken, Please tell us who exactly is providing the existing off-the-shelf, proven FMS software for Avio NG.

Black Tulip said...

Regarding an IPO...

The prospectus for an Initial Public Offering always includes a section entitled "Risk." The investment bankers on the Eclipse Aviation offering can save a great deal of money by simply including the entire contents of this blog, entitled "Risk."

Black Tulip

FlightCenter said...

The Eclipse AOA is calculated based on using a differential pressure probe.

This is a much more complicated method of providing AOA than just reporting the position of a mechanical vane. It takes a science project to get it right.

Eclipse has choosen complexity, program, certification and schedule risk for almost every design decision they've made.

I believe the reason for going with the differential pressure sensor is that a differential pressure probe is slightly less expensive than using a mechanical vane solution.

Cessna has chosen the conservative, tried and true, proven AOA solution.

FlightCenter said...

In terms of Eclipse profitability for the first year of production, has anyone calculated how much money Eclipse is going to spend retrofitting the first 100 aircraft?

Has anyone calculated how much time Eclipse is going to need to complete the retrofits?

Has anyone determined where that manpower is going to come from?

Has anyone calculated how long those first 100 aircraft are going to be out of service while the mods are being completed?

Has anyone calculated how much compensation Eclipse will be required to provide to the owners of those first 100 aircraft while the aircraft are not available for their intended use?

Once those calculations are completed, they need to be rolled into the EBITDA discussions.

Stan Blankenship said...

Will start a new post later today on the IPO, so hold your thoughts on this subject and let's discuss it in detail later.

On the Eclipse philosophy of system integration, my concern is that it appears to be at the expense of system independence.

This can make it hard to certify and vulnerable to a total failure of all systems that is supposed to happen only once every ten to the plus ten, flight-hours.

airtaximan said...

In the Avweb interview, Ed said Dayjet will be adding mechanical backup instruments to the aircraft.

GOOD JUDGEMENT

one might ask WHY? given the promise of complete safety with the e-clips avionics package?

Eric said...

Because it's required for Part 135.

Ken Meyer said...

flyger wrote,
"The Mustang pilot would then have two AOA probes which, BTW, are actually more useful than airspeed for critical phases of flight. The Eclipse, by tying AOA to pitot tubes, coupled faults and needs a third system to recover from that."

That's not what my Mustang literature says. Perhaps our resident Cessna man will help us here, but my specifications booklet says the Mustang has nothing that the company calls an AOA vane. It has a single "stall warning vane" mounted on the right side of the nose. It's not crystal clear to me, from the description, that the Mustang system actually displays AOA information anywhere for the pilot or uses the vane for anything other than stall warning.

The literature is clear that there are not two vanes as you suggested, and it implies that the one vane the plane does have is not a full-function AOA indicator but merely a stall warning.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

flightcenter asked,
"Ken, Please tell us who exactly is providing the existing off-the-shelf, proven FMS software for Avio NG."

Chelton:

"Avio NG will also include a flight management system (FMS) provided by Chelton Flight Systems. This FMS has been proven in multiple aircraft installations and now has flight guidance algorithms for all of the ARINC 424 published path segments. The guidance functionality provided includes GPS-based lateral aircraft control, along with vertical navigation (VNAV). The Chelton FMS will be integrated into the Avio NG, presenting the pilot with a consistent user interface. This full-feature RTCA/DOA-229C capable flight management system also includes capability to create, save, store, recall, reverse, and edit flight plans by waypoint or airway. Chelton Flight Systems, part of the Cobham Avionics & Surveillance Division, is the manufacturer of the world's first FAA-certified synthetic vision EFIS, which is now STCd on over 700 airplane and helicopter models."

Ken

airtaximan said...

Eric,

Yup...but remember, this airplane WAS DESIGNED as an "air taxi" plane.

I guess we'll put " around this one, too.

;0

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Come on guys, give Ken a break, he just has a little problem with sentence tense, that is all.

They say "Avio NG will also..."

He reads that as DOES - simple explanation really - Ken takes it on faith it will eventually do what they say it will do. Faith, uh oh, I am mixing this with the religion discussion.

FWIW - My paper airplane has missiles and bombs and machine guns and phasers - you are all green with envy of my paper airplane.

My paper airplane is so cool though, that I have to prop up my decision to gamble on the paper airplane company by tearing down the legitimate, long time and successful companies like Cessna, Diamond, Cirrus, Columbia, Mooney and the likes. They are a bunch of clueless dinosaurs that cannot compete with my paper airplane company.

And although we are having a few minor teething problems at the paper airplane company, we take solace in the fact that our competitors, clueless dinosaurs that they are, are having trouble too - see that proves we are a real, respectable and accomplished company too, just like those great clueless dinosaurs with their history of making airplanes ever since there were airplanes.

You just wait 'till my paper airplane is done - I'll show you, I'll show you all.

Muuuahahahahahahahaha!

Black Tulip said...

I've read more about the Paper Airplane in the last few days than for years before. I'm rethinking the whole flying proposition.

Why have I been wasting time, money and effort on a Metal Airplane when things would be so much simpler with a Paper Airplane?

To start, I could have saved a great deal of money in getting RVSM approval, if I had the Paper Airplane.

No more worries about escalating fuel prices.

User fees would not be a big deal.

Weather below minimums - no sweat and no alternate.

Freezing rain in the forecast - not to worry.

Annual recurrent training - it's easy.

Finally, even the simplest tasks would get easier. I couldn't find chocks on the ramp in the Southeast last week and the wind was supposed to blow hard. Paper Chocks work with a Paper Airplane.

Black Tulip

airtaximan said...

coldwetmac,

Imagne actually thinking and projecting to receive a PC shortly after receiving the (prov) type certificate?

Just imagine how incredibly misguided this was, plus...

- Williams engine
- Nimbus
- avio-dyne
- production rate

- air taxi market?

Same thinking, BIG RISK - through and through. So big, so consistently wrong, that I fear a lack of understanding and respect for risk.

Your aviation company should have a different overall attitude towards risk.

Metal Guy said...

Metal Guy Said:
I too recently looked over the system architecture diagrams and could not find any possibly way that both air data computers could generate bad altitude simultaneously.

Flyger said:
This after a letter from Eclipse describing three instances where both ADCs lost airspeed indications at the same time.

Oh, that’s right – I forgot about that. So my armchair analysis of the system diagrams in that case didn’t show the whole picture and I was wrong. Ho Hum – it happens.

Well, at least we know for a fact that all three tubes can’t experience a similar common mode failure – I’m sure of it this time – I’ve even looked at the system diagrams to prove it.

And besides, just like the remainder of the airframer industry, Eclipse has taken the conservative route and included independent backups for everyone just in case the impossible happens again. Safety first you know!

P.S.

The FMS is from the old Sierra Flight Systems experimental EFIS. I believe they have already had AD’s on that system for providing reverse guidance. No worries.

Stan Blankenship said...

atm,

This lack of understanding dates back to the beginning of the program.

Eclipse scheduled the Type Inspection Authorization at the beginning of the flight test program.

No, that's not how the system works. The company first needs to test fly the airplane then the FAA will come in issue the TIA before an FAA pilot will set foot in the airplane.

Then they under estimated the time to receive a full TC, and expected to receive the PC immediately thereafter.

Now Eclipse has a big demo tour scheduled for Europe and will tell those poor souls across the pond they are working on JAA certification and it will be complete in a matter of months.

When will they learn?

FlightCenter said...

ken.... from your quote...

"The Chelton FMS will be integrated into the Avio NG, presenting the pilot with a consistent user interface."

My reading of this quote is that the Chelton FMS is not an "existing off-the-shelf, proven FMS software for Avio NG".

The Chelton FMS will need to be "integrated into the Avio NG". My reading of that statement means that:

1) the code will need to be ported to the IS&S displays,

2) the FMS code will need to change to become compatible with the Avio user interface,

3) the FMS code will need to be changed to interface with an autopilot they haven't interfaced with before.

4) the FMS code will need to be changed to interface with the Honeywell radios.

This list provides only a few examples of where the FMS will need to be changed. Eclipse engineers will require a very large number of changes to "integrate the FMS into the Avio NG." The FMS is not by any definition "off-the-shelf".

In terms of the comment "proven" what other aircraft manufacturer has delivered an aircraft using the "proven" FMS. I don't think any.

See the Chelton website for a description of their current product. It is an awfully long way away from what is promised for Avio NG.

http://www.sierraflightsystems.com/Prod_cert_sys_compat.html

It is my understanding that the FMS code will be modified to meet these requirements by Eclipse and their EFB vendor... Strategic Aeronautics.

Gunner said...

FC-
Want the Vern response?

"Details. Minor details. We've been working on this for months."


Ken earlier argued how far Diamond is behind Eclipse. I pretty much let that go, in order to avoid a pissing contest. But the fact of the matter is that Eclipse is so far from final design, let alone certification, they're probably no closer to production of REAL aircraft than "been there, done that" companies like Cirrus and Diamond (maybe even Piper).

The current Eclipse certification is good only for press release and deposit collection at this point. In fact, it essentially represents a design that will never be regularly flown by an owner pilot.

Sure, Vern will announce "essential completion" of Avio NextGrift this summer; and the fine print will read "undergoing FAA Certification". Meantime, he'll continue limping planes out of the factory, handing the keys to the new "owner", smiling for the cameras and taking the keys back.

DayJet will fly with significantly modified avionics, because they really don't need the performance that the paper airplane has to offer.

Meantime the owner/pilot aircraft is so far from design completion that the words "ready for prime time" are not yet in Eclipse's lexicon.

No offense, Ken. Just my humble opinion.
Gunner

Jim said...

I don't have a dog in this fight, but I do have a comment on the backup flight instrument issue.

Back in 2001 or 2002 I think, I was at one of Eclipse tent shows at Oshkosh. I was looking at the panel pictures they were showing and didn't see any backup instruments.

So I raised my hand and asked Vern about it. He gave me the same answer that I guess he does today. They had multiple AHRS boxes, and multiple displays, so that there would never be a problem showing attitude data.

I remember forming a mental picture of one of the little 3" electronic backup instruments that many transport aircraft have. They are a self-contained unit, show attitude, altitude, and heading, are all electronic, run on DC, and have an internal battery.

(In the F-4 we had a prehistoric version of this, a little 'peanut gage' ADI that would run on interia for about 10 minutes if all power was lost.)

I then formed a mental picture of the blank screens in the B-757 'Gemli Glider' (sp?).

I distinctly recall thinking that Vern's answer sure seem complicated compared to just installing a self-contained box.

FlightCenter said...

To jim and metalguy,

Regarding your concerns on display blanking and the promises that this could never happen...

Look at the following Airworthiness Directive.

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-2761.htm

This particular AD was related to all four Honeywell displays blanking simultaneously on a Gulfstream.

There are similar reports (mentioned in this AD) of all four displays blanking simultaneously on an Embraer 170.

Murphy says - What can go wrong, will go wrong...

FlightCenter said...

http://a257.g.akamaitech.net/7/257/2422/01jan20051800/edocket.access.gpo.gov/2005/05-2761.htm

Here is the complete link to the AD ...

Or you can type the words

Honeywell Gulfstream Embraer Display Problem

into Google and click on the top result

Wowsers said...

Stan,
I didn't realize it was just last April. Time flies when you bleed money, eh? I agree with Richard re: your divine work. Actually those of us actually building sustainable biz models (ok, well trying!) have a lot to lose by the Eclipse saga getting worse. Oh well.. time to start cozying up to UBS I guess...maybe they'll let us clean up post debacle. -- Adam
p.s. great April article on www.richardaboulafia.com about Eclipse if you have not already seen it