Sunday, April 15, 2007

Thoughtful Analysis from Two Readers.

First from flightcenter:

1) Honeywell has an excellent track record for predicting the size of new aircraft markets. They have very sophisticated models and access to lots of "insider" information, but most importantly, they have been consistently right in their predictions time and again, year after year. Ask around the industry if you want to validate this fact.

2) Both Cirrus and Diamond have proven their ability to manufacture large numbers of inexpensive aircraft at a profit. Look at the GAMA numbers. They will be able to take advantage of their high capacity production infrastructure to amortize some of their jet production costs. Their track record provides confidence that they are likely to meet their price targets.

3) Both Cirrus and Diamond have proven their ability to certify innovative aircraft and stay close to their schedules while doing it.

4) Both Cirrus and Diamond are building substantially simpler and easier to produce aircraft (and hence less costly aircraft) than Eclipse is building. Just a couple examples, they don't need to worry about pressurizing the airplane to 41,000 feet. They don't need to certify to RVSM standards. They don't need quick donning oxygen masks... The list goes on and on...

5) Both Cirrus and Diamond have built an extremely large and loyal customer base that is ready to step up and will tend to stick Cirrus and Diamond aircraft if given the choice. (By the way, so has Cessna).

6) Cirrus and Diamond customers are predominantly single engine piston customers and a single engine jet will be an easier transition for their customers hoping to step up. There are significant barriers to entry for customers wanting to step up from single engine piston aircraft. Getting and paying for insurance is going to be a major problem for the folks stepping up from smaller, lower performance aircraft. This will not be as big a problem for piston pilots stepping up to a lower performance, single engine personal jet.

7) We do know that Eclipse has been selling the E500 since May of 2000 when they started taking Platinum, Gold and Silver deposits. If we are to believe Ken, then they have taken deposits for 800 aircraft to individual owners. That is 7 years to secure 800 orders. Do the math and extrapolate how many individual orders you would expect once the aircraft is being delivered. If initial customer feedback was incredibly positive, you might expect the order rate to double once the airplane has been shipping for a while and leadtimes are reasonable...

8) We do know that the vast majority of Eclipse's orders come from the air taxi market. 2 years ago, Vern told me that his estimate of the percent of orders that were coming from the air taxi market was about 80%. At the time, there were about 500 orders from individuals. So that meant that about 2,000 of his orders were attributed to the air taxi market.

9) We do know that the air taxi market will only succeed if someone is willing to finance all those planes. The facts are that it has been extremely difficult for DayJet, Pogo and other air taxi companies to secure the financing for the aircraft they need. We do know that DayJet has recently secured financing on the order of $50M. Clearly not enough to buy thousands of airplanes.

10) We do know that the air taxi market will succeed only if customers love the service. Customers are not going to love a service where DayJet lands to pick up another customer while I’m on the plane waiting to get to my destination. I wouldn’t share a cab on the way home from the airport if the service was free. Why do you think no one car pools to work? You want to leave when you want to leave. The whole DayJet model of not committing to the customer when he’s going to be flying until the last possible moment, in order to aggregate other customers on to that flight, is not going to be a winner. Trust me.

11) We do know that the whole air taxi market concept was based on Vern’s promise of a direct operating cost of $0.52 per mile. (not $0.52 per passenger mile, but $0.52 per aircraft mile). The idea was, if air taxi companies could make 50% gross margin, and charge $1 per mile, there would be unlimited demand for air taxi service and huge profits. And you know what? They would have been right!


However, those projected costs are history. It is looking a lot more likely that air taxi services are going to need to charge closer to $6 per aircraft mile to make the profit needed for a sustainable business. This translates to much lower demand.

12) We do know that the Eclipse air taxi order book does not include a firm commitment to buy more than a few hundreds of aircraft. The rest are options, with very little deposit money backing them. The fact is, if the customers aren’t delighted, and the financiers aren’t willing to put up $4B (2,000 orders times $2M per airplane) to finance the air taxi companies, those options are going to be worthless paper to Eclipse.

So what does that mean?


Anyone who is building a business plan that requires the establishment of a large, high growth air taxi market for success, is building a house of cards.

Individual owners of piston class aircraft are going to flock to the Cirrus and Diamond personal jet products.

Many individual owners of turboprop and high performance twins will be natural Eclipse customers. They will have the experience and financial capability to move to an Eclipse. That gets back to the 365 new turboprop sales per year and the 2,400 used aircraft transactions per year that occur per year in the $500K to $4M price range. It is hard to imagine that more than 20 – 25% of those used aircraft transactions will be converted into new VLJ sales.

Bottom line, there is going to be a market for about 500 twin engine VLJs per year. The competitors in this market segment are: Adam, Cessna, Eclipse, Embraer, and Honda.

So what are the facts? We know that Cessna, Embraer are building their business plans based on assumptions that will allow them to be successful producing 100 – 150 aircraft per year. We know that Adam and Honda believe that they can have a profitable business with around 50 or 60 aircraft per year.

We know that the Eclipse breakeven point is about 750 aircraft per year.

Ok, so back to Stan’s original question - Who is ready to invest a few million in Eclipse?


From buckerfan:

Lets get back to the topic of Stan's post:

Can Eclipse pull off an ipo? I live in Europe but spent many years on Wall Street and am currently a director of several European and US technology businesses. I try to keep close to conditions is the ipo market. Late last fall one of my company's, involved in RFID (no, not Alien), took a very hard look at this. What did the street tell us:


1) need substantial revenue base (in typical "hi-tech" that might be annual revenues of $30 to 50 million, indicates the product has true customer traction)

2) need demonstrated real revenue growth over several years,

3) need decent and sustainable gross margins (indicates you have your manufacturing under control and that your product is not a low margin commodity, in hi tech that means minimum of 40 to 50%, I have no idea what that should look like for aero manuf)

4) need to have crossed the profitability line, ie have a quarter or two of true bottom line profit, or in an extreme case have a positive Ebitda,and

5) the revenue growth and cost control indicates that the level of profitability/ebitda is going to continue accelerating

6) need to have invested the time and money to be Sarbanes Oxley compliant, whch means the CEO, CFO and directors have absolute faith in the financial systems and are willing to sign off on the financial statements.

Eclipse looks to be very far away from almost any of these metrics. Remember deposits are not revenues they are deferred expenses.

Stan raises an interesting point in suggesting the pink sheet market, but I imagine that the directors of this company would have their sights much higher than that.

Anyway, for what its worth those are my insights, would love to hear from those of your who are closer to the aero industry than hi tech.

158 comments:

Ken Meyer said...

Interesting analysis. Flawed, but interesting. Flawed because so many premises are wrong:

1. "Honeywell has an excellent track record for predicting the size of new aircraft markets." Projections from experts are all over the board. Rolls Royce says there will be 7650 VLJs produced in the next 10 years for instance.

2. "Both Cirrus and Diamond have proven their ability to manufacture large numbers of inexpensive aircraft." Cirrus and Diamond both years away from a certified turbofan aircraft. It's silly to think they will take market share until and unless they have a product.

3. "Both Cirrus and Diamond are building substantially simpler and easier to produce aircraft." Limiting a turbofan aircraft to FL250 is a big disadvantage. An Eclipse can fly at FL250 if the pilot wants; a D-Jet cannot go to FL350 or FL410.

4. "We do know that the vast majority of Eclipse's orders come from the air taxi market." We don't know that; in fact the company has said that is incorrect.

5. "Customers are not going to love a service where DayJet lands to pick up another customer while I’m on the plane waiting to get to my destination." We don't know that. FC states an opinion and says we "know" it.

6. "We do know that the whole air taxi market concept was based on Vern’s promise of a direct operating cost of $0.52 per mile." Ed Iacobucci just a couple of days ago explained his profit structure; it has nothing to do with a DOC of $0.52 permile.

7. "We do know that the Eclipse air taxi order book does not include a firm commitment to buy more than a few hundreds of aircraft." We don't know that. The company specifically denies this claim.

8. "We know that the Eclipse breakeven point is about 750 aircraft per year." We don't know that. That's not what the company says.

Too many bad premises to reach much of a conclusion.

Ken

EXEAC said...

As a former EAC employee, I can assure you that 750 AC per year is indeed the break even point. 1500 AC per year is still EAC's intentions. I am willing to bet the farm that 700 AC per year never happens.

Ken Meyer said...

eac wrote,
"As a former EAC employee, I can assure you that 750 AC per year is indeed the break even point."

The company is repeatedly on record disputing your version.

Ken

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

As an unsecured investor in the Eclipse program, have you or any member of the E5C group asked the company the following questions:

1. How many of the claimed 2,500 orders are from fleet air taxi operators (more than 2 or 3 A/C per operator)?

2. How many of the fleet orders are firm and backed by deposits?

3. What is the total value of the air taxi deposits?

4. How many of the claimed 2,500 orders are in fact just options?

Black Tulip said...

A few points on an initial public offering and Eclipse as a public company:

An investment banker would be required to conduct extensive due diligence on the company, hence the term 'underwriter.' The company's backlog would be reviewed in detail. The real order book would be revealed. Given the company's history, the list of risk factors in the prospectus would be long. The 'use of proceeds' section would be scrutinized by prospective investors.

As a public company, it could be a long time before the company recognized any revenue. Dozens of partially complete airplanes out in the field would be viewed as conditional sales by the accountants. No dollars could be recorded on the books as sales until the product is complete and accepted by the customer, even if the cash has been collected. The accounting firms are highly sensitive to revenue recognition issues.

In the Sarbanes-Oxley environment, officers and directors would be more careful about forward looking statements. The CEO and CFO are personally liable for the representation letters they sign every quarter.

For better or worse, there would be less speculation on this blog - the SEC forms 10-Q filed quarterly and 10-K would have considerable detail on the company's status and prospects. Security analysts and hedge fund managers would follow the company's every move - betting on its success or failure.

Black Tulip

Ken Meyer said...

Stan, the company has previously reported (several times) over 1500 firm orders; the rest are options backed by deposit. According to the company, every single order and option is backed by a deposit.

Eclipse has indicated that about 60% of orders are to commercial operators. Something close to 100 orders are to corporate flight departments, if I recall correctly.

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ken:

"every single order and option is backed by a deposit"

What kind of deposit? How much? How much was Aviace's deposit for 112 planes? Dayjet has 239 orders plus 70 options - how much is the deposit for the orders? How much is the deposit for options?

Dayjet has 50 of the first hundred planes - EAC called around the fist 200 planes...OK, has dayjet paid the 60% progress payment on their first 50 planes?

The VLJ market is new, sort of, and predicting it is tough. The air taxi market is "new" according to some, and maybe tough to benchmark as well. BUT, that does not mean Honeywell is less likely to be right than Rolls. In fact, Honeywell has a very very good track record of predicting the markets. Rolls is not known for this.

I would be very curious to know which other air taxi companies have ordered the remaiing 600 or so planes, besides Dayjet. Aviace (gone) at 112... Linear bought 25, Pogo is rumored to be considering buying around 25.

Where are all the rest of the air taxi orders coming from?

Stan Blankenship said...

Niner Zulu said...

How about one for EB, Ken and Mirage00?

Can anyone envision a scenario under which Eclipse could succeed as a company AND deliver the aircraft they have promised for so long? What would have to happen for this to occur?

9Z - My thoughts precisely!

airtaximan said...

Stan:

- Ramp up to deliver 1,000 planes a year

simple.

Gunner said...

Stan-
In answer to NinerZ's question, I don't think Ken, Mirage or EB much care what happens to Eclipse, so long as it survives. Ken has basically stated that he's gambling on getting a $2+ million plane for $1.6mm.

This is the story, I think, with most Eclipse Depositors. They know the plane is a money loser at $1.6mm. They're frantically hoping that Vern pulls out a miracle, makes the company viable and delivers their aircraft for about a half mill less than it's worth.

Basically, they're betting that some future Depositor is going to subsidize their purchase of the Little Jet. Ponzi logic, in its purest form.

So, in answer to your question of what needs to happen at a minimum, I offer the following for starters:
- Eclipse needs to complete design of, certify and begin delivery of a safe, reliable jet

- Eclipse needs to raise the price to a level of profitability that grants some return to the investors, subsidizes 100 aircraft retrofits and subsidizes losses on 2500 orders.

- Future buyers need to see real value in a $2+ million dollar Eclipse, vs the SE alternatives, Adam or Mustang. They need to flock to the Eclipse counter in numbers that are orders of magnitude higher then we've ever seen in aviation before. That would, of course, require a truly revolutionary jet.

But then, if you were a Dinosaur company, like Cessna, with the development costs and red ink production of the EA50X, I'd venture to say the price tag on the Mustang would be bumped to well over $4MM. At that point, the question on the floor is, "Where'd our buyers all go?".
Gunner

employed@eac said...

exeac is way wrong on this. I have dealt with the COGs numbers on the program and it can be done very profitably. The break-even point is well below his stated 750 units. The key is that we have to manufacture them in the same 12 month period. The intention of Eclipse is to have the capability of manufacturing 1500 units, but to actually do that is not in the plan in the near future. At the moment, the order book would not support it (and that's not an admission of fewer than 2500 current orders and options). We have the capability now to meet the currently stated manufacturing goals for the next few years. Producing greater than 750 aircraft per year is not that great a feat. Cirrus does that now. Once we get the problems combed out of our system, the aircraft should flow quite nicely out of Albuquerque. I'd love to share greater details and numbers, but there are lines that I won't cross. So, you'll have to take me at my word, or simply ignore my statements.

Gunner said...

employed-
I'll take you at your word. I also take exeac at his word. Sounds to me like the two of you have received different projections for BE at different times. This is a familiar occurrence when Business Plans need to be changed in order to attract additional capital. Each time you go back to the well, you're BE has to be lower or your ROI drops significantly.

Tell me this, though: What is it that Eclipse has innovated that makes this jet so much cheaper to manufacture than its competitors? Try as I might, I can't find anything; quite the opposite, given the jet's comparatively astronomic capital investment costs.
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

I think Eclipse can stay in business, at around 300 airplanes per year, but not at $1.6M.

They'll have to bump the price to match volume decreases- others have noted this could become a "death spiral"- I concur it's a possibility.

But if Honda can stay in business at 60 per year (although, probably for $4M or so?), then Eclipse will probably pull through. Wildly profitable, no, but adequately profitable, hopefully.

Gunner said...

Billy-
Using your B/E of 300 aircraft, call it (conservatively) $1 Billion in Venture Capital investment. Figure a niggardly ROI of 10%. At 300 aircraft per year, Eclipse needs to load over $300K in Investment Return onto the cost and profit of each aircraft.

Now look at the Mustang (simply a downsized Citation). Their investment cost is probably closer to $200mm. Their money is not Venture Capital and an 8% return is more than acceptable. At 250 aircraft per year, that's $64K per aircraft in ROI.

That's a $250K+ difference for each aircraft moving from the hangar to the ramp, before manufacture costs start getting added up.

No matter how you cut it, Eclipse must have found a way to SIGNIFICANTLY decrease unit costs to come in with a jet that's "better, stronger, faster", at 60% of the Mustang price.

What's the secret?
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

Don't want to get everyone stirred up on a Sunday, but concerning those ______!!! blank screens,

Flightcenter posted (at the end of the the birthday post string):

"To jim and metalguy,

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

"Look at the following Airworthiness Directive.

"This particular AD was related to all four Honeywell displays blanking simultaneously on a Gulfstream. (Goat: all 4 displays went down for 75 seconds, while crew cycled power. 3 of 4 came back afterwards)

"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...
Here is the complete link to the AD ...

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

"Or you can type the words

Honeywell Gulfstream Embraer Display Problem

into Google and click on the top result.

Goat:
Thanks, Flightcenter.

BTW, from a Goodrich PR:
"Goodrich Corporation has received Technical Standard Order (TSO) approval for its new GH-3100 Electronic Standby Instrument System (ESIS).The GH-3100 ESIS has been selected as standard equipment for the new Gulfstream V-SP aircraft".

Also, regarding one blank PFD:
F&R testing, which was interrupted when one of the primary flight displays (PFD) went blank in flight. This was the result of a fault that causes the Avidyne display to reboot, says Eclipse chief executive Vern Raburn.

http://www.jet-alliance.com/news7.htm

And, Stan posted a few strings back, a question about the displays going blank on a trip to the 2005 NBAA. Nobody responded, I guess there were just a lot of blank stares :)

bill e. goat said...

Hi Gunner,
I haven't heard any production rates for Mustang (last I heard, orders were around 250). Maybe Frank can help us out here.

I think Stan had a rule of thumb for profitability in metal airplane business, of around 25% markup after manufacturing, and I'd think Cessna uses numbers around that, so that would be about $650K for a $2.6M airplane. I suspect the margins will be a little bit thinner, due to somewhat higher than typical production rates, for Cessna, but still.

But, I think Cessna will plan for a more realistic production rate, I'd suspect 250 initial orders will translate to around 80 to 100 per year.

Someone mentioned Cessna was having good success translating Mustang inquiries into upmarket orders too, so there is some intangible profit built into the Mustang pricing scheme.

I would suspect Eclipse is watching this development at Cessna with envy, and perhaps has a similar plan in the works?

airtaximan said...

goat:

sounds like exactly the thing E-clips would consider. Launch another product, as if this one is completed! Take the heat off, while generating another reason to advertise and promote.

On second thought, I think they are already up to something like this. They seem to be developing another version of the e-500, piece-by-piece, without really telling anyone.

Clever, really.

FlightCenter said...

Goat,

Jack Pelton said at NBAA that the Mustang production volume would be ~100 aircraft for 2007 and ~150 aircraft in 2008.

In that forum, he indicated that he planned to stay at ~150 a year after that, although I've heard rumors that they think demand is high enough that they are discussing what it would take to ramp production above 150 / year.

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
I think there is an old Johnny Cash song, "I'll build it one piece at a time"...I think it took him 20 years- ha. After ten years on the E-500, is the glass half full or half empty? :)


BTW, I came across this interesting item:

"Report Will Say VLJ Market to Be Worth over $2.5 Billion by 2011

"According to a soon-to-be-released report from PMI Media Ltd., the VLJ (very light jet) market will be worth $2.52 billion by 2011, with 1,403 aircraft in this category delivered in the five years starting in 2007.

"The report will say that six VLJs - which it describes as microjets - will make it into service: the Adam A700, Cessna Citation Mustang, Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100 and HondaJet.

"The report's author, Philip Butterworth-Hayes, said, "Based on manufacturers' own production figures we see annual delivery rates rising steadily to 2010 and peaking at around 350 units a year."

"Total Annual Predicted VLJ Production Rate

2007 155
2008 231
2009 321
2010 346
2011 350

"Source: PMI Media Microjet Report

http://www.flttechonline.com/Current/Report%20Will%20Say%20VLJ%20Market%20to%20Worth%20over%202.5%20Billion%20by%202011.htm

Goat:
the website says you can gat a 160-page report for $560. Send me half that, and I'll print all the blog pages out for you :). As long as some of the discussions are, I'd probably go broke. But good idea- "I'll make up for that by making 2500 copies !"- oops, better make that b&w coplies...I think I need some disruptive technology here, like counterfitting, (has anybody REALLY seen the FAA TC ???).

bill e. goat said...

Flightcenter,
Thanks for the info- I guess they're building the Mustang at Indy, so volume production is a bit more at home there. Sounds like it's selling really well

(It seems to me, that when the Independence operation was being planned to restart piston singles, there were numbers of "1000 per year", so maybe Vern did more homework than I thought).

I tried to find an old press release regarding that, but "1000 per year" brought up this piece:

http://cafefoundation.org/v2/pdf_pav/PAV-aiaa-whitepaper.pdf

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BEG -

Cessna most definitely was telling suppliers and would-be vendors that Indy would produce 1000 aircraft per year, and that was in the lead-up to the reintroduction of piston aircraft when the 172 was the only annoucned aircraft.

They are only now (15 years later) approaching 1000 per year across ALL piston models combined.

lumar said...

Uhh Ken, you again`!

''Rolls Royce says there will be 7650 VLJs produced in the next 10 years for instance...'''

And Mom use them to fly the kids to the kindergarten.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Contrary to the common canard used by the true-believers that 'the experts do not agree about the size of this market', there are really only two schools of thought re: the size of this market -

School of thought #1 is the Kool Aid Brigade populated by Eclipse itself, NASA and the FAA (well vocal minority parts of them anyway, sort of), and Rolls-Royce (which does not even have a dog in the fight) - which suggest between 700 to 1500 aircraft per year.

School of thought #2 is the realists, such as Honeywell, Pratt & Whitney, The Teal Group, other parts of the FAA, and many other organizations and suppliers - this group sees a market of between 200 to 500 aircraft per year.

The potential size of the 'air-taxi' concept would seem to be the real area of disagreement, and looking around the reason is obvious - in Texas we have a saying for the difference between he real deal and a faker, 'big hat, no cattle'.

It is my opinion that the air-taxi concept is unlikely to be successful for many reasons, but cost to the end-user is the chief reason, followed closely by the impossibly small size of the Eclipse 500.

Beechcraft (and many of their 1900 and 1900D customers) learned a lot about the disadvantage of size, and found that not even cost or convenience could overcome the 'small' size and propellors of the biggest King-Air in the eyes of the travelling public.

Sure, people will tolerate, even look forward to trips in small aircraft when there is a factor such as nostalgia (think Chalks seaplanes or Beavers in Alaska) or a TOTAL lack of alternatives (think rural scheduled service), but only aviation enthusiasts\pilots are making concepts like MyPlane and other club-like operations work, and that is at a SIGNIFICANTLY lower price point for both acquisition AND for operations.

And while on the subject of operating costs, I think this is the $64,000 question. Can the aircraft be reliabliy operated for the costs of operation that have been represented (which, BTW, are NOT part of ANY guarantees)?

Based on the failures and design 'surprises' encountered so far (wing bushings, windshields, Avio, GPS, RVSM, frozen pitot tubes, compressor stalls, brake and tire wear, de-ice, etc.), my gut tells me that the plane will be less reliable and more expensive than has been represented - probably enough so that the warranty costs and 'upgrade' costs are the single greatest threat to the financial future of the paper airplane company - MORESO than losing money on each airplane delivered.

Black Tulip said...

Cold Wet Mack,

I like your analysis. All this air taxi business reminds me of the post-war aviation boom that turned into a bust. The returning military pilots were supposed to want a plane each. Flying cars were even tested. Aircraft manufacturers scaled up for the good times coming 1946-47: Luscombe, Taylorcraft, Howard, Ercoupe, Cessna, Piper, Beech. The sky was going to be dark with aluminum and fabric. It didn't happen... but it did produce one beautiful airplane - the Beech Bonanza.

Fast forward to the Eclipse 500 as an air taxi. If you think realistically about the tiny size of the cabin, payload/range realities, passenger impatience, broken airplanes, cold fronts, thunderstorms, deicing, air traffic delays, the safety requirements of Part 135 turbine operations - I have trouble believing the market will emerge. If the market were there, someone would be addressing now, even at higher prices. I don't believe the Eclipse will be so dramatically less expensive to operate as the converts do. It still has most of the components of a Citation or Learjet costing $1,600 to $2,500 per hour to run. Sure the fuel burn should be much, much less and the avionics should be more reliable, in principle.

But if I were a depositor or investor the thing that would keep me up is the avionics issue. We've heard so much about this being an integrated system, how do you just change vendors and say no big deal? When I sat in the cockpit I was proudly shown the paucity of circuit breakers in the panel, "Most are in the back and controlled on the multi-function display." I would think the FAA re-certification issues with such an architecture would be gargantuan. Where do I press Cont-Alt-Del when the auto-throttles freeze up? What if this takes months and months of more cash burn?

All this uncertainty has me wondering if I should look into the Moller sky car more carefully. It could be a sure thing.

Black Tulip

airtaximan said...

on the air taxi thing...

- many, many, many individual investors, and extremely wealthy folks have bought into the e-clips/Dayjet story of the new market called air taxi. They put their money on the line. There has to be "something" there.

- SATSAir has had a successful run at part 135 using SR22's, at $500/hr - charter. But charter in this plane usually means one guy is flying in the back...maybe two -there are only 2 seats. They seem to be doing well and expanding. There must be "something" there.

- there are thousands of air taxis (the not-"new" kind) flying in the US, today. There must be "something" there.

Understanding what that "something" is could lead to an understanding of the "new" air taxi buisiness -if you belive its anything new.

Dayjet is flying point-to-point. I thik this is slang for ROUTES. This is different than part 135, which is normally a plane for hire by the hour to fly you where you need to go. Satsair and the other charters do not have routes. So this is new... qill it attract MORE customers..I doubt it. It is less convenient for anyone who does not "have to" travel to a Dayport. I think they think that by publicizing the service is available, it will attract more customers. How many folks need to go from Dayport to Dayport?

The pricing is $3-$1 per mile. I've recently read that you will need to agree to a 6 hour inconvenience factor to get the lower prices. This is new - but it will attract less customers, as well.

The other new thing is the plane. Its very small, very range limited, and has not been designed for high cycle airline type use - sorry...I know you want to belive Vern, but it has not. It will be a hog at lower altitudes, and it will require a lot of downtime. Both bad things.

Finally, selling time savings associated with air travel is not new, but IMPOSING A STOP ALONG THE WAY while telling someone they will save a lot of time...well that's new. Its not going to work for very long.

I'd say the level of hype and PR is new, and could get the attention of the market. Every aspect of the service either has been done before, or is something that will limit as oppose to increase the market.

The individual investors and few wealthy guys who bought the story probably didn't really know all this when they did. Their money was put up before details of the Dayjet offering were clear, before the plane was late and falling apart, and being re-designed. A lot of the competition popped up in the last 3 years, after most of the money was already flushed into E-clips. Air taxi was a hedge, at best at that time - now, its the whole market for this plane, except for some individual buyers whose orders couldn't sustain a $3 million price, which is what it would be if that's all there was.

There IS something to the air taxi market - maybe the old air taxi market...Satsair is making it work. The NEW air taxi market...well, unless its different than what is being reported, its nothing that will really attract many new customers.

Everyman's air taxi has yet to be developed - Dayjet remains an expensive and less convenient and less comfortable option.

bill e. goat said...

Black Tulip said:
IPO requires:
CEO
COO
CFO
UFO
SOB
Does Eclipse have the required talent?

Goat:
No, but they feature:
USB
FUBAR
BS
:)


Goat: By the way, regarding the post-war aviation boom; what went wrong, demographics? I suspect "our boys" got older, bought houses, had kids, and didn't have the time or money to keep up the hobby.

I guess that's where the VLJ game might play out a bit better, they are going after the upscale market in personal aviaiton (maybe arguably still a hobby, but practiced by the more financially stable end of the private spectrum), and business users (small corporate flight depts and air taxi). One interesting aspect of the VLJ proposal; it won't GO bust- it might start bust, and stay there; or it might take off and go somewhere. I think the same thing can be said of Eclipse.

Black Tulip said:
"The sky was going to be dark with aluminum and fabric. It didn't happen... but it did produce one beautiful airplane - the Beech Bonanza.

Goat sez:
I think this is a good example of what we are afraid Eclipse will become. Nice performer, but inherent problems, which were immediately obvious, but which were dealt with by manufacturer intransigence.

"the first Bonanza flew December 22, 1945 with test pilot Vern Carstens at the controls. Structural failure caused the first prototype to crash in 1946 when the tail section separated from the aircraft during high-speed diving tests, killing the pilot but the flight engineer survived the crash.

"...structural problems dogged the aircraft throughout its lifespan; the V35 Bonanza had a structural failure rate of 24 times more than its conventionally-tailed version, the Debonair.

http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/archive/general/ethics/vtail.html

Goat sez:
Yeah, it's a beauty now, but the V-tail had critical design flaws. So, Eclipse isn't the only company trying to "squeak by".

Squeaking by is not excusable, and generally not allowed anymore, by the FAA, and by fear of lawsuits, and by moral responsibility, but I would say, in that order, by almost all manufacturers.

Even the gold standard of safety (IMHO), Boeing, demonstrated years of intransigence on the 737 rudder, and used weasle speak when finally fixing the problem, not until fairly recently. Shame on them, shame on the FAA.

bill e. goat said...

make that bonanza link:
http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/
archive/general/ethics/
vtail.html

(probably nothing new to everyone here).

bill e. goat said...

ATM said:
"I believe Vern can and will pour more money into this program - I really do.
"I belive we are $300,000,000 -$600,000,000 away from TU. Maybe another year, and alot can happen between now and then. So I do not actually believe TU is inevitable.

Goat sez: I agree, it's a pretty amazing show, but I agree.

Black Tulip said...

Bill E. Goat,

Thanks for the historical information on the V-tail Bonanza. Looking back, I suppose I was lucky to put 250 safe hours in E and G Models in years 1968 and 1969. They sure flew nice and were efficient while missing the 'third' control surface in back. I suppose those who went fast or had upsets didn't fare so well. Also like many aircraft, they didn't age very well, requiring ADs and SBs to keep them from coming unglued aloft.

I guess Beech was slow to react, having success with the straight tail model, the Barons and bigger machines. The analogy to Eclipse is startling. This airplane ain't even flying after nearly a billion bucks, in round numbers. "A dollar spent is a hostage that has been shot. Move on."

No avionics, no RVSM, no weather radar, and do I wash the windshield or replace it?



Black Tulip

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

In their defense, Beech was 'slow to react' (according to this ethics lesson anyway), because, as the multiple reports found, the Bonanza is an extremely safe aircraft (safest according to one), losing some 250 airframes out of over 10,000 produced and literally millions of flight hours flown, to inflight breakups.

The actual loss of life per hour flown or accident incurred for the Bonanza are industry leading in a good way.

The same can be said of the Malibu and the MU-2 - they are actually very safe aircraft but have had highly publicized accidents.

In the case of all of these aircraft, the value proposition and performance capabilities set entirely new standards and there were issues with pilots not keeping up with the aircraft.

This may be the only legitimate comparison between these legitimate icons of aviation and the would-be from Albuquerque. IF, and it remains a big if, IF the team in ABQ can deliver the aircraft they promised (which they have yet to do), it will represent a similar polar shift in terms of performance per dollar.

planet-ex said...

Ken, you have your numbers wrong. Rolls Royce in their 2006 NBAA presentation predicted 7500 VLJs over twenty (20) years (2006 to 2025) not ten (10) years.

With that total number, it works out to be 375 per year...which is below what Eclipse claims they alone will produce per year.

Look at the presentation, it is available on-line.

http://tinyurl.com/38edrb

Look at pages 17 and 20.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Thanks for the clarification PlanetEx, I did not recall RR prognosticating so high before.

Curious why RR is even prognosticating unless they are planning an engine entry into this 1000-1800 lb thrust class. Might be able to do it with a derivative of one of their helo engine cores - same goes for Honeywell for that matter.

planet-ex said...

Honeywell is in almost in agreement with Rolls Royce. According to what I've just read, they are predicting 4,000 VLJs over ten years (400 per year average). Still below what Eclipse claims they will produce per year.

gadfly said...

A “white paper” (dated October 11, 2004) from Eclipse states that the airframe is good for 20,000 cycles/20,000 hours/20 years . . . whichever comes first.

The same paper states that the PW610F engines require complete inspection at 1,750 hours and complete overhaul at 3,500 hours. (It took me “forever” to find this “white paper” . . . right under my nose, had I known how to phrase the Google search . . . and from Eclipse, themselves: http://www.eclipseaviation.com/files/pdf/Eclipse%20500%20Reliability%20and%20Maintainability%20White%20Paper.pdf ).

You’ll like the “white paper” . . . even though it’s about 23 pages long, it’s good reading if you’re serious about investing in the “Eclipse”.

It might seem that these are “minor” considerations, but if the aircraft can achieve an average rate of six one hour flights per day, and average 300 knots “block to block” (highly unlikely), there is a considerable cost.

Engines (even P&W) are completely replaced by “brand new” in high-duty conditions, every 2,000 hours (re: “bush flying”, where life and safety is considered far more important than “making a buck”.) But even a complete factory rebuild at 3,500 hours is no small thing, cost wise. So, figure at least 50% new price, for the factory rebuild (whatever that might be). Giving every benefit of the doubt, for just the engines alone, the engines (both of them) MUST be completely rebuilt every million miles . . . more realistically about 700,000 revenue miles. I’m giving the “little jet” credit for achieving 300 knots average speed from the instant the engines are “fired up”, to the time when they are shut down. If, and a mighty big “if”, . . . if the cost of a total rebuild for both engines is a mere $200K, that’s 20 cents per mile . . . just for normal maintenance . . . add another dime, for normal inspection and “checking the oil”, by the grease monkeys.

The rest of you can figure the cost per mile for “airframe” and all the rest, including initial purchase price, airport fees, etc., etc. And then add in the fuel and . . . oh yeh, that guy “up front” in the left seat.

As for me, I’m satisfied to remember the fun of flying . . . the “forever” glide of a Luscombe “Silvaire”, the fun of sitting in one place for a full hour, practicing “slow flight and stalls” in a J-3 with head-winds of 40 knots from the north, three miles west of ORD, the temptation of applying full throttle on a Cessna 411 . . . for a “joy ride”, when Long Beach tower only cleared me to taxi to the other side of the airport . . . and reading about “Mr. Mulligan” (Howard DGA7) . . . a plane that could, in 1935, almost match the promises of the “Eclipse”, with “four on board”.

Carry on, my feathered friends . . . just don’t forget why you started attempting to imitate God’s birds . . . it’s a mad, mad, mad world out there.

gadfly

gadfly said...

Gordon Israel (the man that actually built that beautiful aircraft) . . . and Benny Howard, please forgive me: "Mr. Mulligan was DGA6 . . . not 7"

By the way, that famous plane "threw a blade" over New Mexico. Benny and his wife barely survived . . . "Mr. Mulligan" was found many years later by an airline pilot, answering the question: "Whatever happened to that wonderful little plane that won the Thompson Trophy Races and the Cleveland races . . . and could carry four people in comfort?"

(Eat your heart out, Eclipse! . . . they did it before WWII during the Great Depression.)

Ken Meyer said...

planet ex wrote,
"Honeywell is in almost in agreement with Rolls Royce. According to what I've just read, they are predicting 4,000 VLJs over ten years (400 per year average). Still below what Eclipse claims they will produce per year."

Yeah, but bear in mind this very important proviso to the Honeywell forecast of 4000 VLJs in the next 10 years:

"Total demand potential over a 10-year period is estimated to be in the range of 4,000 very light personal jets. When combined with new-generation low-cost aircraft carried in the Very Light segment of the Business Aviation Outlook, the total deliveries exceed 5,000 aircraft over the next 10 years and fall directly in the range predicted by the 2005 survey. The projections exclude demand from fractional ownership companies or from emerging “air taxi” operators that may rely on ultra-light jets as the core of their fleets. These additional sources of demand could add significantly to the baseline owner-operator demand."

I got the Rolls Royce timeframe wrong (I said 10 years; it's 20 years). The point is still the same--these forecasts are all very dependent on what happens to the air taxi industry, and that's a huge unknown right now.

Ken

gadfly said...

There is a confusion here: If a man wishes to travel from “X” to “Y” in the least possible time, he doesn’t really care whether it is accomplished at 41,000 feet, or at 4.1 feet . . . the “method” is not important, as long as it is safe, and “on time”.

For all you “Airedales”, the very moment anything connected to “flight” is suggested, most assume “airplanes” . . . “jet aircraft” . . . and all reason goes overboard. If speed were important, anyone in Florida would fly by personal “Lexus” . . . comfort, reasonable travel time, “leather”, everything a person could wish . . . and with a personal “chauffeur” . . . arrival at destination, ready to do business . . . chauffeur does whatever chauffeurs do . . . and is ready to return said “business man” to home, safe, without a care in the world. End of “hard day at the office”. It isn’t likely that said “business executive” will return to said destination anytime soon, or other accommodations will be made at the local Hyatt or Marriott . . . concierge level, or “pent house”. In any case, the simple economy does not justify a “private jet” . . . and good business men know that.

The basic premise of the “Air Taxi” assumes stupidity of the people that “must” use the service, to make it all work. Sorry friends, but the folks that are truly “rich”, simply are not that stupid. If they have money to burn . . . and there are such people even in Albuquerque (and they are laughing at the naivete of the supposed Eclipse market) . . . people with that sort of money, already have their own jets, and even if they are qualified pilots, they have a full time, or part time, pilot for backup.

We have a governor that is presently running for president . . . and he “generously” gave Eclipes $10 million from the pockets of the tax payers . . . and he rides around in a Gulfstream (another story for another time) . . . wouldn’t set foot in an Eclipse, unless it would assure him of the “presidency” of the United States . . . needs a “booze bar” at 41,000 feet . . . Eclipse can’t cut it. On second thought, I don’t know that he’s that willing to take a risk . . . but who knows!

Back to the subject: Do your math . . . you didn’t get rich by being stupid. Pay close attention to detail, and stop basing your opinions on emotions . . . all that clouds your judgement . . . and frankly, it’s occurring on both sides of the issues.

The “little jet” is cute . . . it won’t do what it promised . . . it probably won’t make it, financially . . . but it does fly. It has a following . . . wise or not, many are determined to “have one”. Some day, there may be a market for the few that will still be flying . . . sort of like a “Shelby Mustang”, or a “Hudson Hornet” . . . or a Kaiser “Henry J”, or even an “Ercoupe” . . . remember them? (Not bad, if there wasn’t a cross-wind on landing.)

In the mean time, stay tuned! The faithful will present their stories . . . and we expect to be entertained . . . at least, long past Oshkosh!

(Who could have guessed that something invented by Al Gore could be this much fun? . . . the “internet” for you non-technophiles.)

gadfly

(Hi, Ken . . . you're doing just fine. Keep the faith . . . what in the world would we do without you? . . . you truly bring balance to the rest of the great unwashed.)

gadfly said...

Sorry . . . correction: Richardson got the tax payers to get him a Cessna Citation . . . not a Gulfstream.

The brain is tired . . . tomorrow starts another day.

bill e. goat said...

I think the new Bonanza's are wonderfully safe airplanes. I think the ones introduced after 40 and 50 and 60 years of production are just dandy. Heck, I'd even say the ones produced 25 years ago (after a mere 35+ years of production) are dandy- you know, the ones they produced without the V-tail.

(I'm not criticizing the V-tail idea, just Beech's refusal to acknowledge they did an inadequate job of it, and refusing to be honest. Kind of how some of participants feel about Eclipse VLJ).

So, whadaya say we just wait 30 or 40 years before criticizing the Eclipse avionics problems. And you know, so what if they do have oh, say 250 fatal crashes just because of one flaw that they refuse to acknowledge or correct. Let's just chalk that up to “the value proposition and performance capabilities set entirely new standards and there were issues with pilots not keeping up with the aircraft”.

Heck, I think the Bonanza is a a great plane now, and agree that it does have an excellent safety record.

I even agree even the old V-tails have an excellent safety record even if you include breaking up in the air, so I don't know why people get worked up about it breaking up 2500% more often than the same airplane with a conventional tail. (And that's not a fluke; as was point out, there ARE millions of flight hours to back up this statistic).

It's kind of like a Pinto- yeah, sure it explodes when it gets rear ended, and sure Ford knew about it, and sure they could have fixed it, but why, how many people get rear ended? What's the big deal. I don't even mind that they pretended they didn't know.

V-tail Rant follows. But really, more a rant about corporate exploitation of the blindly faithful, the true, literal "die-hards"...

Readers Digest condensed version of website follows:

http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu/archive/general/ethics/vtail.html

"The very first V-tail models had a tendency to fail in the wings. Within the first two years of manufacture, it became apparent to Beech that the wing structure was inadequate. Beech increased the strength of the wings, but instead of ending in-flight failures, this action simply changed the source. Now instead of the wings failing, the tail failed.

Additional mass balance is required to restrict antisymmetric tail flutter, because the elevators cannot be interconnected. Finally, the V-tail creates greater loads on the tail and fuselage during pitching and yawing maneuvers than does the conventional tail.

(V-tails) these two surfaces must be bigger or the plane suffers stability problems, specifically spiral divergence and Dutch roll.

Beech claimed that pilot error was responsible for these accidents. The pilots were said to have fallen victim to a condition known as spiral divergence.

In 1951, in order to ensure greater stability and to provide for growth of the aircraft, Beech enlarged the tail twenty percent. To avoid a major structural redesign of the tail and to avoid new tooling costs, Beech did not move the location of the front tail spar.

When Beech modified the tail, much of the increased size was placed ahead of the front tail spar. This left the spar sixteen inches behind the leading edge of the tail. In the opinion of many aeronautical engineers, this forced the skin of the tail to carry too great a load and left the safety margin too small. Under many circumstances, this safety margin was inadequate and the tail failed.

When the attempts to strengthen the tail by minor structural modifications did not work, Beech and three independent aircraft parts suppliers searched for other methods of strengthening the tail. The result was a stub spar which reduced the load on the front spar once skin buckling began.
After conducting tests on its stub spar design, Beech concluded that it did not result in an appreciable increase in tail strength. However, subsequent investigation by the FAA concluded that Beech did not carry their tests to the point of tail failure and therefore, did not really have any information on which to base the decision that the stub spar kit was ineffective.

In addition to all the other alleged problems, the V-tail was extremely sensitive to the problems of tail flutter. The FAA issued a directive ordering all V-tail owners to inspect the tab cables of their planes.

Through all of the mounting evidence, Beech continued to maintain that the V-tail Bonanza was safe, and for a long time there continued to be many V-tail admirers who agreed with the company.

However, the publicity surrounding the V-tail was becoming increasingly more negative. In attempt to counter the increasing perception that the aircraft was unsafe, Beech launch a publicity barrage. Beech executives traveled to meetings of Bonanza clubs and other general aviation clubs.

Armed with figures and charts, they tried to persuade people that the V-tail was a great plane which was being unfairly criticized. Despite the growing number of lawsuits against the company.

The clubs devoted to Bonanza aircraft generally supported the company's position. However, in 1984 a personal friend of Donald L. Monday, president of the American Bonanza Society, was killed in a V-tail break-up. The American Bonanza Society was an organization that until this point had actively supported Beech's position.

The death of Monday's friend, however, changed the relationship. Monday asked the chief of the FAA to determine conclusively whether deficiencies were inherent in the design of the V-tail Bonanza.
To no one's surprise the panel did discover several problems with the V-tail Bonanza. The V-tail Bonanza did satisfy the structural requirements for certification, but the requirements did not adequately address the unique characteristics of the V-tail.

The handling and stability characteristics may have contributed to pilots exceeding the allowable flight envelope.

The in-flight break-up rates of most single engine airplanes with retractable landing gear were significantly higher than for other categories of general aviation aircraft.

During the investigation, the FAA issued an emergency Airworthiness Directive restricting the speed of the aircraft. Subsequent to the panel report, Beech developed a modification kit for the V-tail Bonanza which supported the leading edge of the V-tail stabilizer.

Goat: In 2004, The FAA finally issued the AD to fix the design flaw created by the Beech mod in 1951, which fixed the wing design flaw which existed in 1947.

Sorry, I didn't mean to create the impression Beech was “slow to react”.

It seems like some of us have a favorite flavor of Koolaid that is V-tail.

bill e. goat said...

Make that (again):

http://www.tsgc.utexas.edu
/archive/general/ethics/
vtail.html

Everyone knows the V-tail arguements,
I'm a Bonanza "believer" as much as and Elicpse "believer".

And I'm not a V-tail hater, just a V-tail denial/appology hater.

Can't let such an absurd double standard slide when compared to Eclipse.

gadfly said...

To pass my "CG" and "weight and balance" exams, I drew up my version of the "Peachcraft Banana", with complete illustrations . . . somewhere I have my notes. Now can I call it "a day"?

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly,
It's 1 AM in ABQ- class dismissed!!!

(Not that I dismiss you, or doubt you're a class act!).

-Goat

Stan Blankenship said...

gadfly,

You mentioned Gordon Israel.

I knew Gordon quite well, he was a permanent fixture around Lear Jet in the early days while working as a $100/day consultant. He was about as practical an engineer as one could find.

Gunner said...

Anybody know if the EA500 can fly IMC yet? I'd think that important with more planes coming inter service this week.
Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

Ken
Here is a quote from the ABQ Journal today
"CEO Margaret Billson and vice president John Harrington, executive with Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque...."

Is this a typo or has Peg replace VR as CEO?

Ken Meyer said...

gadfly wrote,
"The basic premise of the “Air Taxi” assumes stupidity of the people that “must” use the service, to make it all work. Sorry friends, but the folks that are truly “rich”, simply are not that stupid. If they have money to burn...people with that sort of money, already have their own jets, and even if they are qualified pilots, they have a full time, or part time, pilot for backup."

Gadfly, I think you've completely missed the target audience for the air taxi industry. It's not rich people.

You might get something out of listening to the 2-part interview with Dayjet's Ed Iacobucci now available on Avweb.

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

Ken - What is your definition of "rich"

If I take the information from Day Jet and look at a trip from Lakeland FL to Tallahassee FL, it is 189 NM direct - I assume it would be a little longer to avoid the overwater flight rules, but I will assume 189 for the purposes of this thought.

A business traveler, I believe would be forced to use the $3.00 per mile option to insure arrival on time and a fixed departure to get home on schedule. This amounts to $3.00 X 189 X 2 (round trip) or $1134 for the service.

How many small business guys or individuals who earn less than $60,000 per year are going to be using the service. When I started my business, I would have left home at 5AM and driven 3 hours each way long before ever considering that kind of money to save 6 hours of driving. I would also make a couple stops along the way.

As time went on, I could afford a plane and now would make that same trip, taking 3 or 4 employees along (I'm not able to figure out if $3.00 per mile buys you the plane for the trip, or Day Jet can fill the other two seats at $1 or $2 per mile, I assume they can) and cost me 70 gal of JetA plus engine reserves. All of my other costs are basically fixed.

I am really struggeling the understand the profile of the Day Jet customers that will provide the customers they will need. Even if they are only operating 50 machines, they are going to have to find 500 one way passangers per day if each aircraft is going to have 5 cycles per day with an average or 2 seats filled, or 1000 customers if they intend to do 10 cycles per day. Note this only keeps 50 planes busy . . . you do the math at 250 planes - and the demand must be constant - 5 or 7 days a week - not just on high travel weekends.

Start stretching those trips into 300 - 400 mile legs and we are looking at $2100 per round trip.

I have a home in Florida, and even though there is lots of money - my JetProp looks like a dwarf on the ramp at Signature at PBI, but I just don't see the hoards of floks that make enough money to keep these seats filled.

I have never understood the business model for Eclipse - I've said it before - Eight years ago they could have sold 1000 positions for a $2.5MM twin jet spread over a production objective of 100 to 200 units per year.

The only answer as to why the first entrant into a whole new market would underprice their product is one of two three letter words EGO or IPO.

I am equally baffled at the air taxi model, but there in no higher priced, scaled down model - it has to be all or nothing. The scaled down/higher price versions of air taxi are already covered by traditional charter and partial ownership plans.

airtaximan said...

JetPropJockey:

Ed says, after a year of visiting the communities and businesses within 40 miles of the dayports, they have around 100 companies signed up and around 500 potential passengers in their membership program....so this should give you an indication.

Personally, I would stop right there and call it a day-late and a dollar short.

Seeing the airplane will actually only make things worse.

Other notable disclosures, after pumping the value of their modeling software (many years, many millions spent:
1- we are beginning in the SE because we live there
2- we need real data to verify our modelling
3- we do not know how it will expand, really
4- its all on computer, and we need to demonstrate this in real life
5-we'll be a failure if we are taking charter passengers...we need to get people out of their cars.

All of this sounds quite silly - why not take a fraction of what was spent modeling the system, and just provide a level of service and extrapolate from there, while proving you can attract more than 1 passenger to the plane at a time?

Is the magic in the plane? I think not. Not enough to forego providing service as a test. See Linear...SATSair, etc.

Some things just don't make sense, and your analysis of the cost vs time saved is right on. You just forgot to impute a stop along the way, a rental car at the destination, and waiting time...

HUH?

Gunner said...

I've said before that Iacobucci is probably the most credible person (other than Peg Bilson) playing a key role in the Eclipse program. I stand by that statement, but that hardly means that he's got to have a winner.

Ed made his fortune in a world of 0110001010111000101 His interview reflects this history as he hardly talks of the benefit to the passenger; rather, he focuses on how the program will keep the planes sub-optimally filled. The customers are almost an afterthought.

I dunno. I'm just not captivated by the concept. Many of the legs in question offer the alternative of driving to a local airport and boarding a commercial flight with far more arrive and return options, at a cheaper price (Tampa and Orlando, f'rinstance). If all these car jocks haven't already taken that option, what makes Ed think they're gonna suddenly come up the learning curve to understand his algorithm?

I don't think they much care about the efficiency of his software. They have business to do.
Gunner

JetProp Jockey said...

Airtaximan

I don't know if he (Ed) was bragging or compaining about he number of companies and passangers that have been lined up, but I would say that is between 1% and 2% of what will be needed to sustain a 50 plane fleet. The average user will most likely use the service 3 to 5 times per year.

The system should be a boom for grountaximan.

airtaximan said...

Jetpropjock:

funny...groundtaximan! I might just buy a limo and compete.

You kow, people are not that stupid, and a ground limo service might make sense. It would be cheaper, take a similar amount of time, not be subject to weather, and a few people could work in privacy and comfort the whole way. It would eliminate the need for a rental car, and it can safely be operated single pilot. You would not need to make a stop, you would not need to file a flight plan or wait to be fueled. People are already driving, so driving has no barriers, like a small jet would. Heck if you needed a bathroom, you could just stop at one - its not an issue.

All in all, a very competitive offering, I'd say. Limos are around $75-$100 per hour. this is a lower price than Dayjet, for sure.

So, for almost any car trip, a limo makes more sense than Dayjet? I wonder if they considered this?

Also, there's prestige arriving in a limo...Dayjet?..I'm not sure.

gadfly said...

Ken

A certain friend flies from Denver to Albuquerque every Monday, lives in the top floor of a first class hotel, (he owns the property under the hotel) and returns to Denver every Thursday. He makes more money in a week than I make in a year. He has a Lear “fanjet” at his beck and call. He flies commercial . . . wouldn’t touch a “VLJ” at any price. He’ll relax for an hour . . . he’s about six-foot-four. The “Lear” is parked at ABQ, safe and secure and used with discretion.

Someone mentioned “prestige”: That wears mighty thin, mighty fast . . .

On the other hand, I have many business associates, who often make short hops to Phoenix, or El Paso, or Orange County (California), or Chicago, or Denver . . . there’s an abundance of commercial flights to any of these destinations. None of them are about to pay “$3" per mile, or even $1 per mile, squeezed in a “VW Bug” size space, although any of them could easily afford it.

As for me, it would be extremely dangerous if I were to fly on the little jet: My wife would kill me . . . and if I survived, my son/partner would kill me. Not to mention that my arthritis and/or joint problems related to past surgery (bypass) would have me so crippled in the confines of the Eclipse, that I would be in pain for hours.

And for a trip from here to Santa Fe, I can fly there in one of my Lexus’ in an hour . . . and have “wheels” when I get there. Business or pleasure to any other place of which I know, requires luggage space that the little jet just doesn’t have.

The only people I know, who pay big bucks to be tortured are called “joggers” and “bikers” . . . and the flying they do is off the hood of a hit and run driver.

gadfly

Ken Meyer said...

gadfly wrote,
"A certain friend flies from Denver to Albuquerque every Monday, lives in the top floor of a first class hotel, (he owns the property under the hotel). . . wouldn’t touch a 'VLJ'"

You still don't get it, do you? You really don't understand who the VLJ air taxi market's target audience is, and you think there is no one that would want to fly that way.

And that's okay. There were guys like you in abundance when cell phones first came out. I remember it well. "What on earth would I need that thing for?" I got my beeper and I can make my calls from my office in much better comfort."

Or the microwave oven. "Why would we want that? We cook our meals the old-fashioned, healthy, delicious way. We don't buzz them with radiation."

There are always people who just don't get it until it stares them in the face for a decade or so. Which is ok. I keep remembering that my mother has never touched a computer but periodically sees something on TV that prompts her to call me up all in a rush and ask, "Should I get broadband?" Never mind she doesn't have a clue what it is :)

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I think comparing DayJet to the Cell Phone or Microwave is a bit over-the-top, even by your standards.

So, tell us: just who IS the Market for DayJet services? Give us a typical image of the person, why he'd used it, what he's using now and why DayJet makes more sense for him. I listened to Ed's interview and, for the life of me, I still can't see the market he's talking about.
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gadfly wrote,
"my arthritis and/or joint problems related to past surgery (bypass) would have me so crippled in the confines of the Eclipse, that I would be in pain for hours"

You must be in pretty bad shape; you have my sympathies.

I've sat in the Eclipse a number of times. You know what? I think it's got a surprising amount of room. It's actually got a wider cabin than my 340 does.

DayJet makes money with two people in the back. There is plenty of room for two businessmen and their briefcases. That's their target audience.

But since you bring up luggage--There is a decent internal luggage area in the Eclipse. You do have to bring the bags over Seat #3 but it is designed to fold flat to facilitate that. The lack of internal luggage storage is one of the things I don't like about the Citation Mustang--pretty much everything has to go in cold, unpressurized storage areas when you fly that plane.

Ken

Gunner said...

"The lack of internal luggage storage is one of the things I don't like about the Citation Mustang--pretty much everything has to go in cold, unpressurized storage areas when you fly that plane."

That's wrong. Your Eclipse example includes only two passengers. Your comparing it to a full up Mustang.

And then you accuse US of spreading disinformation? Poor form, Ken.
Gunner

JetProp Jockey said...

Airtaximan

I know your limo suggestion was "sort of" in jest, but in reality, for that 180 mile trip, I bet you could be portal to portal in less time than using an airtaxi service.

Time estimates:

Limo service - total time 3:00

Airtaxi service

Office to airport :30
Car to plane ready to taxi :30
Flight time 1:00
Taxi in, make departure arrangements :20
Rent car or wait for taxi :20
Drive to Appoitment :30
(Does not include getting lost time)
Total time 3:10

The limo route includes a solid 3 hours of ability to work and use one's cell phone.

I've never hired a limo service for a full day - anyone know what it would cost?

Gunner said...

"I've never hired a limo service for a full day - anyone know what it would cost?"

In DayJet's market: $100/hour, four hour min...that's for a stretch. $70/hour for a town car; less if you're hiring out for the day.
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

The ideal airtaxi clients are the following:


General Contractors
Architects
Lawyers
Real Estate investors
Jockeys

These are some companies/professions that I know who charter piston planes to make 200 - 400 mile trips. I think a small jet would be more appealing.

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"The lack of internal luggage storage is one of the things I don't like about the Citation Mustang--pretty much everything has to go in cold, unpressurized storage areas when you fly that plane.

That's wrong. Your Eclipse example includes only two passengers. Your comparing it to a full up Mustang."


Oh, I don't think so. Have you spent much time inside a Mustang? I have.

You can maybe put a carry-on size bag on top of the non-belted potty. That's it. Anywhere else and you're blocking the legroom for the passengers or blocking the aisle (recall that the seats are club style--they face each other, so you can't put luggage between them if you want to use either of the facing seats). The rear seats go right up to the aft bulkhead; those seats don't even lean back (another thing I don't like).

Also, let's keep the tone more civil, Rich, eh?

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

EO387

I thought Ed said that if all the airtaxi model does is compete with current charter busiess, it will fail - it needs to replace driving.

I wonder if actual surveys were done of people driving between the day port cities and determined how many would fly instead of driving at various prices?

Gunner said...

Ken-
I wasn't uncivil. I was pointing out a fallacy that you're promoting. You are telling us that with only 2 passengers (such as your Eclipse example), there is no room to put luggage in the Mustang; yet the Mustang can seat 6 passengers. Magic, I guess. Eclipse magic.

EO-
NOW you're talking....guys who charter piston twins.

Give a call down to Boca Aviation and ask them how many piston twins operations are available on airport for charter just now.

Then call Don Campion or Mike O'Keefe of Banyan Air at FXE: That one FBO alone handles four times the aircraft per day that fly into Boca Airport. Get their sense of demand for DayJet services. The local news recently did. Suffice it to say that Don shouldn't be expecting any Christmas cards from Ed in the coming years.

By the way, is anyone here aware of the BCT layout? There is no precision approach at Boca, just a VOR/DME (which lets the EA500 our for now).

Wonder how DayJet's Boca passengers will feel about diverting to PBI or FXE for low ceilings if Eclipse DOES get its act together so that the plane can fly IMC.

Runway 5/23 at Boca is a perfect runway...for crosswind landings. Anyone who has ever flown in there knows that it is used for that specifically by students practicing their crosswinds. What's the crosswind limit of the Little jet again?

Wonder how dayjet's passengers are gonna like landing at Pompano or Lantana when the wind reads 130/12 G21?
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Ken:

I had a friend who was a mortician, and he had a $6,000 cell phone that he lugged around so he could remain connected. He was in a business where it was required. He was the only person I knew that spent $6,000.00 to lug around a 15lb phone all day, to pay $3/minute.

Everyone else got cell phones when minute became cheap and phone became free.

Dayjet is neither. At $3 per mile or a big hassel factor with a stop and 6hr inconvenience factor, no one will fly Dayjet. Sorry -there are viable alternatives today.

One big example used is the flight from Boca to Pensacola - well Ft. Luuderdale, 20 minutes south of Boca has a regular direct nonstop same day return flight for $575 ("next day" fare...ie. last minute, full fare)RETURN. Boca to Pensacola an often cited example of a "perfect" trip for Dayjet. 636 mi (about 9 hours 21 mins by car)

I do not think the trade makes sense here. Even at $2 per mile (rrriiigghhtt!) the return trip on dayjet is $1,200.00, compared to the RJ direct, non-stop next day booking, same day return.

Strange, but true!

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,
"You are telling us that with only 2 passengers (such as your Eclipse example), there is no room to put luggage in the Mustang; yet the Mustang can seat 6 passengers. Magic, I guess. Eclipse magic."

I think the point eluded you.

There is no appreciable internal luggage storage in the Mustang regardless of the number of passengers.

The Eclipse has a decent internal luggage area aft of the last seat.

If I buy a Mustang, I will be putting the luggage outside the pressure hull. If I buy an Eclipse, it will go inside the pressure hull. I like that better.

Better still would be to have both internal and external storage areas.

Ken

EclipseOwner387 said...

JJ,

The types of customers I mentioned are the non-traditional "charter" business. These are people who used to drive but have started looking for more efficient ways to travel. Traditional Jet charter is so expensive it wouldn't work. Piston travel is "scary" to the general public. But the braver few have started to look into it based on charter firms pushing the simplicity of point to point and no or limited TSA to deal with. Jet travel in a similar price range to pistons will bring NEW business to the table since it will percieved as safer. That is what I am seeing take place at my home airport.

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote a couple of things that are misleading...

"By the way, is anyone here aware of the BCT layout? There is no precision approach at Boca, just a VOR/DME (which lets the EA500 our for now)."

There is an LPV approach with a DH of 250'. There are many reasons why DayJet will want its aircraft upgraded to Avio NG as soon as possible; providing near-precision minimums at less-populated airports is but one of them.

"Wonder how dayjet's passengers are gonna like landing at Pompano or Lantana when the wind reads 130/12 G21"

What on earth makes you think an Eclipse can't land in that crosswind? There is no crosswind limitation for the plane. I think you need to review the meaning of "maximum demonstrated crosswind."

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

I can imagine the following exchanges actually happening:

After a successful DayJet trip from Point A to Point B:

Passanger to pilot: Thanks for a good flight. I expect that I will be meeting and having lunch with my customer. I expect to be back between 2 and 2:30.

Pilot: That's nice. You understand that we will not be taking you back to Point A. The computer has projected that 2.2 passangers will be here within the next 2.4 hours and we will be departing.

Customer: How do I get home?

Pilot: eiter call 800-dayjets or log onto the website and you will be taken care of.

Customer: Ok, I'll do that right awaty before I leave for my appointemtnt.

Time is 2:00 PM and the customer arrives at the airport

He goes to the FBO desk and inquires about his DayJet return flight. They politely tell him that there are no DayJet aircraft on the field and that they never know when they are arriving. They can check on fboweb and see if there are any N #'s they recognize on the way in.

The customer dials 800-dayjets:

Customer: I'm Mr. X at Point B and there doesn't seem to be an airplane here to take me back to Point A. Can you tell me what's going on?

DayJet: Yes Mr. X, I see that you have a reservation, but our schedule got a bit confused this afternoon. We do have an aircraft at Point C waiting for a customer to arrive.

Customer: Ok, when will it arrive?

DayJet: According to our computer model, it should be arriving at Point B at 4:50 PM.

Customer: 4:50! I paid $3 per mile for a definate schedule.

DayJet: I'm very sorry Mr. X. We will be glad to credit your VISA account for a reduction to $2 per mile since we will not be there within the 1 hour window we committed to.

Customer: I don't want a refund. I want to get back to Point A on time. I have to be back for . . .

DayJet: We are very sorry Mr. X. I'm sure you understand that if the airlines overbook and they have all of those seats, you can imagine how easy it is for us to have a plane at the wrong place at the wrong time.

Customer: I don't care how hard it is - get me home!

DayJet: If want to cancel your retrun flight, we will waive the usual cancellation fee and you can rent a car to get home.

Gunner said...

I don't mind you comparing the Eclipse to the Mustang, Ken. (Eclipse has to do this to maintain some sense of credibility.) But when you try to make an apples to oranges comparison and expect us to let it pass as valid, you are bound to be busted on it.

According to the Eclipse comparison it has 16CuFt interior luggage and the Mustang has 6CuFt.

Now, let's set the Mustang up like the Eclipse. We'll pull the left rear seat out of the Mustang. Voila, the Mustang has more internal "luggage space" than the EA-50X, plus something like 50CuFt of exterior luggage space (the Eclipse has zero) and STILL carries the two passengers in your Eclipse example; in greater comfort, too.

So, I guess what you're complaining about, once we put the comparison on an apples to apples basis is that the Mustang has an additional 52CuFt of exterior baggage space than the Eclipse.

Yup, that should really tank Cessna sales. ;-)
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

airtaximan wrote,

"Dayjet is neither. At $3 per mile or a big hassel factor with a stop and 6hr inconvenience factor, no one will fly Dayjet. Sorry -there are viable alternatives today."

The DayJet plan sounds plausible enough to me. I'd take DayJet if I didn't own an airplane and needed to go somewhere they were flying. I hate airlines--I'd fly DayJet in a flash instead of waiting in security in my socks and then being told the plane is 3 hours late.

I've never done a conventional charter before, but I like DayJet's pricing and convenience. I'd take them rather than endure a long car drive. And certainly I'd pay a little more than coach to skip the big airport scene, the security crap, and all the rest if they were going somewhere an airline was going (which typically they're not).

DayJet has got a lot of very smart people working on this, and they've talked to hundreds of potential customers. They've shown many of them the plane too, so the "it's too small argument" idea obviously didn't deter many people.

Honestly, to me, you sound like a guy threatened by the prospect that DayJet and others like it will establish themselves in a niche that conventional charter companies aren't filling.

Whether they will or will not succed remains to be seen, but I think it's entirely possible they may. And if they do, it'll probably shake guys like you a little as you ponder what direction is next for DayJet.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"We'll pull the left rear seat out of the Mustang."

I think you haven't looked at the plane very carefully if that's your plan.

Ken

gadfly said...

Ken

If you knew anything about me, you would know that since “day one”, we have been the ones on the bloody cutting edge of technology. At this point, I had a list of “firsts” . . . but such boasting is inappropriate. In all fairness, don’t compare me with foot-dragging in “high tech” . . . I’m guilty of many things, but that just isn’t on the list . . . not even a shadow. Instead, find a way to slow me down in making practical use of new technology . . . a list of people would appreciate your efforts in that direction.

Recently, I have had to back off on the latest and greatest . . . just a couple notches . . . and let others do the initial bleeding, even though everything in me wants to move ahead at all speed. I’m like my Dad, and Grandpa . . . moving ahead as fast as my brain can take me, but dragging along a body and finances that just don’t move as fast anymore. ‘No complaints here, just a recognition of my place in God’s economy. I have been allowed by God fulfill virtually every goal that I ever had . . . and getting filthy rich just didn’t happen to be on the list. But being slow with new technology? . . . please come to our shop and I’ll help you move forward with new technology.

My observations are that for whatever reasons someone is determined to own the little jet, using it for an airtaxi service is hardly a viable endeavor. Buy one . . . buy ten, whatever, but you may find yourself giving others rides, at your own expense. Of course, it might be a nice “public service”.

And, Ken, my best friends sometimes tell me things I do not like to hear, but because they’re my friends I learn and benefit from their advice. Maybe some of your best friends are contributors on this blog-site . . . look for them and you’ll probably find them.

gadfly

(‘Seems that you are a celebrity. Somewhere in all that attention, you’ll probably find some who truly wants to be your friend. When opportunity knocks, open the door.)

Gunner said...

Ken said:
"There is no crosswind limitation for the plane. I think you need to review the meaning of "maximum demonstrated crosswind."

More parsing, Ken. Despite the fact that "max demonstrated crosswind" is related to flight test experience only, every aircraft is affected by crosswind on landing. And at some point in the curve the aircaft is simply no longer safe to land in those conditions.

My point was that Boca always has a crosswind....always. It's little more than a mile from the Atlantic and that crosswind is always a factor....always. At what point the Little Jet is required to abort, is a matter of opinion, but lemme ask you this:

The wind at Boca is 140/14 G23 (not at all uncommon here). Are you gonna:
a) Circle to burn off fuel
b) Land Runway 5
c) Land Runway 23
d) Call your alternate

This I gotta hear.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Once a figure such as 'max demonstrated crosswind' has been published, you damn well better believe that any accident or incident resulting from operating beyond the 'max demonstrated crosswind' will also result in legal action - to suggest otherwise is pure insanity.

Therefor it is reasonable to assume that DayJet or any other commercial operator, fractional operators, as well as typical flying club operations, as well as typical corporate flight department and other charter operations will not exceed the 'max demonstrated crosswind' by incorporating reference to this number in their own Ops Manuals or Ops Specs as well as training.

Gunner said...

cwm-
Party Pooper!
OK, I'll stop playing with my food. ;-)
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Sorry Gunner, just calls 'em like I see's 'em.

I have been around aviation long enough to know that in our litigious society, and with law firms secializing in aviation accident suits, that they will first look for apparent 'violations' of the regulations and the limitations of the aircraft when there is an accident\incident - pure and simple.

I have been in club and other semi-commercial operations where the Ops Manual called out limitations that fell BELOW those limitations in the book, and have been specifically effected by the 'Max Demonstrated Crosswind', even though the club in question was for a long time airframe OEM and everyone understood that Max Demonstrated Crosswind only means the highest crosswind encountered and recorded during flight test.

Speaking of food, I wonder how Vern likes his crow.....

gadfly said...

Illustrious Cousin of Sardine of the Chilled and Moistened Verisimilitude Persuasion

One must be careful of terms, so as not to offend.

In polite circles, we do not speak of “crow”, we say a person has a “Raven”-ous appetite.

gadfly . . . from the better side of the garbage dump.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

You say:
"Honestly, to me, you sound like a guy threatened by the prospect that DayJet and others like it will establish themselves in a niche that conventional charter companies aren't filling."

Which is pretty comical. Everyone here knows you trade in E-clips, and the whole house of cards is dependent on Dayjet.

So you sound like a guy who is stretching everything in favor of where you dollar is, includng a rolls market analysis at 2x, to make your point.

I can tell, your problem with waiting in line in your socks is not a barrier for 750,000,000 million other folks. There are also 2000 jets and 10,000 other planes in charter - why you have never chartered a baron for the same price as Dayjet while you are so allergic to the airlines and waiting in your socks...smacks of complete BS.

You sound like a guy on a mission, Ken. Everyone here clearly sees what the mission is, and understands the reason why.

You have to admit, that a year and only 500 or so customers from 100 companies is pretty telling, no?

You have to admit that after millions spent on computer simulation tools, chosing to begin near to where you live is pretty telling, no?

You have to admit, using false pricing and schedules, noticed by the Palm Beach Post, to try to convinve the public theres a price and convenience factor that isn't there, is pretty telling, no?

I thought you deal with "facts", Ken. Why the sudden departure (joke, of course) into "you sound like...."

Pretty pathetic.

airtaximan said...

http://www.nwda.co.uk/news--events/press-releases/200701/sfi-grant-strengthens-aerospac.aspx

Seems like the ability to meet production was dependent on this gov't money...

The contract was let a long time ago....

Seems like a risk, requiring the following type of disclosure:
"Hampson's ability to meet the projected production rate is dependent upon the government providing financial support"

I cannot imagine having the empennage supplier base their business case on obtaining gov't support, and provifing them a contract without it.

Just my humble opinion

Ken Meyer said...

AT, you are saying things that are demonstrably false.

Like...

"Everyone here knows you trade in E-clips, and the whole house of cards is dependent on Dayjet."

I have never traded in Eclipse aircraft, and the Eclipse is not particularly dependent upon the success or failure of DayJet. DayJet is but one customer. A big one--DayJet holds about 12% of the Eclipse order book--but not so big as to be "the whole house of cards" by any stretch.

I think you are gravely mistaken about how people react to the changing airline environment. That's been studied time and again, and the level of dissatisfaction with airlines is high and rising. That's well-known; with your moniker I assumed you knew something about the industry; your comment suggests you do not.

I think having more than 500 customers who have to pay a fee to join this far in advance of having a product is indeed telling. Perhaps we agree on that point. I think it bodes well for DayJet.

You also made an accusation I'd like to see you back up: "using false pricing and schedules, noticed by the Palm Beach Post." I don't think DayJet ever did that, but I'm open to any evidence you have to support your accusation.

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

Airtaxi

You are so right - I didn't know about that finer point of the DayJet system.

When my Customer gets really upset, they can't even hang up on them.

gadfly said...

Goat, where are you? I'm running out of material, and the crowd is beginning to get unruly.

There once was a company called DayJet
That promised to fly all the way, yet
Relying on light jets
To service their clients,
They continue to stir fry a rivet.

'See what I mean?

gadfly

airtaximan said...

Ken:

Reality check number 1: without high rate there is no low cost jet - end of discussion

Reality check number 2: there were 750,000,000 passenger trips on the airlines last year, despite your ideas of what is satisfying, and what is not satisfying - its a system with a lot of passengers.

Reality check number 3 - a year of concerted and micro=targeted marketing (and $20 million spent since inception) with only 500 customers is a pathetic result.

Reality check number 4 - you have no clue as to the actual number of orders, options and the percentage Dayjet represents of E-clips' order book. You have no clue as to the money on deposit, option money paid, and what the real delivery schedule will be. Sorry, Charile...you've been had if you think your knowledge is any better than mine.

Reality check number 5 - which I posted before, but I guesss you missed it... :)

"Hasner touts using air taxi to lawmakers

By Jennifer Sorentrue
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 22, 2007

TALLAHASSEE- — Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, is pushing an on-demand air taxi service based in his legislative district to other state lawmakers, saying the company could save the state money on their travel to Tallahassee.

Hasner hosted a meeting Wednesday between a small group of state lawmakers and representatives of DayJet Corp., a Delray-Beach based company that promises competitively priced flights between small airports such as those in Boca Raton and Tallahassee.

"Those of us who fly out of commercial airports know that it's not reliable," Hasner said.

The service would cost between $1 and $3 per mile, depending on how quickly the traveler wanted to reach their destination, a company official said.

State lawmakers are reimbursed for travel between Tallahassee and their legislative district during the session.

Hasner said a round-trip ticket on Delta Airlines from Fort Lauderdale to Tallahassee costs him an average of $1,200. He said he spent $539 on his most recent one-way ticket to Tallahassee.

Hasner and a DayJet representative estimated a one-way flight with DayJet between Tallahassee and Boca Raton would range from $300 and $400.

"It is going to transform air travel in the state because it is going to provide more options," he said.

But on Wednesday, The Palm Beach Post found $290 fare for a one-way ticket on a non-stop Delta flight Friday night from Tallahassee to Fort Lauderdale...."

FYI*** Today, same day there and back, non-stop was around $475 (not part of the aricle...)


I can understand why you say I do not know anything about this, because that is your style when there are facts agianst your beliefs. Its sad. You should wake up and smell the mountian of cofee...at least you should be less insulting, nit picky and way less arrogant - if we've learnt anything in this story, arrogance has gotten you and the rest of your "die-hard" ilk into this mess.

I guess you do not have a delivery position, if you do not trade in e-clips? Right? Reality check number 6, perhaps? Ken....

airtaximan said...

Jetprop,

what would you tell Ken if you really cared about him as a friend?

He seems under some sort of spell.
Intervention?

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,
"TALLAHASSEE- — Rep. Adam Hasner, R-Delray Beach, is pushing an on-demand air taxi service based in his legislative district to other state lawmakers"

Let's see if we have this right, OK?

You think DAYJET deceived you "by using false pricing and schedules" when in fact what happened was some state congressman made an estimate of what it costs to fly, and somebody found a lower price somewhere else?

They DECEIVED you?

Are you nuts? Or just so crazy-mad at Eclipse that you'll say anything to make them or their associates look bad?

Ken

gadfly said...

Goat

‘You ever watch a “professional thimble rigger”? You can watch those shells from now until next Tuesday . . . but every time you’ll guess wrong where that pea will show up. And seldom are the others present playing the same game . . . just continue to watch this one . . . and watch closely the “audience” . . . get you all stirred up . . . and someone’s goin’ to walk away “broke”.

This one’s a clever one . . . you ain’t never goin’ to win, you’re wrong on all counts.

But it's a great study in human nature.

gadfly

flyger said...

Ken wrote:

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.

Upon further review, this is essentially correct. The Mustang has two pitot probes, four static ports, and one AOA vane. The left pitot and one left/right pair of static ports drive the pilot's ADC. The right pitot and another pair of static ports drive the copilot's ADC. The standby airspeed and standby altimeter (both are traditional mechanical instruments) are connected to the pilot's pitot/static system. This is not ideal given that a failure of the pilot's system would give *two* indications which would disagree with the third remaining, but correct, copilot display.

The AOA vane is used as part of the stall warning system and does not, as far as I could tell, provide any other AOA information to the pilots. I could be wrong, it's hard to pin down exactly what comes out the G1000 display at any given time.

No one I talked to could remember any instance of even one pitot probe icing up if the pilot had the deice heat on. This abates the redundancy weakness somewhat.

More than once, someone said Eclipse might have missed this due to their climate at ABQ, being hot and dry. Many are amazed at the number of dual failures. That's unheard of. I doubt this problem will be the undoing of Eclipse, it is solvable even if that requires separate traditional pitot tubes and AOA vanes.

airtaximan said...

"Hasner hosted a meeting Wednesday between a small group of state lawmakers and representatives of DayJet Corp., a Delray-Beach based company that promises competitively priced flights between small airports such as those in Boca Raton and Tallahassee."

wakey, wakey Ken

Dayjet and Hastner did this together...

Dayjet pushed some legislation through last year to.... OH, I mean the politicians pushed it through - Dayjet was not a part of it...it just happend.

You are a joke. Stop trying so hard. Its laughable, and sad all at the same time.

Enjoy your blind love affair with e-clips and the e-clips 500. I'm sure you are perfectly suited for eachother -

- you need to belive the performance, its not yet demonstrated
-you need to belive the orderbook, its not transparent
-you need to belive your delivery position, you have none, realy jys a deposit
-you need to belive the price, its been bumped 2x
-you need to belive the avionics, again
-you need to belive the fixes for crackng
-you need to believe the operating economics, their being revised
-you need to believe the maintenance, it does not exist
-you need to believe the plane was designed for air taxi - there's no evidence, to the contrary its already falling apart

For you, "fact" = belief - which is OK. Vern has changed the definition of a lot of things, like "FAA certification", "completed the design, moving to prodcution", "guarantee", "delivery", "delivery position"....There were a lot of "believers" in Jonestown drinking the coolaid too... just look in the mirror and try to get past your arrogance - its just blind faith at this point. Its OK...we understand.

BD5 Believer said...

What's the latest on the Eclipse Service Centers? If we are really getting close to true customer deliveries, where is the mx plan?

Are the centers staffed? Where are they finding their mechanics? What are the paying? What is the service center shop rate?

How are the mechanics being trained? And trained to what?

Has anybody seen the Chapter 5 requirements yet? IS there a mx manual with all chapters complete?

What is the plan when you have an AOG away from the mother ship? And do not tell me to call 1-800 VR-Cares? Is there a real plan or not.

To paraphase an ad from a few years ago "Who's working on your aircraft?"

Who has Eclipse contracted with in order to provide all the discounts listed in the Jetcomplete program? Where do you get your fuel discount? Signature? Landmark? Mercury?

According to the Web Site:

"Developed by Eclipse Aviation, JetComplete and JetComplete Business are a comprehensive, one-stop program for operational support and aircraft maintenance. JetComplete leverages the buying power of one of the largest fleets of general aviation jet aircraft in the U.S. to command volume pricing on virtually all of your aircraft needs"

Geez with such a massive fleet, there must be some killer discounts out there for all the current flying aircraft.

How does a company put such BS on their WEB Site...

What is the going rate for Jetcomplete?

One of the interesting items to come out of Embraer's Phenom 100 focus groups was just how unprepared many future owners where about realistic operating and maintenance costs for a jet.

Now before we get 40 comments on comparing the Phenom 100 to the Eclipse, lets just breath deep...the point is jets are very expense to operate and maintain, and many a piston driver or even King Air driver was surprised when Embraer laid out their operating cost assumptions. (which by the way are very reasonable for the class of aircraft based on current mx practices and costs)

Also note Embraer designed he Phenom for high cycle / air taxi use - based on millions of regional airline experience.

I know many a Bonanza / Baron owner who could afford the price of a King Air, but then could not afford its care and feeding.

Cessna is close when they say you can own and operate a CJ for the price of a KA200. Close within a few hundred thousand, plus or minus on a five year average.

So what is the true value proposition for Eclipse Maintenance cost?

There has been a lot of great debate on this blog regarding the actual aircraft, its true performance etc....but what happens when the new aircraft smell wears off? What are the mx expectations?

Or does Vern plan on selling you a "New Aircraft Smell" air fresher, which can hang from your Garmin 496?

airtaximan said...

Ken,

to be clear, fellah..

The Palm Beach Post did the background on the pricing claims...and found them to be wrong.

I felt nothing.
Their claims were corrected by the newspaper.

Sorry if this irks you like standing in your socks... I do not think any of this makes me crazy.

As for any problems with Dayjet and E-clips - take it up with the newspaper... don't shoot the messenger. Or someone will call you nuts.

Try to stick to the facts - the insults are making you look silly and desperate

sparky said...

Good lord, this is going to be like shooting fish in a barrel(No offense CWM)

Ken,
“Interesting analysis. Flawed, but interesting.”

As we’ve seen, anything opinion that’s doesn’t concur with Vern’s is flawed.

Ken,
“Cirrus and Diamond both years away from a certified turbofan aircraft. It's silly to think they will take market share until and unless they have a product.”

Eclipse has been taking deposits since 2001, I guess promised deliveries only count if they come out of ABQ.

Ken,
“Limiting a turbofan aircraft to FL250 is a big disadvantage. An Eclipse can fly at FL250 if the pilot wants; a D-Jet cannot go to FL350 or FL410.”

VMC restrictions.

Ken,
"Customers are not going to love a service where DayJet lands to pick up another customer while I’m on the plane waiting to get to my destination." We don't know that. FC states an opinion and says we "know" it.

Look at the cost per mile of the aircraft. If you don’t fill the bird, you’re losing money. Period.

Ken, you can’t honestly state that you believe that there are enough people, originating from the same place, going to the same destinaStan, the company has previously reported (several times) over 1500 firm orders; tion, at the same time, that don’t mind the payload limitations and are willing to travel in something the size of a Yugo for 2x the price of an airline ticket.

Ken,
“Stan, the company has previously reported (several times) over 1500 firm orders;”

1,500… I thought the order book was listed at 2,500.

Ken,
“Gadfly, I think you've completely missed the target audience for the air taxi industry. It's not rich people.”

Who is the target audience? I travel a great deal for business purposes. I’ve also looked at the current prices on the “air taxi market”. If I turned in an expense report that listed the airfare they propose, I’d be fired on the spot.

Ken,
“And that's okay. There were guys like you in abundance when cell phones first came out.”

Cell phones worked as advertised.

Ken,
“The lack of internal luggage storage is one of the things I don't like about the Citation Mustang--pretty much everything has to go in cold, unpressurized storage areas when you fly that plane.”

If I had a nickel for every time my luggage complained about being cold…….

Ken,
“There is no appreciable internal luggage storage in the Mustang regardless of the number of passengers.”

If I’m leasing the flight, and have only two passengers, I’m going to put my bag wherever I damn well please.

Ken,
“gunner wrote a couple of things that are misleading...”

Kettle…hi, Pot here. Hey! You’re black.

Ken,
“The DayJet plan sounds plausible enough to me.”

Of course it does, you bought an eclipse.

Ken,
“DayJet has got a lot of very smart people working on this”

So did Enron.

Ken,
“AT, you are saying things that are demonstrably false.”

You claim to have purchased an airplane.

Ken,
“I think you are gravely mistaken about how people react to the changing airline environment. That's been studied time and again, and the level of dissatisfaction with airlines is high and rising.”

I agree, but what Dayjet is offering is not much different, only more expensive.

Ken,
“I think having more than 500 customers who have to pay a fee to join this far in advance of having a product is indeed telling.”

“A fool and his money….” You’ve proven this.

Not out of ammo, but the trigger finger is kinda’ sore. Gunner, got any suggestions.

airtaximan said...

BD5,
I'm sure everyone here BELIVES the jetIncomplete price adjustment they recently announced will be a discount.

We were recently told E-clips dod NOT honor the jetcomplete price, just the business version. They already admitted to at least one customer, its a sham.

Again, there's no evidence of deliveries, whay are you getting ahead of yourself. Ondedicated mechanic, or heck, just use the factory floor workers, can fix up and maintain this humongous fleet, right?

2 weeks ago, someone stated they were informed their plane would be delivered the next week...what happend? Funny how Dayjet KNEW they would receive CofA 100% in two days, and now, its 10 days for this poor schmo, and no plane? I guess dayjet deliveries are easier to predict that a regular paying e-customer?

Close your eyes, and imagine a world where training is in place with a worldclass traiing company, planes are finished, certified, and perform as advertised with no cracking and no upgrades or replacement avionics required, they are OK FIKI, and thye have 6 seats - the maintenance centers are staffed, hummng, and inexpensive, with a full comliment of spares and repairs.

Welcome to Ken's world.

Now wake up....

airtaximan said...

Sparky:

thanks, I'm laughing my ass off and tears are rolling down my face...

thanks

sparky said...

ATM, thanks, it's nice to be appreciated

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Damn Sparky why don't you just lay it all out - well done.

This fish does not get stuck in a barrell so no harm no foul in my book.

I would say that the DayJet model actually wants to change the airline model by charging more coin, for less room, slower speeds, and potentially LESS overall flexibility - hardly a winning combination IMO.

Again, there ARE companies making money in small plane charter and fractional operation (SATSAir, MyPlane, etc.) but they are not doing what DayJet is proposing and they have nowhere near the acquisition costs, carrying costs, cost of operations, cost of crew, etc., that DayJet will be saddled with.

I still say that if the DayJet business model will work using TBM 700's or 90 series King Airs (hell Conquests or Citations), then there would be a chance with the wonder jet (those dinosaur planes can even be flown single-pilot and, gasp, in IMC, in FIKI or even above FL240 rumor has it). The fact that has not happened either suggests ego or lack of confidence in the concept, to me.

sparky said...

CWM,

Yeah, there are companies flying the charter now, but their a niche market and in no way support the "darkening of the skies" we've been led to believe

Ken Meyer said...

AT wrote,
"I'm laughing my ass off and tears are rolling down my face..."

Yeah, me too!

So many things wrong with sparky's fizzle, I started to answer it until I got to thinking...

"What is it with these guys that they sit here and try to knock Eclipse with lie after lie after lie? What could possibly motivate all this? Why would a guy who doesn't even own the sucker give a damn anyway?"

It must be your love of mankind--you're just helping your fellow human beings from making a terrible mistake. Yep, that's it, for sure :)

Ken

gadfly said...

Many of us have been involved in the aircraft industry for most of our lives. We, as a group, and individually, have done our best to make all aircraft safe, so that just the act of riding in any plane, is an enjoyable experience, and causes no-one harm. When those high principles are violated, and our life’s work is insulted by someone who obviously does not understand, nor appreciate the work of thousands who have gone before, we have a collective responsibility to make things right. That is our motive.

Even when this debacle comes to an end, it will take a long time to undo the damage that is being inflicted on the aircraft industry as a whole. There are no winners in this conflict.

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly,
Sorry it's taken me so long to get back- I've been busy helping your fellow human beings from making a terrible mistake :)

I was so busy with emails tonight, I didn't have time to catch up on the blog- looks like lots of interesting discussions regarding the taxi propositions, both old and new (and ground and air).

Gadfly said:
In polite circles, we do not speak of “crow”, we say a person has a “Raven”-ous appetite.

Goat sez: I assume you're referring to an affinity for green (and I don't mean salads, $$$).

In which case, should that be a "Raburnous" appetite, or a "RaVernous" appetite...

When will the FAA guys be back?
Quoth the Raven, "Nevermore"

When will Eclipse certificate/be profitable/deliver 2500?
"Nevermore"

:)

bill e. goat said...

Alex,
Are you on drugs or what!

After reading your post, I have a sudden feeling of bunnyrabbituspancakous.

I'm going to go take some acetylsalicylic acid.

(oldie but goaty, I mean goody):

http://www.ratance.net/
~maga/blog/images/
bunny_pancake.jpg

Gunner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JetProp Jockey said...

A while ago, in defense of the DayJet model, it was stated that lots of people will be willing to pay more to avoid the hastles of metal detectors and walking around in stocking feet.

Got me thinking that this air taxi concept may just give our politicians the ammo they need to make the GA world safer by requiring the same security for the GA side of the airport as the Commercial side. We all know that there are such rumblings.

I wonder who will pay for this service.

The media has been working tirelessly since 911 to convince the public that GA is the great uncontrolled threat to us in the post 911 era.

It is like the threat of a darkened sky possibly help push user fees to the point of a pilot president including them in his budget proposal.

Gunner said...

Sparky-
More ammunition? Hell, son, you made pretty efficient use of what you had; and then proceeded to burn thru all mine, too! ;-)

Ken-
Please. Stop with the accusations that we all have a vested interest in the failure of Eclipse. There isn't a pilot, a vendor, a competitor or an air taxi operator that suffers in the long run if Eclipse succeeds in "revolutionizing" the aircraft industry. Not one of us.

You, on the other hand DO have a very real vested interest in this company. That alone, tells the onlooker where the bias is.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Besides all of the "debatable" issues and problems, there's one fundamental question at this point:

WHERE ARE THE AIRPLANE DELIVERIES?

Anyone have any clue why there are NO planes being delivered?

There was one comment here around 17 days ago, saying they were notified they would be delivering their plane next week...it never happend.

If there's one major thig E-clips could do to help themselves at this point, its deliver planes.

What is going on?

Gunner said...

JPJ-
GA security is an issue I follow pretty closely. Your scenario is hardly the stuff of conspiracy theory.

Let just one person attempt the hijack of a jet, operated by a high profile, "new transportation model" company like DayJet and you'd be wise to invest your money in companies that manufacture metal detectors and baggage X-Ray.

"Good morning Mr. JPG; your jet is ready. Step right over to the TSA line"

Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Your scenario could happen today. Part 135 operations are up and running today. So the risk of more security in GA already exists.

bill e. goat said...

ATM said;
"If there's one major thing E-clips could do to help themselves at this point, its deliver planes".

Goat sez:
I think the best thing they could do is stop saying they are going to deliver planes, and let it happen when it happens, instead of continually spouting deadlines that they never meet.

This builds up a perception of failure and deception, creating a skeptical climate.

It's encouraging to see upbeat "news articles", but they haven't reached the point of corporate maturity to realize that repeated inaccurate public statements have a cumulative effect of creating the impression that they are incompetent at best, and more probably an impression of deliberate liars and fly-by-night thieves.

(make that fly-by-day-VFR thieves).

It's a shame. Eclipse's own immature posturing and premature pompous proclamations have damaged their credibility much more than the cumulative press skepticism.

It's kind of like some 11 year old kid bragging to a bunch of 7 year olds about what big things he is going to do, while some 4 year olds listen.

Vern is the eleven year old, the board of directors are the 7 year olds, and the press is the 4 year olds.

It's a shame, because Eclipse themselves are inadvertently tainting the E-500's reputation, even before it is really out of the starting gate and had a fair chance to be evaluated by the flying community.

Gunner said...

EO-
You're right. The difference is public perception and industry profile. Currently, GA is something that the public pays little attention to; charters even less. So, such stories have little traction when the talking heads start spewing their non-sense.

Raise charter aircraft to the level of a "hot new industry" that everyone is talking about and the 24 hour news cycle will follow very closely behind; thence come the politicians and regulators.

I'm not stating that this is a reason to oppose DayJet. But it is a reason for the rest of us in GA to demand DayJet show some sense of reality in hyping their service. There is already a faction at Homeland Security that argues the Feds need to "better control" GA airports and aircraft.
Gunner

sparky said...

Just learned that Cessna delivered mustang #2 into Demo service last week.

bill e. goat said...

To be fair to Vern (ahem), I suppose he is under tremendous pressure, by the BoD and customers, "to deliver".

So, if Eclipse can't deliver airplanes (just yet), they deliver schedules, FSW and Phostrex dog and pony shows, press releases, and media events.

Better than appearing to just be ignore things, I suppose.

But the more schedules get blown, in the conspicuous absence of other information (such as trade magazine pilot evaluations, instead of Eclipse press release regurgitations), the more the product is suspected as being “unworkable”, when in fact, it is the highly publicized schedules that are unworkable, not having a terrible lot to do with the airplane itself.

In a business environment, I guess “image management” (read, “spin”) is important to every company, and especially important to a vulnerable startup, to continue securing funding and improve the chances of initial market penetration.

I don't think the tone and content of their information/disinformation will change anytime soon, but I think it really would help their cause if a more factual and realistic expection for schedule performance** was established. If they exceed those milestones, great- it's cause for a media event. But instead, they continue to miss milestones, and I think that is starting to create media events of a different flavor.

(** it's too bad that to some degree, the airplane is already being judged by the corporate schedule and cost performance, rather than it's own technical performance, whatever that may be).

airtaximan said...

goat:

"Vern is the eleven year old, the board of directors are the 7 year olds, and the press is the 4 year olds."

and of course, the "die-hard depositors" are the 93 year olds?

;)

airtaximan said...

bill-e:

remember...they need the deposit money...they HAVE TO say they are delivering hundreds of planes, becasue with each plane comes a 60% payment - this is BIG money.

Unless someone cries fowl, really, really loudly.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

that's "foul"

you OK, now?

airtaximan said...

Gunner:

the biggest difference is "unscheduled" vs. scheduled for security purposes.

If Dayjet has routes, and begins to appear more scheduled (predictable from the perspective of planning terrorism) this WILL become an elevated issue.

Cockpit security will probably be paramount... security pre-screening is fairly easy. If they blow up a plane with 2 pax and 2 pilots, no one will really care - sorry, but that's not a big enough impact to make the sort of headlines and ripples the terrorists seek.

Also, every SUV and truck become the same sort of terrorist threat as the air taxi... think Oklahoma City.

JetProp Jockey said...

Another difference between Charter and Air Taxi is that the vast majority of Charter work is being done for established customers who get billed after the service is provided. There is an established business relationship between the charter company and the passanger/company.

I can assure you that when a charter operator gets a call from a new customer, they do their own security work, mostly to be sure that they will get paid.

If Air Taxi is to work, I assume that services will be pre-paid (sound anything like the airlines?) and alot of customers will be first time customers. Much easier for an evil doer to get on the plane. Two guys with stun guns can take over the plane easily.

Only problem I see for now is that they can't get any training as to how to fly the bird. Even owners are having trouble getting trained.

sparky said...

I know we're not covering user fees here, but I've seen multiple reports like this in the last few days. so much for fair and un-biased reporting.

http://www.boston.com/news/local/connecticut/articles/2007/04/15/passengers_in_boston_pay_for_corporate_jet_landings_in_berkshires/

Black Tulip said...

Could the following account for the state of affairs at Eclipse Aircraft? Perhaps someone inadvertently raised the red switch guard and pressed the firewall shutoff, choking the flow of fuel, hydraulics and cash to the corporate organism. In addition the generator field could have been cut, turning off the lights. Finally, the discharge of the Phostrex bottle could have 'put out the fire.'

Black Tulip

Niner Zulu said...

Epic just announced a new VLJ at Sun & Fun - check out this link:

http://www.epicaircraft.com/Victory.html

airtaximan said...

back up to 40 e-clips listings on controller.

There were only 36 or so last week.

I'm not saying this is a definate indication of anything, just perhaps an indication of something.

I think there were 43 or so listed at the most, so far...in the February timeframe. I could be remembering wrong.

Niner Zulu said...

AT - it will be interesting to see how many Eclipses are being advertised in Controller a couple of years from now. If Eclipse stays in business and puts out a few hundred aircraft, I suspect we'll see low-time resale aircraft prices in the $1m - $1.2m range, especially if there is a slowdown in the economy and/or fuel prices take another jump.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Some DIRECT shots at our favorite subject in this - very nice. This experimental jet could end up being less experimental than the E-500.

From the Epic website-

"An Airplane That Lives Up To Its Name.
It’s a Victory because it’s the first very light jet to come to market with everything VLJs were supposed to deliver. Jet speeds, state-of-the-art technologies, single-pilot operation, all for a price tag under a million dollars. Others tried. Only Epic can claim the Victory.

Design
There needed to be a more personal jet: a jet for just you or your family. The lines of the new Victory jet slide you through the air making the 320+ knot airspeed seem effortless. Computer-designed controls move in harmony to provide the Victory jet the kind of handling pilots dream of.

Performance
Fill it with people, fill it with fuel and go the distance. What more do you really need to know? From its high speed cruise up to FL280 to its gentle approaches, the new Victory Eclipses everything else in its class.

Luxury
Like all the airplanes we build, the Victory jet is long on luxury. Leather and carbon wrap the cabin with the opulence you expect in a bizjet. Just more personal. Passengers don’t have to work hard to do what they’re supposed to do—enjoy the ride.

Availability
The 4-5 seat Victory jet will be available by August, 2007 as an experimental category aircraft. Delivery positions are available now."

sparky said...

Here's a link to their websight

http://www.epicaircraft.com/index.html

Look at the Specs for the Elite.

Fl410
412KTS
1400NM range AT MAX CRUISE AND MAX PAYLOAD.

Ken, would you entertain the idea of owning one of these?

bill e. goat said...

Sparky,
I just caught your earlier gem (I'm taking it out of context):

"Kettle…hi, Pot here. Hey! You’re black"

(THAT one's a keeper for many situations in life !!! :)

airtaximan said...

http://www.heliumreport.com/eclipse-jet/eclipse-jet-revolution-turns-into-customer-revolt-000809.php

general media waking up?

EclipseOwner387 said...

My understanding is that another Eclipse delivery took place yesterday (SN 8.) Anyone have further details on this?

sparky said...

does anybody have a link or any other information on honeywell's predictions for the VLJ market

FlightCenter said...

Here is a report that is on the web that has the Honeywell numbers (and the Rolls Royce numbers without VLJs) in it. See slide 16.

http://library.corporate-ir.net/library/11/110/110047/items/223419/CessnaAnalystPresentation_11-2006.pdf

It just happens to be a Cessna analyst presentation. Pretty interesting stuff for comparison sakes.

I also have the Honeywell, Rolls Royce and other analyst numbers provided in a Merrill Lynch report dated 13 Nov 2006 and titled "Business Jet Update - Very Light Jets".

I haven't been able to find it online, yet...


That report is very interesting as well.

FlightCenter said...

If the link to the Cessna presentation doesn't work for you, you can type the following into Google and click on the top link.

"merrill lynch" VLJ report Business Jet update

Green-or-Red said...

EO387
Yes S/N 8 was delivered this week. I have heard that another aircraft received C of A but do not have a SN.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Interesting fact about the Epic Turboprop - there are I believe more licensed and actually flying for their owners than there are Eclipses AND Mustangs.

A VERY capable aircraft if you can be comfortable flying a $1M homebuilt.

sparky said...

Thanks FC.

FlightCenter said...

If you guys think that there are corners being cut at Eclipse....

I'm not sure you are ready for an Epic.

That said, the best thing that happened to Epic was hiring Dieter. He is an excellent engineer and will be a very positive force at Epic. He knows aircraft design.

http://www.epicaircraft.com/management.html

However, as we all know, it takes more than one really great engineer to make a great airplane.

Eclipse's great hire during the early stages of their program was Oliver Masefield. He got bumped upstairs a few years ago.

airtaximan said...

EO387 and G-or-R,

Your reported E-clips deliveries will be welcome news!

Almost a "must" at this point, I'd say to maintain any credibility.

A nice step in the right direction.

I hope they can keep it up!

I'm sure the depostors are happy.

Go-E-clips-Go!

airtaximan said...

Regarding Epic,

Their stated business plan is to beta test planes in the hands of owners, as experimental home-builts. They are testing the market this way.

Their goal is to design and get the planes out the door as fast as possible. The new Victory looks like it's on track to go from concept to flight in 9 months or so.

For certification, they are looking to use the new Canadian Cetrtification Center in Calgary...

Seems like every possible corner IS being cut.

At least they are completely open and honest about it!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM,

FWIW, Cirrus used the same concept with their VK-30 Homebuilt, as did Columbia Aircraft (originally Lancair Certified) with the Lancair ES. Seawind is also basically following this approach. The Liberty XL is a derivative of a kitplane. The off-again on-again Symphony is a certified derivative of the Glastar kitplane.

And there are a number of other kit companies that have announced their intentions to develop certified aircraft from their own kit aircraft (Comp Air).

I am not saying it is a great approach but it has worked out reasonably well for a number of designs - and it surely helps to judge market response to a design concept as well as provide funding for certification.

Personally, I find the high-end experimental aircraft such as the SportJet, Epic, CompAir, Lancair IV-P, ViperJet, etc., to be very exciting conceptually for their respective types. I would love to see the Bellanca Lightning III make it as a kit.

None of the companies I listed above though pretended they were doing anything other than what they did - not sure the same came be said of our friends in the 505.

airtaximan said...

frozenfish:

like I said every possible corner is being cut - nothing wrong with it, as they state exactly what they are doing upfront.

like you said, not sure we can say the same about...

Finally, last bit of salt - its going to be funny watching the "experimental" aircraft you cite, prove to be: better manufactured, more durable, more maintainable, and lower cost to own and operate.

Afterall they are spending a few months in design and an order of magnitude less in program cost...than our friends...

** before any of you berate me for comaring a "home-built" with your e-clips... its fair - you compare your e-clips to Cessna!

flyger said...

Ken wrote:

The Eclipse has a decent internal luggage area aft of the last seat.

One of the things that Pressurized Skymaster pilots really hate is the rear baggage area. Hefting luggage over seats gets real old real fast.

Is there no baggage at all other than through the passenger door? Even a little one for things like engine covers, oil, cleaning rags, etc? You don't really want to be dragging greasy stuff through the interior all the time.

Gunner said...

flyger-
The short answer: No.

And forget your golf clubs or hunting rifles!
Gunner

Plastic_Planes said...

flyger wrote:
Even a little one for things like engine covers, oil, cleaning rags, etc?

On the Production models I saw produced, there is a small (really small) storage compartment on the pilots side aft closeout just in front of the engine intake. It is maybe 6" x 6" x 3". Not sure why they put it there [ nothing much will fit, and if you ever have a latch issue you'll probably be sucking the contents right through the engine.

But you could probably keep your score sheet and a couple of pencils in there...

/s/

jet_driver said...

Gunner: "flyger-The short answer: No."

The short answer may be, No. But the correct answer is, Yes. A small storage area was designed into the fuselage/wingroot area on the left side for engine covers, rags, etc.

Again, gunner comes through with incorrect info.

Gunner said...

JD-
Flyger specifically asked about "baggage area". If you consider a glove-box on the exterior of the plane "baggage", then I misspoke.
Most people consider "baggage" stuff like overnight bags, briefcases, golf clubs. Stuff like that, you know?

So, once again, the short answer is "No, the EA-50X sports no exterior baggage compartment...unless you consider a box of condoms 'baggage'".
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

That made me laugh out loud.

jet_driver said...

To Gunner:

Flyger asked "Even a little one for things like engine covers, oil, cleaning rags, etc? You don't really want to be dragging greasy stuff through the interior all the time."

I guess guys with big guns have little condoms.

Gunner said...

JD-
Mea culpa; I stand corrected. The EA-50X certainly has ample exterior baggage for an oily rag.

Personally I think they should do a Press Release on this feature (perhaps they already have?). It certainly changes my mind about the utility of the Little Jet. I definitely want one now.

;-)
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

From the eclipse web site and a May news article from Fast Company Flight Plan.

http://www.eclipseaviation.com/index.php?option=com_newsroom&task=viewarticle&id=1218&Itemid=51

A fair use quote:

"According to Dyson, DayJet's competitors have so far pooh-poohed its software, assuming they'll be able to buy their own off the shelf at some point. Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn hopes Iacobucci might be persuaded to license his tools, because Raburn's own business model depends upon air taxis' taking off. Iacobucci says that isn't going to happen. "There's a shift away from building another platform toward building highly integrated, vertical, special-purpose, high-performance systems," he argues. Iacobucci envisions more companies like his own, in which the competitive advantage resides in custom-built, deeply proprietary, real-world operating systems that don't just streamline accounting, but become the central nervous systems of entirely new, scalable businesses. He's looking to build barriers to entry out of brainpower--so much of it that rivals can never catch up. ("It's like in Dr. Strangelove," Sawhill quips. "'Our German scientists are better than their German scientists.'")"

gadfly said...

Jawohl, mein fuhrer.

JetProp Jockey said...

Stan

That article is mind boggling.

What I find difficult to believe is that there is no indication that there was a market study done to deterine if people are interested in their service at the prices projected to fill the 500,000 to 750,000 seat/flights per year.

I also read that they will be profitable at 25% to 125% of capacity. Somehow my simple mind can't comprehend having enough 1.25 MM planes with 2 salaried pliots sitting in each one ready to take off at a monents notice and only run the system at 25% of capacity and make money.

It just seems like in this complex model, customers are a given. In my simple old manufacturing business, I better never take customers for granted.

Stan Blankenship said...

jpj,

The kicker is the statement atttibuted to Vern:

"Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn hopes Iacobucci might be persuaded to license his tools, because Raburn's own business model depends upon air taxis' taking off."

Therefore, one might conclude both DayJet and Eclipse have their business models dependent on the linear equations developed by two Russian mathematicians.

sparky said...

It's an interesting read, the guy is deffinately a genius when it comes to computing.

The Eclipse lists cost per hour at $372.00. A cessna caravan costs about $250.00 an hour (best i could find on the web, correct me if I'm wrong, unless you're Ken, and then just assume I'm wrong, and do that silly little play on my blog handle we've all come to love) wouldn't it make sense to use one of these, at least to test your model.

I know the flight times would be longer due to lower cruise speed, and would probably even the costs out. but if you're ready to start flying, and get delayed multiple times meaning no income at all, wouldn't you at least consider leasing a few. You could at least prove your business model.

A lot of the other on-demand charter operators are stating that they're competitive to a last minute purchased coach fare, but only if you're buying 3-4 tickets. I'll admit that their have been times where a client has needed me on very short notice, but not the entire office.

I don't know, it just doesn't seem to make sense to me.

Gunner said...

Stan-
The Death Knell will be if Ed explains that determination of B/E is an "iterative" process. Consultants use "iterative process" alot. Translation: "We don't know what we're doing, but we're gonna keep trying different approaches and find out."

;-)
Gunner

Lloyd said...

Epic is planning to release a single engine jet at sun and fun this week. Tail mounted similiar to the Piper design.

Stan Blankenship said...

Hope the link works, a nice view of the panel.


http://www.airliners.net/open.file?id=1094501&size=L&width=1200&height=812&sok=JURER%20%20%28ZNGPU%20%28nvepensg%2Cnveyvar%2Ccynpr%2Ccubgb_qngr%2Cpbhagel%2Cerznex%2Ccubgbtencure%2Crznvy%2Clrne%2Cert%2Cnvepensg_trarevp%2Cpa%2Cpbqr%29%20NTNVAFG%20%28%27%2B%22rpyvcfr%22%27%20VA%20OBBYRNA%20ZBQR%29%29%20%20beqre%20ol%20cubgb_vq%20QRFP&photo_nr=46&prev_id=&next_id=1093897

WhyTech said...

EAC Bloggers,

Just recently happened across the EAC blog, and because I know some of the senior folks at E-clips, elected to read through all of the posts. I have been a GA pilot and aircraft owner for 40 years, and a private equity investor for the last 20 years. Despite my connections at E-clips, I cannot offer compelling arguments against the bulk of the criticism posted here. In fact, many of these same ideas have occured to me as I did my own informal due diligence on the Company periodically over the last 8 years. Occasionally, a company in deep trouble is able to pull back from the brink (usually as a result of a just-in-time financing, such as at FedEx in the early days) but this is rare.

Management appears to be engaging in a very troubling pattern of deception/misrepresentation going back almost to the inception of the Company. This is characteristic of what is called by some grandiose entrepreneur syndrome, something we see frequently to varing degrees in the private equity business.

While I wish the Company well, the currently available information suggests a less than happy outcome. In any event, this story has the ingredients for a best seller book 2-3 years from now.

Best,

WT


Grandisose:
Psychiatry. having an exaggerated belief in one's importance, sometimes reaching delusional proportions, and occurring as a common symptom of mental illnesses, as manic disorder.

gadfly said...

Let’s see here. Fuel at what, $2.50 per gallon? . . . say 40 cents per pound. Fuel burn rate? . . . a little less than a pound per mile. Average speed? . . . 250 knots . . . times 40 cents . . . $100 per hour for fuel. Cost of aircraft? . . . $1.6 million . . . times what ? . . . 6% interest per year? (bank president is my brother-in-law . . . gives me “prime” plus ½ . . . best thing my sister ever did) . . . 1.3382 times $1.6 initial cost . . . $2.1412 million divided by five years of 2,000 hours per year actual flight time? . . . comes to about, let’s see, $214 per hour plus $100 per hour (fuel) . . . about $314 per hour . . . not to mention minor things like tires, brakes, parking fees, . . . oh yeh, “landing fees”, normal maintenance (those “A&P” guys . . . did that for awhile) . . . what else . . . oh yeh, a little matter of engine rebuild every 3,500 hours according to Eclipse “white paper” . . . of course, engines are “cheap” (hardly worth mentioning) . . . times 250 knots . . . 500,000 miles . . . all that sort of numbers thing . . . never did well in arithmetic back in school . . . no need for it with “experts” giving me advice.

Shucks! . . . I’ll be right up there with those rich dudes in no time . . . and I’ll sell the little thing for a fortune in five years . . . Man, ain’t life a dream? . . . Sure glad I went to the Albuquerque “Hot Air Balloon Festival” and got all that hot air!

gadfly

(Oh Rats . . . double Rats . . . I forgot to remember the customers . . . but I’m told they’ll be lining up from sunup to sundown . . .’hope they get here early . . . somethin’ about VFR . . . whatever that is.)

gadfly said...

Triple Rats

Someone said I’ve got to hire a trained pilot . . . plumb forgot all about him! Now what am I goin’ to tell the wife?

gadfly

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

"The Death Knell will be if Ed explains that determination of B/E is an "iterative" process. Consultants use "iterative process" alot. Translation: "We don't know what we're doing, but we're gonna keep trying different approaches and find out."

IMAGINE THIS AFTER SPENDING $20 MILLION?

I cannot even imagine how this can possible be taken seriously?

Its like Vern spending $1 billion, and breaking every rule to get planes out the door.

AMAZING

airtaximan said...

spark:

imagine cost per available seat mile

"The Eclipse lists cost per hour at $372.00. A cessna caravan costs about $250.00 an hour"

DO YA THINK THERE'S AN AIR TAXI REVOLUTION UNDERWAY?

airtaximan said...

JPJ:

""Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn hopes Iacobucci might be persuaded to license his tools, because Raburn's own business model depends upon air taxis' taking off."

Therefore, one might conclude both DayJet and Eclipse have their business models dependent on the linear equations developed by two Russian mathematicians"

FUNNY THING IS, THEY ARE NOT EVEN RUSSIAN!

airtaximan said...

JPJ,

"What I find difficult to believe is that there is no indication that there was a market study done to deterine if people are interested in their service at the prices projected to fill the 500,000 to 750,000 seat/flights per year"

THEY SAY THERE WAS A STUDY, AND THEY DID PR WITH THE RESULTS, WITHOUT REALLY CITING THE RESULTS. THERE HAVE BEEN INDEPENDENT STUDIES, AND THE RESULTS DO NOT SUPPORT DAYJET'S CLAIMS.

SORRY, CHARLIE, JPJ IS CORRECT!