Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Die-Hards

The following is included for historical reference. Written less than 24 hours ago by airtaximan, it describes the mind-set of the faithful who have been steadfast in their support of the Eclipse program. But even the Die-Hards have their limits as we are learning from today's Eclipse Owners Board...the subject for the next post.


Die-hard (definition):

A pet name devised by Vern Raburn and the Eclipse Aviation marketing department for the early adopters/depositors for the e-500 VLJ.

The name Die-Hard has been publicized/promoted via extensive and expensive advertising budget over many years. Characteristics of the Eclipse "Die-Hard" includes:

A supporter of Eclipse who has placed a deposit for an airplane many years in advance of proposed delivery, and without the delivery slot position which customarily accompanies a deposit. This together with the propensity to leave the deposit with the company even after performance and specification guarantees have been repeatedly recast years after it was known to Eclipse the guarantees would not be met.

The die-hard will not ask for the deposit to be refunded even after the revolutionary engine fails, the revolutionary FSW process is replaced on most of the plane with rivets, and even after the advanced cockpit known by e-clips as AVIO is thrown in the garbage after 8 years of promises and hype, only to be replaced by COTS and called (this is not a joke) Avio-Next Generation.

The "die-hard" will place an additional 60% non-refundable deposit for their delivery-deposit (not a position) while the company has no track-record of delivery anywhere near the delivery rate advertised by EAC, and it is obvious they are just looking for another means of cheap financing for their program.

The die-hard will accept a plane that needs modifications to meet the revised guaranteed performance, needs frequent inconvenient inspections due to wings problems and windows cracking, and required a whole new avionics suite, together with IOUs in the future for FIKI which seems to have become an unnecessary "option" on this plane.

The die-hard will continue to support Eclipse financially even after discovering the orderbook is mostly one customer, a friend of Vern Raburn and which has in all likelihood been given many delivery-positions (anyone they want, really, in no prescribed order) in order to maintain the illusion they have 2500 orders backed by non-refundable deposits.

Finally, die-hards will accept the plane with only ABQ in place for any maintenance.

Die-hards will show a propensity to call industry experts and industry watchers names, and dismiss the evidence provided that there are serious problems with the program, and the airplane.

Die-hards will argue by repeating Vern Raburn's false or exaggerated statements, and often refer to a promised aircraft instead of the one being delivered, as if it was so, despite a track record of consistent failure for 8 years by their favorite aircraft company, Eclipse.

I think Vern's most proud of this group he has cultivated, and well, he should be. They will remain faithful it appears no matter what - hence the appropriate label - die-hard!

13 comments:

Ken Meyer said...

It's an amusing post, Stan, but I think you missed the point entirely.

I'm frequently accused of being the #1 Eclipse supporter (which is actually way off the mark when you look at my willingness to point out problems with the program when I see them). But I don't care whether I wind up with a plane that says "Eclipse" or "Cessna" on the side. I want good value.

Eclipse provides that.

Let's look at a typical 800 nm trip for this plane vs, say the CJ1 and Mustang, all at 35000 feet.

CJ1: 2:14, 1958 lbs
Mustang: 2:28, 1605 lbs
Eclipse: 2:21, 1122 lbs

Eclipse is clearly more fuel efficient than my other choices. And it costs a lot less. Some on the blog suggested I look into the CJ, so I am. I found a pretty nice 14-year old CJ for $2.395 million. Fourteen years old!. What do you suppose the maintenance on a 14-year-old jet will be? We all know the Mustang is about $2.9 million now, which makes it close to twice the price of the Eclipse. Is it honestly twice the value?

Show me a plane that gets anything like the Eclipse performance for $1.6 million, and you'll make me a diehard for it instead of the Eclipse!

Ken

mirage00 said...

Show me a plane that gets anything like the Eclipse performance for $1.6 million, and you'll make me a diehard for it instead of the Eclipse!

Stan?

Thanks

mouse said...

Ken,

Thanks for proving the point just made.

How much is that 14 year old CJ? And how much is the EA-500. Want to guess what a 14 year old EA-500 will be worth?

If you cannot see the value the CJ holds after 14 years, and you still try to defend the numbers promised, and as of yet not delivered by Vern then You are the perfect "Die-Hard".

Gunner said...

Ken-
Yes, the Mustang is easily worth twice the price of a twin jet with a 1970's avionics suite, no FIKI, no RVSM, no maintenance network and no pilot training.

Hands Down worth twice as much.

Of course that conclusion requires that we compare apples to apples, rather than paper to aluminum. Try it sometime; you might be surprised at the conclusion you come to.
Gunner

mouse said...

Mirage00,

When the plane is done (all of the mods certified and performance guarantees achieved) and the final price in current day dollars is disclosed the value will not be so dramatic and revolutionary I'll bet.

The EA-500 could yet someday prove to be the dream machine many of us hoped/hope for, but for now it is not here quite yet.

If you had to make a trip today at FL410 with any convective activity and/or the potential for icing the Eclipse is grounded. SO for $1.6M you have a nice "playhouse" in ABQ that you and the kids can sit in. Not much of a value for your money.

The day when it does all it is supposed to do, and the final price is determined then you have a leg to stand on, maybe.

In it's current operational mode the EA-500 is comparable with a 25 year old turboprop, except that it costs a bit more, burns a bit less, and has greatly reduced all'weather capability.

Ken Meyer said...

mouse wrote,

"In it's current operational mode the EA-500 is comparable with a 25 year old turboprop, except that it costs a bit more, burns a bit less, and has greatly reduced all'weather capability."

You and gunner are making the same point, and it's a legitimate one: The plane isn't quite done.

OK. The plane isn't quite done. That's true. I agree.

But why shouldn't I look at what the Eclipse will do by the time I would get one? It doesn't really matter to me what it does today; it matters to me what it will do if I get one.

Gunner, oddly enough seems to agree--he bought a D-Jet because of what it will do one day, not because of what it can do today. Nobody outside Diamond knows what the D-Jet can actually do. That won't be known for a while. But that didn't deter gunner, and it shouldn't.

We do actually have a pretty good idea what Eclipse performance will look like when the plane is finished. We have reports of the final configuration's performance numbers, and we have Flightaware tracks of the "A-Model" showing that it meets (and sometimes exceeds) book performance.

I think you can legitimately complain that the plane was released before it was completed. The evidence is that's true, and they probably shouldn't have done that. But I don't see how any of you have come up with legitimate complaints about the performance the aircraft will have when it is completed.

That's what interests me about the plane. You guys want me to ditch Eclipse, and I will if you can find me something better for my money.

Can you? Seriously. Show me what would be a better application of $1.6 million and I'll listen.

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
One of your finest moments ever...and that is NOT a back handed compliment.

But look, NOBODY wants you to "ditch" Eclipse. I'd just prefer that you stop selling the aircraft to the uninitiated in the manner you do.

"Gunner, oddly enough seems to agree--he bought a D-Jet because of what it will do one day, not because of what it can do today."

This is exactly what I mean. Have you ever seen me utter words like, "The beautiful thing about Diamond" or push their aircraft on anyone? Of course not. I purchased three (not one) recognizing it's a gamble. But I'm NOT going to try to increase my odds by hawking all and sundry on "the performance of my new jet". That would be disingenuous.

I know your Eclipse delivery is way down the line. But that's not enough for you to continue to stroke early Depositors about the jet THEY'LL be getting. In fact, it's downright beneath you. Because the jet "they're" getting is an abortion, to be fixed at some later time. That's just not right, Ken; it's bad karma, too.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

mirage,

Months ago, I told Ken with complete sincerity, that even with the performance shortfalls, the Eclipse will be perfect for he and Shari.

It is their dream...I hope one day that it can be fulfilled.

But we have to be realistic, the airplane and the program is what it is, and not what Vern sees through his rose colored glasses.

mirage00 said...

Months ago, I told Ken with complete sincerity, that even with the performance shortfalls, the Eclipse will be perfect for he and Shari.

Stan

That's not what he asked... He said

Can you? Seriously. Show me what would be a better application of $1.6 million and I'll listen.

So is there a better application?

Gunner said...

mirage-
Here's you answer: Moller.

Refute it based on the same arguments you use for the Paper Eclipse.
Gunner

cj3driver said...

Ken said;

....found a pretty nice 14-year old CJ for $2.395 million.

Wow, I should have kept my '98 CJ. sold it a couple years ago for 2.35M see Ken, that old plane is probably worth $300K more today... go figure. for a ten year old airplane! I'll bet when all those Eclipse owners are ready to move up in a few years, they will be another $300K more.

cj3driver said...

Ken, Mirage,

Why do you keep saying 1.6 Million?
There is no 1.6 million available "today". Unless you already hold a position, and you dont order any options, there is NO 1.6 million dollar airplane. dont forget, you have to put up 60% of the price 6 months (you hope) before delivery. thats another 30K+. (6% on deposit assuming it really is 6 months, based on record I'd say 1 year if lucky!) Again, add options and you are way over 1.8Million.

cj3driver said...

Ken,
The market has determined what the value of a completed or soon to be completed Eclipse is. Its about 1.8 million today (well equipped) Even with the "threat" of VLJ's a nice used CJ is 2.4 million. If the VLJ threat was real, the used CJ market would be in the toilet by now. In fact the opposite has happened. The used market for CJ’s is better than its ever been. Less inventory, higher prices.

That gives you a base value that could be carried forward. I believe that difference ($600K) will remain relatively constant over the years. (assuming Eclipse is viable) Basically the old adage "you get what you pay for" will ring true in the long run. The Eclipse is not revolutionary, it just fills the “Smaller, lighter, less capable and lower price market” that wasn’t being filled before. The basic Eclipse technology has been, and is still used today, with the larger more capable (and more costly) CJ, so the ratio between a 3 year old Eclipse and a 13 year old CJ... will be similar, three years from now. And… if its true and Eclipse delivers over 1,000 planes, there will be a lot of owner looking to move-up. GM and Ford stay in business that way.

The Mustang will similarly fit in the same formula.

The two planes are a different class. It’s not like comparing the Cirrus, Columbia or Saratoga, 206. All about the same price, similar performance. However, When comparing bang for the buck on light jets, I’d put the 600K on the used dinosaur.

BTW- If Eclipse goes TU or raises the price of the 500, I think the CJ, Mustang market get real hot, real fast. After all, there’s over 1100 owners waiting for their $837K jet (in June 2000 dollars!)… I mean $995K jet…. Make that $1,175…. no, $1,295…….. ok 1.8 final answer……