Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The CEO

From Black Tulip

In retrospect many of the problems at Eclipse Aviation are related to management style. Some of the catch phrases used by successful CEOs include:

“Praise in public, criticize in private.”

“You can accomplish a great deal as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”

“Loyalty downward begets loyalty upward.”

With these in mind….

A CEO should be careful about blaming his problems on companies such as Williams and Avidyne. It is a small world and vendors see how others are treated. Fewer vendors mean less choices and higher prices.

A CEO should avoid calling his competitors ‘dinosaurs’ since he may need to team with them in trade groups to fight government regulation and fees.

A CEO should make careful decisions on risk in new product development. Too much risk and the ‘disruptive technology’ disrupts the company, not the market.

A CEO should be careful about written and verbal statements, otherwise he could develop a reputation of over-promising and under-delivering.

A CEO should be careful about accepting a prestigious award such as the Collier Trophy before anything has actually been produced.

A CEO should be cautious about publishing an exaggerated order book based on questionable customer business plans. It may draw difficult questions.

A CEO should be price his product carefully and avoid the trap, “We will lose money on each one but we’ll make it up in volume.”

A CEO should avoid launching an unfinished product lest it draw comparisons to finished products from competitors.

The CEO should be careful about attracting a prestigious board of directors as they are used to, and expect good performance.

The reader might ask, what are the risks of violating the rules?

The CEO runs the risk that an informed observer might start an Internet website that runs an active dialog with many participants. He runs the risk that the word ‘Critic’ might appear in the website’s title. It could contain unflattering, sometimes humorous, comments that are critical of the company.

This requires that depositors, praying that the product will be completed, rise in the defense of the company.

Now having questioned the CEO’s ability in other areas let me give praise where it is due.

The CEO’s ability to suspend disbelief among the faithful is a marvel to behold.

Black Tulip

The tulip mania peaked in the Netherlands during the 1630s. The black tulip was the most sought after, until found to be biologically impossible.

103 comments:

Bonanza Pilot said...

Speaking of great CEO's....here is what happens when you have a math/computer/tech guy do marketing. He has a simulated 45 minute flight in a mockup, and then decided everything is great!

This is from Avweb
http://www.avweb.com/eletter/archives/bizav/866-full.html

DayJet Dispels Air-Taxi Misconceptions
Before DayJet begins the first very light jet air-taxi service this summer in Florida using Eclipse 500s, company President and CEO Ed Iacobucci wants to clear up some myths about the air-taxi industry. "The biggest misconception is that the air-taxi model is about the airplane," he said Tuesday at a VLJ conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. "The VLJ is evolutionary, not revolutionary. It's the VLJ price point and air-taxi business models that are revolutionary." Iacobucci believes the Eclipse 500 is the best airplane available for the air-taxi mission, which he said requires an airplane with the lowest operating costs and not the lowest per-seat costs. Further, he maintains that DayJet has a solid model for on-demand, per-seat air service. According to Iacobucci, "air taxis are a new market game" since they give travelers a heretofore unavailable option where point-to-point airline service is limited or nonexistent, prompting them to drive long hours to get to their destination. The size of the Eclipse 500 cabin was an initial concern for DayJet, but customer focus groups and simulated 45-minute flights in cabin mockups put those worries to rest. Iacobucci said the consensus about the Eclipse 500 cabin among testers was, "It's small, but it's better than the alternative."

Bonanza Pilot said...

Looks like Vern might be getting more orders. $2000 an hour for an Eclipse seems very high - but I think there is no deadhead in their model.
also from Avweb:

Pogo Bounces Back
The news blackout from Pogo Jet doesn't portend its demise; instead it was merely intentional. According to Pogo Executive Vice President of Operations Mike Stuart, the company has been laying low while working hard behind the scenes to make its flat-rate (per hour) charter service a reality. "We're waiting to get in when the [very light jet] aircraft matures," he said Tuesday at the Business Models for VLJs and Light Jets Conference in West Palm Beach, Fla. "We need a high-utilization aircraft model and we don't want to have to worry about teething pains." According to Stuart, Pogo is "leaning toward" the Eclipse 500, dashing Adam Aircraft's hopes that the company would buy 75 A700 very light jets. The VLJ charter firm plans on starting its $2,000-per-block-hour service in mid-2008. Pogo will not charge for unoccupied time, and all airplanes will come back to their home base every night. Stuart said Pogo's VLJs will fly between 2,100 and 2,300 hours each per year, slightly more than that of the average fractional airplane.

Lloyd said...

Why would you charter am A-700, or an Eclipse for $2000 per hour when you can charter a CJ for less?? This does not make sense. I anticipate that the Eclipse will charter for between 1200 and 1400 per hour.

Ken Meyer said...

Some of you know I was supposed to take a test flight in the Mustang this week--Monday to be exact.

But it didn't happen.

N404CM took off from Wichita enroute to Scottsdale to meet me (and the others similarly scheduled to test it). And here is the track.

That's right; they turned around after takeoff with a mechanical problem. They ultimately made it to Scottsdale late in the day, and my test flight has been rescheduled.

The interesting thing is this--in my quest for the perfect VLJ, I've set up test flights of the Adam A-700, the Mustang and the Eclipse.

The Mustang just bagged out due to a mechanical 2 days ago.

The Adam A-700 didn't show for its test flight either. Mechanical problem again (they were kind enough to reschedule the next day and brought their plane to my airport to make up for the problem).

The Eclipse was there at the appointed time and worked normally.

Of the the three VLJs, only the Eclipse actually made it in working condition to the test flight. I'm not sure what, if anything, that actually means (too small a sample of course), but it does provide some personal connection to the Eclipse claim of high dispatch reliability.

Ken

WhyTech said...

bonanza pilot said:

"$2000 an hour for an Eclipse seems very high"

I am guessing that this is per *occupied* hour, which is really 2 hours of acft operation assuming an hour of deadhead return flight for each outbound hour.

WT

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

Thanks for the update, Ken.
Great point, 9Z.

From Cirrus thru HondaJet and everything in between. For those of us considering trading up to one of these birds, we need to do regular inventory as to how far the reality has strayed from the promise. And we need to constantly monitor whether we're making decisions based on a "gotta have a jet" attitude. There ARE other choices.
Gunner

Lloyd said...

I've always held that you do not want to be one of the first 100 for any airplane. Let someone else deal with the inevitable problems that will crop up with any new plane.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

sounds like your timing is off on the Mustang and Adam test flights... you scheduled your test flight at the right time for the e-clips...

...it was just FINISHED being fixed!

;)

- the air taxi business is going to need to be highly reliable

gadfly said...

Gunner

Watch that “octogenarian” stuff . . . I turn 70 next October! But you are right on with the Lexus . . . we have two of them. Many years ago, I got the Swedish junk, and the German junk (including two BMW’s) out of my system . . . ‘just got tired of contributing to the trade imbalance in repairs. Toyota’s dominate throughout our family . . . and an ‘86 Honda Accord that won’t quit, plus one Ford pickumup and a junker Chevy pickup for one of the grand-kids. It’s great to operate machines that don’t break, and do everything right.

The Japanese just quietly “do their thing” until the product is ready, then without much fanfare, present an understated and refined machine to the public. And when all the costs are added up . . . including the many breakdowns that never happen, a Lexus is a bargain. (And, no, our dog is not welcome in the car.)

gadfly

(BlackDutchBulb . . . your CEO comments are right on target!)

FlightCenter said...

Coming back to the economics of producing an Eclipse and the targets that Eclipse needs to hit to achieve breakeven.

Plastic Planes said 10:48 PM, April 30, 2007 - "Early aircraft probably have around 4000 direct labor hours in them (from weld to flight). Our goal was to achieve 400 hours once we hit a steady three a day rate. That's a relly small number."

PP (or other execlipsers),
Do you have any estimates for how many indirect labor hours it takes to produce an Eclipse?

I'd also be interested in how many additional hours you estimate are required after manufacturing release to get through production flight test, achieve CofA and final prep for customer delivery.

Finally, there have been a number of folks saying that breakeven will occur between 500 aircraft per year and 750 aircraft per year. Those numbers come from interviews with Vern and from other sources on this blog.

Can you let us know if the breakeven numbers of 500 to 750 aircraft per year assume a direct labor content of 400 hours per airplane?

cj3driver said...

Ken,
Too bad you didnt get to fly the Mustang yet. I really wanted to hear your comments. Did they tell you what the "glitch" was. I must have been minor since the aircraft arrived later in the day. Cessna just announced they will be building a new service center in Mesa, AZ, just around the corner from SDL. They probably would have continued the flight if it was next year.
BTW, according to flight-aware, N404CM flew 26 IFR trips in the last 15 days and who knows how many VFR demos. and well over 40 in the last 30 days.

Ken Meyer said...

CJ3 wrote,

"Did they tell you what the "glitch" was. I must have been minor since the aircraft arrived later in the day."

They wouldn't say what it was. However, they put the best spin on it (who can blame them?): "The problem was nothing serious, nothing that could have caused any kind of incident, however Cessna has a policy of not flying with anything at all wrong, even the most minor detail, so we had to return to get this very minor glitch repaired."

They rescheduled me for the end of the month.

Adam left me sitting at the airport in Napa (where I flew to meet them). I waited for 3 hours and finally received word that their plane was broken and they wouldn't be there at all.

To their credit, they flew the next day to the little airport where I live and allowed each of us (my wife is a pilot) a generous test flight. It is, by the way, a very nice flying airplane that I would be very happy to own were it not for my concerns about the viability of the company.

Ken

cj3driver said...

9Z, Gunner,

I agree, first production year of any new model is a gamble. First 40 Mustangs, first 400 Eclipses and first 5,000 745's! I have no doubt Cessna will make good on the first 40 Mustangs, BMW took care of the cars... Will Eclipse make good on thier first year (404!)

cj3driver said...

Ken,
In all sincerity, you should consider a used CJ. for the average price of the new "VLJ's" you can get a great reliable used CJ or CJ1. If you pull the power back to Mustang speeds, the operation efficiency is nearly the same. They built over 1,000 CJ's. Service is available everywhere, not only from Cessna, but others. Parts aplenty, large cabin (by comparison), excellent short field performace (Vref light is in the 90's) and if you want a VLJ, I'll bet you could sell the CJ it in 2 years for more than you paid, and get a "bug-free" VLJ . I'll post my reason for that later.... gota go.

JetProp Jockey said...

To parpahrase a comment by an earlier poster who is familiar with venture capital projects:

"It seems to me that based on the delays and cost overruns to date it will require another $500 million to provide the necessary cash to get the project to the point it is self sustaining.

If this sort of capital is to be provided by the normal people who get involved in venture projects at this point, they will not be kind to the initial investors or management"

Does everyone realize the implications of this statement?

It means that if a group were assembled to provide the cash to take Eclipse from today to a self sustaining company, the group would require a special position in the feeding chain of future cash. This means that they could require that before any of the initial investors, Vern and Bill included, get a penny of return or are able to sell their shares, the new guys must get their investment back plus some big return - maybe up to 100%. In effect they would have the power to tell all of the initial investors to kiss their investment goodby.

They would also most likely require enough seats on the board to be able to restructure the company, ironically, probably bringing a known performer from a dinosour company to run the show. Possibly with the dirction to find the price/volume point that generates the most and quickest profit. Possibly tell those with early deposits for low price planes to accept a price increase or get their money back with interest.

It all comes down to how tight is the cash supply. If more capital in needed sooner, rather than later, things could get interesting.

WhyTech said...

jetpropjockey said:

"Does everyone realize the implications of this statement?"

You are right on all counts, and this is the "mild" scenario. It often comes to pass in these situations that the early investors who do not participate for their pro rata share of new financings are "washed out," meaning that their ownership position has essentially no value.

When management delivers, these things dont happen and most everyone is smiling. When management doesnt deliver, it can get ugly for everyone except those with cash they are willing and able to invest.

WT

WhyTech said...

A start up (which Eclipse is) is a special case of a turnaround situation. In both cases, management has a limited amount of time to get the company to a point where it is self sustaining, or where it is in a position to raise more capital (usually as a result of soild progress in the eyes of investors). The start up differs from the turnaround mainly in that there is relatively little prior history.

When a group of hard nosed investors is calling the shots at Eclipse, you will see major changes. Vern will be at most a figurehead Chairman, and the current Board will be mostly gone. The Company has, for the most part, a management-friendly "luminary" Board with little experience in the rough & tunble realities of getting a new business up and going successfully. At this stage, you need Directors who know how to mop the floor and clean the toilets, in other words whatever it takes to make the Co. successful. The luminaries are for when the sailing is smooth, and management doesnt want or need much help.

WT

ExEclipser said...

N510KS (a Mustang), is flying at FL180 at 254 kts. Hmmm... Wonder what all has gone wrong. Never mind that they're only flying 97 miles...

airtaximan said...

Ken:

"They rescheduled me for the end of the month."

perhaps they figured out it was YOU, and they just didn't want to bother?



Kidding, of course.

gadfly said...

WhyTech

Thank you for your good words of wisdom.

“Way back when”, in the Navy, I learned to "swab the deck and clean the head". Later, I earned enough to stay in school by “mopping floors and cleaning toilets”. As time went on, I started my own business and, you guessed it, “mopped floors and cleaned toilets”.

Now that my #2 son is my partner, and I am the senior of the two . . . I answer the phone, “mop floors and clean toilets”.

But when I get home at night, and am king of my own castle, my wife allows me to “mop the floor, clean the toilets AND the shower”. (. . . and do the dishes, and bring her coffee every morning).

Do you think I might someday be qualified to be a member of the board of a company like the little jet manufacturing facility?

gadfly

(Somehow, some things just never change. I think I'm establishing a tradition.)

WhyTech said...

Gadfly said:

"Do you think I might someday be qualified to be a member of the board of a company like the little jet manufacturing facility?"


It would appear to me that you are overqualified!

WT

gadfly said...

Thank you, WhyTech,

If you think your flattery will get you somewhere . . . you're right.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Why do you suppose Eclipse and DayJet feel the need to 'dispel' certain 'misconceptions'?

Could it be that the very statements these companies make are CREATING the confusion and 'misconceptions' - about things like DME, RVSM, transparency inspection and replacement intervals, certification status, etc.?

Speaking of 'misconceptions', does Ed realize that Air Taxi has existed in the form of charter-on-demand (same thing as his 'per-jet' concept) for decades?

So let me get this right, it is NOT about the plane, BUT it IS about the price point.

WTFO?

If that were true, they would have started flying with used TBM 700's when he first had this brainchild, 5 years ago, and they would now have a fleet of hundreds of planes, thousands of pilots, and years of experience under their belt - instead of $50M raised against a $1.4B order book, 5 'proposed' Dayports, and the need to 'dispel' some 'misconceptions'.

It most certainly IS about the plane, THIS plane specifically. If DayJet were to grow at the rates suggested by their order book, they would run out of suitable airframes using TBM's, or PC-12's, or Caravans. Now older Citations or King-Airs would be another story.

If Pogo is planning on $2K\hr for an Eclipse, I am thinking Burr and Crandal may have finally lost it - I can charter a much bigger jet for that, or a King-Air for much less - and either of those will take considerably more than two people and an overnight bag - and most have a potty.

Curioser and curioser - the economics are swinging a bit too wildly - Pogo says $2K\hr, but Dayjet, even at $4\mi is still barely over $1000\hr with 2 pilots.

Just don't make no sense.

But I take Burr and Crandal's gut over any number of Russian Rocket Scientists and chaos theory algorithms.

Think Don and Bob know something others don't?

They do, they have both succeeded and failed in the AIRLINE industry. You know, the dinosaurs who take peoples' money to fly them around in airplanes.

gadfly said...

WhyTech

It also seems that you are preaching to the choir. You know what you are saying to be true, I know the same, and the “winners” in the group know the basic principles, but the very ones who need most to hear the message have long ago closed their ears and eyes to the obvious.

Human pride has a strange way of making people blind . . . and certain basics are repeated over and over to the point that sleep ensues.

The drowning man fights his rescuer. The failing business refuses sound advice. The man with a vision of great things, refuses to recognize his need for a new prescription on his glasses. Stuart Briscoe once told of a man who never saw the mountains near his home, denying their very existence, until he had surgery for cataracts.

It is the age old scenario of the “blind leading the blind’ . . . maybe not the spiritual part, but at least the everyday method of good business practices.

As you and the “Black Tulip” have so well stated, you do whatever it takes, without concern as to “who gets the credit”. Anything short of that is headed towards disaster. For those who would invest their money . . . whether a dollar or a billion . . . they should see the symptoms. Yet, they stare in a catatonic state . . . unaware of their soon demise.

Unless major changes take place, the end is certain. It has little to do with “how well” the little jet responds in flight, or how “quiet”, or how forgiving it is “on final approach” . . . this company is headed for disaster.

The “trick” is to keep everyone’s attention on the “little jet” (it’s cute, it’s quiet, it almost does everything it was promised to do . . . and in time everything will turn out right, as in a Disney movie) . . . while the activity behind the curtain is a disaster.

To quote that wise saying of my generation: “Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” And indeed we are not.

‘Thoughts of a gadfly . . . an insect with a brain of a gnat . . . or is it a “nit”, I forget!

airtaximan said...

Ed dispelled some myths at NBAA last year, too...

I guess there's still some explaining to do?

The myths he was trying to explain away did not exist - they were questions he was receiving about his plans.

Imagine the mentality it takes to calling them "myths".

Imagine the answers that created MORE questions, than answers...requiring more "myth dispelling".

Imagine the answer to some simple questions:

1- how much deposit money you got down on them there 1400 Vern-Jets?
2- How much money you placed for progress payments so far?

Here's the myth:
1- not a lot
2- not a lot

Please dispell, answer, whatever you like to call it...

gadfly said...

Airtaximan

Ask until the cows come home . . . the silence is golden . . . or is it “pot metal”? You choose, but the silence remains . . .

gadfly

WhyTech said...

Gadfly said:

"It also seems that you are preaching to the choir ... "

Gadfly,

Some powerful insights in your comments. If it werent for the people issues in these ventures, everything would be great!

There are some powerful human behavior/motivation sub plots at work here IMHO, with predictable and adverse consequences for Eclipse.


WT

(Wasnt intending to preach to anyone!)

WhyTech said...

coldfish said

"Curioser and curioser - the economics are swinging a bit too wildly - Pogo says $2K\hr, but Dayjet, even at $4\mi is still barely over $1000\hr with 2 pilots.

Just don't make no sense."

This may not be an apples - apples comparison. There is a 135 Citation 560 charter operator in the hangar next to mine, and he tells me he gets $2.2K per hour for each hour the plane flies, whether or not you are in it. In other words, on a trip from A to B that takes two hours of flying time, you pay for four hours even if you dont make the return trip, to get the airplane home.

I am guessing that the $2k/"hour" charter rate for the Eclipse includes 2 hours of airplane time for this reason. Thats the only way I can make sense of it.

WT

gadfly said...

WhyTech

Don't apologize for "preaching". The purpose of this "blogsite", as I understand it, is to share our thoughts and "wisdom", so that others might benefit and be better equipped to make value judgements as to their own participation in this venture. If it be "preaching", then it is up to the "hearers" to respond to the "altar call" as they see fit. The word goes out, your responsibilty is fulfilled. The burden of responsibility is on the "hearer" . . . your part in this blogsite has been fulfilled.

At least that's how I figure it.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

A little more about the price point issue.

The 737-800 lists at about $70M.

The Eclipse is about $1.6M.

The 737-800 seats 162 in two-classes, or 189 in one class.

The Eclipse seats 3 or 4, in a cabin the size of an early Dodge minivan.

The 737-800 has a flight crew of two.

The Eclipse, as envisioned in operation by DayJet and others, has a flight crew of two.

The price point per seat of the 737-800 is $432K for two-class, $370K for single-class.

The price point per seat of the Eclipse is $533K with 3 seats, $400K with 4 seats.

The 737-800 is among the latest evolutions of a design that has been in continuous production since 1967, with over 5,000 produced - manufactured by a $61B company that employs 153,000 people, and which started making airplanes in 1916, 91 years ago.

The Eclipse is the latest incarnation (4th by my count, not including Avio NfG OR the aero-mods program) of the first design, out of a start-up would-be manufacturer that is 8 years old and has burned through close to $1B and has yet to delivery the aircraft it originally prmoised, that employs, reportedly, about 1,200, and is yet to make a profit.

At any given moment in time, there are more than 1,200 737's airborne worldwide, with a takeoff or landing made by a 737 approximately every 5 seconds.

At any given moment, one or more of the 14 claimed Eclipse deliveries could be airborne, except of course unless there is known icing, IMC, a needed inspection or replacement of the transparencies, or a planned heavy modification period to alter the airplane from original type design to allow it to meet the revised guarantees.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Whytech,

For a Citation V, that is a fair rate. Basic operating costs for the V average a little under $1K\hr before flight crew for a plane that sees 300-400 hrs\yr. Figure another $300-400\hr for flightcrew and FA. That leaves a few hundred an hour for your 135 friend.

I recall seeing somewhere that Pogo expects to PROFIT $2-3\mi at the $2000\hr rate, and would seem to suggest they would need to charge for deadheads and overnights, but I am not sure as of this writing.

What I do know that is I can charter a 200-series King-Air for about $900-1300\hr AND split with up to 7 other people.

I can charter a 20-series Lear for about $1400-1900\hr AND split with up 6 other people AND get there faster.

I can charter a Hawker 800 for $2500-3500\hr, AND split that with up to 7 other people, AND be living pretty damn high on the hog, AND get there faster.

I suspect Burr and Crandal have estimated deadheads and overnights into their cost IF they are 'not chargin' for deadhead and overnights - but to make $2-3\mile I don't see how they do it any differently than the other guys.

ExEclipser said...

As I was populating my forum with press releases, I came across one of the early DayJet ones. I'm sure most big players in here already know, but it's worth sorting out a bit.

The press release from April 25, 2005 stated that they had an initial investment of $18 Mil. Yet, they claim that their 237 orders + 70 options were signed in 2002 - at pre-P&WC pricing. That would be an investment requirement of around $30 Mil paid to Eclipse 5 years ago. Since an $18 Mil investment is well below $30 Mil, there are two possibilities. A) There is was more than $18 Mil at Jetsons in 2002 - very likely could be Iacobucci's personal wealth. B) They didn't have to pay the same 10% deposit as everyone else.

Could they have taken the rest of Nimbus' orders? Who would have to disclose? Why? Nimbus probably would as a public company, but Eclipse and Jetsons (precursor to DayJet) as private equity fundraisers probably wouldn't.

On another note, I think the Pogo is messed up.

airtaximan said...

cold wet,

brilliant.
Period.

I;;ve used cost from Boeing to dispell myths about e-clips and airtaxi since 2003 or so. Your analysis is 100% correct, perios.

It becomes obvious by looking at ALL costs, direct/indirect etc... that the e-plane is BS regarding any kind of new technology or paradigm shift. Tech for tech sake given fully finctional AVIO, but BS regarding overall advantages for passenger service.

Right on man.

$300K per seat cost for Boeing
$300k per seat cost for E-clips (based on HIGH rate...not yet available...)

Nice dispell of BS myth

airtaximan said...

execlipser,

"On another note, I think the Pogo is messed up."

FYI the only Burr left in the story is Cameron, Don's son... and he sided with Crandall, instead of his own father - should tell you something.

The guys a clown, and so is Pogo.

Koolaid-drinker1 said...

More Fodder

EA500 FSB Report

KAD1 (aka CAD1)

sparky said...

sparky said...
Ken,

Let me get this straight. Cessna, who you've attacked as both dishonnest and unreliable, left you waiting on the tarmac and you don't mention it for what, 48 hours?

I'm sorry, but BS doesn't quite cover it.

"I donated $10k."

"I'm buying a mustang also."

"We're going to be a two plane family again."

Ken, you just might meet the requirements for pathological liar. You should talk to Vern about a job as the new PR guy.

Also, Lloyd replied to my post about the E-birds air conditioning with:

"I do this all the time with our Pilatus, LAS, and Florida, Mexico and works great! Takes about 1/2 hour to cool the airplane well if sitting in the hot sun, but not a problem."

If I recall, Eclipse stated that they were removing the soundproofing to save weight in order to off-set the weight penalties of the aero mods.

Care to guess how much harder the air conditioning has to work to make up for the loss of insulation/sound proofing?

And ken, I believe one of the largest selling points of Dayjets operation was "On Demand" air travel. Now it seems that "On Demand" means paying a premium.

So, lets look at Dayjets pricing. Oh, that's right, you can't even look at the pricing structure without fist signing up for the service.

So, when i fill out my expense report, I'm going to have to explain that I had to pay a service charge just to LOOK at their price.

And in order to get a good rate I have to rely on some random traveler, on any given day is going to be leaving from, and going to, the same place I am, at the same exact time, oh yeah, neither of us has anything larger than a laptop bag.

sparky said...

Order book, one last time.

everybody is now talking about the 1400 dayjet orders.

What was the name of the company that Ed started first? Jetson something or other?

anyway, they ordered 1,400 jets.

Dayjet is a completely different company.

they have 300+ orders.

doesn't this add up to 1,700+ orders?

I know, orders and options are two totally different things, or least they used to be.

I think if Vern even hears the word "eclipse" uttered in pubic, he counts it as an order.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Somebody better sedate Ken.

That mean and nasty Eclipse-hating FAA said the plane is not equipped for RVSM and the synthetic DME wasn't working in their lie-filled FSB report.

Those bastiges also said you can't get required SIC training because Eclipse has not developed it, although it is REQUIRED by the AFM without a functional autopilot.

Fargin' iceholes also said the plane cannot be used for Part 135 Ops.

They even commented on the 2-month delay in their evaluation due to 'airplane problems'. Makes that half-a-day Mustang glitch seem pretty tame, huh Ken?

Man, with friends like that, who needs enemies, or blog critics.

I was playing around on FlightAware and saw that N468TT, an Epic LT homebuilt turboprop has been flying at 325 kts and FL280, and another one N3XF, recently did 320 kts at 19,000, and C-FJRQ the Dynasty prototype recently did 320 knots at FL260.

Racing legend Bill Elliot owns Epic LT N9BE which recently flew at 320 kts and FL270.

Following Sun N' Fun, the Epic demonstrator N3XF flew from LAL (Lakeland FL) to SNA (John Wayne - Newport Beach CA), with one fuel stop in Abilene, fighting winds as high as 120 knots. They took off in Florida at 8:20am Eastern and landed in California at 2pm Pacific, 7:40 door to door, coast to coast.

There are now at least 10 FLYING, CERTIFIED (Amateur-Built Experimental), and DELIVERED customer Epic LT's, and they ALL live with their owners, across the nation, not tethered to homebase.

ExEclipser said...

Of course they aren't tethered. They're experimental. They'll never be used for anything more than personal enjoyment. They can't be used for commercial activities and they were certified under Part 21.

I don't understand the correlation.

Ken Meyer said...

sparky fizzled,

"If I recall, Eclipse stated that they were removing the soundproofing to save weight in order to off-set the weight penalties of the aero mods."

Where on earth did you get that from?

Eclipse initially planned on offering a "Whisper-quiet Soundproofing" option that added 20 lbs (and cost $11K). But it turned out that the standard insulation makes the plane so quiet that nobody would want the additional insulation, so there was no point in offering it.

The plane is really quite well-insulated, very quiet inside during flight, and among the quietest planes flying vis a vis noise signature on the ground.

"Now it seems that "On Demand" means paying a premium...in order to get a good rate I have to rely on some random traveler, on any given day is going to be leaving from, and going to, the same place I am, at the same exact time"

I think those statements demonstrate how misinformed you are.

You can learn about the DayJet program by clicking here.

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

coldwet wrote,

"Somebody better sedate Ken."

Somebody better revive coldwet.

The FSB final report largely follows the language in the FSB draft report. With regard to the functionality issues you mentioned, the report represents a snapshot in time when the draft was written. Many or most of the issues identified in the draft are no longer applicable.

In other words, you need to get with the times cold wet :)

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I ask again, what is your approximate delivery number for the EA-500? After all, you asked the same question of me regarding my Diamond order and I responded immediately.

I think this is important in order for us to judge your sometimes diametrically opposed positions here and on the Owner's Board.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

2nd Request.

With the dozen or so units delivered, has anyone (including Mike Press) reported their actual empty weight and CG location?

JetA1 said...

With Ken's refusal to offer up a E-position #, and his stories about doing demo flights in A-700, C-510, and E-500 recently, I think we can all conclude that he doesn't actually have a position on anything.

He's just a Die-Hard Wanna-Be

ExEclipser said...

Well, if Ken doesn't have a position number, then I'd like to know how to get on the owner's board.

Stan, I don't think that you're going to find any E500 deliveries made at the published empty weight because I don't think there is anyone who has a plane without some level of options purchased.

DayJet's conservatism may put them at the closest to a 'standard' no frills E500, but they have the extra Part 135/CoPilot options.

Gunner said...

jeta-
I don't doubt that Ken is an Eclipse Depositor. I'm simply requesting what he has asked of me. I think it matters in evaluating his comments here vs the Eclipse Owner's Board.

Nor do I thinks he's ducking the question. He provides lots of input here, and he gets lots of questions as a result. Hopefully he'll respond now.
Gunner

ExEclipser said...

What's in a name?

There was recently a podcast featuring Aviation Consumer Magazine’s Rick Durden and his test flight of the Cessna Mustang.

Considering Mr. Durden to be a professional journalist as well as being a professional pilot, there were a couple of comments in the article that particularly bothered me.

For one, he said that he didn’t know why Cessna doesn’t consider the Mustang a VLJ. He thought that the VLJ has a 340 kt top speed. That was a silly thing to say because Vern’s plane was always 370 kt and he coined the phrase VLJ. Besides, it’s very light jet, not very slow jet.

From what I understand, there really isn’t a set of FAA criteria defining jet categories. But I believe that the basic guideline is that very light jets are under 10,000 lbs MTOW, and light jets are between 10,000 and 20,000. I doubt that the Phenom 100 can come in under 10,000. The Mustang is at 8395 lbs.

That all being said, I don’t know why Cessna doesn’t consider the Mustang a VLJ either – other than the fact that their nemesis, Vern, came up with the term.

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipser,

The question remains on the table, what are the actual delivered empty weights and CG locations?

Options can be backed out as required.

Ken Meyer said...

stan asked,

"With the dozen or so units delivered, has anyone (including Mike Press) reported their actual empty weight and CG location?"

I haven't seen it.

Ken

Bonanza Pilot said...

I see that Mustang N600DE is currently at FL360 and 343 Knots on its way to Van Nuys...maybe it is on the way to give Ken a ride. It has been flying a lot - so must be holding up pretty well.

As for the Epic..it sounds awesome on paper - but lets see what happens as it makes its way through certification. If the Certified Dynasty is as good as the Epic they will have a home run - and a very viable alternative to the Eclipse as well as the TBM. Actually the Dynasty would make a much better air taxi plane than the Eclipse. Unfortunately certification tends to change things quite a bit.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ex,

VLJ is a marketing term, nothing more.

The Mustang and Eclipse are not in the same class, so their definition of entry-level makes sense.

The Mustang weighs more than a ton more, has bigger engines, a much bigger cabin, much more baggage capacity, and a higher price (at least for now).

As for my info on the Epic LT, I was only pointing out that there is an experimental turboprop (certified version in development)that has performance that other than max ceiling, is very close to the EA-500 and Mustang, actually superior in a couple areas (range and max payload), and that these planes are being USED, they are being FLOWN.

I happen to like the Epic plane a lot (and its' cousin the Farnborough F1) and would consider one for my business and personal travel when I feel I can justify it.

But I would also consider, for similar money, the Sierra Value Light Jet, which is a re-engined and upgraded Citation I or I-SP. It is WAY more airplane, for the same or a little more than the Eclipse, can be had in months, and is a very known quantity.

I still think that, someday, the Eclipse will be a good little plane, and I still wish the rank and file there the best, even if that rising tide raises the boats carrying the executive team that I think has been a complete failure.

What I would like to see an end to is the continuous lies, half-truths and redefinition of terms we have been using for many decades, words like 'orders', 'certified', fully-functioning', etc. These words are being redefined by Eclipse, by DayJet and by the faithful here.

As for Ken and the magic GPS\DME\RVSM -

Answer this question.

Without replacing the displays and adding a dataloader, POST DELIVERY, that is, MODDING the airplane AFTER it is 'delivered', can the plane fly GPS Nav, above FL240 with synthetic DME, or in RVSM airspace when the initial database expires?

I will help you, any answer other than NO is pure BS.

The plane requires post-delivery modification to be legal for those activities after the initial database expires.

As manufactured and as 'delivered' it lacks the ability to update the GPS database.

You need to get it through your thick skull that this is simply not normal for an aircraft.

Eclipse KNOWINGLY pushed a design through Certification that COULD NOT BE UPDATED as designed and as built.

Now why would they do that, when they were only weeks\months away from a design that would allow the database to be updated? Just a couple simple changes, like new displays and a dataloader, stuff that can be done in a couple days.

Why did the KNOWINGLY certify a plane that was NOT USABLE?

Similarly, they knew YEARS ago the plane was not going to meet the performance guarantees, yet they KNOWINGLY certified a plane that DOES NOT meet the guarantees, when they were only months away from the aero-mods that would allow the plane to meet the lower revised guarantees.

Why would they do that?

I mean, what's a couple months after 8 years and close to $1B?

The faithful have clearly demonstrated they will not mutiny, evne after YEARS of delays, INCREASED costs, AND lower performance and utility.

The BOD has also clearly shown that it will not reign the program in.

So WHY DID THEY DO IT?

ExEclipser said...

Ask Rick Adam.

The A500 has had it's provisional TC for over two years now with three revisions. Still limited to 12,500'. Still no FIKI. Airframe limited to 1200 hours. Got IFR. Two piston engines in an era where 100LL is only going to get scarcer. Price about 20% less than the E500 TwinJet.

sparky said...

Ken,

I do understand how the system works. Your charged anywhere for $1-god only knows how much. You can't get a price unless you pay for the service.

so I ask you, what does it cost to fly from point a to point b? any points, I don't care.

Keep in mind that the survival of you beloved little jet depends on this answer being low enough to be acceptable the the general business traveler.

WhyTech said...

coldfish said:

"VLJ is a marketing term, nothing more."

Correct, and it stands for Very Little Jet.

A friend of mine has been flying his Epic since December. If you think that this is not a real airplane, think again. Most impressive!

WT

Gunner said...

Ken-
I note your continued reticence to release your Eclipse delivery info, as you had demanded me to do for D-Jet. Please note my continued desire to point out your avoidance of the question.

See, it speaks to character and, therefore, to credibility when grown men apply double standards in polite conversation. You demonstrate, by your silence, that the same double standard you apply to Vern vs the rest of the aviation industry is also reserved for yourself. That's sad.

But on to other subjects:
What's your approximate delivery number on the EA-50X? I honored my end of that exchange with specifics.
Gunner

Lloyd said...

Epic is an impressive plane, however......

No FIKI
No certification part 23 (commercial use)
No Service
No RVSM, up to the owner

Certificataion will be a difficult road for them to reverse engineer every part in this plane to meet FAA standards. If they follow this road future models may be certified, but current models will likely never pass the mustard. Oh, and by the way, don't look behind the panels, wiring is a mess!!

Plastic_Planes said...

ex:

The A500 has had it's provisional TC for over two years now with three revisions.

The A500 has full (not provisional) TC. It's amended for the latest changes. They also have a PC. As for the rest??

http://adamaircraft.net/pressreleases.asp#65

http://adamaircraft.net/pressreleases.asp#64

http://adamaircraft.net/pressreleases.asp#48

Not saying one way or another, but let's be fair here. Many companies (Cessna, Raytheon, Embraer, Boeing, etc.) have or will have TC amendments and STC's issued for their aircraft. EAC will have to issue an amended TC when all the block changes are made (Aero Mods, Avio NG, etc). This is a widely accepted practice in this (ever changing / ever improving) industry.

Besides, the A500's are out flying in the hands of customers and have been for a while. Not something that can be said about a lot of EA500's.

/s/

EclipseOwner387 said...

I want an Epic too. But the wife says I need to sell a couple planes first ;-)

Nice Malibu '85 for sale!!!!

WhyTech said...

lloyd said:
"Epic is an impressive plane, however......

No FIKI
No certification part 23 (commercial use)
No Service
No RVSM, up to the owner"

lloyd,

These come with the territory for an acft with an experimental airworthiness cert. If one can live with the tradeoffs (I cant), its a lot of airplane for the dollar.

The service picture doesnt seem to be as bad as you paint. The FBO where my friend bases has had no problems maintaining the acft so far, and factory support has been good. Very King Air like I am told.

WT

Lloyd said...

One potentially serious drawback is that the intake lip for the PT-6 does not have any de-ice, not heated in any way! This lip will ice up in moisture and relatively warm air. Wait.......

Ken Meyer said...

plastic planes wrote,

"The A500 has full (not provisional) TC. It's amended for the latest changes. They also have a PC. As for the rest??"

Adam has come a long way. Unfortunately, two years after initial certification, the A-500 still cannot exceed 12,500 feet or fly into known icing. It has a 1200 hour airframe life and still has a very high percent of unusable fuel (it was 22%, but they got it down to "just" 13% or 30 gallons).

Those are substantial limitations for a piston twin (particularly the 12,500 foot ceiling). These ongoing problems 2 years after certification are why I gave up on the A-700 although I thought it was a really nice plane for my purposes.

By the way, Adam has been delivering aircraft for almost 2 years, but they have delivered fewer planes than Eclipse.

Ken

ExEclipser said...

PP: I am being fair. Adam received their provisional in May 2005. They received their third revision 16 months later that approved IFR.

So I stand corrected on when they achieved "full TC". What is full TC? The only difference between a provisional and a full with limitations is that title can't change hands. They can get money, but buyer can't get title. 16 months and only 12,500', IFR, and 1200 hours on the airframe. That's a freakin' lot of development time to come up with hardly anything for over a million dollars.

ExEclipser said...

Other extremely long development programs include:

Established old-school company Beach then Raytheon then Hawker Beachcraft announced the Horizon in 1996. TC: 11/21/2006. ALMOST 12 years in the making.

Start up company Sino Swearingen took 20 years to certify the SJ20 after it started in 1986 and terminated relations with Gulfstream and Jaffe. First flight was 1991 and TC (with no FIKI) was 10/27/05.

WhyTech said...

lloyd said:
"This lip will ice up in moisture and relatively warm air. Wait....... "

lloyd,

I have no dog in this fight, however, it seems unlikely that anything so fundamental has been overlooked. No heated lip is apparent in the photos; is it possible that an inertial separator provides sufficient ice protection, or that some other means is utilized?

At least the acft is not built from unobtainium as most of the VLJs seem to be!

WT

airtaximan said...

x-clipser,

"That's a freakin' lot of development time to come up with hardly anything for over a million dollars."

Table scraps compared with what Vern has spent. And over a longer period of time, which IS important too...but the burn is different.

E-clips is the DISASTER of GA finacially, right now. Period.

They've burnt more and gotten less for their money than anyone so far...

Sorry to tell you.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

"By the way, Adam has been delivering aircraft for almost 2 years, but they have delivered fewer planes than Eclipse"

all you are saying is, they remain in business, yet they do not have to break any records for deliveries while doing this...

I know someone who would envy this position... but the relaity is...


Hey KEn: any word from the VLJ-Guru hisself why he failed to show at the VLJ Air Taxi conference in florida this past week? Vern was supposed to be there, he failed to make it? Does he have a wing-bushing problem? Windows cracking? Any clue?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM,

Mini-Vern (Ed) was there, does that count?

"Throw me a frickin' bone here." - Dr. Evil, from Austin Powers

EclipseBlogger said...

Alright, Ken's s/n is 293. Does that make you feel any better. Now that you've got the information, let's move on. I can't even keep up with the nonsense any more. Who's got time for this???

airtaximan said...

freezedriedfish:

were you there?

Anything of significance?

Did you learn anything?

PS. I heard the renamed the conference VLJs and "light jets" any clue as to why? Those light jets are so passe!

EclipseOwner387 said...

In Naples FL tonight. First time here other than a stay in Captiva Island about 8 years ago. I am very impressed. The ramp at KAPF had at least 3 Diamond TwinStars. They looked cool!

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... You want more, Kenneth? I'm prepared to provide LOTS more; and I think you know it. Wanna call my bluff, Ken? If not, start dealing HONESTLY. Offer what you demand and demand what you can offer.

This blog has really degenerated, even by my standards. Attack the Eclipse. Attack the company. Attack the bloggers. Standard fair for Gunner and the like. Goat, get out the whip.

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

EB,

I told Ken offline several days ago we should exit stage left from this unsophistocated blog. I guess he really thinks he can make a difference here. The unfortuante truth is these guys don't want to know any truth unless it is NEGATIVE. Why don't we permanently vacate the blog and let these guys have a misery party among themselves. I am sure it won't be quite as fun without the likes of Ken, EB, et al. What you think?

Stan Blankenship said...

The personal attacks are not contributing to the goals of the blog. They are neither informative, entertaining nor provocative. Consequently, I am going to delete most of what was posted tonite.

Tomorrow is another day.

airtaximan said...

"He's really a nice guy, but you wouldn't know it from the posts here. It's amazing that we are 100% opposites on most of the issues we've discussed here."

well, I believe this is the essence of the issue at hand.

Two opposite opinions on virtually evrything...kinda like religion...based on belief more than fact. Then "facts" used to support the beliefs.

Both sides are probably comprised of nice folks...just of differing beliefs.

The lack of real data (on purpose) is the problem. This IS the first jet in history with so many myths, inaccuracies, missing functionality, and wavering guarantees..

Stan, do not delete... its sociology 202, psychology 101 and economics 105 all wrapped up in a nice neat borrito.

DO not take this away from us.

OK, no biggie

Gunner said...

CWMoR said:
"You are my favorite believer EO, the most honest, forthright and reasonable of the bunch and I truly hope that your soon-to-be-delivered wonderjet lives up to your expectations, even if you think I am a jerk.

And I heartily agree.

EO-
When was the last time you were shouted down here, chastised or misquoted? Think about it. You have even exchanges and win as many points as you give because you're honest, forthright and happen to like the Eclipse.

Everyone here has hailed you "Good Luck" on your purchase and your exchanges.

So why is Ken's experience so different? Is it because the same people who show you respect have developed this "vast right wing" conspiracy against him? Or because he has not earned one bit of the respect you have?

Don't answer that....it was rhetorical. For my part, I'm bored to tears with The Faithful getting a pass on this site for the prevarications, double standards and Vern Fluffing simply because they're "in the minority".

This isn't a "Pity Party". You, EB and a few others PROVE it can be a real exchange. Not an easy one for you, we know; but then none of us were invited. We come of free will and should at least bring some common pride with us.
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Understood. Thanks.

Gunner said...

BTW-
My comments above are allusional to the entire Eclipse saga. For some reason it's become "politically incorrect" to point out that this company is attempting to redefine common aviation terms to mean"what we say it means".

It's become mean spirited to ridicule a man who has ridiculed some of the greatest companies in modern aviation history; it's unseemly to point out common sense issues like delivering a jet that you claim will be fixed "in months", when you could simply wait a few months and sell it WHOLE!

I'm sorry, but speaking just for me, I'm tired of the charade. Vern has no clothes on. He may get dressed tomorrow, but right now he's stark, staring nekkid and it ain't a pretty sight.
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Coldwet,

Stan deleted my apology but I am reposting to assure that you are aware that I did.

WhyTech said...

Stan said:
"The personal attacks are not contributing to the goals of the blog."

Right on, Stan. Makes some of us want to tune out. Deleting these is the wrong answer. Being responsible, mature participants is the answer.

WT

Gunner said...

For my own part, I offer my apology to all for my participation in last night's fisticuffs; and to Ken in particular.

However, my point remains. There would be no personal attacks on this Blog if everyone upheld a single standard of gentlemanly debate: "Do not ask of others what you are not willing to give".

To demand proof from others while offering only rumor for your own points is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest; to demand answers to questions that you are unwilling to answer for your own part is beyond arrogance.

Onward
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"To demand proof from others while offering only rumor for your own points is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest; to demand answers to questions that you are unwilling to answer for your own part is beyond arrogance.

Onward"


Not so fast, Rich.

The thrust of your argument last night was that I demanded an answer from you. Not so. I asked you a question; you wanted to answer it, so you did.

You don't sound very different today--you're still saying "demand answers" and "demand proof" in today's message. And it's still not what happened.

To move onward, we need to stick to the facts. There has been more than enough embellishment and misstatement on this blog already.

Thanks for the apology.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... However, my point remains. There would be no personal attacks on this Blog if everyone upheld a single standard of gentlemanly debate: "Do not ask of others what you are not willing to give".

To demand proof from others while offering only rumor for your own points is disingenuous, if not outright dishonest; to demand answers to questions that you are unwilling to answer for your own part is beyond arrogance.


Gees, you're one to talk. Your posts are filled with innuendo and personal attacks. You have posted rumor and unsubstantiated "facts", although perhaps not on purpose. At least let's be honest about one thing - you're as much an offender on all counts as anyone else here.

Gunner said...

Sigh-
So much for the Olive Branch approach. Nice spin attempt, Ken. I'll let it go for Stan's sake. Gad's right; you're really not worth the trouble.

EB-
I think we all know when you, Ken, me or anybody else is stating opinion; I think we all know when we're providing analysis based on partial information (and with Eclipse it's ALWAYS partial).

But there's a BIG difference between that and (as ONE example) categorically stating that the avionics are fixed, that the windows are fixed, that the wing bushings are fixed and refusing to provide any backup for that ostensible statement of "FACT".

There's where the double standard comes in. Critics are required to provide detailed backup for their claims (and often do; just read CWMoR's posts as an example); The Faithful simply need to recite/regurgitate the Eclipse Company Line.

Similarly, Critics are regularly challenged as to their occupation, potential conflicts, pilot experience, delivery positions and aircraft ownership. Yet, when we hold The Faithful to the same standard, we're being mean spirited and "personal".

Gunner

JetA1 said...

Here we go again...new material needed.

Just heard from the "inside" that they finished up the speed & range mods certification. Just tying up final paperwork now. Congrats on that milestone.

Anyone hear what the s/n cut-in is now?

FIKI's a whole different story. Clock's ticking on the refund event date...THAT will be an interesting one to watch.

Gunner said...

jeta-
No worries. I'm not starting. I'm done; my apology stands, even if it's not to be reciprocated.

What can you tell us about the refund event time-line on FIKI?
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

Some friends of mine told me yesterday that Eclipse is now saying that they've delivered 15 aircraft.

They told me that the FAA had given Eclipse permission to ship 10 aircraft prior to the production certificate.

Anyone have any different news or additional data?

WhyTech said...

Here is my attempt to distract the warring factions:

A Tale of Two Dinosaurs

Three decades ago, I was a young marketing product manager for EMI Medical, the U.K based company that invented the CAT scanner medical imaging system. This company had been formed just a few years prior to my joining to commercialize the CAT scanner technology conceived in the EMI Central Research Laboratory in London. EMI had no existing business presence in the medical imaging markets or related markets. The CAT scanner was a graphic example of what is now known as “disruptive” technology. At medical conferences, when the first images produced on these systems were shown, 500 radiologists stood to applaud. Unfortunately, while the technology was disruptive, it was not particularly defendable. Most of the initial products from EMI were based on many of off-the-shelf subsystems, with a bit of proprietary hardware and software thrown in. Since EMI had no prior experience in this area, and no manufacturing infrastructure, these first systems were little more than lab prototypes.

This industry had a well established group of dinosaur participants, with GE Medical being the lead dinosaur. GE had been a market participant for about four decades at that time, with a well established world wide sales and service network, an efficient manufacturing infrastructure, an experienced R&D organization, and excellent customer relationships. GE could be said to be the T-rex of the industry.

While EMI struggled with fixing product problems, building a sales and service network and manufacturing infrastructure, meeting the demand for this revolutionary new product, and collecting awards, including a Nobel prize in medicine, GE set about to develop the next generation of CAT scanner, which was relatively easy to do since the first generation did not fully exploit available technology. Within two years, the GE product was on the market and was superior to the EMI products in most respects. Within ten years, what was left of EMI was absorbed into the GE organization.

I see great parallels between EMI and Eclipse, and GE and Cessna. As a new entrant, Eclipse must create everything from scratch, including not just a winning, defendable product, but also all the infrastructure that is required to sell, manufacture, and support this product, and must do this in a few years, rather than having the luxury of several decades to do this as the dinosaurs have had. This strategy introduces enormous risks, including the issue of creating a competitive, fully functioning organization without an appropriate period of time for organization learning. Even with world class individual employees (and Eclipse has some) it takes quite awhile for these people to learn work together at a high level of effectiveness.

So, the Eclipse story has been played out before (and undoubtedly in many other industries). The moral of the this story: if one takes on dinosaurs, be sure that they are extinct, or at least that there is not a T-rex in the group.

WT

ExEclipser said...

If anything good can come out of the huge amount of spending that's been going on, it's been to make a name for the company. The name brand Eclipse is (outside of this blog) huge. People are flocking to see this thing wherever it lands. Enthusiasts can't wait to see it at an FBO near them. It's generated about the same sort of ramp awareness as a GV.

It's different. It's exciting. It's new. The money is being spent to get thousands of planes built. It'll be hard for the company to just go away when there are 2500 planes to support in 5 years. When the 'newness' wears off, there will be an E500 at every other airport.

EAC may be broke by that time, or maybe there will be a larger "600" or maybe a cheaper "400" to keep the company going.

EAC isn't falling apart. It isn't imploding. They're going through some extremely expensive growing pains, but those can always be overcome with maturity.

Gunner said...

WT-
Great story. I think one of the things that causes eyes to roll in the aviation industry is that Vern didn't just decide to go into aircraft manufacture; he simultaneously decided he wanted to be an avionics giant. Additionally, rather than simply training and licensing repair stations, he decided to develop a network of wholly owned maintenance facilities which rivals the Cessna presence. (And Cessna will have LOTS more aircraft to support its facilities for years to come.)

Between the up front development costs for being in industries he didn't have to be in, the price point of the Little Jet and the promise of a cheap, all inclusive JetComplete, common business sense tells us that something has to give.

We were told that all of this can be done because of FSW. That's not even discussed anymore. We were told that all of this can be done because Eclipse had harnessed the efficiencies of the latest computer design software. The lie's been put to that. Finally, we were told this would all be possible because Eclipse has 2,500 firm orders and will be producing 1,000 jets per day.

This last item has yet to be definitively played out. But one thing's for certain: Vern promised us 1,000 jets (or was it "only" 400) at a time when he was reaching out for untold numbers of Progress Payments, all while he knew full well that the Avidyne partnership had already dissolved.

Like I said: Some things just don't add up.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

Jeta1,

It sounds great that Eclipse is making progress on the speed and range mods. However, you say that inside sources say that they have "finished" the speed and range mods certification.

The only definition of "finished" that really means anything is that at least one aircraft has been delivered to a customer with the speed and range modifications incorporated.

The only definition of "certified" that means anything is that the final paperwork has been approved by the FAA.

From your comment it sounds like the FAA hasn't approved the mods yet. Reading between the lines, it sounds like the certification paperwork may not actually have been submitted to the FAA yet.

My experience is that in most cases there is a lot of work still left to do after the engineers think that they are done.

Once the certification paperwork is approved by the FAA, Eclipse will need to roll the new mods into production. That isn't a trivial process either and most probably will involve FAA oversight.

I would also ask whether the paperwork they are completing is for new production aircraft (an amended TC) or for modifications of existing aircraft (an STC).

It would be interesting to know whether they are doing an STC first and then rolling the STC into the TC, or whether they are doing an amended TC first, so they can get new production aircraft out the door as fast as possible and plan to do the STC later.

Once the STC is completed, they will need to work out all the logistics to make the mods on the aircraft that have been delivered. That means training the staff, setting up the modification cells, etc...

Bonanza Pilot said...

Would anyone really take advantage of a refund event. If you bought an early position for 400K or more, would you just give up that money and move on? I can't see why anyone who is in on the Eclipse at the low initial price would take the refund..am I missing something?

ExEclipser said...

I seriously doubt that there will be an STC. I think that this will be a TC roll. Eclipse only plans on having to maintain one configuration of aircraft. All aircraft delivered prior to the performance mods will be retrofitted. All aircraft in production will be retrofitted. There will be two lines of 'cut in'. One where there will be cutting and splicing, and one where the engineering will catch up with production and the changes will be seam-free.

And if you think that #1 customer DayJet has anything to say about it, they don't. They'd prefer the lighter weight and range of the current aircraft and don't need all the mods. But their planes will be retrofitted. Eclipse is adamant. There will be only one version of the aircraft, one AFM and one AMM to fit all (with, of course, the minor differences - by serial effectivity - dealing with the way the changes were cut in).

By this time next year, S/N 000001 will have the same aero performance as S/N 000499. At least, I'm sure that's the plan...

ExEclipser said...

BP: Maybe not them, but perhaps some of the latter buyers with full $155K deposits could start screaming.

I heard when Eclipse divorced Williams, they lost 4 customers.

There have been very few cancellations by ownerops, and the majority of the corporate cancellations were simply due to bad business models, lack of funding, etc.

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

Gunner said... But there's a BIG difference between that and (as ONE example) categorically stating that the avionics are fixed, that the windows are fixed, that the wing bushings are fixed and refusing to provide any backup for that ostensible statement of "FACT".

I don't see it that way. There's NO DIFFERENCE between stating that it is fixed without supporting facts, as saying that it is not fixed without supporting facts. You simply do not know. Once the paperwork is finished and released, then we all know. Until that time, you stating that it's not fixed becauses Eclipse hasn't told you so, is the same as anything Ken has stated without supporting facts.

JetA1 said...

flightcenter,

Lots of good points. Rest assured, I am well aware of the definition of "certified". From my "dinosaur" experience, it takes approx 6 months from completion of the cert testing to actually start delivering modified airplanes, as you defined "finished" (I don't disagree, in principle). OEMs don't usually do STC's, but rather TC ammendments with Service Bulletins.

One of the big delays is the fact that OEMs don't usually want to release a SB until line incorporation has occurred and the 1st plane is delivered, otherwise you end up with fielded airplanes that have mods when brand new ones don't (not too popular with customers). Of course from the sound of things, this is exactly what is taking place on the GPS DB loading issue.

As ex-e suggests, forcing customers (i.e. DayJet) to comply with SBs in a timely fashion is a whole nuther can-o-worms, especially when it means downing a revenue asset for an extended period of time.

Gunner said...

EB-
Why are you continuing this? Look, if we know that a MAJOR, KEY, VITAL system is inop and there is no announcement that it has been fixed and certified, it's only common sense to assume that it REMAINS inop. The onus is not on the person with documentation that it WAS inop; but on the one without documentation that it's NOW fixed.

Go from me now, and sin no more. ;-)

execlipser-
I agree that FIKI delays will hardly generate a run on Deposit Refunds. FIKI is often the last cert to be had and there's no reason to believe Eclipse will fail at that.
We get very little in the way of information on what individual Depositors are requiring in order to take delivery. (That's appropriate as it's a personal negotiation.)

But the point is, I can't imagine anybody paying full price for the aircraft as being delivered now; it's not the aircraft they purchased. I'd expect Depositors to demand that dollars be held in escrow until such time as their aircraft are modified, Avio NG is certified and installed and FIKI is is certified and installed.

That particular negotiation could cause a significant (though not substantial) number of Depositors to walk. Eclipse has not exactly enjoyed a reputation for individual negotiations, except when it comes to Fleet Orders.
Gunner

JetA1 said...

As for the refund event, no FIKI is a big deal to some folks.

Add in the questions w.r.t. the long-term viability of DayJet/airtaxi, and therefore the Eclipse company (assuming: no airtaxi = no high-rate production = no low cost = no E-500 = no Eclipse), and it may look like a good time to punch out for free and move to another VLJ (or Sierra Stallion).

FIKI cert is no cake-walk. Take a look at the current cert guidance. Heck, just ask Adams or Swearingen!

Ken Meyer said...

" if we know that a MAJOR, KEY, VITAL system is inop and there is no announcement that it has been fixed and certified, it's only common sense to assume that it REMAINS inop."

They announced the repair of the wing bushing problem.

They announced when the DME was fixed.

They announced when they flight-proved the range figures.

They announced that the plane is RVSM group-certified.

They've announced the status of the pitot system.

You don't believe them when they announce things anyway; it's a little disingenuous to tell us that an announcement from Eclipse is your benchmark.

And after the DME fix was announced, several of the bloggers, including you, continued to say the plane has no DME until it became painfully obvious that it must.

They have not formally announced the status of the recurrent windshield inspection, but they've privately told many customers the status of that problem. When we share that "inside information" with you, you demand proof. Well, guess what? We don't have proof. Next time we won't share what we do have.

I think most people realize what your angle is.

Ken

Gunner said...

They announced the repair of the wing bushing problem.
But not whether it's certified yet.

They announced when the DME was fixed.
But not whether the fleet has been retrofitted yet.

They announced when they flight-proved the range figures.
But not even to your satisfaction. You whined about this very fact on the Owner's Board.

They announced that the plane is RVSM group-certified.
But not whether the fleet is capable of flying at those levels given FMS, DME and Autopilot problems.

They've announced the status of the pitot system.
That's right. The fleet is limited to VMC only flight and we have no reason to believe that has changed.

I thank you for proving my point.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

OK, I'll play along,

When and in what manner did 'they' 'announce' these things?

Specifically, for each of the many, many issues, WHAT is the actual fix, and WHEN was it CERTIFIED by the FAA.

All else is pure bollocks.