Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Panel Mods and FSW

On May 10, Eclipse provided an update on the Avio NG development. One milestone they identified stated that "All engineering for interior and mechanical aspects of the program are complete. This includes minor adjustments to display mounting on the instrument panel and the fitting and mounting of radios, transponders, and the digital audio panel located behind the PFDs and MFD."

The statement made me curious and I recalled seeing a bare fuselage and instrument panel at Oshkosh. A larger image of this display is available over at
www.eclipsecritic.net.

The panel is interesting because it is machined out of a solid plate of aluminum. There is little room for any additional instrumentation and any significant change in configuration would mean a new machined panel.



Eclipse said the conversion to NG will only take a minor physical change to the panel and this part of the eventual upgrade won't be a particular problem. Additional black boxes and re-wiring may not be so easy however...

What caught my eye in the photo was the number of riveted joints vs the number of Friction Stir Welded components.




Remember, Eclipse claims their ability to deliver airplanes at higher rates and at lower costs then industry standards is due to their use of an enabling technology no other General Aviation manufacturer is using, Friction Stir Welding.

Yes, Eclipse is using FSW, but notice in the photo, the only welded joints in the photos are the curved frames welded to the light green colored outer skin. The same curved frames joined to the darker green colored skin are riveted as are all the longitudinal joints and the attachment of all the brackets for control systems and other equipment.




In this photo, one would be hard pressed to declare that FSW displaced much more than 5% of the conventional fasteners. The rest of the fuselage is not much different, I don't recall seeing any FSW in the horizontal or vertical. In the wing, only the longitudinal stringers are FSW according to reports.



It is amazing how the Eclipse hucksters can stand and proclaim their use of FSW gives them advantage over other conventional aircraft? It is all part of the charade, and this company has been perpetuating the myth since the beginning of the program.

Note: Photo courtesy of Bruce Leibowitz. Thanks from many.

195 comments:

Stan Blankenship said...

Also added to the www.eclipsecritic.net site is a copy of the Eclipse Purchase Agreement and The FAA Type Certificate Data Sheets for both the Eclipse and the PW610F-A engine.

Flightcenter is tracking orders and deliveries. Links to this information are located just below the blog archives.

ExEclipser said...

Stan, this is the 2nd airframe created after the first flying prototype, AC100. It was never completed because of the Williams debacle. This fuselage structure was created sometime c.2002.

Even the first five flying test articles have more rivets than Dave Crowes plane because the process hadn't been perfected yet at that time.

So, I'm sorry, but the merits for your post about the FSW just aren't intellectually honest.

I'm not going to argue about the space behind the panel though. It's pretty cramped. As for black boxes, though, sure they'll have to add some, but don't you think they'll take some out?

EclipseBlogger said...

I have to add to execlipser's post that a lot of the rivets that you see are from the joining of major structures. The major areas of rivets viewed in the photo are from joining the upper and lower skin assemblies, upper cockpit window frame assembly, and side-stick assemblies.

Ken Meyer said...

Eclipseblogger is right--you have to see the big friction stir welding gantries in person in order to appreciate how much hand labor they save. It's a lot.

The company reports that FSW eliminates 60% of the rivets and the enormous number of man-hours required for them. Having been there and looked at the arrangement firsthand, I think that's a perfectly reasonable estimate.

Ken

Stan Blankenship said...

Are the fuselage stringers, longerons and splice joints FSW?

Are the control system brackets and equipment brackets FSW?

How much of the horizontal tail is FSW?

How much of the vertical tail is FSW?

Other than the stringers in the wing, how much more of the wing structure is FSW?

ExEclipser said...

There are two gantries. One at EAC and one at Fuji. Fuji FSW's the top skin to stringers and ribs. EAC does almost all stringers and frames in the fuselage and cockpit.

Splices aren't welded.

Horizontal and Vertical aren't welded (outsourced).

Skins are also chem-milled, so no riveting of doublers and triplers used for pad build up.

Having been there, having seen it, I believe their 60% claim.

Lloyd said...

What additional insturmentation were you going to add?? I don't believe that there is anything else that you could or want to add that is not accomplished by avio. You're thinking in "old school"

Lloyd

Stan Blankenship said...

lloyd,

Old school thinking like a standby attitude gyro or other additional requirements for EASA certification.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Having spent last Wednesday with a friend replacing the pilots seat rails on a C172, I have my doubt of how must net gain there is in FSW (I like the term "stir fry welding") the rows of frame or longeron rivets where you have easy access in a jig to cnc punched holes. To me the cost of labour of doing this work in .... (enter third world country of your choice) is going to be competitive against the enormous capital outlay for tooling for FSW. Especially the way the production rate is tumbling.

It strikes me that the 40% of rivets that FSW didn't replace, are the ones like the bloody C172 seat tracks, which require skill, production time (they block access to anyone else doing anything meaningful in that zone) and thus money.

If Cessa had set about 18 anchor nuts during production, a maintenance job that took two highly experienced guys all day, would have taking 15 minutes with a screwdriver.

andy said...

Stan,
FSW is the real deal.
The Capital costs are high but it puts out great parts in very little time it's real impressive.

Stan Blankenship said...

Let me try to understand this, the entire nose section in built in Chile, and they are not using FSW.

No FSW for any of the splice joints.

There is no FSW on either the vertical or horizontal tail and I would assume the ailerons and flaps are exempt from this process as well.

Likely no FSW in either the pylons or nacelle.

So you say there aren't many rivets on the top surface of the wing, but more on the bottom. Though internal to the wing, probably plenty of rivets here.

The tailcone is filled with rivets, inside and out as I recall for all the brackets for systems and equipment that are riveted in place.

Any FSW used in the various entry and access doors or their surrounds?

Sorry, but I have a hard time believing your 60% number.

Stan Blankenship said...

andy,

You are missing the point.

FSW is not going to allow Eclipse to build airplanes at a lower cost than industry standards.

That card has been overplayed.

EclipseBlogger said...

Here we go again...

FSW can only be used in open structures due to the size of the mill head. Therefore you will not see it use extensively in structures such and control surfaces, stabilizers, tailcone etc. FSW does very well in open structures such as 1/3 fuselage skins and wing skins. It is used to weld the door and window frames. Inside the wing, many of the conventional parts that are normally formed and assembled, are machined as one piece, therefore few internal rivets. Rivets are used to attach the internal structure of the wings to the skins. The same goes for the tail section. The upper cockpit section was welded at one time, but is now riveted. Both the upper cockpit and nose section could be changed to partial FSW in the future. No internal fuselage assemblies are installed using FSW since the mill head cannot goes into the fuselage once the sections come together.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Automated welding is a great labour saver in the automotive industry. The buick plant in southern China turns out over 1000 cars per day. Imagine that!(source - The Economist from two weeks ago).

Even at the original projected production rate of 1000 EA-500's a year, you would be pushing it to amortise the costs of this sort of tooling.

Once you realise that business jet owners want options, and customisation, you start adding brackets and fittings, then you don't meet range and have to rejig/reprogram for a thicker wing skin to support the taxi loads of the tip tanks (my speculation), and the little bit of cheap labour you saved on the easy low skilled rivet rows will never pay for the tooling.

I wonder how many pre-production comforming prototypes a car manufacturer makes before they commit a full blown production line?

An auto manufacturer already has an enormous volume of best practises and knowledge before they start the next car. Their technical risk on the next model is likely pretty low.

Eclipse committed the FSW machines to production from the get go. I wonder how many formers or jigs they have already scrapped? I imagine the tooling is pretty smart and reconfigurable, but then you buy that flexiblity with extremely expensive experts doing the programming, needing downtime.

gadfly said...

All this talk about “stir fried welding” reminds me of the scenes in the “Love Bug”, where Buddy Hackett is attempting to weld “Herbie” back together with the oxy-acetylene torch . . . and the car finishes first . . . and third. It’s too bad that Buddy Hackett didn’t know how to “rivet”. Maybe it was required by the Chinese owner of the little VW bug, who would be an expert in “stir-fried”.

Hey, I’m beginning to see that maybe Disney is the “true author” of FSW! . . . and maybe not!

gadfly

(Information gleaned from a health book titled, “101 Ways to Wok a Dog”)

ExEclipser said...

The philosophy of the Friction Stir process isn't to eliminate rivets completely, but rather to save labor costs, reduce manufacturing time and eliminate human factor error. For twice the money, they could have bought an autoriveter that would have been half the speed and still perforates the skin and fills it with a rivet.

The main capital outlays for FSW is the non-recurring cost of the gantry and tooling and the recurring cost of one or two operators and replacing the tool periodically.

At a production rate of a few a month, you're not going to see a huge advantage on a plane the size of the E500. Ramp up to 4/day and that technology becomes critical.

And no matter how you slice it, you save 2000+ man hours per airplane, that is a technology that will give you a competitive edge.

Airbus was going to do all of the major skin panels on the A350 using friction stir. But they changed their mind - not because of the validity of FSW but because they changed their scope in favor of composites. They haven't abandoned the technology either. They are still planning on using it extensively in the substructure. In addition, Boeing's 747 cargo nose is done using Friction Stir.

ExEclipser said...

Freedom: There are no customer customizations in the Eclipse that would require a change in programming. Once that program is set, voila. Slap the materials on the tool, slide it under the gantry, and let the machine do the walking.

Yeah, there was a huge learning curve and lots of scrapped parts in the beginning (prior to SN000001). The automation can sense an error and the machine is programmed to stop if something doesn't run right. It can even go back over a section already welded to pick up a datum.

Friction Stir is H U G E. Don't under estimate it.

JetProp Jockey said...

Eclipse may not be paying for direct advertising, but based on the following excerpt from the article on John Travolta in Private Air, they must be investing in reporters:

Pg. 75

TAKING TO THE AIR

For all the benefits of the good old days, though, sometimes there’s a need for some ultra modern speed. To that end, Travolta is finalizing a relationship with Eclipse Aviation, builders of the Eclipse 500. The twin turbofan engine craft, with a blistering 370 knot maximum cruise speed and 3,424 feet-per-minute climb rate, has a range of 1125 nautical miles with four occupants, which strikes Travolta as perfect for his “short legs” around Florida. “I admire the mastery of that little jet,” he says. “I’ve flown it. It’s brilliant, beyond anyone’s expectations – like the Lear 24 but quieter and smoother and more predictable in its behavior. A very smart little airplane” Operators can upgrade the Eclipse 500 to an LX edition that includes all-leather seats and adjustable lumbar supports, a dual flight management system with three axis autopilot and even a laminate work/dining table in the cabin. When it comes to in-the-air performance, the craft has been engineered to meet the design tolerances associated with military aircraft.

END OF EXCERPT

Note how little of the paragraph includes quotes from John.

I never realized that you had to order an upgrade to get a three axis autopilot! I guess the standard equipment is a wing leveler.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

What are the capital costs on the machinery? Tooling for high volume production doesn't help you if it helps drive you into bankrupcy while you are fluffing around with the avionics and certification.

It may help the next owner who buys at the liquidation sale, but then again, after the bankrupcy, the reputation is in tatters, so it is real hard to get the fantasy back and get back to high volume prodution.

Redtail said...

JetProp Jockey said... "I never realized that you had to order an upgrade to get a three axis autopilot! I guess the standard equipment is a wing leveler."

You have to take statements like that with a grain of salt. The writers aren't looking at it from the same point of view as a critic. Besides, we've seen first hand that all publishers are morons.

mouse said...

Stan, you asked the following:

Are the fuselage stringers, longerons and splice joints FSW? No, the window framework is FSW and very little else. The FSW is more of a PR ploy than anything else. A great deal of money was spent looking at automatic riveting machines/robots at Bell Helicopters factory and in Detroit. Vern wants robots to assemble the plane. The cost to retool and reprogram these robotic devices will be amazingly expensive given the nature of changes at Eclipse in particuliar, and aviation in general.

Are the control system brackets and equipment brackets FSW? Nope!

How much of the horizontal tail is FSW? None!

How much of the vertical tail is FSW? None!

Other than the stringers in the wing, how much more of the wing structure is FSW? Lots of Hi-Locs and other specialty fasteners. Again, very little in the total scheme of things are FSW'd.

Most of the bloggers here are probably not too familiar with the actual building of an airplane in production. The FSW accounts for about 10-15% of the joining of aluminum, and in reality FSW is only doing some very simple runs and not saving very much time at all. It handles the straight runs, and very accessible areas only. The cabin doorframe stack-up/build-up alone takes several hundred man/hours still (yes, several hundred) in fact the first plane it took over 1300 man/hours and has a few 7 piece stack-ups that have to be match drilled and fastened. I would estimate the FSW saves about 2-5% of the toal metal fastening work on the EA-500. The cost is much higher than it's worth for sure.

If this were a large airplane the economics would most likely be more positive, but still questionable. The metal must be so precise to allow for minimal head clearance and fixture clamping issues that it's not a time or money saving venture. Great for fixed pieces of metal like tube joining, or 150' long spars, stringers, Etc. but not too beneficial for 25' hunks of sheet metal.

JetProp Jockey said...

that was meant to be a joke!

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Mouse's summary would fit the program...

The boss gets excited, "we need to build these things with robots", and runs off to buy some.

Customer comes to NM to inspect the factory and sees shiny CNC equipment stir frying a longeron, is suitably impressed and lays down the progress payment.

In the meantime, the aeronautical engineers, toiling away to get the things to work, subcontract 90% of the work to some cheap labour where the parts get riveted together.

Everyone is happy. Boss gets his robots and his progress payment, customer gets a revolutionary high tech design, engineer gets the job done.

If there was decent profit built into the purchase price to cover the inefficient use of capital, the company might even survive.

ExEclipser said...

Mouse said: "Are the fuselage stringers, longerons and splice joints FSW? No, the window framework is FSW and very little else."

That simply isn't true. All of the primary fuselage and cockpit structure has the stringers and frames FSW'd. They are then riveted together. The ribs and stringers in the wings are all FSW'd and then the lower skin panel is riveted to the assembly.

Mouse's claims and most importantly for this discussion the photo, are 5 years old.

ExEclipser said...

As for cheap labor, has anyone compared US labor rates to Japan, or the UK? Hampson built a factory in the US to lower the cost of labor in making the empennage.

Green-or-Red said...

The wing ribs are NOT FSW'ed to the wing skins, Only the upper and lower wing stringers are FSW'ed to the skins.

airtaximan said...

you guys are amazing!

Imagine a high rate production argument for savings, based on a conventional rate production airplane...

lookeee over here.....while I pull a coin outa your nose over there!

The argument for a small low cost e-500 jet airplane is over. FSW and robots do not create the efficiency required to justify the cost based on a few hundred planes a year (at best).

Look for a new plane to justify (sleight of hand, again) all the machinery and development work, as well as commonality of parts systems and of course the FAA certification process.

Smile and wave, while Vern picks your pcokets again.

Good argument, though. Sorry, no volume for your volume efficiency, though.

andy said...

ATM
In my life I have doubled the production rate of a plant while increasing its quality.
What's your experiance in manufacturing?
Andy

Redtail said...

Andy, save your breath. Airtaximan spends an awful lot of time on this blog. So much time, that I bet he's not even a pilot. Or at least he's not a very busy one. I can't imagine his taxi/charter business is doing very well. As for his manufacturing expertise, well...

mirage00 said...

So, I'm sorry, but the merits for your post about the FSW just aren't intellectually honest.

Nothing new....

Stan can't understand why Eclipse didn't need his business. He hasn't gotten over it yet, thus frequent dishonest posts.

Stan... Any word on the "Major manufacturing design flaw" you recently posted about?

airtaximan said...

Andy,

Sorry, but I fail to see the relevance of your personal and very defensive comment - my point is simple. Something must be up - 11 planes in a year? After spending $1billion and 8 years? Sorry, like I said, something is up.

FSW seems like it could have made sense for high rate production... it does NOT look like the E-500 will be that platform. Add up the near term orders, and you get a production run that simply does not justify FSW, robots or even spending $1 billion. So, look for another model to try to make the case.

As for redtail... discussing the merits are one thing and silly personal remarks just that.

Explain how any content, even 60% of the fasteners replaced by FSW is justified given the risks (remember, this is an unproven technology for Ga, and there is much to debate regarding long term risk) and the overall weight savings and time savings. Factor in the low production rate of a couple of hundred planes per year, and you have yet another false promise.

FSW + Avio + EJ22 = decisions made by a company which does not know what its doing.

Add to that the promised few hundred planes produced in 2006, over 400 planes promised in 2007 and the orderbok which is half Dayjet and you can pretty much see that this is a disaster.

Look for another false promise at OshKosh -

PS a lot of really expereinced smart guys like you with terrific worldclass trackrecords have been let go by your favorite VLJ company - I'm glad you have had so much success...but this does not help the discussion, I'm afraid.

gadfly said...

Within all this criticism of the “little jet”, I sense many misunderstandings of the various functions and abilities of the people involved. And maybe that is the root cause of the disaster.

There has not been more than a couple of intelligent discussions concerning “FSW”, yet everyone has an opinion. How many have ever welded two pieces of aluminum together, then taken that “weld” and bent it back and forth to failure?

Riveting . . . same thing. I doubt that more than two or three of you have ever studied the requirements of a proper rivet joint . . . yet we have “experts” by the dozen.

What is the minimum bend radius of a certain aluminum alloy sheet? . . . and how is that determined? And the limits of "parallel" or "normal" to the grain? Did you know that aluminum sheet has a "grain"?

How many of you have been involved in “true” life/cycle testing . . . placing parts in conditions of high stress, vibrations at all frequencies, from the highest possible temperatures, down to the lowest . . . and repeat the tests until the parts fail?

Who in this group understands “chemical milling”, or “EDM” . . . wirecut, or “sinker”, or “climb milling” as opposed to “conventional milling”, or cutting threads as opposed to “forming threads” . . . or the hundreds of variations of material removal? It’s easy to criticize, but it should be done from a base of knowledge and intelligence.

Manufacturing/production . . . some have even equated that with being a good pilot. The chief flight instructor, where I learned to fly, couldn’t figure out the proper end of a claw hammer to hold . . . yet he recently celebrated (and was awarded) fifty years of accident free flight, in conditions that 99% of you will never see. But I wouldn’t allow him within ten feet of a CNC milling machine.

Electronics? . . . and Computer programming? . . . the best folks I know, again, are not qualified to run any sort of manufacturing . . . no way, no how! But are they good at what they do? . . . Yes, very good!

A close friend of mine is a genius in aerodynamics, computer programming, electronics, and management. Yes, lasers of all kinds, from " laser diodes" to lasers that can blast a hole through an incoming missile. But I would not allow him near a machine . . . nor does he have the ability to put all his expertise together, to build the basic equipment for his work . . . so he comes to me for that.

Again, sales (the “honest” variety), and public relations, and advertising . . . all a different breed of cat. And “upper management” . . . still, yet, a different set of capabilities.

Me thinks that this blogsite demonstrates the problem with the “little jet”, and why it fails to fulfill the promises made. There is no one person who has all the answers. Yet, one person seems to think he knows all the answers.

It’s OK to criticize, but do it with intelligence and wisdom. If you don’t know, admit it and ask questions. Maybe someone in this group has the answer, and will be “honored” to share his/her knowledge on the subject.

This blogsite has the potential of being a great tool of learning, rather than an opportunity of destroying a new idea in “jet travel”.

By the way, this little jet will not survive or fail because of the stir-fried welds. The problems are much deeper than how to put two pieces of aluminum together.

End of lecture!

gadfly

andy said...

Atm
Sorry if I got defensive but Gadfly is right FSW is not going to make or break Eclipse.
However I get tired of people saying that a new process is NG when I know baised on my experiance and personal observations that it's a hot ticket.

Gadfly,
You forget the neutral axis of the metal and how to use it to get the proper OD ID when making bends. You know what I mean?

gadfly said...

Andy

Yes, I have studied all the "theoretical" formulas, "ad nauseum", but when it comes right down to making a minimum crack-free bend, and having the part come out "on dimension", as in so many technologies, there is more "art" than "science". A person must "feel" the material, and understand it on an intimate level . . . and that is something that isn't learned in a book, and it isn't something that everyone may be taught. It is my theory that in any given field, whether "neurosurgery" (and I've worked alongside them in surgery) or as a "tool maker" (and I've spent my life with them), only about ten percent are "truly good", eighty percent fill in for the needs, and "ten percent" should be brought up on charges of incompetence.

But that's the opinion of a gadfly.

airtaximan said...

Andy,

My point was precisely "By the way, this little jet will not survive or fail because of the stir-fried welds. The problems are much deeper than how to put two pieces of aluminum together."

- not enough volume production to justify FSW as a high volume production tool
- plus the added risk of the unknowns related to the long term

I believe none of this has to do with personal knowledge of welding two pieces of aluminum together.

Some things boil down to common sense, which led me to the brief history of "what's BS about e-clips"

In my opinion of course.

Gad:
what elements would be important in the trades for FSW to make it on the e-500?

Stan Blankenship said...

Something for everyone in Adam's end-of-May post:

http://adamwebster.com/2007/05/

mouse said...

Mirage,

I believe the major design flaw may have been the Fuji mistake during wing build, and none of the internal bonding was done properly. This required all of the wings to be accessed and corrected. When they were built, the bonding wires/cables were attached without proper hole preperation. All of the bond points had to be disassembled and the paint removed to assure adequate bonding. All of this has now been completed and corrected.

Funny how it was not uncovered during manufacturing, in-process checks, or final QA. It was discovered during final wing mate by the final assembly team.

FlightCenter said...

The FAA published their weekly registration database today.

A quick summary.

The FAA database shows 1 additional Eclipse aircraft (Serial #11) has been registered to an owner in the last two weeks. This makes for a total of 10 Eclipse 500 aircraft that the FAA shows as registered to owners. The first aircraft was registered in January, the second in April, then 7 aircraft on May 9th, then 1 on May 24th.

There is one additional Eclipse 500 aircraft (Serial #14) for which a registration request has been submitted (on May 7th). There does not appear to have been any registration paperwork submitted for serial number 9, 12 or 13.

The FAA records show that 5 of those aircraft have been issued normal category certificates of airworthiness. 3 of the Eclipse aircraft showing as registerd to owners have only been issued experimental airworthiness certificates.

I'm not sure how you deliver 10 aircraft when you only have 5 CofAs, but I sure would like to understand how that is done.

The FAA data shows no change in the number of Mustang's registered last week, and a total of 4 Mustang aircraft registered to owners.

However, there are a total of 7 Mustangs that have been issued normal category certificates of airworthiness, an increase of one normal CofA in the last week and a total of 2 more CofAs than Eclipse.

Eclipse 500 Delivery Data

Lloyd said...

I understand that Eclipse #20 is ready for delivery as of tomorrow.

FlightCenter said...

I've updated the Eclipse Order Spreadsheet to show the detail of Eclipse's owner/pilot orders, air taxi orders and options for future deliveries.

This spreadsheet and chart are based primarily on Eclipse data as reported in the press or as issued in Eclipse press releases.

A quick summary shows slightly more than 2,500 total orders, of which 858 are from individual owner/pilot orders, 120 are from the new Eclipse European distributor, 765 are from air taxi operators, and 825 are options for future deliveries. Approximately 60% (1,530) of Eclipse's total orders + options backlog have been placed by air taxi customers.


Eclipse 500 Order History

gadfly said...

airtaximan asked: “what elements would be important in the trades for FSW to make it on the e-500?”
It would not be fair for me to make specific recommendations on that one . . . second guessing someone else’s design, but I do think that the use of “FSW” on this aircraft only adds to the confusion of “too many targets” to hit all at once. FSW may or may not be a good thing, but it is low on the list of more important items.

And on that note, I believe that the primary target should have been transporting six people (including flight crew) with adequate baggage from point A to point B, and back again, in a timely manner, in an aircraft that can take the heavy abuse of an “air-taxi” . . . since that seems to be the primary market that was anticipated. It seems that the “decision maker” got greedy and attempted to hit too many targets, and lost sight of the original intent. Others have said it better . . . something about being up to my ears in alligators, when I originally came here just to drain the swamp.

As a designer, with a good track record in many fields, I have found the best approach is to remain focused at all times. When I find I’m taking in too broad a field, I have to stop, and return to the basics. Then, once I have hit the original goal, and “proven” the design, the “second time around” I can add other features . . . but not to compromise the original design, just for the sake of being different.

Ask a simple question and get a complex answer . . . sorry ‘bout that!

gadfly

FlightCenter said...

Serial #20 is N115DJ, presumably this aircraft will be delivered to DayJet.

The FAA database shows no CofA for this aircraft and does not show that any registration paperwork has been submitted.

The last activity recorded by the FAA regarding this aircraft was to register Serial #20 and N115DJ to Eclipse.


It will be interesting to see what happens tomorrow. If serial #20 is delivered tomorrow, one wonders about the status of Serial numbers 9, 12, 13, and 15 - 19.

cj3driver said...

FlightCenter,
Just and idea, it would be interesting to add a column on the order book history chart with the base price and how it has changed over the years, including the company price increase and the corresponding CPI increase per year.
Thanks

cj3driver said...

Gadfly,
The AOPA article on the Mustang devotes a couple of paragraphs to Cessna's use of the metal bonding and the corresponding "lower-cost manufacturing process". How does this compare with FSW? Is this process "revolutionary"? Does it require the same type of investment capital for equipment? Is this technology unique?

gadfly said...

cj3driver

Assuming you're speaking of a polymer type bond, there is nothing new about it . . . provided there is no "pealing" stresses, the "shear" strength can exceed the strength of the materials being bonded. But it doesn't necessarily replace rivets, nor welding. And there is a requirement to hold a constant force over the entire area being bonded until it "cures" . . . too much or too little pressure can create a future failure point . . . and the surfaces must be properly prepared for a "mechanical" (tooth) bond. There are no easy "fixes".

gadfly

flyger said...

cj3driver said...

The AOPA article on the Mustang devotes a couple of paragraphs to Cessna's use of the metal bonding and the corresponding "lower-cost manufacturing process". How does this compare with FSW? Is this process "revolutionary"? Does it require the same type of investment capital for equipment? Is this technology unique?


I have had Cessna people tell me that the total number of man hours it takes to build a Mustang structure (fuse, wings, tail) is less than the hours Eclipse claims FSW saves them.

At Eclipse, I've seen FSW "flanges" welded to skins, to which then a stringer or bracket is subsequently riveted. Thus no real savings in rivets over a single part directly riveted.

Nobody who actually builds small jets (that is, not religious types) believes the Eclipse claims for FSW labor savings. Eclipse has either lied or doesn't really know how effective riveting can be. FSW is a gratuitous differentiator for the airplane which, at best and if we are lucky, provides no real benefits to the owner. There is some risk that FSW has latent issues down the road.

cj3driver said...

The June 07 AOPA article says “… the other thing that makes the Mustang more affordable than your traditional Citation is the manufacturing process. As Mustang Program Manager Russ Meyer III pointed out during a briefing, the Mustang takes full advantage of everything Cessna has learned about building jets. Although some older models of Citations are still built using a lot of bent aluminum and rivets, the Mustang is mostly made from formed aluminum skins bonded to structure, providing an amazingly smooth finish. In metal bonding, a chemical bonding agent (glue, but the engineers don’t like to call it that) is applied to the components to be joined and then the parts are mated under pressure and heated in an auto-clave for a period of hours.”
“One fuselage tool at the Independence plant holds the side skins in place with a vacuum and then moves to two sides inward to mate with the floor and its associated ribs wile the aft bulkhead is moved forward, bringing all the pieces together just right. External skins come together leaving neat and tidy seams of 20-thousandths of an inch, meaning no hand fitting and filling are required. A routherlike tool cuts the door and window openings in the fuselage skins, again, insuring perfect fit.”
“As of mid-March, Cessna was building about one Mustang a week, but plans to eventually build about four a week….”

gadfly said...

Flyger and CJ3Driver

Since we’re on the subject of bonding: In a real sense, welding, riveting, and “chemical bonds” (“glue”, if you will . . . remember glue held most aircraft together . . . rib, spars, formers, fabric, including control surfaces on many “WWII aircraft”, etc.) . . . all these forms of fastening, are almost always used in “shear” and in “compression” . . . never in tension . . . well, almost never!

Even the skin of a fuselage is in tension (hoop stress), with the “formers” (ribs) under slight “compression” to maintain the outer contour of the skin. The skin is the pressure vessel . . . not the ribs/formers. The interface, whether rivets or “glue”, is under shear load, or compression load. But “tension”, never. A “butt” weld is asking for failure, if any significant tension and/or bending load is applied.

You’ve seen something poorly designed, or repaired, with glue or rivets . . . and the glue pulls apart, or the rivets pull out. The same is true for two parts bolted together. The best design normally has bolts in “shear”, but not in tension. (There are always exceptions to this rule, as in the head-bolts on an engine head or cylinder, cap bearings, etc..)

OK, enough for tonight’s lesson.

gadfly

gadfly said...

Correction: It should read "Even THOUGH the skin of a fuselage is in tension (hoop stress). . . "

andy said...

Guys,
Now this is a conversation that I like.
Both glueing and welding are modern ways to stick metal together
In general I like welding better you can see the quality.
Also with FSW you don't have to wait for the glue to cure
Andy

airtaximan said...

mouse,

"I believe the major design flaw may have been the Fuji mistake during wing build, and none of the internal bonding was done properly. This required all of the wings to be accessed and corrected. When they were built, the bonding wires/cables were attached without proper hole preperation. All of the bond points had to be disassembled and the paint removed to assure adequate bonding. All of this has now been completed and corrected.

Funny how it was not uncovered during manufacturing, in-process checks, or final QA. It was discovered during final wing mate by the final assembly team."

How many ship sets?

True there are no E-clips QA people at Fuji? Even for initial shipments?

How come this sort of QA snafu does not come out, explaining why its taking so darn long to deliver the first 20-30 planes, not to mention the first 57 that have already been in production since a long time ago?

I keep saying "something is up" with the production. No one promises hundreds of planes and ends up with a few deliveries, with some major crap going on.

They tried to use the FAA PC for delays, but this hass not resulted in appreciable improvement.

I guess there are more problems than we know - a situation which is business as usual for e-clips.

Perhaps someone told Vern not to brief the pwners group anymore - omitting these details while asking for more progress payments and making more promises, is well...harmful.

EclipseOwner387 said...

SN24 has wings and engines. Based on what I can see from the pictures sent to me I will quess that it will be ready in June. The pictures showed a bustling floor with numerous workers. Training slated for August.

mirage00 said...

E387 Congrats!

I'm based at KISP, I look forward to a visit in the fall!

JetProp Jockey said...

EO387 - 24

Just curious from a business perspective - are you required to make a final payment when the plane is finished or can you wait until the training is complete?

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Who in there right mind would make the final progress payment as long as the plane has no FIKI, FMS, A/P etc?

EclipseOwner387 said...

I have not seen the bill for final payment yet.

gadfly said...

andy said:

"Now this is a conversation that I like.
Both glueing and welding are modern ways to stick metal together
In general I like welding better you can see the quality.
Also with FSW you don't have to wait for the glue to cure"

Andy, welding, gluing, AND riveting are all hundreds of years old. FSW is just a modern form of "fusion welding" . . . just like the blacksmiths did.

And, unfortunately, it's what you cannot see, below the surface, that is the problem. That's why we use x-ray, Magnaflux, ultrasonics, and dye penetrant, to see "below" the surface. When metal alloys are raised in temperature, certain long-term things begin to happen that may not show up for years. Also, metals do cure over time . . . it's known as "aging".

gadfly

cj3driver said...

Freedom said:
Who in there right mind would make the final progress payment as long as the plane has no FIKI, FMS, A/P etc?

Freedom,

Tough call...What do you do if you have a purchase contract with Eclipse for $1,070,000. you have already paid them $963,000. Your “Finished” plane is sitting there, you have been waiting 8 years for, Its flyable but it has all the shortcomings and “due bills” you mentioned. Eclipses will give you four choices,
1. Pay us the remaining $100K and you can fly away with our promise to fix. (Dont forget you are allready into this for 1mil)
2. We will gladly refund your money. (they will re-sell your plane for a higher price, since they are undoubtedly taking a loss at the original contract price)
3. Move you to another later position at a higher price if you wish to take delivery of a completed and fully certified aircraft. (Who know when you will get it and your equity may be gone)
4. Sue us. (in which case the judge will probably just give you your money back, and you will be out attorneys fees and a whole bunch of headache)

It’s a catch 22

ExEclipser said...

I don't call that a catch 22. I call those options. Why the heck not fly it now and get the upgrades when ready? Why would you want to wait and pay more for an aircraft that will ultimately perform the same as the one you're ready to take delivery of?

You can do everything the aircraft is certified to do, and you're gonna get the fixes for the rest of the promise for free.

Meanwhile, you have a plane to get 90% of your mentoring out of the way in. And maybe you can get some cash back renting your plane out to other owners (or DayJet) for their mentoring/training.

EclipseBlogger said...

So, CJ, what would you do???

EclipseBlogger said...

Fortunately for the early delivery guys, the price is such that they will always be able to sell for more than they have in it. That assumes of course that Eclipse continues to operate to some capacity.

cj3driver said...

EclipseBlogger said...
So, CJ, what would you do???

EB
Sell my position (or the finished plane) at current market to someone willing to take the risk. Even now it still has value. If the plane turns out as promised, there will allways be one available.... at a price, of course, but without as much gamble.
I think there are a lot of "wait and see" buyers.

cj3driver said...

EB,

Of the four choices, I guess that would be #1.

cj3driver said...

ExEclipser said...
I don't call that a catch 22. I call those options.

I guess "2 years and time served" or "see ya in court" are both options.

airtaximan said...

EB,

"I think there are a lot of "wait and see" buyers."

I always wonder if most of the initial sellers were "buyers", really. Many could have been speculators. Mike Press reported around 100 sales already occured a few months ago - this seems like a lot. Today there are still many "listings" on Controller... an indication of something. There have been as many as around 42 and as few as areound 36, and today there are 38. I would have expected much lower since PC... the last major hurdle.

So, I think you are right, there are a lot of "wait and seers" but I think they are replacing the speculators, instead of adding much to the demand.

cj3driver said...

ExEclipser,

Apparently getting what you paid for at delivery, on time, is not an "option" with Eclipse.

andy said...

Gad,
Can you name a glue with the bond stregth of metal that is 100 years old?
How do any of the test methods you refer to detect a bad batch of glue?
I agree that materials change over time I prefer the ageing of metal over glue

EclipseOwner387 said...

Andy,

The Gadfrog will respond with "Rivets", "Rivets!"

I couldn't resist!

cj3driver said...

Andy,
Can you name a light jet thats been flying for 100 years.

I saw a ford Pinto the other day. Brought back memories!

EclipseBlogger said...

EO387, You're letting the excitement of the delivery get to your head.

Stan Blankenship said...

As mentioned, metal bonding does not exhibit a lot of peel strength. So it is always interesting to see how much confidence the designer has in his glue joint.

Lots of confidence, no rivets.

Not so much confidence, then he will add a "chicken shit rivet" at each end of the bond.

gadfly said...

So the andy says,

“Can you name a glue with the bond stregth of metal that is 100 years old?
How do any of the test methods you refer to detect a bad batch of glue?
I agree that materials change over time I prefer the ageing of metal over glue”

The EO387 says,

The Gadfrog will respond with "Rivets", "Rivets!"

And the “Gadfrog” says,

This conversation is getting to be “Knee-Deep, Knee-Deep!”

So, briefly, “glue” in this dialog is used in the generic sense . . . whether “casein” or modern epoxies. A scarf splice on the main spar of an aircraft, “glued”, will not fail. In fact the spar will fail, first, before the glue . . . that’s how it’s tested. “Been there, done that”, to get my A&P license.

Note: Whether “glue” (adhesives) or rivets or welds . . . the joint is designed to avoid “peel”. Even a rivet joint can “peel” . . . a rivet has a limited amount of “pull-out” strength, and is normally designed for cross-sectional “shear”.

Testing the “glue” or “epoxy” is a whole science in itself. And to discuss the “aging” of metals is beyond the scope of this discussion . . . and has little to do with the selection of “glue” (or “adhesive”) over metal. Each has its place . . . and two pieces of metal, overlapping, properly designed and joined with the proper adhesive, can and do create a joint that will exceed the strength of the metal. Testing of this type of “joint” is done in a tension machine, often made by “Instron”.

A “coupon” is cut, with precise dimensions in cross-section. Each end of the “coupon” is clamped and the part is pulled until failure, at which instant the tension forces are recorded . . . and the data is analyzed. Also, the “break” is examined using high magnification, etc.

Now would you like to discuss the merits of “Irish linen” over “cotton”, and the proper methods of “doping”? . . . or “lacing” bundles of wire with waxed Nylon? It would have about as much value just now.

gadfly . . . buzzing off!

(A few more years, and we’ll have examples of riveted aircraft still flying and still safe . . . with no known structural failures: Douglas DC3/C47 . . . and maybe with “glue” used for sealing certain parts of the aircraft.)

EclipseOwner387 said...

EB,

I think you may be right!

FlightCenter said...

E387,

Will you be flying N561EA after you take delivery of SN24?

Just checking to see if the FAA database is capturing the data correctly.

FC

EclipseOwner387 said...

That is the registration number for SN24. Assigned by Eclipse.

airtaximan said...

Flightcenter,

are you updating the chart as well on the "orders" page?

I didn;t cjheck, but are you accounting for Dayjet "orders" as 229 plus 70 options until a few months ago when the truth was revealed?

this is a great reference, thanks.

PS. Does anyone know how many "orders" OURPlane has?

AlexA said...

Eclipse web site news release "With a firm order for 10 Eclipse 500s and an option for 10 more, London, Ontario-based OurPlane becomes the first fractional customer for the very light jet, scheduled to enter service early next year."

FlightCenter said...

The order and delivery charts both update automatically based on any changes to the raw data.

Both charts are based on publicly available data. If you have any data I've missed, send a link to the source and I'll add it in to the spreadsheet.

The DayJet numbers used in the orders spreadsheet are 715 firm orders and 715 options for the total orders and options, based on the confirmation from DayJet as reported in CharterX.

I believe the 239 orders and 70 options that have been reported by Eclipse are the number of aircraft that are on order or available for option within the next 24 months.

I believe the remaining 1,121 DayJet orders and options are planned for delivery in 2H2009 and beyond.



Eclipse 500 Order History

Eclipse 500 Delivery Data

Lloyd said...

#20 underwent and passed it's acceptance flight today. Your data is very delayed.

airtaximan said...

Lluyd,

Man, its great to have real inside info on this sort of thing...

Can you provide details of which aircraft have been accepted and delivered?

I guess you are inferring that all planes upto SN20 have been delivered? If not...please clarify.

We'd love to know what is the real status of e-clips deliveries.

Thanks

FlightCenter said...

Here is the data that I have.

The FAA's document inquiry website is reporting that the last document filed regarding N115DJ was on 3/22/2007.

FAA Registry
Document Index Inquiry Results


The second link shows the FAA's current records for Serial #20 and N115DJ. At this time it reports that the aircraft is registered to Eclipse and has not been issued a certificate of airworthiness.

It took about 3 days for this website to be updated for last three DayJet deliveries. So perhaps we'll see serial #20 up on this site by the end of the week or early next week.

It took about 3 weeks for the paperwork to hit the website for Serial #11. It seems to be taking more than 3 weeks for serial #8, 10 and 14. There seems to be a big difference between the time it takes the FAA to have DayJet aircraft data listed and individual owners' aircraft listed.

But its the best data I have. If you have better data for this particular aircraft or a better source for delivery data in general, let me know. I'd be happy to incorporate it.

FAA Registry
N-Number Inquiry Results

airtaximan said...

FC,

do we get a new graph of the orders, Dayjets, options, etc?

thanks, this IS great

airtaximan said...

anyone have a picture of how many 60%er "progress" payments were asked for, and also how many were ponied up?

this could be very insightful...

andy said...

Gad,
Lets review
FSW good process
Glue good process
FSW inspection process X-ray Etc..
Glue inspection process Lets pull on the sob until we see it fail.

gad if you where designing a high production joint on a life safety part which would you choose?

cherokee driver said...

This is from Wikipedia "Friction Stir Welding":

Nevertheless, FSW is associated with a number of unique defects. Insufficient weld temperatures, due to low rotation speeds or high traverse speeds, for example, mean that the weld material is unable to accommodate the extensive deformation during welding. This may result in long, tunnel defects running along the weld which may be surface or subsurface. Low temperatures may also limit the forging action of the tool and so reduce the continuity of the bond between the material from each side of the weld. The light contact between the material has given rise to the name 'kissing-bond'. This defect is particularly worrying since it is very difficult to detect using non-destructive methods such as X-ray or ultrasonic testing. If the pin is not long enough or the tool rises out the plate then the interface at the bottom of the weld may not be disrupted and forged by the tool resulting in a lack-of-penetration defect. This is essentially a notch in the material which can be a potent source of fatigue cracks.

gadfly said...

Andy

The decision is made according to the application and is not a simple choice of "A, B, or C". And in an aircraft, any aircraft, you may see all three (or a fourth) methods put to good use. Far too much has been made of FSW in this little jet. The problems that might become apparent in "time" are not yet fully understood, and to use the method in "life critical" applications is, in my opinion, not wise at this time. FSW should be used in "non-critical" applications, for a few years. To sell people on this aircraft because of the use of FSW is not good . . . and takes attention away from important issues. If you ask me a thousand more times as to which is the "best", I will still tell you that there is no "best", as each application has its own requirements and merits, and there is no "one size fits all".

gadfly

cj3driver said...

ATM, RE: 60% deposits

If you look on controller, S/N 125 position is for sale. if you click on details, the seller povides the deposit info. He made his 60% deposit last November and claims the plane will be ready in October '07.

cj3driver said...

ATM, re S/n 125

Sorry, just checked the ad. owner claims August 07 delivery not October 07. I.... was thinking October.

EclipseOwner387 said...

I came. I saw. I left bored with the board.

Tomorrow is another day.

RIVET!

Sorry, I burped.

cj3driver said...

Andy, RE: aluminum bonding

A quick google search in bonding technology led to me to www.avcorp.com
they specialize in bonding aircraft parts. Wings, tails all sorts of parts. Customers include Boeing (737 thru 777) Bombardier (all CRJ models) and Cessna among others. It appears this method of fabrication is not new.

gadfly said...

EO387

Here we stand with egg-fu-yong all over our faces . . . failing to be entertaining. Let’s hope that your “Stir Fried Jet” doesn’t turn out to be the “Pu-Pu” Platter.

gadfly . . . sweet and sour!

gadfly said...

CJ3Driver

Thanks for the tip . . . ( http://www.avcorp.com/metal-bonding.asp )

Their comments speak of the "glue" method (adhesive bonding), giving good reasons for using this method.

gadfly

mouse said...

FSW is not forgiving in Mfg. The FSW probe must completely pentrate the first sheet and exactly penetrate 50% into the second sheet of metal. Too little penetration and the weld/seam is unacceptable, and too deep can lead to a plunge-through. The early skins had lots of these. This is the reason it is so critical to have perfectly fitting lap joints. Rivets and their installation methods draw up the metal so fit is not nearly as critical... Lots of room for errors with FSW on curved, flimsy sheet metal structures.

mouse said...

AirTaxi,

I belive it affected the first 20+ wing sets. It has all been corrected now.

Transparency is no longer in effect... Sure sounded good though...

mouse said...

The biggest concern I always had and voiced with Stir-Frying is the ability for the seam to retain lots of moisture. The weld/seam setback is quite large allowijg a lot of propigation of water. At altitude the freezing water could swell and hydraulic forces could split the seam. A pressurized seam, splitting at altitude could lead to a "Comet" effect IMHO...

I also have huge reservations with the priming being stired into the weld. Surely that would have to be considered contamination, regardless of what the engineers keep saying.

Nothing can possibly go wron... wron... wron... wrong

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Has anyone read this article on the MU-2? It has little direct relevance to the eclipse, but the legal aspect is food for thought.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_generic.jsp?channel=bca&id=news/mu2_0206.xml

When the first Eclipse crashes for whatever reason, with paying passengers (even if it is a simplest flying, sweetest handling, safest A/C ever made), you can bet the trial lawyers are going to have a field day dragging through the grievance filed by the NATCA.

Just fact that an FAA Cert employee took the highly unusual step of having the union file that official grievance is going to be a prize for the trial lawyers. The facts can be created to fit the trial :)

Pulling political strings to get preferential treatment (if that indeed occured) is a double edge sword in a country with an independant judiciary.

ExEclipser said...

Mouse: I've had many conversations with friction stir experts with regards to the process. Eclipse stir frys cad-plated components, not primed components. That's why there are no 'green' aircraft, but rather 'gold' aircraft. Innards are zinc chromated after the welding.

Are you concerned with moisure in the weld nugget? That's been tested over and over. I've seen many microscopic images of the weld cross section and the process just isn't condusive to collecting moisture - or air for that matter.

If you're talking about the weld seam setback, it's no more than what a typical rivet pattern. If that were a valid concern, just about every riveted aircraft would be following out of the sky.

As for your 'room for error' argument, there is no less tolerance achievable by the friction stir gantry than any milling machine that operates to .001" tolerances. As for forgiving, it is very forgiving - compared to over drilling a hole in the skin.

Cherokee Driver: Eclipse has spent 6-7 years developing the process. Most of that process is proprietary and competition sensitive so won't be part of any wikipedia article. Even the folks at TWI and Wichita State are frustrated at the lack of feedback from Eclipse to share what they've learned.

ExEclipser said...

freedomsjamtarts: Hopefully the Aviation Liability Reform Act of 1997 will prevent that from happening. Besides, any decent defense attorney will show alleged jealousy on the part of the inspectors who didn't get performance raises.

There are so many holes in their claim. It's why it's been sitting for a half a year without any action on it.

Stan Blankenship said...

fjt,

The Eclipse legal position is worse than you can imagine.

The company has made a rookie mistake with all the claims for safety.

This is the aircraft industry, and as hard as everyone tries to make flying as safe as possible, bad things happen. We live in a litigious society and sooner or later, Eclipse will be in a courtroom facing a former Cirrus driver's widow and her claims:

"You said the airplane was safe."

"You said the airplane was easy to fly."

"You said the rigorous training would prepare my late husband for any eventual situation he might encounter."

"You qualified him to fly single pilot, at night, in IMC, he did and now he is dead. How do you know his screens did not go blank and you failed to provide even a basic standby attitude gyro."

Current management does not have to worry with these eventualities because it would take years before this type of action would see the inside of a courtroom. But the company has already provided plenty of material for the plaintiff's lawyer.

Stan Blankenship said...

eclipser,

There are few secrets in this industry. The individual who was involved in the development of FSW in England then moved to Eclipse to help them get going is now employeed at Spirit in Wichita.

And further, your dismissal of the grievance is wishful thinking on your part. The government moves slow on investigating itself...look how long it took to get honest answers on the Pat Tillman cover-up.

airtaximan said...

mouse,

"I belive it affected the first 20+ wing sets. It has all been corrected now."

This could explain how long its taking to get the initial planes out the door, I guess.

Begs the question: how in heavens name did they ever obtain a PC? Conformance, original article inspection...etc... seems like their QMS was never really "proven" - especially if the impproperly manufactured wings made it to the assembly floor and someone "caught" the problem there.

Once again, I'm just asking the question. Any takers?

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Execlipser said:

Hopefully the Aviation Liability Reform Act of 1997 will prevent that from happening.

You are right there. We must all hope for that. Litigation has already nearly killed GA once.

mirage00 said...

Pulling political strings to get preferential treatment (if that indeed occurred) is a double edge sword in a country with an independent judiciary.

I laugh every time I read this reference to insiders in Washington willing to let people die and jeopardize their own lives all for Vern. Yeah that's what happened. I'm going to join E387, I'm bored with this board too.

BD5 Believer said...

I have a suggestion for those bored with this board....which I can understand by the way...

Feel free to come back when we start seeing aircraft in the hands of owners and truly being delivered.

As stated before on this blog....nothing will be resolved until airplanes show up in the hands of owners, who are allowed to leave New Mexico with their new pride and joys.

I would also suggest that we stop counting "deliveries" until an aircraft truly leaves the nest.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

execlipser stated "Besides, any decent defense attorney will show alleged jealousy on the part of the inspectors who didn't get performance raises."

As an ex-eclipser myself, I know most of the FAA personnel involved in the project. even a hint that jealousy shows how little you know about the FAA and their people. I have the utmost respect for most FAA personnel on the team (since I don't know everyone that has been involved). Jealousy is NOT the issue for these folks. Safety is, period. Please, take your infantile accusations elsewhere, or just grow up. We are in a serious business that can have deadly and far reaching consequenses. The management at Eclipse has been screwing the investors for too long, while actually accomplishing very little other than insuring their own personal gains. This is bad for the entire industry. Eclipse is a blight on aviation.

ExEclipser said...

I completely agree with you. Unfortunately sometimes, it's the job of a decent defense attorney to make those sort of points. You can't prove intent, but you can sure argue it.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Even in the kangaroo courtrooms we have in this country that sort of accusation wouldn't hold water. There are no merit increases for FAA personnel who complete a project. Most of them are under paid and over worked, and take their positions regarding airworthiness very seriously.
I probably know the complainer(s), and I do know some that were disallowed. There is no defense for this strategy in certifying airplanes. I hope heads will roll over this one. High heads, not just a sacrificial underling as is usually the case with these type incidents.

EclipseOwner387 said...

BD5

N229BW has left the nest. Mike Press has been flying the wings off it.

FlightCenter said...

Here is a link to some pictures of N229BW.

There is no evidence of any EXPERIMENTAL stickers on the airplane and it looks like it is a long way away from the nest in ABQ.

N229BW Photos

Stan Blankenship said...

Here is some interesting material, a Jan 10, 2007 Eclipse presentation to the FAA by Jack Harrington titled "Flying Into the Future"

www.faa.gov/news/conferences_events/new_tech_2007/presentations/media/day2/harrington.ppt#446,43,Airspace

On page 3 of this 45 page powerpoint presentation, Eclipse makes the point that FSW is one of the 'enablers' that is allowing the company to revolutionize aviation (my words, not theirs).

A link to this ppt will be added on the blog's home page just below the index section. Thanks to ATM for providing this link.

Stan Blankenship said...

Sorry, the link got truncated, try the link on the blog's home page.

BD5 Believer said...

Well then, N229BW is a start...what about the other 10-12 that have "Delivered"?

Have any others left the nest?

This is what we are have all been waiting for?

Will Mike give us his empty weight and CG?

Still trying to understand why that woudl be confidential???

mouse said...

ExEclipser, you are incorrect. There is a sprayed on primer, not a conversion coating, that is applied to the weld. It is stired into the weld.

highfloat said...

FlightCenter,

If you follow the link and click on 'Jet Posistions For Sale', you can clearly see the words 'Experimental' scrawled all over the side of the airplane.

On another note, today's EAHA (Eclipse Aviation Honesty Award) goes to.........:

Mr. Brandon Carlson - Jet Sales

Email – bcarlson@jetsamerica.com
Phone (Cell) - (281)-702-6820

Fax - (636)-536-1919

Spoke with Brandon and told him I was trying to determine what the true operational limitations of this aircraft are. He told me point blank that he would STRONGLY advise against even considering buying an Eclipse with a serial # prior to 100 - 150. Period. This is from a guy who is building a business selling these things. I asked him about RVSM - he said "yeah I had it (M. Press's) plane up to FL350 the other day" - I said 'really, do you have an LOA for RVSM airspace?' He very honestly replied that "No...uhhh well you know...that's a really good point - maybe that's why they're all flying around at FL270..." Yes, indeed. I appreciate his honesty - very much. Thus, he receives the EAHA for the week.

Serial number 150 should be ready for Hillary's innaugeration (sic) - gasp!

Green-or-Red said...

mouse said
"ExEclipser, you are incorrect. There is a sprayed on primer, not a conversion coating, that is applied to the weld. It is stired into the weld."

Mouse is INCORRECT. Only bare metal is FSW'ed. Between the two mating surfaces is a corrosion protectant applied prior to the welding. After welding, the FSW panel has primer applied to the interior surface. I beleive at a later time after final assembly is exterior primer appled prior to final paint.

gadfly said...

Warning: If you wish to be entertained, simply skip over all of the following.

Aluminum is a “new kid on the block”, introduced as a usable metal in 1825 or 1827, depending on which person to whom you give credit. Although Aluminum is the third most plentiful element on the earth’s surface, it has a long way to go, to be understood as well as iron, gold, silver, copper, lead, and tin (to make bronze when mixed with copper) . . . metals that are referred to in Genesis, in the Bible. (Brass? . . . that’s copper and zinc, and came later.)

Thousands of years ago, iron was “welded” together, similar in principle to “FSW”. Do a study in the making of a “Samurai” sword . . . or a Damascus Rifle.

But aluminum is almost never found pure in nature, only as an oxide . . . which can compete with cubic boron nitrate (CBN) as second only to diamonds in hardness. (“CBN” is the common material material that has somewhat replaced the “white” aluminum oxide grinding wheels, in machine shops.)

And in the welding process, Aluminum would rather unite with oxygen, than join with itself. So, most aluminum welding takes place in the absence of oxygen . . . and an “inert gas”, such as helium, blankets the molten metal during welding (hence the term, “heli-arc welding”). Also, the use of copper, to give us the high strength aluminum alloys, is not “welder friendly” . . . and if exposed to water creates millions of tiny “anodes”, at each “crystal”, that eat away the aluminum from within. Aluminum tends to be “hygroscopic” . . . it “likes” water.

Well, by now, you should get the picture . . . joining aluminum is not a simple thing. The heating of aluminum will destroy any surface protection it might have, prior to joining . . . whether a “primer”, a “conversion coating”, or “aluminum oxide” (anodizing). If the aluminum is "bare", it will create its own protective coating, the instant that oxygen is present.

No matter what the coating, small amounts of the “impurity” will then be included in the weld, or the “fused layers” . . . changing the basic “alloy”. In addition, as was mentioned by “mouse” or others, tiny “voids” are almost impossible to totally eliminate, and certainly impossible to completely seal in a production item, the entrapment of water “will” take place, sooner or later. This, by the way, was mentioned in an earlier referenced technical paper (which I’m sure you all read with great interest). And, in that same technical paper, it was stated that such voids are almost impossible to detect by any normal inspection methods.

Bottom line: Maybe in another twenty or fifty or hundred years, “Stir Fried Welds” will be as common as . . . well, “Big Mac’s”.

But, personally, welding aluminum is still a “baby technology” . . . and, if I may be so bold, I can not only weld a decent “bead” with “MIG”, “TIG”, “Wire-Feed”, but even with “Oxy-Acetylene” . . . and not many can make so bold a claim . . . and have “soldered” aluminum as well. Welding aluminum for critical parts is never something to be taken lightly. And for someone to put the future of a new “jet” on the same level as “fusing aluminum together” . . . that scares the “willikers” out of this man (never did figure out what a williker is).

Well, there you go! Maybe this will help you all to understand the concerns that you “should have”, in the midst of the claims of the “superior methods of fabrication” of the little jet that will revolutionize “General Aviation”.

gadfly

(Someone used the words, “decent” and “lawyer” in the same sentence . . . is that legal?

And is a “kangaroo court” one of those “Aussie” things, down in Melbourne or Sidney? . . . at least the “Aussies” make more sense than the “Limey’s”. . . like that guy, “Crocodile Din-Din”!

Oh, and one other thing: A steel product called “Corten”, was once touted to be the answer to the corrosion of “bridges” and things . . . and it was! It turned out to corrode faster than anything else on the market . . . but it sure looks “pretty” with that patina of rust.

Beware of claims of new products, especially when your life may depend on it.)

EclipseOwner387 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
EclipseBlogger said...

highfloat said... FlightCenter, If you follow the link and click on 'Jet Positions For Sale', you can clearly see the words 'Experimental' scrawled all over the side of the airplane.

How easy you are to deceive. The picture shown under the "Jet Sales" page was taken in ABQ long before delivery. The pictures in flightcenter's link were take much more recently, and as you can see, there is no experimental placard.

Gunner said...

EO-
How can Mike Press fly RVSM under Eclipse's LOA if the aircraft has actually been "delivered" (ie: accepted and transferred) to him?

I was made to understand all the DayJet planes are flying sub-RVSM because they're waiting for their LOA.

And let's not get sidetracked should some tiny troll jump in, explaining that DayJet will be flying at FL270/280 and is therefore doing "proving runs". It was reported on this Blog, direct from a DayJet Personage (Ed?) that they're awaiting LOA.

If the LOA expires on transfer to the Depositor, then Mike plane would be illegal; if Mike's plane has not been transferred, then the claims that it was would be....well, a lie.

Anyone know the answer?
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

I am not sure how that works. My assumption is that during training he was able to fly on the backs of Eclipse's LOA, perhaps through a short-term leaseback that gives Eclipse control over the airplane?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

But of course it could all be a lie. The FAA website could have been hacked to show SPJ AIRCRAFT LLC as the registered owner. It never really happened. The FAA is in on it too.

Or just possibly it could be that you nor I fully understand RVSM and how to qualify for a flight above FL290. It doesn't mean we have to assume a lie or illegal activity wouldn't you agree? Just keeping it real.

FlightCenter said...

E387 - I agree with your statements.

1) Brandon is in the business of selling aircraft, and
2) the inventory that he has available is primarily serial #100 and higher...

But that doesn't mean that he isn't giving buyers really good advice when he recommends that they will be better off with a higher serial number aircraft.

This is especially true if the buyers he is dealing with don't have the willingness to have their airplane "down" while it has the mods applied to it.

So E387 now converted to E24,

What is the other side of the argument?

Why did you decide that it was a better deal to get an earlier aircraft? I assume you could have easily switched your position to an aircraft with a serial number in the range of 100 - 200...

airtaximan said...

EO,

seems like ...

2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,800,000 TX
S/N: 000029, 0 TT, Position Number 0017. IFR, LX Interior, Mid 2007 delivery, 6 seats

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,740,000 CA
S/N: 000178, N441DM, 0 TT, IFR, LX Edition for June '07 delivery from Platinum Position #P0139 , 2007 Paint, 2007 Int , 6 Seats

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,640,000 AB, CN
S/N: 275, 0 TT, IFR, Fourth Quarter 2007 Platinum, no CPI, Pt. 135 and Copilot, sell may finance. 2007 Paint/Interior. $1.64mil + options

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,640,000 NM
S/N: EA 500.00125, New Date: Oct 07, PRICE REDUCED! FINANCING AVAILABLE! Offers welcome! LOADED Platinum - No CPI Adjustment. $$$ same as a new order

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,625,000 MO
S/N: 119, IFR, June 2007 Delivery; Owner anxious to sell--make offer; Part 135 and LX-Interior , 2006 Paint, 2006 Int , 6 Seats

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,599,000 NM
S/N: EA 500.000273, Earliest Gold, New Date: November 07. PRICE REDUCED! FINANCING AVAILABLE! Offers welcome! Below Company price!

NEW 2007 ECLIPSE 500 $1,575,000 MO
S/N: 103, JULY 2007 Delivery-Total Price WITH options ONLY $1,680,000 !!!!!

Plus many more for scheduled 2007 delivery…. All this only from Controller, which is indicative, not definitive of what is out there for sale.

Add this to at least 100 sales which according to Mile Press already reportedly occurred by MArch tmeframe of this year, and you get an pretty good impression of what’s going on, what is available, and who is doing what to whom.

But I would consider YOU to be the master of this game, in all seriouslness. I just calls'em as I see's em...

Gunner said...

EO-
You're absolutely right that we needn't ASS-ume anything at all; so I didn't regarding Mike Press' flight. Conversely, it would be folly to assume that I did ASS-ume, yes?

But an honest, reasonable QUESTION, does not an ASS-umption make. We have some obvious questions because these birds are not flying RVSM. We have one more because Mike Press did (once?).

If my question is impertinent to you; if it offends, simply pass on the answer. We'll get to it eventually. Meantime, the C-510's seldom file below 30K. We might choose to question THAT phenomenon; but the answer would be simple: that's where jets do their best work.

Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

FC,

I figured my risk was reduced owning an earlier position since I would have the physical product rather than a "position." Also, SN24 was not subject to CPI-W increases so I reduced my overall cost. I have also noticed that the impulse buyer will want a jet that they can touch or is in production so my ability to resell if I deem necessary will be easier. Lastly, I didn't think Eclipse would get SN387 done until late 2007 or early 2008.

I originally had the view of wanting a later SN but when Eclipse promised to retrofit all the mods I decided the early number would be worth it for the reasons stated above. BUT, I can see both sides of this and can appreciate those who would want to wait and see. (I also owned a position in the 40's that I sold towards the end 2006. That buyer wanted to own an early position. So I have some experience with the "premium" for the early positions.)

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

It was the implications that it must be a lie or an illegal act. All I did was pass on the understanding that was passed on to me and you immediately try to turn it into a negative with negative spin. If you were really just wanting an answer you would have said something like this:



I am confused. How did Mike Press fly at FL350 when we have been told he doesn't have an LOA and since the plane was delivered he shouldn't be able to use Eclipse's. Can anyone clear this up for me?


That would have been civil. I have tried to learn to be civil since you have impressed that upon me early on in my blogging experience. I am the student and you are the mentor! Oh crap, now the mentor thing will be brought up again.

WhyTech said...

RVSM approvals:

At this site:
www.tc.faa.gov/act-500/niaab/rvsm/AGHME_monitoring_procedures.asp

you can find acft with RVSM approval (by SN and owner). As far as I can see, no Eclipse has yet obtained RVSM approval from the FAA according to the data posted here. Note that the site indicates both the date a letter of authorization (required to be cleared into RVSM airspace) is issued and the date a successful AGHME monitoring flight (required within 6 mo. of LOA) is completed. It is possible that Eclipse acft might not appear on this site for various reasons.

WT

WhyTech said...

RVSM approvals addendum:

Several Cessna 510's are listed with RVSM approval on the site previously mentioned.

WT

Gunner said...

Thanks, Whytech.

EO-
I think I'll bow out of this particular exchange now. It's pretty clear that I was pointing out a very clear anomaly or contradiction in the Eclipse time-line. If you call that "uncivil", the opportunity to reasonably discuss that anomaly/contradiction with you is obviously wasted.

Carry on.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

E387,

Thank you for your comments. Very interesting.

So if I understand your position...

A bird in hand, is worth two in the bush...

Redtail said...

Gunner, you're such a load. EO is right. You stated your point and immediately went for "lies" and "deception". It was a nice couple of days without you. I guess that's over.

cj3driver said...

My FSDO gave me a five day turn-around on the RVSM package prepared by Cessna (subcontracted). It was relatively painless and quick. Then again, it was a conforming, cerified new aircraft, with all components working.

Cessna prepared the package (It was around $2,000) prior to delivery, and you can fly away from the factory at RVSM altiudes. You can even do the flyover ICT with the rep onboard. I would think Eclipse offers the same service.

FlightCenter said...

Here is the delivery data from Controller Sorted by Serial #

Delivery Serial #
Jun-07 -- 29
Jul-07 -- 103
Jun-07 -- 119
Jun-07 -- 122
Oct-07 -- 125
Aug-07 -- 148
Jun-07 -- 178
Nov-07 -- 273
Nov-07 -- 275
Feb-08 -- 302
Dec-07 -- 338
Oct-07 -- 358
Apr-08 -- 451
Apr-08 -- 492
Dec-07 -- 536
Nov-07 -- 565
Feb-08 -- 885

And then Sorted by Delivery Date

Delivery Serial #
Jun-07 -- 29
Jun-07 -- 119
Jun-07 -- 122
Jun-07 -- 178
Jul-07 -- 103
Aug-07 -- 148
Oct-07 -- 125
Oct-07 -- 358
Nov-07 -- 273
Nov-07 -- 275
Nov-07 -- 565
Dec-07 -- 338
Dec-07 -- 536
Feb-08 -- 302
Feb-08 -- 885
Apr-08 -- 451
Apr-08 -- 492

If you look at a scatter plot of this data in Excel you'll be able to see that the positions make up three lines. It seems that this represents 3 different production plans made at different times over the last year by Eclipse.


So caveat emptor. When you are considering buying a position, make sure that you have the latest position delivery information.

FlightCenter said...

E387,

Based on the dates quoted by sellers in Controller, it would seem that the latest production plan from Eclipse would say that serial #387 will be delivered sometime between Feb 2008 and April 2008.

So it looks like you were right that SN387 wouldn't be flying until 2008.

highfloat said...

Thanks for all the comments re: my post. I'll give Mike Press a call in the morning.

As I've stated before several milestones must be met before operating RVSM. Besides pilot qualification and aircraft qualification an LOA must be issued every time ownership changes. The LOA is not valid until a monitoring flight is conducted. I've done several of these and it's really no big deal - assuming of course that the aircraft is up to par.

The Eclipse is clearly not. The pitot issue would immediately disqualify it. No pitot, no adc, and the entire altimetry for RVSM is toast. So I think Brandon is correct - if you want an airplane (the one promised ad naeusem by Eclipse marketing) you'll have to wait until SN 100 or later. I agree.

I'll chat with Press re: rvsm and get his version of events tomorrow. Of course he is filing /A eveywhere which is what my dad files in his Stearman...and I don't think that's RVSM.

WhyTech said...

Highfloat said:

"The LOA is not valid until a monitoring flight is conducted."

In the nit picking spirit I have learned from this blog:

It is my understanding that the LOA is valid for 6 months from the date of issue. One may operate in RVSM airspace without limitations during this period. However, the LOA expires after 6 months UNLESS a successful AGHME monitoring flight is conducted within the initial 6 month LOA valid period.

WT

WhyTech said...

RVSM - more than most want to know:

There are no RVSM police as far as I can determine. File a flight plan with an RVSM equipment suffix, request an RVSM altitude, and away you go. Not legal, but you are not likely to get caught unless you screw up otherwise and someone starts digging.

WT

andy said...

High floater
Can you explain N229BW flight from ABQ to SUS if it can't do RVSM?
Andy

PS Mike has said that as soon as he gets LOA he will RVSM

EclipseOwner387 said...

RVSMer's

I was just told that non-conforming RVSM aircraft can fly in RVSM airspace workload permitting and 2000 FT must be blocked. I read in the ATC manual on RVSM just now that exceptions can occur. The exceptions as written are limited to DOD, LifeGaurd, flights transitioning through RVSM, and VIP's. It does not say causal non-RVSM is permitted. However, ATC controllers must have some latitude in this and that must be how the ABQ to SUS flight occurred at FL350. According to Flight Aware, /W was NOT filed so ATC must have approved the non-RVSM conforming flight due to light air traffic. Does this seem logical?


Here is the link:

http://www.faa.gov/ats/ato/drvsm/docs/DRVSM_ATCM_V2_17JAN05.pdf

EclipseOwner387 said...

In addition, planes testing for cert and development can be given an RVSM exception. Since N229BW was already delivered I ruled that exception out.

EclipseOwner387 said...

http://www.faa.gov/ats/ato/drvsm/docs/DRVSM
_ATCM_V2_17JAN05.pdf


link got cutoff.

WhyTech said...

EO387 said:

"Does this seem logical?"

Yep. If you can convince the controller, you are good to go.

However, if you file an RVSM suffix (L, W, Q etc) and are not RVSM certified, you are looking at a certificate suspension or revocation if caught.

WT

EclipseOwner387 said...

WHYTECH,

And we have all noticed that /A is all that has been filed so no issue here.

mouse said...

Green-Red,

The corrosion protectant is the primer I am talking about and not the paint primer..

Gunner said...

OK-
So it seems the RVSM (or lack of) issue remains a valid topic, so long as you give Le Petit EVERY benefit of the doubt.

RVSM approval has been explained Ad Nauseum on this Blog. Nobody has yet explained why a couple of EA-50X flights have flown at that level, except for EO's recent restatement of the previously posted fact that ATC may grant an exception. This is hardly "news".

But it still begs the obvious question. How come Le Petit does not fly at its touted altitudes?

BTW EO, wanna bet the price of Eclipse SN 24 that Mike Press filed a flight plan with an RVSM Slant Code, when once we saw him at those altitudes?
Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

I was referencing N229BW flights since training was completed. Mike did not get typed until May 23rd. As far as I can tell, Mike has filed /A everytime since he has taken the helm.

Any other slant codes occurred during the training period.

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"So it seems the RVSM (or lack of) issue remains a valid topic,"

Indeed it does. It is the most salient topic of discussion on this blog for the last two weeks.

And that is very telling indeed :)

FWIW, S/N 19 was scheduled to be delivered today. S/N 20 reportedly passed its acceptance test flight a few days ago. Onsite observers report the aeromods are on S/N 39 as it travels down the line, just as promised. Planes are being delivered and being flown. A few months ago the comments here suggested that would never happen, but it did.

I'm getting the feeling you naysayers have run out of steam.

Ken

Gunner said...

Funny how Redtail, Ken and a couple others all take a couple days off and then return together within a couple hours. But, then, life is coincidence.

EO-
You're better than this.
Your entire argument is that I'm over the top; that Mike Press flew on Eclipse's RVSM permit. Now you want to claim that he flew RVSM because he was in training? And I'M the one that's ASS-uming?

C'mon, guy. I'll make the bet easier for you:
I'll bet you, right here, right now, the price of Eclipse SN24 that Mike Press not only flew that plane at RVSM AFTER it was registered to SPJ Aircraft, but that he filed it with a /W code (RVSM Approved)...and I'll even give you a win if you can demonstrate that there's an exception that allows that Equipment Code on a /A aircraft for pilots "in training".

This isn't difficult stuff, EO. Pilot and plane are either capable (with minor exceptions) or they are not.

Do we have a bet?
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"Pilot and plane are either capable (with minor exceptions) or they are not."

You're not following what EO387 is writing, Rich.

And what you wrote is not true--"Pilot and plane are either capable or they are not."

There is a third possibility that occurs quite regularly--pilot and plane are capable but LOA is still pending. To my knowledge, that's what is going on here.

But what's the difference? Where are you going with this? Are you suggesting perhaps the plane is not RVSM capable after all? I think you'd be wrong if that's the point you're trying to make.

Ken

FlightCenter said...

Nothing new has been posted on the FAA website since 3/22/2007 for either serial #19 or 20.

Both are shown as registered to Eclipse and without a CofA.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

No bet. I am not assuming that training flights allow RVSM. All I am saying is that Mike Press was not legal to fly the plane so I won't assume he filed the flight plan. I believe the flights in question were probably not official training flights. That is the week Mike Press took time off from training and was on vacation with his wife and an Eclipse pilot flew them to California according to the owners forum. Was an error made? I don't know. But I do believe Mike Press has filed correctly every time since he has recieved his type rating.

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

Ken said-
"And what you wrote is not true--"Pilot and plane are either capable or they are not."

There is a third possibility that occurs quite regularly--pilot and plane are capable but LOA is still pending.


And, of course, the "third" possibility was covered under my statement that the PLANE (not the TYPE) must be RVSM Certified. No LOA, not approved for RVSM flight.

Now, go away and let the adults hash this out. Your style is too old. This exchange is between EO and I. Suggest you send Redtail or Lloyd back.

Gunner

Gunner said...

EO-
Fair enough. Understand that I'm not accusing Mike of anything. But when you charge Paranoid Conspiracy Theory, in the wake of a clear anomaly, you had best be willing to back up YOUR personal accusation. OK?

These birds have not flown RVSM, except for 1 or 2 Press aircraft flights. I've given you two reasonable explanations:

1) At the time, the plane was not owned by Mike Press and was flown under Eclispe's LOA

2) At the time, the plane WAS transferred to Mike Press and the plane was flown in violation.

There are other explanations, I know. Mike Press was never on the plane. Nobody knows who flew it. It was flown under special exemption. It was contracted to DoD for the flight.

Certainly, these latter explanations are plausible (and there are MORE plausible ones), but they're hardly REASONABLE in view of the FACTS.

You're the one that brought this up....though I could be wrong, since you've deleted your 5:59 PM post that started all this.

But "just keeping things real", I think you need to stand up and state whether this lack of RVSM flight raises questions for you as to current capability of the aircraft or not. Because there's not a Critic here that has made more of it than that.
Gunner

cj3driver said...

Ken said;

….A few months ago the comments here suggested that would never happen, but it did.

I'm getting the feeling you naysayers have run out of steam.

Ken,

From Mike press’s April newsletter:

As of this writing (April 4th) delivery of five production aircraft has taken place..... Eclipse still projects delivering approximately 70 airplanes total by the end of the 2nd quarter 2007 and 400 total by the end of 2007. The schedule published last month is still the current schedule.

Eclipse serial numbers; projected delivery by month 2007

Mar 5
Apr 6-20
May 21-46
Jun 47-69
Jul 70-99
Aug 100-136
Sep 137-182
Oct 183-239
Nov 240-312
Dec 313-402

2008 deliveries at 80-90 per month.

Tomorrow is June 1. Apparently Eclipse has already missed the mark by half. I don't see how it is possible to get 400 units out this year. Do you still think they will?

Cessna still says they will build, deliver and train pilots for 40 Mustangs this year vs. Eclipse’s 402. I say….. nay….

cj3driver said...

Ken,
My Opinion Is…. that Cessna beats their promise of 40 and that Eclipse does not even produce half of their promise. I'm talking about fully certified NG, FIKI, IMC capable planes that make performance guarantees. This is based on Cessna’s history of underpromising and overdelivering, and Eclipse’s over promising and never delivering a finished, complete airplane, not one, never.
In any other industry this kind of performance would not be tolerated.
It’s only because the first 250 aircraft are being sold way, way below current market value that the customers are keeping quiet.

CJ3 prediction

90 units per month by YE…… Nay.
90 units per month ever…. Nay
Fully certified by SN 75…. Nay
2,700 units sold within 3 years…. Nay
2,700 units sold within 5 years…. Nay
2,700 units sold, ever (E500)…. Nay
Vern still running Eclipse in 3 years…. Nay
The price holding at 1.52.… Nay
Eclipse beating performance guarantees… Nay

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... Now, go away and let the adults hash this out. Your style is too old. This exchange is between EO and I. Suggest you send Redtail or Lloyd back.

Gunner, you're turning into a grumpy old fart. Lighten up. Redtail was right - it was pleasant around here while you were absent.

Ken Meyer said...

"Understand that I'm not accusing Mike of anything."

Yeah, you did. And you got called on it. And now you're saying you certainly didn't accuse him of anything when everybody knows, in fact, you did. That's pretty cheap and underhanded.

You know, Rich, I think we're all getting sick of this little act of yours--false accusations, misstatements, prevarications. They are your stock in trade. I lost count a long time ago how many things you've accused the company or the plane of that were just flat out wrong. Many were wrong because you don't know what you're talking about a lot of the time. But some were wrong because you're just being nasty and falsely accusing folks.

You've gone after the customers before with false accusations that they're "marks" in a ponzi scam. Now you're going after the customers for flying RVSM illegally. Pitiful.

Ken

EclipseBlogger said...

Vern on AvWeb podcast:

http://www.avweb.com/podcast/files/2007-06-01.mp3

Ken Meyer said...

CJ3 wrote,

"My Opinion Is…. that Cessna beats their promise of 40 and that Eclipse does not even produce half of their promise. I'm talking about fully certified NG, FIKI, IMC capable planes that make performance guarantees. This is based on Cessna’s history of underpromising and overdelivering"

Wouldn't surprise me. Cessna has been manufacturing planes for long enough to know the potential snags and work around them. I think that's one of the big benefits of buying from them instead of from Eclipse. We're in total agreement on that one.

Is it worth $1.3 million more? That's the issue I'm looking at right now. It seems to me that $1.3 million more ought to buy more than just corporate expertise.

But yours is a good point. One of the reasons the Mustang costs so much more than the Eclipse is that the company has been down this road before and knows what they're doing.

Take the RVSM issue for instance. It turns out the Eclipse is now using the very same outside company as Cessna to file the RVSM paperwork for customers. But they haven't (yet) figured out to do it 2 or 3 months prior to delivery the way Cessna does (so said the Cessna reps during my Mustang test flight 2 days ago).

It's only fair to say that knowing that kind of thing is worth something. Cessna knows that sort of stuff; Eclipse is still learning some of it.

Is it worth $1.3 million?

Ken

Observer2 said...

Ken

1.3 million more? You keep on talking about the price when buying. The more important one is that the depreciation is a MAJOR unknown for the eclipse because:
-will te manufacturer be there in the future
-Assume they will be and assume that the order book is not cooked: can any aftermarket sustain this many secondhand aircraft

So I currently rather go for a Mustang with more space, less depreciation and on time delivery and less risk. So yes 1.3 mil more is NO problem.

If you really want to buy something NOW rather than wait two years to see what will happen it so obvious what to choose.

If you like the casino: go for the Eclipse :)

Gunner said...

Ken said-
"One of the reasons the Mustang costs so much more than the Eclipse is that the company has been down this road before and knows what they're doing."

That is, perhaps, the single most self contradicting statement ever made on this Blog. Cessna knows how to file paperwork; Eclipse doesn't. Therefore, Cessna must charge $1.3 million more for their aircraft.

Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

"Cessna knows how to file paperwork; Eclipse doesn't. Therefore, Cessna must charge $1.3 million more for their aircraft."

Exactly.

You cannot find $1.3 million in hard benefits of the Mustang over the Eclipse. There are a lot of intangibles. Part of the higher price is that you're paying for an established company, its expertise, and its existing support network. The rest is, of course, profit that the company can demand because they're in a superior selling position.

I don't really like paying the extra profit to them. I think it dilutes the value proposition. Eclipse is a much better value proposition; there is no getting around that.

I do like the Mustang and found very few things wrong with it during my test flight. I'm considering it carefully.

Ken

Observer2 said...

Did a quick and dirty calculation:

ac 1 1.8 mil
ac 2 3.1 mil
cost of capital 5%
Depr ac 1 most likely 10 to 20% assume 12
Depr ac 2 most likely 2 to 8% assume 5

Cost of ownership year 1 ac 1 306K
Cost of ownership year 1 ac 2 310K

(assuming no taxes etc)

This is a likely scenario... hence the Roulette remark regarding ac 1

mirage00 said...

I'm getting the feeling you naysayers have run out of steam.

We still have Stan and his conspiracy issues to deal with.

Ken Meyer said...

Observer wrote,
"Depr ac 1 most likely 10 to 20% assume 12
Depr ac 2 most likely 2 to 8% assume 5"


You're talking market depreciation, right? I think history will show your numbers are way off. I think you just picked numbers out of thin air to support a preconceived conclusion. That's completely circular. If you didn't, let's see some evidence to support your numbers.

Don't forget, everybody in the world knows that the Eclipse is underpriced today. It won't be forever. When the price rises next year, what do you suppose that will do to the depreciation of this year's airplanes? :)

But more important, you're forgetting about cost of capital. The cost of supporting the extra $1.3 million is enough to buy enough gas to fly the Eclipse fully 100,000 miles each and every year! Reduced cost of capital is a gift that keeps on giving.

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

Two comments

1. Vern is smooth - listen to him long enough and you can believe almost anything.

2. The 1.3MM difference between E-500 and Mustang. You are assuming that Cessna is putting most of the difference in their pocket. What if Eclipse can't afford to sell their product at 1.3MM less because of alot of issues. Volume is great, but we are only talking a difference between 80 per year vs. 400 or 500 per year. This is not like the difference between custom products and making things for the automotive industry.

The cost per plane of maintaining a customer base may be alot higher than Eclipse estimates. Paperwork for high altitude flight may be the tip of the iceburg. If they don't keep customers extreemly happy, the resale market will be terrible and this will impact new sales.

The fact as I see it, Cessna has been around long enough to KNOW it can sell Mustangs at the current price point. Eclipse has committed to make (maybe) 2700 airplanes at a price point that may be way too low.

In the AVWeb audio piece, Vern says he is not interested in competing with the extablished manufacturers. What if he has to?

Observer2 said...

Ken,

If:
-The aircraft is as good as advertised
-The market as big as claimed
-The orders placed are really that big
-The aircraft has proven itself

THAN the expected residual figures might be different.

I have been trading aircraft from Cj's to Starships in booming times like now and shortly after 9/11 so don't tell me what market values CAN do. Never base the values on what you WANT them to do but look at what they MIGHT do with a LARGE margin and than take the conservative estimate.

In my example I have taken a conservative look at the Mustang too but at least they will not have any problems with supply demand errors as big as the Eclipse will face. Factor that in and the 1.3 mil is small change.

So good luck with dreaming but nobody can or should make assumptions that are too positive on something so new and so unproven.

Observer2 said...

Ken said "But more important, you're forgetting about cost of capital."

Better read before commenting: the cost of ownership is based on 5% for both and included in the total ownership cost (excl tax)!

The only positive thing of taking a depriciation hit is that it will bring your cost of capital down (or is that cheating) :)

gadfly said...

This is sure a “swell” can of beans. ‘Just better not stand too close when somebody finally pops the lid off this thing! . . . (it ain’t goin’ to be pretty).

gadfly

Ken Meyer said...

observer wrote,
"the cost of ownership is based on 5% for both and included in the total ownership cost (excl tax)!"

Aviation loans, according to Dorr Aviation, are starting at 6.65% and going up from there. You're assuming an unreasonable cost of capital and unreasonable depreciation rates. So why shouldn't we think your conclusion, too, is unreasonable? :)

Show us some evidence that the depreciation rate for the Eclipse will be 2.4 times that of the Mustang, and you'll have my interest. Otherwise, you're just manufacturing numbers to reach a conclusion. I can do that, if you want. Let's try:

I assume both aircraft will have market depreciation of 6% (by the way, Conklin & deDecker project that the Eclipse and the Mustang will indeed have identical market depreciation).

I assume that the cost of capital is 7.5%.

I assume that insurance is 2% of hull value.

Your $1.8 million aircraft has a cost of capital, depreciation and insurance of $279,000.

Your $3.1 million aircraft has a cost of capital, depreciation and insurance that is a whopping $480,000. It costs $201K more per year before you even crank it up! And after you crank it up, it burns almost 40% more fuel!

See, I can play the numbers game as well as you. And actually my numbers are probably pretty close to bedrock truth, certainly closer than yours.

Ken

airtaximan said...

Ken:

"Cessna knows that sort of stuff; Eclipse is still learning some of it.

Is it worth $1.3 million?"

Well, this is the sort of thing that would worry me a lot.

You have to ask yourself: "What else does Cessna KNOW that E-clips doesn't know?"

It might very well be worth $1.3 or more... who knows? Unknowns are just that, unknowns. Only experience fills this gap.

There's an old aviation addage regarding buckets: every pilot has 2 of them.

Early on in their career the bucket of luck is filled and the bucket of expereince is empty. As pilots find themselves in OH Shit situatoins, the bucket of luck is used, and over time, the contents of the bucket of luck fills the bucket of experience. Eventually, the bucket of luck is replaced with experience.

I like Cessna, especially given E-clips' track record. They have proven what you say...cessna has a lot more experience. Inexperience plus Eclips' trackrecord and their puffery, exaggeration and risk-taking attitude may very well be worth a lot more than $1.3...

I guess you just feel lucky.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Any number based on info from Eclipse shares more in common with sandstone than Bedrock Ken, that is just plain assinine.

Eclipse has missed EVERY mark, EVERY promise, to-date. Not missed some, not missed a few, MISSED ALL.

Cert Date?
Max Speed?
Range?
Price?
FIKI?
GPS Nav?
IMC?
Training?
Windshields and Transparencies?
Wing Bushings?
Production Rate?
FMS?
Auto-Pilot?
Auto-Throttle?
Part 135 Option Kit?
6th Seat Option?
Refreshment Center Option?
Avio (this is ONLY the central nervous system of the plane)?

Face it, you bought an airplane, you got an IOU (actually a fistfull of IOU's).

Just 'keeping it real'

This message brought to you by the J. Wellington Wimpy Aircraft Company wher ethe motto is "We'll gladly deliver someday the plane you pay for today."

Bonanza Pilot said...

Hope everyone listed to the podcast of Vern on Avweb. I am surprised that there have not been more comments.

Personally I thought he came across as very arrogant and more than willing to blame suppliers for everything that had gone wrong. He did talk about having a very impressive 1 a day production rate by the end of the year (does that equal 400 aircraft this year)

He was very very upbeat about Avio NG answering that it actually takes up less space than the Avidyne units, and is easier to maintain.

Listening to him talk, and his arrogant attitude I can understand why people find it so easy to be critical of Eclipse...it makes me feel bad for the many employees who really have done some remarkable things for him. It would be nice to hear him praise all of their efforts some day - and to thank those suppliers that have come through for him.

gadfly said...

“As a company, we don’t manufacture things . . . we depend on our vendors to manufacture things . . .”* . . . Vern at 12:50 to 12:55 (quoted precisely as I just heard it on today’s “avweb” audiocast).

As Banana Pilot has implied, if you have not yet listened to it, you should before you continue in this discussion. For you “Eclipse Die-Hards”, this interview should make you extremely angry, as you listen to the excuses, innuendos, and “blaming others” in the actual words of his honor. For the rest of us, we just watch, read, listen and wonder at the “depth” of your comprehension and understanding . . . especially after listening to the “thinking” of the man that has promised you your little jet.

It will take you about five minutes on DSL or a couple minutes on cable, to download the entire 15mb, and another sixteen minutes to listen to it.

http://www.avweb.com/podcast/files/2007-06-01.mp3

gadfly

(*KKOB, a local radio station, has been broadcasting “ads” for Eclipse, for potential students to go to a local school for 12 weeks to become “Manufacturing Technicians”. Requirements? . . . that the applicant be at least 18 years old. It’s comforting to know that the standards are set at such a high level.)

WhyTech said...

someone said:

" if you have not yet listened to it, you should before you continue in this discussion."

I did. My take: whistling in the dark.

WT

gadfly said...

In four words, "WhyTech" has done a thorough critique of Vern's comments.

Priceless!

gadfly

airtaximan said...

Give credit where credit is due - Vern admitted to "redefining" the customer experience...

just like redefining:

- guarantees
- TC
- PC
- delivery
- orders
etc...

My favorite comment - "we don't manufacture anything".

The most incredible point: "we flew an NBAA mission from ABQ to Florida to prove the performance mods"... now that takes balls.

"its never over...the only one's who get a normal job are the workers who work from 8-5, they get to go home..."

I guess many folks who worked their butts off, can now just "go home at 5 o'clock..."

nice job Vern.. you poked everyone associated with e-clips within 15 minutes - including Avidyne saying the new system takes up less space, is easier to maintain, and since its LESS INTEGRATED, its more cost effective to maintain as well.

MAN, some idiots on this blog have been caught making this point about the whole freaking plane - I wonder whose responsible for the repair if say there's an issue with the engine? Avio NG components, the CPU, the FADEC or PWC? My guess is NFF. SOL. AOG.

This guy screams out of both sides of his ass. Chad should have asked...so Vern, what made you throw Avio in the garbage after 8 years and millions and go with COTS?

smile, wave and PRAY...


Send the whole plane back,

FlightCenter said...

BP,

"He did talk about having a very impressive 1 a day production rate by the end of the year (does that equal 400 aircraft this year)"

The simple answer is no, this production rate will not result in shipping 400 aircraft this year.

If you assume:

1) that 10 aircraft were delivered in May, and
2) that Eclipse ramps production on a linear rate between now and December, and
3) there are 20 work days in December (assuming the only day off for Eclipse is Christmas Day). That would mean that Eclipse would be shipping 20 aircraft in December.

May -- 10
Jun -- 11
Jul -- 13
Aug -- 15
Sep -- 16
Oct -- 17
Nov -- 19
Dec -- 20

That ramp rate results in 121 aircraft shipped in 2007.

If you optimistically assume that Eclipse ships 20 aircraft a month every month in the 2H 2007, then the total aircraft shipped in 2007 will be 150.

So producing 1 aircraft a day is a long, long way away from 400 aircraft in 2007. And I think Eclipse (or any company) will have a very hard time hitting a production rate of 1 per day in the first year of production.

Other benchmarks for how long it took an aircraft company to ramp production to 1 a day include:

Cirrus - 2nd year of production
Columbia - 7th year of production
Diamond - 4th year of production

In order for Eclipse to produce 400 aircraft in 2007, (again assuming a linear ramp rate), Eclipse would have to produce 90 aircraft in December.

That is 4 1/2 aircraft a working day. There is just no way on this earth that any company is going to ramp a new production airplane to 90 a month in the first year of production.

In order for Eclipse to produce 250 aircraft in 2007, Eclipse would have to produce more than 2 1/2 aircraft per working day. That would require delivering ~52 aircraft in December.

Other benchmarks for how long it took an aircraft company to ramp production to this rate include:

Cirrus - 5th year of production
Columbia - not done after 7 years
Diamond - not done after 6 years

All three of these aircraft companies are producing aircraft which have substantially less complexity than the Eclipse 500.

For the background data, please turn to page 19 of the
2006 GAMA Statistical Databook

Footnote - Diamond was producing DA20s and DA40s in 2001, but Diamond wasn't a member of GAMA at that time, so GAMA doesn't have those numbers in this report.

gadfly said...

airtaximan

As I have said before, "I haven't laughed so hard since the hogs ate my little brother."

This interview must have been written by Vern's worst enemy, and he was "forced" to read the script. Who could possibly believe that so much could come out of his own mouth?! . . . and he sounds so "natural"!

All things come to those who wait! . . . so to speak.

gadfly

('Wonder what he'll say after he's heard a "playback"?)

WhyTech said...

gadfly said:

"and he sounds so "natural"!"

To me he sounds scared.

WT

Black Tulip said...

Just listened to Vern's interview and it's fairly predictable. Like any CEO, he's in and he's committed...like the man who fell off the Empire State Building and could be heard muttering as he passed each floor, "So far so good, so far so good."

The high point was hearing how a U.S. company is going to redefine aviation in Turkey. Vern was polite. He could have said they've been flying carpets for centuries but soon will be flying Eclipses, but he didn't.

The low point was hearing Vern diss his hourly workers, the eight-to-fivers. That flies in the face of a one-team-concept and can't help. There is always tension between the proletariat and bourgeoisie, why make it worse?

Anyone know an Eclipse board member and their view of the state-of-the-state?

Black Tulip

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Credit where credit is due. 'Avio (this is ONLY the central nervous system of the plane)' This is not necessarily true. It IS the central nervous system of the communications and navigation functions, but the ACS which houses the dual FADECs and a central processor is the central nervous system of the aircraft. That is done and certified. A lot of people worked a lot of hours to make that happen.

gadfly said...

Why Tech

Isn't that the "same as"?

gadfly

gadfly said...

aae

All you say is probably true. Back in “olden times”, there was this thing called a “pilot” that was the central nervous system. But since there is no need for old fashioned gages, etc., there is probably little need for a “pilot” any more . . . and the only person who is “centrally nervous” seems to be the president of the corporation.

gadfly

airtaximan said...

BT,

man, thanks for the hard laugh...

"He could have said they've been flying carpets for centuries but soon will be flying Eclipses"

please add...

flying carpets "FOR FREE..."
Flying e-clipses "FOR a Turks weekly salary per seat hour"

smile and wave...

gadfly said...

Black Tulip

Did you know that your "friend" that jumped off the Empire State Building lived to tell about it? . . . All the way down!

gadfly

FlightCenter said...

The points from Vern's comments that stuck in my mind.

1) Performance mods - "All drawings released." "We plan to cut the mods in on SN 39" "The first aircraft will be in the production mode within the next month or so..." If Vern's production ramp rate (mentioned previously) holds true, SN 39 should be delivered in August.

2) Avio NG - "Making progress." "Most components TSOd" "NG has slipped from mid-July to mid-Aug" "Production cut in now planned for September timeframe" "Slippage is being measured in single digit weeks."

3) Pitot Fix - "The design is done." "Getting production parts" "Retrofit to the fleet within just a few weeks." "Near as we can figure the problem was as a result of doing flight test in the southwest where there is no humidity" "We just plain missed this." This is probably the most stunning comment. They just plain missed doing flight test in humid conditions until very recently?

4) FIKI - "Still targeting end of this year" but he sure didn't sound confident when he said it.

5) Deliveries - "We have stumbled."

6) When asked if the Eclipse program had been a bit over ambitious, he responded "I don't fully agree with the characterization that we were that ambitious. We wanted to set a new benchmark and fundamentally change the value proposition in the dimension of speed, safety, ease of operation, cost of operation and cost of acquisition." I wonder what his definition of ambitious is.

WhyTech said...

Where’s the Beef?

As one examines the details of the Eclipse program, it becomes increasingly apparent that there is little remaining that differentiates the acft from any other light jet except for the price point and physical size, and many believe that the price is not sustainable. Lets take a look:

1. Engine: Pratt & Whitney – any competitor can purchase substantially the same engine.
2. Avio NG: COTS technology – any competitor can purchase substantially the same equipment.
3. Airframe: designed by EAC, but manufactured by Fuji and various other suppliers who can supply substantially the same functionality to others; there is nothing in the design that would indicate a significant, defendable cost advantage.
4. FSW: used on a limited basis, and expected overall cost savings is small as a % of total cost. EAC may have gained some specialized know how in FSW but as others have suggested this is not central to success.
5. Training: apparently qualified vendors, but likely higher cost than FSI due apparently lower volume.
6. Service centers: no apparent meaningful competitive advantage here; will have a higher cost position than Cessna unless comparable service center volumes are achieved.
7. Deice system: any competitor can purchase substantially the same parts from the same vendors..
8. Other systems: perhaps some innovation, but not clear that there is a meaningful life cycle cost advantage.

What I am looking for are large hunks of innovative, defendable technology which drive substantial, sustainable competitive advantage, especially lower costs and/or outstanding performance. So far, this advantage is not apparent.

WT

gadfly said...

Thank you, Vern,

Just recently (a few hours ago, in fact) one of your strongest supporters made the comment, "I'm getting the feeling you naysayers have run out of steam." . . . and you have come to our rescue, to provide enough material for discussion from now until . . . what? . . . sometime next fall? (You, alone, know the answer to that one, and if all goes as expected, you'll make the announcement.)

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I for one was not worried about running out of ammo, as the same ammo is still applicable (FMS, FIKI, GPS-Nav, IMC, windows and windshields, fingerpointing and blamestorming, endless IOU's, with everything arriving 'Tuesday'), but the old saying appears to ring true, give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself.

Every time Vern speaks it is like getting a tactical C-130 ammo drop into a hot drop zone, after all the dust and smoke clears, there's plenty for everybody. :P

What a whiny, arrogant little Napoleonic misfit, blaming the hourlies (hired by who?), the engineers (led by who?), the vendors (selected by who?), the FAA (dealt with by who?), the procedures (written by who?), the desert (selected by who?), anyone but himself.

The emperor is nekkid, someone hand that pathetic little man a robe.

gadfly said...

Cold Wet Fish, don't be a cynic . . . and I will tell you a story:

Who knows what Summer will bring?

It will be most interesting to see Vern's presentation at Oshkosh. 'Understand that Ford will be his partner . . . you know, the company that is in trouble, and bragging about moving much of their operation to China? Maybe he said too much about the advantages of "stir fried welding" and that set them to thinking . . . about stir fried pork.

Hey, has Eclipse given consideration to setting up operations in China?

A little (tongue-in-cheek) research seemed to produce the following:

The earliest record of an Eclipse comes from ancient China. The date of this Eclipse, usually given as October 22, 2134 B.C., is not certain, but the number “500" seems to be a possible alternative translation . . . The ancient Chinese document Shu Ching records that "the Sun and Moon did not meet harmoniously . . . something about badger, bludger, blogger, critics . . . ancient characters". The story goes that the two (or three . . . document is somewhat obscure) royal astronomers, Hsi, Vern, and Ho, had neglected their duties and failed to predict the event. Widespread Oriental belief held that an Eclipse was caused by an invisible dragon devouring the Sun. Great noise and commotion (drummers drumming, archers shooting arrows into the sky, and stir fried welding . . . again, characters are somewhat illegible) were customarily produced to frighten away the dragon and restore daylight. When this Eclipse took place, the emperor was caught unprepared (something about “new moon, new generation, new something, lack of clothes . . . unclear”). Even though the Sun returned, the angry ruler ordered the astronomers beheaded!
On second thought, maybe China is not a good option for the Eclipse.

gadfly

(For the full text, and any corrections that you may wish to apply, go to: http://www.earthview.com/ages/history.htm . . . it’s hard to get good secretarial help these days.)

Gunner said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
flyger said...

cj3driver said...

My Opinion Is…. that Cessna beats their promise of 40 and that Eclipse does not even produce half of their promise. I'm talking about fully certified NG, FIKI, IMC capable planes that make performance guarantees.


Well, if we are going to talk about fully conforming airplanes, none of those get delivered by Eclipse this year. It is already June, and they have not, to my knowledge even *flown* Avio NG yet. Even if they have, to get it certfied and in production in the remaining 7 months of this year would be extraodrinary execution from a company that seems to fail repeatedly in that area.

Also, how's FIKI coming? Isn't there a contract event if they don't have it by Sept 30th? Who puts a FIKI deadline at the end of summer? That's almost funny.

Pain Stewart said...

Tisk, Tisk, Stanley Flogginship.

What is behind the motivation of your blog?

It appears you and your former buddies at Lear Jet are looking over your collective shoulders at an up and coming company that may finally put the nail in the coffin of a formally great company.

It appears that you are infected by the arrogance that has afflicted Lear Jet for the last 20 years.

Personally, I think you should practice more humility. I wonder if Stanley Flogginship could take an aircraft company from concept to production in 6 years, or is destined to stand and watch on the sidelines as someone better and more talented then you lives out their dream?