Friday, May 18, 2007

A Tale of Two Dinosaurs

Three decades ago, I was a young marketing product manager for EMI Medical, the U.K based company that invented the CAT scanner medical imaging system. This company had been formed just a few years prior to my joining to commercialize the CAT scanner technology conceived in the EMI Central Research Laboratory in London. EMI had no existing business presence in the medical imaging markets or related markets.

The CAT scanner was a graphic example of what is now known as “disruptive” technology. At medical conferences, when the first images produced on these systems were shown, 500 radiologists stood to applaud. Unfortunately, while the technology was disruptive, it was not particularly defendable. Most of the initial products from EMI were based on many of off-the-shelf subsystems, with a bit of proprietary hardware and software thrown in. Since EMI had no prior experience in this area, and no manufacturing infrastructure, these first systems were little more than lab prototypes.

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

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

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

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

whytech

196 comments:

Stan Blankenship said...

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

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

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

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

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

9:11 AM, May 18, 2007

EclipseBlogger said...

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

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

Gunner said...

EB-
You posted that in the last thread. I replied there. Please stop; or at least admit that your intent is to disrupt the Blog with a personal battle which I refuse to fight and you can not win.

Our posts are out there for all to see and judge. How 'bout we leave it at that, OK? You're becoming a bore.
Gunner

ExEclipser said...

No, but that's the problem with posting comments as a new topic... You lose quite a bit of momentum from previous chatter. Since EB's comments would otherwise be lost forever in the previous thread and they are directly appropriate to Stan's posting of Gunner's comment, I think it's an honest cleanup without losing substance.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Consider the battle between VHS and BetaMAX as well, as a cautionary tale.

BetaMAX was the technically superior product, but VHS was marketed more effectively, to a different customer than BetaMAX sought initially. VHS was the defacto standard soon and remained there until the introduction of the DVD.

Eclipse could very well be VHS.

Thier marketing is pretty good, they have control of the media image, they barnstorm all around the globe, and they have a group of very faithful and loyal customers ever willing to spread the virtual word now, soon presumably to be followed with joy-rides in the actual wonderjet itself.

Nevermind there are technically superior products, or products better supported, how much fun was that joyride for a $600 hamburger?

I believe Eclipse is using predatory marketing tactics to attract, in large part, an unsphosticated customer base, that simply do not know enough to call 'shenanigans' on the multitude of bait-and-switch failures the program has suffered over the past 8 years.

Fact is that the current price point for the Eclipse (which is a loss leader) DOES open up jet ownership to a wider group of individuals and businesses - people and businesses which do not, IMO, in large part, understand the full ramification of owning and operating a complex aircraft like the Eclipse.

Imagine if the original Citation had actually sold in C-172 numbers, to owners with Bonanza resources and qualifications.

Once again, the numbers do not appear to add up to those of us with significant industry experience, and I posit that is the real reason for this blog.

That is, to try and help folks who may not know enough to ask questions about ground support equipment, special tools or equipment, AOG support, authorized technicians, SB warranty coverage, to ask about FIKI and operating in IMC, to ask about post delivery modifications, to ask about these things, and more because Eclipse has demonstrated, repeatedly, that is will not self-regulate.

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

execlipser-
No, EB's comments wouldn't be "lost forever". They simply would not appear on the current thread for a day or two until it, too, becomes a prior thread.

I clearly responded to his comment in the prior thread. I'm satisfied with that. The bait doesn't suit my palette, thanks. ;-)

Can we now move on to the current thread?
Gunner

mirage00 said...

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

Ummmmm, yes all true and of course this is why and how new companies are formed everyday.

'Cirrus' started from nothing and had to build exactly what you described above. They are taking on the king of piston airplanes (Cessna) and seem to be winning.

Only difference here is the amount of startup capital invested and of course the reason why this blog exists, Stans bruised ego.

Gunner said...

"Only difference here is the amount of startup capital invested and of course the reason why this blog exists, Stans bruised ego."

Double standard noted.
Personal attack noted.

Onward.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

mirage00 said
" Ummmmm, yes all true and of course this is why and how new companies are formed everyday."

As one who has been involved in the formation of more than 200 new companies as a private equity investor, and several more companies as a founder/manager, I can assure you that maximizing risk is NOT the way its done!

WT

sparky said...

WT,

good story, but I fail to see the relevence here. I'm not trying to be a smart-ass, I just really don't see the relevence.

The word "revolutionary" has been thrown about so much with this company that it loses it's original conotation. the Eclipse program, at best, can be called a revolutionary design concept, nothing more.

Consider the original mission...
a highly reliable, high use, low cost of both operation and aquisition, high production rate aircraft.

What we've seen so far is a far cry from what was envisioned. The fact that fixes and mods were promised is a testament to how far removed this company is from anything ever seen in aviation.

Many have made the case that all aircraft have SB's and STC's done to them. I challenge these people to name one airframe that was released in the GA market that was known to need the exstensive mods that this aircraft needs to meet the guarantee's.

Tell me what is "revolutionary" about the AIRCRAFT, not the press releases, not Vern's vision, not the white paper and not the taxi market. The aircraft.

What's planned, promised, tested, envisioned...whatever, it doesn't matter. The aircraft is all that matters here. And in it's current state it's not that great. cenrtainly not "revolutionary".

That's where the arguments start. critics look at what IS, and comment on it. The backers look at what is PROMISED and argue back as though it's a forgone conclusion that it will happen.

gadfly said...

Someone said that the FSW issue has not been recently mentioned. Yesterday, I spoke to a supplier of the Aluminum for Eclipse. And I was told the alloy is “7050" . . . a normal and preferred material for modern aircraft, especially for “wings”. It was developed by Alcoa.

A check on a website for this alloy gives the following information
( http://www.suppliersonline.com/propertypages/7050.asp#General ):

“Welding of 7050 alloy is a problem and should be avoided. Gas tungsten or gas metal arc welding is NOT successful with this alloy. Weld cracking and porosity usually result and any weld joint that is made is much weaker than the parent metal.”

The entire list of requirements for this alloy is most interesting, for those of us who design and machine products using high-strength alloys.

The “dinosaurs” have avoided FSW in fabrication of this alloy, preferring riveting instead. And there seems good reason for their decision.

It may be that Eclipse has solved the problems of raising this alloy to a higher temperature than is normally acceptable, and yet, retain the many critical properties. I have a different philosophy in design . . . preferring a more conservative approach.

gadfly

Gunner said...

"The backers look at what is PROMISED and argue back as though it's a forgone conclusion that it will happen."

Actually, the disputes start because the backers look at what is promised and demand proof that it doesn't exist in the currently delivered aircraft. Just how DOES one prove that something doesn't exist?

Your point is well taken, sparky. Never have we seen a SUCCESSFUL aviation company start of by delivering half finished, half certified aircraft. This cheapens the entire Aviation Industry and relegates it to the status of used car sales tactics; and it insults many of us with a stake in that industry.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

sparky said:

"I just really don't see the relevence."

It's OK.

WRT "revolutionary," we are in violent agreement. Except for the price point, which many believe does not refect actual costs and is not sustainable, everything else is mostly available from others right now.

WT

cj3driver said...

Another comparison, Vern and Eclipse reminds me of a report I wrote in high school about an eccentric and charismatic and flamboyant Engineer named John Z. DeLorean. Started a “revolutionary design” (stainless steel and gullwing doors) car company with….… government handouts, gobs of private investment, venture capital and bank factoring…a lot of flashy ads….One product, lots of outsourced vendor parts, high volume (planned), …… great plans for the future, but all the eggs in one basket, sitting in the hot sun (no pun intended). Yes…., at first there was a backlog (just like many popular new model cars), they sold for a premium, orders galore, but as soon as the people who wanted one, got one, the market dried up. Not to mention the product did not perform as promised, and they were a lot more expensive than anticipated….. glitches, parts, vendor problems, service…. The list goes on. DeLorean went TangoUniform after a couple of years of production.

I’ll bet there isn’t much profit in the Phenom 100, that’s why Embraer also introduced the 300 at the same time, …..at double the price. I just can’t believe it costs 3 million dollars more to make a 300 than a 100. Same cockpit, same tube, same interior, same wing, same marketing, same service network, same warranty, (all relatively speaking).
The same can be said for the CJ series of aircraft. I figure Cessna builds over 6 to 1 CJ2+ and CJ3 over the CJ1+, ....at nearly double the price…. Even Adam has their derivative jet at double the price of its sister the A500.

I think in order for Eclipse to survive in the long run, they need to build a bigger model with less volume and more profit per unit. They should have started it 6 years ago, and it should be in flight test right now. There just is not a large enough “high-end” market for these tiny jets. You would not believe the number of people that call my plane “little”. To me it’s Huuuge.

….. just keep Vern away from hotel meetings. Especially with men wearing dark sunglasses, aloha shirts, bearing large suitcases and driving 3 year old crown vics!

BTW, there is a 82 DeLorean in my garage collecting dust. At least no rust!

ExEclipser said...

I saw a beautifully restored DeLorean in New Mexico. They are facinating.

As for production rate, I can see Eclipse wanting to slow it down. It's a heckuvalot cheaper to put the changes in the production line than after the fact. DayJet has to start training their pilots NOW. Probably part of the reason they are excited to get them, even though they'll have to go back for the required mods (to be done in Gainesville, I'm sure).

The few that are out there are flying like crazy to train mentor pilots and to get folks their type ratings. I'm sure that early serial owners are excited to get so much money back for their aircraft. A few weeks from now, one at a time, they'll be retrofitted with the mods and then we won't see the owners on the ground vey much. They'll be flying high.

I think when the mods are finished on aircraft that missed line cut-in, you'll see a dramatic increase in delivery rates.

ExEclipser said...

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

With the exception of mass meltdowns like Williams, Vern doesn't typically dismiss a supplier unless a replacement is far enough along to be viable.

Green-or-Red said...

gadfly said...
Someone said that the FSW issue has not been recently mentioned. Yesterday, I spoke to a supplier of the Aluminum for Eclipse. And I was told the alloy is “7050" . . . a normal and preferred material for modern aircraft, especially for “wings”. It was developed by Alcoa.

Gadfly, this must be a new supplier. I know for a fact that 7050 is not one of the materials used in the FSW as late as 2006. It is 7055.

Gunner said...

execlipser said:
"A few weeks from now, one at a time, they'll be retrofitted with the mods"

There's that familiar double standard again. Source, please?
Gunner

sparky said...

ex-eclipser, what tracking software are you using?

With the exceptions of N109DJ and N110DJ i don't see that much activity from the new fleet.

ExEclipser said...

Gunner: Pure conjecture with a dash of personal experience and knowledge of how the company thinks from the inside thrown in. I could be totally wrong. I'll admit that.

Sparky: Again, not every flight is necessarily noted in FlightAware. I know for a fact that there are planes flying that aren't being tracked in a manner that I can find on FlightAware, probably because they are using a call sign instead of an N-number or (unlikely) under part 91 for VFR flights, they don't need to file with anyone under FL180, though it's prudent.

I really don't know why we can't find all the flights of ECL5 (flight test) or EA50 (production) aircraft. But I DO know they are flying.

Gunner said...

ex-e:
Fair enough response and clarification. Thanks much. For my own part...a "few weeks"? Wanna make a wagers the mods are not fully certified by the end of June (that's more than a few weeks).

sparky-
Where are you seeing activity for N109DJ or N110DJ?

As execlipser points out, if the EA-50X's are flying, they're either doing it VFR or under call sign rather than N-Number. That in itself would be a red flag for anyone who knows how important it is to Eclipse for the aviation community to see the capabilities of this revolutionary aircraft.
Gunner

EclipseBlogger said...

Gunner said... I clearly responded to his comment in the prior thread. I'm satisfied with that. The bait doesn't suit my palette, thanks. ;-)

Gunner, there is quite a bit that doesn't suit your pallette. I was just moving my post from the end of the previous thread to the top of this one. I thought the content was an important distinction to be made. Deal with it, and as you said, "let's move on."

gadfly said...

Green or Red

Thank you . . . I stand corrected. And I’m doing a search on the welding characteristics of 7055 . . . an alloy of which I was not familiar. Normally, 7XXX and 2XXX series are non-weldable . . . it seems that the micrograin and/or close control of critical elements of 7055 brings it into a special category. So far, it appears that control of heat/temperatures is still quite critical, and somewhat unforgiving. But I’m learning something new . . . and I’m grateful for your correction.

The information came from a salesperson . . . and I can understand how he might have not known the distinction between 7050 and 7055. In working with engineers at the national labs, I have often been amazed at their ignorance of the strength differences between the various aluminum alloys.

gadfly

ExEclipser said...

I'm actually doing a study on that stuff right now. Talked to Wichita State University who told me on a very generic level that 2024 - 2024, no problems. 2024 - 7075 is 'optomistic'. However 7075 - 7075 still has a lot of concern in the process.

ExEclipser said...

Basically, when 7xxx is welded to each other, there is a concern for corrosion at the microgranular level. This can be offset with a certain amount of heat soaking after the weld. However, that currently takes away from the advantage of FSW, which is speed.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

On the Eclipse intranet website there were several video clips of the stress testing that was done for the FAA to approve the stir fry welding. I don't recall the specific numbers, but the stir fry welded stringer was about 20% stronger than a similar structure both is shear strength and overall (I fortet the term as I am not a materials person) structural strength. I don't think FSW on the E-500 will be an issue. As aar as revolutionary, when the avionics are complete, they will be highly integrated beyond what most GA aircraft on the market today are. The only thing that comes as close will be Honeywell's Primus Epic system. THAT is revolutionary.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

I should read and correct typos before I push the publish button. Sorry.

WhyTech said...

A Tale of Two Dinosaurs – continued

Sparky said he didn’t see the relevance of my earlier post by this title. Let me try to connect some of the dots. Cessna has a virtual monopoly position in the light jet segment (under 12,500 lbs and/or certified for single pilot operation) of the market. Only one other manufacturer (Beechcraft Hawker) offers an airplane in this category that you can actually by and fly right now, and, relatively speaking, the Premier is an also ran in the competitive climate of this market segment. (Lets not get into a urinating contest about your light jet being lighter than mine – thats not relevant.)

Cessna is not going to let Eclipse take meaningful market share. They developed the Mustang as a contingency for the event that Eclipse might actually get an acft certified. Cessna has market power and they will use it if they are threatened. The Mustang is just an opening shot over Eclipse’s bow. One does not take on a T-rex while flipping him the bird with one hand and stealing his lunch with the other. Just watch what happens.

WT

Black Tulip said...

whytech,

Where Are They Now?

May I add a footnote to your excellent story? A tiny band of survivors of EMI's Computed Tomography (CT) group formed a company called Bio Imaging Research (BIR) near Chicago. Founded by John Moore, they developed medical CTs for Toshiba Medical, made specialty CTs and produced X-ray cargo scanners. The medical portion was recently sold to Toshiba.

Black Tulip

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"Where Are They Now?"

Yep - I worked with several of these guys at EMI.

WT

Gunner said...

Whytech-
Great minds must think alike. Another pretty sharp Blogger just emailed me and mentioned Cessna's new NextGen Piston Aircraft, the Cessna NGP. First I'd heard of it.

Directed at the Cirrus market, it's been dubbed The Cirrus Killer

Granted, Cessna may not have the regulatory "clout" that Eclipse has; but the Feds can only guarantee Certification, not market success. I hadn't given much thought to the 800lb Gorilla in the room, but it would explain why we're seeing so many Single Engine entries, well removed from Cessna's market.
Gunner

gadfly said...

There is much in manufacturing that is not defined “by the book”. A good machinist, or engineer, must first be an “artist”. Any good technician must have a “feel” for whatever it is that he/she is doing. To throw a bunch of people together, and expect great things is to reject reality. It takes time to develop mutual understanding, and a “feel” for the product, to carry out great things. All the technology in the world is of little use, until that “artistic sense” is combined with mutual trust, honesty, and understanding. Then, and only then, can a revolutionary product be advanced.

“EE”, to advance your understanding of welding aluminum, take the time to weld some pieces of 1100, 3003, 6061 together. Then, when you can make a “bead”, try it with 2024, or 7075 . . . and “experience” the difference. In one day, you will have a better education than most college graduate engineers.

“AAE”, find some old guy who has spent his life heat-treating various alloys . . . aluminum if possible, but even “steel” will do . . . take him to lunch, whatever . . . make friends, express your ignorance (nothing wrong with ignorance, it just means you “don’t know, and WANT to know) . . . and ask all the “stupid” questions you can think up. It’s amazing what you can learn. You honor your teacher . . . and most “old guys” are more than willing to give you an education in a few hours that you cannot buy for a king’s ransom. Remember, modern technology didn’t come from “professors” . . . “they” learned from the people with dirty fingernails, working back in a hot sweltering foundry, next to a gas-fired oven or forge . . . or electric, take your pick. Those old guys know the “color” of a piece of steel, and the “sound” of hot metal in oil . . . and more about the “hues” of blue, than a pre-Rafael artist.

“GorR” . . . the differences between 7050 and 7055 are “real” but slight . . . and I thank you again for pointing me along the right direction. I expect to use that new knowledge in the future. Did you know that the 7XXX series was invented by the Japanese? (for the A6M “Zero”) . . . and superceded the 2XXX series (24ST) at the beginning of WWII? Question: Are you familiar with an “Ice Box Rivet”? . . . hint, it’s not for building “ice boxes” . . . think “artificial aging”. The rivets were kept “cold” until used, to avoid “room temperature aging” prior to use. Check out “CAM 18" . . . the “bible” of us “old timer” A&P mechanics . . . also called “A&E” mechanics. (Be glad you do not need to know how to make a “scarf splice” on a wood main-spar, or sew cotton or linen, or how to make a “glue joint” in repairing a “rib” . . . it ain’t what you would assume by a stretch.)

Bottom line: The dinosaurs have the advantage of large crews of “artists”, that work well together, and understand the thousands of subtle nuances that go into making a fine product. And, although there is no excuse for not keeping up with the latest and greatest, that teamwork and artists’ touch trumps the latest technology any day.

gadfly

(The other side of the story, of course, is the major company that has a monopoly on a certain market: J&J, for instance, that has a monopoly on surgical sutures (Ethicon), and fought us “tooth and nail” to keep our vascular clip system off the market for many years . . . but “someone” came to our rescue, and the “VCS” is now gaining world-wide acceptance in the vascular surgical community.)

(Here’s a good learning project: Take a sheet of “1100" commercially pure aluminum . . . and some 3/8" diameter 4130 steel rod, and make “matching” wheel covers for an Aeronca . . . now there’s a college education in metallurgy all wrapped up in one effort.)

a37pilot said...

The zinc in 7XXX Aluminum makes it much stronger than some of the other aluminum alloys but much more difficult to form and very difficult to weld. The Cooper in the 2XXX series aluminum also make for poor welding properties and poor corrosion resistance hence the use of alcad aluminum in many aircraft.

Gunner said...

As we speak two EA-500's have popped up on FlightAware.

N109DJ has been picked up for the first time in the system so far. Guess it's been flying under a call name, too. Anyway, it's doing the 2.5 hour run to Texarkana at FL270, at 309kts with a 20kt tailwind component.

David Crowe's N508JA is enroute to Vancouver, about 2 hours, at FL280; 380kts with a 55kt tail wind component.

I know the plane is RVSM certified and that the pilots must also receive certification; but I can't believe Eclipse would not require RVSM cert in their training; and you can't fly the plane without Eclipse training.

It's kinda confusing that these birds keep flying just short of RVSM levels on relatively long flights (Mike Press' two exceptions noted). Couldn't be an equipment issue, though; we know that all good to go.

Think they might keep running into IMC between Fl290 and FL410? That must be the issue; either that or some sort of certificate deficiencies on the part of the pilots, I guess.

Gunner

Green-or-Red said...

Gadfly
Check out the following link on FSW

http://www.ffjournal.net/index.cfm?p=article&sec=cv&aid=3792

of which this is a quote by Vern

"Asked about the longevity of the airplane using FSW, Raburn says, "That was a big question early on. We did a lot of testing and had one test fuselage panel that we took out to about 480,000 cycles. The design life for the aircraft is currently 20,000, representing about 20,000 hours of airtime. That's assuming you stay in the air the whole time. So what we see is that the fatigue life of these FSW joints appears to be basically unlimited. This was all part of the process of getting the FAA to certify FSW.""

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gunner,

You keep forgetting it COULD be equipment limitations, despite all the pretestations to the contrary.

The FAA FSB Report said so, and yes I know it is about 6 weeks out of date now.

Perhaps one of our owner friends can 'splain the cert. status for the display and dataloader upgrade we were told happened to at least Mike Press's plane? Is it an STC? An ammended TC, a SB?

Maybe Crowe has not returned to the barn in ABQ for the mod yet?

The plane does show as /A, which is basic DME with Mode C.

Interesting that it DOES show DME but DOES NOT show RNAV for GPS with a /G, or /W for basic RVSM, or /L for RVSM with GPS.

We already know the plane cannot file /E or /F because the FMS is entirely INOP.

Do any of the owners know if Crowe's mentor pilot is RVSM qualified (assuming he is still flying with a mentor)?

Curioser and curioser.

gadfly said...

A37

You hit the nail on the head. Because of the corrosion problems related to both the “2XXX” and “7XXX” series, old aircraft are often “non-existent” . . . old “Zero’s” simply self-disintegrated. “Alclad” was not available to the “Axis” nations . . . and besides, a “fighter” or “bomber” need only last a few months in battle.

For those who do not know: Pure aluminum forms an “oxide” that is non-conductive, and protects the metal below the surface. A “pure” layer of aluminum was rolled under high pressure onto the surface (or “both surfaces”) of the higher-strength alloy. Within the high-strength alloy microscopic crystals of (un-protected) metal are, in effect, small “batteries” or “cells”, that in time, create electrical currents, that eat away the metal, itself. This is called, “intra granular corrosion” . . . and can be considered a “metal cancer”.

Other methods of protection are “anodizing” and “alodine” . . . that shield the inner metal from corrosion. Anodizing (electro-chemical) can form a non-conductive layer that is harder than tool steel . . . up to a “Rockwell 70" on the “C” scale of hardness on the surface of the 7XXX series . . . but it is usually only a few ten-thousandths of an inch thick. Alodine is a chemical etch, usually in preparation for painting.

Many years ago, one of two remaining “Zero’s”, was flown by “Tallmantz Aviation” (Frank Tallman and Paul Mantz), at an air show for the Japanese, in Japan. The “teenagers” could not believe that their parents and grand-parents were “smart enough” to have designed and built such a beautiful aircraft. You see, even Japan had a “dinosaur problem”.

gadfly . . . a pre-historic insect!

GorR

That’s a good article . . . thanks! The bottom line, unfortunately, is not just the “fatigue” testing, but the long-term humidity exposure, and things like “smog”, air-pollutants, and salty conditions along a coastline, finding their way into minute spaces, which might not be apparent in a short period of time. I’m sure that many others will be watching the long-term results.

Gunner said...

CWMoR-
I'm aware that there are autopilot function and other equipment requirements to fly RVSM; but we've already been assured, just like Prego sauce, "it's in there".

Nope, I wouldn't even suggest it could be an equipment shortfall. I might be asked for "proof" from those with "confidential inside information" that the equipment is All Aces. Then I'd be lectured about how it's above FL240 and, therefore, DME is working proving once again the sky is blue and the sea is green.

We've already learned that RVSM pilot qualification is a two hour home study deal, so I can't believe that any PIC of an Eclipse is not RVSM qualified. Besides, they are required to complete Eclipse's own Pilot Training, which certainly must include RVSM quals.

No, it must be a long standing wave of IMC just above FL29K. Perhaps Global Warming? I mean, why else would these guys pass up the opportunity to fly significantly faster, while burning significantly less fuel. Can't remember the last time I made that decision; but they seem to opt for it pretty regular.
Gunner

Eric said...

If the Flight Director is needed for the Autopilot and it's inop, then the AP is inop, meaning no RVSM.

I just confirmed that in systems recurrent today.

Our Flight Director is a function of the autopilot.

Bonanza Pilot said...

So how goes the training classes. Anyone pass and get their type rating yet?? Shouldn't that have happened already? Was there an announcement about the first group of owners getting typed...I must have missed it.

Gunner said...

Eric-
That one doesn't fly. We've already been informed that the Production Fleet is fully RVSM capable. "It's in there".
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gunner, maybe there is a 'sweet spot' at FL270\280 where you get the plane 'on step' and the Pratt's just sip fuel - I mean, it COULD happen.

Gunner said...

Maybe one of you guys can help me with something:
Why would N109DJ file ABQ-TXK via TCC AMA CSM IRW MLC TXK

I mean, why not just pick up a Jet Route?
Gunner

gadfly said...

Please help us “passenger” types out:

On page A-3 of the EA-500 FSB Report, April 9, 2007, it says the following:

“Aircraft presently has no conventional DME. Aircraft has a synthetic DME system which operates off a GPS data base, but the data base is not current. Aircraft operating altitude is restricted to FL 240 and below. ***”

What does this mean? . . . in practical terms!

gadfly

Gunner said...

Gad-
Here's what we've learned. Absent DME, aircraft are limited to FL240. The Eclipse uses a "synthetic" DME; basically the GPS. But the GPS database must be updated every 28 days to remain current.

What happened was those incompetent fools at Avidyne either never thought about updating the GPS unit or were, for some reason, in such a rush to cobble together a unit for Le Petit Avion, that they never included a way to update the database! Can you believe it?

Well that's no longer a problem, as Eclipse stepped right up and fixed the issue by developing a USB data loader that allows for the updates. This is evidenced by the fact that the planes ARE flying above FL240; not to be confused with why they're NOT flying at RVSM levels.

In any case, the report you reference predates the fix...which really wasn't a fix at all; it was a "cut in" on the "LRU". Depositors seem to like those catchy terms; it helps them demonstrate that Eclipse is on fire with technology.
Gunner

Eric said...

FL270 to FL290 are typically the fastest flight levels because the engines still have a decent enough power output and the TAS isn't limited by the Mmo. However, higher is almost always more efficient unless headwinds are stronger up there.

Gunner, like I said before, RVSM requires an "operable" autopilot with altitude hold. It doesn't mean you have to use it. It could be that the AP has a basic heading hold/alt hold function. Like I said, in our plane (Honeywell equipment) the Flight Director is a function of the autopilot and becomes Inop when the autopilot is inop. To clarify, the Flight Director is not MEL-able because it would be an autopilot MEL.

I don't know how AVIO First Generation is set up. Maybe the autopilot is completely separate from the Flight Director. I can only shrug my shoulders. Also, maybe Mr. Crowe (or whomever is flying his airplane) has not gone through the required class time, or watched the required King videos.

Personally, no one could ever deny me a chance to watch John and Martha at work!

WhyTech said...

eric said:

"Personally, no one could ever deny me a chance to watch John and Martha at work! "

You are out of luck. The King RVSM course is delivered via Internet and John & Martha are nowhere to be seen. Takes an hour if you are wide awake and prints a logbook endorsement at the end. Pretty much of a non event.

WT

gadfly said...

Banana Pilot

Many years ago, one of our four kids went to UNM (University of Nothing Much), and learned to get everything in writing . . . up front. Many times the requirements for graduation are changed in mid-stream. Let’s hope that isn’t the case over at ABQ.

gadfly

(And Gunner, thank you for the answer. I was about to loan the Pathetic . . . er, Le Petit Avion my “USB ScanDisk” Cruzer 1.0 GB” USB memory chip. Although it is not the “least recently used” thing in my brief case. And “Please!”, as Johnny Carson would say, don’t say “on fire” in the presence of someone who has the latest system of flame suppression since Al Gore invented “global warming” . . . until we know that it actually works.)

(Oh, and Eric . . . bet you never knew hamsters could paddle that fast, at those high altitudes . . . to maintain cabin pressure, of course.)

Hey, even my son-in-law says things like that about my Lexus . . . and we still love him.

Gunner said...

Eric-
There was a discussion in the past couple of days regarding the EA-500 autopilot/FD setup, specifically regarding this issue. I believe (but won't swear to it), The Faithful assured us that the FD was Tango Uniform but Alt Hold was Aces. (I'm starting to get the hang of these zoomy Eclipse technical terms, no).

The only owner aircraft we've seen at RVSM levels was Mike Press' (twice). But, then, his plane is basically based in ABQ, though I don't know if this would indicate his is getting special attention for our viewing pleasure. I do know he's getting great service. He flew his plane right up to Wednesday when it had to go into the factory for "service". (Probably just the 1,000 hour oil change or a window inspection or something).

Here's what confuses me. How could any Eclipse be flying without an RVSM qual'd pilot on the stick? Could you believe that the Eclipse Training Program does not include certification for RVSM flight? We know that every PIC of an Eclipse must graduate from Eclipse University. After graduation they fly their jet home; would be pretty silly to tell them they can't fly it at RVSM altitudes after having just graduated from the course, no?

Seriously, I'm open to thoughts on this. Anybody believe the current Eclipse trained EA-500 pics are not RVSM qual'd? I don't.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

gunner said:

"Anybody believe the current Eclipse trained EA-500 pics are not RVSM qual'd? I don't."

It like filing and flying an IFR flight plan. No one will stop you if you are not rated/current.

WT

gadfly said...

Gunner

Maybe I’m terribly slow . . . I would never argue the point . . . but from what I observe on this blogsite is that the “old concerns” of recovering from a spin, or looking for a “plowed field” in line with the prevailing wind (just “in case”), or avoiding a stall while making a tight turn on “final” really doesn’t mean much any more. Other things, like being “savvy” (or is that even the right term?) with all the acronyms is much more important. You know, “back then” flying was something to be enjoyed for the shear joy of . . . flying. Somehow, I have no desire to go this “business thing” . . . I’ll let AA or UAL . . . or on a very bad day, “Southworst” fly me from one point to another. The memories are “secure”, at least for awhile.

The rest of you . . . regardless of “le Petit Avion”, don’t ever forget the joy of walking on the wings of the wind. (. . . from Psalm 104, by the way).

‘And may you all have a wonderful and restful weekend.

gadfly

Gunner said...

Gad-
10-4....oops, there I go with the Eclipse jargon again. Those guys are SO cool. ;-)

I meant to say, "I heard that".
Gunner

gadfly said...

Gunner

Before my generation I think it was "Roger, over and out!"

gadfly

Gunner said...

I think Roger quit last week for a more personally rewarding aviation career....which, of course, makes him just another disgruntled, fired, ex-EAC employee with an axe to grind.

I know this for a fact. I have inside information on it. I could share that, but then I'd have to kill you all. ;-)

Good weekend, Brother Gadfly.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Re: DME and the other questionable systems status for the wonderjet -

The FAA Databases do not currently show any STC's for the Eclipse.

They also do not show an ammendment to the original TC.

Before anyone gets their panties in a bunch about the FAA 'not keeping up', the FAA provides a special dabatase feature for TCDS' that looks specifically at changes within the last 45 days, which would go back to the issuance of the FAA FSB report that said the synthetic DME was INOP for their flights.

The FAA does have an online Form 337 and an associated database but I have not established an account as it is intended for active users with CAMP programs, so I am not able to check for a possible 337.

Other than a 337 Field Approval, how would one allow for legally modifying the aircraft equipment and changing the plane from type design other than with an Ammended TC or an STC?

This would definitely apply to ADDING equipment not present in the original certified type design, such as the USB dataloader, and I believe would also apply to the displays if they have a different part number and add any functionality not present in the original certified type design.

Of course, you would think that new equipment, not present in the original certified type design would also probably have an associated software change, in order to recognize and manage the new equipment, probably with a minimum DO-178 safety level to boot.

Wow, this certification stuff is hard......

;^)

a37pilot said...

Maybe the RVSM situtation is maintenance related. Even if the aircraft is group certified for RVSM, each operator is still required to have an RVSM policies and procedures manual and a RVSM maintenance manual which may or may not include a minimum equipment list. If there are no maintenance documents to reference to determine continued RVSM compliance you would still have a hard time getting an LOA for RVSM operations

Gunner said...

There goes N109DJ again.
TXK to Panama City; good speed, 320kts plus at (you guessed it), FL270. Dunno why those guys wouldn't opt for 375+kts at 41K.

Must be more "proving runs", huh?

Hey, look...they're filing VOR to VOR again: Jackson to Crestview. What's up with that?

Gunner

Black Tulip said...

It's fun to watch the 'faithful' and the 'infidels' speculate on the failure of Eclipse aircraft to operate in RVSM territory yet. As many have pointed out, crew training is not a big deal. The King on-line school is straight forward and the regs require two-year recurrency.

Certifying the aircraft is more work. Either fleet or individual aircraft certification is complex. AeroMech is the biggest purveyor. Again two-year recert is required, including skin mapping of the areas around the static ports. This typically involves the rental of a 'tool' and analysis by AeroMech.

RVSM is worth it... the sky is very blue above and more crowded below. The winds can be advantageous and the fuel burn is low.

Contrary to Eric's comment, most turbofans or turbojets wouldn't want to be plowing along at 27,000 to 28,000 feet. The transition from Vmo to Mmo is far below and the fuel specifics are lousy at those altitudes. You would at least want to be in the mid-thirties... or if weight and outside air temperature permit right up to the ceiling.

It's hard to come up with a positive reason for early Eclipse flights being conducted so low. That's turboprop territory (sorry to use a four letter word). Let's hope they get turned loose and soar.

Black Tulip

WhyTech said...

Avio NG Issues

I am a little slow on the draw, so the implications of the shift to Avio NG are still soaking in. Here are some things that are here today that one might expect in an avionics suite of this class that I don’t see specific provisions for in the NG announcements (in no particular order):

1. WAAS Beta 3 capable GPS receiver (to support LNAV/VNAV and LPV approaches): Chelton is developing one for their EFIS/FMS, but I am talking with them about putting this in a new helicopter and they tell me that I should be thinking September for certification.
2. TAWS: don’t see any mention of this in the NG releases I have seen; RAAS type features for TAWS?
3. TCAS: same as TAWS
4. Satellite wx link (NEXRAD)
5. Approach plates/charts in electronic form
6. Coupled VNAV
7. 2nd FMS/GPS receiver
8. VOR/LOC/GS capability (for when GPS in having sunspot problems)
9. Synthetic vision: Chelton has a primitive form of SV, but Universal and Honeywell put this to shame with their latest stuff.
10. EVS
11. Lightning detection
12. ADAHRS: will this change with NG? If so, to what?

Maybe I just missed all this and its really there. Given the price point of the EA500, maybe this is too much to expect. Would be nice to be able to add some of these at additional cost. One disadvantage of a highly integrated system is that one might need to wait for the system integrator (Eclipse) to offer these features rtaher than having the option of going to another supplier.

I am thinking that NG means Not Going to be there soon.

WT

Gunner said...

WhyTech-
NG stands for Next Generation, which follows Last Generation. One might ask what features Last Generation offered in order to get a baseline for the revolutionary changes of Next Generation.

Of course, Eclipse is so radical, they skipped right over Avio LG (thought the critics claim their vendor partner told them to pound sand and quit). Regardless, Avio LG was so sophisticated on paper that Avio NG's paper promises will make Max Headroom look passe; which fits right in with the other features of the paper airplane.

Black Tulip said:
"It's fun to watch the 'faithful' and the 'infidels' speculate on the failure of Eclipse aircraft to operate in RVSM territory yet."
I take exception to that, Sir. Where is your proof that anything has "failed"?

You must be one of those Eclipse Haters. Do you even own a plane? Are you jet-fever certified? What's your occupation? Ever done business with anyone who has ever done business with anyone who has ever been to Albuquerque? Are you a Depositor? If you're not a Depositor (or at least saying nice things about Vern) you must be disgruntled about something.

So, tell us, what are you disgruntled about?
Gunner

WhyTech said...

gunner said:

"NG stands for Next Generation, which follows Last Generation"

I have OG (Old Generation) avionics in my PC-12 and it has all this stuff except coupled VNAV and synthetic vision, EVS (which are available via an STC).

Still looking for the revolution.

WT

Gunner said...

Persactly.

We're just not allowed to say that without risk of insulting The Faithful and creating a slugfest.

The Faithful are quite sensitive when it comes to use of the word "Paper" in relation to Le Petit Oiseau.
Gunner

forward-observer said...

N317BH S/N 000013
Standard A/W: 5/17/2007


N17EA S/N 000017
Standard A/W: 5/17/2007

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"Dunno why those guys wouldn't opt for 375+kts at 41K."

You mean aside from the fact that the plane does not do 375+ kts at FL410? It never was supposed to do that.

Perhaps you were so busy slamming the plane and the company that you didn't bother reading the spec sheet?

Ken

TangoSierra said...

Good evening all,

I've been following this blog with some interest since stumbling across it a couple of weeks ago.

I have neither an Eclipse nor Mustang on order, but I've been in the industry in one way or another most of my career. While my opinions are my own, I'd like to offer one possible answer to the RVSM mystery. In my experience, The process for obtaining RVSM approval on a new airplane happens in three steps;

Step one-a data packet is prepared by the mfg. and/or operator that documents how the aircraft/operator combo is rvsm compliant. This would include part numbers for the avionics components, ADC's etc and the docunemtation of crew training.

Step two- the operator submits this package to their local FSDO. While this package can be submitted even before the AW is issued, the FSDO won't issue an LOA until the airplane is deemed airworthy and RVSM compliant.

Upon issuance of an airworthiness certificate, either a copy of the AW or a statement of RVSM compliance signed by an ODAR or equivalent is submitted to the FSDO. I'm familiar with one case where the FSDO also wanted copies of the far 91.411-413 logbook check (pilot static test).

Step three-Once this complete package is submitted to the FAA they are supposed to issue a LOA or Letter oF Authorization for RVSM operations. Unfortunately, there is a certain lack of uniformity in how these rules are interpreted among the various FSDOs. Some will issue an LOA in 2-3 days, while some may take weeks. This means that some operators have their LOA tucked in their pocket when they come pick up their new airplane, and some don't. I've seen one case where the FSDO inspector wouldn't issue an LOA until he'd physicaly laid hands on the aircraft (obviously several days after it went into service).

Oops, I forgot about step 4- The LOA is life limited to 6 months to allow time for either an AGHME monitoring flight (mostly used by N registered a/c) or a flight with data tracking equipment on board (sometimes required by foreign governments that have different cert rules). Once this flight is accomplished then the 6 month limitation is removed/voided.

As I said, tfor N registered airplanes the time frame for all this is largely dependent on the processing time at the individual FSDO. it's not at all uncommon to accept delivery of an N registered new airplane thats 100% RVSM compliant and that the mfg. has been operating in RVSM airspace up to and including the delivery flight (still owned by the mfg. at this point), and then have to fly it home with an RVSM trained and approved crew but have to either stay below RVSM airspace or get cleared up thru on departure to cruise non RVSM above the RVSM ceiling, assuming that your a/c has the legs to get up there and center will give you the clearance (likely in the midwest, less likely on the east coast).

I'm not saying that this is the sure fire answer in the mystery of the low level eclipse flights, but in the above described scenario, this happens because the operator doesn't have the LOA in hand, not because of a limitation on the aircraft or lack of training on the part of the crew.

Look at flight aware for Wichita and on any given day if there's a delivery flight for an N registered aircraft going on you'll see an AGHME pass over the VOR. From time to time, you'll also see new airplanes (mostly CJ1+'s - service ceiling of FL410) departing for home below FL290 because even though everything is "approved" the new owner doesn't have the LOA from the FAA yet.

FYI-
There are currently two AGHME VOR's in the U.S. KICT (wichita) and if memory serves, I think that the other is in New Jersey or New York. The AGHME flight consists of about 1/2 hour or less above FL290 with a pass over the VOR, then an application faxed off to the FAA with the date of the flight documented so that the FAA can review the radar tapes and compare it to the mode s altitude report.

WhyTech said...

tangosierra said:

"There are currently two AGHME VOR's in the U.S."

There are actually three, with a fourth in progress, plus two in Canada. Details at the FAA/NAARMO RVSM website.

You are quite right about the time that might be required for a LOA. My package was prepared by an operator who had previously submitted 30 previous mostly identical packages (same make/model acft with same RVSM relevant equipment) and it took 9 months for the LOA to be issued by the FSDO.

WT

TangoSierra said...

Thanks for the correction, that's what I love about the internet. Where is the 3rd AGHME site?

forward-observer said...

Close, but no cigar on the RVSM / FSDO theory. On new manufacture aircraft, the FSDO is not where the data goes- it is routed through ACO and MIDO. But the aircraft data has to be in the system first- with the A/W certs on file in Ok City and in the computer.

And the two AGHME locations are Wichita and Cleveland. One is planned for Arizona, but is not yet operational.

See AGHME Locations
for details.


See:
RVSM data for details on the temporary authorization to fly at RVSM process, and more details on RVSM approvals.

There is no requirement to obtain the letter prior to flying at RVSM levels- you have six months to do the AGHME testing. New factory aircraft should be able to fly at RVSM levels as part of their initial testing/training programs.

WhyTech said...

tangosierra said:
"Where is the 3rd AGHME site? "

There has been one in New Jersey for some time but it has been out of service for a while. It is shown as scheduled to be back on line in April, but apparently that date has slipped. The others are Cleveland and Wichita.

WT

TangoSierra said...

F.O. the document you referenced says in part;
*1. Monitoring requirements do NOT have to be completed prior to the operator receiving RVSM authority (Letter of Authorization (LOA) or Operations Specifications).

*2. Operators have up to six months after they receive RVSM authority or until six months after the start of RVSM operations in an airspace, whichever occurs later, to complete RVSM monitoring requirements.

*3. With only limited exceptions, operators must have FAA authorization to cruise in RVSM airspace. This provision applies to flights conducted for monitoring. FAA Notice GEN04009, paragraph j discusses the exceptions for Non-RVSM aircraft. See page 2-3 for additional detail.

Unless I'm very mistaken (sometimes happens) an individual owner operator must have an LOA prior to operation in RVSM airspace. New aircraft can and do fly in RVSM airspace as part of their cert flight test program, but that approval doesn't carry over to the new owner upon delivery. If they have the LOA, they have 6 month to conduct the AGHME, but they have to have the LOA first.

Please tell me if I'm missing something.

WhyTech said...

forward-observer said:

"There is no requirement to obtain the letter prior to flying at RVSM levels- you have six months to do the AGHME testing"

You might want to check on this again. It is my understanding that you must have the LOA to be cleared into RVSM airspace, but have six months in which to complete the monitoring flight during which time you may operate in RVSM airspace.

WT

forward-observer said...

Whytech:

You said: "It is my understanding that you must have the LOA to be cleared into RVSM airspace".

I think that all of the aircraft flying so far are technically being used to train pilots under the Eclipse training program- and therefore are operating under Eclipse's LOA, rather than being "operated" by the new owners.

Yes, the new owners will have to get their own LOA's when they take operational control, but since they are still all being used for pilot training in a leaseback type arrangement, I THINK they are capable of being operated under the original Eclipse company training RVSM LOA.

That presumes Eclispe has an approved company RVSM LOA issued to it for flight training -

Anybody know if there is an Eclipse RVSM LOA besides the initial production certification flight testing one yet? Is there a separate one issued to the Eclipse training side of the house, for flight training?

I could be wrong here...

WhyTech said...

F-O said:
"I could be wrong here"

I believe that you are right as long as there is an LOA in effect (issued either to Eclipse or the buyer). Once ownership transfers to the buyer, then he must have an LOA in his name for the specific sn aircraft (I think).

WT

a37pilot said...

I've done two RVSM packages, one Idid on my own which took two months of back and forth paper work to the FSDO, the other one I used D&D aircraft consultants and it took 3 days to get the package from them and about 45 minutes in the FSDO. Either way both packages include provisions for authorizing new pilots to fly the aircraft. WT you are right as long as the aircraft doesn't change ownership it's easy to have a number of different pilots flying it at RVSM altitudes.

Black Tulip said...

Gunner asks,

'Own an aircraft?'

Yes, by chance flew it over the Cleveland AGHME after the LOA was submitted. RVSM certification was posted on the Internet a couple of weeks later. Approval was fairly painless.

'Jet-fever certified?'

Three type ratings, two in jets. The fever comes and goes.

'Occupation?'

Non-aviation

'...been to Albuquerque?'

Use to live up the road in Santa Fe.

'Eclipse depositor or hater?'

No on both counts.

'Disgruntled?'

No, got a good nights sleep and plan to go flying today.

Black Tulip

Gunner said...

And so the RVSM thick plottens.

The explanation that a new LOA must be issued would almost fit the facts. The planes we see flying sub RVSM HAVE, in fact, been transferred: to DayJet and David Crowe (though Crowe's is on leaseback). I said "almost" because the fly in the ointment is Mike Press' jet. It HAS flown RVSM since ownership was transferred to him. Perhaps, because he was on a training flight? Dunno.

Ken-
Sorry for my error in stating "375kts at FL410". I know how important it is to be perfectly precise in a world where others hang on my every word. Believe me, it's quite a moral burden. In any case, I could more precisely have said "375+/-kts and/or FL410".

I see now how this omission completely negated my entire point and I pray forgiveness. Alternatively, if I might, I beg The Faithful Court to note I was referring to N109DJ and clearly stated it enjoyed a 20 KNOT TAILWIND. Thus, the statement "375kts at FL410" was quite plausible.

Good catch, though. Shows you're really on your toes when it comes to the pertinent issues at hand. ;-)
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

On the RVSM question, I've got an interesting theory, no insider information or anything else, just a thought that occured to me on reading the comments.

RVSM requires that the aircraft meet a certain error budget. The aircraft manufacturer usually allocates a certain amount of error to the autopilot (+/- 65 feet comes to mind), and the remainder of the error budget is allocated between the air data computer, the probes and the plumbing from the probes to the air data computer.

If Eclipse needs to change the pitot static system to fix the icing problem, then that fix may have some impact on the pitot static system's air data accuracy and that may be holding up the paperwork on RVSM. Perhaps the SSEC needs to change?

Even if the fix has no impact on air data accuracy, it still may impact RVSM approvals as Eclipse (or the owners) may have choosen to wait for the air data fix, so they don't have to go through the RVSM approval process twice.


I'm interested in feedback from folks who've been through an RVSM program whether that makes sense or not.

FlightCenter said...

I've downloaded the latest data from the FAA registration database and there was no change in the Eclipse data from last week.

In summary, there are 9 E500 aircraft registered to entities other than Eclipse. There are 5 aircraft that are listed with standard airworthiness certificates. There are 3 aircraft that are listed with experimental airworthiness certificates. 2 aircraft that are registered to owners but do not have any listing of airworthiness certificates.

My understanding is that Eclipse says that they have now delivered 15 aircraft as of the end of this week.

My understanding is that Eclipse is trying to deliver 3 aircraft a week at the current time.

Anyone heard any other numbers?

The Mustang data has changed in the last week. There is another aircraft registered to an owner, N245MU to MUK Aviation, CofA issued on 5/9/2007. There are now 6 Mustangs with standard airworthiness certificates and 5 Mustangs with experimental airworthiness certificates.

Stan Blankenship said...

I would like to ask eclipseblogger or Ken or eo387/24 if the company or the E5C has reported more background related to the following:

Several months ago, I heard the wings were not fully electrically bonded due to Fuji not receiving drawing changes when Eclipse was still struggling with configuration control.

Now I am hearing the early deliveries are prohibited from flying in IMC due to the fact the wings don't pass the conductivity tests or whatever is required to meet the requirement for lightning strike protection.

I have also heard that within the last couple of weeks, a manufacturing defect has been found in a major airframe ass'y which may result in removal and replacement of the ass'y. I was not able to learn how many units will be affected.

Perhaps somebody could contact the company and ask them to clarify these two issues.

Gunner said...

Stan-
Not possible. Vern personally told us the IMC prohibition is directly related to a minor pitot problem that he'd have fixed in a few weeks. (OK, it's been longer than a few weeks, but that's probably because the vendor can't keep up with Eclipse. That happens a lot, you know?)

In any case, Vern said it; I believe it; and that's all there is to it.

Still, your information would seem to fit a number of unrelated events, such as the sudden revelation that they were "slowing" deliveries until the could "cut in" the mods, even though they knew the mods schedule when they announced 400 aircraft this year (and a couple hundred progress payment calls).

Fuji, huh?
"Clump, Clump" go the bus wheels. I hear the engine revvin' even as I sip my coffee.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

There was one update in the pending registration database. An application was made for registration of N777VE to Straubel Investments on 5/10/2007.

WhyTech said...

whytech said:
"1. WAAS Beta 3 capable GPS receiver (to support LNAV/VNAV and LPV approaches): Chelton is developing one for their EFIS/FMS, but I am talking with them about putting this in a new helicopter and they tell me that I should be thinking September for certification.
2. TAWS: don’t see any mention of this in the NG releases I have seen; RAAS type features for TAWS?
3. TCAS: same as TAWS
4. Satellite wx link (NEXRAD)
5. Approach plates/charts in electronic form
6. Coupled VNAV
7. 2nd FMS/GPS receiver
8. VOR/LOC/GS capability (for when GPS in having sunspot problems)
9. Synthetic vision: Chelton has a primitive form of SV, but Universal and Honeywell put this to shame with their latest stuff.
10. EVS
11. Lightning detection
12. ADAHRS: will this change with NG? If so, to what?"


After digging around a bit on the EAC website, it looks like dual FMS/GPS, VOR/LOC/GS, and satellie wx are intended to be part of the standard package. Good work. And, lightning dtetect, TAWS Class B , and traffic are available as options. Good work.

The rest of the list doesnt seem to be mentioned. What is not clear is whether these functions are part of NG from the initial cert, or if they are "cut in" over time.

WT

Bonanza Pilot said...

One of the most frustrating things going on with Eclipse right now is the inability to really find out what is going on...we ask questions and then wait for owners (who have a vested interest) to maybe tell us the truth.

I asked about training before because I had heard that the training did not go well...that people were not able to pass and that they stopped to program so that they could fix what is going on. They were trying to train people to shoot VOR approaches without any of that new fangled stuff like GPS that the rest of the backward world uses...and it didn't work.

So do any of the future owners know...was training temporarily halted?

Gunner said...

BP-
Say it ain't so. It's been less than a month since Vern put this match made in heaven together.

"Eclipse continues to sharpen customer focus with new partners to deliver superior pilot training in North America and Western Europe
ALBUQUERQUE, NM — April 27, 2007 — Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world’s first very light jet (VLJ), today announced that it has finalized the team of partners who will train Eclipse 500 pilots. The company revealed new partnerships with two highly-experienced training operations – Flight Simulation Company (FSC) of The Netherlands and Higher Power Aviation, Inc. (HPA) of Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. These organizations join Eclipse’s established relationship with simulator manufacturer OPINICUS Corporation of Lutz, Florida. Collectively, this team will work closely with Eclipse to deliver the comprehensive and rigorous Eclipse curriculum that was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) earlier this year.


Clump, Clump.
Gunner

Plastic_Planes said...

Several months ago, I heard the wings were not fully electrically bonded due to Fuji not receiving drawing changes when Eclipse was still struggling with configuration control.

Now I am hearing the early deliveries are prohibited from flying in IMC due to the fact the wings don't pass the conductivity tests or whatever is required to meet the requirement for lightning strike protection.


Stan, early units were equipped with composite tip tanks. They could never pass lightning strike. At the last second (i.e. a couple of weeks before OSH last year) management decided to switch to aluminum. As far as I know, every production aircraft has aluminum tip tanks on them now. Some early ones were actually hogged out of billet to make the skins (talk about expensive!). I'm sure they have a supplier set up now, though.


Fuji and E-Clips have had long standing issues with configuration control (primarily due to all the cchanges going on in the early days. They finally stopped building tip tanks at all and were shipping wings to ABQ without tanks so E-Clips could install them there. At the time I was there, this was planned for about 30 or so units and then the ETT would be phased in at Fuji.

Fuji (uncharacteristically of a Japanese company) had quite a few nonconformances during manufacture. There have been several Fuji reps in ABQ to work with the local techs to learn how to build the wings better. I'm sure that's probably behind them as well.

I have also heard that within the last couple of weeks, a manufacturing defect has been found in a major airframe ass'y which may result in removal and replacement of the ass'y. I was not able to learn how many units will be affected.

Yes, I have heard that, too, but am not at liberty to discuss. I hope this is related to a small number of aircraft. Heard this from very reliable sources.

Fuji, huh?
"Clump, Clump" go the bus wheels. I hear the engine revvin' even as I sip my coffee.


Gunner: all is not as placid as it seems. Fuji has not been a stellar supplier at all. I hope they are doing better, but there have been numerous discussions regarding bring that work back in house.

/s/

FlightCenter said...

I'd be interested in understanding what flavor of GPS will delivered with Avio NG.

There are many flavors of GPS.

The GPS most of us have been flying for the past 6 or 7 years are certified to TSO C129a1 GPS standards. This supports basic GPS approaches.

TSO C145 WAAS GPS applies to the GPS sensor and comes in three flavors. Beta 1, Beta 2 and Beta 3.

TSO C146 WAAS GPS applies to the FMS and comes in three flavors. Gamma 1, Gamma 2 and Gamma 3.

Beta 1 / Gamma 1 support allows for enhanced enroute accuracy. It doesn't provide much value (in my opinion) over TSO C129a1 GPS.

Beta 2 / Gamma 2 supports LNAV / VNAV non-precision approaches.

Beta 3 / Gamma 3 supports LPV (localizer performance with vertical guidance) approaches. This is the main reason most pilots want to have a WAAS GPS.

For example, a 430 is a TSO C129a1 certified GPS. A 430W is a TSO C145 / C146 GPS that supports LPV approaches.

My understanding is that Free Flight Systems has not yet delivered a Beta 3 certified GPS to Eclipse (or anyone else). There are a number of folks who doubt that FFS will be able to deliver a Beta 3 product at all. FFS is now several years late on their WAAS Beta 3 program. Their current WAAS GPS will require hardware changes to support Beta 3.

As someone else pointed out, even after FFS delivers a Beta 3 certified GPS, Chelton will have to develop a Gamma 3 certified FMS that interfaces with the new FFS Beta 3 GPS to support LPV approaches.

According to another commenter on this forum, Chelton is telling their existing customers that this won't be available until the end of this year.

This means that it will be awhile before an Eclipse is flying a WAAS LPV approach.

Cessna and Garmin announced that WAAS LPV approaches are certified with the first delivery of the Mustang.

Pilots I've talked to who have upgraded their 430s to 430Ws tell me that the LPV approaches are much simpler to fly and more accurate than the ILS at the same field.

Stan Blankenship said...

pp,

The bonding issue is not related to the tip tanks as I understand the problem. It concerns areas within the wing structure that should have been left bare (no coating) for electrical conductivity.

Gunner said...

PP-
Don't be silly. If they bring that work back in house and a similar or new problem shows up, they'll have no Vendor to drive over.

Oops, I forgot, the "Install Workers" still have tire tracks on their backs from the wing bushing and windshield problems. They make great fodder; after all, Vern has already lowered the world's expectations of them quite handily.

Clump, Clump. Clump, Clump.
Gunner

Plastic_Planes said...

The bonding issue is not related to the tip tanks as I understand the problem. It concerns areas within the wing structure that should have been left bare (no coating) for electrical conductivity.

Ahhh,

Nope, I don't know anything about that one.

Oops, I forgot, the "Install Workers" still have tire tracks on their backs from the wing bushing and windshield problems. ...

Clump, Clump. Clump, Clump


They'd better be small workers - there ain't much ground clearance there...

Gunner said...

N109DJ has finally arrived back at the Boca nest after a long (two day, two stop) flight all the way from Albuquerque, New Mexico US of America. Congrats to these pioneers; their feat ranks among the likes of Jeannie Yeager.

The last leg was done from Panama City at 309kts and, you guessed it, FL270. They filed them there hi-tech VOR fixes again.

That plane really MUST be a blast to fly. On each of the three legs home the flight path meanders hither and yon quite a bit.
Check it out

Gunner

FlightCenter said...

WT,

2. TAWS: Is not required for certification of this class of aircraft. I don't believe it is offered.
3. TCAS: Eclipse is offering TSO C147 TAS from L3 as an option.
4. Satellite wx link (NEXRAD: Eclipse is planning to provide XM datalink using the Heads-Up receiver. This also requires IS&S to develop an interface with Heads-Up to present the weather data. Stay tuned.
5. Approach plates/charts in electronic form - This requires IS&S to develop a relationship with Jeppesen and write the code to provide Charts. This is not trivial. It took Garmin at least a year longer (maybe 1 1/2 years longer) than they expected to incorporate in the G1000.
6. Coupled VNAV - Requires S-Tec and several other Avio NG partners to cooperate.
7. 2nd FMS/GPS receiver: Eclipse is providing two FFS GPS receivers as standard equipment. (see previous post for more background)
8. VOR/LOC/GS capability (for when GPS in having sunspot problems): Eclipse is providing two Honeywell NAV/COM radios as standard equipment.
9. Synthetic vision: I'm not aware of any plans for Eclipse (or Mustang) to offer Syn Vis.
10. EVS - I'm not aware of any plans to offer an interface to an enhanced vision sensor.
11. Lightning detection: I believe that Eclipse has made it clear that they will not offer lightning detection either as an option or as standard equipment.
12. ADAHRS: There are a lot of rumors that the autopilot needs a better AHRS and that Eclipse plans to switch vendors on AHRS to resolve this issue. As mentioned earlier on this forum Crossbow has had a history of AHRS problems, so I wouldn't be surprised if this rumor turned out to be true.

WhyTech said...

plastic-planes said:
"As someone else pointed out, even after FFS delivers a Beta 3 certified GPS, Chelton will have to develop a Gamma 3 certified FMS that interfaces with the new FFS Beta 3 GPS to support LPV approaches."

I am in the process of purchasing a helicopter with the Chelton Flight Logic EFIS/FMS and have been discsuuing their plans for LNAV/VNAV & LPV approaches. They tell me that they are droping the FreeFlight GPS receiver and going to another vendor for a Beta 3 capable unit and expect this to be certified in the Sep, 2007 timeframe. The implication is that their Flight Logic FMS will support this at that time. We'll see.

I am wondering if there is a definitive detailed spec available outside of Eclipse for Avio NG. The stuff on their website rasies as many questions as it answers.

WT

Gunner said...

Apologies for a quick off-topic aside.

Paging all Jet Jocks:
I may need a jet, just after July 4th at Gadsen Airport in Alabama for a magazine cover shoot. Theme is tentatively set as an Exec-Pro type, suppressed M4 at the ready, covering the boarding process of a private plane.

Pay is zero, but you get bragging rights to having your ride on the cover of a pretty cool, worldwide newsstand magazine; plus a complimentary subscription (assuming you're not a bed-wetting liberal); I'll even throw in a cover shot in genuine, imitation mother-of-walnut frame!

If interested, please contact me at eclipse@thefiringline.com

Thanks much-
Gunner

WhyTech said...

flightcenter said:
"2. TAWS: Is not required for certification of this class of aircraft. I don't believe it is offered."

TAWS does appear in the fine print as an extra cost option on the EAC website. Have been flying with this in my piston twin and turboprop single since 2000. As far as I am concerned, its in the "dont leave home without it" category. Not clear, however, if this list of avionics options still applies since Avio NG announced.

"5. Approach plates/charts in electronic form - This requires IS&S to develop a relationship with Jeppesen and write the code to provide Charts. This is not trivial. It took Garmin at least a year longer (maybe 1 1/2 years longer) than they expected to incorporate in the G1000."

ISS is doing or has done this for their PC-12 STC. Maybe they have a head start.

"6. Coupled VNAV - Requires S-Tec and several other Avio NG partners to cooperate."

This is a biggie from the certification standpoint. Probably be awhile if ever.


"9. Synthetic vision: I'm not aware of any plans for Eclipse (or Mustang) to offer Syn Vis."

Chelton has a basic form of SV in their FlightLogic system; not sure if it will be feasible to use this in the Eclipse implementation.


"11. Lightning detection: I believe that Eclipse has made it clear that they will not offer lightning detection either as an option or as standard equipment."

WX 500 StormScope shown in the fine print as an option; again, not sure if this still applies with NG.

"12. ADAHRS: There are a lot of rumors that the autopilot needs a better AHRS and that Eclipse plans to switch vendors on AHRS to resolve this issue. As mentioned earlier on this forum Crossbow has had a history of AHRS problems, so I wouldn't be surprised if this rumor turned out to be true. "

Chelton is dumping Crossbow and going to their own ADAHRS system, combing the ADC and AHRS; maybe Eclipse will use this.

Thanks for you input. Seems like a moving target.

WT

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Vern waves hand in Jedi mind trick style.

"There are no RVSM or other equipment problems, these are not the droids you're looking for, move along."

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Where is the STC or Amended TC for ADDING the previously non-existent USB dataloader?

Where is the STC or Amended TC for the new displays?

Where is the STC or Amended TC for the updated software load to run the new dataloader and new displays?

The FAA does not allow dead-code (code for non-installed systems) in software loads (at least they didn't for the dinosaurs I have been involved with).

ADDING functionality via NEW equipment and\or NEW software is a certification event, not the waving of a magic wand.

Where is the record for these changes?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Think I finally figured it out.

Eclipse is the J. Wellington Wimpy Aircraft Company.

"We'll gladly deliver someday the airplane you pay for today."

With apologies to Popeye fans.

EclipseOwner387 said...

ColdWet.

I was told that the USB loader was more of a repair than a STC. Similar to an SB. I don't see the USB dataloader to be similar to a FIKI cert and would not require an STC or amended TC. I am not an expert in this area but new avinics and upgrades happen all the time and I am surethey don't require STC's.

Black Tulip said...

Learning a new definiton everyday keeps us smart and conversational. Today's definition is:

AUTO THROTTLE (aw-tow-thra-tel) noun 1. A feature in advanced aircraft whereby the power levers controlling the engines are adjusted by the autopilot. Depending on the phase of flight, the power levers, or throttles, are adusted to maintain a preset mach number, airspeed and/or descent rate. Due to the risks of over or underspeed, the system requires careful design and redundancy. 2. A psychological disorder in which a small group of people, Eclipse position holders, have attempted self strangulation. It is most commonly seen among those who have recently placed a non-refundable deposit. The condition is provoked by the victim viewing the image of a Cessna Mustang on the cover of a current flying magazine. Onset is certain if the person opens the magazine to a favorable editorial review. It is seldom fatal as the depositor's hands typically relax after they pass out.

Black Tulip

(Just received the June AOPA Pilot - big article on the Mustang)

Gunner said...

EO-
Agreed as to the possibilities you mention. Plausible and likely, I think. The addition of te data-loader DOES require FAA certification, which could easily have been a field signoff for Mike Press' plane.

Still, CW's point is well taken. Are they intending to get individual signoffs for each aircraft as the data-loader is installed? I doubt it. Therefore a TC or STC needs to come into play.

All of which begs the more important question:
Why would Eclipse TC an aircraft design knowing full well that it was limited to 24K after 28 days, when they could have waited and done it right?

We could ask this same question about a number of existing problems. Unfortunately, it might lead us to conclusions that the original TC was a publicity and financing stunt; that the current planes are Beta Models; and that the current owners are little more than unpaid Test Pilots.

There's that sound again..Clump, Clump.
Guner

WhyTech said...

BT said:
"(Just received the June AOPA Pilot - big article on the Mustang)"

Ditto Pro Pilot magazine, with a nice Mustang review by Clay Lacy, where he says "In my opinion, the best features of the Mustang include handling qualities, the G1000 flightdeck, cabin comfort and a comfortable flightdeck. Cessna has created a VLJ which I believe its buyers will be very happy to own."

Elsewhere in the same issue a brief news clip re DayJet stating that DJ has "239 firm orders and up to 70 options" for the EA500.

WT

AlexA said...

In the interest of full disclosure, I do have a dog in the fight. I have on order an Eclipse which is in the 200s. The information is second hand information with no “factual” backup data.

DayJet held an open house this last Friday in Boca Raton. The open house presented a great opportunity to talk to both DayJet pilots and management types. Here are some of the tidbits of information.

1. Pitot static system- With over 3500 hours of flight time on E500s there were only two incidents of the pitot system freezing up (a rare occurrence). The major challenge was to duplicate the conditions that caused the freezing (most of the time taken up was to identify the conditions). Eclipse made modifications to the “plumbing” and added a moisture separator with additional drain line. One test aircraft was equipped with the modified system on one side and the “old” system on the other. They have not been able to get the modified (Pitot NG) system to freeze. Supposedly the paperwork is at the FAA awaiting approval.

2. Avio NG- The DayJet guys have been “playing” with the NG and the response is very positive over the Avidyne system. “Functionality 90 days ago was much more complete than the current Avidyne system.” The pilots I spoke to commented that the screens are greatly improved. They also mentioned that there is already one test aircraft with the NG system installed and being tested.

3. Wing Bonding- Fuji shipped 12 sets of wings that had extra chemical coating near the wing root. The wings were reworked in ABQ as of four weeks ago. There was also one wing identified that had an “incorrect twist” the wing was replaced. I think someone else on this Blog mentioned that Fuji was having difficulty getting their QC up to speed. My understanding is that this has been corrected.

4. Horizontal Stabilizers- Stan supposedly there were also 2 or 3 horizontal stabilizers that had internal rivets that affected the flux compass. Eclipse replaced the horizontal stabs on the affected aircrafts. According to the gentleman I spoke to one of the beauty of the design is the ability to interchange major components with exact fit parts (wings, horizontal stabs, doors , etc.).

5. RVSM – DayJet is waiting for their LOA. They have been conducting test runs at LRC between their Florida DayPorts. Due to the short distances between DayPort (less than 200 miles between any DayPort) they don’t believe that most flights will be above 30K.

6. AirTaxi – As a non-believer in the air taxi model I was quite surprise to hear that DayJet has over 600 paying members. Each member has to pay $250 to join and as I understand it they have committed to take 4 flights within the next twelve months. DayJet will be receiving a total of twelve aircrafts within the next 60 days before commencing operations. Also news to me was the DayJet will “rent” out an entire aircraft to a member (charter).

One of the individuals that I spoke with had been involved with a number of new aircraft models. His feeling was that the first dozen aircraft will always experience teething pains but mentioned that Eclipse folks have been extremely pro-active.

Guys please remember this is second hand information. These guys appeared sincere in their responses. I have more notes but nothing earth shattering. Let the flaming begin.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Alex,

Great info! Thanks!

Gunner said...

alexa-
Congrats on the good news.

Your post is honest and believable, at least as far as your reporting goes. It does raise several questions and comments, but I think those might be misconstrued just now.

So, I'll just say, enjoy your Jet. (I mean that).
Gunner

mirage00 said...

Alexa.. Thanks for the info.

Stan, so sorry... I know you were hoping for something more damaging. A major design flaw of some sort? Oh well, there is always tomorrow.

mouse said...

Gunner,

The Avidyne units have built in USB ports, and have for many years. Eclipse wanted a "different" way to update and did not want Avidynes location on the PFD/MFD bezel.

How could anyone think Avidyne did not have a way to update or load their data??? Get real! Remember the marching oders of King Vern: "Disruptive or Death"

Stan Blankenship said...

mirage,

As I recall, the score is:

Stan 4, mirage 0 (make that 00)

I'll give you another chance though.

Will re-check to see if the quality escapes Alex identified regarding the wing electrical bonding and horizontal tail problems are the same as those described in my earlier comment. It may take a few days.

Alex has validated there was a problem in both areas, the question is whether the fix was as easy as what he reported.

Gunner said...

Won't fly, mouse.

There is (was?) a known problem with the database updating. If Avidyne is not to be blamed, well then....the alternative does not compute.
Gunner

highfloat said...

Hello All. First post. I'm a captain of a LearJet60 with around 5000TT and 2500 in the 60. Thought I might shed some light on the RVSM issue.

As I understand it, in addition to crew training and currency, the following aircraft equipment is required to be installed and operational prior to entering RVSM airspace.

1. 2 Altitude Monitoring Systems
2. 1 Autopilot
3. 1 Transponder with software change of 7.0 or later
4. 1 Altitude Alerting System

Since the E500's are all navigating and filing as /A - DME only, they are clearly 'unable RVSM' at this time. It is also extemely unlikely that they meet MNPS/RNP nav standards either.

Bottom Line from my point of view:

no fiki
no imc
no lateral nav/gps/fms
no rvsm
no 135 - huge issue
no approaches
vor only navigation

That my friends is not an airplane but it is a VLJ - VERY LAME JET!

I do, along with everyone here I believe, have immense respect for most everyone on the eclipse team at ABQ.

highfloat

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Mouse,

None of we critics would suggest that Avidyne did not know what they were doing re: updating the database, and I have seen their other displays with the built-in USB loader and know what you mean.

Of course it was the Verntastic express that insisted on 'disruptive' (different for different's sake) and then ended up having to deliver an unfinished aircraft to their first experimental customers because THEY (Eclipse) created a previously non-existent problem.

This issue, the USB dataloader and inability to update the initial GPS database, SHOULD be very telling for anyone with even half an open mind, that strange things are afoot at the Circle K.

Eclipse CHOSE to KNOWINGLY demand payment and begin deliveries of an UNFINISHED plane, when the fix was, reportedly, only a month or two out - that is simply not good decision making and smacks of desparation.

The aero-mod fixes were only a couple months behind that (at least according to his Vern-ness) begging the question again, why not wait 3-4 months and deliver a complete plane that actually does what you said it would do?

Add that to the issues found with the wing bushing, with the windshields, the side windows, the electrical bonding in the wing, the wing twist, the freezing pitot, the need for bigger tip-tanks, the need to turn up the wick on the engines, the need to revise the performance guarantees down by 10% or more, the need to nearly double the price, the tossing under the bus of a slew of worldclass suppliers such as BAe Systems, DeVore, Williams, Avidyne and more - it all adds up to a dismal record of failure at Eclipse.

At the end of the day, Eclipse may literally snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, they have been surviving in spite of themselves it seems (no doubt due to herculean efforts on the part of the loyal crew there), but there WILL be an end to the money, and worse yet, there might be an end to the luck.

Now before 'ol' driveby' aka Mirage pops in and accuses we critics of wanting something bad to happen let me be clear - I truly hope nothing bad happens, but from what I have heard, Eclipse has used several cat's lives already.

From the less than half-power stunt of a first flight (climbing out on the stall), to possible compressibility or shockwave vibration issues during VMO\MMO flight testing - as well as several incidents on the ground, at least one of which resulted in an on aircraft fire and another that injured at least one person - this has been a textbook lesson in how NOT to start up a new aircraft company.

gadfly said...

ColdWet

" . . . to possible compressibility or shockwave vibration issues during VMO\MMO flight testing . . ."

This possible problem, brought to my attention by a friend (with a long and impressive record with aircraft design and a career as a military jet pilot), caused me to look further at the little jet. It was based, at that time, by the lack of high-speed wind-tunnel testing, and the "shape" noted in the profile of the fuselage, etc., and was "speculated" that such problems would take place in actual practice.

Do you have any source of information that I might investigate? . . . for my own education!

Thanks

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gad,

Wiki actually has some good writeups as I recall on compressibility.

Compressibility was first encountered as single-engine fighters in WWII began to approach hig sub-sonic speeds during air combat. This basically is a phenomenon where shockwaves form on the wing and slowly move aft as speed increases - results may be control blanking or reversal (move stick nothing happens or move stick right plane rolls left respectively).

Shockwave vibration is actually related to compressibility but is purely a ride quality and noise\vibration issue (unless it leads to flutter). The shockwave essentially starts shaking the plane (buffeting), but is not in and of itself, hazardous.

I heard there was an event during at least one test flight resulting in quite a bit of altitude loss but it seemed no further info was forthcoming, understandably.

The straight wing the EA-500 has COULD suffer from issues at very high speed and altitudes, but knowing Dr. Masefield's backgoround in aero, I would be surprised if they did not have a handle on those potential problems.

gadfly said...

Cold Wet

Yes, I'm familiar with the problem . . . in fact my Dad worked directly on the YP-38, at Lockheed, as it showed up on the elevator (note in all pictures of the double "tear-drop" counterweight in the middle of all photos of the P-38, that appeared after a crash in Glendale of a proto-type . . . to correct for a severe "flutter" at high-speed). But my request is for "data" directly related to the Eclipse . . . not the wing, but the fuselage, especially around the cockpit.

In the mean time, I'll keep asking and searching. Thanks.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

My apologies Gad, should've known you meant specific to the WimpyJet - they'll gladly deliver someday the plane you pay for today.

Afraid I cannot offer much more. Not sure if the test fleet was on FlightAware at the time, but I heard about the event several months ago now. Pretty good pucker factor from what I can gather but that is about it - understandably tight-lipped.

Cool that your Dad worked on the -38, that is damn cool.

Ken Meyer said...

highfloat wrote,

"Since the E500's are all navigating and filing as /A - DME only, they are clearly 'unable RVSM' at this time."

Welcome, but...you should know that the airplane is RVSM group certified, and the remaining issue is operator approval plus processing and receipt of that approval.

You knew that, right?

Ken

P.S. They're not all filing /A. Look again.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

What a surprise, it is remedial cert. time for Ken, again.

The specific language is RVSM Group Certified, and here is the IMPORTANT language Ken, pay attention, WHEN PROPERLY EQUIPPED.

IF the database is expired, or IF the autopilot is not functioning as required, among other things, the plane is NOT equipped properly, and is UNABLE RVSM - period.

This is in addition to potential paperwork issues for operator RVSM certification.

The FAA FSB Report said the ship was not properly equipped as evaluated, citing the well-known synthetic DME\GPS Database issue.

There are no STC's or TC Amendments on record to address the issue. Could be handled by an SB or by a 337\Field Approval, but that is a very clumsy and inefficient way to do it - especially if all planbes will eventually be modified to a singular configuration (um, yeah, right).

The FAA and certain gullible boosters might accept IOU's from the J. Wellington Wimpy Aircraft Company, but I don't.

They'll gladly deliver someday the plane you pay for today.

gadfly said...

Cold Wet

'Last comments for tonight:

Any shockwave that would form along the surface . . . say even at the interrupted profile at the leading edge of the vertical fin, can be a serious drag problem for an aircraft with minimal power (thrust) . . . something to be avoided when the goal is "speed" with small engines.

Concerning the P-38: The sound of the counter-rotating twin Allison v-12's, with that subtle "whistle" from the superchargers, is forever engrained in my memory, as they flew over our house in the Verdugo Foothills, and later in Burbank. About a year or so ago, I heard that sound, even above the normal machinery noise in our Albuquerque shop . . . ran outside into the parking lot, to see (and hear) a "low and slow" P-38 flying off to the northwest, followed by a P-40. That is enough to give a person goosebumps, and a tear to the eye . . . voices from the past.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Also, highfloat appears to be correct re: equipment codes. Welcome BTW highfloat, you'll quickly learn who to ignore, the drive-by brothers especially.

I just checked all of the claimed deliveries and those that actually show up on FlightAware, which you will remember is based on how THE OPERATOR files with ATC, ALL showed /A for equipment, a point I highlighted earlier - they are not even filing /G for GPS, let alone any RVSM codes.

Nice try Ken, better luck next time.

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

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gad,

The sound of a P-38 is magical and unmistakable, much like the Piaggio P-180, truly unique.

Had the good pleasure last year of seeing Glacier Girl on the circuit, simply magnificent.

Have a good night and dream of supercharged V-12's.

Gunner said...

highfloat-
Welcome and, as I suspect you know, you've sinned. You had the temerity to disparage Le Petit Ouiseau; worse yet, you did it with obvious credentials and logic. Now, shall you reap the Fires of Hell...or, at least, an ankle bite by an attention starved Chihuahua. :-)

I note something peculiar on this Blog:

EO386 can argue a point and state, based on his analysis, he's stepped up his order. No ridicule is heaped on him; he's pretty much congratulated all around.

Alexa (even after a rather unseemly promise to defecate in these halls) drops a note of extraordinary hope for "Le Petit" and is confronted by thanks and thumbs up for the dispassionate report.

highfloat, however, dares to question Le Petit, even as he offers faith in its employees and we get....the all too familiar Ankle Bite. Why is that?

I'm beginning to believe that, unlike Critics, The Faithful have only two gears: Gloat and Attack. Course, maybe that's just me. As always, YMMV....and certainly will, at FL270. ;-)
Gunner

Black Tulip said...

One more P-38 fan:

My mother has always insisted that my lifelong interest in aviation was the result of prenatal exposure. She delivered mail on a motorscooter at the Lockheed Burbank factory while pregnant with me. She talks about the big P-38 planes headed off to war and the Constellation in hangar nearby.

The Connie is one of the most beautiful airplanes ever. I've enjoyed filling her in on the rest of the story - Howard Hughes and Trans World Airlines.

Black Tulip

gadfly said...

Black Dutch Bulb

'Can't let that one get away. My Dad's "cable tension regulators" were first used on all the control systems of the "Connie" . . . ailerons, rudders, elevators, and throttle cables . . . and his seat-position locks for all passenger seats were first used on the Constellation, manufactured by Sturgess, Inc., of Glendale, a division of Pacific Scientific Corp. So you can see my curiosity with the "little jet". 'Better sign off, I teach a class in the morning.

gadfly

flyger said...

AlexA said...

1. Pitot static system- With over 3500 hours of flight time on E500s there were only two incidents of the pitot system freezing up (a rare occurrence). The major challenge was to duplicate the conditions that caused the freezing (most of the time taken up was to identify the conditions).


Eclipse's notice on the problem sure made it sound like they could duplicate the problem at will. Also, if you fly from hot and dry ABQ all the time, it would be easy to gather lots of hours and not see a problem due to freezing moisture.

Regardless, the static/pitot problem was not the sort of thing that would make or break the airplane. At worst, a conventional system could be fitted and life would go on. The problem does, however, show that Eclipse's fetish for being different does lead them to problems others don't have.

One test aircraft was equipped with the modified system on one side and the “old” system on the other. They have not been able to get the modified (Pitot NG) system to freeze.

Which leaves unsaid whether the test airplane froze the unmodified side and left the modified side functional. That's the key test, show that the new system works where the old one used to fail.

Buckerfan said...

Thought you might like this little story. It concerns a comment from my wife, who has followed my interest in the Eclipse and is well aware of the links between Eclipse and Bill Gates.
About five months ago I bought a new laptop for one of my sons. It was advertised as having Windows Vista!!! Well it arrived, with Windows XP and a promise that Vista would be available imminently. That translated many weeks, and many phone calls later, into a two week period during which a coupon could be redeemed for Vista. We duly followed the process and finally last friday, now five months after my sons "Vista laptop" was delivered, a CD arrived in the mail for the Vista upgrade. Friday night he feverishly installs the upgrade disk, and voila, his $3,500 laptop is essentially destroyed, nothing works, crashes everywhere, wailing and gnashing of teeth.
So the punch line. After an hour consoling our son, my wife turns to me and says "that my dear is why I will never let you by that damn jet"!

Ken Meyer said...

coldwet wrote,

"IF the database is expired, or IF the autopilot is not functioning as required, among other things, the plane is NOT equipped properly, and is UNABLE RVSM - period."

First off, I believe DME is not a requirement of RVSM. Totally separate regulations, and there are parts of the world where you file and fly RVSM with no requirement for DME.

Second, your statement would be equally applicable for any GPS-based nav system. Of course you have to be able to update the database. Duh!

Your argument appears to be that the DME still doesn't work because...why is that again? Oh yes, because they have to install a dataloader right after delivery. But they're installing the dataloader, so your point is no point at all. And yet you persist in making it ad nauseum for some reason.

Here is a flight filed /W and flown at FL 340. There are other examples.

Your continued insistence that there is a problem with the DME is bizarre.

Ken

Gunner said...

Pitot Issues:
"With 3,500 hours flown"....we keep hearing this from Eclipse as though it's some sort of huge number. It's not. If Eclipse makes its numbers this year (even its severely scaled back numbers), EA-50X's will fly that many hours between Jan 1st and 10th. Hardly a "rare" occurrence.

"Hardest issue was identifying the conditions"...but no explanation of what those conditions were, which would certainly be of value to future owners. I'm calling BS right here. In each of the previous cases, they knew the ambient temp and humidity on the ground, the length of time the plane was there, whether it received a bath or not, and how long it took to climb to freezing levels. Doesn't seem like a forensic needle in a haystack to me.

"The DayJet guys have been playing with the NG and the response is very positive..."
Where? On the ABQ bench, where it's spoon fed man-made information, or in the actual flying aircraft with Mother Nature calling the shots? If on the ground, I could equally describe the functionality of the F177A. Microsoft makes a PC simulator for it.

If in the one test aircraft, I hope they recognize just how far this new-to-market, integrated avionics suite is from Prime Time. Not that this'll stop Eclipse from deployment. Eclipse's love affair with "virtual testing" is now legend; and haunting them.

"Fuji was having difficulty getting their QC up to speed"
But Eclipse kept accepting the parts; after all, they had plane orders to fill. When quality "was" below standard just how much error was "too much"? These are AIRCRAFT WINGS we're talking about. If Fuji was having problems with wing twists, Fuji should have been asked to shut down the line until a quality audit was performed and corrections implemented.

"the beauty of the design is the ability to interchange major components"
There's that "beauty of" phrase again. Almost makes you wonder if....oh, never mind.

"Due to the short distances between DayPort (less than 200 miles between any DayPort) they don’t believe that most flights will be above 30K."
Well then they really DID wait 5 extra years for the wrong vehicle, when there were better choices already available in 2002. The EA50X does not enjoy anywhere near the Paper efficiencies at FL270. I thought Air Taxi was all about $/seat-mile?

"RVSM – DayJet is waiting for their LOA."
This RVSM deal still befuddles me. Nobody is flying RVSM, except Mike Press (twice). If that's because they need to wait on a new LOA upon transfer of the aircraft, then how is it that Mike Press flew RVSM in an aircraft delivered after David Crowe's and The Jetsons'?

And why do the aircraft continue to file Slant Alpha when they have so much more equipment capability, RVSM levels or not? Something simply doesn't make sense here.

"DayJet has over 600 paying members" Unsurprising and unimpressive, given the fact that they'll have 15 aircraft to fill daily within the next 60 days; and Le Nouveau Petit's will continue coming in.

"Guys please remember this is second hand information."
High marks for not claiming it to be "factual inside information", Alexa. No doubt there's truth to most of it. How much is Half-Truth and Eclipse-Truth remains to be seen.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Correction, lest my entire post be challenged as a lie:
Make that the F117A, not F177A. I know how important such typos are to some here. ;-)
Gunner

AlexA said...

Gunner,

You are FANTASTIC! You are one po’d , former Eclipse Customer. If I was Diamond Aircraft I would return your deposits for the D-jets (with interest), send you a cake, a stripper-gram and a deposit agreement for the PiperJet before you went ballistic on them.

There are real issues that Eclipse needs to overcome (training, support, production) which would be great to discuss in this forum. Next thing we know you are going to rant on the Matternhorn White that is the base color for all Eclipses;)

Gunner said...

Alexa-
Dunno where you're coming from, but it appears to me I said pretty much what you just repeated.

More important, I spoke directly to the ISSUES you raised, without personal comment (except by way of compliment in closing). You, on the other hand, knee jerk immediately into attack on the messenger. You guys real DO have only two speeds: Gloat over agreement or Personally Attack over disagreement.

Talk about PO'd and the inability to engage in polite conversation? And you're worried about the Diamond Depositor personality? WOW!
Gunner

WhyTech said...

Understanding human behavior


I am new to this blog and have been paying close attention to the Eclipse story for only a short period of time. There is much that I don’t yet understand. By far the most perplexing issue is the loyalty of the owners-to-be. My picture of the situation is far from complete, but here is what seems to be the case in broad strokes:

1. the acft is terribly late
2. because it is late, it is no longer “revolutionary,” and other manufacturers have introduced designs which achieve parity or even do better in some respects
3. the acft will apparently not meet the original claims for performance
4. their are many, many teething problems now known, and, it is likely that more will be revealed as field experience with the acft is gained
5. there is no support network up and running for the acft yet
6. the training program is not yet up and running at a “professional grade” level
7. there are numerous airframe and systems mods that will be required, with perhaps more to come
8. the insurance situation remains muddy
9. the Company’s financial future appears to be in question
10. other issues that I have forgotten to include?

With this view in mind, if I were a depositor, I would be working with my attorney to recover my deposit, (or would likely forfeit my deposit if I had not yet reached the 60% threshold). Who needs this aggravation and disappointment? Buying a jet should be a fun and exciting experience for an owner/pilot. If I just had to have an Eclipse, I’d get my money back now, and wait to see what happens before putting $1.5mm -$2.0mm on the line.

I am having trouble seeing and understanding the rationale for staying with it after all that has happened just so far.

WT

Gunner said...

WhyTech-
In some cases, I think it's simply explained as JetJock Fever. Let's face it, every one of us flying a piston or turboprop aircraft would LOVE to be flying a jet, myself included.

For many of us, including Ken and myself, either the typical hop we do or the number of hours we fly per year makes it hard to justify $3mm bucks for the ante. Which of us (in that class) wouldn't JUMP at the chance to go turbofan at a $1.6 mm price?

The issue for me, more important than price, is company stability and aircraft design & production safety/reliability. Eclipse has flunked the sniff test on all of the above for me. That may change under new management or a different corporate culture someday, but that's a long way down the road.

But there's a difference between JetJock Fever and JetJock Wannabe.

Two of the many mentalities working among Depositors look like this:
- I don't care about the problems. I know they can't produce a reliable, safe jet for these prices. I'll take delivery now and hope the jet is everything they claim on paper; if it is, the price goes up and I'm a half million ahead of the game.

- I don't care about the problems. My number is 800+. Either the company makes it and others before me pay the price for the learning curve or it doesn't and I lose a few ten of thousands for the gamble.

In both cases, there's a vested interest in the aviation community hearing nothing but "All Aces" about the EA-50X. In both cases, they depend on a Ponzi type pyramid to guarantee their value. In both cases, it's near impossible to have an honest debate.

Of course there's other types, like EO, who simply love having skin in the game and make their purchase decisions rather dispassionately. We salute them. Doesn't mean we have to agree with them or they have to act as though we're taking food off their table every time we comment on Le Petit.
Gunner

AlexA said...

Gunner,

Re-read your post. “BS,” neither you nor I have any idea when the problem was identified. It could have been on a demonstrator flight, it could have been during initial FIKI testing, sitting in a hanger or a million other possibilities. I have been around airplanes long enough to know that sometimes trouble shooting a problem is like finding a needle in a haystack.

Avio NG- Maybe my writing skills are lacking but the information given to me second hand was that NG was installed in a test aircraft and flying. I though I had made that clear in my original post.

DayJet- “Unsurprising and unimpressive..” You see the glass half empty, I see it half full. I couldn’t imagine anyone signing up for the air taxi concept, what do I know I thought the internet was a fad like CB radios. To me over 600 is impressive considering they just started promoting the concept to the marketplace.

Fuji..” But Eclipse kept accepting the parts..” Really, didn’t hear that one. Did you make that up? I heard one wing came in with a wrong twist. The wing was identified and Fuji corrected the manufacturing problem so it would not re-occur. Twelve wings came in with extra coating near the wing root. The most expeditious action was to have Eclipse personnel remove the extra coating (2-3 hours of man power per wing). Maybe Mouse or PP can share additional information.

Gunner you have a propensity for pulling you know what out of you know where. There is no question in my mind that Eclipse Management has fumbled the ball at least a dozen times. There are still major issues to overcome, but keep it real.

highfloat said...

All,

Thanks for the welcome - my ankles are slowly recovering.

Look - my goal here is to bring some operator perspective and common sense into the mix. I'm not an engineer or a designer. I’m not a senior manager at an aircraft company, or an aircraft salesman. I’m just a line pilot – a guy that puts food on the table by flying jets around the US/Mex-Latin/Caribb/Europe. That’s what I do – full time. My aviation network consists primarily of pilots. Some of them fly the Eclipse. Some of them are closely tied to the company. We all talk regularly about flying airplanes.

Pilot to pilot – this airplane cannot fly into RVSM right now. No PILOT would ever file 270 on a max range trip if the airplane is capable of higher. Pilot to pilot – common sense. Maybe it’s an equipment thing, maybe it’s an LOA thing. I don’t give a darn. Pilot to pilot the airplane cannot use RVSM airspace. I’m not a lawyer but I know if a dog can hunt or not. This dog don’t hunt.

This airplane cannot even fly direct to a fix! It is a 1975 C-172 in terms of navigational capability. Call a spade a spade. If you fly for a living, like I do, you quickly realize that an airplane that can’t shoot an approach or fly in IMC or icing or has no GPS or cannot be operated in RVSM is worthless in our end of the business. No 135, no air taxi, no nothing. You cannot make money with this airplane.

Now when my buddies tell me that the flight deck is up and running, TAWS/Flight Watch is up and running, coupled approaches are up and running, icing is on-line, and international ops RVSM/MNPS is up and running, then I’ll spread the good word. Until then let’s all cut the b.s. and talk pilot to pilot. I had dinner the other night with an aspiring Eclipse jet jock who brayed non-stop about how he’d be up in the flight levels in no time – holding everyone at the table in suspense and awe. He probably sold multiple positions that night. I just kept my mouth shut and smiled and told everyone I was a plumber. The guy didn’t even have his instrument rating. That attitude doesn’t translate well into aviation – I can name a lot of smoking holes filled by over-confident entrepreneurs and week-end warriors. There are of course some real aces out there as well that make me ashamed with their diligence and CRM professionalism.

I just wish Eclipse marketing would hold itself to the same high standards it claims for its product.

I’m highfloat and I approve the content of this message.

FlightCenter said...

WT,

The big issue you left off is whether Eclipse will be able to meet their promised prodution numbers.

1) Remember the 60% deposit is required six months before the Eclipse promised delivery date.

At Oshkosh, the first deliveries were planned for September. In August they were promised by the end of October. At NBAA, Vern told the world that the first 10 aircraft would ship by the end of the year. It took until mid-May to ship the first 10 aircraft.

So if Eclipse promised 525 2007 deliveries, then 400 2007 deliveries, then 250 deliveries in 2007 and the depositors are required to pony up their 60% deposit based on those optimistic production delivery schedules, then Eclipse gets to hold a depositor's money for many months longer than the 6 month agreement.

I wonder if Eclipse has given anyone their deposits back when they push out delivery schedules.

2) Eclipse has negotiated much lower prices with their suppliers based on achieving their volume projections. I wouldn't be surprised if Eclipse had to pay as much as 25% more for products that they buy at an annual rate of say 150 units a year than at an annual rate of say 500 units a year.

This goes to the financial stability of the company.

3) If Eclipse isn't able to ramp production then that means that the direct and indirect labor costs projected for the aircraft will not be met.

That goes to the financial stability of the company.

4) If they aren't able to ramp production, they will have a much higher cash burn rate than anticipated.

That means that they will almost certainly have to go back for additional funding.

5) If they can't ramp production, they will have a much harder job of raising that additional round of funding.

AlexA said...

Whytech,

You make great points. My rational….there is no other aircraft announced or available that has similar capability at an equivalent price point. Remember many of the early buyers have gotten preferential pricing. The Eclipse even today fills a niche. Most of us that have been around aviation expect new designs to have teething problems. I can’t speak for other customers but my interaction with Eclipse employees lead me to believe that they truly care and are doing everything possible to find and correct any problems.

As much flak as Eclipse has gotten over the aero-mods I think it was the right move. They could have said “the early position guys got a bargain we are not upgrading their aircrafts. If you want to cancel then great for us.” Instead they took the high road (I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this comment).

Unlike EO I traded my position back in the queue (moved back 100 serial numbers). The biggest issue in my mind is the training one which you bring up.

Gunner said...

Alexa-
Thanks for the earlier response. I'm gonna try to stick to issues; you may just keep doin' what you're doin'. Now I couldn't read all of your response due to your spittle on the keyboard, but I'll give you one case in point.

You stated that the DayJet pilots have been "playing" with NG and also that NG was being installed in a testbed aircraft. Which begs the question I asked: were they playing on the BenchTest Install we've seen or in the actual aircraft? My bet: on the bench; I doubt anybody thinks Eclipse just loaned the test aircraft out to these guys for a spin. The liability issues alone would be staggering.

That's speaking to the subject at hand, Alexa. Talking about your pre-menopausal attitude would be a personal attack; so I haven't. Anybody have a Band Aid. I seem to have cut my ankle.
Gunner

AlexA said...

AIR TAXI CHALLENGE

Let me once again preface by saying I don’t believe in viability of the air taxi model. But here is an interesting scenario. During my visit to DayJet on Friday a rather rounded (read obese) man squeezed through the door of the E500 on display. As one who tends to be politically incorrect I asked one of the sales representatives what happens if 3 360 pound individuals show up for a flight with their laptops and brochures.

I guess I wasn’t the only person with a sense of humor since the representative told me that the same question had just been asked. She did explain that part of the profile when one signs up is to enter their weight. In addition each plane will have a scale that passengers must get on with their baggage before boarding.

I found it hilarious. “Tubby, forget taking off the shoes and the cavity search but get on the scale…”

AdamWebster.com said...

Gunner,
Your Comment: "'DayJet has over 600 paying members' Unsurprising and unimpressive," may discount some pretty hard core folks and a company that they have built. I recently met some of the principals - They are serious people and I believe they will succeed, no matter what disasters / successes Eclipse hands them.
I might be wrong about DayJet, but based on some analysis of their massive R&D and "Customer Hunting" spend "before" launching operations, it would be hard to see them fail at this point.
And that is coming from a guy (me) who feels that most air taxis will fail and that DayJet may also have picked the wrong airplane. In the end, the crazy thing about the Eclipse (in particular) is that "it is" the wrong airplane for what so many want it to do - and that is assuming it works as advertised, etc.
And for the sake of all those who want Eclipse to succeed, I hope I am wrong about that too, but I just can't get visions of Caravans, PC-12's and TBM's eating their lunch all day long.

Gunner said...

adam-
Welcome. Just for the record, you're welcome to check my previous posts about Ed Iacobucci. I stated on one occasion that, other than Peg Bilson, he has more credibility that any of the key players in the matrix; on another, I believe I stated he is the single most important person in the entire Eclipse firmament.

I don't think he's running a scam; I just believe he's so lost in the trees of Linear Programming technology, that he's lost sight of why people drive vs fly 200 miles. And I certainly don't think 600+ "members" at $250 per pop is anything extraordinary, given the number of passengers his model calls for.

If he can price the charter option right, he may have something going; but not 300 (or 1400) planes worth. As always YMMV, especially at FL270.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

gunner said:
"In some cases, I think it's simply explained as JetJock Fever"

In other words, the rationale may not be rational!

WT

HiFlyer said...

New poster to this Blog and was wondering about another issue that I have not seen addressed. I have been following Mike Press's training progress on the owner's bulletin board and have noticed how rigorous it appears to be. He has stated the process is equivalent to an ATP rating, and that if you have your ATP written taken at the time of the training you will achieve that rating. I personally think this is exactily the approach that should be taken with any turbojet aircraft, but I'm wondering how many of the relatively low time pilots that have been the target of the marketing campaign will really be able to pass this type of checkout, and if they can't will they really get their money back and shown the door? Can't imaging Eclipse really backing out on a sale.

Gunner said...

WT-
Persactly. It's the anatomy of a scam, though I've repeatedly stated that Eclipse did not start out as a scam. It may not be one today, but the anatomy is the same.

The key ingredient to a scam is the Mark's greed. Brighter men that I were sold on the idea of a safe, reliable Le Petit at $1.6million; let's face it, the promise is for something of value costing 60% of the Mustang and operating at less cost.

Once the Mark has actually envisioned himself in the role; personal jet, new Rolex, cheap island vacation condo, monster stereo system that fell off the back of a truck...doesn't matter what it is. But once one he viscerally visualizes himself in a position with high CDI Factor (Chicks Dig It), it becomes relatively easy to lower expectations, one step at a time; because the vision has taken over the reality.

Before you know it, the guy's wrist is turning aqua green, his roach filled condo leaks from the roof and his speakers can only sputter and buzz. But the dream dies much more slowly.

Is this the Eclipse saga, even unintentionally? Unknown; but it has enough of the earmarks to warrant careful examination before engaging in that visualization.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

hiflyer said:
"if you have your ATP written taken at the time of the training you will achieve that rating."

I dont disagree in principle, but the ATP has certain experience requirements which mudt be met. Wonder how many of the owner/pilot customers are anywhere close to the ATP experience requirements?

WT

Stan Blankenship said...

Mirage,

According to your view, the blog is not a place for reliable information, but had you read the 10-21-06 post, the bathroom scale idea was suggested:

"Vern may also want to provide a bathroom scale with each airplane to ensure the weights and CG limits are not exceeded."

Or this on 10-23-06:

The Eclipse has an extremely narrow range for CG travel that will severely limit the utility for an air taxi operation.

Imagine Happy Jet parked at an FBO waiting for passengers, a Chevy Suburban pulls up and out steps three 220 lb guys, their briefcases and overnight bags. The flight crew will take one look and realize they are outside the forward CG limits!

Far fetched? Maybe, maybe not.

It is more far fetched to envision a Volvo pulling up with three 170 lb guys carrying a shaving kit in one hand and a clean pair of skivvies in their other hand.


Scheduling will have to ask the tough questions when booking charters: "Yes Mr. Fatcat, and how much does Mrs. Fatcat weigh?"

WhyTech said...

gunner said:

"high CDI Factor (Chicks Dig It)"

These young guys will learn only through pain that the problems/maintenance associated with chicks makes Eclipse's problems look easy!

WT

Gunner said...

WT-
Jeff Cooper Rules:
(paraphrased) "Owning a firearm no more makes a man a Pistolero than owning a piano makes him a Virtuoso"

“Remember the first rule of gunfighting... 'have a gun.'"

Gunner's Corollaries:
"The only thing more dangerous than leaving your gun at home is going to battle with one that doesn't function as you expected."

"The only thing sillier than spending $2,000 for a working handgun is spending $1,200 for a non-working model".

Gunner

Bonanza Pilot said...

Hiflyer,
I hear that the early training is not going well. The story is that the early owners weren't prepared, lacked basic instrument proficiency and were not properly motivated. It makes sense, and has always been one of the problems with the jet model...in order to safely fly a jet you need to spend lots of time and effort being proficient...in order to afford a jet you need to spend lots of time doing other things. This will be a challenge for owner pilots - I am told they have some great pilots doing the teaching in the training program but problems with the program and airplane issues are really stopping the training.

Bonanza Pilot said...

So I finally understand how the scam works...someone was kind enough to explain it to me. I couldn't understand how all of these owners had paid for their jets, taken delivery and yet weren't allowed to fly them. Maybe this is old news to everyone, but the way it works is this...you pay for the jet and take ownership. Then you need to get a type rating...well in order to do that you need training from Eclipse. Eclipse says that in order to do that training they must "own" the aircraft for insurance purposes. So you lease the aircraft back to Eclipse so that they now "own" it. As they "own" it they set rules - including that flights can only be done with their instructors..an owner can't take it away for the weekend for instance without an eclipse instructor. Since no private owner has gotten the type rating yet - they can't take ownership back from Eclipse....so that is how you have what fifteen planes "delivered" yet every single one of them completely in Eclipse's control.

Eclipse is so revolutionary they have now redefined the definitions of ownership and delivery.

FlightCenter said...

I think that there are going to be significant issues getting the 750 owner/pilots trained and insured on the Eclipse 500.

I don't remember the exact quote, but I believe there was a posting on this blog that quoted Mike Press saying something like the training was rigorous and demanding.

Here is a snippet of Mike Press's pilot resume.

Mike Press has over 40 years experience and over 4000 hours, flying, instructing, and designing single-pilot jet aircraft. He graduated from U.S. Air Force Pilot Training in 1966 and was awarded the Air Training Command Commander’s Trophy as the top graduate of the year—over 1000 pilots. Following a combat tour in Vietnam where he flew over 480 combat missions and was awarded two Distinguished Flying Crosses and thirteen Air Medals, he was selected by the Air Force through a competitive fly-off, to develop and train the initial cadre for the Air Force’s Topgun school called the “Aggressors”. Here he developed the syllabus and training school, which eventually trained all Air Force and Navy fighter pilots in air-combat tactics.

If Mike is finding the Eclipse 500 training program challenging, what do you think the success rate will be for the guy who is trying to step up from a high performance single or even a Baron? There are lots of depositors with this background on the Eclipse depositor list.

Mike Press's Resume

FlightCenter said...

I remember Vern saying in response to a question on transitioning inexperienced pilots to the Eclipse 500, that the Eclipse would be easier to fly than a Baron.

Maybe that is so, but I do believe that it will be considerably harder to get insurance for an Eclipse than for a Baron or TBM.

Gunner said...

FC-
So true. I'd like some of the REAL JetJocks around here to come clean and confirm the hangar talk I hear from your class of pilot:

You once were where most of us VLJ types are now. Does it or does it not cause you to shake your head when you hear a single engine Turbo owner or a twin piston owner confidently gushing about jumping right into a twin turbofan after a couple dozen hours of training?

cjDriver? Whytech? HiFlyer?
Be honest, now.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

flightcenter said:
"If Mike is finding the Eclipse 500 training program challenging"

Seems like a big "if" given the background info presented. Almost like saying Bob Hoover is challenged by the Eclipse. How reliable is the info that Mike is challenged? If true, another issue for Eclipse to resolve.

WT

WhyTech said...

Gunner said:

“Does it or does it not cause you to shake your head when you hear a single engine Turbo owner or a twin piston owner confidently gushing about jumping right into a twin turbofan after a couple dozen hours of training?”


It depends. It depends on a combination of basic flying skills and attitude. A man has got to know his limitations. I transitioned from a Baron to a PC-12 two years ago. In many ways the Baron is a greater challenge. However, the PC-12 has “jet” systems, with many more things that can go wrong. I decided to approach the PC-12 with a “professional” pilot attitude and designed an ongoing recurrent training program which includes six month recurrent training in the simulator at SimCom, along with numerous other components – far more comprehensive than the insurance company requires. Today I feel very comfortable in the airplane, but I will not ease up on the training because a) I think it makes me a safer pilot, and b) I enjoy it.

On the other hand, in making the transition to turbines, I also considered a CJ1+. I did about 15 hours of demo flying in a CJ2 compliments of Cessna. They sat me in the left seat from day one and my first flight was BOS to ICT with an ILS to 500 & 1 conditions at ICT. True, I had a demo pilot in the right seat giving me feeds and speeds, but I was amazed at how easy the airplane was to fly under normal conditions.

So, an experienced piston pilot who is comfortable flying IFR and is diligent about training/proficiency should expect to be able to handle this safely IMHO, assuming quality transition training, including some mentoring.

In the end, I picked the PC-12 over the CJ because I concluded that size really does matter.

WT

Gunner said...

WhyTech:
"In the end, I picked the PC-12 over the CJ because I concluded that size really does matter."

Lots of friends!

WT-
What's the PC-12 burning at altitude and max cruise? Looks like it's in the 60gph range, yes?
Gunner

WhyTech said...

gunner said:
"What's the PC-12 burning at altitude and max cruise? "

On my RVSM montoring flight to CLE last week at FL300, 320 pph (about 48gph)with a ground speed of 270kts.

One thing I have learned about the PC-12 vs CJ/Eclipse/etc is that the 100 kt speed difference at cruise is mostly good for bragging rights. On real world trips, either the PC-12 is faster door to door (longer trips, more fuel stops in the jet), or you are minutes faster in the jet, which doesnt change my life at all. Having said all this, there is probably a CJ-3 in my future (Jet fever, you know!)

WT

AdamWebster.com said...

Gunner,
Well put... I forgot to add.. he probably is one of the most important people in the Eclipse firmament.
In fact, I think the reason Aboulafia (www.richardaboulafia.com) is so skeptical of Eclipse is mainly due to the fact that so much rests on the shoulders of the air taxi component of the order book.
Namely, air taxi lunacy is so rampant, that it makes the whole order book shaky. But to take your point, I do not think that Ed is lost in linear programming. In fact, linear is the opposite of their type of approach. If the "ant farm" is anything like I think it is, then the thinking / planning / testing is highly non-linear and designed to mitigate risk before aircraft costs are actually incurred. Because of that "smell" (critical thinker / planner) I think he's a rare bird for the aviation crazy crowd.
-- Adam "Not Always Right" Webster
p.s. I apologize for being an obtuse Canadian, but what is YMMV?

Gunner said...

WT-
Jet Fever's a good thing, if kept realistic. Brother Meyer and I seem to have two things in common:
- Not nearly as many friends as you (I can barely afford the ones I currently have!) ;-)
- Distaste for hauling a whole bunch of empty fuselage around.

Diverse mission profiles is the reason why everything from the Cirrus Jet to the HondaJet will find buyers. Classic aviation market forces will determine which of these offerings is still around in 5-10 years.

Bottom line:
If I could find an efficient, modern 5-6 seater twin turboprop for something significantly less than the Mustang, I wouldn't have considered the Eclipse in the first place; and probably wouldn't be buying Diamond today.

It's really unfortunate that the turbo-prop engine manufacturer(s) haven't had the incentive to innovate downsized counterparts like we've seen for the VLJ industry. I think the market is certainly there; the interest in Eclipse is proof of that.

As to the PC-12, I agree with many here that it makes more sense from an AirTaxi standpoint (King Airs, too). True, some prefer not to see those twirly things up front; but it's also true that on first view size very much matters. The first thing most people say about the EA-500 is, "It's so small". (One of the things I actually liked about it.) Time will tell how that translates when the paying passengers are exposed to seeing it and then flying in it with a couple strangers.

Adam-
Linear programming by any other name. It's still optimization, given a series of ever-changing constraints. Problem is, Ed is focused on optimizing cost; inconvenience seems to be a constraint. Instead, I think Air Taxi success depends on optimizing convenience with cost as the constraint. Which brings me right back to TurboProps. But then, I haven't hired a bevy of Russians to support (refute?) my position.

YMMV = Your Mileage May Vary (colloquialism recognizing that you're entitled to a different opinion/conclusion).

We need to move you south so that I can count one more "Recovering Canadian" in my circle! ;-)
Gunner

WhyTech said...

gunner said:

" Not nearly as many friends as you (I can barely afford the ones I currently have!) ;-)
- Distaste for hauling a whole bunch of empty fuselage around."

I had similar thoughts when originally considering the PC-12. My typical load is 2-3 including pilot. I took the two aft seats out because I dont have as many friends as you assume. This area is is next to the cargo door, which gives me a lot of room for stuff (as much as 2000 lbs if loaded properly). And I can lug all this around with only 320 pph of Jet A. This is the only airplane I have owned in 40 years of flying that is not severely cube or lb limited. And the generous size lav is a CDI factor. Pretty much an airborne SUV, and as such, some will like it and some will not, as you rightly suggest.

After a couple of years of experiencing the PC-12 it will be hard to get me into a jet. The CJ-3 is a brilliant design, and appeals because it has a cabin volume and range comparable to the PC-12, but costs twice as much, and drinks enough Jet A to make a Saudi grin.

One neat thing about aviation is the number of different ways to skin the cat!

WT

FlightCenter said...

WT,

I found the post quoting Mike Press on his experience with training. Plenty of stuff for both sides of the debate.

Here are a few excerpts.

Starting to feel comfortable in airplane now. It's a grueling schedule-10 hour days.

There is a lot of material to cover--memorize section two and section three of AFM and also study all the approaches at Durango, Farmington, Double Eagle, Santa Fe, Roswell, ABQ

Flying the airplane is easy, the oral and instrument procedures to ATP standards to unfamilar fields and approaches in rapid succession is what is difficult--all with only a VOR/ILS/RMI--no moving map display.

Posted at 3:48 PM, on May 07, 2007

WhyTech said...

flightcenter said:

"Flying the airplane is easy, the oral and instrument procedures to ATP standards to unfamilar fields and approaches in rapid succession is what is difficult--all with only a VOR/ILS/RMI--no moving map display. "

This is helpful in getting a better understanding of the challenges. These seem to be more basic airmanship issues, but compounded a bit by the number of inop systems in the EA500.

WT

Gunner said...

WT said-
"drinks enough Jet A to make a Saudi grin"
Foul. You attached no copyright statement to that. Consider it stolen!
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Highfloat,

You might be giving the WimpyJet a little too much credit re: a 172 - Even the lowly Skyhawk could be had with an installed RNAV and didn't have to file /A.

Of course, like the Eclipse, many 172's are being flown with handheld GPS navigators, and with no FMS, no moving map, no FIKI, etc., so maybe it wasn't a bad comparison. ;^)

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

WhyTech said...

gunner said:

"Consider it stolen!"

You want it, you got it! I am flattered.

WT

gadfly said...

Sometimes, it almost seems like someone left the vents open, or opened a hatch in here somewhere . . . a cool breeze . . . fresh air . . . something! ‘Maybe it was this “highfloat” person, ‘ya think? (Those “Learjet” types are downright spoiled rotten . . . flying up there at 51,000 feet, with the rest of us “unwashed” below, and a few military types above . . . and God’s deep indigo blue heaven above. Once . . . no “twice” I had similar experiences. Once was on (you guessed it) a “Learjet” . . . looking into a near purple sky above. And another time, on swim-call, diving down about twenty feet under our submarine, in the Pacific south of Japan . . . the deep indigo blue was the same . . . an amazing experience. That time, back in 1957, was cut short as I swam back about a hundred yards, and climbed aboard the “port forward diving plane”, which had been rigged out for a diving platform, in time to see a shark that desired my “bod” for an entre.

But in general, even among the subtle, and not so subtle comments, the “air” has improved of late. At least it’s a little better than the smog I remember as a kid, walking up the hill from Burbank High School after a morning of swimming at the pool (around 1950) . . . and thinking how hard it was to breath. And far better than living below the surface for a month at a time, in the confines of a diesel snorkel sub.

(By the way, diesel fuel and JP-3 or 4 smells about the same.)

When we moved to New Mexico in 1970, we kidded that Southern Californians didn’t trust air they couldn’t see, or smell. Well, complements to most of you . . . the air in this blogsite is measurably better, as we begin a new week. Yes, it will probably get worse as the week progresses . . . and maybe Stan will need to, again, give the command to “Surface!, surface!, surface!”, to get our attention. But in the mean time, enjoy the fresh salty air.

gadfly

(Clear the bridge . . . Dive! Dive!)

WhyTech said...

gadfly said:

"(Clear the bridge . . . Dive! Dive!) "

You forgot the "ahhoooga, ahhoooga"

Highfloat did a great job on the fresh air!

WT

WhyTech said...

gadfly,

A brief digression: my father was a Navy officer in WWII, and while not a submariner, was a pioneer in the development of the homing torpedo. He established the AUW (Advanced Undersea Weapons) School at Key West where I grew up infatuated with submarines, and he then spent 30 years as a civilian with a major defense contractor doing sonar, torpedos, etc.

WT

anonymous avionics engineer said...

execlipser:
I beg to differ with your statement "Vern doesn't typically dismiss a supplier unless a replacement is far enough along to be viable". The Autonics debacle was basically a pissing contest between the Director of Engineering at Eclipse, JM, and a VP of Autronics. No repleacement vendors were ready or prepared, the ACS software was brought in house. That may have been a wise decision, but it was done for the wrong reason. Basically JM got his knickers all bunched up when the VP from Autronics told him that he was the problem with Eclipse. He still is the problem with Eclipse )Avionics wise) as he is a lawyer, not an engineer. He and his decisions have cost Vern and the investors millions. The ACS was ready on time due to a lot of hard work by a lot of very dedicated people, but it wasn't easy. Many many candles were burned at both ends to make that happen.

gadfly said...

WhyTech

Yes, you are correct . . . to a point. But in English rhetoric the "writer" takes the "reader" from what they understand, to what you wish them to know. And very few readers of this blog have a conception of a "Klaxon". Should some be old enough to understand this remarkable "electrical horn", they are probably not young enough to have any effect on the marketing of the "little bird" (as some have referred to the "little jet").

The "Model T Horn", when sounded "twice", instantly calls a "Sub-ma-REEN-er" to action. And sounded three times means to blow the ballast tanks, and start the "low pressure blow" as we break surface" (10 psi "Roots") and effectively means "all is well . . . it's safe to fire up all four diesel "Fairbanks-Morse" or "GM" engines, begin a "full charge", replentish air in the boat, and everyone gets to breath fresh air, for a change . . . real fresh air.

Out of the Navy, and in school at "Moody" in Chicago, I met my wife (an RN), and another nurse on the same day . . . I was extremely sick with the "flu". The second nurse (who also married a bush pilot) came into my room . . . and shook my rack (bed) to see if I needed a blanket. I instantly sat up in bed (while running a high fever), thinking I was still aboard the sub, being awakened for "watch", and just about scared the socks off this little nurse. That nurse, by the way, married a classmate . . . had three children, . . . and a fourth on the way, and her husband lost his life while making a low-level drop in the Philippines . . . the Cessna 180 had engine failure . . . he and the "native pastor" were killed in the palm-trees before they reached the ground. The investigation by MAF revealed that George Rainey did everything right. His "kids", and wife, continued in his chosen occupation . . . and to this day are involved in missionary flying, and work . . . so some of us have more than a casual interest in the progress of any new aircraft that comes on the market, including the "little jet".

Aviation, my fine feathered friends, is a serious business . . . and not something to be treated in a casual manner.

gadfly

highfloat said...

Wytech and Gadfly,

Thanks for the compliment - hope you enjoyed the A/C.

Side note: I just signed up to be a DayJet member several days ago. Cost to start an account on the website was $0.

Not receiving any sort of welcome or thank you email: priceless.

gadfly said...

Why Tech

Our comments crossed in cyberspace. We carried "half-sized" sonar homing torpedos . . .electric powered, rather than "steam" . . . we carried them in the "after torpedo room" . . . two to a rack . . . fortunately, we never used them . . . as our normal patrol area was well within certain ports. Read the book, "Blind Man's Bluff" . . . chapter two, "Whiskey-a-Go-Go" was a revelation to me, telling what happened to the sub that took our position as we left Vladisvostok in the summer of 1957. You see, even among submarines, almost nothing was shared "back then". By the way, we, too, were discovered . . . but we got away. 'Later we did some "neat stuff" much farther north.

But how does a submariner get interested in aviation? The fact is that I loved aircraft even earlier. And by the time I was "four years old", I was "hooked" on both submarines and aircraft. My earliest memory of school was a movie in Sunland, California, in my "brief" time in kindergarten (1941 . . . the war was about to begin), of a DC3 landing gear being retracted, with the plane up on "jacks" . . . I was four years old, and my Dad was working on the YP-38, twin-engine fighter/bomber. I can, to this day, describe some of that "movie". And the experiences of our nation preparing for war.

gadfly

(To me, this discussion has far more implications than a bunch of ego's jockeying for position on a new little jet. New aircraft come and go . . . big whoop! . . . but the overall industry has repurcushions far beyond anything happening at ABQ!)

Gunner said...

Gad-
Has anyone told you, you're a goofy, rambling old guy? Out of touch; telling stories with no pertinence to this Blog?

More important, has anybody ever told you how your words shine thru and, on attentive read, are simply so on target? Anybody ever told you that, if Stan is the Heart of this Blog, you are kinda the Soul?

Well, if they haven't, I just did. Aviation Design is one of the few remaining throw-backs to the 20th Century; when men still occasionally toiled together to provide something that Man never thought possible in His lifetime; without regard to short term profit; without political payoff; without ever demanding their name be in lights. MANY of us (MANY) will regret the passing of that Age.

Dour face now; The Faithful should return any moment. We wouldn't want them to think we're all in accord on something....like the fact that Aircraft Design is TRULY a Higher Calling, when taken in proper perspective.
Gunner

gadfly said...

Gunner

Thank you, and you, too, "highfloat". Y'all made my day. Now to exit stage left (or is it "right" . . . I can never remember!)

gadfly

(. . . lack of O2 above FL240!)

Gunner said...

"Now to exit stage left (or is it "right" . . . I can never remember!)

Depends if you're using Moving Map and if you're able to update your database. Otherwise, simply file /A! ;-)
Gunner

gadfly said...

Johnny Carson would have said, Don't say "Depends" to old folks!

FlightCenter said...

Gadfly,

That is just too many coincidences in one post not to say anything - My uncle worked most of his life at Moody. If you were attending Moody when you met your wife who was an RN, I'm wondering if she was at West Sub. My Mom graduated as an RN from West Sub. My grandfather worked at Fairbanks-Morse from the end of WWI until he retired.

gadfly said...

FlightCenter

Here it is! As it relates to aviation, it can apply to this blogsite.

Exit US Navy Submarine Service in 1958. Recommended Moody Aviation (that trains 50% of all protestant “bush pilots”) by Missionary Aviation Fellowship in Fullerton, California. ‘Met my “wife to be”, January 10, 1962 . . . she was a student at Moody Bible Institute, a graduate of West Suburban Hospital, Class of 1960, an “RN”, and a graduate of Lake View High School on near North Side (remember Edgar Bergen? . . . Charlie McCarthy? . . . his aircraft is in the museum in Seattle, Washington) . . . we were married 22 December 1962. I continued (through interruptions, including United Airlines, and five UAL Home Study courses) at Moody Wood Dale Airport . . . graduated 1965, A&P, and Private Pilot. Health issues of my wife kept us from going to Jos, Nigeria, to take care of five aircraft. Went back to working in related technologies . . . eventually “landing” in Albuquerque. For further information, correct the following email addresses (to prevent “spam”), cec at swcp dot com . . . or robert at cushmanengineering dot com . . . no problem, nothing to hide. ‘Welcome any dialogue from whomever. And an open invitation for lunch or whatever . . . we’re here to be a help, not a hindrance.

It isn’t just a matter of satisfying a few rich dudes, that want to advance their business enterprises, and earn a few extra bucks, but to truly advance aviation, for the betterment of mankind . . . both physically and spiritually. There is too much riding on the outcome to treat this endeavor in a casual manner . . . don’t ever forget it.

gadfly

(Apologies to Stan for cluttering the blogsite with “personal” stuff.)

Niner Zulu said...

For those of you who didn't get your DVD from Eclipse (..I didn't), use this link:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DG-KXKN_jjM

Some beautiful footage of the Eclipse flying over California.

One thing I will say for Eclipse - they are great at marketing.

gadfly said...

9Z

That is a great video of the little jet . . . and a fantastic lead-in to a wonderful series of Hondajet videos . . . who would have guessed that the Hondajet was that great.

Was all that planned?

gadfly

(Someone is not going to be happy . . . and they probably live near ABQ.)

WhyTech said...

flightcenter said:

"I think that there are going to be significant issues getting the 750 owner/pilots trained and insured on the Eclipse 500."

I believe that this will be especially true until a serious simulator comes online. As some of the other posts have suggested, in this modern age, the flight deck of a jet in flight is not the place to do much of the learning for a type rating. It can be done, but its not an efficient or effective way to learn compared to the sim.

WT

Green-or-Red said...

AAE said "The Autonics debacle was basically a pissing contest between the Director of Engineering at Eclipse, JM, and a VP of Autronics."

Do you mean the Director of AEE?

mirage00 said...

Mirage,

According to your view, the blog is not a place for reliable information


I never said that... Lot's of good information is being provided here by Ken, E37, alexa.. etc..


Several months ago, I heard the wings were not fully electrically bonded due to Fuji not receiving drawing changes when Eclipse was still struggling with configuration control.

Now I am hearing the early deliveries are prohibited from flying in IMC due to the fact the wings don't pass the conductivity tests or whatever is required to meet the requirement for lightning strike protection.

I have also heard that within the last couple of weeks, a manufacturing defect has been found in a major airframe ass'y which may result in removal and replacement of the ass'y. I was not able to learn how many units will be affected.


So we have a "manufacturing defect in a major airframe ass'y" and the fleet is still flying? Oh, maybe you were referring to serial #5 that had a lousy paint job with drip marks? :)

BTW - I'm flattered that you're keeping score

airtaximan said...

The E-clips Video is terrific, well produced, really shows off the airplane well. There's another video entitled "commercial" - also, pretty cool.

Begs the question:

Why are they spending money on producing promotional videos, TV commercials, NOW? They've had a plane flying for a lng, long time...

They've cut back on color copies... then they go spend big bucks on magazine ads (Forbes...), Vern's European vacation tour, now producing TV ads, more promo vids... WHY?

- I'm sure someone's going to say "ATman, you are no marketer -NOW is the right time to sell, sell, sell... they just got the PC and they are building momentum.."

Well, cutting back on copies, adn having serious quality and production issues (50 planes in production starting back a year ago, only a few "delivered"..)

So, but I do not think it makes sense, given the "story" - but I do agree they are in need of more orders - will THIS work, now? enough to overcme the recently revealed "shortfall" created by the dayjet admission to 1400 orders/options instead of 300 orders/options, out of a total of around 2500 orders/options (if you want believe Vern now?)

Will this push help, after many millions spent on sales and marketing for many years until now?

I think its more about an IPO, and sadly, I think its more about fooling the general public into picking up the stock rather than getting more people interested in the plane. The aviation world has spoken regarding the plane - the orderbook is what it is after all this time and money...

BUT, there is some awareness needed in the general public arena, where less sophisticated people can be hyped into picking up some shares of E-clips stock...

Perhaps THIS is what is now going on...

airtaximan said...

Mirage,

the trackrecord of the blog speaks for itself.

The logic, reasoning and information used to defend e-clips against the positions and information offered on this blog have been simply a disaster.

The blog has offerd many insights and made sense out of the Vernacular, or silence from ABQ on many, many issues regarding missing commitments, redefining aviation terminology to obfuscate, reveal the lies, and shed light on what's really going on.

I would NOT clump yourself and the rest of the faithful into group you refer to.

some are very level and insightful, some are not, and just parrot Vern. Some are just plain disengenuous and disruptive.

Anyhow, glad you are flattered that someone is keeping score. The truth is, the blog has dispelled many myths and provided a lot of good insight - I cannot say that for you or some of the folks you refer to.

Finally, there are many issues still "open" and provide fodder for this blog - you dismiss the questions and critical thinking, the same thinking that resulted in the correct insights on this blog. Your dissmissal and defensiveness will also be proven mostly wrong. There's as strong track-record of this, already.

WhyTech said...

ATM said:

"I think its more about an IPO"

Maybe, but IMO, in this market climate, with the well publicized problems at Eclipse, an IPO is a very long shot. A few years ago, in the dotcom bubble era of drive by private financings, you could get an IPO done on the basis of little more than a business plan. That era is probably too fresh in the minds of investment bankers to allow them to underwrite such a speculative deal right now. Most companies going public today are real businesses with some meaningful history of profitable operation. I am not saying it cant happen, but that the bankers will need to think long and hard about this one.

To me, it is more likely this this kind of promo is for the benefit of management and the faithful - "see, no problems!"

WT

airtaximan said...

whytech,

Financing e-clips thus far has looked to many to be in the "impossible" category.

Vern's a talented and obviously well-connected finance guy. These connections and affiliations together with "access" to valuable clients and relationships have provided an edge not typically seen in aviation. He has the ability to provide an "IOU" while looking for support from bankers and backers - with the appearance of huge opportunities for future deals, no matter what happens to e-clips.

They still need to pump the stock and the company for the IPO to work. There needs to be a demand created for the stock, and it appears as if the machine is beginning to turn...

Whytech, you know more than me, for sure, but its just what it appears to be goingon to one airtaximan!

thanks

airtaximan said...

the old school definition of "committment" or "customer service"

"Affonso said Embraer had underpinned its commitment to the business jet market by investing $100 million around the world in 45 customer support service centers. Of these, seven will be owned by Embraer itself and 38 will be authorized facilities held to the company's standards. There will also be training centers for the Phenom family, the first opening in Texas next year and the second in Britain in 2009."

Perhaps e-clips could have planned and executed to their "commitment"? It was, afterall only $100M!

EclipseBlogger said...

$100M just for 7 cervice centers! It doesn't make spending $1B on development and infrasturcture for a new company look so bad.

FlightCenter said...

The video is great! It induces a very high "gotta have it" factor after watching it. It is a very good looking aircraft.

It should pull in new customers and convince family members and other decision influencers that this is the airplane for them.

The video worked on me, even though I can't imagine ever flying an Eclipse low and slow over the coastline while doing dutch rolls....

Why is Eclipse making this video? It is because buying an aircraft is an emotional decision and they need to provide their prospects and depositors with emotional justification for their decision.

I'm not saying that buying an airplane isn't an analytical or rational decision as well. However, for many people the analytical or rational decision is used solely to justify the emotional decision that has already been made.

This sort of marketing works. That is the main reason for doing it and because Eclipse is so good at marketing (to prospects, investors, and the general public) is also why Eclipse may actually pull this whole thing off.

sparky said...

N126DJ on a planned flight from BCT to GNV just performed an abrupt about face and isheading back at a blazing 181 KTS & 3K ft.....impresive.

WhyTech said...

fligtcenter said:

"I'm not saying that buying an airplane isn't an analytical or rational decision as well. However, for many people the analytical or rational decision is used solely to justify the emotional decision that has already been made. "

No question about this. A strictly rational dollars and sense approach and 99% of acft owners wouldnt be. Airlines or maybe a jet card wins everytime when reason alone prevails.

WT

JetA1 said...

flightcenter said:
I'm interested in feedback from folks who've been through an RVSM program whether that makes sense or not.

You're on the right track, unless its just adding more current to the heaters, any change to the pitot-static system will have to be recertified for RVSM, (depending on the change, this would include group cert, which usually means testing 5 to 10 planes).

Alexa reported: Eclipse made modifications to the “plumbing” and added a moisture separator with additional drain line.

Which suggests adding another post-TC mod to the whack-a-mod list.


highfloat said:
"1 Transponder with software change of 7.0 or later"

Which is correct only if you are TCAS equipped, so you don't get/send nuisance RAs. Not an issue with Le Petit Avion. (or Mustang, to be fair)

airtaximan said...

flightcenter,

"Why is Eclipse making this video?"

Nope, the question IS, "Why NOW?"

They've had planes that could do this video for years (literally)

airtaximan said...

EB,

now THAT's funny!

I guess the other 38 centers will be more than "lip service" -

See how this redefinition thing works... you expected them to do/spend nothing for 38 authorized centers...I wonder why!

joshing, but truly funny

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Green or Red:

Yes.

JetProp Jockey said...

Relative to the topic of Emotions vs Ligic when it comes to purchases/investments.

Most people who are considered "wealthy" are able to spend or invest 5% - 10% of their wealth without incurring the wrath of their accountants and lawyers. The amount oculd go a little higher if the prospect of the investment being a winner is higher.

Some of these guys buy a sports team or big boat. Airplanes are another choice.

When Eclipse came out with the prospect of a jet for $800,000, a whole new bunch of guys could enter the vanity world of jet ownership. This was less than 1/3 of what it traditionally cost to be able to take your friends out to the airport for a trip in "My Jet".

I personally was not impressed. When I was doing my initial training for my JetProp at Flight Safety, I was paired with another guy who was planning of flying his JetProp for a couple of years until his Eclipse was delivered and then was going to sell his JetProp for more than it cost to take delivery of his new jet.

I wasn't interested. My JetProp cost me about $1,000,000 and was perfect for my missions. I can get in and out of my little airport as well as most every airport around. Most of my missions are under 500 miles (most of ours are if we are honest) and for my longer trips I might need a fuel stop.

Anyway, the guy I trained with blew his ITT limits within the first month of ownership and had to have an inspection done by PW. If that's the profile of alot of the depositors it will be interesting.

Anyway, those guys who couldn't buy a jet until Eclipse came along will be amazed at the cost of ownership of their toy. Hopefully most will at least be able to find a qualified pilot to fly for them.

I also believe that these factors affected early investors. I know a guy who owned a Cessna 414 as a Corporated aircraft with a professional single pilot operation. It sat with him at an event at our local club and he was all excited to tell me about his Eclipse the he had ordered and his investment in the company.

I asked him if he understood the limits of the small jet as compared to a 414 relative to payload. He didn't, but the new technology had him all excited.

He later sold his position, hopefully for enough profit to help cover his investment.

Last, WhyTech and Ihave both opined about the difficulty the Eclipse will have raising additional capital or going the IPO route. I continue to believe that money will be a bigger issue than fixing the airplane. If I was a 60% depositer, it would be doing everything I could to get an airplane and if I wasn't at 60% I would do anything to avoid making my payment. The worst place to be if the company has to Ch 7 is an unsecured depositer at 60%.