Saturday, June 30, 2007

A Flawed Approach

In over a year and thousands of comments posted to this blog, no one, including the blog administrator, has summarized the flaw in the Eclipse approach better than what flyger did last night:

"Eclipse thought they were in the "aviation technology invention business", but that's misguided. They wasted a lot of their time fooling with stuff that ain't ready instead of just building a damn plane."

Thursday, June 28, 2007



June 28, 2007 – Vern Raeburn, President of Eclipse Aviation, announced today the introduction of Eclipsidrin, a new pharmaceutical product. “We have disrupted the aviation industry,” said Mr. Raeburn, “and now we intend to do the same thing with prescription drugs.”

“We recognize that many of our depositors have been sitting around waiting for delivery and this has led to localized itching and discomfort,” continued Raeburn. “We studied this condition and found that it exists in other cultures. For instance, when Eskimos sit on the ice too long they develop Polaroids. One of our depositors, a physician, reported that several of his cohorts were developing Vernaroids. I’ve never really cared for the name but we’ve recognized this as an opportunity,” said Raeburn.

“Eclipsidrin brings quick relief, and we’ve introduced it in record time. We’ve had enough experience with federal agencies to know they are all about the same… FAA… FDA… just one silly letter is different. We intend to get around to clinical trials but our depositors have begged us to get the product out there. Besides we’ve had considerable experience with the placebo effect in our aviation products,” concluded Raeburn.

See your physician to determine whether Eclipsidrin is right for you. Not to be used while operating machinery such as aircraft. Sufferers who have made non-refundable deposits may require more frequent dosage.

An extract from the black tulip is the basis for Eclipsidrin.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007


Every time one of the delightful parodies or satires gets highlighted here, the Eclipse "faithful" cite this as evidence the blog is running out of steam because there is nothing else to write about.

What the "faithful" fail to recognize is that this blog responds to news relating to the program and there just isn't much news coming out of Eclipse. Let's face it, the plants growing in my wife's flower garden provide more action than what we are seeing from ABQ.

Certification of the "B" aeromods were scheduled by now. Let's see some performance numbers and there will be lots to write about.

Mike Press's long awaited May newsletter was a disappointment. He stuck to the party line and certainly did not share any insights as to what was going on within the company. He was down in ABQ long enough to have surely picked up far more information than what he reported. Neither has he shared with the world the empty weight/CG location for N229BW. No material here.

Even before the recent AD, the blanket black-out of all Eclipse aircraft on dried up material for discussion.

Rumor has it that new owners are encouraged to take an oath of secrecy upon taking delivery, another dry hole.

There were high hopes a fellow blogger who just took deliver of serial 024 could tell us how it felt to be a member of the exclusive Eclipse Owner's Club. Didn't happen, he promptly sold it upon delivery.

Andrew Broom's pen seems to have ran out of ink.

With 24 airplanes delivered there should be some story lines here...except the lack of crew training plus all the other limitations on the aircraft makes it expedient for the new owners to lea$e back their airplanes to Eclipse. As far as we know, the hangar queens aren't talking.

All-in-all, quite interesting from the company that invented aeronautical transparency.

The good news, Oshkosh is but a full moon away. What surprises will Vern spring on the aviation community? Will his newest cash infusion provide the funds to launch a new model... or will it just be used to subsidize delivery of the hundreds sold below cost as well as covering the cost to retrofit the dozens delivered that will require extensive retrofit...or did he even secure the latest component of financing?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Guest Editorial - The DayJet Business Model

There’s no way a DayJet customer pays $3,200.00 for a round trip from Boca to Pensacola and then agrees to a 20 min. stop on the way to pick-up a stranger. I honestly believe the market for that type of service, with those conditions, is small.

My opinion is, the DayJet model is doomed to failure. The market is too small, the service area is too small, the number of DayPorts too small and the jet too small. Granted, the service area and number of DayPorts can be expanded, but the plane and Market (at the posted prices) are very limited and fixed. These early limitations will cause the market, and thus the number of DayPorts to remain small and the rapid demise of DayJet.

The premise of an air taxi is convenient point to point transportation. Just like an auto taxi or limo.

Traditional charter attempts to fill this market, but it is very costly due to the “dead leg”, the empty flight to pick up the customer, and the empty flight back to base. Traditional charter operators fly to and from the closest airport to your ultimate destination. Not, to potentially inconvenient ports. DayJet attempts to solve this problem with DayStops, but the rate will be higher that of traditional charter. …I’m very sure there will be a traditional charter market for the Eclipse, but the market will dictate an hourly rate for the E500 that is substantially below the cost to charter a Citation or a multitude of other larger aircraft. ...Less than $1,500 per hour. DayJet can not operate at a profit for $1,500 per hour. The reason? Most charter operators do not own the aircraft they operate. They are not responsible for the maintenance cost, overhead (for the aircraft), carrying cost (cost of capital) and depreciation. These aircraft are generally owned by another entity and are place in charter for multiple reasons including, tax benefits, or just to generate some income to defray cost for the owner. The purpose of owning the jet, is not to generate a profit from charter revenue, but for their own use. The fractional companies also do this to generate additional revenue.

The ticket costs on an airline are relatively cheap, but you must fly large airport to large airport on “their” schedule, not necessarily close to your ultimate destination, on a potentially inconvenient schedule, the travel is not private, and there are security and check in and arrival hassles.

DayJet is trying to bridge the gap between charter and airline. A noble and novel idea. But DayPorts may not be convenient to your destination (similar to airline). The price, in order to fit your schedule, is very costly and it is not private (similar to an airline). The Profitability of DayJet is base on seat occupancy, not hours flown (similar to an airline). So, this type of service comes down to cost per seat/mile. The Eclipse airplane is too small and too expensive per mile for a “seat per mile” type of service. DayJet’s basis for service is DayPort to DayPort, similar to an airline. DayJet is foolish not to use larger aircraft. I’m not talking 737, but at least 8-10 comfortable seats. The per mile cost will go up only 25% – 30%, but potential profit per trip goes up by 100% to 500%. Larger aircraft (more seat capacity) is the only way to get cost/seat mile down, unless you go to small pistons like Cirrus.

There is always a cost/benefit trade-off. But DayJets =

1. Not a private “exclusive” flight.

2. The customer waits for the aircraft, instead of the aircraft waiting for customer.

3. The cost for last minute is greater than private charter.

4. The “cost effective” service is limited to a party of one.

5. The market is limited to people originating at a DayPort city… or it's not cost effective.

6. The destination is limited to those destined for a DayPort city… same reason.

7. No potty… even if its not used, just knowing its there for emergency is reassuring.

8. The sheer tiny size of the airplane will “turn-off” some people.

9. No meaningful room for baggage, presentation items, samples, ect.. and then for 3 passengers?

10. 20 minute stop (unrealistic, more like 45 min ave.)

11. Exclusive charter to where you really wanted to go on DayJet, costs more that traditional charter, in a much smaller jet… and will they wait for you?

12. The aircraft is not “cabin class”… refreshments, hot coffee, catering, meaningful reclining seats, legroom, work table, lav. Airshow map, video, etc..

The only thing DayJet has going for it is the elusive $1 per mile flight….and I’m quite sure they won’t stay in business on those economics.

Eclipse depends on DayJet, or other similar “air-taxi” ventures, in order to produce in volume and be able to sell Twin-Jets for 1.8 million.

The DayJet model will fail and Eclipse will be forced to raise the price of the E500, or never give the investors back the $1 billion already spent, not to mention a return on investment.

Contributed by cj3driver.
DayJet Rates

“…those who need to leave within the hour might pay $4 per mile…”At that rate, a 350 mile trip will cost $2,800.00.

You might as well charter a King Air or Citation, have the entire plane, for the whole day. The plane will be waiting for you when you get there, both ends, take you there non-stop, in private, in a cabin 3 times the size, in a proven aircraft, plus you can take 5 friends, family or business associates with you at no additional cost.

Two people on this (DayJet) trip is a no-brainer, $5,600.00….

Way better off chartering.

A roundtrip ride in a tiny jet across the state of Florida…$2,800.00

Membership fee for the privilege of over paying for a ride in the tiny jet…$450

Cleaning bill for yellow stain on your suit… $22

The Look on a strangers face while you Pee in a bottle … priceless

cj3driver, you amuse us all...

And not to be outdone, a37pilot had more:

New Air Taxi comes to Florida

Flight to begin, soon



GAINESVILLE- A another new air-taxi service has just announced plans to begin operations in Florida.

Fly By Night jets will pick up travelers outside the fence of several yet to be announced airports in Florida.

The big difference between the company’s “per seat, on demand” flights and other recently announced air taxis in the Sunshine state is cost. Fly By Night costs more, a lot more.

Officals at FBN speaking on the condition of anonymity say they want to take the yet untried air taxi business to a new level. “ We saw our competition preparing to charge high prices for unreliable service in marginal aircraft and thought we can do better, we’ll charge obnoxiously high prices”, said one of the principles.

“It’s all about optimization, we aren’t really an aircraft operator or a computer company, or really a company at all , were just a bunch of guys who want to make some quick bucks”, said another. We just look at what the other guys say and come up with something that’s a little more over the top. For example, take their ant farmer Russian scientists that figure out the scheduling, we have some of those guys too, but we got them to let the ants out of the farm so they could run around. Now that’s what I call disruptive.

Asked about their plan to blanket the skies with the revolutionary Albuquerque wonder jet and details on there recently announced order for 2500 jets, the director of operations replied, “ We figured why not, I mean where else can you get a 2 million dollar jet with only a $25 deposit. We were going to order 5000 but we didn’t want to appear ostentatious “.

FBN recently announced they had received $60 million in start up financing from a group of investors who admittedly didn’t really know what an air taxi was but thought anything with little jet airplanes had to be “cool”.

FNB CFO, Dewy Cheatum, commented, “They bought the whole program, hook line and VLJ. It plays into our strategy of get their confidence, get their trust, and get their money, but most of all, get the money”. "It's really not about the flying as much as it is about blowing the investors money."

Florida aviation officials when asked about airport traffic congestion concerns with so many small aircraft moving around said, “Whatever, we’ll leave it to the operators to figure it out. We’re just glad to have another black hole to throw some of the state tax dollars into”.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Vern's June Commitment

Dear Customers,

Eclipse Aviation has matured greatly since December 31, 2006 when we delivered our first aircraft. While it has been more challenging than I ever thought it would be, in a peculiar way, it has also been more rewarding because we have overcome so many unexpected hurdles. With the hire of strong executive leaders including Mark Borseth, our EVP/CFO and Todd Fierro, our VP of Manufacturing, we have solidified a leadership team that is well prepared to build the Eclipse 500 at an unprecedented high volume. I communicated to you that we would tell you more about our production ramp in June, after our manufacturing team had conducted a thorough review of our production capacity and more importantly, our capability to produce aircraft in high volume. Well, our team and a group of industrial engineering consultants have completed their analysis and outlined our expected production through the end of 2008.

Due to delays in production, the projected numbers for 2007 are roughly half of what we previously projected in 2007, and 2008 is a bit less than the previous projection of 925. While these are lower than earlier projections, they will nonetheless represent significant production throughput and mark an unprecedented level of accomplishment within our industry.

I want you to know that I have the highest level of confidence in our ability to deliver on these new production projections. Below are some of the key reasons why I am convinced we are well on our way to meeting or exceeding these production numbers:

1. These numbers were derived and agreed upon from the bottom up, not the top down. A large team consisting of plant managers, industrial engineers, and responsible people from quality, human resources, supply chain and engineering built this production plan and the operational leadership team agreed with it.

2. Our plant managers worked closely with external, high volume industrial engineering consultants to determine where each function has improved its efficiency. This assessment was used to logically project how those improvements would continue to increase over the coming months. Below are some specific examples of where production has been improved by up to 300 percent since the beginning of the year, while non-compliance reports are at an all time low:

a. Friction Stir Welding has already demonstrated the ability to weld a complete shipset in one shift per FSW gantry. We now have two gantries online and can expand to two shifts when needed. That alone will get production up to four aircraft per day.

b. Primary assembly has demonstrated an improvement curve of over 200%. Our flexible manufacturing process allows for rapid modifications in the event that any production limiting constraint develops.

c. Final assembly time has been cut in half. Recent aircraft have completed wing attach, engine installation and systems installation in just under one month. Our current production rate is one aircraft every two days.

d. We can now complete a very high quality paint job on an aircraft in 51 hours. Other VLJ manufacturers are proud when they can complete paint in 12 days. That rate is ahead of the required production ramp schedule by 4 months. We have a proven capacity of over two aircraft per day.

e. Our 24/7 production flight test team is now regularly completing interior installation and flight acceptance through certificate of airworthiness in six days.

With our new, data-driven production schedule and this demonstrable learning curve, our entire team is focused with a plan in hand, on delivering the following milestones:

1. one aircraft per day by August 2007

2. two aircraft per day by April 2008

3. three aircraft per day by December 2008

Since earning our Production Certificate in April, we are managing our production teams to a monthly goal before we start managing them to quarterly goals. I am pleased to tell you that we have nailed our April and May production targets, and we are on track to meet our June goal as well. This is what I was referring to in my recent communication when I said I can see the progress we are making.

We certainly realize that you need to know when to prepare to pick up your airplane, finalize your optional equipment selections and send your progress payment six months prior to expected delivery. So we will tell all customers inside of that six-month window what to expect for a delivery date. Outside of that six-month timeframe, we will update all customers on expected deliveries by quarter. In addition, we will continue to report our quarterly deliveries to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA - so there will be transparency in our production progress. I know that some of you will now be outside of the six month window and yet you have already paid your deposits up to the six month mark based on our incentive offers. We will contact each of you in this situation to offer something that is fair for you and Eclipse.

Your loyalty to Eclipse and your high expectations for us to deliver on our promise are the fuel that keeps Peg and the ops teams completely motivated. Our proudest moment will be when we can deliver to each and every one of you, your airplane.


Vern Raburn

President and CEO

Thanks to niner zulu for the heads up on this one.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

No News is Good News

Well maybe not.

What happened to the
monthly newsletter from Mike Press. While his reports were certainly slanted towards the favorable aspects of the Eclipse program, he didn't hesitate in adding a cautionary note here and there. His last was on April 4, the eighth in a series. Around April 20. Mike took delivery of Eclipse serial 004, went to ground school, got his type rating and as we heard, took his dog Bear for a ride.

During the delivery and training process, he spent a lot of time in ABQ. One would expect that he would have gained some insight into the program and would have lots to write about for a May report. Didn't happen. Perhaps it was a case of, if you can't write anything good, maybe better to not write anything.

One thing I was hoping Mike would address was an issue I commented on back on May 19th:

"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."

The first source described an error in assembling the horizontal stabilizer that caused some minor (though unacceptable) internal damage in some number of units and that these assemblies would need to be replaced. According to this source, the FAA was considering whether an AD was necessary since only a few airplanes had been delivered and that most were in control of the company anyway.

Later, two other independent sources confirmed quality problems with the horizontal and a fourth, mentioned an earlier problem that he thought had been corrected by a design change.

If Mike's airplane was affected by this problem, or knew about the situation, he might tell us more. He may yet, we wait for newsletter # 9. One of Mike's favorite topics was reporting the prices he was seeing in the re-sale market. Typically, up in the $1.7 to 1.8m for early positions. In absence of Mike's report, here is one I recently received:

"A position in the first 100 serial numbers recently sold for $1,55m INCLUSIVE of CPI and fully spec'd. At that price the plane took 7 months to sell. The market for these little shit boxes is very soft. IF the market is recognizing the value of the plane as $1,55m WITH CPI and fully spec'd, then Eclipse is on a ride for a beating second to none."

Fast Forward

Dateline: April, 2019

Publisher: Albuquerque Journal
Subject: Where Are They Now?

On the twentieth anniversary of the launch of the Eclipse 500 Jet, the aviation writer of this newspaper has conducted a retrospective in this interesting aircraft and the company that ‘produced’ it. Few of the participants could be located and even fewer would comment for publication. An extraordinary resource developed however. Using a powerful computer tool, the writer has conducted a thorough search of the old Internet and located the ‘website’ called Eclipse Aviation Critic. A sole ‘poster’ remains active and through him we found the whereabouts of some of the players.

Vern Raeburn, former president of the company, now plays piano in the lounge of the Holiday Inn in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Reached by phone he said, “Yeah, I miss the old days at Eclipse Aircraft. We had a good run. I like the creative uses that some of the aircraft have found. The Eclipse low-riders up in Espanola are really neat.

Vern sighed and then said, “Many of us had to find jobs outside the aviation industry and I like it here at the Lamplighter Lounge. Jim Bede stops by occasionally and we talk about old times. He’s got a great singing voice.”

Peg Bilson, former chief operating officer, is hostess at the International House of Pancakes in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. After repeated tries she returned our call, “Yes, it’s the same Peg Bilson. You know I had a bright future in aviation but I always knew that my Embry-Riddle education would also prepare me for a career in the food services industry. You know we have the best blueberry pancakes in northeastern Rhode Island.”

Ken Meyer, a former depositor, was introspective. “It was a real education to see the Very Light Jet fad buildup and then diminish. Through it all, I’ve kept my now-forty-year-old Cessna piston twin. And now I’ve put a deposit on a really exciting new development – The RAM XXVI Conversion. My liquid cooled engines are being replaced by motors incorporating a heavy water cooling jacket and palladium pistons. You know Pons and Fleischmann had it right with Cold Fusion in 1989. My Cessna 340 is really gonna go now.

”Few of the other ‘bloggers’ could be located. Only one appeared to have done well with new aviation concepts. A man using the handle, ‘gadfly’, has operated his Moeller Skycar for five years now. Reached by email, he said that he was working on a new ‘STC’, which stands for Submarine Type Certificate. “It’s going to be the first truly multimode vehicle on the planet,” he wrote.

The most notable of those involved in the Eclipse story is former President Bill Richardson. He operated the sole flying example of the type. “I wanted it to be called Air Force One when I was using it,” President Richardson said. “But the best radio call I could get was Air Force Zero Point One. We took all the seats out except two – one in front and one in back for my, well… rotund figure.”

The whereabouts of Stan Blankenship, the founder of the website, is unknown. He was in a work release program while incarcerated at a minimum security facility. While picking up trash along the Interstate, he inexplicably fell back behind the van, took off his orange vest, dropped it and slipped into the woods.

Another 'blogger', the Black Tulip, was recently released based on new DNA evidence. He is thought to be living in a cheap motel near Cleveland, much like a character in the Willy Nelson song, “Pancho and Lefty.”

From the fertile mind of Black Tulip

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

Friday, June 15, 2007

Eclipse Aviation Delivers Another First for the Revolutionary VLJ Market

Albuquerque, NM -- June 15, 2007

Eclipse Aviation, non-manufacturer of the world's second or third very light jet announced today that it had achieved yet another first for the emerging Very Light Jet market.

Said Andrew Broom, Director, Public Relations "As you know, Eclipse was the very first, well, second really, Very Light Jet to be fully type certified by the Federal Aviation Administration. In our great haste to first gain our provisional type certificate at Oshkosh of 2006, a scant 8 years after the beginning of our revolutionary aircraft program, it appears that we have a few minor design issues."

"Today we are announcing that we have achieved another first, beating Cessna, Adam, Embraer, even Diamond and Cirrus, by being the first and only VLJ to be the subject of what the FAA calls an Airworthiness Directive or AD. This AD will limit our revolutionary and very popular industry leading VLJ to daytime only operations, to visual flight rules or VFR flight only." continued Broom.

"This means that not only do pay half as much for our jet, you get to use it half as much too. Since most accidents actually occur at night and in bad weather, usually with icing present, we are really helping to keep our customers safe by making a plane that just can't fly in those conditions in the first place, demonstrating our commitment to the safety of our unsecured investors, err, I mean our customers." said Broom, straight-faced.

About Eclipse

Eclipse Aviation, non-manufacturer of the world's second or third very light jet, is in the business of sort-of designing, kind-of certifying and occasionally producing almost modern, somewhat affordable jet aircraft that will, someday, revolutionize the transportation market. The company is mis-applying advanced electronics systems, and mis-managing manufacturing and business practices to try to produce aircraft that cost half that of today's small jet aircraft (from many years ago), we really hope but have no actual clue if they will be significantly safer and easier to operate than those of today, and we keep telling people that they will have the lowest cost of ownership ever achieved in a jet aircraft, so it must be true, right?

An encore performance from ColdWetMackarelofReality

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Flight Un-Aware

Albuquerque, NM -- June 13, 2007

Eclipse Aviation Corporation, non-manufacturer of the first and revolutionary Eclipse 500 Very Light Jet (VLJ) announced today what has long been suspected in aviation circles, admitting that the high-tech jet is actually a stealth biz-jet built using proprietary 'low observable' technology.

"We knew that our dinosaur competition and a very small and insignificant group of bloggers that absolutely nobody is paying any attention to, would be watching a certain website to track the revolutionary performance of our incredible jet, which I would like to say features line replaceable units, or as we like to call them at Eclipse, LRU's, yeah, it has lots of LRU's" said Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn during a recent weekend release from Saint Luke's Behavioral Health Center in Phoenix.

Continued Raburn "In order to prevent our dinosaur competition from learning any of our super double-top secret airplane ideas, we have made our plane so small that it will not actually give a primary radar return, and we paint them with a special stealthy paint that Kent (Board Member Kent Kresa) 'borrowed' for us."

"Now we no longer have to worry about anybody, our competition, those pesky bloggers, or even our faithful customers, being able to see the lack of, err, I mean, revolutionary, yeah revolutionay performance of our amazing little jet. Did I say it features what we call line replaceable units, LRU's, lots of LRU's - really cool."

A quick review of public records and flight tracks does inded suggest that Raburn was being his normal honest forthright and gracious self, as this reporter was unable to find any flight tracks for Eclipse 500 model aircraft, especially in the higher flight levels with RVSM requirements.

About Eclipse

Eclipse Aviation, non-manufacturer of the world's second or third very light jet, is in the business of sort-of designing, kind-of certifying and occasionally producing almost modern, somewhat affordable jet aircraft that will, someday, revolutionize the transportation market. The company is mis-applying advanced electronics systems, and mis-managing manufacturing and business practices to try to produce aircraft that cost half that of today's small jet aircraft (from many years ago), we really hope but have no actual clue if they will be significantly safer and easier to operate than those of today, and we keep telling people that they will have the lowest cost of ownership ever achieved in a jet aircraft, so it must be true, right?

Coldwetmakarelofreality - need we say more?
From AVweb - An Update

June 12, 2007

Eclipse Aircraft says its Avio NG avionics package for the Eclipse 500 very light jet is progressing through testing at a pace that is slightly behind schedule, but the system has been flown on one jet. A second Avio NG-equipped 500 will fly later this month.

The company believes it has identified and resolved a pitot/AOA system icing problem discovered in testing that resulted in loss of pitot pressure in both the left and right primary flight displays. A new system design has been submitted to the FAA for certification this month. Affected customers can seek retrofits in July.

A new design intended to address fatigue cracks found in the outer layer of the windshield and side window has led to increased inspection and replacement intervals (inspection every 300 flights and replacement at 1,500 and 600 flights for windshield and side windows, respectively). The certification for the new window designs begins this month.

Physical modifications to the aircraft for enhanced performance continue and certification for those is expected "soon." The first aircraft to incorporate all enhanced performance packages (S/N 39) is still in the production phase. Retrofits of previously completed aircraft will be scheduled beginning in July.

Following an announcement at EBACE of a European order for 180 aircraft (120 firm and 60 options), Eclipse Aviation now says its single certified flight training device will soon be installed at Albuquerque, N.M. Training sessions are expected to begin this July, when the company's new training facility at Albuquerque Double Eagle II airport is slated to open. The company aims to wipe out the training backlog "by the end of summer."

JetProp Jockey provided the heads up on this story and added, "everything is ALMOST fixed (Seems like nothing is officially fixed, but who's sweating the details).

Friday, June 08, 2007

Finally, The Truth

Embargoed for release to media outlets until June 9, 2007


Albuquerque, New Mexico – Vern Raeburn, President & CEO of Eclipse Aviation, announced that the Eclipse 500 jet has been selected as singular proof of Intelligent Design. Intelligent design is the assertion that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.

Previously, no scientific evidence had been published in peer-reviewed journals to support the concept. Intelligent design has been viewed by skeptics as a method of subverting the separation of church and state ordered by the United States Supreme Court, and a counter to the widely accepted science of evolution.

An independent panel of top theologians from the world’s leading religions and intelligent design researchers has completed a three-year study commissioned by Eclipse Aviation. The summary of the fifteen-hundred page report concludes, “It is inconceivable that an Aeroplane as timely, elegant and cost effective as the Eclipse 500 could appear on Planet Earth, or elsewhere in the Galaxy, without the intervention of The Divine Hand at Albuquerque, New Mexico.”

The panel compared the Eclipse 500 design to thousands of other aircraft, past and present. It concluded that, “Commonly accepted laws of gravity, engineering, aerodynamics, finance, sales and marketing could not have produced such a heavier-than-air flying machine. The highly integrated avionics system, on its own, illustrates the touch of Higher-Order Intelligence. In addition, the very phrase, Value Proposition, is not one that ordinary mortals would use in conjunction with a small jet aircraft. Natural selection could never have brought us to the State of Eternal Levitation and Near Constant Bliss represented by the Eclipse 500 Slightly Light Jet (SLJ).”

“Intelligent design is no longer junk science,” proclaimed Raeburn. “The dinosaurs did not go extinct by chance, but by Grand Design. The Eclipse Factory will be the Lourdes of the twenty-first century. We have set aside the wall in our largest hangar to be covered by crutches, discarded by Eclipse Pilgrims as no longer needed. For Blessed Depositors whose medical certification may have come into question during the period required for this Revelation, please come to see me in chambers so I might minister to your individual needs,” added Raeburn.

Raeburn continued, “Wait until you see the new lines of apparel we’re offering to recognize this event – full-length white robes embroidered with the Eclipse Logo, golden incense burners emanating the sweet essence of combusted jet fuel, and the gilded, illuminated, parchment Flight Manual (Limited Edition) of the Ethereal and Eternal Serial Number Thirty Nine.”

“Subject to divine approval we will soon be offering dispensations and annulments. If you have previously ordered a Cessna product, you will be forgiven soon. If Charles Darwin were with us today, he would be flying a Mustang, along with the other infidels, heretics, heathens and idolaters . We will accept a Mustang in trade for an Eclipse position and commit in writing that the Mustang taken in will only be used for a task worthy of its lowly station – hauling cancelled checks, auto parts or poultry products outside the United States.”

Black Tulip

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

Thursday, June 07, 2007

The Gang That Can't Shoot Straight

The faithful claim it's just teething problems...bumps along the road...part of the learning experience, typical for a new company.

Wait a minute, we're not talking about a minor glitch here or there, we're talking major miss-fires, major misrepresentations.

On April 4th, the company forecast the delivery of 46 units by the end of May. As in, here's what we are going to do in the next 57 days. Didn't even come close...delivered about a fourth of that number (12).

With over a thousand employees on board, the most advanced aircraft manufacturing facility in the world, a big name auto exec who ramped up the Taurus line to 74 vehicles per hour, you wouldn't think a company could fail so miserably in achieving tomorrow's production goal set just yesterday.

This is a company can't shoot straight, they are more comfortable telling the world what sounds good rather than paint an honest picture.

The story behind the story is even worse. Consider the reality of the situation. Had the 46 deliveries taken place, unit 039 would have delivered mid-May. Serial 039 is where the "B" mods kick in. These mods have yet to certify. So even if manufacturing could have gotten 039 built, QC would not be able to obtain a C of A since there is no way of showing conformity to a configuration not yet certified. So why did the company even begin to suggest they could deliver 46 units?

It would be easy to go back and list various Eclipse targets and remind everyone just how far off they missed their marks, but that was then and tomorrow is another day. So let's look forward.

Avio NG, a terribly complex system matrix that includes eight different suppliers. In his AvWeb interview, Vern claims the system will be ready in August with a production cut-in scheduled for September plus perhaps a few "single digit weeks" (I guess that means nine weeks at the outside).

A comforting statement for the faithful to be sure, but consider the ramifications. It is a repeat of the aero-mod cut-in. Assume they manage to get the production rate up to 2-3 per week by September and the NG system goes into the nine week delay (or even longer based on their track record). Will they continue to produce airplanes with the Avidyne displays? Do they have sufficient Avidyne units in stock to go to the end of the year if needed? Are more units on order?

You can't run an aircraft production line like Eclipse is proposing and not know exactly what you are going to build 6-8-10 months in advance. It is not just a matter of just having all the physical components in place but also the planning documents and engineering coverage. These aspects are not calender driven, they are unit driven.

As an example, make an engineering change to a wire harness and there will be a call out somewhere for effectivity. Production planners can't work with "everything built after September 15" or "plus a few weeks" or "as soon as the NG system is certified." The company will have to pick a serial number for the cut-in like they did with the aero-mods at unit 039. The supply chain has to be programmed to this number, all the engineering and production documention has to reflect the cut-in number as well.

If past performance is any indicator of future performance, Avio NG won't be ready in September unless Vern was referring to 2008. Look for more finger pointing, more delivery delays and a bumpy ride for the bus driver, as more vendors, under-performing managers and maybe even the airport dog gets tossed under the bus.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

More than you probably wanna read from black tulip

June 1, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (EAC) -- Eclipse Aviation announced today a new aircraft, the second in its family of Very Light Jets (VLJs). The company’s first offering, the Eclipse 500, has been renamed the Partial Eclipse. Vern Raeburn, President and CEO, commented, “I want all of our depositors and shareholders to know that this was a carefully laid out plan. We knew the pilots most attracted to this little jet would be stepping up from their Skyhawks. We purposely gave the Partial Eclipse limited capability because we didn’t want our customers to get hurt flying too high or up into a cloud, especially a frozen one. Remember Icarus who flew too close to the sun? Well, we know how that turned out. Also we didn’t want our customers going too fast and getting scared, carrying too much weight or being confused by new-fangled avionics. When you think of the Partial Eclipse, think training wheels.”

Mr. Raeburn continued, “Now our next model is going to be the answer to a maiden’s prayer - a wonder to behold and a joy forever. It is naturally called the Total Eclipse. This airplane has everything, and we are comfortable with our customers migrating from their Skyhawk through the Partial Eclipse to the big burrito… the Total Eclipse. This airplane is going to be as revolutionary as the heliocentric theory. I’m a modest man but I am waiting to hear the names Copernicus and Raeburn in the same sentence. The saints were venerated; maybe I could be vernerated.

Lordy, this little jet is gonna go. Just do a quick preflight, load you family, close the door and tell the lineman to light the fuse. The Total Eclipse will have all the features we knowingly left out of the Eclipse 500, er Partial Eclipse. It’ll go way up high where the clouds are frozen and where you can’t keep the windows open. A whole new air taxi industry could spring up and these little jets could be as common as VWs in Rio.”

Vern shifted in his chair and continued, “Some have been concerned over the cost of this program and our delivery schedule. I want everyone to know that not only have our dreams been fulfilled but the technology spinouts from this project are second only to the Apollo program. Now we have found a way to combine these technologies in the tradition of an Asian Fusion Restaurant. For instance, we’ve combined Friction Stir Welding with the Phostrex fire inhibitor. Should a fire break out on the factory floor in the course of welding an assembly, it is put out using Phostrex.”

“I could continue but I gotta go. Next week has a Tuesday in it and Serial Number 39 is moving down the line. We’re going to cut in the Total Eclipse,” closed Mr. Raeburn. “Keep those cards, letters and deposits coming”

For questions contact:

Mr. Vern Raeburn
Eclipse Aviation

June 2, 2007


Albuquerque, NM – Today marked the first shipment of Eclipse Aviation’s widely anticipated virtual reality system. This complex product offering consists of a powerful personal computer, wide-angle high-resolution LCD goggles, tactile body suit and gloves and a six-axis motion seat. The Virtual Eclipse Reality Navigator (VERN) system was received and set up by the first customer, ‘Ralph’. Ralph is not his real name for reasons that may become evident.

“My familiarization flights in the virtual Eclipse 500 were great,” enthused Ralph. “But it got tougher on the virtual type rating. I got the steep turns down okay but had trouble with the vee one cuts, even though it’s a centerline thrust aircraft. I felt bad about the runway lights, taxiway lights, not to mention the two people in the T-6, until I got up and took the goggles off. I also learned not to turn the gain up too high on the tactile suit and motion seat – boy, it was a rough ride.”

Ralph continued, “The avionics suite works really well including the auto throttles. I learned the hard way you should engage them on descent. I was watching ‘Fargo’ on the DVD player and not paying attention. I guess they established the maximum operating mach number for good reason. The ailerons set up a helluva buzz… that is until they departed. No problem, just a simple reboot.”

“I like the flexibility of the system because it probably won’t be found in the actual aircraft. I didn’t like my time of useful consciousness at forty-one thousand feet – fifteen seconds – so I dialed it up to five minutes”

“I’ve ordered goggles, suit and seat for my girlfriend, ‘Marge’,” stated Ralph. “There ain’t no tellin’ what two consenting adults might do in that little virtual ship at FL410 after hearing, …hold northwest of Duluth , as published, twenty mile legs, expect further clearance on the hour.” I’ve also ordered the Havana, Cuba module with the olfactory and gustatory add-ons. I want to have dinner and a cigar with Fidel before he reaches his expiration date… and with no hassles from Customs and Immigration.”

“I’ll tell ya, with Jet-A going up, I’m getting more attached to virtual reality. In fact,” concluded Ralph, “I’ve just run a blind ad offering my delivery position. Know anybody that might be interested?”

black tulip

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

Friday, June 01, 2007

Where’s the Beef?

As one examines the details of the Eclipse program, it becomes increasingly apparent that there is little remaining that differentiates the acft from any other light jet except for the price point and physical size, and many believe that the price is not sustainable.
Lets take a look:
1. Engine: Pratt & Whitney – any competitor can purchase substantially the same engine.
2. Avio NG: COTS technology – any competitor can purchase substantially the same equipment.
3. Airframe: designed by EAC, but manufactured by Fuji and various other suppliers who can supply substantially the same functionality to others; there is nothing in the design that would indicate a significant, defendable cost advantage.
4. FSW: used on a limited basis, and expected overall cost savings is small as a % of total cost. EAC may have gained some specialized know how in FSW but as others have suggested this is not central to success.
5. Training: apparently qualified vendors, but likely higher cost than FSI due apparently lower volume.
6. Service centers: no apparent meaningful competitive advantage here; will have a higher cost position than Cessna unless comparable service center volumes are achieved.
7. Deice system: any competitor can purchase substantially the same parts from the same vendors..
8. Other systems: perhaps some innovation, but not clear that there is a meaningful life cycle cost advantage.
What I am looking for are large hunks of innovative, defendable technology which drive substantial, sustainable competitive advantage, especially lower costs and/or outstanding performance. So far, this advantage is not apparent.
Contributed by whytech who later added:
Now, I'll praise Elcipse to bring some balance to all this.
I do believe that the concept of the EA500 as advanced in 1998 was only microinches short of brilliant, but not particularly defendable. Where Eclipse could have gained some real competitive advantage would have been to take a stealth approach to this program, and execute flawlessly on development and production, getting to market in 2003 with a fully functioning airplane.
Instead, they spent a disproportionate amount of time trumpeting their cleverness to the world and collecting awards, and have shot themselves in virtually every part of their anatomy in executing the development and manufacturing program. As a result, they have compromised away most, if not all, of the competitive advantage they were clever enought to dream up. As is often the case where technologies are widely "shared," competitive advantage oftens comes from superior execution, rather than brilliant innovation.