Looking Back - Part 2
Lest these points get buried away in the comment section that gets read about as often as last week's newspaper, let us review the conclusions offered by mouse a few weeks ago on the engine change:
Eclipse claimed the 2003 engine change was due to the failure of Williams to produce a reliable engine that would meet the original specifications.
According to mouse, even if the engine had delivered the performance as specified, the empty weight of the airplane had grown to the point where the engine/airframe combination was no longer viable.
The discussion as to who designed the FADEC and whether this was the fault of the engine's reliability or lack of reliability, or whether in time, Williams could have worked the bugs out is irrelevant. The fundamental problem was not with the engine but the airframe.
When Vern was pointing his accusatory finger at Williams for his 2003 setback, it might have been more honest for him to have been standing in front of a mirror when he did the pointing.
Unfortunately, the Williams engine was the key to Eclipse business plan. The low cost, fuel sipping engines would enable for Eclipse to deliver low cost airplanes in high volumes enabling air taxi operators to fly with low per mile rates which in turn would generate new business for the air taxi market.
While this paper engine/airframe combination sparked an avalanche of orders for this too good to be true proposition, the reality of what is being produced in ABQ does not nearly meet the expectations the company laid out at the beginning of the program.
Take for instance the Oliver Masefield' October 2002 statements to Aviation Week:
"The whole airplane is a point design."
"Many aircraft get into an upward weight spiral during development but the Eclipse 500 is different."
"...the E22 engine launched the Eclipse on a downward weight spiral, where less weight led to less wing area and less weight again."
Sorry Oliver, you don't have the E22 engine, you don't have a "point design" and you are not in a "downward weight spiral." In fact you have an airframe designed for a 4,700 lb takeoff weight that is now pushing 6,000 lbs.
You don't get something for nothing. Mike Press reported his tire change at 100 hours which he thought might represent 140 landings counting the touch-and-goes during training. That's of course if you believe a T & G grinds off as much rubber as a full stop landing.
Today's airplane will be touching down about 10 knots faster than what Oliver designed pre-2003 and at weights around 1,000 lbs heavier. The kinetic energy the tires and brakes must absorb goes up with the square of the velocity; weight is a linear function. Just putting some rough numbers into a handheld calculator indicates about 35% more landing energy into today's configuration than Oliver's pre-2003 wet dream.
The faithful may argue, Oliver had margins in the equipment to allow for growth. That is not what he told Av Week in 2002 and had the reporter asked if 100+ landings would be acceptable for the airplane, I am quite sure Oliver would have answered with a resounding "No!"
And it does not matter if JetComplete is in the equation or not, the customers will be picking up the tab for the brakes and tires plus suffer the inconvenience of dealing with the service requirements at these premature intervals.
Off in the morning to OshKosh B'Gosh...see you all at the Eclipse tent...I will be easy to spot...the one in the sun glasses.