Saturday, August 04, 2007


NEW POLITICAL PARTY MAY BE IN THE WORKS

WASHINGTON POST EXCLUSIVE

Washington, DC, August 4, 2007 – An unidentified political operative told the Washington Post that a new political party may field a candidate in the 2008 Presidential Election. “Voters are tired of the Republicans and Democrats,” he said. “They crave a fresh face and a new approach. I’ve been researching an obscure aircraft internet site for months now, and I find the kind of unbridled optimism this country hasn’t seen for decades.

“The political group call themselves The Faithful and they have been testing their new ideas against a panel of all political stripes for over a year now,” the operative continued. “The internet panel’s inability to rebut The Faithful’s arguments has strengthened their political resolve.”

“Their platform is fresh and optimistic; they see the world as it should be, not at it is. The group brings a new set of economics that will put Keynes and Friedman in the dustbin of history. They have found the secret of relieving suppliers of the shackles of shareholder return, fiduciary responsibility, product performance, aftermarket support and critical media review.”

“The Faithful bring a populist message that gives them a real shot in 2008,” he continued. “They want a chicken in every pot and a plane in every garage. If current U.S. industry can’t do this, then these dinosaurs will be left behind, as new companies and new rules are rolled out. This is populism at its best… these aren’t coupon-clipping trust-funders, these are blue collar guys with dirty fingernails.”

“We are about to enter the enlightened age of economics,” he concluded. “The Faithful realize that capitalists have been cheating the common man with high prices and artificial scarcity. The establishment had better watch out because The Faithful are about to storm the castle with pitchforks and torches.”

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.

72 comments:

gadfly said...

“They want a chicken in every pot and a plane in every garage . . .”

Why not a pot in every plane? Or are they “chicken”?

gadfly

thebigriper said...

this may be a keeper as Gunner put it but the novelty of these kind of posts have worn off in my opinion. I would like to see more substantive subjects batted around. I would really like to hear from some of the people that used to work at Eclipse. I have spoken to people that know people that used to work there and they have nothing good to say about it. Hearsay is that it is a very rough environment if planes are not being built on time. I have heard statements that there is a lot of pressure to buy off discrepancies rather than take the time to fix them which is a pretty inflamatory statement and I hope it isn't true. There are, reportedly, a lot of ex-eclipse employees that are saying these things. Anyone reading here that fits this category care to contribute? Same goes for current employees who would care to rebut. I'm sure Ken will make every attempt to draw out the identity of anyone who has something negative to say so please be careful about protecting your identity.

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"The Faithful are about to storm the castle with pitchforks and torches.”

And guided by their trusty Garmin 496's.

WT

Gunner said...

TBG-
Unfortunately, everything that CAN be confirmed about Eclipse business practices, sales style, fit&finish and currently known issues points to serious problems ahead.

Defective window design, defective wing spar design and defective freezing pitot design (to name three) are each potentially disastrous defects. And this fleet is barely off the ground. We've seen a management style that almost encourages "production at any cost" and, I'm sorry, but this is not predictive of a high quality, safe aircraft.

The track record, thus far, is alarming; and that is countered only with empty promises, hype, attacks, excuses, finger pointing and a healthy dose of reality mismanagement.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

Ken said:

"There are too many unknowns and too little firm data to formulate a projection."

He comveniently fails to mention the prospect of Eclipse failing as a business. This would have huge negative implications for resale value, parts, support (especially software support) etc etc. There is some possibility that the design would be purchased and supported by a dinosaur, which might actually have strong positive implications for resale value. Hawker Beechcarft has a success record in purchasing "foreign" designs and making them reasonably successful (Hawker, Mitsubishi) and needs a product at this price point.

WT

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

I have flown a lot of airfreight in prop aircraft and some of it was over gross and some of it was a lot over gross.
Given the fact that the wing in EA500 was designed for less that 5000# and the gross with the airmods is at 6000#, what would be the effect of:
10% over gross
15% over gross
20% over gross.
Untentionally of course.

Black Tulip said...

I agree the parodies are wearing a little thin. We are starved for data.

I just pulled the August issue of Business & Commercial Aviation out of the mailbox. It lists the Eclipse 500 as a ‘production aircraft’ with total variable operating costs of $555 per hour. This is $44 cheaper than the Mustang and much cheaper that any of the CitationJets. All Eclipse Aviation has to do is actually make it a ‘production aircraft’.

Then the debate could return to:

How far will it go?
How much will it carry?
How’s the cabin?
How high will it go?
How fast will it go?
How does it handle?
How often does it break?
How’s the service network?
How’s the resale value?

B&CA shows a short-flight operating cost of $1.85 per nautical mile, which would seem to bode poorly for the air taxi application.

Your mileage may vary as B&CA shows costs for an aircraft operated by a crew not an owner.

Black Tulip

Old Troll said...

bigriper,
Your comments about the Eclipse work environment mirror what I've heard. I've actually heard much more but I won't repeat it because I don't want to expose anyone. But, as you say, it does not bode well for the safety of their customers.

hummer,
The increase in weight may explain the wing bushing failures. Aircraft are always designed with a margin of safety and they may have used it up. I would expect premature fatigue if they didn't modify the wing as the aircraft gained weight.

troll

gadfly said...

Hummer

In a strange way, the “Paper Clips” has a self imposed limit on overloading. A “10%” overload is 600 pounds of . . . “fat”. Although in today’s cross-section of overweight humanity, 600 pounds of additional obesity would find “seating” most difficult in the “Paper Clips”. To even envision 15% or 20% . . . sorry, but even if our governor should ever be a passenger . . . OK, we won’t go there! Un-intentional? . . . No way, Jose!

So, let’s concede, if it can get off the ground, there is a good probability that it will get down . . . safely, that is! (VFR, of course!)

Black Tulip

Your list is far more interesting:

“How far will it go?
How much will it carry?
How’s the cabin?
How high will it go?
How fast will it go?
How does it handle?
How often does it break?
How’s the service network?
How’s the resale value?”
But even here, we have some problems. The original promises, or at least the “implications”, were that the promises were all connected. ‘How much, how fast, how high, how far, how long’ were all related, as if they would all work together.
For instance, an “empty plane” may on a regular basis make the maximum range. A full load may be a “six seat aircraft” . . . on occasion. The cabin may be excellent for a family of “little people”.
Sometimes, the aircraft may find “time” and other conditions to fly at FL410. It may fly at 370 KTAS. And (near empty) it may have excellent characteristics during final approach (as in a “sales demo”).
Flying over Albuquerque on a clear day, it may fly with excellent handling . . . just like the “hang gliders” that catch the summer thermals, and spend a lazy Sunday afternoon going out to land at Moriarty.
How often does it break? . . . That, my friend, is a touchy subject. Let’s say that “paper airplanes” don’t break. There are a list of possibilities that require “time” and “conditions” to bring all that into focus. I have my own expectations, but maybe I am totally wrong . . . time will tell.
How’s the service network? . . . Well, that’s a promise guaranteed by his majesty.
How’s the resale value? . . . That, my friend, is based on fairy tales and “tea leaves” . . . leave me out of that one!

From the beginning, I came to the conclusion that the little jet promised far more than it could deliver. And the design had gone in the wrong direction to meet those promises. The more I learned and investigated, I knew I wanted no part of this enterprise.
For a multitude of reasons that cannot be discussed on a blogsite, it is my “opinion” that many people will suffer from this enterprise. And my “plea” would be to go most cautiously, should you be tempted to take part in this enterprise.
The unfortunate part of this discussion is that much of the “proof of the pudding” may take months or years, and some very real heartache, to bring the final verdict.
But, those who fully support the “Paper Clips”, and now the “Con Jet”, cannot say that they didn’t have a “clue”.
Troll
The design of the wing attachment point, with “said bushing”, is probably based upon reliable computer-based stress analysis . . . and, hopefully, does not rely on the tight fit between “pin/bushing/and mount”. Let us hope that the “algorithm” is better than “gut feel”, as applied to almost all earlier design.
(As a side note: A bridge collapsed this last week, killing about five (according to the evening news) . . . and disrupting tens of thousands of people in the Minneapolis area. Another bridge was designed and built almost a century and a half ago . . . opening forty years before the Wright Brothers first successful powered flight. In the present context, the “Brooklyn Bridge” is most certainly a “dinosaur” . . .but it daily carries an unheard-of amount of traffic.
Hopefully, we can get back on track, with useful discussion on the technical aspects of the “Paper Clips”.
Investment in new products can go every direction, including south . . . based on emotions and the present emotions of Congress. And the discussion is worth . . . what! . . . next to nothing!
Some day, the “Paper Clips” may transport a “loved one”, with an expectation of arriving safely at destination. Based on what I know at this present time, I would be most concerned.
gadfly

gadfly said...

Correction:

The Brooklyn Bridge opened in 1883, twenty years before the Wright Brother's first successful powered flight . . . sorry about that mistake!

gadfy

(At my age, my memory sometimes faulters . . . as I was only a "kid" when all this took place.)

Ken Meyer said...

hummer wrote,

"Given the fact that the wing in EA500 was designed for less that 5000# and the gross with the airmods is at 6000#, what would be the effect of:
10% over gross
15% over gross
20% over gross.
Untentionally of course."


Good question.

The spar design of the Eclipse is interesting. Here is a picture of the main spar; it was milled from a single large billet of aluminum. The wing spars, chord-wise frames and bulkheads, among other major airframe components begin life as large billets of aluminum that are milled to remove 90-95% of the starting mass. Those parts alone require 6000 lbs of aluminum, though they wind up weighing less than 10% of that when the milling is done.

The aircraft is actually overdesigned for wing loading, much like the Mooney I once owned (take a peek at this cool picture!).

The design is, according to Commercial Aviation, "unusually stout." That was borne out during static testing when the airplane sailed through the testing procedures completing each test point successfully on the first attempt. The testing ended when the test machinery broke at 193% of the design limit load.

The wing spar issue was all about installation of a particular bushing. It was resolved long ago, and had nothing to do with the weight of the aircraft notwithstanding Old Troll's suggestion--I think Old Troll was trolling for a hot button response on that one :)

Ken

Ken Meyer said...

black tulip wrote,

"I just pulled the August issue of Business & Commercial Aviation out of the mailbox. It lists the Eclipse 500 as a ‘production aircraft’ with total variable operating costs of $555 per hour. This is $44 cheaper than the Mustang"

I didn't receive my August issue yet. I'm a big fan of B&CA, but I think maybe they didn't get the comparison numbers quite right. For a typical 600 nm flight, the Mustang block burn (according to Cessna) is 586 pph. On an identical flight, block burn for the Eclipse is 432 pph at the same altitude. At $4.40 a gallon for Jet A, that's a hundred bucks right there, so the difference in DOCs between the two obviously exceeds $44 per hour (don't forget the maintenance contract is less for the Eclipse as are the engine reserves).

As best we can tell at this point, the Mustang costs in the ballpark of 30-35% more per hour to operate than the Eclipse (that largely parallels the fuel burn since fuel burn is such a high percentage of DOCs). But you're absolutely right--both the Mustang and the Eclipse are much less costly to operate than anything else in the Citation line (or any other twin GA jet for that matter).

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I will give you this....you certainly are a font of information regarding the inside facts on the design of this aircraft. Or, at least, of the inside story as Eclipse would have it told.

Congrats on achieving so much confidence from a company that is so, well, NON-transparent....would that their Depositors and Employees should be blessed with such clear documentation as they grant you.

Oh, and lest you point out the public "availability" of your info in a snip here and a snip there, I'm quite prepared to dispute the claims as never having been independently verified.

I suggest we leave it at you're trusted with inside info. OK?
Gunner

gadfly said...

Ken

You meant your statement to show confidence in the test strength, and I’ll accept that in the spirit in which it was offered. But anyone involved in real-life testing would not be impressed . . . by a stretch. In fact, anyone involved in “ultimate strength testing” would have equipment that would not EVER fail, while testing a “specimen”. Whoever gave you that story should be run out of town on a rail.

“The testing ended when the test machinery broke at 193% of the design limit load.”

That statement, alone, should have raised a red flag . . . and cancelled all future bets.

All the other stuff . . . machining from a “solid billet” (without any explanation as to the condition of that “billet”, it’s “alloy”, it's “heat-treat” condition, it's “forged” condition, if it is forged) . . . and the demo provided by Mooney (it looks very impressive, but is a “static test”, with little relationship to the “dynamic”, and life-cycle requirements of “real life”), has not the slightest relevance to the final strength of the main spar of the Paper Clips. It may be plenty strong enough to withstand the 4.4 G requirements of a “utility aircraft”, but the hype of your statements only impresses those who do not work with metal, and “real world testing”. There are countless things that can, and do go wrong, with the best of manufacturing. A “scratch” may lead to a crack, over time . . . many things contribute to a fatigue failure. And with a “monolithic” spar, unlike a “fabricated” spar, total integrity determines “everything”.

And to put one’s life on the line, with a single machined spar is a risky business, to say the least. Yes, it is commonly done . . . but by companies that have carefully attended to the most minute detail. To this date, I have yet to see a single claim that Eclipse has conducted dynamic life-cycle testing of the airframe, let alone the main-spar machined members.

One of your friends will “remain amused”, but you should hold Eclipse’ feet to the fire on this one. Although I will never be a passenger on the little jet, on your behalf I hope you follow through on this, and many other items . . . and remain a contributor on this “blogsite” for many years to come.

gadfly

(“The testing ended when the test machinery broke at 193% of the design limit load.” . . . the people doing the testing didn’t design an adequate test fixture? . . . Amazing! . . . and extremely scary!)

mouse said...

Big Ripper,

I was with Eclipse for 21 months. There was always a push to buy things off whether it was right or not from the top. The working men and women of Eclipse would never allow this to happen, as long as they controlled the process. Intimidation was the rule of the day, however most of the rank and file were protected by the middle management.

I cannot speak of what it is like now, however the more diluted the comapny gets from the original team, and the biggert he comapny gets the easier it becomes to succumb to the battle...

The real danger and intimidation that I see is between the veryy high government officials and the FAA. This is the scary part...

mouse said...

There's no protecting ken from himself. He defends that which he knows nothing of, but runs the banner of truth with whatever crap Vern spews forth...

Ken needs to wake up and realize his best friends are those of us who he loaths the most...

You can lead a horse to water...

mouse said...

Gadfly,

normally I would agree with you on the weight isse, but the real problem is going to be in gust loading and speed related/induced stresses.

The first airplane we assembled has some real problems with stress, and it was due to some areas being too stiff and cracks forming because of this.

The landing gear, wheels and brakes, and their mounting structure was already at the maximum safe margen before the gross weight went up. I wonder where it is now?

Ken Meyer said...

gadfly wrote,

"And to put one’s life on the line, with a single machined spar is a risky business"

The Eclipse is not a single spar design. That's a basic design element one probably ought to understand before criticizing.

Some here seem to think you shoot first and think later--"denigrate then investigate." But it seems to me that's a bit backwards. Why not understand the basics of the design first before criticizing it?

Ken

mouse said...

Many of the problems will be slow to become exposed, however even minor things get big in a hurry. The brakes are marginal at best, and due to this they will be overheated almost every time the plane lands and taxis, this puts added heat into the strut (seal damage, and fluid heat damage) as the fluid breaks down corrosion forms in the lines, struts and brake system components. The added heat further degrades the pads, which now break down evern quicker and the cycle of life or death repeats itself faster.

Now that the pilot is aware of his marginal brakes he/she is more inclined to roll out longer or faster and potentially put themselves in harms way or have to brake even harder later... And so it goes...

airtaximan said...

Ken,

Your repetition of the promotional BS out of ABQ for general impression purposes has nothing to do with the specific question asked by Hummer.

Nothing.

Interesting to note that somehow, what they say in the press or to the owners-in-waiting communiques, gets applied and interpolated to answer many many specific question - that usually have nothing to do with the real substance behind the question.

Simple concrete example - the number of Dayjet order/options was sold to the owners-in-waiting and the press over the years as 229 plus 70. You applied this BS number to provide a comfort level regarding the validity of the order book... the REALITY was the Dayjet orders/options were really 1430.

How many other misapplications of BS have you made - the order book was the easiest one to get right?

Safety issues, quality issues, reliability issues, durability issues, support issues, performance issues, residual value issues, and overall good will and customer service issues are all one mired in BS.

The same BS as the Dayjet orders, the delivery dates and progress-payments... the Ej22...avio... etc..

So when someone asks a good question, regarding the design margin and the weight gain, foregive me if I laugh sadly at your references to how the spar and other parts were made from a single piece of aluminum. Its irrelevant.

Perhaps you should be thinking about the design principals used to make the bushing that failed and needed to be redesigned, or the reason fo its failure. Windows cracking, wheels and brakes under design... even the NG replacement for the avionics that did not ever work properly. Even the poor paint job and the bragging rights to 51 hours to paint the plane. Who cares? I guess you care about 51 hour...

Think about how a company does nothing about a pitot system it knows froze and malfunctioned durint flight tests - and how it ended up with a poor design to begin with?

Remeber, they spent $billions and had a few years to get the design right while they waited for a replacement engine.

..and think about all this, and Mouse's comments about how things will eventually show up... over time.

..think about the press' comments about Dayjets new planes interior falling apart, already... THIS IS THE ONE THEY INVITED THE PRESS ONBOARD, KEN. The show piece. The best.

actually, I guess I'm just saying... THINK!

Ken Meyer said...

gunner sniped,

"I'm quite prepared to dispute the [performance] claims as never having been independently verified.

I suggest we leave it at you're trusted with inside info. OK?"


No, certainly not. You're just wrong there. We have the FAA approved flight manual. And we have firsthand pilot reports verifying that the manual accurately portrays the performance of the aircraft.

Mike Press, this very day, wrote about his plane's recent performance at FL340 (yes; his plane is cleared for IFR flight and cleared for RVSM airspace):

"Climbed to FL 340 and used MCT (HSC). It flew book numbers:

ISA +13
TAS 327
pph 405lbs
5000-5500 gross weight

Smooth as rock"


All you have to do is compare his report to the AFM to confirm the performance numbers. In fact, his report shows that his aircraft, which still lacks the aeromods, is delivering slightly better than books speeds.

I suspect you'd like everyone to believe that it is all voodoo--that nobody knows what the Eclipse really does, and even if they said they did, they'd be lying. But that's just incorrect.

Despite unusually high temperatures, Mike's unmodified plane gets 327 knots on just 405 pph. That's an amazing .81 nm per pound of fuel! A CJ1 gets slightly more than just half that efficiency at the same altitude while going the same speed.

Ken

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

Ken-
Why on earth would you intentionally misquote someone by inserting the term "[performance]" in a quote when it was neither used nor inferred.

Oh, I see now. You spoke at great length of the design integrity of Le Petit. I called you on your claims (regarding DESIGN) and you needed a segway to parse Mike Press' latest report.

So you just took it upon yourself to put the term "[performance]" in my words; thus avoiding the entire challenge..and for what? Did backing up your DESIGN claims frighten you so or do they give you a checklist of talking points you have to make here each day to protect your thirty pieces of silver.

Either way, you continue to sell your Dad's name far too cheaply, I think.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

don't you get it? They used a single piece of aluminum for the main spar....

Shhheessh...

It's over-designed.

gadfly said...

Ken

Forgive me for slipping up with part of my statement seeming to indicate a “single spar” design, that was not intended. But the overall view of the “spar” (left or right, you did not indicate in your earlier comment) indicated that the failure of the testing apparatus was at 193% of design strength. So, should I assume that since the “jig” failed, testing of the other spar was not possible at that time?

My entire life as a designer, machinist, and manufacturer, has been to verify each and every product coming from my mind . . . and I can only testify to what I know from my lifetime experience.

Regardless! Think of me what you will . . . it really matters not. However, for you own longevity think it through. The wings on your little jet will not stay put based on “opinion”, but on real strength, under real conditions . . . in a “real world” with unpredictable conditions. Let’s hope that you never experience a real in-flight emergency, that comes close to maximum loads. But if you do, your arguments will count for nothing with an undertaker.

And “mouse”,

It has long been my impression that the “Eclipse” has pushed the limits of design according to “computer calculations”, with little “practical knowledge” to provide balance.

A requirement of 4.4 G’s, (or whatever), are not there with the expectation that you will ever come close, but that you will be safe, landing or flying in almost any normal, or emergency, conditions. Such loads are generally so far beyond the limits of normal flying, that even “students” flaring out and making a smooth landing, “five feet off the ground”, can walk away with both body and aircraft “in tact”.

It would appear from your statements that the Eclipse has already pushed the envelope to the limit . . . and that flying the thing after one of those landings just mentioned, without a very thorough inspection, might not be the wisest decision in your flying experience.

gadfly

Good flying to both of you . . . and may you contribute all you can to a safe future for GA. Let’s get closer to being on the same page, and center on the real issues.

Gunner said...

Gad-
You're point was neither fuzzy nor missed. It was clearly avoided in favor of an ankle bite. From Vern's own playbook: "If you must be first to the pavement, learn to be first to the ankles".

Thanks for that mini-treatise on testing; those of us who are not engineers might never have picked up on the incongruity of the claim that the test apparatus "failed" at 193.84539746% of max load. Your comments make the entire issue much more clear; and, clearly, Eclipse gears its hype to non-engineering types.

Right Ken?
Gunner

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"Why on earth would you intentionally misquote someone by inserting the term "[performance]" in a quote when it was neither used nor inferred"

Hey, sorry, Rich. I thought that you were (again) suggesting the the performance claims are unsubstantiated.

If it was actually the "unusually stout" comment regarding the design that bothered you, that wasn't an Eclipse claim. That was the conclusion of the Business and Commercial Aviation author.

But if the performance figures don't bother you, are you now prepared to concede the aircraft is actually performing according to the company's claims?

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
You've already lost the design debate pretty badly. If you'll admit to that, I'll gladly rehash the unsubstantiated "Performance Proving Run" from ABQ to GNV (again). You remember, the one that you defended here while whining on the Owners' Board about the lack of data?

Like I said, you continue to sell your Dad's name far too cheaply. But in for a penny, in for a pound, I guess.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

"But if the performance figures don't bother you, are you now prepared to concede the aircraft is actually performing according to the company's claims?"

Why is in need of aero mods, Ken?

You don't mind missed guarantees and promises...and you don't seem to mind revisionist history.

The plane missed the performance guarantees...right?

After they were revised, they missed them again, so now you require aerodynamic redesign in order to make the revised promises...

Right?

Then, there more weight coming and probably some CG issues related to changing the avionics... so perhaps after the plane is finished, we can talk about meeting "performance".

My sense is there are some additional system that might require some added weight once they are NG'd... too.

I guess we'll have to wait and see... at your cost and risk, Ken...your cost and risk...

Ken Meyer said...

gunner wrote,

"Like I said, you continue to sell your Dad's name far too cheaply. But in for a penny, in for a pound, I guess."

If you could change the performance, design and success of the Eclipse by nasty personal attacks, don't you think it would have happened already? :)

Your insistence on using cheap personal attacks serves only to illustrate how little you actually have to support your many negative claims about the plane and the company.

I provide data, facts, specifics, photos, diagrams and endless details. You provide...stupid snipes.

Ken

Gunner said...

Ken-
I've not attacked you personally; I've not sniped you. What I've done is to point up when you are busted for untruth, duplicitous statements here and on the Owners' Board and intentionally inserting words into others quotes. And, having some pride in my family name, I naturally question how you can trample your own in such manner.

OTOH, what was your last post, if not a personal attack?
Gunner

Gunner said...

Ken said:
"I provide data, facts, specifics, photos, diagrams and endless details."

Yep, and if unearned grandiosity were a crime....you'd be destined to live your next life as Vern Raburn. (But, then, you repeat yourself.) ;-)

Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

There is simply no way any one can draw any conclusions from the one data point you referenced...the structure made it to 193% of limit load before the test rig failed.

In the first place, the test needed to make it to 150% of limit load to pass the test. So the safety margin is not all that great.

Secondly, the static test article would be subjected to dozens of different tests, each simulating a condition critical to a particular structure.

Take for instance the wing, because of the chordwise air loads, positive and negative gust loads at a minimum operating weight will likely be critical for the front spar. The wing would get bent both ways.

The rear spar will likely see higher loads with a full load in the cabin with minimum fuel and pulling maximum plus/minus maneuvering g's. The wing was likely pulled in both directions to simulate this condition.

Landing with a 10 fps (limit load) sink rate at max landing weight will be critical for other areas of the structure...and so it goes.

It is like a chain, you can't draw inference from the strongest link, only the weakest, and Eclipse isn't saying what that might be.

Having said all this, I believe the airplane to be plenty strong from a structural stand point. I further suspect the strain gage readings during the static tests were sufficiently low enough to establish a decent initial fatigue life while waiting for the fatigue tests..

I also suspect the airplane is heavier than what Eclipse is claiming which will translate into not making the range-payload guarantees in the Purchase Agreement.

And at the risk of repeating myself for the upteenth time, fuel flows in the AFM are not FAA validated or approved.

EclipseOwner387 said...

OK - Enough already,

The plane is performing to book (pre-aeromod.) The plane IS IFR and RVSM. The aeromods are done but we have yet to see an independant view of those specs. Sincere individuals at Eclispe have told me the aeromods will exceed the guarantees made. Ron Lebel is set to accept his aeromod equipped airplane soon. He is a sincere and honest individual from all the forum posts I have read. Let's wait and see what he says and stop the relentless bickering on performance. I believe the performance will be as advertised and the arguments should be about the pending IOU's and other issues about the program. The endless bickering on this subject is really quite juvenile. I also think the parodies reduce the site to a juvenile quality as well. Why Stan continues to enjoy this crap and reducing his blogs credibility really makes little sense to me. But it is his blog and if he chooses this route then it is an easier argument for the Eclipse defenders. It is going against him when a known critic is now "not amused" with the parody trash. Big Griper is right. Let's keep the blog as a useful tool.

No more Moller Car stuff either. I have been in the Eclipse and I have seen what it can do. There is ZERO comparison. Let's all pick up our toys and put them back in the sandbox and play like good little children.

hummer said...

Ken. . .
When you said Mike Press was "delivering slightly better than book speeds" are you referring to EA500, part no. 06-121654, section 5, issued March 29, 2007 Preliminary?
Sorry for the deleted post but I was trying to correct an error.
BTW. . I appreciate your answering of questions on this blog. I for one have learned a tremendous amount and I don't know of any other source where I could have done this. Especially in such a short time.
Please don't take your marbles and go home. We need you Ken!

Ken Meyer said...

hummer wrote,

"I appreciate your answering of questions on this blog. I for one have learned a tremendous amount and I don't know of any other source where I could have done this."

Thanks for the kind comments.

The P/N you cited is actually the draft AFM for the aero-mod planes, so it is not applicable yet to Mike's plane. His is governed by P/N 06-100106, the approved AFM dated 9/29/06.

His plane should be modified later this year. The mod reworks a number of drag-prone areas on the plane and adds larger tip tanks. The cruise speeds go up by around 10 knots, and the NBAA IFR range goes up by about 200 nm.

Once his plane is updated, the numbers in P/N 06-121654 should be pretty close.

The company displayed two aeromod-equipped planes at Oshkosh. Starting with S/N 39, the aeromods are incorporated in all planes coming off the line (S/N 1-38 will be retrofit later this year). As EO387 pointed out, one of the earliest planes with the aeromods is slated for delivery in just a couple of days.

Ken

Stan Blankenship said...

eo387,

When any one post gets 200-300 comments, I start getting requests to start a new thread because the comment section takes a long time to load, especially for those operating off a phone modem.

So while some of the parodies may not set well with you, they do take some of the pressure off me to continually come up with something to write about.

Your comment served the same purpose the other day and I am grateful. It made a nice post and gave me more time to work on my next one.

But don't fret, I have a new one for tomorrow nite. Be careful what you wish for.

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

Did I miss something?

Are the aeromods certified?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

I was told certification was announced at Oshkosh for the aeromods. I was not there but I did report it here as info from a second hand source.

Ken Meyer said...

Stan wrote,

"Did I miss something?
Are the aeromods certified?"


Yep. The company announced the good news to customers on 7/27.

Ken

Gunner said...

EO-
I agree the Moller references can be a bit over the top; except when The Faithful quote tomorrow's promises as today's reality. When that happens, comparisons to the Moller Skycar are really quite appropriate; especially with this company's history for veracity.

BTW, can anyone provide documentation that the aeromods have been fully certified by the FAA? I'm surprised this hurdle has not received mention on the EAC website.

Gunner

andy said...

Lets review
It’s a certified airplane
As I understand it tested to normal category
Which means 4.4 G
Stan says that to certify you have to test to
150% or 6.6 G
The airplane did not fail the test rig did at
193% or 8.49 G
I think you black out at 5 G
A strong airplane is important to me and it is.

Black Tulip said...

Ken,

Regarding the August B&CA operating costs:

Total variable costs per hour:
Eclipse $555
Mustang $599

Per mile cost over 600nm:
Eclipse $1.63
Mustang $1.93

For your sake and Eclipse’ sake, I hope you are correct that B&CA has made a mistake. I would guess that fuel burn could be the only significant difference between the jets as they share many of the same components. Any supposed differences in ‘power by the hour’ programs can’t be relied on now and will eventually match reality.

Imagine that an Eclipse and a Mustang are parked on the ramp. A prospective buyer and his wife arrive to make the big decision. The wife tries the right seat of the Eclipse and then moves to the ‘cabin’; and repeats the process for the Mustang. Then she steps back on the tarmac and surveys both aircraft side by side.

The husband is overheard, “But dear, the Mustang costs eight percent more per hour to operate, costs twice as much and we can’t get one for two and a half years. We can buy an Eclipse position now and get one soon.”

"Honey, our Mooney is really a very nice airplane," the wife replied.

Black Tulip

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"I would guess that fuel burn could be the only significant difference between the jets as they share many of the same components."

While I am in general agreement with this statement, I do see some potential for Avio NG maintenence/enhancement costs to be much higher than G1000 costs. The G1000 has multiple design wins from well established manufacturers, which suggests that volume will keep these costs under control. Avio NG has one design win and volume is anyones guess, but likely much lower than the combined total of G1000's installed. This will be a great opportunity for E-clips to do some gouging on price.

WT

Black Tulip said...

Whytech,

An excellent point. I agree that avionics maintenance costs should be higher.

Plus, don't we read that the Eclipse engine has less reserve for flat rating and is running hotter?

Black Tulip

airtaximan said...

whytech,

quick question.

normally, aviation companies make planes/parts/provide maintenance etc... and try their best to turn a profit on this.

do you think e-clips is trying to do this, or do you think they are trying to make claims and promises, sell some planes, make a case for how they will meet their promises, lose money on every plane and all the low-balled service promises, and do an IPO?

-all they need are some sales, an orderbook that looks like volume is possible and a story for the rest - how they will get there...

- the other companies (dinosaures) have to make money on the products and services... while e-clips can make low ball promises on practically all costs, (plane and maintenance) and worry about it later... after the IPO.

- from the customer perspective, I can see how low maintenance costs would be important... I just don't see how a start up, with a learning curve and new employees, supporting a new plane, can make an sort of guarantee (except a BS one for sales purposes) which will be revised and revised again.

- also, if they could charge more for the plane, today, they would, no? If they could have "realistic" maintenance costs built in today,they would, right? If they did not have to exaggerate performance from the beginning, they wouldn't have, right?

So, what do you think about the "value" since practically all costs have intentionally been low-balled (jetincomplete has gone up 1/3 already from the initial promise) and all performance has been exaggerated.

What do you think about the plan? Do they really think they can stay in business at these prices for the prduct and service? Or is it really a fabricated value proposition to replace the high tech plane that was originally sold - now low cost - to try to do an IPO?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

I have enjoyed learning about the Moller program. Reminds me of a Walt Disney movie! And no, I do not have any documentation on the AeroMod cert.

WhyTech said...

ATM asked:

"or do you think they are trying to make claims and promises, sell some planes, make a case for how they will meet their promises, lose money on every plane and all the low-balled service promises,"

My best guess is that E-clips is in survival mode financially and will do/say whatever it takes to survive. If they survive, they can attempt to deal with the fallout later. If they dont survive short-term, it wont matter to any except the depositors and investors.

And:

"What do you think about the plan?"

From what I can see, the plan is predicated on an annual manufacturing volume that is north of 500 units per year (perhaps well north) and the co. has incurred fixed costs that support this volume; these costs will be difficult to shed (will take some time) if the volume does not materialize. Pretty much a "go for it" strategy, consistent with the "mazimize risk" philosophy of mgmt. Some may admire their testicular fortitude; I dont.

WT

mouse said...

Black Tulip and the rest,

The BCA data is accurate to what the OEM submits. All data is treated the same way and go throughs a very detaild formula to derive their results. There is new skewing or falsification (unless of course the OEM does not provide accurate data).

Speaking as an OEM we take Fred Georges work very seriously as this is the bible for aircraft performance and specs in the US.

Just like Conklin & DeDeckers reports, all data is put through the same series of formulas to give the most accurate and even reporting.

Ken and the rest go ballistic when they see answers that don't jive with what they're told, but it all came directly from Eclipse, Cessna, or whoever you are comparing.

In the case of non-certified airplanes there can be a big disclaimer because the plane is not completed and the information is "subject to change". In the case of a certificated airplane the data comes from the flight manuals (the approved manuals).

Don't be confused by approved manuals either. Performance is not "Approved Data" from the FAA, It is "Acceptable Data" means it is included in the manual and be used to fly the airplane and found to be "acceptable to the administrator" but it is not approved data in any way, shape or form...

mouse said...

JetCareless or JetIncomplete is a sham in the beginning for any manuafacturer that has no operation history with their planes in the hands of thier owners (not beta testing or function & reliability proving flights). During the warranty period the planes are already being covered. You pay the power-by-the-hour immediately because it is a "banked" program and needs to build up its capital. (You can't buy a million dollar insurance policy and expect it to pay off the next day... well, maybe Ken can)

Eclipse will raise their rates (they already did nit before they were even deliverying already once or twice) every time they see what it really costs to maintain their plane. The owner is stuck under contract for a year and if the rates go up and they don't like it they can bail out but guess what, they lose their money already paid in. So they keep paying and keep getting bumped.

I am not trying to talk anyone out of the power-by-the-hour, its actually a pretty accurate accounting and maintainance valuable service. And it relfects what it really takes to maintain the plane as opposed to the promises, wishes and stories.

The EA-500 will IMHO cost about 15% more to maintain than a Mustang for the first 5 years, and then it will double as the plane wears out. You don't get a lightweight airframe for free. And without accesability you can't expect quick turns in the hangar. LRU's are great, if you can get to them. If it takes :15 minutes to swap a box that's wonderful, but if it takes 2 hours to get to that box you're screwed! If it takes 2 hours, a mechanic with 4' long arms, a 28" waist, 34" shoulders, and a tool not yet invented then you get to see what its like to be an Eclipse owner someday soon...

Ken Meyer said...

mouse wrote,

"Ken and the rest go ballistic when they see answers that don't jive with what they're told, but it all came directly from Eclipse, Cessna, or whoever you are comparing."

Actually, I don't think the Eclipse number B&CA came up with is too far off--IF you factor in JetComplete. But then you're including a bunch of stuff in the Eclipse pricing that is not in the pricing for other aircraft's DOCs--Flight Planning, Concierge Services, XM weather, Jepp databases, insurance discount, fuel discount, recurrent training, etc etc.

I'm not going ballistic on the Mustang number either, but it doesn't jibe with my calculation. Show me where the error is, if you can. I used Cessna's own performance numbers, and I found that the Mustang comes out about a hundred bucks higher an hour than B&CA said.

Maybe B&CA is using a different fuel cost (I'm using the current national average for Jet A, which is $4.14). Or maybe they're using a different trip length (I'm using 600 nm). Here's the calculation for the Mustang at FL390:

Fuel at 586.5 pph = $358/hr
Pro Parts (yr 2) $71.75/hr
Power Advantage $86.56/hr x 2 engines
Pro Tech $89/hr

Total = $691.87/hr, block speed 313 KTAS

Per mile = $2.21

Here it is at FL330:

Per hour: $765
Per mile: $2.36

Now, those are still real good numbers compared to, say, a CJ3--what does B&CA say the per mile cost of that plane is?

But if B&CA is "the Bible," perhaps you'll show me where I went astray from the holy word :)

Ken

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

NinerZ-
My logic follows yours exactly. Will probably keep the Baron and fly aN SE Jet for a couple years and then make a decision on a twin. If the Eclipse concept made sense for anyone, it would for me: I don't write my aircraft off on business and seldom fly with more than one passenger and a pup. But there's a difference between "inexpensive" and "cheap".

On the subject of the SE Jet, please drop an email to eclipse@thefiringline.com We may have something to talk about.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Gad or other engineers...

What happends when you add weight (say large(r) tip tanks) all the way out there at the end of the wing?
-fatigue?
-structural issues?
- considering the cracked bushing?
..as an afterthought?

Is there a payload issue coming with the added weight from the larger tip tanks and more fuel? Or did they just pencil in a new MTOW?

ith larger tip tanks, you get increased drag, right? Would the aeromods compensate for the increased drag, AND be able to add efficiency? If so, what kind of aero optimization was done to begin with? There seems to be a lot left on the table with these little clean up issues...

Thanks

Lastly, if you knew you might have to add large tip tanks, would you put off fatigue testing until the plane was more "finished" in order to have a (more) meaningful test?

Stan Blankenship said...

ATM,

While something may show up in service, I am not concerned with any aspect regarding the Eclipse structure. It sailed thru the static test program with no failures.

What is worth watching is the CG envelope at the higher gross weight. Currently as shown on the TCDS, the range narrows at higher weights.

Eclipse has made some mods to the horizontal tail which may make it more effective and widen the range.

Once the "B" mods are certified, the new CG envelope should be on the FAA's TCDS.

As far as the "B" mod certification, what I remember reading was that the company had submitted documentation to the FAA.

As outsiders, we don't know if the FAA participated in the flight tests or whether after reviewing the data as submitted, decide what points they would like to fly.

WhyTech said...

ATM said:

"worry about it later... after the IPO."

The IPO process usually involves a somewhat carfeful due diligence effort on the part of the investment bankers/underwriters. They typically do not rely entirely on the representations of the Company, and talk to customers, suppliers, etc. The better Wall Street firms will spend some time scrubbing the order book to see which are real and which are speculative, as this is such a critical part if E-clips making their future numbers, which will also be subject to reasonablly careful scrutiny, especially since the Co. will not be profitable if an IPO is attempted in the near future.

All this said, the underwriters are potentially in line for very large commissions on an IPO and may be somewhat less than diligent in doing this work. Balancing this, their real customers are the folks they sell these securities to and these tend to be large institutional buyers who are repeat cusromers; the underwriters want these customers to do well on any securities sold to them so they will be there the next time an IPO is being marketed. This helps to keep the underwriters diligent. Still, there are backwater underwriters who will sell whatever they can to whoever they can.

WT

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

An Initial Public Offering by Eclipse Aviation would likely not be an ‘escape hatch’ for investors. Whytech has nicely reviewed issues and I’d like to tread over the same ground. Some underwriters will be more aggressive than others, but they are on the hook for some due diligence and their track record is important.

It is typical that underwriters require current investors to not sell their stock for a significant period after the IPO, a ‘lockout’. This is especially true of a startup going public, as opposed to an old-line successful operation. In any case, investors could only sell so much of their stock on any given day, based on market volume, the so-called ‘dribble rule’. Finally insiders can’t sell or set up a plan to do so if they possess material non-public information.

The offering memorandum or prospectus would contain two sections of particular interest… Use of Proceeds, and Risks. The former shouldn’t be a problem as Eclipse has shown the ability to shovel vast quantities of money at a task that others have accomplished for far less. Presumably under Use of Proceeds, it says, “I Have a Dream.”

The Risk section should be more interesting. The company has time and again taken risks that haven’t panned out. There is always a section on sole source suppliers which should be a long list. The competitive landscape has changed dramatically since the Eclipse 500 was announced. There is a whole range of viable and non-viable VLJ competitors. How does the Eclipse Concept Jet change the risks? Isn’t a good peddler supposed to only sell what he has on the wagon today?

There would also be some housekeeping involved. Didn’t we read that the company is searching for a Sarbanes-Oxley compliance manager? A private company never needs one but a company that intends to be acquired by a public company or go public does. The company would also require a board of directors willing to assume the responsibility for shareholders. ‘Fiduciary’ means being responsible for something that belongs to someone else.

Black Tulip

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"Whytech has nicely reviewed issues and I’d like to tread over the same ground."

BT has added much value to the IPO discussion with his comments. Something I should have stated in my previous post: even a minimal due diligence effort on the part of underwriters will turn up this blog, Richard A.'s writings on E-clips, and other adverse press coverage. A serious diligence effort might even include some phone conversations with selected bloggers. After reviweing this info, The "Risks" section of the prospectus will be a wonderful example of creative writing.

WT

Gunner said...

BT-
Unless Sarbanes-Oxley affected the applicable rules, there is a legal way to cash out restricted (144) stock via a vehicle known as a "Zero Cost Collar".

Basically, you "buy" puts and "sell" calls on your underlying stock, with the incoming and outgoing proceeds for the options canceling out. You settle the the positions after the restriction is removed, by using your own stock.

The result is that your value at the end of the period may be up or down from the price you acquired, but only within a window set by the puts and calls. (Thus the term "collar"). Often these can be place privately and will not affect the stock price, even if you're a major shareholder.

I know 'cuz I've seen me do it.

Bottom line on this:
If you think the (restricted) stock you own is about at its peak, you protect your downside, by giving up the upside. Neat little vehicle for those times when you come to the conclusion that "Cash is King".

I think a greater risk for Vern and company is the added civil and criminal risk ushered in under SoX. Public Executives and Boards are now under far greater threat for errors and omissions that might mislead their shareholders.

The Eclipse historic style of misleading statements to bolster its market (I'm being generous here), might survive in a private market but could place the chief execs AND Board in extreme circumstances in the Public arena.

I don't rule out the IPO for Eclipse. I simply don't see a valid reason for it, other than to cash out of a sinking ship. Were the company destined for great profitability, Vern certainly has the contacts to obtain far "cheaper", private funds than thru an IPO.
Gunner

Gunner said...

Oh by the way:
Is it only me that raises an eyebrow when he sees Vern advertise "publicly" for a SOX attorney, as opposed to simply reaching out to his Board and Investors, who could certainly locate such talent with complete confidentiality?

C'mon.
Gunner

Black Tulip said...

Thanks, Whytech.

Gunner,

I believe the 'collar' is alive and well, but doesn't it have to be disclosed?

Surely Vern could have found a SarbOx guy quietly. After all, what became of all those unemployed Y2K 'experts' after New year's came and went. They moved on to Sarbanes-Oxley.

Two time-worn definitions in closing:

Expert - Someone more than two hundred miles from home who possesses a briefcase.

Consultant - Someone who borrows your watch and sells you the time.

Black Tulip

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"I believe the 'collar' is alive and well, but doesn't it have to be disclosed?"

What the underwriters dont want to see in an IPO of a company that has yet to become financially viable is "insiders" selling, and hence the lockup. This is an underwriter imposed restriction, not a legal matter, and the collar mechinism would likely be off limits during the lockup period as well, but available the instant the lockup comes off.

WT

Gunner said...

BT-
Not certain if a collar has to be disclosed. Mine was done by Morgan Stanley back before they climbed into bed with that retail whore, DeanWitless.

The ready availability of good Sarbanes-Oxley lawyers is my point. They're not tough to find, and one doesn't put out want-ads for good in-house counsel.

More important, IPO's don't generally hire full-time SOX attorneys (I doubt even Google had one). Anybody looking to go into the public markets as an IPO or a takeover candidate hires an SEC law firm (all of who offer this expertise); perhaps even a generalized in-house counsel to handle contracts, warranties, liability claims and the like.

Eclipse advertising for an in-house SOX guy is like flying an aircraft a few minutes with engines you already know to have been abandoned. Smells of low-rent stunt stuff to me.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

OK, so the exit strategy WAS always an IPO, and they even has "pre-IPO financing" a year ago.

- How is this going to pan out?
- Why are the seeking a SarBox lawyer?

One might argue that they've been in business for 10 years and gone through $1.x billion... why not do an IPO and all our concerns and the "realities" are in the "red herring category".

On the face of it they have multi million dollar facilities, 1400 employees, $billions in sales, a certified product... and another on its way. Tons of press and PR.

Its probably enough for VErn to "risk" an IPO. Besides an underwriter like Morgan Stanley probably salivates over some Microsoft business that could be winked their way.

I think its not far off, and some of the rats have already left the ship - Barents, Reed... there will be some more... but the IPO might be nearer than you think.

Gunner said...

AT-
Read what Whytech and BT are saying again. It's not as simple for Vern as doing an IPO and ducking out with everyone else holding the bag.

Far easier to do a sell-out with Vern getting preferential treatment because of position (and talent for holding The Faithful mesmerized). But I don't think for a minute that's been the plan all along. This guy intended to build a real business; probably still does. But impatience and desperation lead to risky moves. Vern's made 'em all.
Gunner

WhyTech said...

Gunner said:

"Far easier to do a sell-out with Vern getting preferential treatment because of position (and talent for holding The Faithful mesmerized). But I don't think for a minute that's been the plan all along. This guy intended to build a real business; "

Remember: Vern wants to be Bill. Selling out wouldnt cut it.

WT

airtaximan said...

If my memmory serves me, Vern has very few shares.

Also, I do nt think any qualified company would buy e-clips. None. Furthermore, the scrutiny by a real aviation company would be much harsher than the brokerage houses. The brokers would figure out how to get it done -they are short timers.

An acquasition would be longer term, and the company is a disaster right now. I'd bet every plane is a liability. Every single one sold. Just a hunch. Both a money-loser initially plus so much on-going warantee risk, that no one would touch this thing with a 100 foot pole.

If Hawker wanted to compete, they would announce a plane and...well... compete.

Bombarider already looked... said no, and that was a long time ago when the company actually looked better, IMHO.

So, back to the sleezy wall street types - they can pass along this mess onto unsuspecting investros, easier than a take-over.

How does Raburn make out? Well, I guess he decided a long time ago he didn't care about anything much except his paycheck. Maybe he has more stock and options than I remember, but he'sll never be Gates. No way.

I think the Collier Trophy was a big deal for him - he is immortalized in the world of aviation. I cannot really imagine what else he cares about, here - except if he has a chunk of Dayjet...................................................... imagine THAT.............

mouse said...

Gunner,

Thanks for saying what I didn't several days ago. The reason for the public ad for a Sarbanes-Oxley person is to "leak" out and bolster the sales... Vern is a lot of things, some good and some bad, but for sure he is the ultimate promoter... He makes the Ringlings, Barnum and Bailey look like punks!

mouse said...

From day one, Vern had only 1 goal; to be in the history books with the Wrights, John Glenn, the Boeing 747, Etc. He planned on dumping the comapny and walking away with his fortune and his name etched in history.. no more, and no less. How Eclipse could ever pass an IPO audit without several people going to prison will be the biggest trick of all!

mouse said...

Airtaxi, look for Hawker-Beechcraft to make a move towards Adam...