E500 Reliability & Maintainability White Paper
ColdWetMackarelofReality served up some thoughts on an Eclipse 'White Paper' written in 2004 to address reliability and maintainability issues for the 500.
He described it as the 'Reliability and Maintainability Toilet Paper':
First paragraph in the document:
"This document is provided by Eclipse Aviation to provide information regarding the reliability and maintainability design of the Eclipse 500. The data and information in this publication do not constitute an offer and are subject to change without notice. Binding guarantees of the design of the aircraft are contained in the Eclipse 500 Deposit Agreement."This is not a specification document, and has no binding effect on the airplane itself - in short, it is a puff piece.
Also, note the consistent use of the present tense, including the availability of a Phased Inspection Program - in October of 2004, two years BEFORE the plane was certified (three years after it was supposed to be certified).
Careful review of the toilet paper shows the same low opinion of the customer and their experience\knowledge, it does this first by completely ignoring the existing practice (and for carriers 'requirement') of operators designing and certifying their own maintenance plans either by themselves (the airlines and larger 135 operators) or with help (CAMPS and similar) if their experience showed the Mx intervals to be too tight. Eclipse would have you believe that the dinosaurs and FAA are out to make Mx expensive when nothing could be further from the truth.
Eclipse again tries to fool the potentially unknowing customer into believing that light bulbs and prox switches are the major cost drivers for Mx - simply not so - the primary cost driver for Mx of TAA and highly integrated airliners and transport aircraft is inadequate troubleshooting resulting in 'swaptronics' (trading one box for another box when no fault can be found) due to dependencies and integrations that are either misunderstood or were never identified in the Failure Modes and Effects Analysis (FMEA) and System Safety Assessment (SSA) and Failure Hazard Analysis (FHA).
Next they suggest that MSG-3 principles were used in the design of the plane and the selection of the parts - a quick review of the track record of the flight test aircraft issues as well as the few we have already heard about from the customer fleet would seem to indicate that like many other things, Eclipse is using language that sounds good but which they do not understand. MSG-3 analysis is very specific and is intended for establishing the scheduled Mx and Servicing intervals at an appropriate level to minimize cost and damage from 'over' maintaining the aircraft, and to ensure that failures are accounted for. And contrary to Eclipse's contention, MSG-3 has 4 parts, not 2 - including Lightning and HIRF - sure hope that same commitment to excellence that gave us 150 hour windshields didn't miss that L\HIRF requirement.
They then go on to suggest that they are somehow unique in using LED's for lighting or brushless actuators - again, nothing could be further from the truth. LED lighting has been in aircraft use since before the Eclipse nightmare was a dream - Eclipse did not invent brushless actuators, and they are in use in a number of aircraft right now.
Once again we see the 'magic' baffle them with BS term LRU or Line Replaceable Unit - a term invented by military logisticians 3 or 4 decades ago. It is only impressive to the uninitiated.
The largest single piece in the toilet paper is dedicated to AVIO (TM) Total Aircraft Integration (TM) - guess they need to revise it to AVIO (TM) NfG (TM) Total Aircraft Schedule Failure (TM).
Eclipse boasts of having a Highly Accelerated Life Test (HALT) Lab - too bad that unlike a 'real' HALT lab operated by a 'real' OEM, the OEnM in Albuquerque HALT lab provided no temperature variation - like say departing PHX at 118 degrees with a direct climb to FL410 (hey it is my dream, anything is possible, just ask the Faithful) - coldsoak at altitude for 2 or 3 hours, then drop into ATL. Clearly not the same, and ignoring environmental effects when claiming HALT testing is laughable at best.
And what happened to those 'Beta' aircraft? Each of 3 was supposed to fly 1000 hours resulting in learning the initial problem areas BEFORE customer deliveries. The entire program, including the original Williams powered version, plus the abomination with the non-man rated cruise missile turbojets, AND the test fleet had less than 3000 hours when certifications was celebrated (prematurely).
And lastly, the LRU based Mx concept that the toilet paper suggests, will drive costs higher, not lower, due to the complexity of the integration. This company has not solved any of the major challenges before them and it is a safe bet that no number of software engineers (at the airplane NON-manufacturer) can possibly have envisioned all the different failure modes that HAL will come up with.
'Open the pod bay doors HAL'
'I'm sorry Dave, I can't do that, but you know I have the highest regard for you and the crew and am committed to the success of the mission.'
Thank you coldfish for the excellent analysis.