Wednesday, November 07, 2007

From airtaximan

Redtail,

I think Cessna is really satisfied with their program and their product, as well as how sales are going for the Mustang. Hundreds of real customers seem to be, too.

But I guess these idiots at Cessna could have priced the plane to sell 500 a year... but there risk in that decision. A lot of risk.

They might have developed their own avionics, as well... but why? There's risk in that decision.

Perhaps they could have forayed into a novel construction method... but there's risk in that decision, too.

Perhaps they could have designed plane around a tiny NASA experimental engine, and launched in 1998? There's risk in that decision, too.

Maybe you should re-look at how you characterize the Mustang, and revisit the $1.x billion house of cards you call a jet program at e-clips?

Everything e-clips has done was easily copied by a major company, IF it made sense.

Cessna and Textron have their BRANDS to consider. Guess what the Eclipse BRAND has come to mean... see the characterization of the in the Award article. That's what their penchant for risk has gotten them. Nothing anyone in aviation, or at Cessna/Textron would ever stand for. In fact, the entire VLJ segment is being colored a sick shade of BROWN, due to Eclipse.

Cessna was smart a year or so ago to distinguish the Mustang from the VLJ moniker, and call it the entry level Citation.

293 comments:

1 – 200 of 293   Newer›   Newest»
gadfly said...

One of the risks, of course, was the decision to use “friction stir welding” . . . and the risk was recognized by Eclipse early on. In fact, in a side search this morning, I came across the following:

http://www.niar.wichita.edu/media/pdf/nationalpublication/Nov2-06.pdf

Eclipse is listed as a “client”, so they must have been concerned about the study.

This paper deals with “exfoliation corrosion”, and emphasizes the need for artificial aging, after the “FSW” process. The artificial aging process involves heating the welded area at temperatures in the region of 225 F (for 100 hours) to 325 F (for 2 to 4 hours) (temperatures and time vary with alloy), to improve the exfoliation resistance in the weld zones.

Here is the question:

Is this artificial aging process carried out by Eclipse? Somehow, I do not recall any reference to “ovens” of a size large enough to accommodate wing and/or fuselage sections for “soaking” at these elevated temperatures.

It would appear that this could be a major concern of the “dinosaurs”, when they chose not to use “FSW”, and stayed with “rivets”.

gadfly

(The “paper” is well worth the “read”, for any who work with high-strength aluminum alloys. And another follow-up of interest is:

http://www.casa.gov.au/airworth/papers/rustydiamond.pdf

Pay special notice to page 15.)

planet-ex said...

Add .pdf to that URL.

Black Dog said...

http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/2007/11/07/219203/pictures-first-easa-certificated-citation-mustang-delivered.html

Looks like the mustang has a boot on the leading edge of the vertical tail.
I don't believe the Eclipse has anyone any thoughts as to why?

flightguy said...

black dog,

It's rather simple. Cessna performed the tests and learned that the needed to add them for certification. Eclipse has not made it that far yet with the new regs.

Shane Price said...

ATman has hit the nail on the head.

RISK

Can I add two of my own?

Oll at $98 and heading north.

The dollar at $1.47 to the Euro and heading south.

Vern's timing is awful. His business plan is awful. But to hit a recession at this time in a 'new business cycle' can only be described in one word.

Fatal.

Go back to the excellent review by ColdWet in the last thread about Epic and what they have been up to. Compare it with Eclipse.

Which progam has managed the 'start up' risks better?

Shane

Redtail said...

Black Dog said... Looks like the mustang has a boot on the leading edge of the vertical tail.

The Mustang also has boots to the root of the wing. Many Critics here have blasted Eclipse for this over concerns of ice ingestion. I guess critics can be wrong.

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

Gadfly

interesting article on stir welding.

re your point about artificial ageing.

Looks a bit like between a rock and a hard place to me.To improve corrosion resistance its beneficial to artificially age harden the alloy to T7 but this in turn makes the structure brittle.

did it say in the article that they had done any fatigue testing on the samples?

I wouldn't be to happy with a brittle pressurised structure.

airtaximan said...

I'm certain there's a good reason why e-clips is now lookng at novel technologies to inspect such issues as welds in structure over time...

scratch...scratch...

airtaximan said...

redtail:

"The Mustang also has boots to the root of the wing. Many Critics here have blasted Eclipse for this over concerns of ice ingestion. I guess critics can be wrong."

Smaller engines ahve BIGGER roblems chewing ice, in general. Everyone CAN be wrong.

No boot on the E-clips tail? Why? Too draggy? Too costly?

I can envision a situation where this would NOT be amusing.

Then again, they somehow certified an unfinished plane, and it was good enough for them... perhaps they can nudge THIS past the FAA as well?

Safety, and quaility first you know.

Lemmus Eclipsus said...

airsafetyman said...

“ … No anti-ice, no deice, no thrust reversers, no anti-skid, no ground flaps, no spoilers, no autopilot to speak of, no weather radar, … “


and later …

“ … I am, however, embarrassed that the aviation regulatory agencies of my country haven't shut them down. Yet.”

Sounds like “air-scaredy-pants-man” to me. Do YOU really need all of those things to fly?

Uncle Sam … Uncle Sam … shut them down, shut them down … cuz pilots are flying airplanes without electronic crutches … we have to protect the women and children from such blasphemy.

Let me check my log book … over 14 years of flying night, all-weather flights (including icing, tropical storms, trans-oceanic, etc.) without any of those things.

OK, they don’t work, or don’t work as well as they should …

We had a statement for pilots the needed systems to help them with everything ... "shut up and fly the airplane or get out of the left seat !

airsafetyman said...

"We had a statement for pilots the needed systems to help them with everything ... "shut up and fly the airplane or get out of the left seat !"

If you think wx radar is an luxury or anti-skid and thrust reversers are not needed on a short, icy runway, you are a complete idiot. I wasn't flying myself, I was flying passengers. With your attitude you are lucky you haven't killed someone. There are several names for someone with your attitude; "pilot" is not one of them.

gadfly said...

Black Dog

It’s too early to determine, whether over time, the brittleness versus strength issue is resolved. Aluminum is a complex mix of delaying the inevitable. The “dinosaurs” have wisely maintained a conservative safe approach.

This thing about artificial aging is no simple thing . . . and not something that just came up with the little jet. When the Japanese first invented the “70xx” alloys, back in the late 1930's, it was not terribly important . . . as the A6M (Zero) and other high-performance military aircraft didn’t have to last for decades.

There is a fine balance in heat-treating, between obtaining maximum strength, yet “relaxing” the alloys into a state where internal stresses do not create the brittleness of which you speak. With steel, we “temper” the high-strength alloys by “soaking” them at moderate temperatures, after “quenching”, just enough to remove the internal stresses, with a minimal loss of the high-strength properties. We speak of things like “hardness”, and “toughness” . . . attempting to achieve the best of both worlds.

Aluminum is a most difficult animal . . . highly reactive to various chemical environments, etc. Aluminum is almost never found as a pure metal in the natural world, even though it is one of the most plentiful elements. So, in exotic alloys, many things will contribute to its own demise. In its commercially pure form, “1100", it’s a stable material. And in aircraft, such as the DC3, and many others, the low-strength alloys have given excellent service and longevity.

A way to visualize aluminum sheet metal, is to picture layers of metal flake, flat chips, all generally stacked like “pancakes”. Certain alloys have been added . . . like bits of “grit” that prevent the layer of flakes from sliding on each other. Once in place, everything seems to work . . . mechanically locked together. Then, along comes some water, creating an electrolytic process . . . and the various elements begin to work like miniature batteries, “cells”, and degrade . . . causing a separation of the “crystals” and “flakes” . . . and turning the mix into a powder, with no further practical strength.

The “dinosaurs” have long treated aluminum, in all forms, with great respect . . . and never with the attitude that might be used with, say, “A36" steel (common structural steel). Iron, copper, etc., is mentioned in the book of Job, the oldest book in the Bible . . . stretching back almost 4,000 years. Even “steel” is old by comparison. Aluminum, in a practical form, is less than two hundred years old . . . is still an exotic material, by contrast. Regardless of the claims of many, aluminum must be protected, and does not easily conform to our wishes.

The slightest defect, in welding, or cracking, allows moisture to intrude deep into the aluminum alloy, which by its very nature, is a collection of various elements that create electrical currents, that tear apart the molecular bonds . . . and are self destructive. High-strength aluminum alloys are a collection of electrolytic “cells”, ready and eager for self destruction. The trick is to prevent all of that, while making use of their great strength and light weight. So, various methods such as “anodizing” and “Alodyne” are used to prevent these self-destructive processes. Heat, as in “FSW”, are enemies to the protection methods. This is nothing new . . . and has been addressed by Eclipse. The problem is that only time will reveal the success or failure of their efforts. And time is not in their favor.

‘Too much for further discussion . . . but ‘hope that there is enough for anyone to respect the difficulties of designing, and working, with aluminum alloys. The “stir-fried” method is flirting with dangerous issues. Maybe in time it will be well understood, and might, in time, be a safe method of aircraft manufacture . . . but in my opinion, “not yet”!

gadfly

(If someone wants an easy answer, look elsewhere . . . building a "jet" is dealing with physical laws at an exponential rate . . . and nothing is "easy".)

Lemmus Eclipsus said...

And while I’m here …

“airtaximan” said:

“… Smaller engines ahve [sic] BIGGER roblems [sic] chewing ice, in general. Everyone CAN be wrong.”

Not always the case ATMan. Resiliency to ice impact is a function of several physical and aerodynamic functions. Historically, P&W engines are ice eaters. You also assume that ice shed from that section of the wing root will wind up in the engine. Got some CFD data you're not sharing with the sandbox?

and then:

No boot on the E-clips tail? Why? Too draggy? Too costly?

Maybe the lateral/directional stability of the Eclipse 500 can accommodate the level of ice accumulation required for FIKI certification.

Maybe you should comment on the Mustang’s ventral strakes as well. Aerodynamics 101 says they are there to fix a bad tendency, or to boost weak inherent stability.

They generate drag, and certainly cost money. I'm sure old Mustang Jack knows that, even with his fake college degrees.

and finally:

I can envision a situation where this would NOT be amusing.”

Thank goodness someone can. Now we can all sleep better.

Lemmus Eclipsus said...

If you think wx radar is an luxury or anti-skid and thrust reversers are not needed on a short, icy runway, you are a complete idiot. I wasn't flying myself, I was flying passengers. With your attitude you are lucky you haven't killed someone. There are several names for someone with your attitude; "pilot" is not one of them.

Touch a nerve there ATMan?

Actually they are luxuries … because competent pilots use them, but do not depend upon them. If you cannot complete the mission with a basic airplane, you shouldn’t be flying it.

You’re right, I am an idiot. Turns out that I have never attempted to land on an icy runway that was too short to stop should the anti-skid, spoilers, etc. not work. There was that time north of the Arctic Circle landing in nearly a foot of snow … but, hey, call me crazy … it was land or eject.

You are, again, correct that there is another word on my sheepskin just ahead of “pilot” … here’s a hint … four letters, begins with “T” and ends with “t”. Spin the wheel!

I know that I have the bona fides for this discussion.

airtaximan said...

not me, check again....

airtaximan said...

lemmus,

"Maybe you should comment on the Mustang’s ventral strakes as well."

high angle of attack issues, as with lears, etc... you know nothing if you do not kow this.

I'll tell you something, though... if you knew what you were talking about, you would not have made the comment about either the Mustang strakes, or the Eclipse engine FOD tolerance issues.

All I said was smaller engines would have more of an issue with ice. Sorry, if it touched a nerve, but perhaps you know more about what is coming at eclipse than the rest of us?

In the past, when things that were fairly simple took way too long, there was a simple explanation - like the system was placed in the garbage, and a new system was required.

Perhaps this is the new boots? To fix an "installation problem" which resulted in deflation issues?

Those strakes on the Mustang really bother me now!

airsafetyman said...

"If you cannot complete the mission with a basic airplane, you shouldn’t be flying it."

Well, maybe you can go down to Florida and show the guys at DayJet how to penetrate lines of thunderstorms without weather radar. Then you can go up to Chicago and give lessons in flying in known heavy icing without anti-ice or de-ice. Gotta complete that mission, or you shouldn't be flying the airplane, remember? You wouldn't be related to the B-52 pilot that crashed and killed himself and crew while doing mornic stunts in practice, would you? I sense the same attitude.

gadfly said...

Lemmus

How ‘bout that! You made a simple mistake. You confused two people in your rage. For whatever it’s worth, I confused these same two folks not long ago, and had to apologize.

Yes, we appreciate the fact that you can smell (sic . . . spell) . . . all that is fine and dandy. It’s easy to insult by innuendo . . . but let’s cut to the chase.

You may be an excellent pilot . . . none of us were “there” when you came in, greeted by a foot of snow, way up north (or was it south, I forget) . . . and we’re glad you lived to tell the story. Many of us can tell some great stories of near misses . . . that are best reserved for the “grand kids”.

But back to the “little jet”, and its design. “Ventral Strakes” . . . exist on many aircraft . . . and the equivalent on submarines, for that matter, but not always for bad reasons.

Almost the first thing that caught my eye, when I first saw the “little jet” was the sudden change in contour, on the vertical stabilizer leading edge fairing . . . and then the leading edge of the wing root. And I thought to myself, “Whoever designed this thing does not understand simple facts concerning exponential aerodynamic drag.” And then there was the “effective” forward sweep of the wings. (Yes, I know that the claim is that they are “straight”, but as has already been discussed, they are effectively a “forward sweep” . . . great for low speed control, provided the wing is absolutely stiff, but not a great design for higher velocities and CG limitations.) Then, when fuel tanks were added to the wing-tips . . . it was obvious that the “little jet” was experiencing a series of “band-aid” fixes.

All that, combined with a fuselage, that had no provision for extension on future versions . . . well, what more is there to say . . . although, the list is extremely long. It was being designed and built by committee . . . or worse, by political expediency, and panic. That just about brings us up to the present.

gadfly

airtaximan said...

"If you cannot complete the mission with a basic airplane, you shouldn’t be flying it."


ASM, with all due respect, I think you meant:

"If they cannot complete the basic airplane, you shouldn't be flying any mission in it"

Dan Swanson said...

I do know that the de-icing system was chosen on the Eclipse when they were still planning to use the Williams engines. When they switched to the Pratt engines, the position of the engine was changed. I will not claim that I know what the airflow looks like around the Mustang and Eclipse engines, but it sure LOOKS like the Eclipse engines are more affected by the wing airflow.
As far as the tail on the vertical stabilizer, this could be a lot of things. For instance Cessna passed the FIKI with the C-404 without the boot. Later in service they decided to include it. The airplane with the boot is barely noticeably better in ice. (At least with both engines running...)

WhyTech said...

lemmus said:

"We had a statement for pilots the needed systems to help them with everything ... "shut up and fly the airplane or get out of the left seat !"

lemmus, you da man! You must need a wheelbarrow to carry your cojones. You are right - all technological advancement in aviation beyond the DC-3 and radio range has been wasted.

WT

FlightCenter said...

Alexa said,

"N156DJ happens to be assigned and appears to be owned by Eclipse (sn73). The FAA does not show any transfer of SN73. Another major conspiracy I’m sure.

Just because the tail number ends in DJ doesn’t mean its owned or intended to be owned by DayJet"

Alexa,

All the E500 aircraft in the FAA registry database show as registered to Eclipse before the registration is transferred to the final owner.

Seems to make sense, Eclipse owns the aircraft and then sells them to their customers. So they have to be registered to Eclipse first.

As an example, lets look at N142DJ (serial #56). This currently shows (like serial #73 from your point above) as registered to Eclipse in the FAA registry database.

However, the FAA "in process" website shows that Eclipse submitted the paperwork to transfer registration to DayJet on 10/31.

As an aside, Eclipse submitted paperwork to the FAA saying that they had started production of 142DJ on 5/21/2007. According to FAA records, that aircraft spent 5 months in production.

FAA Registry
N142DJ Inquiry Results


FlightAware shows that 142DJ arrived in GNV 6 days ago.
Live Flight Tracker > N142DJ

Since the FAA records show that Eclipse started production of serial #73 on 10/18/2007, I agree with you that it is too early to say with 100% certainty who will end up owning that bird.

But this is Eclipse's build plan.

Serial 71 = 152DJ
Serial 72 = 153DJ
Serial 73 = 156DJ
Serial 74 = 158DJ

It is hard to draw any other conclusion from this plan than that serial #73 is intended to be delivered to DayJet.

FlightCenter said...

lemmus said,

“ … over 14 years of flying night, all-weather flights …without any of those things.”

“We had a statement for pilots the needed systems to help them with everything ... "shut up and fly the airplane or get out of the left seat !”

But here is what the FAA said two weeks ago…

FAA Exceeds Annual Goal for GA Safety

"The FAA’s goal was to have no more than 331 fatal general aviation accidents during the 12 months ending Sept. 30. The actual number was 314. Fatalities in general aviation accidents also declined significantly, from 676 in fiscal 2006 to 564 in fiscal 2007. For these calculations, “general aviation” includes not only privately flown planes but also non-scheduled air taxi flights.

“This record is due to a dedicated commitment to safety by everyone in general aviation,” said FAA Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Nicholas A. Sabatini. “In particular, manufacturers are providing sophisticated technology like GPS and glass cockpits — and the training to go with them — and the FAA is vigorously encouraging adoption of these safety enhancements.” [Emphasis added]

The FAA believes that advanced technology is reducing fatalities and backs that up with numbers that show 17% fewer fatalities due to the latest in safety technology.

Like you, I safely flew all weather flights for 20 years without any of these systems.

But I also drove safely without airbags for the first 25 years of car ownership. But today, I won't accept delivery of a car without airbags, 4 wheel drive and electronic stability protection. Why? Because I can't drive safely without them? Of course not.

Same goes for flying. I wouldn't accept an aircraft without those advanced systems because they save lives and increase the probability that this pilot will have the privilege of becoming an old pilot.

andy said...

FC,
First let me thank you for your spreadsheets keeps me from doing the same work.
I find it amusing that you list 4 wheel drive as a safety item
How so?
And you don't mention antilock brakes the best safety item to come along saved my butt more than once
Some how I see this as typicial for the critics on this site missing what is in plain sight.

Turboprop_pilot said...

Andy:

All cars with ESC have anti-lock brakes (a subsystem required to make the ESC work)so FC wasn't "missing what is in plain sight". FC and I also live where it snows and all wheel drive is a big safety factor.

TP

WhyTech said...

andy said:

"I find it amusing that you list 4 wheel drive as a safety item"

4 wheel drive (actually more properly full time all wheel drive, not to be confused with old fashioned Jeep style 4 wheel drive), especially when combined with electronic stability management, is a huge when it comes to enhancing safety. Some of the safest, highest performance cars on the planet utilize this approach. And the benefits are not limited to slippery pavement or off road use. Vehicle handling/dynamics are improved across the board. Ultimate example: Porsche 997 Turbo.

WT

Shane Price said...

Andy,

'Plane' sight, I think you mean.

What is missing off the Eclipse, at present.

1. Avionics. The list is long, but starts at the top. Vern has decided to dump what's in the 'current' aircraft and REPLACE EVERYTHING....

AND...

2. Flight Into Known Icing. Pretty useful to have, especially in Europe.

Shane

ExEclipser said...

Boy, THIS guy has a beef!!!

"Peelarat", the poster of the blog at the link above is most certainly disgruntled (even though he says he's not in his post). He likes to go to other blogs and bad mouth DayJet. The rhetoric is almost identical in THIS thread and THIS post.

He could have a legitimate concern over the financial issues of the company, but judging by his grammar and his vitriol, I doubt that he has CFO knowledge with regards to the financial well being of the company.

His comments with regards to the actual flying experience have been repudiated by just about every single person that has reported on the experience. It's common knowledge in the customer service arena that if you have a bad experience, you tell 10 people and if you have a good experience you may tell two. With the amount of news coming out lauding the merits of this service and the only real detractor by this disgruntled exemployee, I would have to conclude that DayJet is winning.

rcflyer said...

shane price said,

"1. Avionics. The list is long, but starts at the top. Vern has decided to dump what's in the 'current' aircraft and REPLACE EVERYTHING...."

Shane, that's just not true. Let's look at the list of Avio components that were NOT replaced as a result of firing Avidyne:

Aircraft Computer Systems (ACS)
FADEC
Autopilot
Autopilot Control Panel
Integrated Sensor Suites
(AHRS, Mag Azimuth, GPS)
Airdata System
(Airdata Computers, Pitot/AOA)
Data Entry keyboard
Electrical Power Distr. System
(ECBs, Electronic Bus Contactors)
Smart Actuators
(Gear, Flaps, AP, AT)

R.C.

airtaximan said...

Execlipser,

yes- I had the same thought when I read his second post. It sounds so much like his original complaint on the complaint site.

He sounds like an Eastern Block "ant farmer", or "rocket scientist"

;)

Shane Price said...

RCFlyer,

Sorry, I was a bit over the top.

However, from an 'outside' perspective, Eclipse would have you believe that Avio NG was so far ahead of the game that nothing else comes close.

If so much remains, it makes you wonder why the aircraft will take 'at least 10 days' to have the upgrade done.

Shane

Ken Meyer said...

Hey guys, you're still missing the big picture. Here it is:

They're making lots of these planes. And people like 'em because they fly beautifully and they're efficient to operate. This pilot's comment summarizes it nicely (and he's not even the owner):

"I enjoy flying this plane so much...It is hands down the EASIEST plane I’ve ever flown - to LAND. I’m waiting to screw up one of my landings to see what it feels like !! So far we’ve had the plane for 2 months—and honestly—it works great, flies great, and seems to be VERY reliable!"

Ken

JetProp Jockey said...

Relative to the commtents by the Ex-Dayjet employee.

I don't think the problem with DayJet will be dissatified customers - the problem will be the number of customers. To get good service relative to schedule, you will be paying 3 to 4 $ per mile, which is pretty salty. If you elect the $1 option, the schedule won't work for a business person.

The irony, is that if demand really takes off, the real waiting time for $1 trips could get short enough to make it worth taking a chance on scheduling the big window, but actually getting on a plane pretty quickly.

Time will tell, but the real time savings are not nearly as great as the 5 hours of driving vs. 1 hour of flying. The 5 hours of driving is from home to customer. The one hour of flying does not address the time to drive from home to the dayport, wait for a plane, arrive an airport that is some distance from an ultimate destination, rent a car and finally get there.

I find it hard to believe that in any case the total time from home to destination can be ANY less then 3 hours using DayJet probably closer to 4 hours assuming the high price oprion.

Ironically, I face the same situation when I fly to my daughters house which is just short of an hour flight in my JetProp. Driving time is 4 1/2 hours. Flying takes me about 3 hours house to house and requires my daughter to drive to the airport to pick me up. Costs me 80 gal of JetA or about $350. (round trip). Driving costs me $80 in gas (round trip).

Why do I fly - because I love to fly and can afford the price tag.

People who charter or use air taxi's don't get to fly the airplane - they just pay the bill.

JetProp Jockey said...

Ken said:

Hey guys, you're still missing the big picture. Here it is:

I think you are missing the big picture. Assuming the Eclipse gets the avionics and icing bugs worked out, the E-500 will be a great airplane for the wealthy owner operator.

The problem is there is not a market for 500 or 600 owner operators that can afford a 1.5MM aircraft that requires the owner operator to have +/- $100,000 in operating costs and are able to meet the ATP standards of the Type Rating.

ExEclipser said...

I understand your principle, JetPropJockey, but I think the market is there. It's no coincidence that the World headquarters for DayJet is in Boca Raton - one of the highest concentrated centers of wealthy individuals in the United States, perhaps next to LA & NYC.

One thought process is that wealthy people are wealthy because they are frugal. Why buy a G550 even if you can afford one when you can get an EA500 for 1/30th the price? For short hauls, I've seen big CEO's sacrifice comfort for productivity. Funny thing is that you're not hearing a lot of problems with the comfort level of the EA500. I'd rather sit in an EA500 for 2 hours than a CRJ for the same flight ANY day!

sparky said...

RC saic:

"Shane, that's just not true. Let's look at the list of Avio components that were NOT replaced as a result of firing Avidyne:

Aircraft Computer Systems (ACS)
FADEC
Autopilot
Autopilot Control Panel
Integrated Sensor Suites
(AHRS, Mag Azimuth, GPS)
Airdata System
(Airdata Computers, Pitot/AOA)
Data Entry keyboard
Electrical Power Distr. System
(ECBs, Electronic Bus Contactors)
Smart Actuators
(Gear, Flaps, AP, AT)"

RC, let's take a look at that list.

1.) ACS. Just what t do you think avio and avio ng are. this IS the aircraft computer system.

2.) FADEC. This, i believe is the only thing on the aircaft not affected by the change.

3. Autopilot. where do you think the autopilot is getting it's input? why do you think the autopilot is severely limited in it's functionality?

4. autopilot control panel.Don't think this was part of the avio system. should be s-tec's, i believe that's who's doing the autopilot.(could be wrong here, oing from memory)

5.) Integrated sensor suites. sure they stay, but without the proper code to run and interperate the data they're balast. this code is part of the avio and the aviong. so yeah, they're effected.

6.) Air data system. where do you think these systems dump their data? I'll give you a hint, it starts with "a" and ends in "viong"(actually, it ends in bankruptcy)again, balast without the means of data management.

7.) electrical power distribution system. Wiring harnesses and circuit breakers don't really count as avionics. again, balast without a means of controling them.

8.) smart actuators. deffinately not avionics. I don't know if i'd brag about these, were'nt they failing at a highly excelerated rate.

your main argument seems to be that just because you cut somebodies head off, they still have all their organs. That may be true, but like the systems mentioned above, they're completely worthless without the brin to run them.

airtaximan said...

Ken:

That's the "little picture"

Ken Meyer said...

Jetprop wrote,

"The problem is there is not a market for 500 or 600 owner operators that can afford a 1.5MM aircraft that requires the owner operator to have +/- $100,000 in operating costs and are able to meet the ATP standards of the Type Rating."

There doesn't have to be such a market.

Many of the Eclipse owners I know aren't pilots at all. I had a long talk with one of them just the other day--he doesn't want to fly it; he wants to fly in it.

Then you have a growing list of fractional companies that see the merit of being able to offer affordable jet transportation to a growing market segment of people fed up with the airlines but not rich enough for conventional jet fractional ownership.

Then you have all the new charter companies that can offer charter to a new segment of the population.

Then you have the eastern Europeans. I just heard an amazing statistic demonstrating that Eclipse 500 sales to Europe, particularly eastern Europe are taking off.

In the end, how they make their sales is their problem, and they've done mighty well solving it so far. Time will tell, but if I were you, I wouldn't count on Eclipse stumbling because of lack of interest in their product. Ain't gonna happen.

Ken

airtaximan said...

execlipser,

"Why buy a G550 even if you can afford one when you can get an EA500 for 1/30th the price?"

Yesterday, somene said, don't compare the e-500 to a Mustang... now we are comparing it to a G550?

Reminds me of a scene from the movie Breakfast Club:

"Brian: I'm in the physics club.
Bender: Excuse me a sec. What are you babbling about?
Brian: Well, what I said was that I'm in the math club, the latin club and the physics club.
Bender: Hey, Cherry, do you belong to the physics club?
Claire: Thats an academic club.
Bender: So?
Claire: So, academic clubs aren't the same as other kinds of clubs.
Bender: But for dorks like him, they are. What do you guys do in your club?
Brian: In physics, well, we talk about physics... properties of physics.
Bender: So its sort of social. Demented and sad, but social, right?

ExEclipser said...

Let's not forget the previous failed venture that Vern was involved in.

No one would be interested in buying a personal computer. They're too expensive, and besides, who would want to abandon the abacus?

Markets aren't always waiting on a product. Products can wait for the market to form. If you build it, they will come.

ExEclipser said...

ATM: It was an exercise in extremes.

Buffet doesn't even personally own a plane (not that NetJets would actually turn him down for a flight).

Shane Price said...

Ken,

It's not called Eastern Europe for nothing.

Over here, we call it New Europe, when we're trying to be polite and Bandit Country when we're in private.

I would hate to be the Eclipse sales executive who fell short on a deal for some 'nice man in Moscow'.

The rich people there have short tempers...

.... and big bodyguards!

Shane

airtaximan said...

"Many of the Eclipse owners I know aren't pilots at all."

If by owners, you menas "owners-in-waiting" - you are probably referring to the 170 or so "speculators" that have already SOLD their positions/planes... plus the 35% of the "owners" that received their e-500s already that are currently trying to sell their planes on Controller alone?

Pretty sad.

Your comment regarding " I wouldn't count on Eclipse stumbling because of lack of interest in their product. Ain't gonna happen." Could be correct, as it might be gonners before delivering even a few hundred planes, and you can say see... there was still "interest" from X (you would claim at least 2500)people who paid but did not get a plane from E-clips. So, you could be right.

If they deliver a few hundred planes quickly, without Dayjet succeeding (one customer, more than 1/2 the order book, now selling planes on Controller as well, instead of taking delivery) - there will not be enough demand for sustained production capacity or profitability.

After 10 years and $1.x billions, and terrific press coverage, full page ads, Giant booths at the shows, tours, bus bill boards and all the sales and marketing pressure you could ever want, they still only have around 1,000 orders/options, plus Dayjet, plus Euro-Ed.

This is the real BIG picture.

Shane Price said...

Exe,

If Microsoft were so successful, why did Vern leave? Maybe, he was pushed....

Also, last time I looked, you could get a PC for the price of a good meal.

The same league as a private jet? Not even close.

Shane

ExEclipser said...

Hmmm - Don't know how you figure 170 positions/planes resold, but here's an interesting point. Say that's right. There are 170 new position holders/owners from the spec market.

That's pretty cool!

Turbine Power said...

Airtaximan said, "Pretty sad."

What I think is sad is people like you consantly bellyaching about the plane for no apparent reason.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Plenty of other people do like the plane and are buying them in record numbers.

Why do you feel compelled to tell everybody else in the world that your point of view is the only one that can be correct.

It's an illness, right?

airtaximan said...

execlipser, sorry, man - I do that sometimes, too.

Buffet owns a G550 as a fractional owner, I believe. He used to anyway, before he bought the company!

We seem to forget that fractional ownership IS ownership, on this blog, sometimes. Its just another way to own the right plane, for the right amount of useful time, under professional management.

Like Ken says, folks don;t always want to pilot, they want to fly in it. Guess what? The schemes for cheap ownership via fracional, club, sharing etc... all exist with other planes, as well. The programs for e-clips are no cleaper, except most of the "plans" have two components that are ficticious:
1-promised part 135 revenue flowing to the owner, yet to be seen.
2-operations with no accounting for a "core fleet" based on the "theory" that the planes are not in use 95% of the time, so when an "owner" wants it, its available. The fractional companies (the real ones) all have core fleets, and all have spplimented their fleets with charter during peaks. The promise is only believeable to the "uninitiated".

These would be Ken's guys who "want" to fly in it. I believe they will be swimming in it, but "it" aint no plane.

airtaximan said...

TP,

sorry man... don;t like the blog? Don't come here...

We've been down the road - my opinion is just that.

Enjoy!

rcflyer said...

sparky said,

"1.) ACS. Just what t do you think avio and avio ng are. this IS the aircraft computer system."

Sparky, despite your nom-de-blog, you apparently don't understand the Avio architecture.

There are two Aircraft Computer System (ACS) units. They are computers with digital inputs and outputs. They are arranged in a redundant configuration, so that if one fails, the other can take over all functions.

The ACS hardware is manufactured by Autronics, a Curtiss-Wright compnay.

The ACS software was written in-house, by Eclipse Aviation programmers, and certified by the FAA.

The change to AvioNG has necessitated no changes to the ACS, nor, as far as I know, to any of the other components I mentioned in my earlier post.

All of the signals in the airplane (with the exception of autopilot commands to servos) flow through the ACS. It is the heart of the Avio system. I know, I know, someone will now comment on "all of your eggs in one basket", but there are two of the things, and they are powered by multiple busses, which are powered by two batteries and two generators. To keep the pilot in the loop, the left ACS has a manual circuit breaker (one of only 10 manual breakers) powering it.

The ACS process the input and operate all of Avio. When you move the flap switch, the ACS gets the input from the switch, and sends the commands to the four flap servos, while monitoring their output for a split flap or overload condition.

The main part that was replaced, the PFD and MFD screens, just act as clients. They display output from the ACS, and allow the pilot to control certain aircraft functions, but the ACS is the one taking the actions.

I'm not trying to minimize the complexity of the displays, because their processors have a lot of work to do. The MFD has to display all of the synoptic screens, and accept user input to work the systems. The MFD processor is also where the FMS will be implemented in later AvioNG releases. In addition, the PFDs also can operate in composite mode, where they can perform all of the vital MFD functions as well as acting as an EFIS.

The Avidyne displays also contained radios (each contained a COMM, a NAV, and a transponder), as well as an audio panel. These have been replaced by discreet components, but they all have digital interfaces, so the work to integrate them is fairly minor compared to the rest of the software job.

I could go on about Avio, but I'd probably just bore you even further. It's an elegant architecture. The implementation of that architecture has, so far, fallen short of realizing its ambitious goals. In my opinion, this has been due to Eclipse's poor handling of an inadequate vendor, Avidyne. I've talked to some of the IS&S people and their contractors, and I think Eclipse finally has the right people for the job.

R.C.

airtaximan said...

execlipser,

"There are 170 new position holders/owners from the spec market.

That's pretty cool!

- you are correct on this one, man.

Problem is all of them bought at BELOW factory, and the intial "owners" are mostly seling their positions and even many selling their planes. SO, when someone says there's abig market, I'd question that based on the factory price.

I happen to agree, its a good sign people ARE buying in the aftermarket... albeit at a discount, still.

Consider the claim that many are going to euros, as well. Artificial demand created by the weak dollar? Even bigger discount?

FYI, my unmbers come from Mike Press, saying earlier this year that already 100 e-500 positions were sold last year... plus his recent statement that 70 were sold this year. There could be some overlap... but, 120, 140, 170? Still a big number.

The major question remains: is there a market for 500 $1.7 million jets / year for 15 years or so? Can they make money at that?

Its a question. No one has the "answer"... so its interesting to gather opinions. Like how many will they deliver in 2007?

airtaximan said...

RC,

Not boring at all.

Seems like a long time to recertify the system, considering they started a long time ago. Actually, started a long time ago by Verns own admission early this year...

Dave said...

What I think is sad is people like you consantly bellyaching about the plane for no apparent reason.

If you don't like it, don't buy it. Plenty of other people do like the plane and are buying them in record numbers.

Why do you feel compelled to tell everybody else in the world that your point of view is the only one that can be correct.

It's an illness, right?


My irony meter has just exploded.

airtaximan said...

http://www.latimes.com/business/
la-fi-irtaxi8nov08,0,6513429.
story?page=2&coll=la-home-
business

nice article...

airtaximan said...

Dave,

funny, huh?

Redtail said...

TurbinePilot said... Airtaximan, Why do you feel compelled to tell everybody else in the world that your point of view is the only one that can be correct. It's an illness, right?

ATM is scared and will do anything he can to keep the success of Eclipse from happening. His weapon of choice is this blog. The amount of time he spends reading this blog, and writing his long diatribes simply means that he has the time to do it. And why? Because he sits behind a desk in the sunny state of Florida, and is scared that DayJet is going to kick the ass of the charter company that he works for.

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
Time to send "the boys" over to visit with Redtail.

He's going to expose the conspiracy if we don't have a little "chat" with him.

:)

Dave said...

ATM is scared and will do anything he can to keep the success of Eclipse from happening. His weapon of choice is this blog. The amount of time he spends reading this blog, and writing his long diatribes simply means that he has the time to do it. And why? Because he sits behind a desk in the sunny state of Florida, and is scared that DayJet is going to kick the ass of the charter company that he works for.

I heard such comments about PJ who created Groklaw. Now SCO is in bankruptcy.

Lemmus Eclipsus said...

Apologies to airtaximan for confusting him with airsafetyman. There was a side conversation that they might be “alts” for the same person … still not ruling that out.

Regarding strakes on the Lear family, the Mustang, et al … they are required at high alpha because the combined wing/tail pitching moment and vertical surface area behind the center of percussion does not provide sufficient stability margin. Much easier to add strakes than redesign the wing and vertical stab.

Take a look at the Beech B1900 … aero surfaces pointing in all different directions … all there because the commuter fuselage modifications generated some undesirable flight tendencies.

Those surfaces are all compensating for poor characteristics, and whether it’s on a Lear, a Mustang, or a 747 … the aerodynamicist didn’t plan on having them when they started the design.

WhyTech said...

RC said:

"It's an elegant architecture"

Yes - and one downside of this is the consequences of being an orphan. If Eclips goes down, imagine the challenges of maintaining and enahancing this code body, especially if the original developers are scattered to the winds.

WT

airtaximan said...

redtail,

It's not surprising that you can use the same misguided thinking to defend E-clips and mischaracterize me...

I do not run a car rental company or an automobile company, not an interstate gas station, or a limousine company, not even a cab company.... so why should Dayjet worry me?

;)

Their stated plan, and I believe them when they say this, is to replace longer car trips - so why should this worry any operator? It only has the potential to grow the industry, create awareness of private airplane travel, and bring in more customers?

Your sophomoric arguments reflect a wholly unsophisticated and immature view of the world. Your conclusions are most often, naive, unsophisticated and ill-informed.

PS. was it you who said I must have a mole inside eclipse, or I was a mole in side eclipse?

airtaximan said...

lemmus,

no way buddy...

I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together.

Seriously, ATman is NOT ASman

Shane Price said...

Whytech,

Nail on head time.

No Eclipse, no Avio NG support.

Worse, no prospect of another company stepping into the breach, to take over support.

Imagine the stressed conversations in legal offices about liablity issues.

Love to be fly on THAT wall...

Airtaximan,

Your LA Times link is a dud, at least for me. Also tried a search for 'airtaxi' on their site and drew a blank. What am I doing wrong?

Shane

Black Tulip said...

Whytech wrote,

"Imagine the challenges of maintaining and enhancing this code body."

Eclipse currently has this figured out. Right next to the auxiliary power plug on each Eclipse 500 will be a fiber optics connector. This mates to a 2,000 mile long fiber optics bundle supplied with each jet. The fiber optic lines all terminate at the factory in Albuquerque. Each Tuesday morning the Avio NG software will receive an automatic update whether a jet is on the ground in Peoria or at 41,000 feet over Spokane.

This is a big improvement over the earlier (pre aero-mod) update system which used a USB connector and a thin copper cable. This was found to be ‘disruptive technology’ at its worst as it shorted out high tension power lines when draped over them.

airtaximan said...

http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-airtaxi8nov08,0,6513429.story?coll=la-home-business


Private Planes to Fly at Public Prices

airtaximan said...

nice article on dayjet

"Editorial Director, AIRPORT BUSINESS Magazine
… truly marks the onset of the era of the very light jets. The official start-up in October of DayJet’s on-demand Part 135 certificated charter service links five Florida cities and their airports. Based in Boca Raton, DayJet is owned by software entrepreneur Ed Iacobucci, who plans to expand the service regionally (Southeast first) and in time could have a fleet of more than 1,000 VLJs.

DayJet bills its service as “per seat, on-demand”. Essentially, it charges the customer based on his or her flexibility. If you absolutely need to depart Tallahassee by 9 a.m. for a trip to Boca, it will be one price; be more flexible and depart “by” noon, and it could be much less. It’s all about time, says Iacobucci.

The November/December issue of AIRPORT BUSINESS magazine features a Business Profile on DayJet via an interview with Iacobucci. Here a few of the outtakes from that session …

On what some might see as a complex pricing scheme …
“Well, that’s what this is all about. It’s an education expense, which is something the [market] leader has to deal with. Thus far, we’re seeing a pretty good response. A pretty high percentage of people who get activated actually try it and when they try it they negotiate; they don’t just take the first price that comes. Basically what they’ve done is determine what level of service they want based on what their value of time is. We call it time-value pricing. It’s a new dimension.”

On what’s in it for a fixed base operation that might become a DayPort …
“We’ve had a lot of different proposals. I can tell you that nothing is off the table.

“At some locations we’re renting space and buying fuel; at others we have a day base operation, we have hangars and more people. I’m not exactly sure there’s a magic formula that fits all yet.”

On the fact that its on-demand service borders on being classified as scheduled service, which is regulated differently …
“It’s been questioned by a lot of people but not by FAA or DOT. We could cross the line if we did things that we don’t do. The request comes from the user. We don’t publish availability; in fact, we don’t know what our availability is. It’s very fluid and dynamic.”

On the response from the pilot community …
“That’s one of the things we were concerned about initially, but it’s turned out to not be as big an issue. The pilots want the same thing our customers want – quality of life.

“Right now we’re hiring all captains; our salary is a flat $50,000 per year.

“The interesting thing is the pilots aren’t really pilots; they’re salaried employees who work eight hours a day. They come in every day whether they fly or not, and they have different assignments. What we want to emphasize is the pilots are serving customers.

“We’ve got about 3,000 resumes for a few hundred jobs. We’re looking for people who have the right personality and desire to engage with customers.”

Finally, Iacobucci cautions those airports or communities which may be looking at building a terminal facility anticipating VLJ service that such a move may be premature at this point. As he notes, his concept is a model that still needs to be proven.

Shane Price said...

Airtaximan,

I love it. Their parents 'grounded the idea'.

One Six Right will be a little more crowded if these tigers get airborne!

Ed must be worried. A few more young people using 'other people's jets' will impact his business plan.

Or maybe not. He is, after all, getting them for half nothing....

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

GAMA YTD numbers are in, Eclipse claims 48 deliveries to GAMA, vs the 44 that the FAA database showed via FC's excellent work.

Almost $61M in claimed billings to GAMA for 48 aircraft, averaging about $1.27M each for the early deliveries.

http://www.gama.aero/resources/statistics/dloads/2007ShipmentReport.pdf

For the same time period, Cessna delivered 25 Mustangs (total 829 aircraft YTD) - total billings across all models is $2.7B.

Columbia delivered 131 planes YTD for $66.6M in billings.

Falcon Jet down in Little Rock delivered 44 aircraft like Eclipse, but their billings were $1.42B!

Gulfstream delivered 103 units YTD for $3.6B!!!

Kinda puts the whole toyjet price point into perspective doesn't it.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

So, two of Vern's 'pretty boys' from marketing are starting a company. It is about time they did something, they never did anything at Eclipse other than to parrot Vern's philosophies.

Where is the news? Vern likes youngsters? Gives them big titles and little actual responsibility? Sorry, but that is the truth of it.

gadfly said...

Airtaximan

re:http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-airtaxi8nov08,0,6513429.story?coll=la-home-business

Memories . . . memories!

Back in ancient times, I worked nights as an “A&P” for “Air Oasis” in Long Beach, California. We would see the “Hawthorne, Nevada” DC3, loading up the suckers . . . er, “gamblers”, every evening after work, to haul them for a couple hours to contribute to the Nevada economy, and return them back to Long Beach, in time for “work”, the next morning. Somehow, I think they would need an onboard “potty” (and maybe a few buckets) . . . at least on the return flight. Of course, by that time, I had safely negotiated forty minutes of thick fog, back to my nest in Santa Ana.

The story in the LA Times, if successful, would reduce the time by “half” . . . but without potty and buckets, I have my doubts as to its success. But who knows . . . with vinyl seats, and a hose . . . the “turn-a-round” could be accomplished in a few minutes.

gadfly

(These kids better operate on a “cash up front only” basis. And somehow, “gambling” certainly comes to mind.)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Hopefully the JetAviva boys remember to put the gear down when they are out flying their 'airline' customers in their 'management' clients' aircraft.

Experience matters.

gadfly said...

Brother of Sardine!

Experience matters? Experience? Since when? It hasn’t stopped these people so far.

Yep! . . . they’ll need buckets.

gadfly

(. . . management, the guy says . . . what management!)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Gad, I have it on good authority a principal in JetAviva DOES have experience......






Wait for it









Wait for it









In landing gear-up.









In an Eclipse.









Experience Matters!

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Sardine breath:

You are correct!

planet-ex said...

"Our due diligence suggests that Eclipse Aviation has not yet reached the one plane per day production mark and the company may be forced to seek an additional round of financing to make it through the remainder of 2007."

Boenning & Scattergood analysis of IS&S via AIN article

According to the analysts, Eclipse is dragging IS&S down.

gadfly said...

Fin Man

You're telling me that "man" greased it in, but without the grease!

OK, I'll buy that!

gadfly

(It must be fun, to be famous! . . . AND walk away from it.)

Stan Blankenship said...

Watching on www.flightaware.com

N500UK Serial 051

En route Des Moines - Quebec

1,005 nm

Planned FL 390

Actual FL 270/280

G/S 335 kts

Can he make it?

gadfly said...

"Can he make it?"

With, or without the bucket?

gadfly

(GS 335 kts ground speed x 3 hours is 1,005.0000 nm . . . did he "launch" from altitude? . . . keep us posted!)

gadfly said...

'Appears that he'll make it . . . although flying empty or full is a matter of "point of view". Once, a customer came into Long Beach and asked directions to the "facilities" . . . and stated as he ran through the hangar that he thought he was still wearing his amber colored sunglasses (it was about 10PM).

gadfly

mirage00 said...

'Appears that he'll make it'

Yes it does... nice "paper" airplane.

I remain amused

double 00

Stan Blankenship said...

Mission Accomplished, 3+14 pretty good!

It would be interesting to know if N500UK did in fact ask for FL 390 and was held below 30,000 ft by ATC.

If Ken gets a minute, perhaps he could estimate the fuel burn and even estimate the number of ounces of fuel in the tank on landing.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I flew a 1009 nm flight in the Epic LT, 3:10 with over an hour of reserves left.

Odd thing is that the installed GPS worked.

So did the autopilot.

Come to think of it, so did the moving map displays (Chelton).

My God I think the de-ice boots were functional too.

And we had four souls on board with baggage too.

JetAviva Pilot to JetAviva Co-Pilot:

"Hey, what's that scraping noise?"

gadfly said...

"Hey, what's that scraping noise?”

That’s the sound of an Eclipse passenger’s knees rubbing together after a flight of 1,005 . . . (or is it 1,009 . . . who's counting) nautical miles, in 3 hours and 14 minutes . . . and ever so glad that it’s only another 75 feet to the “powder room”.

In time, all Eclipse passengers, and flight crew, will develop callouses on the inside of their knees.

gadfly

(Hey, don’t laugh! I once asked a urologist the capacity of a human bladder . . . any person . . . the answer was 300 milliliters . . . male, female, anyone . . . did any of the aeronautical engineers happen to plug that little bit of information into their formulas? Now compare that to a cup of coffee or two . . . interesting!

Now, think real hard . . . where else can you learn such facts, related to aircraft design, but on Stan’s wonderful blogsite? Thank you, Stan!)

Ken Meyer said...

Stan wrote,

"N500UK Serial 051...En route Des Moines - Quebec...1,005 nm...Planned FL 390...Actual FL 270/280...Can he make it?

And you now know he did make it despite it being a long hop held to a low altitude.

But do you know why?

The Eclipse fills the role of a jet at higher altitudes (it's faster than the Citation Mustang) and it fills the role of turboprop if forced to fly at lower altitude by powering back to turboprop speeds.

He powered back. At longrange cruise, the Eclipse could do that flight with today's forecast winds at FL 270 with 331 lbs left over (almost an hour reserve).

Had he flown at FL 390, with today's forecast winds, he could have done the route at highspeed cruise and landed with almost 500 lbs in reserve.

You picked a good flight to show us yet another reason why the plane is well-liked by those flying it: it has considerable versatility. It fulfills the jet role when flying high, but it can achieve turboprop economy at turboprop speeds when flying low. Even as low as FL 270, the Eclipse gets .76 nm per pound of fuel--the Mustang at FL 270 and longrange cruise, by comparison, gets just .50 nm per pound of fuel and burns fully 50% more fuel per mile than the Eclipse!

Anybody know what a KA-90 burns at FL 270?

Ken

Shane Price said...

Ken,

Were you there to weigh the 500lbs in reserve? Otherwise, your estimate is pure speculation, exactly the same as your Eclipse position(s)...

I really want you to get something for your money, Ken. I just don't share your Faith.

Or is that fate?

Best of luck. You WILL need it.

Shane

gadfly said...

“He powered back. At longrange (sic) cruise, the Eclipse could do that flight with today's forecast winds at FL 270 with 331 lbs left over (almost an hour reserve).”

My surgeon, as I understand, could have “powered back”, and taken an extra hour to complete my “quintuple” (5) bypass operation . . . with some reserve. My family would have been comforted by such knowledge (I’m sure!). Maybe, during that time, he could have rounded up more financial support, and maybe read up on newer and better methods of cardio-vascular surgery.

Suppose the flight could have been completed in less time, with double the reserve . . . the facts remain that this little jet is not a complete “as promised” aircraft, and if past history is any indication of the future, will never be complete.

There are, within its “innards” certain little understood things, such as FSW, that may, or may not, in time, prove airworthy. At best, it’s a borderline flying machine . . . landing with the comfort of a “hang glider”, yet barely competing with anything/everything that has gone before. When it flies at close to, or at, the speed and altitude promised, many get excited.

Do it every time, in all conditions, and then come back and make a “boast”. Until then, the best thing is to keep quiet. Even do it ten times in a row, and folks will begin to believe the claims.

gadfly

(Life is just too brief to play silly games with egotistical “wanna-be’s”, that cloud an already messed up economy.)

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"Each Tuesday morning the Avio NG software will receive an automatic update "

But BT, what if there is no one home (at the factory)? What if there is no longer an Eclips factory at all?

WT

Black Tulip said...

Folks,

Don’t be tough on Ken. He’s an asset other manufacturers dream about. He is dispatcher, flight test engineer, upper atmosphere expert, propulsion specialist, maintenance director, cockpit voice recorder, flight data recorder, FOQA analyst, aircraft market specialist, house physician, papal guard and product proselytizer. Much of this is done in a ‘virtual’ mode, thousands of miles away from the actual aviating.

Nerdy Engineer said...

It fulfills the jet role when flying high, but it can achieve turboprop economy at turboprop speeds when flying low.

That's a bold statement. Pardon me if I don't believe it, particularly with your comparison to the mustang. Efficiency is tremendously influenced by the powerplant and both are powered by the PW600 series. If your claim is true then I'd better throw away my propulsion and aerodynamics books so Eclipse can rewrite them.

gadfly said...

No problem . . . we connect you through to MicroSoft Hot Line in Bangkok! OK?

gadfly

Stan Blankenship said...

Ken,

Thanks for running the numbers. It's good the airplane has decent performance below 30,000' since many of the flights showing up on flightaware are below FL 300.

Of course the critics, including myself, are still waiting to learn what the empty weight will be for a completed airplane. That would be one with certified Avio NG and fully certified FIKI.

Until then, NBAA range with 4 PAX is pure speculation on everyone's part.

planet-ex said...

From today's AIN:

Eclipse’s Avio NG On Schedule, but Funding Questioned

Of course, Mike Press is quoted in the article.

Ken Meyer said...

Nerd wrote,

"If your claim is true then I'd better throw away my propulsion and aerodynamics books so Eclipse can rewrite them."

I guess you better 'cause the numbers are spot-on right.

Eclipse gets amazing specific range figures, much better than Mustang in every flight regime.

I'm delighted to share the details with you if you're interested and really want to look objectively at them. If all you want to do is proclaim, "the earth is flat and therefore your numbers must be wrong," I'm not going to waste my time. It's your call.

Ken

Old Troll said...

AlexA,
All I have to say is WOW... talk about "rampant unwarranted speculation"!!!!

Every Eclipse with a ***DJ registration has gone to Dayjet. Somehow N156DJ is an exception? I admit, it is a possibility. It is also a possibility that an asteroid will hit the earth and wipe out our civilization. It happens every 100 million years or so. I guess both are possibilities but I'm going to stick with the probability.

Let's try to "keep it real".


It looks like the Eclipse defenders are the ones "grasping at straws".

rcflyer said...

nerdy engineer said:

"Efficiency is tremendously influenced by the powerplant and both are powered by the PW600 series. If your claim is true then I'd better throw away my propulsion and aerodynamics books so Eclipse can rewrite them."

You're thinking of Thrust Specific Fuel Consumption, expressed in pounds of fuel per hour per pound of thrust. I would expect those figures to be very similar between the PW610 and PW615 engines, perhaps with a very slight edge to the PW615 due to scaling factors.

What others are talking about is the aircraft's efficiency, expressed in nautical miles per pound of fuel burned. Similar to miles per gallon in land vehicles.

If the cruise thrust settings of the plane have the same proportions as the maximum thrusts (about 2:3), it shouldn't be surprising that the aircraft fuel efficiencies have about the same ratio, and that turns out to be the case.

"No laws of physics or aerodynamics were harmed in the making of this aircraft. Not even in the marketing department. OK, maybe just a little in the marketing department."

R.C.

Ken Meyer said...

Stan wrote,

"Thanks for running the numbers. It's good the airplane has decent performance below 30,000' since many of the flights showing up on flightaware are below FL 300."

My pleasure. But I should tell you that I'm seeing a great many flights over FL 300. The argument that the Eclipse won't be cleared to fly high just doesn't seem to be panning out.

Don't forget you guys bitched when Mike Press's plane was discovered in RVSM airspace before it received official approval to be there. Now you seem to want to bitch that other owners have decided to fly below RVSM airspace while they await approval to fly higher.

Ken

andy said...

OT,
I have seen 156DJ it's a Dayjet bird.
I assume Dayjet bought it on the open market.

AlexA said...

This Blog is becoming more like the movie “Ground Hog Day.” The next reoccurring topic should be RSVM, followed by the bushing topic, followed by the data loader, friction welding, blah blah blah and back to a full circle.

OldTroll, Stan & ATM belong to the “Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy Blog.” First some of you guys claim that DayJet is busy selling off their fleet. Next you claim they are purchasing their fleet on the open market. Well it certainly appears neither is true.

Out of curiosity I call Customer Service at Eclipse. The information relayed to me was as follows: DayJet has not purchased nor is selling any part of the fleet in the open market. Instead of accepting a couple of aircrafts every few days the leasing company which is acting as the leasing agent on the aircraft (to DayJet) decided to accept a bulk delivery.

The serial number listed as 73 on Controller was actually serial number 70. The number was changed two months ago before production in order to accommodate the group delivery to DayJet. By the way sn70 sold two weeks ago.

I was also told that the cut in for Avio is already on the production line. Flight tests are ongoing. While on the PR front it would be nice to have Avio NG certified before end of November the real crunch is likely to occur in mid-December (my assumptions). Without NG certification by mid-December Eclipse will be unable to deliver aircrafts coming off the production line. One would hope that this means a high level of confidence on certification within the next 50 days.

Lloyd said...

JP jockstrap said:

The problem is there is not a market for 500 or 600 owner operators that can afford a 1.5MM aircraft that requires the owner operator to have +/- $100,000 in operating costs and are able to meet the ATP standards of the Type Rating.

I have two on order and plan on managing at least 3 more. These are all in my local area <25 miles. I think that you will find that you have grossly miscalculated.

FlightCenter said...

Lloyd,

Do you have a relationship with DayJet, Waypoint, Linear, Pogo or Aviva?

Are you starting your own outfit?

or expanding a current operation?

Hope it goes well for you and your customers!

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

Niner Zulu said,

“If I were an Eclipse position holder…”

Real concern for the Eclipse depositor has been a consistent issue on the blog. The Faithful should take note. Also notice that no death pool has started although I’m sure many posters have a date in mind. The Critics are a very respectful bunch.

I’m personally worried that my target of 99 incomplete aircraft shipped by yearend will be missed. I’ve already spent the anticipated winnings. Any suggestions?

Stan Blankenship said...

Analyst Says Eclipse May Need Fresh Cash

By Andrew Webb
Staff Writer
Albuquerque Journal

Unable to meet predicted jet production rates, Eclipse Aviation may need to seek another round of investor financing to make it through the year, says one aviation industry analyst.

In a report issued online Wednesday, an analyst covering one of Eclipse's publicly traded suppliers predicted more financial problems for the already troubled company, which laid off at least 100 temporary workers in late October after failing to reach an expected production rate of one Eclipse 500 jet per day.

But an Eclipse spokesman on Thursday called the statement that the company would need more cash to survive the year "absolutely untrue" and said the company was not in shaky financial condition.

However, in a story published last month in Portfolio, a new business magazine, Eclipse founder and CEO Vern Raburn said that the last-minute collapse of a $200 million investment round in "June "nearly destroyed" the company. Eclipse had to scramble to line up more funding.

Eclipse has delivered an estimated 50 to 70 planes since turning over the first set of keys to a customer late last year, far less than the hundreds of deliveries it had previously predicted for 2007.

The company has also been plagued by supplier delays and difficulties with internal processes, as well as last-minute fixes to windows, instruments and other components, some of which will have to be retrofitted to already-in-use aircraft.

In a report downgrading shares of Eclipse cockpit display maker Innovative Solutions and Support, Pennsylvania-based Boenning & Scattergood said slower-than-expected production at Eclipse will likely affect IS&S's quarterly revenues.

"Our due diligence suggests that Eclipse Aviation has not yet reached the one plane per day production mark, and the company may be forced to seek an additional round of financing to make it through the remainder of 2007," the report said.

Another report, published online in October by Eclipse 500 owner and reseller Mike Press, also wrote "it would seem likely ... that they will have to raise some more capital until they can reach the 30 per month production state."

The company will not likely reach the one-jet-per-day rate until at least the end of the year, Press wrote.

Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom said he could not comment specifically on whether the company would have to raise more money until it reaches break even, a figure Raburn has previously estimated at about 500 planes per year.

Because Eclipse is privately held, he said, "anything having to do with this is between us and our investors. It's proprietary."

Eclipse has raised an estimated $1 billion from investors, including the state, which holds about $19 million in equity investments in the company.

A previous $5 million loan to Eclipse made with state funds has been repaid, State Investment Council spokesman Charles Wollmann said.

Raburn has said publicly this year that building airplanes at high production rates was "harder than we thought it would be."

The company is closely watched by state and local officials, who hope it will be a long-term major employer here and attract other aviation-related business. Despite the recent layoffs, Eclipse still employs about 1,500.

flightguy said...

I'm surprised that no one has talked to the fact that Ken Harness had a fall out with Vern because the "Con"Jet sucked so much revenue out of the company that Ken could not launch Photstrex and hit the streets.

airsafetyman said...

"Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom said he could not comment specifically on whether the company would have to raise more money until it reaches break even...because Eclipse is privately held, he said, "anything having to do with this is between us and our investors. It's proprietary.""

Not too concerned about the depositors or vendors, are we Mr. Broom?

ExEclipser said...

N500UK is having the flight of his life... :)

EclipseOwner387 said...

CWMOR,

Good report on Epic. Glad to see it was a successful demo flight. Based on WT's and FlightCenter's advice I am holding off on installing Chelton. I am curious what you thought of the system.

My email address is dcrum@yahoo.com if you are willing to chat about it. I am also interested in learning more about Epic.

Thanks.

ExEclipser said...

Stan: Pure conjecture. An opinion article with no real substantial, current, relavent facts.

Flightguy: Everyone is pretty much aware that PhostrEx could fund the company. Why they don't market it is anyone's guess. But frankly, I don't care about any hubaloo between Ken and Vern. Vern is much more patient than Ken. Did you notice that Ken doesn't have an engineering degree? Just a BS...

ASM: Are you a vendor or depositor? If not, then Andrew doesn't have to tell YOU butkus. If you are, then you will know what's going on, and then you had better keep mum or violate your NDA.

flightguy said...

Execlipser,

The fact that Ken doesn't have an engineering degree while being the VP of Engineering should tell you alot about the emphasis in engineering from Vern.

airtaximan said...

Stan:

I thought we were going to refrain from posting SATIRE, out of respect for the die-hards?

It's a real article.... OH NO!

airsafetyman said...

"ASM: Are you a vendor or depositor? If not, then Andrew doesn't have to tell YOU butkus. If you are, then you will know what's going on.."

And how would I know this? According to Mr. Broom, it's between Eclipse and the investors. Perhaps Mr. Broom misspoke, as I am sure Eclipse management would not want to leave anyone holding the bag.

Shane Price said...

ExEclipser,

Do you insist that Mr. Broom (who works for Vern) only deals in Pure conjecture. An opinion article with no real substantial, current, relavent (sic) facts.?

You critque Stans' post as non factual and speculative. Fair enough. You are entitled to your opinion, and we all respect that.

Mr Broom says lots of things, which we are taken to task for questioning. Can we have your permission to ignore what he says in future?

Stan's post also contained the following nugget:-

The company is closely watched by state and local officials....

I would submit that there are lots of very good reasons.

$19 MILLION 'reasons' actually.

As I wrote earlier, Vern will have angry politicans (not a pretty sight) asking questions and holding committee meetings to decide who will be blamed. I can give you a hint who will carry the can, if you like.

Being a mature adult, you will have seen it all before. New investor get loans/tax breaks/soft money (delete as appropriate) from local government. Everyone is happy clappy and the politicans all line up to deliver sound bytes to TV reporters.

Fast forward x period of time. Wheels and wagon have parted company, self same elected types feel the chill wind of reality and start the back tracking. Briefings being to local reporters about the 'need for accountablity' and similar guff. Pretty soon, the meat grinder surges into action and everyone is busy preparing their lines of retreat.

Vern will go from hero to zero so fast he won't even know its happening.

As for the standard 'non denial denial' response to the funding questions, Mr. Broom is simply doing his job. He is technically correct, in that a private company is entitled to keep its pending bankrupcy a secret for as long as possible.

Where life gets difficult is when the aforementioned policial animals get their teeth into The Great Raburn....

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Many bloggers here know Richard Aboulafia of the Teal Group, a well-known aviation analyst.

Richard posted some very interesting critiques of the Boeing 787 program in his November 5 missive (http://www.richardaboulafia.com/shownote.asp?id=256).

But the most interesting statement I read, and one which reminded me of the difference between the subject of this blog and the REAL aviation companies is the following:

"The real problem is that this time they trusted, but didn’t verify. In their zeal to maximize profit and spread much of the financial risk, they offloaded most of the airframe responsibilities without the due diligence needed to ensure that their partners could do the design and integration work. Boeing’s unrealistic 787 program schedule didn’t help either. Even if it was the partners that screwed up, it was ultimately Boeing’s mistake—the buck stops at the prime contractor."

Would that certain faithful of the Church of Flyantology could see the logic in that statement applied to their golden calf.

Stan Blankenship said...

Shane,

N500UK headed your way.

ExEclipser said...

Shane, that was exactly my point. The artcile Stan posted was all vague except for the portions where he quoted Andrew Broom, who, like a good puppet, refuses to say anything of substance. Oh, Mike Press was quoted, but he's just another speculator with no more inside information than the rest of us.

Andrew Broom should have his title changed to Eclipsi Information Minisiter - "Absolutely Untrue. Investors are NOT in the lobby of the Great Eclipse Kingdom. We are delivering aircraft at 1000 a day right now. You must not see them because of your blind glasses. Praise be to Vern."

AeroObserver said...

Don't kill the messenger (Andrew Broom) here -- like the rest of the Eclipse employees he's just doing the job he was hired to do. Any blame should be placed squarely on management, not the worker bees.

Getting back to topic, why hasn't Eclipse properly marketed PhostrEx? If they did, they could be raking in cash instead of going around with hat in hand...

ExEclipser said...

An interesting point about that E500UK flight...

It was orginally slated to fly into CYVP (Kuujjuaq, QB). Instead, they chose to go ahead and fly an additional 340NM to CYFB (Iqaluit, CN). Winds are 40 kts off the tail.

Shane Price said...

Stan,

I'm heading for the bunker in the garden....

RIGHT NOW!!!

Vern must be sending his hit man.

Mind you, he will be on his own, as the Eclipse won't do the range carrying enough firepower to dig me out!

Where is Gunner when you need him?

Aero,

That's not always true. Sometimes killing the messanger sends a signal. My point is, if the article is all 'speculation' should we treat ANYTHING Eclipse spoke people utter as truth?

I suspect that there are enough good reasons NOT to market PhostrEx. After all, Eclipse have foisted some really bad stuff on the investors (sorry, customers) already. If this lot choose not to sell it, it's gotta have something horrible lurking in it.

ColdWet,

Airbus got hammered (especially on your side of the pond) for being late with the whale, sorry A380, and to some extend for weaving around with the spec for the A350XWB. EADS also took a knock over share deals by 22 associates of the company, just before the markets were told of the second, more serious delay.

However, now that Boeing have moved into the crosshairs with the Dreamliner delay, some people have woken up to the idea that this stuff is hard work. As you have noted, companies like Airbus and Boeing, with many decades of experience in bringing aircraft to market, can screw up.

What chance does Vern have, really?

Yes, the Eclipse is a nice plane, for people who like that sort of thing. So was the Edsel, for some people at Ford.

Shane

Dave said...

Nice to see Eclipse being open to the taxpaying public with their funds:
"Eclipse spokesman Andrew Broom said he could not comment specifically on whether the company would have to raise more money until it reaches break even...because Eclipse is privately held, he said, "anything having to do with this is between us and our investors. It's proprietary.""

The public put money into Eclipse and now wont tell the taxpayers what's going on with public funds!

Dave said...

ASM: Are you a vendor or depositor? If not, then Andrew doesn't have to tell YOU butkus. If you are, then you will know what's going on, and then you had better keep mum or violate your NDA.

Why all the secrecy over how public funds are used? Why doesn't Eclipse want to tell the taxpayers what's going on with their money? Trying to hush things up on a publicly-funded project looks extremely bad.

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

Dave

The problem in New Mexico is that few citizens have discovered the existence of Jet Aircraft . . . let alone that their tax money has gone to fund this . . . thing! So, people like our illustrious governor can push tax money (from the “rich”) into things like “hi-tech” investments . . . and benefit the many “poor”, to fund all the “neat” things of the fifth largest state . . . it’s a “slam dunk”.

So, to expect an investigation of how tax money was used to fund a “Very Light Jet” scheme? . . . as they say, “Rots of Ruck”. It’s possible . . . right in line after “Pigs Fly” . . . or sing! But who knows . . . maybe someone reading this blog . . . maybe even an editor of the Albuquerque Journal, will actually earn his salary, and investigate this thing, and tell the taxpayers of New Mexico the facts, . . . all those funny movements “behind the green curtain”.

But don’t hold your breath.

gadfly

(Someone, PLEASE, ask our governor to “take a ride” in the VLJ that he helped to finance.)

gadfly said...

Someone, PLEASE, ask our governor to “take a ride” in the VLJ that he helped to finance . . . with taxpayer's money!

gadfly

(He's a nice guy . . . 'wants to be the "president".)

gadfly said...

Oh . . . did I mention? . . . Tax money was used for Eclipse, so maybe there must be public disclosure as how the money was used . . . or maybe not, depending . . . It's all so complicated in New Mexico politics. I get confused! Politicians are all so wise . . . taking care of us with their wisdom as to how to spend our tax money.

gadfly

(Oh, please tell us again how those recent bond issues didn't "really" increase our property taxes . . . and maybe Eclipse needs another infusion of funds . . . they're such nice folks.)

Dave said...

So, to expect an investigation of how tax money was used to fund a “Very Light Jet” scheme?

I don't disagree with what you've said, just I was objecting to what the Eclipse PR guy was saying. Because Eclipse has taken millions in public funds, it's a public matter and not a private matter.

gadfly said...

Dave

Yes, we agree! When tax money is used, full disclosure is required.

gadfly

Lloyd said...

100's of Satisfied Mustang customers????? GAMA reports that Cessna delivered only 25 mustangs through the 3rd quarter of this year.

Full report here: http://www.gama.aero/resources/statistics/dloads/2007ShipmentReport.pdf

gadfly said...

Lloyd

'Careful there, how you "quote" something. There are, indeed, "hundreds" of satisfied Cessna customers. Don't move data from one column, into the other column, unless you are applying for a position as an accountant for Eclipse, or for New Mexico State Government.

gadfly

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Lloyd, who, exactly, said there are 'hundreds of satisfied Mustang customers'?

It's OK if you need to admit you made it up, we understand.

Most of we critics are actually experienced aviation folks - you know, executives, engineers, pilots, maintainers, etc., with experience across OEM's, airlines, charter operators, and aircraft owners.

I believe we are familiar with the various projects at play here - none of the critics I know of would suggest there are hundreds of satisfied Mustang customers, YET - but even the most faithully blind worshippers of the weejet would have to admit that it IS undeniably eventual based upon Cessna's history - can the same be said of the Church of Flyantology's icon?

gadfly said...

Frigid Fish

First, our fine feathered friend simply got himself into a dither while reading the first few lines of this present thread . . . running everything together, assuming that the “hundreds” was referring to the “Mustang”.

And, please do not use the term “weejet”, until they install a “potty” . . . the power of suggestion may be beyond the endurance of the “faithful”.

gadfly

airtaximan said...

the quote:
"I think Cessna is really satisfied with their program and their product, as well as how sales are going for the Mustang. Hundreds of real customers seem to be, too."

Real customers = folks who placed a deposit for the Mustang

This would compare with E-clips' order book which has been substantially inflated with one GIANT order, MANY options, and speculators who have sold and continue to sell their paper instead of taking delivery on the plane.

Sorry if you got confused: everyone knows Cessna has delivered around 25 planes this year.

PS. I can contrast that with e-clips:

"I don't think E-clips is really satisfied with their program and their product, as well as how sales are going for the 500. Hundreds of real customers seem to be waiting patiently while their money has already been spent, so they must be happy with the product."

FlightCenter said...

DayJet's Numbers for the week:

DayJet is now operating 17 E500 aircraft.

They flew 93 flights for a total of 77 flight hours. 5 more flights than last week.

That is an average of 1.1 flights per day per aircraft.

The fleet utilization this week was quite uneven. 4 aircraft flew 47 of the 93 flights during the week.

FlightCenter said...

The two hardest working DayJet aircraft flew 2.8 flights per day last week.

John said...

Flight Center said Dayjet is operating *17* aircraft.

I think they have 18.

13. #N139DJ
14. #N141DJ first flew on 10/21
15. #N142DJ left ALBQ on 11/1, flew from KGNV on ll/5
16. #N145DJ left ALBQ on 10/24
17. #N146DJ left ALBQ on 11/2, flew from KGNV on 11/3
--. #N147DJ is missing
18. #N148DJ left ALBQ on 11/6 and flew from KGNV on 11/6

bill e. goat said...

FC,
Thanks for the numbers on Dayjet flights.

Anyone have an idea how many are revenue flights vs training or maintenance checks?

I imagine we can expect a toot from their horn when they reach 100 flt hr or 100 flt per week. Good for them. Seems like the airplane is fairly reliable. (With 17 birds, they will be a good defacto proving center).

Thanks.

John said...

Bill Goat asks:
How many flights are training...

Long flights from KGNV to KGNV circling central florida can be assumed to be non-revenue.

On 11/9/07 DJS135 flew KGNV to KGNV twice for 3 hours. DJS139 did the loop once. Additionally, recent flights from KGNV to KVLD show circling behavoir in central Georgia. Those should be training as well.

The destination matrix is unbalanced. Most flights are KBCT to KGNV. This either indicates that there is greater commuter traffic between KGNV and KBCT than any other destination, OR many of the flights between Gainesville and Boca are Dayjet employees transiting between the two headquarters.

I don't think there is any reason to believe that KGNV should be getting more business than Tallahasee from KBCT, so I think the majority of the KGNV flights are non-revenue.

FlightCenter said...

John is right.

DayJet is now operating 18 aircraft.

I missed DJS148. It arrived in GNV this week from ABQ.

DJS148 flew one flight that could be considered a revenue flight during the week.

DayJet's Numbers for the week (updated with DJS148)

They flew 94 flights for a total of 78 flight hours.

That is an average of 1.0 flights per day per aircraft.

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

To better understand the business plan of “Eclipse/Dayjet”, one can study the following:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Escher_Waterfall.jpg

gadfly

(It’s really quite simple . . . an endless source of revenue and profits.)

chip_devlyn said...

i'm a long-time reader, first time poster. My thoughts on the whole thing are this - you can't trust a word coming out of Albequerque. Eclipse promised to shake the industry to its core with a fully equipped twin jet for under a million dollars with low operating costs. How were they going to pull that off? It was never clear. Now the price is over 1.5 million. If they can maintain the current price and address some of the outstanding issues with the aircraft they still have a great product. But what earthly reason is there to believe that they can given what's already taken place. I suppose they should be given at least some credit for kickstarting the whole VLJ thing though.

gadfly said...

CD

The “VLJ” was not “kick-started” by Eclipse . . . only the term.

A long time ago, a small aircraft carrier tied up at the submarine base at Pearl Harbor . . . the “HMAS Melbourne” (Australian) . . . I had some free time, so went aboard, the only time I ever set foot on a “large” ship that couldn’t go under the ocean (‘never did trust surface ships).

The aircraft on this ‘carrier, were a variation of the “Vampire” jet . . . single engine, twin-boom, fighter jets, constructed of wood (yes, “wood”).

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Vampire . . . check it out!

They were beautiful little jets, and could exceed everything the “Eclipse” E500 could do . . . and the year was 1957 or 1958. Fifty years later, someone with a lot of “hype” claims a “new thing” . . . and many people who have never bothered to check history, get on board . . . history repeats itself . . . except, this time the many lessons of the past are “pooh-poohed”.

The problems of going from propeller aircraft to “pure jet” (and no, I’m not talking about piston to turbine), . . . those problems are complex, and not so easily solved in a “computer program”. And, the “human body” is complex, requiring “space”, and accommodation of certain common bodily functions.

If it were simply flying “x” weight, at “y” velocity, at “z” distance, the Germans were on the right track with the V-1 “Doodle Bug”. But life is not that simple, and the Eclipse has failed to address the complexities of human life and needs.

So, in conclusion to this overly simplified monologue, “size does matter” . . . “VLJ” is a catch phrase that seems to have overlooked the complexities of human needs, placing aviation into the category of an “algorithm”, without a healthy respect for the century of “hard won” battles that have given us the safest and most comfortable method of traveling from point A to B.

Gadfly

(Notice, I didn’t once mention the economics, which in my opinion, are absolutely “bogus”.)

(Let’s hear from you more often . . . you ask excellent questions, that deserve good answers.)

Dave said...

The “VLJ” was not “kick-started” by Eclipse . . . only the term

Microsoft is famous for inventing a brand name, but not the underlying technology itself. Aircraft meeting the definition on VLJs have been around for a long time, just have gone by different descriptors such as "microjet" or "sport jet." Like here's one:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/1996/11/13/9977/visionaire-rolls-out-vantage.html
Another article on them:
http://www.aviationnow.com/shownews/nbaaday2/newsmk16.htm
An article on them saying they planned to produced around 230 per year:
http://www.flightglobal.com/articles/1998/06/10/38058/visionaire-plans-for-vantage-demand.html
Visionaire eventually went into BK:
http://www.davidpride.com/AirVenture/Osh97_15.htm

Actually seeing the history of VisionAire with their claims back in the 90s similiar to Eclipse's claims in the 00s, that Eclipse had better watch out. In reading the articles on Visionaire, you could replace VisionAire with Eclipse and they'd be pretty indistinguishable.

Black Dog said...

So, in conclusion to this overly simplified monologue, “size does matter” . . . “VLJ” is a catch phrase that seems to have overlooked the complexities of human needs, placing aviation into the category of an “algorithm”, without a healthy respect for the century of “hard won” battles that have given us the safest and most comfortable method of traveling from point A to B.

Gadfly

And may I add why the Euro branch of Eclipse is a none starter.

Just recenatly I had a little pre winter holiday to Portugal I paid 200 english pounds (about $400)for a return ticket for a trip of about 1300 miles.
I had 20KG of luggage plus golf clubs,I had use of the galley,bar and a potty and freedom to move arround if I wanted.

if anyone can give me any reason why I would charter any VLJ for this trip please do.

To be honest if I had the cash I would charter a plane but it would be a gulfstream and not a VLJ.

Shane has already covered the good train and road links we have in Europe so I won't go there.

airtaximan said...

"Visionaire, you could replace VisionAire with Eclipse and they'd be pretty indistinguishable."


I believe there's a decimal place issue with the money that was burnt...

airtaximan said...

black dog...

Euro-Ed is betting on the other side of Europe - the eastern block, where there seems to be poor roads, poor trains, poor airline access, BUT a ton of excess cash from a huge middle class that can afford a private E-500, but cannot afford a real plane.

please...

If it were true, it would not require euro-ed...

Ringtail said...

Airtaximan - Why do YOU want Eclipse to fail? It is very obvious that you wish the company to fail - why is that?

RT

Gunner said...

RT-
Perhaps prediction does not equate to desire any more than logic equals malice.

Consider the possibility.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Ringtail,

Gunner said it best...

But perhaps you should ask Richard Aboulafia, and the other analyst who have experience and who have seen the BS on the wall for a long time, the same question. Perhaps the reporters who have provided us with some valid insight these days, FI and AIN and even the reporters at the ABQ Journal?

Gunner said it best... but if you want to believe that someone who is keeping track of all the BS WANTS to see them fail, just because he acknowledges BS for what it is... that's your prerogative.

Every Bozo has his Delilah

BTW, nothing this blog does will contribute to e-clipse's failure... its by and large self-inflicted

gadfly said...

RT

A long time ago, Eclipse failed! When the first flight was made, and it staggered around the sky with an overweight, under-designed, airframe . . . hoping against hope to pretend to be a “real” airplane, while a good, but inadequate engine (for a poorly conceived design) kept the test pilot alive . . . and the owners proclaimed that they had fulfilled their commitment, that the “VLJ” could fly, and acquired the money in escrow . . . they failed.

Some of us simply want the final nail to seal the lid on the coffin, and get on with life before others are “duped” into thinking that this farce will make it into history.

Some of us have spent a “long” lifetime, working to keep aviation a safe and ever-growing legitimate enterprise. Anything that detracts from that goal is considered a disgrace.

Is that plain enough?

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

John,
Thanks for the analysis on Dayjet's flight patterns.

9Z,
I think Vern and Big Ed have similiar biz plans (but I don't think they are the originators of the pyramid scheme).

Chip D.,
Welcome to the blog.

Turbine Power said...

gadfly wrote, "Some of us have spent a “long” lifetime, working to keep aviation a safe and ever-growing legitimate enterprise. Anything that detracts from that goal is considered a disgrace."

What you're really saying is that you're an old fart who just doesn't like the new upstart.

For what it's worth, I think you're exactly right. Many of your comments do tell us that you're an old fart. Other comments you've written make it crystal clear that you just don't like Eclipse. It doesn't matter to you that the product is good, that it opens jet aviation to hundreds of owners for whom it wasn't available before, and that it will allow many thousands of travellers to enjoy jet air taxi service who couldn't before.

But at least you're being honest about your bias. That's actually pretty refreshing.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

TP,

Your moniker is apparently apropo, we all know what TP is good for.

That many of us who have worked on a number of projects, some considerably more advanced than the now decade-behind-the-times weejet, care to comment on what our experience sees is what it is as Gad and others have pointed out. We care about our industry and our freedom to fly - Eclipse places both of those at risk. We care about neophytes with more money than sense and a bad case of jet-jock fever, we care about vendors getting screwed over then tossed under the bus, we care about experienced people being used up and tossed aside, we even care about the true-believers and hope they either wise-up and get out or at least get something for more for their faith than empty-promise and failed goal after empty-promise and failed goal.

The Faithful keep trying to make this about the critics hating the company or the people who make the plane, even the plane itself - a common diversionary tactic. Truth is there are a rather small number of people responsible for snatching defeat from the jaws of victory at Eclipse, and Vern and the BoD are the major offenders.

We wish the faithful well, we hope the employees at Eclipse are eventually rewarded for the sacrifices they have made, and that the investors receive some kind of ROI - our collective experience however across aerospace, business, and operations suggests that is unlikely.

That observation is made without malice or bias, just based on the facts and appearances.

Yo put your question back out to you, why do you care? Why do you participate here? Do you have a plane or two on order?

mouse said...

Almost 25 years ago:

http://www.machdiamonds.com/peregrine.html

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Don't forget old Tony Fox Mouse.

Between the ParisJet, the Peregrine and the FoxJet and the Vantage and seveal others, the only difference between Eclipse and it's progenitors is the number of zeroes raised and spent and the number of customers who may get stiffed.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

TP are you deliberately avoiding the fact that many folks have worked on and continue to work on aircraft that are way MORE advanced than the weejet pretends to be?

No aircraft I have ever been associated with requires a handheld GPS in order to provide situational awareness - they all are completely functional when 'delivered' to the customer.

I have no issues with start ups and would-be major players - read my recent trip report for Epic - can hardly be considered an old fart or old school company now can it - they are six years YOUNGER than Eclipse and they are actually shaking things up.

I make a lot of money in this industry and have consulted on many projects, some similar to the Eclipse, some more advanced - the Eclipse is no threat in terms of competition - the threat from Eclipse is user fees and a lack of investment capital for other good ideas when Eclipse tanks and leaves a bad taste in across Wall Street.

So tell us again, why do you care?

Your misrepresentation of the criticism and the critics is glaring.

Dave said...

Another damn old fart who cannot live with the idea that there's a new kid on the block with an idea that the old farts didn't come up with.

And worst of all to the old farts, the idea and the plane are both working out very well, no thanks to you and the other critics who offer the world nothing but blatantly sour grapes.


Do you want some cheese with that?

Stan Blankenship said...

tp,

The long standing rule on the blog is no name calling...needling is fine.

rcflyer said...

cwmor said,

"Between the ParisJet, the Peregrine and the FoxJet and the Vantage and seveal others, the only difference between Eclipse and it's progenitors is the number of zeroes raised and spent and the number of customers who may get stiffed."

Unless I'm mistaken, the ParisJet is the only one of that bunch that was certified.

Like it or not, the E500 _is_ certified.

R.C.

P.S. Please rebut away, but don't waste any electrons on "incomplete", "FAA should have never certified it", etc., etc. It's all been said already.

Dave said...

YourJet wont be flying Eclipse 500s:
http://www.flyyourjet.com/blog/?cat=4 (see the last post)
Here's some good lines:
"Time costs lots of money in the aerospace business and even Ed is not immune. Even now, though DayJet is taking delivery of Eclipse 500’s, the airplane is not fully certified for use to its full capability and therefore Ed’s air taxi service is hamstrung. But, Ed is growing restive. In a recent statement, he shocked industry-watchers saying that DayJet has begun to look at other VLJ manufacturers. Even if the Eclipse were already fully certified, Ed and Vern have by now realized what we and others, who have performed exhaustive due diligence, know—a twin engine jet is great for an entry-level corporate business jet; but a single engine jet is an absolute requirement for air taxi economic feasibility. How do we know? Why, Vern showed up at Oshkosh in his new jet digs—a single engine jet dubbed the Eclipse Concept Jet. Guess it is still a concept to him even though Piper, Cirrus, Diamond, Epic and a host of others consider it a reality."
"So, why then, did we decide against the Eclipse 500—since the production problems only recently came to light? The answer is simple: A twin engine jet, even a VLJ, is not the optimal platform for a per-seat, and on-demand air taxi service"

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

TP said:

"Many of your comments do tell us that you're an old fart."

TP, just keep in mind that your turn as an old fart is coming. If you are fortunate, the wisdom that come from long experience will accompany your old fart status.

WT

airtaximan said...

Dave,

Interesting Djet based taxi service called YourJet.

They will eventually realize that "per-seat" is silly with the small plane, as well, unless they do routes.

The die-hards will say: its single engine, people won't fly in a single. Chances are most of THOSE people won't fly in a small plane at all.

Lastly, a single engine prop plane will do just fine, unless of course you are of the opinion that people won't fly a single engine prop. See Satsair, and weep.

The biggest problem I see with the who "value proposition" is that for most trips, a single prop beats the heck out of the twin and the single jet. The price is much lower, and the time penalty is not significant all things considered for most trips.

At $500/hr for the whole plane, on your schedule, how can you beat it?

FlightCenter said...

Dave,

Interesting reading about someone else who is starting an air taxi company.

The quote that caught my interest (discussing the failure of point2point, based in ND) was

"... he who lives in a cold wet winter, needs airplane that can fly in ice—legally. That means, grasshopper, that the airplanes MUST be FIKI capable and certified for us to take off in known icing conditions. That is why we can’t fly the SR-22 ever or the Eclipse until it gains FIKI certification."

That comment had me wondering. Is the reason Linear Air still isn't flying passengers in their Eclipse because they can't launch without FIKI?

bill e. goat said...

I think Gadfly "rocks"!

I love the aeronautical, business, theological, and metalurgical exposes that he is gracious and patient enough to kindly share with us.

(Indeed, see the fascinating opening post on this string!).

I love the insight from what has worked, and what has failed, in aviation in the past. Sorry for some Vern-ites, but airplanes have actually been around for some time before Eclipse came on the scene! Complete with other "revolutionary" propositions.

And I love the gentle humor and decency with which he prods those with opposing views.

I tire of personal swipes, whether at advocates and antagonists. (Obviously, we can learn from Gadfly in more ways than one! :)

Shane Price said...

Goat,

Agreed.

Another valuable item that Gad brings to the table is his location. Combined with his eyes and ears, this means he has his 'finger on the pluse' of a local (incomplete aircraft) company....

I also know that. should I every have the pleasure of finding myself in ABQ, he has promised to host a fine barbeque, in true local style.

Now what more could you ask of a interesting old fart?

Gadfly for President. You read it here first....

Shane

rcflyer said...

Dave,

Thanks for the link to the www.flyyourjet.com web site.

Best laugh I've had all week.

R.C.

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly for President!

“A chicken in every pot and a plane in every hangar.”

Based on his handle, Bill E. Goat will be Secretary of Agriculture. Shane Price will make a fine Ambassador to the United Kingdom. We need to give Gadfly more time to put together his Cabinet appointments and his positions on key issues such as capital punishment and immigration reform.

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"We need to give Gadfly more time to put together his Cabinet appointments and his positions on key issues such as capital punishment and immigration reform."

Positions, hell! Gad is the "just do it" type we need at the top. More action, less talk.

WT

gadfly said...

Before you get all carried away with this president nonsense, you need to know my campaign promise:

"A Pot in every plane, and a Chicken in every hangar!"

gadfly

(Now, we return to our normal programming.)

Black Tulip said...

Gadfly,

I'm volunteering as your Campaign Manager. We going to have work on your message. Don't agree to a Tim Russert interview until we've talked a little bit.

FlightCenter said...

We could all benefit from listening to folks who are willing to remind us of the wisdom of our elders regarding the lessons they've learned about how to build our products, our companies and our lives on a firm foundation.

Gadfly, you have my vote.

... and hats off today to all the veterans who served their countries to give us the freedom to vote.

ex-e-clipser said...

This past August Eclipse spent $33 Million dollars folks! Way more than the $15-20M one of you guys surmised.

Gunner said...

Ex-e-
I suspect that's on a cash basis. Accrual accounting, as used by real companies and those wishing to take down investment $$, would require a red inkwell of the handy, OfficeDepot 50 gallon drum variety, I suspect.

Just the opinion of someone who predicted (to the jeers of The Faithful) that they'd be out of money (again) by October '07.

Someone remind me: What were the dates of the uber-secret "Investor Meeting", Mike Press' tap dance and the (now widespread) pickups by the mainstream press that the company was, once again, headed back to the trough? ;-)
Gunner

Dave said...

Do new aircraft usually come with five year old parts?:
http://www.eclipseaviation.com/index.php?option=com_newsroom&task=viewpr&Itemid=348&id=194
http://www.eclipseaviation.com/index.php?option=com_newsroom&task=viewarticle&id=1183&Itemid=51

rcflyer said...

Dave,

Those parts were for the flight test aircraft. See this press release.

R.C.

FlightCenter said...

Vern told the customer breakfast at Oshkosh 06 that 97% of all the parts on the aircraft had been redesigned since the Williams / Pratt engine switch.

So it is extremely unlikely that any parts made in 2001 could have been installed on a production aircraft.

What Vern didn't mention was how many times each of the parts had been redesigned since the switch from Williams or how many of the parts had just had change orders released in the two months prior to the provisional TC.

FlightCenter said...

Ex-e-clipser said,

"This past August Eclipse spent $33 Million dollars folks!"

According to the FAA database, Eclipse delivered 7 aircraft in August.

That works out to $4.714 million dollars of cost per aircraft.

According to GAMA's numbers, Eclipse had $34.867 million dollars in revenue for the third quarter.

GAMA Q307 Shipment Report

If you assume that ex-e-clipser's cash burn numbers for August (the mid point of Q3) are the average burn for Q3, then Eclipse spent $99M in Q3.

That works out to $99M - $34.9M = a $64 million dollar loss for the quarter.

Talk about a $64 million dollar question. Wow!

FlightCenter said...

Based on the data that Eclipse supplied to GAMA, Eclipse delivered 27 aircraft in Q3 for $34.867 million dollars. That works out to an average selling price of $1.291 million dollars of revenue per aircraft.

Eclipse would have needed to deliver 26 aircraft in the month of August at $1.291 million each to break even on a cash burn of $33 million.

That is 3.7 times their actual rate of deliveries in August.

BassMaster said...

What has happened to the floor workers (labor/engineering) posts? They've been oddly absent...considering the "layoffs". Is there some censoring by Mr. Blankenship?...are only the usual suspects posts filtering through these days?

Shane Price said...

FC,

One of these Q3 deliveries was to the Danish chap who 'won' the auction.

He bid something north of $1.8 million. If that was counted as Q3 revenue, then the real invoices to Ed at DayJet must be BELOW your average $1.291 million.

Scary...

Shane

Shane Price said...

Gunner,

I suspect that the principle investors are meeting pretty much every day right now.

Do you not think it a bit odd that Mike Press was allowed 'join' the original group? If Eclipse was such a sure thing, why sell equity to another party, especially a dealer? It gives him access to information that will make it difficult to manage other dealers, for one.

Shane

JetProp Jockey said...

Shane

Just my guess, but I think it was the members of the last financing group that has added reqirements for financial reporting to the money provided. You will recall that Vern told all the demands of the prior group were "unreasonable" and the deal fell through at the last minute.

Once a financing package is put out on the street, it would be difficult for Ecilpse to restrict anyone from buying in.

I wouldn't be suprised if Mike invested in the smallest allowed buy in just to gain access to financial info. I would also assume that Eclipse negoatiated that the investors would be required to sign non-desclosure agreements in order to see the information.

In the finance world, the more you need money, the tougher it is to get. Fishing for a new round in today's financial market is going to test the skills of even an old salt like Vern.

Redtail said...

Flightcenter said... Eclipse would have needed to deliver 26 aircraft in the month of August at $1.291 million each to break even on a cash burn of $33 million.

Then, based on FlightCenter's own supposition, Eclipse could "break even" at just one aircraft per day.

Gunner said...

Apparently the term "accrual accounting" is synonymous with "cash flow" for some here. I'm certain that's convenient when dealing with cognitive dissonance.

Gunner

Black Tulip said...

I’ll bet no Eclipse aircraft deliveries are accounted as sales yet. The rules on revenue recognition are very strict. If a product is shipped incomplete and requires additional work, it is termed a conditional sale and doesn’t count until all conditions have been fulfilled. This is true even if the cash has been collected.

Sales coming out of the apparel shop should be okay, provided the tee shirts and ball caps do not require updates and rework.

Ken Meyer said...

Linear Air To Start Eclipse Air Taxi Service Tomorrow

(by email)

"For three years the team at Linear Air has been working to bring the world affordable personal jet transportation. I’m proud to tell you we have finally accomplished that objective.

"On Tuesday Nov 13, Linear Air will be the first to offer whole-plane jet-taxi service in the amazingly affordable Eclipse 500 VLJ http://www.linearair.com/eclipse500.aspx The Eclipse 500 is a revolutionary twin business jet with unprecedented fuel efficiency, environmental sensitivity and economy. For up to four travelers, the price will be hard to beat.

"Please let us know if we can offer you a quote from the Boston, New York or DC areas. Up to 500 mile trips are optimal, but one-stop service to Florida works at about half the cost of the next smallest business jet. FYI, our Caribbean Caravan service starts this week too, with new per-seat service from San Juan to St. Barth's.

"We’ll be making several announcements over the course of the next few weeks, but I wanted you to be among the first to know. Thanks again for your support and encouragement these past few years. Hope to see you on-board soon!

Bill"

Stan Blankenship said...

bassmaster,

Only heard from one laid off worker by e-mail who said he had info to share. I suggested he pick a name and post a comment. Said he would but thus far has not.

At this point, what is happening on the shop floor is irrelevant. Survival of the company will depend on the next financing component.

BTW, fish fry at my house last nite and tonite. Filet of Bass, fresh caught Saturday from a spring fed farm pond. Caught quite a few trolling brite yellow Mr Twister twin tail grub. Only kept a 4 and 5 pounder.

mirage00 said...

At this point, what is happening on the shop floor is irrelevant. Survival of the company will depend on the next financing component.

You mean it's not about the "paper" airplane anymore? WHAT!????

Cmon Stan, the CG envelope is dangerous! Remember?

I remain amused

FlightCenter said...

redtail,

You are right to point out that Eclipse can't achieve breakeven at 26 aircraft per month. My post did not include the additional cost of goods for the 19 incremental aircraft.

Remember that Eclipse only shipped 7 aircraft in the month of August.

It is a reasonable assumption that Eclipse would be required to spend more than $33M in a month where they delivered 26 aircraft to cover the additional cost of goods for the additional 19 aircraft. So breakeven would be substantially north of 26 aircraft per month.

A simple way to measure when breakeven occurs would be when gross margin = total fixed costs.

Where gross margin = (Average selling price of the aircraft - cost of goods sold per aircraft)* the number of aircraft sold.

and where Fixed Costs = operating costs (employees, contractors, facilities, marketing, advertising, travel, insurance, taxes, benefits, finance, administration, etc. & other overhead).

Of course this highlights that cost of goods needs to be lower than average selling price in order to achieve breakeven.

Based on the numbers for August it seems that E500 cost of goods actually exceeds the average selling price.

If you assume Eclipse has 1,500 employees and a fully burdened cost per employee per month of $15K, then the fixed costs at Eclipse are running $22.5M a month.

If that is the case, then the cost of goods for the 7 aircraft delivered in August was $1.5M or $200K more than they sold for.

Obviously you'll never get to breakeven no matter how many aircraft you deliver if the cost of goods exceed the average selling price.

Vern has stated that they need to deliver 500 to 600 aircraft a year (45 per month) to achieve breakeven. If you use the fixed costs assumption of $22.5M, then you need a gross margin contribution of $500K per aircraft to achieve breakeven.

That's the truth of where Eclipse is today.

That means they need to improve their gross margin per aircraft by $700K to achieve breakeven at a rate of 45 aircraft per month.

This calculation gives Eclipse the benefit of assuming that Eclipse can ramp to 45 aircraft a month without hiring any new employees.

I'd be interested in hearing what others believe regarding Eclipse's fixed costs and costs of goods sold.

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

9Z,

You are right.

It really doesn't matter what numbers you plug in for cost of goods sold or fixed costs, if the other numbers are $33M spent and 7 aircraft delivered.

airtaximan said...

I'd be careflu before drawing any conclusions about the $33 Million spend number as itrelates to cashflow or profitability, or contribution.

Example, if they bought $33 Million worth of inventory, it reflects nothing about COGS, perhaps its on 90 day terms, and has nothing really to do with any margin or lack thereof.

All you could safely say is, it a pretty big number.

If a lot of this was spent on parts, assemblies and systems for planes, its actually a good sign.

bill e. goat said...

Redtail, FC and 9Z,

"It really doesn't matter...the other numbers are $33M spent and 7 aircraft delivered".

I concur, but giving the benefit of the doubt to a startup (say, how many years can they claim that one :) the following cipher'n as Jethro would say...
-----------------------
Redtail,

I agree (!) with your numbers, mostly. I have to admit, I have been suspicious of, well, just about anything Vern says. And if he says he needs to build 500-600 per year to be profitable, I figured that was just hype to convince the outside world that the order book was “real”. I have quietly suspected that the number was much lower, around, really, 150 to 200 to break even. Of course, this would mandate an appropriately sized work force as well, I should think on the order of several hundred, rather than thousand(s)- the surge in employment also being chiefly a Vernian ploy for appearances sake, to reinforce the “order book”.

All seeming to be a fa├žade- a construct to dump the company at an elevated price, before the house of cards implodes*. Well, my read on it anyway.

* I do think there is sustainable demand for 200 airplanes per year, but anything more than that I am doubtful. (150-200 private buyers per year, that is. The air taxi thing? Well, I remain skeptical, but will allow another 50 to 100, maybe).
----------------------
I was one of the guys who thought Eclipse was spending around 10-20M per mo on operating expenses (not related to parts going on the airplane).
Fun with numbers:
Labor:
Manufacturing types
65K / yr x 1000 = $65M/yr

Engineering types
110K / yr x 500 = $55M/yr

Totals
1,500 employees
$120M/yr payroll
$10M per mo payroll

I donno the other overhead associated with this (utilities, rent, sodas, color copies, etc), but I’d guess it to be a factor of x1.5 to x2.0, for a “burn rate” of $10 to $20 M per mo., just to keep the doors open, even if nothing rolls out the hangar doors.
------------------
Thankfully for our friends at Eclipse, the cost doesn’t go up that much more to roll things out the door.

I’d figure “purchased components” such as engines, avionics, sheet metal, landing gear, etc, make up roughly half the delivery cost, so I used 50% for the calculation below:

Let’s take Redtail’s example, of Eclipse delivering 26 airplanes per month. I think they are a little ways from doing that, but:
26 airplanes x $1.3M x 50% = $16.9M

Taking an average of labor and overhead of $15M, add $16.9M for components, one arrives at $31.9M per month for 1500 employees and 26 airplanes delivered.

Seemingly, not a bad thing, and I am blush with smugness at the harmony of the numbers. Victory is Mine! (Well, ahem, excuse me).
----------------
Now, let’s consider some numbers kicked around several months ago, regarding profit margin. Gadfly (thank you!) and others mentioned a profit of around 25% is required to make an enterprise of this sort sustainable.

(At least those are the numbers that stick in my head- please correct me if I am misquoting anyone).

Let’s figure that Eclipse matures somewhat in the coming months, and employment grows a modest amount, to say 2000 employees, to support a higher manufacturing rate. My crude cost breakdown is:

25% labor & overhead
25% profit
50% purchased components

If this is true, and if labor and overhead scales up from $15M/mo to $20M/mo (as headcount scales up from 1,500 to 2,000), then:

Income * 25% = labor & overhead = $20M / mo.
Or, ($20M / mo) x 4 = Income = $80 M / mo.

For a sales price of $1.6M, this would be $80M/$1.6M = 50 airplanes per month.

Or, 50 x 12 = 600 per year, as Vern suggested the “keep the door open” volume needed to be.
-----------------------
Honestly, I didn’t manipulate these numbers, and while blatantly my WAG, they weren’t contrived to “make” any particular outcome, but it does seem enlightening to see that maybe Eclipse really does need to build 600 per year to stay afloat. I welcome critique and enlightenment.

Something, I should think, Vern should say!

:)

Shane Price said...

M00,

A company almost always thrives or fails on the strength of its product(s).

It is for that reason that the E500 will bring down Eclipse.

There are many many reasons why this is going to happen. I will submit a sample, for your consideration:-

1. The plane is cheap. Way too cheap.

2. Its incomplete.

3. The company have committed to retrofitting a load of stuff, at huge cost.

4. It's too slow, flys too low and is down on range, against its natural competition.

5. It is tiny and will be very hard to scale, except downwards. See ConJet for confirmation.

6. A large number of parts come from outside your currency borders and are subject to the dollar weakness. These include the wings, the engines and parts of the tail.

Try any of the following, which would, on their own, be show stoppers. Oil heading north of $100 a barrel. Vern needing another few hundred million to 'get to high rate production'. Ed's aircraft working for all of 1 flight per day. (No DayJet = No Eclipse)

I could go on, but don't feel the need. You might find that all your Faithful Friends end up getting IS a paper airplane.

Shane

FlightCenter said...

Shane,

Is the price of oil going up in Euros over the past six or 12 months?

gadfly said...

. . . passing thoughts!

My grey matter seems to recall that Eclipse announced to their employees, about a year ago, that they were burning about $30 million per month . . . about the time that “free Cokes” and “color copies” had to be curtailed. Wasn’t that discussed at length at the time? . . . or did I dream it?

And although no-one else on the planet seems at all to be concerned about the “FSW” thing, and things like “inter-granular corrosion”, if I were an “A&P” (which I am . . . or was, a long time ago) and were assigned to looking after the little bird (which I am not), I would be watching for the slightest “bubble” in the paint, in the area of stir fried welding.

A little over four weeks ago, a dear friend of mine, an “engineer”, inventor, and longtime pilot, went to the doctor, to have a melanoma removed from his face. “Too late” . . . the doctor gave him three weeks . . . the cancer had spread throughout his bones, and into his brain. Ray Richmond’s funeral is this Thursday . . . he lasted almost four weeks.

Yes, if I were a mechanic for the little bird, I would be watching for the slightest of problems, just below the surface, . . . in the area of those “stir fried welds” . . . if a bubble should appear in the paint, I would be most concerned. But of course . . . I am an “old . . .”, etc., etc., who really does care about the safety of people who enjoy flying.

gadfly

(‘Let’s not get all melodramatic, etc., ‘just read it and make a mental note . . . and make sure that the “new technology” is worthy of your trust.)

Stan Blankenship said...

N500VK serial 010
En route ABQ - St. Pete.
Arrived ABQ 10-25
18 Calender days
Aero mods perhaps?

WhyTech said...

Billy said:

"Honestly, I didn’t manipulate these numbers, and while blatantly my WAG, they weren’t contrived to “make” any particular outcome, but it does seem enlightening to see that maybe Eclipse really does need to build 600 per year to stay afloat"

beg, a compelling bit of analysis, and difficult to fault in a major way; that is, in a way which would render the conclusions invalid. Amazing how few have the insights and take the time to run these "smell test" numbers.

WT

Shane Price said...

Flightcentre,

Yes. The dollar decline has cushioned it a little (maybe 10%) but at $100 per barrel...

Take it that the dollar/euro was 1.20(ish) 6 months ago when oil was $80(ish) and you get my drift.

On the ground (here in Ireland), oil products have risen by 15% or so in that period.

I suppose the point I am really making is the cost of doing business with Vern is RISING for companies like Fuji, P&W Canada and others, if the contracts are in US dollars.

Vern MIGHT have chosen to do the contracts in the native currencies, but then HE would be in more direct peril from the dollar decline.

Oil price inflation will affect us all, and, if steep enough for long enough will cause shocks throughout our complex systems.

You will also note that I have avoided direct mention of the 'sub prime' issues. The fallout from that will affect Vern's ability to raise more cash. To say that investors are risk averse at this time is a major understatement.

Anyone note where gold has gone to?

More than $800 a Troy ounce. People are scared and are 'running to gold', another indicator of economic troubles.

Just might be a little too difficult to link to the affairs of a company in ABQ which specializes in incomplete aircraft....

WhyTech,

I ran similar numbers a couple of threads back, using somewhat lower employee but higher parts costs. Came to the about same result, except I was unable to make the business work at any realistic volume.

By this I mean any production rate that could be reached, before the cash ran out.

I actually don't believe that an E500 price rise will make any difference. I think it's already too late, no matter how much you try to raise it.

The simple fact is that Vern needs cash, and he needs it NOW.

Cash is king. Vern himself has said he needs more. Everyone in the industry (and a few outside...) is aware of the bind Eclipse are in.

Sadly, I think that time has almost run out.

Shane

rcflyer said...

Shane Price said:

"4. It's too slow, flys too low and is down on range, against its natural competition."

370 kts is too slow? FL410 is too low? Please explain.

R.C.

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