Friday, December 28, 2007

2007 Year in Review – Eclipse Top 10 List

10. Eclipse secured their production certificate.
9. Eclipse’s largest customer, DayJet, launched operations and took delivery of 23 aircraft. Several other air taxi companies launched Eclipse 500 aircraft operations in 2007. Several VLJ management companies announced Eclipse 500 aircraft management programs, including JetAviva.

8. Eclipse transitioned to a new training program which is allowing Eclipse owners to successfully secure their type ratings in the Eclipse. Additional training capacity is coming on line to match the increased production capacity.

7. Eclipse secured their Part 145 repair station approval and opened their first remote service center in Gainesville, FL. Eclipse is delivering outstanding customer support and fast turnaround time for aircraft needing service.

6. Eclipse 500 aircraft performance modifications have been certified. Production cut in occurred with serial #39. The performance modifications deliver on the company’s commitments for the aircraft’s performance guarantees.

5. Eclipse certified and cut into production numerous improvements to the aircraft, including the design of the pitot-static system and the windshields, resulting in substantial benefits for its customers, including RVSM and improved service maintenance requirements.

4. Eclipse has successfully certified Avio NG. Production cut in occurred on serial #105. Avio NG hardware platform is now in place and ready to support future software releases with additional functionality. Probably most importantly, Eclipse has demonstrated the ability to certify complex avionics systems. This is a unique and significant differentiator for Eclipse.

3. Eclipse has successfully raised the financing required to fund the accomplishments listed above.

2. Eclipse has delivered somewhere between 90 and 100 aircraft in the first year of production. This is the fastest production ramp for the first year of production for a new production twin turbofan aircraft, ever. Eclipse will deliver more than 20 aircraft in December, hitting their one a day targets.

1. Now that Eclipse has established a stable production platform, put the aircraft’s major design changes behind them, they can focus on ramping production, reducing costs and transitioning to profitability in 2008.

Goin against the grain of the blog but always welcome, a guest review from Minority Report.

And an opposing view from airtaximan:

Minority report revisited, rose colored glasses removed for clarity:

10. Eclipse secured their production certificate (originally scheduled for 2004, rescheduled, rescheduled and then rescheduled for 2006).

9. Eclipse’s largest customer, DayJet, launched operations and took delivery of 23 aircraft. Several other air taxi companies launched Eclipse 500 aircraft operations in 2007. Several VLJ management companies announced Eclipse 500 aircraft management programs, including JetAviva. (Dayjet was initially supposed to begin operations in 2004, then revised its plans to have 30 E-500 on line in 2007, and now enjoys around ½ hour per plane per day in revenue flights, the other VLJ services have done a few flights a piece. Dayjet revealed to have more than half the eclipse orderbook, and Aviace, a oft touted European air taxi company 112 unit order evaporated)

8. Eclipse transitioned to a new training program which is allowing Eclipse owners to successfully secure their type ratings in the Eclipse. Additional training capacity is coming on line to match the increased production capacity. (So they replace United a world class company, and have overcome a very high training failure rate for a plane that is supposed to be very easy to fly. Also all promises of having full motion simulators have been missed, while the wait for training grows.)

7. Eclipse secured their Part 145 repair station approval and opened their first remote service center in Gainesville, FL. Eclipse is delivering outstanding customer support and fast turnaround time for aircraft needing service. (do we know this? They likely planned for hundreds of planes on line as per their own statements, and maintaining a few dozen planes is now seen as an accomplishment.. kinda sad.)

6. Eclipse 500 aircraft performance modifications have been certified. Production cut in occurred with serial #39. The performance modifications deliver on the company’s commitments for the aircraft’s performance guarantees. (again, a day late and a dollar short… this was missed after spending over $1B and 10 years – shameful to be boasting about cleaning up or finishing a design at this point, especially after 38 planes that are "deficient" have been delivered)

5. Eclipse certified and cut into production numerous improvements to the aircraft, including the design of the pitot-static system and the windshields, resulting in substantial benefits for its customers, including RVSM and improved service maintenance requirements. (Improvements? They are fixes of defects in design and manufacture – why not boast about improving the shoddy paint? Why not include the non functional avionics?)

4. Eclipse has successfully certified Avio NG. Production cut in occurred on serial #105. Avio NG hardware platform is now in place and ready to support future software releases with additional functionality. Probably most importantly, Eclipse has demonstrated the ability to certify complex avionics systems. This is a unique and significant differentiator for Eclipse. (after 10 years they dump Avidyne and this is called an accomplishment? Aviong is still unfinished, and from what we have seen, it probably has not a lot more functionality at this point than Avio-Avidyne… missed it by how much, again? What does an airframer achieve through the capability to certify avionics, from a customers perspective?

3. Eclipse has successfully raised the financing required to fund the accomplishments listed above. (So true –an ungodly amount of time and money –truly a remarkable feat. Probably their biggest accomplishment. Makes for a tough business case.)

2. Eclipse has delivered somewhere between 90 and 100 aircraft in the first year of production. This is the fastest production ramp for the first year of production for a new production twin turbofan aircraft, ever. Eclipse will deliver more than 20 aircraft in December, hitting their one a day targets. (Correction, second year of production – most of these planes were in fact started in early to mid 2006. Also, stated delivery goals for 2006 was in the hundreds, and 2007 was in the 1-2 planes per day range. This probably as much as anything else shows how unrealistic the company is in their ability to assess execution risk. The intial delivery date was 1004, revised again and again and again)

1. Now that Eclipse has established a stable production platform, put the aircraft’s major design changes behind them, they can focus on ramping production, reducing costs and transitioning to profitability in 2008. (Ramping up production does not equate to profitability… and the market and order book begs the question “Why ramp up to 2 or 3 per day anyway?)

88 comments:

gadfly said...

Was it the un-cooked chicken? . . . or something I read on the website . . . and where is Henry Judah (“Jay”) Heimlich when you need him? . . . ‘Don’t matter much . . . ‘think I’ll go speak to the porcelain god! . . . on my knees! . . . real loud and with sincere feeling.

gadfly

(and emotion!)

flyger said...

Jim Howard said...

The F-22, just like every non-Eclipse airplane flown IMC, has independent attitude information.

The backup indicators proved to be a good thing when the first four F-22s flying to Asia all experienced blue screens on the primary PFD and MFDs on crossing the equator.


It's funny how the faithful call me ignorant reflexively, yet they can't seem to get the facts straight themselves.

It was 6 F22s (6 following those were called on the radio before they got over the dateline or it would have been 12 F22s).

They were crossing the international date line, not the equator. Hawaii to Japan doesn't get close to the equator.

Lastly, they had no attitude backup. All systems failed. So whatever backup you were referring to didn't work and this is a counter example strongly against your opinion, not for it. A direct quote was: "they had no attitude reference".

The reason they had no attitude reference is that the primary and backups systems were from the same development, thus shared software and hardware. When crossing the IDL, the software couldn't deal with it and crashed hard.

A simple, trivial software bug almost downed 6 crews and $720M in airplanes (my $500M number was low, sorry).

gadfly said...

At various times, our submarine had to go across the “international date line”, to get to our patrol area. But there was another “line” that was even more difficult . . . the “DEW” (Defense Early Warning) line . . . hiding from our own line of Lockheed Constellations and P2V’s . . . ready to sink anything crossing that line through the Pacific, while we made our way up into other dangerous areas. Either way, the risk was great . . . but we had a rare thing in those day, “human logic”.

But now, we’ve put all that sort of thing into the “brain” (or chip) of a computer, that cannot make corrections “on the fly” (as it were) . . . but trust some college graduate computer geek to make our decisions for us. And so, the “NG” family is now in charge of our very lives. And that is one scary scenario.

gadfly

(And those in charge won’t even allow a “gyro compass or artificial horizon” on board . . . and that’s called “progress”?)

expilot said...

Flyger After 6-8 or more billion dollars the F22 gets the same blue screen freeze that my little $1,500 laptop experiences? Why for $5,000 or less doesn't Eclipse put in a battery operated attitude indicator? Don't they have any lawyers on staff? Why risk a billion dollar plus investment? Eclipse has done some great things,why risk it?

flyger said...

expilot said...

After 6-8 or more billion dollars the F22 gets the same blue screen freeze that my little $1,500 laptop experiences?

Yes, only worse. Once across the IDL, the systems could not be booted up with a hard power cycle. Being across the IDL triggered the problem when it started up.

Eclipse has done some great things,why risk it?

Naivety, inexperience, chutzpah, ego, pick one. My theory is that it started as inexperience, but now it is mostly ego that prevents Eclipse from admitting some things the industry does are right. They have a religion now and can't contradict the sacred texts.

airtaximan said...

Minority report revisited, rose colored glasses removed for clarity:

10. Eclipse secured their production certificate (originally scheduled for 2004, rescheduled, rescheduled and then rescheduled for 2006).

9. Eclipse’s largest customer, DayJet, launched operations and took delivery of 23 aircraft. Several other air taxi companies launched Eclipse 500 aircraft operations in 2007. Several VLJ management companies announced Eclipse 500 aircraft management programs, including JetAviva. (Dayjet was initially supposed to begin operations in 2004, then revised its plans to have 30 E-500 on line in 2007, and now enjoys around ½ hour per plane per day in revenue flights, the other VLJ services have done a few flights a piece. Dayjet revealed to have more than half the eclipse orderbook, and Aviace, a oft touted European air taxi company 112 unit order evaporated)

8. Eclipse transitioned to a new training program which is allowing Eclipse owners to successfully secure their type ratings in the Eclipse. Additional training capacity is coming on line to match the increased production capacity. (So they replace United a world class company, and have overcome a very high training failure rate for a plane that is supposed to be very easy to fly. Also all promises of having full motion simulators have been missed, while the wait for training grows.)

7. Eclipse secured their Part 145 repair station approval and opened their first remote service center in Gainesville, FL. Eclipse is delivering outstanding customer support and fast turnaround time for aircraft needing service. (do we know this? They likely planned for hundreds of planes on line as per their own statements, and maintaining a few dozen planes is now seen as an accomplishment.. kinda sad.)

6. Eclipse 500 aircraft performance modifications have been certified. Production cut in occurred with serial #39. The performance modifications deliver on the company’s commitments for the aircraft’s performance guarantees. (again, a day late and a dollar short… this was missed after spending over $1B and 10 years – shameful to be boasting about cleaning up or finishing a design at this point, especially after 38 planes that are "deficient" have been delivered)

5. Eclipse certified and cut into production numerous improvements to the aircraft, including the design of the pitot-static system and the windshields, resulting in substantial benefits for its customers, including RVSM and improved service maintenance requirements. (Improvements? They are fixes of defects in design and manufacture – why not boast about improving the shoddy paint? Why not include the non functional avionics?)

4. Eclipse has successfully certified Avio NG. Production cut in occurred on serial #105. Avio NG hardware platform is now in place and ready to support future software releases with additional functionality. Probably most importantly, Eclipse has demonstrated the ability to certify complex avionics systems. This is a unique and significant differentiator for Eclipse. (after 10 years they dump Avidyne and this is called an accomplishment? Aviong is still unfinished, and from what we have seen, it probably has not a lot more functionality at this point than Avio-Avidyne… missed it by how much, again? What does an airframer achieve through the capability to certify avionics, from a customers perspective?

3. Eclipse has successfully raised the financing required to fund the accomplishments listed above. (So true –an ungodly amount of time and money –truly a remarkable feat. Probably their biggest accomplishment. Makes for a tough business case.)

2. Eclipse has delivered somewhere between 90 and 100 aircraft in the first year of production. This is the fastest production ramp for the first year of production for a new production twin turbofan aircraft, ever. Eclipse will deliver more than 20 aircraft in December, hitting their one a day targets. (Correction, second year of production – most of these planes were in fact started in early to mid 2006. Also, stated delivery goals for 2006 was in the hundreds, and 2007 was in the 1-2 planes per day range. This probably as much as anything else shows how unrealistic the company is in their ability to assess execution risk. The intial delivery date was 1004, revised again and again and again)

1. Now that Eclipse has established a stable production platform, put the aircraft’s major design changes behind them, they can focus on ramping production, reducing costs and transitioning to profitability in 2008. (Ramping up production does not equate to profitability… and the market and order book begs the question “Why ramp up to 2 or 3 per day anyway?)

Also you forgot the Conjet... developing a plane with almost no input from Eclipse, at almost no cost either, and flying it to Osh Kosh IS a big deal, no?

What about the speed record?

What about the first GA FOQUA program?

What about right sizing the workforce by laying off 150 or so employees?

What about FIKI certification testing underway (finally).

What about lowering the price of the plane to only $1.25 million for the midnight special?

What about increasing the price of the plane (this is actually an accomplishment, except sales are stagnant)

What about trying to take back the secondary market with their own program?

on, and on, and on...

Seriously, congratulations to Eclipse for raisng more money - this is the single most impressive and important accomplishment of 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, 2003 - well, you know.

Thanks to Minority Report for bringing this to light.

Turbine Power said...

expilot said... "Why for $5,000 or less doesn't Eclipse put in a battery operated attitude indicator?"

They did. The Eclipse 500 with 135 package has a dedicated backup attitude indicator fed directly by its own AHRS unit. Attitude source and display both have two battery sources for better redundancy, and the data flows from AHRS directly to the displays (rather than through the aircraft computer system to the displays).

The Eclipse layout exceeds the stringent backup requirements of Part 135, so this "issue" just isn't one except to a handful of diehard naysayers.

Black Tulip said...

Reflecting on year 2007, we should think about the positive force the blog has been in our lives. I am most thankful for the change it has made in my vocabulary. I have resolved to use the phrase ‘cut in’ more next year. For example:

“Eclipse Aviation was cut in on the Collier Trophy in 2006.”

“I’m going to cut in a higher fiber diet on Tuesday.”

“The United States will cut in a new President in January, 2009.”

bill e. goat said...

Just passing through with time to kill at the airport.
Have wireless, will blog!
--------------------------
Jim H, Flyger, Expilot,
I think you guys are all on the same page!! (although it doesn't always sound like it :)
--------------------------
Sounds like Jim is pretty familiar with the F-22 layout, and functionality, and he is exactly correct:

“The F-22, just like every non-Eclipse airplane flown IMC, has independent attitude information. They call them the 'standby flight group'. They are two 3 inch by 4 inch display just above the right and left MFDs. Note also that the HUD is the primary source of attitude information, with the the center PFD and the two standby indicators as backups. The F-22 can fly IMC without generators as long the batteries last, after which the pilot has the seat of his pants and the ejection seat. The backup indicators proved to be a good thing when the first four F-22s flying to Asia all experienced blue screens on the primary PFD and MFDs on crossing the equator”.

These displays can be seen (powered off):
Photo of F-22 Cockpit
-----------------------------
Some details of the incident:

“Speaking to CNN, retired US Air Force major general Donald Shepperd explained the Snafu in military terms: “At the international date line, whoops, all systems dumped and when I say all systems, I mean all systems, their navigation, part of their communications, their fuel systems. They were - they could have been - in real trouble”. Fortunately all eight affected aircraft were able to limp home using old-fashioned eyeballs - following a tanker aircraft back to base.

“Still, it could have been worse. According to software risks expert Peter Neumann, code in the older F-16 Falcon would have made that aircraft flip over and insist on flying upside-down on crossing the equator, had the error not been caught during testing”.

(The F-16 reference is not an exaggeration- it was caught during lab testing in 1986 testing, although note it was the equator, not date line, which might be the source of confusion)
CNN Report of F-22 Incident
-----------------------------
From this Dec29, 2004 posting;
The F-22 will contain no less than six of the color LCD's, with only 3 backup analog displays for emergencies.
F-22 Backup Description
--------------------------
While I didn't see these displays in the photo; they do seem to exist (perhaps as numeric readouts, rather than “steam gages”, and appear to be referenced in the following formal/official(?) event description. (Backup Airspeed and Altitude are specifically mentioned, the third analog backup is not mentioned below. But it is worth noting that "analog" is not necessarily mechanical, it could have been an electronic attitude display that had corrupted input data. I didn't see any of the “steam gages” in the cockpit photo, but the could be small text readout indicators instead).
F-22 Formal Memo
----------------------------
Interesting blog discusses aspects;
F-22 Blog
-----------------------------
F-22 PIO Crash
The general story I heard about this one was, software caused the crash. The airplane was configured to land (flaps, gear, speed, radar altitude), so it wanted to land, and didn't know how to respond when afterburners were selected for a go-around. Without the weight-on-wheel signal, the flight control computer got the high-speed and low-speed control laws confused, which resulted in an uncontrollable situation. It was referred to as a pilot-induced oscillation, but no human could have controlled it. Supposedly, this situation had been discovered in the flight control lab, but neither notification or software fix had not been sent out to the field.

In -marginal- defense of this, it was a maneuver that “was not supposed to be done”, and this was still very early in the program, with many other bug fixes of higher priority, to cover the “allowed” maneuvers, in work.

(While that might sound odd, put it in perspective; during the “competition” phase of the program YF-22 vs YF-23, I heard anecdotally of a pilot who concluding a test flight, performed an common “victory roll”. Even though the maneuver had been tested with satisfactory results before, he was no longer allowed to fly the test article, because it hadn't been briefed for that flight- don't know if that's true or “legend”...)
-----------------------------
Another amazingly similar episode...
Airbus A320 Crash
The general story I heard about this one was, software caused the crash. The airplane was configured to land (flaps, gear, speed, radar altitude), so it wanted to land, and ignored throttle inputs (see following, with reference to service bulletin (OEB 19/1: Engine Acceleration Deficiency at Low Altitude). Squawks that were known, but the fix not implemented on the accident airplane.

Utterly amazing and miraculous: 127 of the 130 people on board survived! (still sad for 3).
------------------------------
Same situation, happier ending (apparently, after the service bulletin was incorporated):
Gnarly Airbus Go-Around
----------------------------
Another incident, involving PIO.
Airbus Rudder Failure
Again, Pilot-induced oscillation, but I'd say the pilot wasn't at fault- it was caused by inadequate “feedback” to the pilot- no force feedback, and only fractions of an inch of pedal travel. (Bad design, of human interface, and also I think structural inadequacies.

(Airplanes are designed to withstand max rudder deflection, although since this, testing has been done using rudder reversals, instead of the previous steady-state max deflection).
--------------------------------
In summary; a lot of things can go wrong with software! The F-22's didn't crash because:
1) It was day VFR
2) The flight control and FADEC's kept working.

This points out the difference between REDUNDANT and INDEPENDENT.
There were redundant attitude displays, but they were (apparently) not independent.
The fly-by-wire system and FADEC's kept working because they had;
1) Dissimilar processors
2) Dissimilar operating system
3) Dissimilar source code

True, the fly-by-wire and FADEC were also doing a dissimilar task from the displays. But dissimilarity is the key to independence. Indeed, it is an awareness of “hey, we can borrow some code from over there” that (while it saves enormous amounts of time and money) causes loss of independence.
---------------------------
If the F-22 and Airbus can have problems with software, then I'm skeptical (?! a critic ?!) of Eclipse's claims that a standby indicator is not prudent.
------------------------------
TP,
I wish you would have posted the standby indicator thing yesterday ! (I thought I had read sometime back that Dayjet was going to do it themselves- guess Eclipse figured they might as well make a buck of it if it was going to happen anyway).

Advocates and Critics alike gotta admit, the blog gets to the truth, eventuall- even if it's sometimes like "pulling teeth":)

And sometimes, "that horse might be dead" (but we sure know what it died of!:)

Happy -and safe- New Years!

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

The Eclipse 500 with 135 package has a dedicated backup attitude indicator fed directly by its own AHRS unit.

Show us a picture of it on the panel. Show us how independent it is, installed on the panel all by itself, not connected to anything else. Go on, do it! Show us!

You can't and you know it. The third AHRS can feed a window on the existing MFD, but it *DOES NOT* feed a dedicated "display". A software or hardware fault in the PFD/MFD system disables the ability to display the third AHRS. In addition, the third AHRS is of the same design (with the same internal software) as the first two. This system is very susceptible to common faults.

I love how the faithful mince words. Where else would a "dedicated display" be interpreted as a separate "window" on an existing display. By that standard, Windows Explorer has a "dedicated display" on my PC and it shouldn't crash when the PC does, right? How laughable is that.

The Eclipse layout exceeds the stringent backup requirements of Part 135, so this "issue" just isn't one except to a handful of diehard naysayers.

The naysayers aren't the ones who will die hard. I guess if you can have blind faith in Eclipse, you can have blind faith in FAA regulations, too.

Why is it that Eclipse *NEEDS* a 135 option? Other airplanes don't. So they meet those "stringent" requirements for everybody. In other words, the Eclipse ships with a 135 *deficiency* that needs an option to fix. Why is a part 91 guy deserving of less?

421Jockey said...

B.E.G

"And sometimes, "that horse might be dead" (but we sure know what it died of!:)"

I think you meant to say, "That horse might be dead" (but we sure know how to kick it)

Flyger:
Why is the MFD not a "totally independent" display for AI? It gets totally independent information from the third AHRS and if either (or both)PFDs go TU, it is a totally independent display. I don't get your point. Just because the Eclipse engineers (not Vern) were smart enough to figure out the most simple method for "independent", you seem hell bend on old fashioned analog gages. Get with the technology, it works much better than the old stuff.

Also, Flyger, why do you insist on being so rude when trying to make a(incorrect) point? Everybody is trying to be more civil these days while still expressing their opinion. Get with the program.

Happy New Year,
ex-421

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

Why is the MFD not a "totally independent" display for AI? It gets totally independent information from the third AHRS and if either (or both)PFDs go TU, it is a totally independent display.

All three AHRS use the same hardware and software. All three panels (PFD/MFD) use the same hardware and software. Not independent from common faults. The PFDs and MFDs also share common data inputs which provide common stimulus for faults. Some erroneous input data could trigger the same software bug in all displays at the same time.

The MFD is not an independent display. The Eclipse is built assuming the equipment malfunction is the only reason for backup. It is not. Clearly the F22 incident demonstrates that redundancy is not the same as independence. The Eclipse lacks independence and pilots should not be asked to bet their lives that Eclipse knows how to write bug free code.

Get with the technology, it works much better than the old stuff.

It does until it fails. That's why *every* other manufacturer puts in some basic independent backup instruments.

Also, Flyger, why do you insist on being so rude when trying to make a(incorrect) point?

So far, I've been called ignorant, rude, and incorrect. Some double standard we have here. All I've done is point out errors in the holy scriptures of Eclipse, but I guess that is now defined as "rude". What can I say. This seems like another attack on me rather than the argument. This seems to be the standard faithful response to avoid talking about the issues.

bill e. goat said...

"That horse might be dead" (but we sure know how to kick it)"

Point noted !! :)

"it is a totally independent display. I don't get your point".

??? Sigh. !! :(

bill e. goat said...

It would appear a proverbial "dead horse" can be led to the water, but still won't drink.
;)

baron95 said...

I think Minority Report's accomplishments list needs to be acknowledged. It is not like Eclipse didn't do a single right thing in 2007. In fact, 2007 was ther best single year in terms of real demonstrable progress as a company.

AT's attack on MR's list was silly. Basically saying, "yep, they did that, but didn't do it well enough, soon enough or $$$ efficiently enough.

Now MR could have made a more ballanced post by pointing out the work to be done.

FIKI, will probably come with some changes for all planes, and at least many of the planes flying will require upgrading to the new boots.

AvioNG appears to only have HW and minimal functionality certified, and requires AT LEAST another 30 days of development (that is why Eclipse is not delivering 105) to be customer ready even for Avio NG 1.0 functions. Full Avio NG, acording to Eclipse's own plans is at least another 12 months out. This remains the single biggest risk as far as the airplane development is concerned.

Training is nothing less than an embarrassing situation - there is no excuse to it.

Support and Service seems to be OK, but I'll wait till I see the Avio NG/FIKI retrofit rates.

As for company development, increased production to the 300/year level will be a challenge and being profitable at that level will be a bigger challenge. Adding 300 new sales a year once the plane is "finished" for a price under $1.8M seems do-able.

If their business model (the latest one, to the last investment prospects) requires more than 300 planes a year to work, then they are in real trouble. If it is th ereported 500/year, they are done.

2008 will be an interesting year indeed to watch them.

I think we will exit 2008 with Mustang, Phenom and Eclipse in production. Adam and D-Jet stalled.

TBM and PC-12 finally improved with glass pannels. Meridian with another GW increase (if they are to remain viable).

These will be the 6 mainstream very light turbine/personal planes that will doing battle Jan 1, 2009. You may choose to add the King Air 90 GTi if you choose.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

In fact, 2007 was ther best single year in terms of real demonstrable progress as a company.

That's true. It was easy because so little was done in years prior, some years having negative progress in terms of development.

The real issue is that major things don't seem to be "fully" done. Avionics, FIKI, training, manufacturing are all still only partially there. The last 20% takes 80% of the effort and press releases are no longer sufficient markers of success.

I think we will exit 2008 with Mustang, Phenom and Eclipse in production.

From this, I infer you think Eclipse will find another year of funding to cover their losses. I seriously doubt they can reach profitability in 2008, the production numbers simply can't increase that much. Part of the problem is that it takes too much working capital to have that much undelivered stuff on the shop floor.

So if Eclipse doesn't find $300M in financing to carry them through the year, they won't be in production on Jan 1, 2009.

If Eclipse finds the money, then they have a decent chance of finally delivering a mostly working product by the end of the year. In this context, mostly working means at least FIKI and AvioNG with a complete autopilot/flight director.

And it will have taken 10 years. Had Eclipse listened to the industry and made a few key decisions differently, the airplane would have been flying years earlier. Indeed, had they gone Garmin and PWC from the get go, imagine the success the airplane would have now! It would have delivered on the promise of changing the world!

421Jockey said...

Flyger,
Ten years ago Garmin had not come close to developing a Glass Panel system. Pratt had not begun development of the 600 series and much of the other "revolutionary" integration was not even on the "radar screen". Like it or not, Vern Raburn had the vision that made all this possible. Nobody had a crystal ball back then, it was all new territory.

I would, however like to compliment you on your still perfect, 20/20 hindsight.

BTW the 3rd AHRS is uses different hardware, software & input systems from the PFDs. It truly meets, even your definition of independent.

ex-421

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Just a wee bit of clarification:

Integrated cockpits were introduced in the 757/767 and A320 in the early 80's, and were perfected in the 777 by '95 although they continue to advance.

The PW600 engine family is not quite ten years old, having started in 2001 (2 or 3 years after the initiation of the Eclipse program depending on which version of the timeline you pick).

As far as the 3rd AHRS being truly independent, I was under the same impression as others that the AHRS source and code was the same as the other two - that said, ex421 is the only contributor I know of who actually owns an Eclipse at this time so I will defer to his systems knowledge.

The mostly civil tone is definitely a nice development.

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

I would, however like to compliment you on your still perfect, 20/20 hindsight.

So, not doing as you preach. Can't let an opportunity go by without a personal jab.

When Eclipse was starting up, everyone knowledgeable in the industry said it couldn't be built for the gross weight they proposed. Now it is heavier. They said it couldn't operate at the engine thrust they had specified. Now it has higher thrust. It couldn't get the range with the fuel load it had. Now it has higher fuel load. The three spool Williams engine was too risky. Now it has PWC. The custom made avionics couldn't be developed on a reasonable schedule. Still fighting that issue. Couldn't be priced that low. Now it is more expensive. Eclipse had to build the plane twice, once to teach themselves what others already knew, then another time to get something close to being acceptable.

BTW the 3rd AHRS is uses different hardware, software & input systems from the PFDs. It truly meets, even your definition of independent.

I can see you don't see. Who wrote the code that runs on the PFDs and MFDs? Where does the third AHRS display? Same code tree for both PFD and MFD means the same risk of simultaneous software bug triggered from an external event.

Not independent.

My understanding was the third AHRS was just like the other two. Perhaps that changed in AvioNG (if so, why?) but I suspect it did not.

A truly independent attitude is one which operates on its own. The Eclipse, standard or with the 135 option, doesn't meet that requirement. It is redundant against equipment failure (well, for the most part), but not independent. The display of attitude to the pilot shares some common pathway or development for all three AHRS sensors.

airtaximan said...

BARON,

Thanks for stating that MR's accomplishment list needs to be acknowledged, I agreed, so I did this. I also put it in context... sorry if you think this was a "silly attack" - it was not meant to be. In fact, I just added to his description of "accomplishments".

Characterizing the fises to cracked windows and a failed pitot design as "improvements" is well, rediculous.

Providing kudos to Eclipse for fixing years of mistakes, failed supplier arrangements, a failed design and trying to characterize their "air taxi" business partner customers as a "success", is completely one-sided.

You know why I provided the added details and context you seem to resent? Because the amount of time and money it has taken to get here is rediculous. The spend is a testament to failure, in that since 1988 they have been touting a revolution based on THIS plane that is being fixed up... and still is not finished, PLUS, it has a fragment of the required market to be even close to a financial success.

The dayjet business is being revamped - one day, someone will have to acknowledge the failure of the "per-seat on demand" revolution that is now mini-jet charter to try to survive.

Anyhow, your statement needs to be acknowledged for what it is:
"AT's attack on MR's list was silly. Basically saying, "yep, they did that, but didn't do it well enough, soon enough or $$$ efficiently enough."
This, as was MRs list, is a gross over-simplification. It also misses the real point.

Describing Eclipse as on the verge of profitability, just because they delivered 25 or so planes in one month, is absurd - a gross over simplification.

They made guarantees to their suppliers, based on volumes that are simply no warranted bby the order book. Sorry - no reason to ramp, except to:
- demand more money from the few hundrd depositors that are left.
- make an excuse for more investors to make the same grandiose mistake their predesessors have made and support the bleeding

Context is important, and characterizing the failures as successes only highlights the absurd nature of this story. One needs to remember that blosing $1.XYZ billion in 10 years and still not having a finished product, and still not having enough demand IS the context.

Sorry if you think this is silly - its not, when faced with the reality of more folks blowing more money.

My comments stand - they are accurate context, accurate description of the road to these accomplishments so aptly described in their BEST light by MR.

Kudos for painting a rosey picture - the reality is obviously "silly" and something of no interest to you.

baron95 said...

flyger said... The real issue is that major things don't seem to be "fully" done. Avionics, FIKI, training, manufacturing are all still only partially there. The last 20% takes 80% of the effort and press releases are no longer sufficient markers of success.

Yes. Very true. Eclipse needs to stop declaring things done until they are in fact done.

Flyger Said... From this, I infer you think Eclipse will find another year of funding to cover their losses.

Or be acquired or have its assets aquired in bankruptcy. I rate the chances of new funding with control as 30%, chances of acquisition outside bankruptcy as 30%, chances of asset/operating company acquisition in bankruptcy as 40% - give or take.

BD5 Believer said...

Bill E Goat

Gotta get the truth out here on the Air France A320 accident from the summer of 1988.

Pure and Simple Pilot Error, brought on by ego and a lack of full systems knowledge....plus some good old fashion showing off!!!

The pilot trapped himself in a corner when he failed to realize until to late that the ALPHA FLOOR protection would not automatically kick in and execute a programmed go around when HE had SELECTED flight iddle with the power levels - while in AUTO THROTTLE MODE.

In other words, had the throttles been set in the normal / correct cruise detents , the alpha floor would have kicked in as programmed. With the A/T's engaged, when he incorrectly selected flight idle, that hard locks the range of power for the A/T's at flight idle.

Said another way, when A/T's are engaged in the A320, the flight computers can select any pwer setting from flight idle to TOGA power as long as the thottle is physically in one of the upper throttle lever detents...in any other physicall position, the indicated TLA (throttle lever angle) becomes the upper end of the A/T power range. So with Flight Idle selected, the A/T's and the flight computer could not add power once the ALPA Floor protection was triggered, becasue the complete range of allowed TLA was flight idle to flight idle.

Once the pilot finally figuired out what was going on ( ALPHA Floor should have trigged at around 200 ft AGL has he left his throttles in place) he jammed the throttles home and almost had the a/c climbing when it struck the trees....that is what kept so many people alive...they went into the tree tops with almost zero sink rate.

The pilot of course tried to blame everything on Airbus and slow engine response....but the flight recorder told the whole story. In fact had he caught his mistake about 3-5 seconds earlier, he would have climbed away. And the engine response time, produciton and delivery test data showed them to be two of the best installed at that time. Well within delivery acceptance paramters for accel time.

In the USA the ABC show 20/20 did a hachet job on the a/c that way to many people bought into. The Airbus response was classic in its attention to detail and how it went through each of the inocrrect point on 20/20 and countered with facts, flights, and flight simulations. Of course 20/20 would not air it, but Airbus sent it to all of their customers.

However the myth remains to this day.

Hope this helps.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BD5, in fairness, although Aribus was claiming pilot error before the fire was out following that crash, the control laws were in fact changed by Airbus following that accident -wouldn't think they would invest in changes to control laws if the design were as clean as you suggest.

The real point is that blind faith in technology is bad, even for companies with decades more experience and far greater resources than Eclipse could even dream of having.

Couple that concern with Eclipse's hubris and insistence on NOT learning from the mistakes of others and you have a dangerous recipe.

Add in B95's report that the 'certified' version of Avio NfG recently touted by Eclipse is STILL not ready for primetime and we see a pattern repeating itself with troubling regularity - claim progress, demand money, not acknowledge failures and delays.

This is bad behavior in software, it should be unacceptable for airplanes.

baron95 said...

AT said ... I also put it in context... sorry if you think this was a "silly attack" - it was not meant to be.

My apologies - "silly" was a very poor and rude choice of word. I wanted to say that it was a single criticism - "they didn't do it, on time, as they planned, as promised, etc". That is of course all very true and correct, but also well known and discussed.

AT Said...You know why I provided the added details and context you seem to resent? Because the amount of time and money it has taken to get here is rediculous.

Yes it is. Embraer (granted they were an already established company), spent roughly the same ammount certifying a brand new family of 4 part 121 airliners plus LR variants.

On top of that, the arrogance they displayed and the disdain they showed to established industry "ways" was in very poor taste and EVERYONE of them came back to bite them.

Vern turned from a visionary with a bold and intriguing idea, into an embarrassment, and now is slowing trying to emerge as a straight talker with modest accomplishments, but has problems getting into relapse.

AT said... Kudos for painting a rosey picture - the reality is obviously "silly" and something of no interest to you.

Apologizing once again for the unfortunate choice of word, and stating again that I consider myself mostly an Eclipse critic with no affinity for the company, I don't believe the tint of my comments were particularly pinkish.

MR's accomplishements were, well, mostly accomplished in fact in 2007. Your list was, in fact, mostly true throughout Eclipse's 9-year history.

What is wrong with balance. Acknowledging both the accomplishments and the faults.

The EA-500 (with mods) airframe seems to perform well. It also has limited usability due to very small cabin.

Trying to make it fly with the Williams 22 was a dumb idea. Correcting the error by a clean switch to PWC (instead of trying to soldier on), a correct decision.

Trying to claim you'd deliver hundreds of planes in 2007 was (at least) naive. Having delivered about 100 in the first production year is still impressive.

Delivering half functional planes with inadequate training program is ridiculous. Making the call that Avidyne wasn't cutting it and going with a revamped team, could also prove to be the right move. Not scrapping the whole thing and going with G1000+ would probably have been safer. Time will tell.

Lets say I have 2 (count them 2) Mark II Eyballs, one tinted pink the other blue - and I choose to use both. Or at least I try to.

What do I have at stake in this whole thing? Not much. I am just a GA afficionado, and I believe that Eclipse, at the very least, shook things up. I currently have mixed feelings. I'd like to see Eclipse as a company and aircraft to achieve success and continue to shake up GA. On the other hand, I have a profound repulsion to Vern and his "ways", and I would like to see him removed from Eclipse and prevented from clainming victory.

I have already decided that the "right" next plane for me is an ECJ or Cirrus Jet-type machine. I'd like as much top-down price presure on those planes as there can be. At this time, it is the Eclipse that is in the best position for putting that presure on.

flyger said...

BD5 Believer said...

However the myth remains to this day.

There's a lot of controversy about this incident, including apparent tampering of the FDR and CVR:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Air_France_Flight_296

What is your source to back up your story?

Jim Howard said...

I stand corrected on the IDL v. equator. I should have known better, have flown the exact same route, taking an F-4 to the same squadron (67FS) that received the F-22s.

I stand by the rest of my post.

flyger said...

Jim Howard said...

I stand by the rest of my post.

To be clear, you claim the standby attitude indicators on the F22 did, in fact, work during this incident?

You wrote:

The backup indicators proved to be a good thing when the first four F-22s flying to Asia all experienced blue screens on the primary PFD and MFDs on crossing the equator.

All sources I have said they lost all attitude information so this is news to me.

That was my point, that a single stimulus took down multiple systems because they shared the same flaw because the systems were not independent, having been developed using the same code base.

carlos said...

Hi to everyone

I was wondering if there's a copy of the faa aproved airplane flight manual available somewhere on the web, i think it would be interesting to take a look.

thanks

Turbine Power said...

So the one-in-a-million glitch in the F-22 got fixed. And two days later the planes flew fine.

But flyger would saddle the fighter's already tight panel with a bunch of mechanical instruments on the outside chance that a one-in-a-million software glitch might happen again. The Air Force doesn't agree with his logic. Neither do I.

By flyger's logic, perhaps Eclipse should include a second set of wings in case the first set falls off one day. Extra wheels maybe? Dual pushrods? Two rudders?

In fact the Eclipse backup layout is a more intelligent design than the simple expedient of using mechanical instruments. When you're down to backup batteries alone, the Eclipse still gives the pilot a PFD and the MFD. Not just the mechanical backups for 30 minutes like many other planes.

It's actually a more intelligent and useful design. Maybe that's what bothers flyger.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

But flyger would saddle the fighter's already tight panel with a bunch of mechanical instruments on the outside chance that a one-in-a-million software glitch might happen again. The Air Force doesn't agree with his logic. Neither do I.

We always end up here with the faithful. Eventually they realize the design does have the weakness, then they switch to arguing that Eclipse is so good at implementation and the odds so low that it doesn't matter. Sorry, not willing to bet my life that a former Microsoft Exec can miraculously build error free code, the failure of which will kill you.

Not just the mechanical backups for 30 minutes like many other planes.

A vacuum horizon runs on a bleed air ejector and will run forever, costs almost nothing, weighs almost nothing. Airspeed and altimeter hook into static and pitot, cost almost nothing, weigh almost nothing. Why is it you think that lasts for only 30 minutes?

Maybe you mean to refer to electric horizons which have 30 minutes or more of internal battery. Well, the Eclipse PFD/MFD system has *no* internal battery. None. So it lasts zero minutes if ships power is lost completely. This can happen if you have a wiring harness fire, something mechanically severs the harness, a lightning strike, and a few other ways. At least an electric gyro with an internal battery runs for 30 minutes, regardless of wiring harness health.

So the next argument for the faithful is that the airplane's battery is 100% reliable to deliver power to the PFD/MFD system. Well, you should ask Diamond about how a single very common fault in their Twin Star took out *three* sources of power and simultaneously disabled both FADECs on their engines, causing an off airport crash at the most critical time right after takeoff.

There are a lot of subtle dependencies built into the Eclipse system. Pilots are going to find that out.

It's actually a more intelligent and useful design.

Ah, the "it's progress" argument. We can't use the "old" stuff that works with billions of hours of field experience, we want to be more "intelligent". It seems Eclipse is the only one that thinks it is "more intelligent" not to have independent backup instruments. Their track record on those sorts of decisions is, well, not inspiring in the least.

So far, I have yet to find any civilian airplane without independent backup instruments other than the Eclipse. The F22 is a military example and look at the failure they already had. If you know of a civilian airplane without independent backups, please do tell. Now why is it that everyone with experience building airplanes didn't do what Eclipse did? It is not by accident, it is because they know something.

BD5 Believer said...

Cold Wet

I think we are agreeing in principle about the dangers of advanced technology, escpecially when combined with ego's on both sides of the equation...the OEM and the pilots. The A320 crash is there to remind all of us of the danagers of too much reliance on technology. The exact situation that Airbus was hoping to avoid, occurred becasue the captain did not understand the systems in play.

Whose fault is that? We can all make up our own minds.

There are two other intereseting issues that bothered some pilots transitioning to the A320.

1. The Throttles do not move when Auto throttle is engaged ...which takes away a visaul clue from the flight crew as they corralate engine changes with A/T commands.

2. AutoTrim - the auto trim is so good and so quick that is takes away any out of trim feedback that a pilot normaly relies on.

Nothing too major, but intereseting, and Boeing paid close attention when designing the 777.

Flyger,

My source you ask....I worked in Toulouse at the time for GE/CFMI as a flight test/production support rep. The Fadec System was my prime area. My Office was in the original flight test delivery center, around the corner from the Airbus Flight Test Offices.

Aircraft Certification was just finsihing when I got there, so I spent most of my time with follow on certification items and entry into service issues. So I spent a lot of time with the Airbus Flight Test guys, especially the propulsion team.

Our office was part of the investigation of this crash, and I pulled the engine delivery performance records myself, and saw most of the flight data recorder transcipt. I say most, because the authorities only shared us what we needed to see for our part.

I was in several internal airbus/vendor meetings during the investigation and also was part of several customer briefings over the next several years.

It was a fairly cut and dried investigation until the pilot started crying to the media, and thus the myths began!!

Dave said...

intelligent design

Then Vern said, "Let there be Eclipse"; and there was Eclipse.

Turbine Power said...

flyger asks, "A vacuum horizon runs on a bleed air ejector and will run forever, costs almost nothing, weighs almost nothing. Airspeed and altimeter hook into static and pitot, cost almost nothing, weigh almost nothing. Why is it you think that lasts for only 30 minutes?"

Do you think the Mustang has a "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator?" Maybe the CJ1? CJ2? CJ3? You don't seem to have it in for Cessna for not choosing the "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator" you propose for the Eclipse. Figures.

How about you list a half dozen glass-panel jets that actually use the "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator" you're proposing for Eclipse?

Or were you just beating on your chest again?

baron95 said...

BD5 said ... The A320 crash is there to remind all of us of the danagers of too much reliance on technology. The exact situation that Airbus was hoping to avoid, occurred becasue the captain did not understand the systems in play.


IMHO, it is unimaginable that an experienced Airbus pilot would fly a jetliner in a landing profile 200'AGL over trees, and just rely that he put the trottle levers in the right position for the AT to trigger and command full power, and do nothing else.

I don't care what the ATs are supposed to do. If I need to go around (e.g. being 200FT AGL over trees) in a FADEC plane I am jamming the trottles forward to TOGA. I could care less what the AT are supposed to do. I am not sitting there.

And if I am supposed to test/demo the AT responses with passangers on board, I am NOT doing it at 200' AGL.

And if I were stupid enough to do the above two things - sit and wait for the AT and do it at 200'AGL, I'd me monitoring the AT response like a hawk, ask my co-pilot for 10 ft altitude call outs and jam the trotles forward when we hit 190' AGL if the AT didn't do it by then.

Anything else is jut mindless hot dogging with a jetliner full of VIPs. Unimaginable.

As a matter of fact, I do believe there are call outs on the A320 based on AT, autobrakes, and HLD config at certain hights above ground on landing. These are there to prevent this situation.

Either way, this was an experienced A320 pilot and it was an umbelievable series of error and failure to take timely action.

Lessons for the Eclipse? Pilots will occasionally do dumb things. Better have the best human factors, the simplest possible procedures, and error forgiving configurations, if you want to keep all the aluminum you put out to keep flying. More so on a plane that will see a lot of single pilot action.

eclipseobserver said...

December 29, 2007

ANN’s ‘Heroes And Heartbreakers’ of 2007: Eclipse Aviation’s Vern Raburn (#8)

All Hail The Aero-Heroes of 2007!
It is both the most "fun," and most difficult, task facing the ANN staff at the end of every year -- determining who, or what, did the most to promote the cause of aviation in the past 365 days... while also chastising those people or entities that did all they could to undermine the many successes the aviation/aerospace community has managed to accomplish.

Thankfully, 2007 was a year in which we saw the best and brightest among us step forward and work tirelessly on behalf of us all. No doubt about it... the challenges we faced in 2007 were numerous, and ongoing... so was the quality of expertise and passion brought to our defense by those who heroically demonstrated to the world the very best side of aviation... via their deeds, words and actions.

It is ANN's honor to recognize a solid dozen of our Aero-Heroes for 2007... in something of an informal order, starting from 12th to the 1st. Let us know what you think of our selections... whom YOU would have liked be included or omitted from such a list. In the meantime, we thank the folks who made this year's list. Thank you, folks... we really needed you this year, and you didn't let us down.

From the Hero's List... #8: Eclipse Aviation's Vern Raburn
Having Vern on this list is likely to earn me as much hate mail as praise... and for (pretty much) all the same reasons. Still; I truly believe that this guy demands a prominent spot on the heroes list.

Yeah, I know all the nay-sayers will talk about busted schedules, the rumors of financial problems (more from hope than actual evidence, we think), and dozens of other issues, but the fact of the matter is that Raburn and the Eclipse troops have pushed the entire industry to react, and adapt, to the challenges he has put before a biz that was so mired in the same old BS, that many honestly feared (at times) the business would sink out of sight and no one would notice.

But let's get real here... there is much to congratualte them on this year. Raburn and Eclipse will have pushed out some 100 jet aircraft in their first year of production, adapted a number of new technologies into a single airframe, totally turned the Single-Engine jet game on its ear with a surprise prototype, conquered a GREAT number of problems (and are honestly on their way to vanquishing many others), pioneered new production technologies and programs here-to-fore unseen in small jet production (or anywhere else, in many cases), and totally flaunted the conventional wisdoms that chained too much of aviation into doing the "same old thing" day after day. He can be brash, outspoken, smart, arrogant, insightful, a real smart-ass, controversial and overly optimistic (C'mon Vern, you know its true), not to mention many other attributes -- but darned if it doesn't take those properties and a number of others to change aero-history. That said, we think that when this story is a bit more complete, we have a sneaking suspicion that biz-aviation's "bad boy" will be proven to have been (mostly) what so many of this enemies deeply feared all along... i.e., Vern may just turn out to have been (dare we say it?) "RIGHT." One of the main reasons we root for Raburn's success (as we would for any proper aviation venture), is because its going to be so darned entertaining watching people come up with new recipes for crow...

Watching Raburn has been some of the most entertaining journalism I have ever undertaken... I mean, they should sell popcorn in the lobby of the Eclipse HQ building, for God's sake -- the entertainment value is THAT good...

When all is said and done, it takes people who are willing to take great risks, embrace and conquer their inevitable problems and failures (Folks, if you're not failing now and then, than OBVIOUSLY you're not trying hard enough), and do what all those around them say "can't be done," to make an industry turn on its ear. Revolution (by and large) is a good thing... it shakes the cobwebs out of moldy conventional thinking, it invites those with dreams to act upon them, and the inevitable result is often an escalation in the good fortunes of those whom such events ultimately affect.

In our opinion, the Eclipse program (as led by Raburn), has made the industry sit up and take critical notice of they way that business is being done and look at ways to make solid positive changes... so that Raburn's revolution doesn't bury them a few year's hence. As painful as that may be, (to Raburn, et al, most of all), this has to be a good thing. Years from now, win or lose, I hope we get to look back at Eclipse and see the beginnings of one of the most intriguing revolutions in the aviation business. We shall see... but we have feeling that he's going to surprise us all.

gadfly said...

Part of an article from this morning's Sunday Albuquerque Journal:

Sunday, December 30, 2007

New Mexico Can Be Pleased With Most of 2007

By Harry Moskos
Of the Journal
New Mexico can look fondly on 2007— the year the state's per capita personal income grew as well as its contribution to the nation's gross domestic production. The state's population topped 2 million and Eclipse Aviation's jet plane officially took to the air in the hands of customers. There also were substantial job losses announced at Intel and PNM, and Eclipse Aviation struggled to overcome production delays.
Here's a summary of some of the state's business activity during 2007:
AVIATION

Eclipse Aviation received its Federal Aviation Administration production certification and delivered its first plane. The keys went to Jet-Alliance. Since then, the company has delivered an estimated 70 planes, with several in regular use by companies like Florida-based DayJet.

Eclipse also cut its work force of more than 1,500 by some 100 positions as production failed to reach expected volumes. Other delays have plagued the company, which by the end of the year was looking for additional funding, as internal and external delays have pushed profitability further into 2008.

A Houston-based upstart airline, ExpressJet, joined the Albuquerque market by offering nonstop passenger service to six cities in California, Texas and Oklahoma. Also, Great Lakes Aviation started service to Albuquerque from Clovis and Silver City, but Mesa Airlines discontinued its Albuquerque-Farmington route . . . and so on!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I have cancelled my subscription to ANN - just cannot take it anymore - I thought Jim was smart enough to recognize when he is being used but it appears he prefers acting as the Eclipse Southern Public Relations Office.

Damn shame, I remember when he lost his magazine fighting the good fight - he used to be a good avocate for the little guy but alas it appears even good guys have a price, at least some of them do.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

Do you think the Mustang has a "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator?"

No, it doesn't. I presented the bleed air gyro as an example that requires no electricity at all and runs for as long as the engines run. It is almost impossible to think of a single stimulus that would take out the PFD/MFDs and the bleed air gyro at the same time. This is the essence of a good backup.

The Mustang has an electric AI. It is not connected to *any* network or other systems of the airplane. It doesn't run "code". If the ship's power is lost, it runs for almost an hour on an internal battery. This is true even if you sever the wiring harness to the unit mounted in the panel.

If ship's power is lost on an Eclipse, all panels immediately go dark. They have no internal power source.

This is a critical difference. One system operates with no dependencies on the airplane, the other requires that a substantial part of the wiring harness exist and is working correctly.

How about you list a half dozen glass-panel jets that actually use the "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator" you're proposing for Eclipse?

There are some. I know of several turboprops that are configured that way, with bleed air driven backup gyros and glass panel primaries. These are not the majority, but it does exist.

flyger said...

BD5 Believer said...

My source you ask....I worked in Toulouse

Besides your personal observations, how would one confirm your statements?

EclipseOwner387 said...

BD5,

I believe you.

airtaximan said...

From AIN:
"(he)pioneered new production technologies and programs here-to-fore unseen in small jet production (or anywhere else, in many cases), and totally flaunted the conventional wisdoms that chained too much of aviation into doing the "same old thing" day after day."

I guess every Bozo has his Delilah

Enjoy the fireworks -
Happy New Year...

More coming in 2008 - thanks again to the ferless depositors and investors.

PS. Baro - thanks for the recent post - you are a class act

Copernicus said...

Stan,

It is now 12/31/07. At 12/31/06, exactly one Eclipse 500 had been delivered. At 12/31/07, it appears the number will be about 100. Soon you will announce the winner of the contest to guess the number delivered in 2007. How about rerunning the contest for 2008 with one variation? Guesses must be submitted by 1/15/2008 (any guesses prior to 1/15 can be revised until the 1/15 closing date) and contestants must guess on two fronts:

1. How many Eclipse 500 aircraft will be delivered in 2008?

2. Who will deliver the last one delivered in 2008?

(a) Eclipse Aviation Corp. as it is known today with current management having plowed through another year (i.e. Vern still in control);
(b) Eclipse Aviation revamped as a new independent corporation or as today's corporation with substantially new upper management (i.e. Vern gone or relegated to ceremonial position only); or
(c) Another corporation altogether (like Cessna, Mitsubishi, EADS etc.) which has acquired Eclipse Aviation or at least the EA500 type certificate during 2008

The winner will be the person who guesses correctly on 2 a,b, or c and then among those who guess correctly on 2, the person who has the closest number to actual.


My guess: a - 300

flyger said...

Copernicus said...

At 12/31/06, exactly one Eclipse 500 had been delivered.

You need to define "delivered" precisely so we can tell what it means. In the above case, the owner of the airplane delivered in 2006 didn't have true use of it for months.

My guess is:

b - 170

Even though I pick b, Vern's like a Jedi, he waves his hands and makes people believe, so he could still be around through the end of 2008. I don't think that matters that much since the factory floor is where the issue is now and the die is cast, so to speak, on how the design of the airplane enables or limits the production rate possible.

Thus I went for about 2 days per airplane which seems to be what they can sustain right now. I am hopeful the cult of personality surrounding Vern goes away, though, so Eclipse can be a "real" company.

If Eclipse does go BK, then the floor will probably shut down for several months leading to considerably less numbers of delivered aircraft, and then slower rates when they come back as vendors will be cautious, if they aren't already on high alert.

baron95 said...

b - 250

Happy New Year to all!!!

WhyTech said...

b - 0

My definition of delivery is the one I would insist on if I were buying any acft: no significant IOU's vs specifications which were the basis for purchase at the time title passes. I believe that there will be significant IOU's still to be completed by end 2008. IMHO, any lesser definition of delivery is not real world.

Best for 2008!

WT

gadfly said...

Y-Tech

Agreed! A deal is a deal! An agreement is an agreement! And a promise is a promise!

Here near ABQ, it is almost 1600 hours Mountain Standard Time. And up to this minute, not a single complete E500 has been delivered to anyone. The score remains “Zero”! So, unless a “miracle” takes place in the next eight hours, the final number of Eclipse jets delivered, as originally promised, remains “Zero”.

It is true, that certain collections of aluminum parts, with jet engines attached, have actually flown to customers that are willing to accept such things as "complete", but if I ran my business on this sort of principle, I wouldn’t have a customer left “come January 1". Up until now, our customers have had "more sense".

Whatever! You can warn people just so many times . . . the final results are no longer my responsibility.

But "the gadfly" will continue to irritate folks now and then . . . after seven decades, I've come to value this industry.

gadfly

(“Ignorance can be fixed, but Stupid is Forever!”)

(Now, with "half" my family, natives of Chicago, and the other half, either natives of Southern California, or a graduate of USC, whom do I support in the Rose Bowl? . . . Decisions, decisions!)

Turbine Power said...

Here's a New Year's laugh for you--I asked flyger if he could name some glass panel *JETS* that use the "bleed air driven backup attitude indicator" he faults Eclipse for not having.

His reply?--

"There are some. I know of several turboprops that are configured that way, with bleed air driven backup gyros and glass panel primaries."

*JET* turboprops, I guess!

Flyger faults Eclipse for not having a system that he himself couldn't identify on ANY glass-panel jets at all.

That tells us something.

Turbine Power said...

Flyger said, "If ship's power is lost on an Eclipse, all panels immediately go dark. They have no internal power source."

I have news for Flyger--the panels all go dark in many planes if you lose all ships power. Look up "emergency bus" sometime, Mr. Flyger. CJ's, for instance, use the plane's ONE battery for their emergency bus--and that's what provides required 30-minute backup. Eclipse gives the pilot TWO batteries to further protect him.

Mustang pilots have it a little different--their backup instruments have separate power, but they are tiny two-inch instruments. And no, Mr. Flyger, they're not powered by an internal battery like you said. That was wrong.

Different models deal with backup requirements differently, and every one of them has its pros and cons. I think what troubles Mr. Flyger about the Eclipse backup design is that the young upstart has come up with a design that is actually is better than what Cessna and some others are doing. It provides really good protection against the commonest failures (who wants to fly a jet in IMC using 2-inch backup instruments?). And it meets every FAA regulation for the uncommon failures.

gadfly said...

TP

You sure have a good point. Why would anyone want to go “squinty eyed” trying to read those tiny little two inch instruments, when you could enjoy a 30 minute anticipation of becoming a “lawn dart”, after the batteries go dead? ‘Just think of the adrenaline rush . . . and who knows, you just might make it down to “VFR” in time to pull out of whatever attitude you might be in “below the clouds”. And to top it off, you have the “blessings of the FAA”, and the knowledge that you are equal footing with at least a couple or three other manufacturers . . . just before your own screen goes blank.

gadfly

(Good thinking . . . ‘wish I’d thought of that! . . . but then, at least I know my final destination.)

airsafetyman said...

Flyger,

Of course you are correct in the need for an independent attitude reference. Many airplanes use an electric gyro with a separate batter pack that cuts in if the main power is lost. The situation with the glass cockpits is more subtle than just having a back up. One avionics manufacturer states in a service letter that pitch and roll excursions have been noted on the PFD that are mirrored on the moving map display and on the heading output, WITHOUT a warning. All this while the aircraft is flying straight and level. This would easily leave the pilot wondering just which attiude information, the PFD or the standby, is incorrect. In most jet aircraft the pilot and copilot have independent attitude references, and they also have the third standby attitude gyro, the logic being if one reference displays unusual info relative to the other two, that is the one that has failed. I have been told by an FAA inspector working out of the FSDO that has the DayJet certificate that all the DayJet airplanes have a conventional standby attitude reference. I don't know what the standard non-part 135 Eclipse arrangement is. They seem determined to solve a problem that just isn't there and hazard lives in the process.

expilot said...

TP Take it easy,It's just a blog. If I recall correctly a number of manufacturers called there TP's "Jetprops". I predict 323 partial E500's in 08, but whats the point? There won't be demand for more then 150 to 200 per year long term. Vern will be working elsewhere in 2009. Happy New Year!

Black Tulip said...

Whytech captures my sentiments.

Category (b)... but is the number of 'aircraft delivered' limited to a positive number? What about aircraft back at the factory or service centers working off IOU's?

Footnote: Currently flying a glass-cockpit twin-turboprop with a bleed-air powered three-inch standby artificial horizon plus three-inch airspeed and altimeter requiring only pitot-static inputs. Glad they are there.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

I have news for Flyger--the panels all go dark in many planes if you lose all ships power.

Not news to me but seems to be for the faithful. This is why those airplanes have backup instruments. There have been a number of times airliners have lost all panels at the same time and the pilots used the backup instruments for basic flying.

When (not if) this happens to an Eclipse pilot...

FlightCenter said...

The FAA did update their registry database and "in process" website on the last day of the year.

Eclipse 500 Delivery Data

The executive summary is that Eclipse submitted paperwork to the FAA on 12/31/2007 to transfer registration of aircraft #100 to VLJ Express Ltd.

They submitted paperwork to transfer registration on two other aircraft, serial #84 and serial #97, on 12/28/2007.

That makes a total of 74 aircraft listed in the registry database and a total of 20 aircraft in process, for a total of 94 aircraft for which Eclipse has submitted paperwork to the FAA to transfer registration.

Serial #53 and 76 have not had paperwork submitted to transfer registration, but both seem to be working as demo aircraft.

Serial # 82 (the 2nd auction aircraft), 96, 98, and 99 have not had any paperwork submitted to transfer regisration.

We'll have to wait a few weeks for the FAA databases to catch up, but preliminary figures would seem to show that Eclipse produced 96 aircraft and delivered 94 aircraft in 2007.

Eclipse did not notify the FAA of any aircraft production starts in the last week of 2007.

Jet Alliance took delivery of their 2nd aircraft, they now have serial #1 and serial #84.

Shane Price said...

ColdWet,

You've put the hex on Captain Zoom!

ANN is offline. Maybe he got fed up with trying to get his video version of the web site working and has just thrown in the towel.

Gadfly,

I have a problem. I predicted 42 (Douglas Adams...) and you are stuck on 0, as in zero.

One part of me wants to support your call, the other knows that if I do, I loose....

To one and all, a very Happy New Year.

Shane

Black Tulip said...

Shane,

Forty two was your answer. In the fine tradition of Douglas Adams, you and Slartibartfast need to figure out what the question was.

Happy New Year

baron95 said...

Flyger said... There have been a number of times airliners have lost all panels at the same time and the pilots used the backup instruments for basic flying.


Flyger, you are of course correct. however, there have been very, very, very few cases,if any that a modern airliner crew has actually had to rely on mechanical attitute instruments to land the plane.

That is for a number of reasons:

1 - On any plane newer than a 777 or 737NG, the reliability and redundancy built into the PFD/MFD displays itself as well as power distribution is very high. Incidentally, the reliability of GA avionics like Pro Line 21 is even higher, particularly right after EIS.

2 - IMC flying is a very tiny fraction of airline flying (less than 2% for long haul legs).

3 - In a dark pannel situation, the crew will almost always seek VMC prior to approach and landing.

4 - Crews are known to take items such a Garmin 386/486 or other portable GPS on their flight bags, and can also rely on that. (this of course is a minor point)

So, while I would always agree with you that 3 independent attitude sources are indeed good, I would not want readers of this forum to get the impression that steam backup attitude indicators have been routinelly saving lives in aairline or GA jet flying. There is simply no eveidence of this.

For new Eclipse owners, if there were a choice of spending $6K to install a steam AI or spending the same $6K in a Flight Safety initial/recurrent training or 20 hours with an experienced instructor, by all means chose the latter.

If you crash in an Eclipse, the chance of it being pilot error will be in the neighborhood of 95%+. The chance of it being because you did not have a steam backup AI will be in the neighborhood of 0.1%-.

Proper perspective must always be used.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Rather than look at 2007 the year that was from a critics’ point of view (far too easy to once again list the missed schedules, blown budgets, incomplete aircraft and other shenanigans from Albuquerque), I thought it might be most interesting to compare Eclipse’s own objectives for 2007 to their actual performance but that too would seem to have been most unfair.

As many have said before, the problem with Eclipse is the could’a, would’a, should’a nature of its’ also-ran performance – and its’ proclivity for redefining industry standard terms like “certified”, “delivered” and “orders”.

When the curtain finally sets on the Eclipse story, the overwhelming feeling will be one of missed opportunity.

At one time, Eclipse had assembled arguably the best team in aerospace – a collection of talented and experienced individuals from around the industry – it had the potential at that time to create a truly impressive, game changing aircraft. Yes, it had the potential, but not the wisdom and therefore not the ability. Experienced voices were repeatedly ignored, silenced, even chased off the program in favor of inexperienced FOV’s (Friends Of Vern) or by the obscenity laden tirade of the day – the very origin of the potential, the people, was squandered, insulted, and eventually driven away.

When discussing the astronomical amount of money raised and wasted by Eclipse, the Faithful are quick to bring up the fact that Eclipse is also building a company as well as a plane, and that would appear, on the surface anyway, to be a fair comment. Unfortunately, here again Eclipse and its’ supporters are redefining terminology - other than lots of leased, publicly owned buildings and some tools (even if tens of millions of dollars worth), it simply does not add up to more than perhaps 2 or 3 percent – in other words, inconsequential. The real story of the financial waste of Eclipse is in the large number of equally large monies wasted over years on systems and vendors which are no longer on the plane – Williams, BAe Systems, Avidyne to name just 3 of the heaviest hitters – likely $150-200M wasted.

While on the subject of money it is here we find the biggest losers in the Eclipse saga. Would-be owners will be able, for the most part, to find other platforms, other aircraft, and other manufacturers to buy from, employees will be able to find other companies to work for, vendors will be able find other programs. The investors, especially those brave early believers who invested from 2000 until 2004, will have seen their investment evaporate from the halcyon days of yore and wild-eyed projections of industry leading PE and ROI, to dilution by orders of magnitude, making the paper nearly worthless.

Vendors who have invested in meeting the vaporware demand will be the next hardest hit, and Eclipse’s penchant for picking 2nd tier or in some cases new-to-aerospace (read that inexperienced ) vendors and their insistence on vendors ‘drinking the kool-aid’ has resulted in overcapacity that is hurting vendors right now.

It is a shame really, there was so much possibility nine years ago, so many great ideas, such great talent. This naturally begs the question ‘what went wrong’? The following is my own opinion based on observing this company for 8 years, on discussion with current and former employees, current and former vendors, and of course based on my own experience over the past nearly 20 years.

I believe the responsibility for the failures of Eclipse lay squarely on the shoulders of Vern Raburn and his chief enablers, the Board of Directors. It is the decisions made by Vern and ratified by the BoD, either explicitly or by default through their silence that has created a joke out of a tremendously promising idea, and made a mockery of aerospace by redefining what it means to be certified, to have an order, and to have made a delivery.

When the trade media turns on Vern and Eclipse, something I believe we will see in the next couple months, the criticism will echo the discoveries and allegations made here, only it will be made to a much larger and more influential audience. As it is, no blind web search for Eclipse ignores this blog – would-be customers and would-be employees will find soon that this blog was indeed right about a good many things, that the criticisms presented here were prescient, accurate, and well laid-out. We have made no end of suggestions about how to improve the situation at Eclipse – some have been implemented, some not (at least not yet).

Eclipse continues to defy logic, to defy the basic rules of business, and to defy the odds. Inasmuch as Vern is to blame for the many, many shortcomings, failures and near-frauds perpetrated by Eclipse, he is also largely responsible for its’ continued existence. Vern’s ability to separate the wealthy from their hard-earned currency is simply incomparable – but that will eventually not be enough. Vern’s mouth continues to write checks his business can’t cash – and he remains the company’s largest liability – a greater threat than the still incomplete Avio NfG, a greater threat than the still incomplete FIKI certification, a greater threat than the costs to retrofit 100 planes with a new avionics suite.

The question that has loomed large in my own mind for over a year now remains – when will the BoD remove Vern? Only time will tell.

Just as a data point, Vern’s prediction for deliveries at the end of 2006/beginning of 2007 was 515, mine was 84. The final tally for ‘deliveries’ appears to be about 94. That puts my prediction off by 10 or 12%, Vern was off by 421 or 82%.

The real winner in the prognostication game is Gadfly who predicted Eclipse would deliver exactly zero fully functional aircraft, turns out to have been spot on – the losers unfortunately are all who believed in the dream and who have now ponied up close to $250M (mostly in advance) for planes which are being delivered with a stack of IOU’s and wallpapered with INOP placards. THIS is the real legacy that Vern Raburn and Eclipse will leave us with, the stench and embarrassment of lowered expectations.

John said...

SN 100 on sale at $1.695 M.
Controller offers SN 100 through the SPJM agency. Controller detail link.
The intelligence this offer provides is the agents notation that SN 100 entered production on 10/12/07.

The start-to-finish production pass time is about 75 days. Other commenters have wondered what the through rate on aircraft is, SN 100 provides a marker for this metric.

SN 100 did not get a registration request until December. This indicates there is about a 50 day lagging delay before registration paper work is submitted.

airtaximan said...

CW, Vern's no dummy, and the board is not stupid, either.

We have to ask, "what are they thinking?"

What is the reason for the financial fiasco and technical cluster F&%$?

I personally believe the reason they were able to obtain (and continue to obtain) financing is the same reason for the failures you cite regarding the program.

Here goes:

High tech.

Any attempt to apply "new" technology was misguided. Had they just concentrated on producing an inexpensive, "state of the art" dmsller jet airplane, they could have (should have) delivered an
FJ33 powered mini jet in 2004 or so.

BUT, no tech money would have followed... no "revolutionary" high tech sales pitch would have been available to attract neophyte money to aviation.

Vern's friends would have said "there's no tech story, its aviation - just a good way to make a small fortune out of a big fortune!"

The added value related to the EJ22, the avio and FSW are zip.

They lost many years, supported the staff at that burn, blew tons of cash, and likely have nothing to show for the tech projects, except a bunch of tech investors willing to "believe" and write checks.

I think this is at the heart of the matter of "how" they screwed up so badly, wasted so much time, and burnt so much cash... BUT its also the reason they were able to garner so much (dare I say "dumb") money into the company.

Bottom line: the conventional program (no tech story) probably would have ended up like Javelin - caving under its own lack of financing... and the Tech program is going TU becasue this market requires a low (tech) risk, low cost solution.

Just one airtaximan's opinion...

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Flyger, you are of course correct. however, there have been very, very, very few cases,if any that a modern airliner crew has actually had to rely on mechanical attitute instruments to land the plane.

"Land the plane"? That's a nice distraction to the discussion. The issue is not how they land, but can they survive the next 2 minutes without attitude reference. VFR into IMC accidents have nothing to do with "landing". This is comparable, sudden loss of orientation.

On any plane newer than a 777 or 737NG, the reliability and redundancy built into the PFD/MFD displays itself as well as power distribution is very high.

Yes, *everyone* of those airplanes has backup instruments that are independent from the power and network grid of the airplane. *EVERYONE*. Clearly, the designers put safety first rather than ego.

IMC flying is a very tiny fraction of airline flying (less than 2% for long haul legs).

Again, I call this misleading. Flight by reference to instruments occurs *way* more often than this, practically *all* flights at night and over an undercast are down that way even though those are not technically in IMC. In fact, *most* of the time the crew is flying using the instruments. I also think that way more than 2% of all airliner flights enter IMC at some point. Lastly, the 2% number seems very low to me so I don't believe it, Source, please?

In a dark pannel situation, the crew will almost always seek VMC prior to approach and landing.

Again, the "landing" isn't the important issue, preventing loss of orientation at the moment of failure is.

Crews are known to take items such a Garmin 386/486 or other portable GPS on their flight bags, and can also rely on that. (this of course is a minor point)

But salient none the less since Eclipse owners get a 496 with each plane! You can keep an airplane upright with a 496, but it does take some practice. The crew also has to have it on and ready to go, there isn't time to get it out of the flight bag, turn it on, and let it boot up while the plane is rolling inverted.

So, while I would always agree with you that 3 independent attitude sources are indeed good, I would not want readers of this forum to get the impression that steam backup attitude indicators have been routinelly saving lives in aairline or GA jet flying. There is simply no eveidence of this.

The Eclipse will be the first airplane without an independent backup attitude system. As such, it will expose those times when a backup was needed but wasn't there. When a backup is used in an airliner, it is, at most, a footnote on the SDR report, not an accident, so you don't really see "evidence" so clearly of how they work.

For example, how many lives has the third brake light saved? You don't know because when it helps someone stop that much quicker, there is no evidence or report. When someone does crash despite it, we don't say this proves they are ineffective. So there is no "evidence" even though it may be quite effective.

If you crash in an Eclipse, the chance of it being pilot error will be in the neighborhood of 95%+. The chance of it being because you did not have a steam backup AI will be in the neighborhood of 0.1%-.

I think the chance there are serious software bugs in AvioNG is much higher than that. Again, no other manufacturer does this calculus and comes up with the answer Eclipse has.

Proper perspective must always be used.

No other manufacturer has this perspective. I guess since the planes are so cheap, maybe the pilots aren't worth saving.

Loss of attitude information while flying IMC is so basic and critical to flight safety that I want a design that is not only redundant, but independent. The Eclipse does not meet that test.

flyger said...

airtaximan said...

Bottom line: the conventional program (no tech story) probably would have ended up like Javelin - caving under its own lack of financing... and the Tech program is going TU becasue this market requires a low (tech) risk, low cost solution.

Interesting point of view.

I'd offer two counter arguments.

First, I don't think the money follows "tech" very much these days. That bubble burst a long time ago. So I don't see the investors going gaga over just the technology.

Second, the money Vern has been able to raise has been tied to one thing: the order book. He had hundreds, if not over a thousand "orders" within months of the announcement when he hadn't spent a fraction of where he is now. Once you have such an order book, that's what draws in the money to keep going. Vern didn't have to explain how he was going to sell the airplane, he had already sold it.

Turbine Power said...

flyger writes, "The Eclipse will be the first airplane without an independent backup attitude system."

You keep saying the same incorrect thing as if repeating it over and over again will make it so.

In the Eclipse, backup AHRS and air data information is generated independently of the main systems and sent directly to the dedicated backup display, independently of the aircraft's computer system. That is precisely as it is done in other electric aircraft with flat panel back up systems.

Lots of planes use a flat panel display for backup. Eclipse is not unusual in that regard. There are a lot of good reasons for migrating from mechanical backups, but some folks are stuck on steam gauges.

Your concern focuses on the fact that Eclipse cleverly employs the backup display to give the pilot useful information when there is no emergency rather than just having it sit there patiently waiting for failure of the primary flight instruments.

You postulate that IS&S wasn't able to ensure that the display will work in the event something brings the PFD down, that the emergency display will be slayed by some weird software glitch and not work when it is needed. The display's manufacturer says you're wrong.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Welkom rug Ken, misten wij u.

airtaximan said...

flyger,

His initial money was all tech -
Gates (info tech), Al Mann (bio tech).

Recently, we've seen other investors from the tech segment investing... so even very early on, it was the tech guys coming with the money.

His "order book" was also a tech guy - Citrix former boss, and FOV, Ed, Jetson, Dayjet.

Finally, they always made the argument that it was a technology play for aviation, with three basic components to the business plane:
1- new revolutionary hi-tech engines
2- new all electric computer driven highly integrated avionics
3- hi tech manufacturing via FSW

The bubble you refer to has zero to do with this, becasue the "investors" made their money already, and this was just another "revolution"... taking aviation out of the dark ages by applying the above mentioned "revolutionary" technologies.

Reality, IMHO:
1- EJ replaced by PW610, while CEssna already had the PW engine on the Mustang... revolutionary tech advantage #1 gone.
2- Avio provides little real value, especially considering the brain dammage involved in developing it. Its still not finished. The high failure rate of the trainees is a testament to the fact that the plane is NOT easier to fly.
3- FSW, saves a bag of rivits, but probably no time or weight. If its "faster" and enables higher production rates - we have not seen this yet - 1000 folks building 100 jets in one year is not proof of this "Advantage". Also, there is long term risk associated with applying a new welding method.

- the revolution was supposed to be an inexpensive jet... by a WIDE margin. None of the above "technology" distractions has resulted in the delivery of any advantage associated with this "value proposition".

airtaximan said...

rivets

bob said...

has anyone noticed that the BOD is down to 4?

airsafetyman said...

"Your concern focuses on the fact that Eclipse cleverly employs the backup display to give the pilot useful information when there is no emergency rather than just having it sit there patiently waiting for failure of the primary flight instruments."

Exactly why Eclipse's approach is an utter and complete failure. The standby gyro and other standby instruments should always be a part of the instrument scan. There have been numerous instances of the PFD giving erronious pitch and roll information WITHOUT A FAILURE WARNING. How much clearer can I say it? It's not "clever"; it's potentially fatal stupidity.

Turbine Power said...

Airsafetyman--

You haven't seen the layout if you think the standby ADI isn't well-placed to be part of the pilot's scan.

Also, you're pointing out the importance of one of the safety features the Eclipse offers that many other aircraft do not--Avio constantly monitors all the air data and AHRS data. Whenever there is an airspeed, altitude, attitude, or heading disagreement between the two primary AHRS units or the two primary ADC systems, Avio generates a CAS caution message and master caution alarm so the pilot knows to crosscheck all 3 data sources. He can then select off the unit that is misbehaving and switch his display to the one that is working correctly.

It is actually a pretty clever safety-oriented system.

airtaximan said...

"He can then select off the unit that is misbehaving and switch his display to the one that is working correctly."

this is quite amusing... sorta 2 against one to chose the "right" one... all based on the same code.

do they provde a "coin"?

Also, "Avio generates a CAS caution message and master caution alarm so the pilot knows to crosscheck all 3 data sources"...

This IS part of the same computer system, right? I mean, the system that generates the warning...

See where this goes?

I would worry, but that's just me. BTW, if a company with a good track record regarding their assessment of risk in all areas of their program told me it was "safe"... and "it will work this way"... I might feel a little safer.

In this case...

FlightCenter said...

Turbine Power,

You said - "You keep saying the same incorrect thing as if repeating it over and over again will make it so."

Right back at you.

The criticism of the Avio architecture is not that a failure of a PFD will cause a failure of the MFD.

The criticism of the Avio architecture is not related to the communications connections between the AHRS and the MFD.

The criticism of the architecture is that all three displays are made by the same manufacturer. All three displays use the same operating system. All three displays use the same CPU. All three displays use the same code base. And those three displays are the only mechanism for displaying attitude information on this aircraft.

The criticism of the architecture is that all three AHRS are made by the same manufacturer, using the same operating system, the same sensors, the same CPU and the same code base.

That means by definition that there are common mode failure mechanisms that can cause the failure of all three displays simultaneously. Or common mode failure mechanisms that can cause all three AHRS to calculate the same but incorrect attitude information or cause the failure of all three AHRS simultaneously.

As mentioned on this blog before, Embraer and Gulfstream have experienced simultaneous failures of all four displays supplied by Honeywell on their aircraft.

It really doesn't change the analysis if the third AHRS or the third air data computer communicates through the ACS or directly to the MFD.

If all the displays are dark, it doesn't matter how you send them data.

If all three AHRS use the same algorithms to determine attitude, all three AHRS can calculate the same but nevertheless incorrect attitude information.

On top of this, there have been concerns raised that some of the autopilot performance issues have been related to bad data sent from the AHRS. Those concerns were serious enough that Eclipse was considered replacing the AHRS provider. They wouldn't have been the first to make that decision. Chelton was forced to replace the same AHRS vendor.


You said, "That is precisely as it is done in other electric aircraft with flat panel back up systems."

That just isn't true. Eclipse really does have a unique architecture in this regard.

For example, Embraer's Primus equipped aircraft use an electronic back up instrument that is designed, certified and manufactured by an independent company. That instrument uses completely different technology than that used in Honeywell's products. It has a different CPU, different OS, different AHRS source, different display technology. That is why the pilots who experienced the simultaneous failure of all the Honeywell displays were able to keep the shiny side up and make it safely home. This is common practice, except in ABQ.

Turbine Power said...

FC, the displays are from the same manufacturer, but your other contentions are either unknown or wrong.

I don't think you know what the code base is for each of the IS&S displays. You're ASSUMING they're the same. Maybe they are; maybe they aren't. You don't know what the software-based failure rate of other IS&S display systems has been. But you're perfectly happy to postulate a software-based glitch that brings down the airplane. Doesn't surprise me.

421 driver has told you that the AHRS units are not the same, but you continue to insist that they are. Why is that?

In the end, this "software glitch strikes all 3 displays" scenario, while interesting, is of so low likelihood that it is not worthy of consideration--that's the very point that Baron95 made.

You might as well decide that every plane should be required to have mechanical backups because gamma rays or a nuclear explosion might bring down any system relying on electronic displays.

But you are making one very good point about the Eclipse: it's getting so hard to find anything substantial to complain about that the naysayers are forced to focus on a boogeyman scenario.

I do sympathize with your plight. It must be awfully depressing to sit back and watch the plane succeed in the marketplace. Did you hear that they announced today that they completed 103 aircraft in 2007? That makes Eclipse Aviation the fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 airplanes.

Pretty impressive, eh?

baron95 said...

Coldwet said... and its’ proclivity for redefining industry standard terms like “certified”, “delivered” and “orders”.


exactly. We need to measure Eclipse by acceptable definitions:

1 - Orders = firm purchasing contracts secured by substantial (at least 5%)non refundable deposits.

2 - Deliveries = transfering full ownership of an aircrfat with perforance and functionality substantially in conformance with the purchasing contract for unrestricted use, with a training slot having been made available to the purchaser prior to delivery date.

3 - Certified = full/final type/production (and/or ammended) certification of the aircraft or systems, for unrestricted use, by FAA (or other authority for a target market).

The sad part is that almost every candidate customer of Eclipse is savy enough to know that the tasks ahead of Eclipse were/are/will be tough. If Vern only had the ability for straight communication, they'd be fine, respected, and this Blog would be redundant.

What is wrong for instance in saying (if that were true): "We received provisional certification for the Avio NG HW and the Avio NG v 1.0 SW, installed on ship 105. Over the next 30 days we will use ship 105 to secure full certification for the system prior to turning the plane over to the owner. Avio NG 1.0 has the same functions and limitations of the present Avio system. Over the next 12 months we will be providing Avio NG v1.5 and v2.0 upgrades, culminating into full functionality by YE2008. While there are no guarantees that HW changes will not be needed, we expect that these Avio NG upgrades will consist of SW update, paperwork/placard updates and 2 hours of differences training with an Eclipse instructor. Should you have any questions, please email me at vern@eclipse.com and I'll provide all the details I have at this time."

Why do people (Vern) insist on lying or misrepresent? It never works.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

B95, that was a fantastic, well thought out post, very well done sir. I believe you have just described the actual situation BTW - no spin either way - well done.

Would that the Prophet of the Church of Flyantology could take such advice. At least we know that Flyantology believes in reincarnation, well for the Cardinal anyway.

baron95 said...

AT said ... Bottom line: the conventional program (no tech story) probably would have ended up like Javelin - caving under its own lack of financing... and the Tech program is going TU becasue this market requires a low (tech) risk, low cost solution.

Exactly right. If you want to raise early investors money you need to tell the "differentiation" story. Tell why Eclipse was different than the GA legacy and the other VLJ start ups. Answer was: Air Taxi/Day Jet, Very high volumes/FSW, exclusivity/partnership on a revolutionary engine, Integrated Avio avionics, low prices (goes with the other items).

That is the only way they could raise the $$$ they raised. If they said, we'll produce a 2/3 scale of a CJ1 with a Williams FJ33, off-the shelf glass pannel, make 250/year at $2.2M a piece, they would not be able to raise money. That, per se, is not that unusual at tech start up companies. You really aim very high and aggressively in the prospectus, and then find out along the way what can and can't be done.

baron95 said...

Flyger said ... The Eclipse will be the first airplane without an independent backup attitude system.

The 777 was the first airliner without 3 or four engines to be certified to fly 180 minutes away from land (say over the pacific). Up until that point, you needed a plane with more than 3 engines. At that time, Airbus and Virgin came up with a slogan that siad "4 Engines 4 long haul", implying the A340 was safer than the 777. Guess what, the 777 outsold the A340 3 to 1, and A340s are bing dumped, orders being cancelled.

That is progress Flyger. No 777s went into the drink over the Pacific and ETOPs is now a non-issue.

We are not doomed to only following the answers from the past. I do not know of ANY incident, where a crew of modern airliner (anything after a 737NG, 777, A345/346, etc) had to control the plane in IMC and/or approach/land solely by reference to steam backup gages.

I have no issues with you that that design is potentially safer. But I do take issue with you if you claim that it has proven safer in actuality.

You also need to know the differences between a professional flight crew and a single pilot.

Given the choice of having my backup info on a full PFD (with the ADHRS sharing the code) or a 2" steam AI, ASI, ALT, I'd take the former. Why? Because I know that the chances of me messing up when transitioning from PFD to 2"steam gages are much, much, much higher than a SW bug in the ADHRS going undetected and causing a problem at a critical IMC time.

bob said...

+++ PRESS RELEASE +++

Eclipse Aviation Completes First 100 Airplanes Faster Than Any General Aviation Jet Aircraft Manufacturer in History

VLJ leader sets record by certifying more than 100 Eclipse 500s in only 12 months

ALBUQUERQUE, NM -- January 1, 2008 -- Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), today announced it has produced and certified 104 Eclipse 500s since December 31, 2006. Reaching this milestone makes Eclipse the fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 airplanes. The VLJ leader completed a total of 103 aircraft in 2007. Previously, the fastest ramp to 100 aircraft was achieved by Cessna, which reached 100 Cessna Citation 550 aircraft after approximately 18 months.

"We're transforming how jets are built, and how people travel," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse Aviation president and CEO. "It's an audacious goal, and one that stretches us every day to go beyond what seems possible. Day-to-day setbacks are inevitable, but the reality is that we have created a new aircraft category and are bringing a new breed of jet to market at a rate never before seen in general aviation."

They failed to mention that they told the world they would make 505 in 2007.

WhyTech said...

TP said:

"Pretty impressive, eh?"

TP, been at the Kool Aid again, I see.

WT

WhyTech said...

B95 said:

"Given the choice of having my backup info on a full PFD (with the ADHRS sharing the code) or a 2" steam AI, ASI, ALT, I'd take the former."

Some of you guys need to get with the program in the area of modern avionics. I tend to agree with your ststemnet above, B95, but there are other choices, you know. Ever heard of the L3 GH 3000/3100 ESIS (Electronic StandbyInstrument System? A completely independent ADAHRS with a flat screen LCD display in a 3ATI case. Altitude, attitude, airspeed, slaved compass, GPS/ILS/VOR indicator, all run by an independent battery power supply. Been around at least 8 years - had one in my 2000 Baron 58. Widely use in Citations today as the standard backup system, and in many other aircraft. Meggitt, Smiths, and other have functional equivalents. Why would you want to look at 2" peanut gyro? So sixties! (But decidedly better than blank screens!!)

WT

Black Tulip said...

CWM,

Ken is welkom terug, maar hij kon niet wegblijven.

baron95 said...

Turbine Power said ... In the end, this "software glitch strikes all 3 displays" scenario, while interesting, is of so low likelihood that it is not worthy of consideration--that's the very point that Baron95 made.

Not only that, just think of the chain of events that would have to happen for you to lose an Eclipse under the scenario that Flyger, Flightcenter, etc are postulating.

1 - You must have this SW glitch on the code base of the display that takes out all the displays or causes incorrect data presentation on all 3 displays at the same time.

2 - AND, You must have that happen in IMC or other challeinging flight condition (night, moonless, poor visibility, climb, descent or approach), where jets spend about 2% of their time.

3 - AND, failure is not correctable by say power off/on (I'm not sure if Avio NG is air restartable or not)

4 - AND, Pilot has to get disoriented and loose control of the plane.

5 - AND, Pilot has to be unable to regain control by proper technique (power to idle, gear down, hands off, etc) prior to reaching VMC.

6 - AND, plane must suffer structural failure or impact terrain prior to recovery.

I will grant you that 3-6 are a 50-50 proposition (being generous here). But the chances of 1 then 2 happening are negligeable. So I am not losing sleep over it.

Flyger, if you doubt 2 (the 2% IMC), check your log book, and check an mainline airline captain's log book. What percentage of your total flying time was flown IMC. Mine is 7%, and most of my flying was in unpresurized planes flying low in the muck AND I ask for IMC altitudes whenever I can to stay current (remember the old 6 hrs requirement in 6 months?). If IMC is available, I'll fly in it unless there is icing or embeded CBs or it is too bumby for passengers. Try as much as I try and I only got to 7%.

baron95 said...

Wytech said.... Ever heard of the L3 GH 3000/3100 ESIS (Electronic StandbyInstrument System? A completely independent ADAHRS with a flat screen LCD display in a 3ATI case. Altitude, attitude, airspeed, slaved compass, GPS/ILS/VOR indicator, all run by an independent battery power supply. Been around at least 8 years - had one in my 2000 Baron 58.

Oh my god. Are you the owner of the NJ-based Baron (IIRC) that was advertised on Controller a couple of years ago with the custome pannel with L3 EFIS??!!!????! Or do you have a similar setup?

I so wanted to buy that plane!!! That was an awesome pannel - trully amazing. My hat is off to you for that set up. How did you get it in the Baron? STC or Field Approval?

So yes, I am familiar, and I do like that solution a lot. BTW, I think Beech should have gone that route for the G1000 backup. The issue, as you prob know, is cost. It must have cost you around $100K (all in, parts, labor, flight test, paper work, etc) for that right? That is around 10% of the original cost of the Eclipse and the cost of the Baron G58. See the issue?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BT,

Ik moest het Nederlander gebruiken omdat Afrikaans niet beschikbaar op machinevertalers is.

expilot said...

Baron95 I believe the Airbus 340 uses 25% more fuel then the 777, this may explain the lack of orders. Even John Leahy's explanation that Airbus would cut the purchase price to maintain market share apparently has not worked.

twospool said...

http://tinyurl.com/2rz5re

Eclipse produces 100 aircraft
The Associated Press


ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.—Eclipse Aviation announced Tuesday that it has produced 104 of its very light jet airplanes over the past year.

The Albuquerque-based manufacturer said that means it has produced its first 100 Eclipse 500 planes faster than any other general aviation jet aircraft maker in history. Eclipse said the previous fastest ramp to 100 aircraft was achieved by Cessna, which reached 100 Citation 550 planes after about 18 months.

"It's an audacious goal, and one that stretches us every day to go beyond what seems possible," said Vern Raburn, Eclipse president and CEO. "Day-to-day setbacks are inevitable, but the reality is that we have created a new aircraft category and are bringing a new breed of jet to market at a rate never before seen in general aviation."

Eclipse has orders for about 2,700 planes, which are priced at nearly $1.6 million each.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

You keep saying the same incorrect thing as if repeating it over and over again will make it so.

Are you talking to yourself?

In the Eclipse, backup AHRS and air data information is generated independently of the main systems and sent directly to the dedicated backup display, independently of the aircraft's computer system.

That's only one piece of "independence". The MFD runs the same basic operating system and code base as the PFDs. Hence a software bug can take out all MFDs and PFDs at the same time.

The F22 had *several* displays and *several* computers, and they lost all of them at once.

That is precisely as it is done in other electric aircraft with flat panel back up systems.

No, not so. The backup systems in other aircraft are from a separate development effort and don't share the same potential for identical faults.

I keep saying it, you keep not hearing it.

Your concern focuses on the fact that Eclipse cleverly employs the backup display to give the pilot useful information when there is no emergency rather than just having it sit there patiently waiting for failure of the primary flight instruments.

Yes, pretty much what I am concerned about. Here is an MFD, with all this information that has to be processed and display, any one of those data items could cause various software issues.

Much of the data being displayed on the MFD is also on the PFDs so now we have *correlated* data which can trigger bugs at the same time. In the F22, this was the east/west longitude change over. In the Eclipse, it could be date, time, location, airspeed, or any of a number of things that are fed to both PFDs and MFDs.

I don't want the precious last resort backup to be busy doing anything else because that increases the chances the backup won't work when I need it to.

So, yes, you have explained why I don't like the Eclipse backup system, it tries to do too much and that will get it in trouble. That, and it shares connected faults (both hardware and software) with the PFDs.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

Whenever there is an airspeed, altitude, attitude, or heading disagreement between the two primary AHRS units or the two primary ADC systems, Avio generates a CAS caution message and master caution alarm so the pilot knows to crosscheck all 3 data sources. He can then select off the unit that is misbehaving and switch his display to the one that is working correctly.

Hmm, suppose you only have 2 AHRS, the "standard" configuration, how do you choose which one is "right"? Coin flip?

Other airplanes always have 3 attitude sources, the two AHRS driving the two PFDs, and then the backup attitude.

It is actually a pretty clever safety-oriented system.

When it works the way Eclipse says it will. I want to survive if Eclipse didn't get it right. Eclipse is exhibiting too much faith in the technology not realizing that error prone humans design it.

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