Monday, December 10, 2007

Vern's no Bill Lear...

But there are some similarities.

Bill kept his Collier Trophy on his desk, won not for the Lear Jet, but rather his development of an autopilot in late 40's. Never heard anyone say it wasn't well deserved.

Vern didn't actually win one. The NAA awarded the 2005 Collier to the company. Opinions vary as to whether the Eclipse award was deserved.

In conceiving their airplanes, both faced a similar challenge...the airplanes would be small...weight and space would be major considerations. Existing off-the-shelf components would not be an option for many of the systems.


The gyros are a good example. Bill's options were the big, expensive Sperry's favored by the airlines or vacuum powered gyros in common use in general aviation though not appropriate for a jet. The Sperry's would not fit into the nose compartment nor did Bill want to give up any of the generous 32 cu ft of baggage space in the back of the Lear so his was an easy choice, build his own.

For most that would be an impossible task, for Bill it was a walk in the park. After all, he had just sold his interest in Lear-Siegler so that he could use the money to launch the Lear Jet. He knew top flite avionics engineers who could design a new generation of gyros and companies that could produce precision parts. Bill had another secret weapon. He was very familiar with all of the high grade airborne equipment sold to the U.S. military and knew a supplier that had tons of surplus components gathering dust in a warehouse.

With these resources, Bill and his able staff could design equipment specifically for the needs of the airplane. New vertical and directional gyros were developed that would easily fit in the sleek nose compartment of the Model 23. The flux valves mounted in the tip tank tail section were freshly reconditioned from military surplus.

The airplane was six months away from first flight when one of the avionics engineers was quoted in the company newsletter, "Remember these names because the Directisyn and Vertisyn are slated to set new standards in the industry" (even 45 years ago, one needed a catchy name for advanced products).


The airplane needed numerous components specific to the design, Bill and his staff worked them one at a time. Electric nose wheel steering, anti-skid brakes, dual yaw dampers and static inverters were some of the early accomplishments. Then just a couple of months before the scheduled first flight, Bill realized his cruciform tail design needed to be converted to a T-tail, more electro-mechanical devices would be needed. A twin servo powered actuator would be required to trim the horizontal stabilizer and dual stick shakers/pushers would be needed to avoid the deep stall problem associated with T-tail aircraft.

Again from the employee newsletter, "...on March 1, an electronic parts manufacturer mailed out information on a new component. An order was placed through regular channels, the component was delivered, the circuit was redesigned to use the advanced component design and on March 15, Dick Kraus reported the static inverter giving top performance with the new component. Also in final form is the prototype sheet metal package for the inverter.

It looks as if, "Progress is our most important product" too!"

By the time the airplane took to the air for the first time, all of the systems were in place and operational with the exception of the autopilot which was not completed until perhaps unit 30 was delivered. Without an autopilot in the thinner air, one learned to trim carefully and fly with your finger tips.

At an early stage, Bill opened a manufacturing facility in Grand Rapids and named it Jet Electronics Technology ( J.E.T.) to produce these components. It was a great accomplishment and sounds idyllic but there were problems, well really one problem, RELIABILITY. The gyros had a high failure rate. The static inverters had a high failure rate. The magnetic clutch in the servos had a high failure rate. Fuel pumps (a vendor item) had a high failure rate. And so on.

Eventually, the bugs got worked out and as I recall, only one early accident was attributed to a component failure. An inop fuel pump known to the pilot before takeoff resulted in an uncontrollable fuel imbalance and the pilot augered in, no figure of speech here (N690L, Orlando, 11-29-67). But the reliability problems tarnished the reputation of the company and led to a slow down in sales which forced Bill to sell the company to Charlie Gates.

Thirty some years later along comes Vern Raburn with a plan to build a twin jet smaller and lighter than anything else in the industry. Unlike Bill Lear who had a background in electro-mechanical components, Vern's background was in computers. His 21st century solution to minimizing system requirements is to control everything with centralized computer systems. And unlike Bill Lear who had his sleeves rolled up and was immersed in every aspect of problem solving, Vern has farmed out his solution to eight different companies with a goal of building a cohesive centralized system.

If we are to believe reports coming from Eclipse, AVIO NG (21st century catchy name) is scheduled for certification within days. Deliveries of AVIO NG are scheduled to start at unit 105. The next chapter has yet to be written.

259 comments:

1 – 200 of 259   Newer›   Newest»
Stan Blankenship said...

Brought forward for better visibility -

twinpilot said...
Sparky, Gunner, and Gadfly,

I agree the design isn't worth much for the reasons you stated, and think the E-clips may very well be an uneconomically producible design. Trying to make all of those NC machined parts fit together is probably a nightmare.

When you assemble hydro pressed ribs, extruded stringer, and skins in a conventional airplane assembly fixture, things can move a little to conform to the desired shape and once riveted together, or bonded for that matter the structure is very solid and strong.

During load testing the structure "gives" a little and the loads are redistributed to the other structural members. The NC parts won't give and will actually become stress risers under load.

In addition everything must fit together more perfectly adding to the cost of manufacture. I am sure it can be done and others like Raytheon has done it but the learning curve and process isn't worth it in my estimation for this size and price range.

Dave said...

I think there are many similarities between Lear and Eclipse. Most likely if Eclipse becomes financially successful it will be under someone besides Vern...like Lear becoming financially successful after new owners took over. I think Lear also had a leg-up on Vern as Lear had been in the industry by way of being parts manufacturer.

Shane Price said...

Conrad Black goes down for 6 years...

He only blew $175 million.

Vern has gone through $1.2 BILLION.

If 175,000,000 = 6, then 1,200,000,000 must be ....

.... 42 (well, almost)

The Answer!

Life, the Universe and Everything.

Is that a coincidence or what?

Stan,

I wonder if, in 40 years time, people will recall the E500 with the same fondness as the LearJet?

We KNOW they won't compare Vern Raburn with Bill Lear.

I suspect it will be Vern (if remembered at all) versus Conrad....

Shane

FreedomsJamtarts said...

I don't think you can blame NC machined parts for stack up of tolerance issued caused by inexperienced engineering. NC machined parts parts are often part of the solution to these issues, if the engineering knows what they are doing.

Obviously there is a huge shift in design and manufacturing between the fitted in place manufacturing used in the aircraft industry up into the nineties, and controlled tolerance interchangeablity common in most other manufacturing industries.

Unfortunately it sounds like the Eclipse team were skilled in neither. Anyone can sit at a workstation and design parts that fit will +/-0 tolerance. Things get tricky when you find out that the vendor wants exhorbitant money for excessively tight tolerances, (or promises but can't deliver them) and you find you need significant redesign to make thinks work with realistic tolerances.

Black Tulip said...

Twinpilot,

When aero structure engineers are small children, I believe they are taught a poem that begins,

"Wrinkle, wrinkle little spar,

Way up there so far..."

hummer said...

Stan, are you saying,

"Mr. Vern, I served with Bill Lear,
I knew Bill Lear,
Bill Lear was a friend of mine,
Mr. Rayburn, you are no Bill Lear"

Stan Blankenship said...

hummer,

Yes, I was tempted to paraphrase Sen. Bentsen but thought it would be a bit too pretentious.

bill e. goat said...

On the other hand, Vern is still C.E.O after ~10 years :)

(I think Saddam basked in some similar comfort in the later 1990's, with regard to ole'man Bush.

This might suggest Vern's enjoying temporary comfort (but still, a lot better than a mere 15 minute of fame... :).
-------------------------
I think Vern might prefer to be compared to a Bill of a different flavor: Gates, rather than Lear.

(He's not green with envy, but would like to be green with cash, I think).

421Jockey said...

9Z,

I am not calling you a party pooper, but you need to remember that I ponied up over 7 1/2 years ago when none of these items had occured. I still feel that regardless of the outcome, it was a calculated risk that was apppropriate at the time. Would I do it again, knowing what I know now? Tough question. It is difficult to say, but we all have 20/20 hindsight.

As far as the aircraft that I brought home, I am very pleased with it. The fit and finish is vastly improved from earlier aircraft (according to the person that has done delivery inspections for 70% of the aircraft delivered to date)and the squawks are all minor. Clearly there are IOUs, but these have been discussed ad naseum and don't need to be reviewed here.

Training was a big challlenge. The FAA is VERY STRICT (as they need to be) and it is difficult to "ace" the check ride. That being said, both Eclipse and the FAA have safety in mind, and they are being very conservative in this regard. The simulators are coming on line, but I did all my training in my own aircraft.

All in all, I was pleased with the overall experience.

BTW, #92 was delivered today.

ex-421jockey

airtaximan said...

421,

time to change your moniker, buddy!

CONGRATULATIONS!

Exciting times for you, for sure. Glad to hear the training is challengine, and your impression is the company and FAA (so big surprise) is safety conscious.

Fit and finish improved, minimal squaks... nice, good to hear.

Did they promise AVIONG and FIKI dates?

Any idea if there's truth to the rumor about Dayjet pilots failing the training?

One more question: if the plane is so much easier to fly, why the difficulty passing?

As a pilot, what do you get for the "integration", if not an easier safer plane? Some have described the increased integrated as a training stumbling block... I would be curious as to why?

Anyhow, enjoy - I hope they make it as a company, for guys like you.

FlightCenter said...

The FAA updated their aircraft registry database today and made no changes in Eclipse 500 aircraft registrations. There are a total of 68 Eclipse 500 aircraft listed as registered to owners in the FAA registry database.

The FAA "in process" website showed its first signs of activity after two weeks of no activity.

The "in process" website shows that Eclipse has submitted paperwork to transfer ownership for an additional 7 aircraft, for a total of 75 aircraft.

Those 7 aircraft were:
Serial #66 on 11/15
Serial #72 & #74 on 12/3
Serial #85 on 12/4
Serial #86 on 12/6
Serial #83 & #89 on 12/7

In addition, Eclipse notified the FAA on 12/4 that they had started production on 4 additional aircraft.

The records show an increasing number of aircraft delivered out of sequence.

Eclipse has not yet submitted paperwork to deliver serial #53. It did make its first flight this week, a one day round trip from ABQ to Houston and back.

The records also show that the FAA has not received paperwork to transfer registration for the following serial numbers:

71,
73,
75,
76,
77,
78,
79,
80,
81,
82,
84,
87,
88.

There are also significant gaps in serial numbers for which Eclipse has informed the FAA that they have started production. This week they informed the FAA that they started production on serial #124, but have not informed the FAA that they have started production for serial #111 through #123.

twinpilot said...

421,

One of the biggest attributes of the 421 was its big cabin. Is Vern correct that cabin size is overrated? Does the possibility of 100 more KIAS trump cabin size and ease of entry, baggage space etc.?

FlightCenter said...

The FAA is maintaining records tracking a total of 115 Eclipse 500 serial numbers.

FAA Registry
Make / Model Inquiry Results


Of those 115 aircraft, Eclipse has submitted paperwork to the FAA stating that they have started production on 101 aircraft.

421Jockey said...

AT,

I have no more information on NG & FIKI than anyone else. I do know that FIKI is being tested as we speak, but it all depends on if it passes all the tests. If so, I would expect the Cert in the next month or two. If problems arise, who knows.

I understand that Dayjet has gotten around the training problem by getting crew type ratings for the pilots. They always use two pilots, so a single pilot is not necessary for their operation. I am sure this will change with experience, but for now it solves the pilot shortage. It is not a question of pilot experience or competency, but it is difficult to fly the unrealisitc Check ride profile to ATP standards at this time. THIS IS NOT A SAFETY ISSUE. There are just many items tested that do not occur in normal day to day operations (ex. single engine circle to land to +/- 5kts & 50 ft).

The integration in the aircraft is phenomenal! It is not totally intuitive and takes time to learn. Once learned, this is the simplest airplane I have ever flown. You must come to training prepared and familiar with the systems. IMO, some of the "pros" have not done enough homework before training, and that makes it very difficult to succeed.

Twin Pilot:
For cabin size this is no 421! But that is why some people drive sports cars, and some people drive SUVs. Right now, I prefer the sports car.

421

Gunner said...

421-
Speaking just for me, you just attained the status of EO387, in terms of honesty and integrity on this Blog.

If Vern had a hundred spokesmen as open about the issues, he might not have the revenue problems that he has today. I think most of the Critics object, not as much to the plane, as to their [our] inability to trust anything that comes out of Eclipse.

That doesn't make us "right" and you "wrong", or vice versa....only time can do that. Nor does it have to make us personal enemies.

Congrats on your new jet. May the plane and company serve you well for many years to come! I mean that.
Gunner

Shane Price said...

'ex' 421.

Enjoy the jet. It must have been tense at times, waiting for it. Best wishes, and may you have all the luck of the Irish!

Flightcentre,

Unlucky 13...

Why leave aircraft, for which there is such a HUGE backlog of demand, lying around somewhere?

Unless they don't exist.

Or the demand has vanished overnight.

What is it with these clowns?

Gad,

Any chance you could have a quick peek in the hangers around Eclipse, to see what's going on?

OK, I know Eclipse Security have 'shoot on sight' orders if one of us critics turns up, but you must have a few tricks up that sleeve of yours...

Shane

baron95 said...

Stan said in the previous thread... B-95, if you are starting a list, I would add the Honda Jet and maybe a couple of others.

Stan, I disagree. Failure of the Honda Jet is NOT an option. Just as failure of the Mustang was never an option. Cessna and Honda have both a reputation to uphold and the resources to uphold it.

Honda will put the resources and presevere with the Honda Jet until they succeed. Also, the fact that GE signed on to the engine after due dilligence must mean a lot. GE must have seen a step change in efficiency, technology, etc to sign on to that project.

So, with a advanced engine, and a great company behind the project, one that has been very, very careful and dilligent in entering the market and is using its own funding (not VCs), the chances of success are orders of magnitude higher than Eclipse's.

I always rated VLJs as follows for chances of success (meaning long production life, satisfied customers AND a positive return on investment):

1 - Phenom 100/300 - Resources and competency o the Embraer, Designed from the start as a "family", low production costs, priced high enough, great performance/cabin.

2 - Mustang - Same as above, except not started as a "family" of at least two. I do expect Cessna to announce the Mustang I or Mustang + within two years, with 100-200 lbs increase in MTOW and 10-15 KTS increase in cruise.

3 - Honda Jet - High Tech engine + Honda resources. I don't like the fact that it is not a family either and the screwy configuration.

4 - Cirrus - Cirrus Jet - Right step up airplane, methodical company, loyal customer base, realistic engineering and business assumptions.

5 - Eclipse - Design will survive, but no chance of making a return to the original investors - excellent chances of making a return if picked up by EADS or another group post BK.

6 - Diamond - Design is not sound. Poor engine location (FOD will always be a major problem), FL250 limination will kill range, low useful load will be a deal breaker. Will be a money pit for Diamond and may cause the company to fail.

7 - Epic - I just have a hunch that there are great engineers and business sense in this company - It is a pure speculative bet that they can make it.

8 - Adam - no chance - taking too long to certify, wierd config, too heavy, etc.

9 - Piper Jet - No chance. Design is just not sound. A Malibu/DC-10 marriage is ridiculous. too heavy, no access to the engine, those wings are way too long for a jet. Drag will be horrendous, VMO will be ridiculously low (as on the Meridian). Give it up.

All the others, Safire, Javellin, etc, will not even ocme close to producing a commercial jet.

Stan Blankenship said...

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Eclipse Says It Will Pay Supplier

By Andrew Webb
Copyright © 2007 Albuquerque Journal; Journal Staff Writer

Court filings show that Eclipse Aviation is now willing to "fully perform" under terms of a purchase agreement with tail supplier Hampson Aerospace, which sued the local jet builder for nonpayment in November.
The $6 million agreement, reached in February, is the center of a lawsuit filed by Hampson in November, alleging Eclipse missed payments and indicated it would not make future payments under that deal.
Eclipse originally said that contract was procured by "fraud," in court documents.
But in documents filed last week, Hampson said Eclipse has withdrawn a letter alleging the fraud and plans to fulfill its obligations under the contract.
Eclipse recently sent Hampson a $243,556 payment that was due in November, according to recent court documents.
Attorneys for Hampson have asked that the money be put in the court's registry, like an escrow account, until the case is settled. Hampson has also asked that a judge issue partial summary judgment that the February agreement is valid and enforceable.
Eclipse also said in a letter to Hampson last week that it would soon send the next payment under the agreement, court document show. After that December payment, the agreement calls for monthly payments to Hampson of $337,778 until early 2009.
The agreement was made earlier this year after it became obvious Eclipse's jet production would not ramp up as fast as the company had predicted, and the $6 million was intended to cover "reparations" claims from Hampson, including a compromise amount for tail sections not taken by Eclipse in 2006, materials costs and other past-due amounts.
It also calls for Eclipse to either take or pay for 350 tail sections for calendar year 2007 and 700 for calendar year 2008.
Since its first delivery in 2006, Eclipse has delivered an estimated 70 aircraft so far this year.
Attorneys for Hampson declined comment and Eclipse officials did not return a call seeking comment.

Stan Blankenship said...

baron95,

Honda folded its tent once and moved to a new location.

It will be 15-20 years before time will prove either of us right on this one.

Shane Price said...

Stan,

350 in 2008?

SEVEN HUNDRED in 2009?

This is nuts. In the entire year so far, Eclipse have scrambled to put less than 80 together, and now they claim they will multiply that by at least a factor of four next year?

Someone call the mental hospital. They need extra space, quick.

The only bit that makes sense is that Hampsons get paid, regardless of how many Eclipse take.

Hang on, even that's mad, if you think about it...

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The original Hampson deal was 5 years and $335M, this for a PART of a plane with a SALES price of less than $2M.

Assuming a unit cost of say $80K (why not), Eclipse expected to build almost 4200 planes - in 5 years.

Assuming a cost of $130K, Eclipse expected to build almost 2600 planes - in 5 years.

As with SO many other things, it just does not add up.

I wonder how much the wings cost? Or the nose section? Or the engines? Or the avionics?

Notice that Eclipse withdrew the fraud allegation and will now perform under its' terms of the modified agreement.

Also notice Hampson electing to have the payment placed into escrow rather than accpeting the payment outright, pending the result of the trial which surely sounds to still be on.

With this shot across the bow having gone exactly the way that Eclipse hoped it would not, I wonder how many other 'pending' legal actions are being moved up.

Gunner said...

Shane-
I don't know how crazy it's be for them to put out 300 planes next year. The question is, "Of what quality?". 421 tells us that fit and finish is looking better. Insiders (and Vern) tell us the assemblies are requiring high man hours for refit.

Then there's the issue of finances. Somebody has to pay for those 300 planes. Deposit and Progress Payment dollars are already spent.

As to the Hampson deal, it demonstrates only that Eclipse truly believed their own numbers for manufacturing....the recognition of reality must really suck.
Gunner

gadfly said...

The entire discussion is a “twist” of at least three subjects . . . actually four (or maybe more . . . you be the judge):

First, a cheap jet that supposedly gives many folks their first opportunity to go from “high octane” to “pure kerosene”, without those twirly things out front. (This crowd will be impressed by anything in that direction . . . maybe not fully fast, but at least half-way in that direction.)

Second, the idea of a fast, but cheap, form of transportation . . . enjoying the “elite” flavor of flying “on a whim” from point-to-point . . . and finally reaching that rarified air of the true “jet set”. (You know, “The kids are both in school up in Gainesville . . . ‘think we’ll pop in and surprise them on the weekend.”) The kids aren’t at Stanford or USC, or what’s that other school . . . Hahvahd? . . . but close ‘nuf in this game.

Third, there’s those who expect to make some money on the deal . . . either in the “air taxi” business (not lookin’ too good so far), or in the “resale” market (until a whole lot of people wake up to what’s goin’ on in the “Duke City” . . . ABQ . . . Albuquerque to those in Rio Linda).

And then there’s the Fourth group which is a “catch-all” . . . investors?, employees?, . . . all those that truly believe that some sort of break-through in technology has been achieved . . . or simply . . . let’s call this a “Fifth” category.

This “Fifth” group is the one with whom I have the most sympathy. This is the employees and the families of those employees, that for whatever reason, have come to Albuquerque . . . following after someone else’s dream, with the clear hope (and devotion), to be included in the fulfillment of that dream.

In the gadfly’s opinion, certain people should be held accountable for what appears to be a certain outcome . . . but unfortunately, nothing that will be determined will do much to alleviate the pain, the turmoil, that is almost a certain “given”, to the people “on the floor”, and their families.

Many big companies have come and gone in Albuquerque, and New Mexico. And not companies like “Eclipse Aviation”, but real-life companies, with long histories of good products. Singer-Frieden, Honeywell, Gulton, Ampex, . . . and (should I even hint that Intel is maybe going to China?) . . . not all, but some of the blame must be placed with the political atmosphere in Albuquerque . . . and surrounding.

(Whoops . . . I left out GE . . . something is stirring . . . too early to tell for sure, but something is up . . . stay tuned, . . . and you thought that Jack Welch was a nice guy?!)

gadfly

(Actually, for the rest of us who have been in the business for longer than most of this crowd have been drawing breath, the actual aircraft is “flyable” . . . and “fun to fly” (so we’re told), but the innards of the bird are almost a laughable collection of everything a designer would wish to avoid. Men, like “Bill Lear”, gave us excellent examples of the proper way to approach and solve a problem. Eclipse is not in that class . . . not by a stretch of the imagination!)

Shane, I was about to answer your comments . . . such as, “I wouldn’t dare snoop around their near-by facility” . . . etc. But something just occurred to me: The people missing at this “party” are the “true” aeronauts, the ones that know and appreciate everything that a jet should be . . . and the ones that fully understand the technology and design of a real jet. Have you noticed? . . . They are all missing.

The very ones that “Vern” would want to be present at this party, are all “no shows” . . . there are plenty of “jet pilot wannabes”, but folks, both pilots and true designers/engineers that you would trust with your life . . . all missing! Strange, is it not?

airsafetyman said...

"Honda folded its tent once and moved to a new location.

It will be 15-20 years before time will prove either of us right on this one."

Honda is a slam dunk, and not the George Tennant kind either. Honda is building a factory for the airframe right now in Greensboro and a plant for the engine in nearby Burlington, NC. The engine will be offered to other airframe manufacturers. Timco is at GSO with a large base of very experienced mechanics to draw on for the workforce. A LOT of experienced workers have already left a certain long-time aircraft manufacturer on the east coast and relocated to Greensboro. Honda intends to start deliveries in 2010 and I would bet on it.

Gunner said...

I don't often find myself in disagreement with Stan's gut feelings. But, in this case, I also saw my own jaw drop at the very suggestion that Honda might not succeed.

It's not a VLJ. But, in the small corporate jet market? I simply ASSumed they are the 800lb Gorilla in the room....for all the reasons Baron and ASM mention.

Stan-
Expound...PLEASE.
Gunner

gadfly said...

Safetyman

The Japanese carefully and methodically analyze a market . . . slowly, but ever aggressively move toward that goal . . . often playing a game of “under-achieving” for a few years, to put the competition into a state of complacency (Example: Honda cars and Toyota trucks), while learning valuable lessons about their future market. Then, one day, we wake up to a world filled with “Honda Accords” and “Toyota’s” . . . and the great un-washed reply, “What happened?” But it’s a “win-win” situation: We get a high quality product, made in the US of A, while the competition (Ford, et al) has “high tailed it” to China.

Go figure!

gadfly

(Gunner: "Sweat it not, neither fret!" Hezekiah 2:8 . . . Honda will do just fine. Hint: you won't find the book of Hezekiah anywhere but on this blog. OK?)

Gunner said...

Hezekiah?
Well if he's the President of Honda or a board member or something......

"I am SO confused....
JT"

Gunner

baron95 said...

Airsafetyman said ... Honda is a slam dunk,

Not so fast. Remember that the criteria that I outlined for success include a long production run, satisfied customers, AND a positive return on investment.

I'd agree that Honda is a slam dunk on the first two counts, but the third one is a challenge for Honda, and even Cessna on the Mustang. It is a challenge for Airbus on the A380, etc. It is a challenge for anything in aviation.

Stan said ... It will be 15-20 years before time will prove either of us right on this one.

About right - I think we'll get a good indication in 10 years, clear answers by 15, though.

gadfly said...

baron is right.

The Japanese (Honda) are not in a hurry for the “slam dunk” . . . they plan for the future, and are patient. Once they decide on a goal, it is a slow, but methodical journey to achieve that goal. It is little understood in our society, where everything is achieved in “thirty minutes”, or “before Christmas”.

gadfly

(Hezekiah couldn’t make it to the party . . . by about 2,700 years, give or take!)

Stan Blankenship said...

History has not been kind to radical aircraft designs.

I shook my head when they reported success in achieving laminar flow over the nose section for which they were very proud.

Attached laminar flow on the nose will last until they put a seam for the radome, add pitot tubes, static ports, angle of attack vanes, avionics access and nose gear doors. Then if laminar flow survives the above, it will surely be tripped when the first June bug is splattered on the nose.

The weights and size of the H-J is similar to the Mustang, yet they are claiming a better range-payload and higher speeds.

The new company has no history of building light weight airplanes and to expect these well meaning folks to hit their targets is expecting a bit too much.

As a critic of composite airplanes (this one fuselage only), these designs have a history of coming out heavy as well.

The saying, money can't buy love should be adapted to aircraft projects, money can't buy a good design. It takes a good project manager, one with experience who can weigh the input from the various disciplines and make the right calls. Am not sure Honda has this guy in place.

Gunner said...

Well, if we;re talking about the number of years for Honda to demonstrate that it has earned a "place at the table", I'll agree that 10-15 is about right.

I was talking more from the potential owner's view. ie: the number of years for Honda to demonstrate that it has a valid, completed product, with real sales, satisfied customers and dependable support. For that, I think we'll know a lot sooner.

airtaximan said...

Stan, I'll bite, but not my area.

Say they achieved some degree of improvement with the "laminar" nose...

Would this not be an "improvement" even though laminar is compromised by bugs, etc?

Regarding the trades and reference to experienced (OK, you said "good") PM, you bet.

I would say 90% of the success of any new aircraft depends on the management team's ability to understand the trades, and be able to make them correctly. Mistakes result in poor designs, busted schedules, weight growth, missed performance, shoddy workmanship, and sometimes less than safe planes. Oh, did I mention poor systems/supplier selction process based on poor understanding of the issues/trades?

Sound familiar?

Stan Blankenship said...

atm,

"Say they achieved some degree of improvement..."

It is not even worth a mention let alone spending development time trying to optimize a nose shape and then make it a center piece of your design achievement.

If you want to see some less than aerodynamic nose shapes, check the line of Citations and those airplanes seem to do OK.

airtaximan said...

Stan,

sorta makes sense... thanks

PS. what "part" would be worth improving?

I guess one could argue, Cessna does OK with that fuselage, wing, tail, etc...

How do you compete?

baron95 said...

Here is why I rank Honda third behind the Phenom and Mustang on chances of succeeding:

1 - They have choses a path of conservative innovation. Garmin 1000 Avionices - the safest bet there is. A new engine, but in partnership with GE (the largest jet engine mannufacturer in the world). A new company, but partnership with Piper in the early days to market. Composite airframe, but aluminum wings - best matterials for best components. Japanese/American design, US production. Realistic production goals of 70/year. Realistic prices US$3.5M+. I think that shows some ballance.

2 - Steady humility. Build two prototypes for several years, spend years developing the engine, fly the prototype for 18 months before unvailing. Take 1 year aveter unvailing to decide to create a company and produce.

Major risks: engine placement and the principal designer having had no outside experience. Those could all be good or bad. Depends on how it is managed. I'm willing to give them the benefit of the doubt for now.

Metal Guy said...

It also calls for Eclipse to either take or pay for 350 tail sections for calendar year 2007 and 700 for calendar year 2008..

Kudos’ to Hampson for having the foresight to put together what looks like a sensible contract in the face of nonsense predictions from Eclipse.

It will be interesting to see if other vendors now follow suit in an effort to get Eclipse to try to carry some of the financial hard-ships that they have caused. Image the poor vendors who actually took Eclipse seriously and produced hundreds of ship-sets of equipment. It hurts to think about it…

mouse said...

Anyone remember the Toyota airplane engine program. The Japanese have everything going for them.... Except the one "Deal Killer".. The FAA. They will have very little tolerence for the games and hoops.

The engine placement is radical for the FAA, and they (the FAA) will put some mighty big hoops to jump through. It's vey difficult to prove something that may or may not exist. Sort of like asking someone if they stopped beating their wife... Any answer is a bad one.

I see this as their biggest risk and highest probability to cause them to pack up and abandon the market.

Now on the positive side, you can bet the politicians will be all over this program, pushing it through... It worked for Eclipse so far...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I really want to make sure this does not get overlooked.

The most important thing in this new news about Eclipse pulling back the fraud allegation and agreeing to meet its' obligation under the revised contract is that Eclipse blinked - and this appears to be first time.

I say first because assuming that the reports from the Faithful are accurate and Eclipse is, on average, 3 weeks or so late - any other vendor who has been having trouble getting paid now knows exactly what it will take to get paid and get paid right now. Expect to see more of this, behind the scenes and taking precious coin, or battled out in the public like Vern has done to so many others.

Simply put, Vern's mouth and the withdrawn fraud allegation backfired, in a big way - if anything I'll bet it was the threat of a fraud allegation, from Hampson about Eclipse that turned this particular event around.

I mean 350 units for '07, negotiated in Feb of '07 when Eclipse was still claiming it would make 600 or 700 units. THAT is FRAUD boys and girls. When Eclipse sat down to renegotiate with Hampson, it set a (relatively speaking) smaller goal with Hampson but KEPT PARROTING UNACHIEVABLE LARGE NUMBERS TO ANYONE ELSE WHO WOULD LISTEN, or more importantly, who would pony up.

This is an amazing turn of events IMO, and could mark a real change in the future of Eclipse, and not necessarily for the better in my opinion.

sollicitus effectus said...

Laminar over the nose? Obviously we don't want grossly disturbed flow since our RVSM critical areas near pitot/static need clean air...but isn't laminar over the wing more important?...doesn't that effect MMO?
A booted wing throws laminar out the window (with a few exceptions).

Stan I'd imagine you had some part in the L28 circa 1978-79? Me thinks it had time to alt record until the U-2. Pete Reynolds and Neil Armstrong hit 15,000 meters in some 12.5 minutes in a 28. Correct me if I'm wrong. It's refreshing to read your Bill Lear memories. How about the circumnav where they went up to FL560 at times? Myth or truth?

Some on the blog may not know that Mr. Lear invented the 8 track and put it in a motor car...called it a motor-victrola...which became Motorola. A serious heavyweight player...and it STILL took Gates and later Bombardier to keep all well.

It's reported that the Asian jet builder is going to have more quality problems than EA with the Hamp TX tail structures due to a more complex construction. It's possible Hamp TX will have their hands full with the tighter expectations of such builder. EA's inexperienced engineering may have led to some Hamp issues...but insiders report that Hamp TX has NOT been delivering quality promised since day one. If the Asian builder can supply tooling and adequate onsite QA it's another story. They will probably run the line in TX!

Does the Asian jet's engine config help with the typical nacelle/fuselage aero issues oftentimes encountered with such designs? We know they're on to something here. For once something different...but not JUST to be different? Single engine performance may require rudder boost?

Reports from EA show 100 500's will be FLYING by year end...nothing for nothing that's impressive. We all know they have IOU's. Not bad for a twin jet though...actually unheard of. They consider this year their first "production" year. Who the hell really knows what has been spent previously. We understand they've been trimming fat in the workforce and material waste as well as serious time/efficiency efforts that are actually starting to be successfully implemented.

From what we can see of weather reports out in ABQ they will be getting real world FIKI test sorties!

Gunner said...

CWMoR-
I'd say "brilliant", were the numbers not readily available to us all. Difference between you and the rest of us....you put 2+2 together. Did I say, "Brilliant". I should have said that.

I see your point now. Hope others do also. Eclipse cut a deal for a ONE YEAR supply on a number of shipsets that it promised and CHARGED customers to be delivered in SIX MONTHS. Simultaneous events.

It then went on to provide about 1/3 the number it ordered and 1/6 the number it publicly advertised. The icing: Eclipse then goes on to bluster that the SUPPLIER had committed Fraud.

You just can't make this kind of stuff up. Well done, sir.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

You get it Gunner.

And not just customers, investors, other vendors, the press - EVERYBODY.

This is, IMO, the equivalent of a smoking gun - and you are correct, nobody could make this up.

We talked about the cult mentality before and how Scientology specifically uses attacks to try and dissuade criticism of itself. It seems the Church of Flyantology does the same.

The chutzpah, claim fraud against the vendor, all the while defrauding them, the customers, the investors, everyone - maybe Vern does need a wheelbarrow for his cajones after all - that takes balls.

FlightCenter said...

CWMR,

On the subject of the $380M projected "value" of the Hampson long term agreement with Eclipse.

In 2001, Eclipse believed that they would produce 3,555 aircraft in the first 5 years of production.

In 2003, when the Hampson deal was signed, Eclipse believed that they would produce 3,305 aircraft in the first 5 years of production.

In both timeframes, Eclipse planned to produce 7,500 aircraft in the second five years of production.

They planned to get to 1/day six quarters after production started, 2/day 5 months later and 3/day about a year after that.

Any chance that the $380M number is a 10 year projected value?

Niner Zulu said...

421, thanks for your honest comments. I agree with Gunner - you are up there with EO387. I hope you'll keep us updated with your experiences as they unfold.

Gunner, I cancelled my purchase of a DJet so you may move up a notch. I just want to keep my options open and want the timing of my purchase to be under my control, not someone elses.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

FC, I am confident that the $335M number was reported as a 5 year value as recently as when the suit was announced a couple weeks ago.

The question I have is even if you believed the hype of 1000 planes per year, a 5 year deal would yield a per unit cost of around $67,000. Is the tail really only 4% of the plane (by cost)?

Another question is the progress payment agreement according to the article quoted by Stan requires about $340K per month until early 2009 - that is ONLY $6M or 1.8% of the original $335M value of the contract - and it is characterized as 'reparations and previous past due'.

Talk about fraud.

According to the article, EAC will pay for another 700 tail units next year (roughly $49M by my reckoning), WHETHER THEY BUILD 700 JETS OR NOT. That is still only about 14% of the original contract. Including the $6M, that means Hampson will have only received 16% of projected revenues from Eclipse after more than 50% of the contract term - now THAT has got to hurt, and they are getting a good deal because Eclipse HAS to pay for 700 shipsets in '08 whether they take them or not.

Imagine all the suppliers and vendors who do not, at this time anyway, have a contract that protected themselves this well.

Conversely, imagine the pickle EAC is in if other vendors DID include similar language, say Fuji or Pratt or Mecaer or Alcoa. What would Eclipse be on the hook for in 2007 based on projections from the halcyon days when they believed they would make 1500 planes PER YEAR and tried to convince vendors they would need parts for that volume.

Surely the pricing was volume based meaning everything costs more than planned for due to the volume being about 10% that projected only a year ago - how ugly could this situation actually be?

Further, imagine the barrel Eclipse must have been over when they signed the deal, even 3 years ago, to accept terms like having to pay for unused units if volume did not materialize.

The more of this house of cards that comes to light, the more questions it raises.

And the Save Vern telethon ends in just a couple days.

Oh the drama......

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

On a semi-related note, Aerion who intends to build a supersonic business jet is reporting they have collected almost $1.6B in letters of intent for their SSBJ concept. Not bad since they only received the first LOI at the Dubai show - they are now showing about 20 orders for the $80M plane.

Vice Chairman at Aerion is none other than Brian Barents who went AWOL from the EAC BoD last year.

Aerion intends to team with an established airframer to build the design the Aerion team has been working on for several years now.

They expect program launch with an OEM partner next year, and entry into service in 2014 - a 5 to 6 year program.

Hmmm, so what do we get for 5 to 6 years and over a billion and a half dollars?

Either a 400mph 3 ton micro jet with seating for 6 that does not even function, OR a 13 seat, 40 ton monster that will travel at 1.6 times the speed of sound.

Eclipse, there REALLY is no comparison.

AeroObserver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
FlightCenter said...

PiperJet Eliminating Rivets

"Piper Aircraft is patenting a new metal bonding technique that will be key to the manufacture of the PiperJet’s all-aluminum wing. According to Piper president and CEO James Bass, the intent is to eliminate the use of rivets in the production wing for the single-engine jet."

Echos of friction stir welding? How similar / different are the two processes?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Party foul on AO.

Say Barents had 'interesting things' to say about Eclipse and then hide behind journalistic integrity rather than share the meat and potatoes - humbug.

How about a little hint - 'interesting' good or 'interesting' bad from either a critic or Faithful point of view?

'Interesting' short term or 'interesting' long term?

As for a conflict of interest I don't see one - one company is a manufacturer of airplanes, the other is not (according to its' own CEO). ;^)

airsafetyman said...

"The Japanese have everything going for them.... Except the one "Deal Killer".. The FAA. They will have very little tolerence for the games and hoops.

The engine placement is radical for the FAA, and they (the FAA) will put some mighty big hoops to jump through."

Fokker has already done the overwing engine mount with the 614. It was a small airliner about the size of a CRJ. They didn't sell many but the German Air Force bought a few for executive transport. One example is still operated by the German aeronautical research agency. One benefit of the overwing engine placement is more room in the cabin and you dont have to run fuel from the wings through the cabin to aft-fuselage mounted engines. I agree the FAA will not take any nonsense, especially after the Eclipse debacle, but they won't be getting any from the folks at Honda.

airsafetyman said...

For those interested 'airliners.net' has several pages of photos of the Fokker 614. Use keyword 'VFW-614'.
The research airplane seems to have something like a PFD and MFD installed.

airtaximan said...

AO,

There are many folks on multiple bords of aerospace companies.

HB has no VLJ...

Eclipse does not seem to be interested in competing with larger planes.

Also Aerionis making a large SS Bizjet and BB is there. Seems like more of a conflict.

Anyhow:

I would imagine, BB had nothing good to say about Eclipse, or he would have just stayed?

No?

airtaximan said...

CWMR,

Imagine the gonculations the other way... Cost per plane.

If eclipse triples production from 2007 to 2008 and produced say 350 planes, the tail effective COST is 2x... becasue they pay for 2 for every 1 they use.

Imagine IF many/all the contracts are similar?

If so, even IF they produce 350 planes in 2008, they will never make a profit.

When anyone says 1 per day is break even - they are on crack, if this business arrangement holds true with the suppliers.

BTW, if you think about it, they would be better off paying 50% more for parts etc... right now, and avoid the guarantee.

unless of course you BELIEVE they can produce 700 planes next year.

B/E at 350 planes or so, unless they miss their guarantees (which in this case, the absolutely do) and need to pay 2X for the parts.

nice plan.

airtaximan said...

Gunner,

I alwasy thought the smoking gun came from:

1- demanding Non-refundable deposits at "first flight" and then dumping the engine weeks later, once the money was banked

2-demanding progress payments baed on Avidyne, and dumping them just weeks after, once the money was banked.

3- characterizing the orders from Dayjet as 229 plus 70 options, while they were really 1430 all along.

Now I add a 4th - guaranteeing suppliers half the number of parts they need, compared with the number of progress payments they demanded from customers.

** never mind they stiffed hundreds of customers by years and years compared to promised delivery dates, all along missing their guarantees to suppliers by an unbelievably wide margin as well.

t'will all be part of the investigation.

PS. FIKI? AVIONG?
- the new boots, are these retrofits for free when/if FIKI is approved? How many planes have the OLD boots?

airtaximan said...

perhaps add a 5th:
telling the world Break Even is at a plane a day, when the cost of parts goes up by 2X due to missed guarantee commitment to suppliers at this rate.

mouse said...

Lots of airplanes have been designed with over the wing turbines... How many were certified by the FAA? How many were Part 23, Part 23 Commuter or Part 25?

The big boys are a whole-nother ball game... And again, how many certified and flying in the US?

The Big Boy FAA team has a little more experience and sense than the Little Boys FAA team...

airtaximan said...

mouse,

supplier issue:

does cost go up substantially at 300 units compared with the projected/guaranteed volume?

Is Hampson typical, in that if eclipse promised 700 units, they pay for 700 even if they only take 300?

mouse said...

AirTaxi... Smoking guns..?

WHen the EJ-22 was dropped they claimed the WI was holding them back, yet at that point Eclipse production should have 5 airplanes sitting in the corner ready to go except for needing engines.... Wonder why it was YEARS later before another plane was built? Guess there was no need to build another airframe after the first prototype..

Hmmm, guess it wasn't a surprise after all...

Smoldering cannons still litter the desert.

airsafetyman said...

Mouse,

Having worked with the FAA certification people on several issues over the years, I don't see any reason the Honda wouldn't be certified. It looks strange at first, but overall from a CG and fire safety and FOD viewpoint it seems safer, at least to me.

Copernicus said...

Claims of Fraud

I would read right over these claims. There are only two reasons that a contract can be nullified: mutual mistake of fact (in setting up the contract) or fraud. In practically every contract dispute, one party or the other will claim fraud which, if found to be accurate, would cause the whole contract to be scrapped. Lawyers make this claim automatically in any contract dispute even though they think that such a claim might be far fetched. Lawsuits can be an exercise in mud slinging and a fraud claim is just one more piece of mud.

Eclipse was really mad that some parts came in substandard and Hampton just wanted to be paid. Both parties had valid arguments, they couldn't settle it themselves, so it went to the lawsuit stage but only for a very short while before they reached agreement. That's how it looks to me.

airsafetyman said...

"Lots of airplanes have been designed with over the wing turbines... How many were certified by the FAA? How many were Part 23, Part 23 Commuter or Part 25?"

The VFW-Fokker 614 was issued a Transport Category Type Certificate in 1975.

airsafetyman said...

That would be an Federal Aviation Agency Transport Type
Certificate

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Snip> After that December payment, the agreement calls for monthly payments to Hampson of $337,778 until early 2009.

Snip> the $6 million was intended to cover "reparations" claims from Hampson...

Snip> It also calls for Eclipse to either take or pay for 350 tail sections for calendar year 2007 and 700 for calendar year 2008.

Just note, Shane, you misread this. It is not 350 in 2008 and 700 in 2009.

If I read this correctly, Eclipse is to pay the 337K a month to pay off a 6 million penalty for not taking the promised number in 2006, and is to buy 350 shipsets in 2007, and 700 in 2008.

Since Eclipse actually took somewhere in the range of 90 - 110 shipsets this year (based on the number of starts, plus the seven ship sets on stock according to Mouse), that shortfall of about 250 tails that Eclipse isn't taking this year is not yet due. That is another about 25 million that Hampson is aiming to get before/during the apoclipse.

No wonder they are putting 250K in Escrow. Smart move to risk their reputation and the unforgiving spotlight they have draw to themselves and the performance of their new plants in Texas, if it gets them to the front of the queue for 25 Million after the total eclipse (apoclipse).

I can't see this company going into chapter 11. Since the planes cost more to produce than you can sell them for, the engineering is not finished, the IOU backlog will ensure there are no profitable restructuring options, and the order list is largely vapour, I'd say they'll take the express elevator to liquidation.

Unless Hugo Chavez hits town:)

airtaximan said...

freedom,

thanks for the clarity.

Where is this from?
Can you post it?
thanks

Stan Blankenship said...

May have to re-play my "Happy Days Are Here Again" post from the end of last July. Remember the one that showed the Eclipse help wanted billboard up on the West side of Wichita.

The company had just completed a new round of financing and needed experienced help to get those hundreds of airplanes delivered by the end of the year.

Before Thanksgiving, The Eclipse Hot Jobs listings numbered less than 20. Today it is up over 60 with most of the new jobs posted in the last few days.

That plus resolution of the Hampson suit is a pretty good indicator Santa must have paid an early visit to the Clark Carr Loop address.

Dec 15 may come and go much like Y2K did, just another day though eclipso is predicting a plant shut down over the holidays.

airtaximan said...

fire 100, hire 60...

nice

Stan Blankenship said...

coldfish wrote...

"Conversely, imagine the pickle EAC is in if other vendors DID include similar language, say Fuji or Pratt or Mecaer or Alcoa."

Don't know if Alcoa is involved but a second tier Aluminum Service Center did take the Eclipse bait and purchased huge quantities of AL to support the program and are now holding the bag.

Their Wichita facility (located less then 2 miles from my shop) is just now completing a warehouse addition to store the material. Have heard their West coast facility had to make a similar addition.

Have also heard, much of the material is non-standard. It will go to Eclipse suppliers or end up at the salvage yards.

AeroObserver said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jim Howard said...

Stan, do you think that given this possible early Christmas that Eclipse can sell its jets for more than the cost of making them?

Stan Blankenship said...

sollicitus,

You jarred some memories but FL 560 on a circumnav? Never heard that.

The last flight around the world I remember was the 1976 flight crewed by Jim Bir, Arnold Palmer and Bill Purkey. Denver to Denver, 57.5 hours. Jim told me it would have been faster but Arnie kept leaving the airport at re-fueling stops to have his picture taken with some prominent person.

Before his love affair with the Citation, both Arnie and Jack Nicklaus were regular visitors.

Linden Blue gets all the credit for the 28/29. I wrote about that in a comment months ago, was not able to find the reference.

Pete Reynolds and Neil Armstrong did set a new time to climb record in the 28. Pete was one of the few acquired employees that Bombardier advanced until the day they unceremoniously showed him the exit door.

Bombardier had a habit of solving Wichita problems by bringing in another French-Canadian.

Trivia - Learjet loaned Pete Reynolds to Gulfstream for a couple of years to help certify the GII. At the time, Gulfstream did not have any test pilots experienced in certifying a jet...Learjet gained in the knowledge in certifying bigger iron. Win-Win.

Neil spent a lot of time at the factory. One night after a BoD meeting Neil flew a 35A home to Cincinnati. In the r. seat Jim Bir, in the jump seat Stan Blankenship. On the return, Jim Bir in the r. seat, yours truly in the seat formerly occupied by Neil Armstrong.

Those were the golden days, and since I have been shamelessly name dropping, will add one more. In the late 70's., Col. Paul Tibbets was running Executive Jet Aviation. He wanted to get into the contract target towing business with the USAF. As the resident Learjet target towing expert, I met with him several times in his office. RIP Col. Tibbets.

Lastly, Motorola pre-dated the 8-Track. The company was formed to build car radios, hence Motorola.

Wikipedia has reasonable write-ups on Motorola, Bill Lear and the 8-Track.

JetProp Jockey said...

ATM:

Relative to "paying for tails that are not delivered".

I am sure that the contract requires a penatly payment of some sort for requiring less that the predetermined number of tails, but not the full price of a tail.

In a normal contract this would represent the profit not made on each unit and a fair amount to amitorize the development costs.

If I were producing a widgit that sells for $100 and has $40 of materials and labor in it, the best I could hope for in a penalty clause for reduced deliveries is $60 per undelivered widget.

Chances are that Eclipse would have negotiated an amount closer to $30 or $40 in the ablove example.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Thanks for the clarification on Barents AO, it is in line with my expectation.

Stan Blankenship said...

jim,

Can Eclipse build for less then what the market might be willing to pay?

Good question with no easy answer.

Can Eclipse structure such a program? I don't see how with vendors wanting to recover monies for changes, lowered production rates and lost profits.

If the slate were to be wiped clean and everything put out to bid again, it might be possible.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

ATM, I snipped those three gems out of Stans post further up the thread.

Jetprop J, Thanks for the insight into the way contracts are normally written. It is possible that Eclipse has experienced purchasing and contracts staff who knew how to do that job right.

Santa is coming :)

airtaximan said...

FJT,

something doesn't jive, and it could be me...

BUT, a guarantee seems like it would cover the risk associated with facilities, raw material inventory, human resources, and financing associated with being in a position to deliver upon the guarantee.

Nothing happens at the drop of a hat, especially in aerospace - so, I would think eclipse actually agreed to pay for parts in their entirety, as a garantee. When you demand deep discounts and high volume, you probably need to insulate the supplier from the risk, in order for them to bite.

Lost profits and ammort development costs does not begin to cover...

airsafetyman said...

Mouse,

No comment on the Fokker VFW-614 with the over-wing mounted engines having been granted a FAA Transport Category Airplane Type Certificate (A39EU)? Tell us again how difficult it will be for Honda to certify the same configuration.

baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...
Mouse,

Having worked with the FAA certification people on several issues over the years, I don't see any reason the Honda wouldn't be certified. It looks strange at first, but overall from a CG and fire safety and FOD viewpoint it seems safer, at least to me.


AS, I don't see any reason why it would not be certified by the FAA (assuming the design is sound). But they will face issues. I expect that the main ones will be:

1 - Turbulence/Fatigue of the wing and engine attach points. Those engines at 400lbs each are a lot of concentrated weight. They can cause a lot of vibration/deflection even flutter particularly at low fuel situations.

2 - Disruption of air to the engines at high angles of attack, perhapps causing compressor stalls and the like..

3 - Disruption of airflow to the tail, perhaps causing excessive vibration/flutter.

4 - Assimetric thrust on engine out - not an issue really, but I better list here b4 someone else brings it up as a smoking gun.

On the other hand, as you pointed out, they'd have less problems in other areas:

A - Less FOD/Ice shedding from the wings, etc.

B - No Fuel lines, etc running from the wings to the back of the plane.

C - Better fire control/resistence.

D - More optimized presure vessel shape.

E - Cleaner air for the engines.

F - Easier follow-on longer variant certification because of lower CG changes with fuselage length.

airtaximan said...

Sorry for the clumsy link - perhaps someone could post a better link??

This has Dayjet, SATSair and Imagineair prices quoted to the State of Florida for service under SPA. (Stan, yu might want to post the spreadsheet on your links page, for ease)

http://dms.myflorida.com/
business_operations/
state_purchasing/
vendor_information/
state_contracts_agreements_
and_price_lists/state_purchasing_
agreements/air_taxi_services/
price_sheets_air_taxi_services

Of note, the bid calls for jets and "turboprops" ??? SATSAIR does not operate turboprops, do they???

Dayjet pricing is a wide margin, and there's no indication of the time window associated with the lowest and highest fares.

Takers?

airtaximan said...

b95,

aircraft survivability with catastrophic engine failure? Specifically, Turbine engine uncontainment events and the aircraft vulnerability to uncontainment.

greater chance to take out the wing... lose the plane?

gadfly said...

airtaximan

This may help:

http://dms.myflorida.com/business_operations/state_purchasing/vendor_information/state_contracts_agreements_and_price_lists/state_purchasing_agreements/air_taxi_services/price_sheets_air_taxi_services

gadfly

gadfly said...

On the HondaJet website, some rather informative illustrations are given, showing the internal mounts of the engines, and the overall attempt at true laminar flow, in both wing and fuselage design.

The first thing that came to my mind with the engine mount is the transmission of engine stresses to the wing, and into the fuselage. It appears that Honda has carefully addressed these problems . . . this blogsite is not the place to go into details . . .but it’s obvious that they have given it much careful thought. The second thing is the “laminar flow” . . . not just the wing, but the contour of the fuselage, from the tip of the nose, and on down the line of the fuselage, and through the wing root. Notice also the line of thrust of both engines, and the airflow well outside the rudder and elevator pattern.

All I can say at the moment is “Neat . . . Totally awsome!”

gadfly

(A quick check of the Eclipse design, and I wonder just who was watching the store, when the “profile” was sketched out on a knapkin, or the back of a menu, over a cup of coffee. Whoever it was, it was done under the pressure of time . . . or something!)

Turboprop_pilot said...

Report from the front

Last night I flew from Boston to Vero Beach for recurrent flight training in my Meridian. And yes, I made a fuel stop in my short ranged Meridian- at ACZ the self service Jet A is $3.11.

During my decent for Vero I heard a DayJet on the frequency:
Center: “DayJet123- direct to MINIE, Goofy 99 arrival
Dayjet123: Sorry can’t do, slant Alpha

It must be embarrassing, flying with real jets with only VORs and a handheld Garmin.

Today I flew to Boca to visit a friend with a Meridian, who keeps his at Avitat, right where the DayPort is. He is a friendly, outgoing guy and has come to know several DayJet pilots. He said DayJet has changed their business plan because there just wasn’t enough business developing from the day trip business traveler. They are flying more regular charter flights, replacing the jets Bocans normally charter, for short flights (“Oh, dear, with the real estate collapse, we really have to cut back. Let’s leave the Bentley home and take the DayJet instead of the GIV when we visit Muffy at UF.”). This has been reported here before, but my friend felt the price was not enough different than a regular charter to make this work either. My friend also said they are now blocking some flights because of people seeing how poorly they are doing (u listening FC?).

I went over to the DayPort desk- it had a nice professional look and manner. A very nice pilot (retired 747 pilot) took me out to the planes and showed the differences between the pre mod and post mod planes. He is enjoying flying these planes and laughed about transitioning from 50’ to 4’ in the cockpit. He said customers have really loved flying in the planes and that the Boca community is really hoping for more volume to make the concept work. On most flights they are held to 250, burning 525 lb/hr but that is not any problem with the short legs. The planes look good on the ramp, not shoddy and the interior finish wasn’t bad. They are really small though inside- much less passenger room than my Meridian. He said they cannot use them for Bahamas charter as they are not certified for commercial flight over water.

I landed behind a chartered E500 and on takeoff was #3 behind two E500s on revenue flights, while waiting for a 3rd to land. This was at 2 PM today. They seem to accelerate normally and the one I saw takeoff rotated in about 2,000’.

BTW, Boston has plenty of ice & snow but when I went on the beach, everyone was coughing because of the red tide!

TP

baron95 said...

AS said ... greater chance to take out the wing... lose the plane?

Nope. Other way around. Rear fuselage mounted engines = greater chances of taking out the tail plane (or components) and/or controls to the tail plane. Worst of all is the Piperjet configuration (Think Sioux Falls).

Underwing engine mounts are traditionally considered safest. Boeing/Airbus have shear pins that will break/melt on engine fire and severe vibration letting the engine fall loose and have the fan plane way ahead of the wing. Also wing structures are the strongest part of the plane with 2 or 3 spars with a certification requirement that a single spar failure is not catasthrofic.

Now, the Honda Jet may have an issue if the fan plane is anywhere near the fuel tank plane on the wings. But the current regs, if I am not mistaken, require failing blades and demonstrating no uncontained significant fragments AND protection of fuselage and critical systems (fuel systems, hydraulics, etc) from an eventual uncontained extrusion. A kind of belt and suspenders approach.

If it were my choice, I'd rather have a few loose fan blades near my wing than near my tail. (My plane's I mean).

baron95 said...

Gadfly siad .... All I can say at the moment is “Neat . . . Totally awsome!”

I agree. Aerodynamically, any concerns on the area rule at all? It appears that the engines are still where the fuselage width is at its maximum. Contrast that to modern tail-mounted designs where the engines go where there is a forceful narrowing of the fuselage.

Perhaps this is not important for M0.75 as it is At M0.92 say for the Citation X.

Any opinions?

Gunner said...

Gotta tell y'all. The recent outbreak of civility on this Blog is refreshing and awesome. The Signal:Noise ratio has increased logarithmically.

Suddenly we see frank discussions about Diamond, Piper, Honda and others...much of the tech discussion is way out of my league. But I'm learning more in a day of late than I used to be able to glean in a week.

Bravo-
Gunner

gadfly said...

baron

Wing root fillets, and those fancy angled transitions from fuselage to “wing leading edge”, look “pretty” to the average person, but sharp and clean is what keeps air moving without restriction (not to mention the cross-sectional area transitions). From the beginning, it was apparent that the “little bird” was in trouble . . . and just now it’s becoming obvious, when even a bug on the windscreen makes a difference.

gadfly

Need a little humor? Here’s one ( . . . for the psychologists among the readers):

What’s the last thing that passes through the mind of a bug as it hits the windscreen?

His butt!

(You guys flying in Florida need a little humor, twice a year, when the “love bugs” appear, spring and fall . . . and you need to clean all that yellow gunk off the paint and windscreen, before it gets down into the metal, and (perish the thought) those stir fried welds. And you thought that corrosion from the ocean was the problem! Don’t worry . . . the professors and students up at the university in Gainesville are working on the problem as we speak . . . and they’ll have a solution any year now . . . and maybe not!)

(Does anyone know? . . . Did “P&W Canada” do any testing as to the corrosive effects of “love bugs” on compressor blades on jet engines? . . . anyone in Florida will understand!)

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

Gunner

Thee almost convinces me to sing a liberal Democrat song . . . "Happy Days are Here Again" . . . but not quite!

gadfly

(But maybe we have Vern to thank . . . he probably yanked the chains of a few folks, and reminded them that they were doing much harm to "his" cause of getting the little bird into the air.)

Shane Price said...

TP Pilot,

Any word on how many 'pre mod' planes were still in the fleet?

Seems like that lot should have been done by now, since all those after s/n 39 are modified.

It is passing strange that, given there are so few revenue flights, they have not sent the aircraft back by now.

Shane

gadfly said...

Shane

Don't you think that Dayjet has learned enough by now, that the "aeromods" aren't going to make any difference in the bottom line?

There comes a time in the testing of any model, that "refining the data" is a lost cause. Give them credit . . . I think they have finally figured it out, and the only remaining option is to "bow out, gracefully".

Let's see how they do it!

gadfly

mouse said...

The procurement department when I was still at Eclipse was managed by a very corupt individual. Many of the vendors were selected that were not the lowest vendor, and in fact were often times the highest bidder.

They were all promised very large numbers and the contracts were very light on protection for Eclipse. They were very unprofessional to say the least.

What they did have in common were pricing based on a minimum of 500 shipsets per year to achive the best pricing.

The parts were so screwed up due to panic and inexperience that everything was ordered in shipsets, and then due to poor management and understanding, the indvidual piece parts were also ordered. The piece parts were all part of the finished sub-assembly parts list so there was a lot of duplication.

The vendors were expected to eat these mistakes when they were finally discovered. And a lot of the vendors did eat them because they believed the big high volume orders would become reality.

mouse said...

Airtaxi,

Uncontained failure issues since the engines are not behind or ahead of the wing, cabin, Etc.

Baron pegged the fatigue issues...

The FAA may throw some wing twisting with power changes and thrust line shifting Etc.

I personally like the design, but see the FAA risk. It's different, so its very scary to the current FAA resources..

baron95 said...

Mouse said... The FAA may throw some wing twisting with power changes and thrust line shifting Etc.


Yep, at least the beast does not have TRs, otherwise they'd have to go though cycles of full power on one side and full TR on the other alternating for something like 1000-2000 cycles.

I don't know if the engine pylons will have shear pins or not, but my guess is that they'd have to demonstrate (by flight or analysis) control with one engine having departed the ship.

There is FAA risk in certifying this config, but I think it is modest and contained. BTW, there is also risk in certifying a part 23 single-engine jet like D-Jet, Cirrus, Diamond. The jet regs don't even contemplate such a ship.

Does anyone have a felling for the FSDO covering NC vs the FSDO convering NM in terms of being bold or extra conservative?

mouse said...

Baron, the engines are about as close, however the lack of pylons is significant as far as the bunching of air is concerned.

It's a very good design, my only concern again is the unknown FAA factor... Could be nothing, but it could be huge...Don't let facts cloud the issue..

"We're not Happy until You're NOT Happy" is the FAA's motto...

mouse said...

Gunner,

I suspect tensions are down due to Ken's ignorant comments disrupting things.

Miss his info leakage, but overall it's much nicer indeed.

paul said...

It doesn't involve the FSDO. The MIDO deals with it. No office in ABQ.

paul said...

I believe the Fort Worth MIDO was involved with the Eclipse PC. Perhaps the DC office also.

Turbine Power said...

Mouse cried about "Ken's ignorant comments disrupting things."

Frankly, I'd put more credence in Ken's comments than yours any day, mouse. You left the company 5 years ago and still somehow think you know something about it. But the truth is that you can't even speak for yourself, let alone Eclipse. 2-1/2 weeks ago you said you were leaving the blog, and you sure as hell got that one wrong! Why should anybody believe you know something about Eclipse when you can't even accurately predict your own actions?

mouse said...

Well Gunner,

So much for civility. Guess TP doesn't like change.

After a few changes here I decided it might be a little better here, so after seeing some changes, I to decided to change and return.

TP, sorry if your corn flakes got soggy...

FreedomsJamtarts said...

It's funny, although I left my first employment organisation 14 years ago, I still have some contacts and can still get insider information.

The company I left three years ago, well there I generally find out the news within about 48 hours, even if I am not looking for it.

Mouse may have left 5 years ago, but the quality of his information and insights is very high in my opinion. He is one of the high S/N ratio bloggers here.

Gunner said...

Mouse-
Ken's gone. I vote we allow his memory to Rest in Peace.

TP-
That's your second Personal Attack Drive-By in as many topics. Note the reception guys like Ex-421 and EO get around here. That would indicate there are no "Haters" on this Blog; simply that you reap what you sow.

You're building a tidy rep of planting lemon trees and it really doesn't put Le Petit in the best light, you know?
Gunner

HotDog said...

FWIW I’ve said it before and will say it again...Mouse may have left the company years ago but he/she still hits many things right on the nose with respect to past and present company issues. He/she obviously still gets inside information that in most cases is very accurate. Take it or leave it.

airtaximan said...

HD,

yes, and what I like most is, it all makes perfect sense when you really look at what happend.

anything new from you?

tails?
production?
financing?
deliveries?
fiki?
aviong?
other?

mouse said...

Thanks Guys,

I appreciate your kind words of support, pro or con.

Black Tulip said...

Mouse,

I don't care what others say about you. I think you're a good guy.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

The San Antonio MIDO was where Eclipse went through.

airtaximan said...

regarding Dayjet,

the spreadsheet link I posted contains pricing and service availability provided as part of a bid to the State of Florida.

It shows SATSair, Imagineair and Dayjet.

Of note: Dayjets service is nowhere near as extensive as the props. Pricing is comparable at the estimated LOW end of the RANGE Dayjet provided (the others provide a price, not a range of prices) which anticipates hours of "inconvenience" - the others will fly when you want. FINALLY DAYJET'S COMPARABLE PRICES ARE FOR THE SEAT, WHICH YOU CAN FLY 3 PASSENGERS FOR THE SAME PRICES ON IMAGINEAIR OR SATSAIR.

Of course, at the high end of Dayjet's pricing range, its a no brainer to choose the others. Its multiples of their pricing, and this is for the seat, the competition is for 3 passengers.

scratch, scratch.....

Stan Blankenship said...

Looks like a pair leaving the nest.

N152DJ & N153DJ, 071 & 072.

Both en route to Bentonville via ICT.

Can someone remind me why they fly overhead ICT?

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Probably a VOR airway.

421Jockey said...

Stan,
They fly over ICT because that is one of the few places in the country that there is a check point for RVSM certification. When the aircraft receives it's RVSM Cert, you have 6 months to complete the flyover. If not, the RVSM cert is revoked.

There are no checkpoints anywhere near Florida.

ex-421

Jim Howard said...

It's worth noting that they both filed /W, which is RSVM with Mode C.

Stan Blankenship said...

ex-421,

Thanks, I knew there was a reason but had forgotten the specifics.

FlightCenter said...

Turboprop pilot,

Nice report! And yes, I'm listening.

However, I don't see any evidence of DayJet blocking the tracking of their flights. All 20 aircraft show as having flown in the last week or two.



BTW, DayJet's website says that they are hiring E500 captains and they are hosting an event at Boca next week.

FlightCenter said...

Linear Air's E500 has flown two round trips so far in December.

One to Gaithersburg and back and one to White Plains and back.

About 4 hours total time.

Turboprop_pilot said...

Question:

Should I change from Turboprop_pilot to something else since Turbine_power is making Ken like useless comments and sullying the good name of TP?

The civil TP

gadfly said...

Turboprop_pilot

Maybe you can sign your name with the extension "06" or "2006", and we'll know you are the serious one . . . not here to insult others.

gadfly

(Some of us are here to hear and discuss serious comment/criticism, and we "tune out" the stupid insults that seem to be the highest achievements of some.)

Stan Blankenship said...

From my morning mail:

Take a look at Eclipse website/leadership for great non-annoncement made yesterday. New
steamlined BOD has only four members after apparent resignation of Polygon Investments
rep. That indicates for sure Polygon has decided not to provide further funds and
may well indicate they do not want to asssume fiduciary duty directors of insolvent
companies have to creditors as well as shareholders. Countdown to TU has started.

airtaximan said...

Stan:
does your source know this is the reason for the departure of Polygon, or is it his interpretation?
- they could have been bought out (happy to be bought out) and resigned, as part of new financing.
- the new financing could have diluted them enough to eliminate the position

smells bad...

John said...

N355BM or SN 92 has left KABQ this morning. Destination KBAK Indiana

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I am hearing rumblings from friends in the know that would indicate Eclipse may have come into some coin, again (new job postings and calls in to recruiters looking for 80-90 heads).

If true, new money could very well lead to a restructuring of the BoD but I would think Polygon as a more recent investor would remain and an FoV (Friend of Vern) to get the boot - surely Polygon had some protections from their investment - oh wait, this is Eclipse, it does not have to make sense.

Also heard that the main people responsible for putting together the configuration management system at Eclipse have been walked out - seems to happen a lot when employees approach 5 years on-the-job with noted exceptions.

I still think they go BK before the end of next year but they may have, once again, pulled one out of thin air. Apparently there is still some stupid money out there - original investors have been diluted 5 or 6 times now I believe - why would ANYONE have ANY faith in ANYTHING this company says?

Never ceases to amaze me.

airtaximan said...

CW,

There's a big problem in aviationfor start ups - aviation savvy investors.

Dayjet and Eclipse have tapped investors with no real aviation investment expereince, and pitched a "high tech" business.

Dayjet's computer simulations and operatiog system seem to be a bust, just like Eclipse's high tech EJ22, Avio and FSW... but they SOLD the deal to the tech world.

At the end of the ramp, these are aeroplanes, flying passengers.

Look at the prcing for Satsair vs Dayjet bid to State of FLorida, and you'll see what you get for your money with this "high tech" solution...

Anyhow, never underestimate Vern's ability to get more cash - some old investors might actually be believing he's getting closer!

hummer said...

CWMoR
A cash infusion of 30mil - 50mil was a no-brainer. It gets a lot more interesting in +/- 120 days for large long term debt financing (200 - 300mil). Capital markets are not now what they were.
On the other point, this is Vern's show. Why they have a BOD is a formality of business. When this is all done, he'll be singing ole blue eyes song,
"I did my way".

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Agree Hummer but $30M is only good for 2-3 months tops, contract shops would be 2-4 weeks to get heads on-site and they will not send folks if the bills don't get paid - some of the investors may not be plane savvy as ATM points out, but the shopper engineers and the shops themselves are savvy.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Hummer said:
A cash infusion of 30mil - 50mil was a no-brainer.

Where do I find investors like this? I'd like about 30 million. My business plan is to buy tickets to Australia, a beach house on the Gold Coast, a big Holden, and some beer.

When the investors foreclose on me in about six months, they can have the house, the car and the empties.

The rate of return on my plan is better than Verns :)

airtaximan said...

Hummer,

that's funny... but he'll get more cash.

I think Hampson was smart - they realized with the timely lawsuit, they could get paid. Nothing like investors breathing down your neck about a liability/court case to make you agree to pay.

I'd be interested to know about the production line - seems like they cannot get beyond 12-15 a month, and then there was the slowdown in starts a few weeks ago... we should be seeing the effects now.

Gotta hand it to Stan - he has his finger on the pulse. Predicted based on some job postings that money is flowing. nice one!

JetProp Jockey said...

Is everyone else seeing that time of the last post and the name of the current post on the same line before the actual posted information.

My format just changed this morning - it's a little confusing.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Understand, the average bill rate for shopper engineers ranges from $80-140/hr, time and a half for OT, most guys won't go anywhere that does not have 10-20 hrs/wk OT.

Each one of those 80-90 heads they are looking for will cost them $30-35K per month. If they hit 90 heads they will have an easy $3M/month, just those 80-90 guys - plus the labor cost for the other 1500 or so employees thay claim.

The numbers are staggering and do not, IMNSHO make any sense.

If Eclipse has a core competency, raising money is surely part of it, spending it is the other.

Gunner said...

Well, I'll be dipped! I was calling for layoffs as early as next week. Like I said, if Vern pulls this one out, he gets the Genner's 2007 Smooth as Silk Award.

Still, I'm not buying that this company has taken in significant dollars without a major control and management shakeup attached. Nor am I buying that $30Million carries Eclipse for 3 months. No way you can come to a $10Mil burn rate on this company, absent inventing a new accounting system.

In any case, if true, expect the immediate return of some old friends to the Blog. Suggest we all satiate our appetites for civility while it lasts. ;-)
Gunner

airtaximan said...

what do they need the engineers for? I thought the finished product is just around the bend being certified for FIKI with new avionics??? I thought the factory is ready for one-a-day?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ATM, my guess, and it is only an educated guess, is that they recognize they need to complete the 500 and get it fully functioning at any cost, as soon as possible, so they can announce the e-CONjet is available and not be laughed at - and garner as many deposits as possible to continue the dream.

If they do this, expect a trade-in program of sorts allowing folks to switch to the e-CONjet with some price advantage - the fewer 500's they make, the less $$ they will lose.

YMMV

eclipso said...

Just talked to one of the more reputable contract firms for info on an overseas gig. They are "overwelmed" with calls from ABQ looking for overseas AP/SM or ANYPLACE in the U.S., so maybe that is why the job postings are out. Further on the slowdown for Christmas, the mechanics will now be scheduled, but will have to burn any time they have if they want off for Christmas and/or New Year, and rumor has it there, there will be anothe slowdown in June. Having been there in the past year, June is a LONG way off to still be going even...

gadfly said...

JetPropJockey

You're not seeing things . . . the format has changed . . . and seems to be "retroactive". Stan may know the reason.

gadfly

Stan Blankenship said...

It's blogspot incomplete!

Google is forever tinkering.

JetProp Jockey said...

thanks for the reply gadfly - I won't shake my computer to try to fix it.

Is there a reason that bases on the earlier post that headhunters have been tasked with finding 80 or 90 people, that it is assumed they are looking for engineers? Seems that they could be looking to fill any positions, even hourly, although it is not normal to pay a placement fee for production employees . . . then again this is Eclipse.

I know that there is lots of speculation as to when or if the company will go BK. The one thing I know from many years of experience and having 6 or so customers file, that in the 11:59 hour, the company tries to make themselves look like everythig is going great. It is usually a big surprise when the plug is actually pulled.

Sending a message that things are great and our deposit offer has worked and we are out hiring employees may be just enough to get suppliers to back off and send in more goods that would become company property in BK.

JetProp Jockey said...

What you need is Blogspot-NG

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

That's Blogspot NG Stan!!

Shane Price said...

Gentlefolk,

In the early am tomorrow, Saturday 15th, I head to the Swiss Alps for our annual 'try-not-to-kill-everyone-else-on-the-slopes' holiday.

As the wireless internet connection in the chalet can be a bit iffy, I might not be as active as I would like.

Please regard this post as a 'placeholder', to assure you that I will be around in the New Year.

As we are fond of saying to our friends here in the fresh (and still green) island of Ireland:-

Beannachtai na Nollaig.

(The blessing of Christmas, freely translated)

Shane

Gunner said...

Regarding the continued public interest in Eclipse, note the Eclipse 500 Club public forum that was created on August 31.

It's semi-open to the public; no charge, but you have to register with complete personal info.

Designed to answer all the burning questions by would-be depositors, the site was promoted here as a place to get the real Truth about Eclipse from those in the know.

In nearly four months, it has garnered all of 9 topics and 17 replies (about 14 of which are from current Depositors).

Draw your own conclusions, as you choose.
Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

Shane,

Enjoy your holiday, we're green with envy.

Black Tulip said...

Shane,

Have a nice holiday. One of my fondest aviation memories occurred ten years ago on your fair green isle at the Galway airport. We flew in via Turbo Commander from Iceland and shutdown… two couples and a child. There were no other planes on the ramp. A young fellow came over as I stepped out and said seriously, “The airport manager wants to see you.”

I followed him upstairs and sat down across from the manager. He asked where we had come from and I said, “Boston, by way of Goose Bay and Reykjav√≠k.” He said sternly, “There’s been a mix-up in Shannon and the Customs inspector won’t be here to meet you.” Then he broke into a big grin and asked, “And how are things in Boston?” That was our official entry into Ireland.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

JPJ,

The recruiting company I am speaking of specializes in designer/drafters, stress and other engineering types - very little in the way of floor or assembly help - that is the basis of my belief that the spots are engineering - also, almost half the posted listings on the Eclipse website are engineering and inspector positions - plus many manager listings.

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

I'm surprised Eclipse didn't post the new job openings on the blog. All the skills are here, plus a great deal of knowledge about the company and markets.

I miss the food in north central New Mexico and I'm ready for a big helping of Christmas (red and green) chili sauce spread over some big ol' enchiladas.

Plus if I can get back out there I want to enlist Gadfly in burning some old tires in one of the 'extinct' volcano cones. That sounds like a great stunt.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Hummer, I am sure the jet just sells itself.

Oh wait, that is Avio NfG Release 2.5.

Does not make much sense - but at least the positions posted are related to the designing, buildinjg, testing and certifying of planes, except for a tax specialist and a couple other admin types.

Could be they don't actually want to sell anymore planes until the e-CONjet gets released.

Could be the previous sales force sucked so bad they don't know yet what they want to try to sell the 500 or 600 planes per year they say they need JUST to break even.

So many things that just don't add up.

hummer said...

Sorry for deleting my post; been playing with Stan's new format.
I would take a job with Eclipse as a fundraiser. Pay me 8% and let me learn directly from Vern. He has no peers. I will pay all my expenses and work 24/7; no money raised; no payout. If your reading this Vern,
you can get my email direct from Stan.
BTW, I'm available immediately and would prefer working on the ConJet.

FlightCenter said...

Anyone for a friendly wager on the topic of where the new engineering staff will be working?

Just a thought, but if Vern has secured another round of financing, it would be just like him to use the money to start a new and very aggressive program to develop the Econ Jet.

Don't look behind the curtain. Move along folks, nothing to see here. We're not raising money because of production line difficulties. We've got that under control.

Now that we've successfully launched the E500, we're raising money to develop the next aircraft in what will soon be the long line of totally disruptive Eclipse aircraft. There won't ever be a better time to invest in Eclipse...

I bet he's even convinced his new investors that he'll be able to beat Diamond and Cirrus to market with a single engine jet because of the parts and manufacturing commonality between the Econ Jet and the E500.

We've already proven you can just drop Avio NG in...and it works!

My wager is that Vern announces that they have decided to proceed with the Econ Jet on Jan 15.

hummer said...

Vern, continued
8% is on secured orders for the ConJet.
12% would be for the investor types
with limited or no documentation.
15% would be for BRIC sovereign funds
with some considerations.
Thanking you in advance for your early reply.

eclipso said...

At the rate some of the smoke and mirrors are being presented, Vern may end flying on the disruptive technological 727-200....oh wait...that's CON AIR!!!!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Wow, BoD down to 4 and less than a dozen VP's - must be getting downright underpopulated in the head shed.

Gone are Mike Brown, VP and CIO; Perry Denker, VP Investor Relations; Don Taylor, VP Training and Safety; Ken Harness, VP Engineering.

NONE WITH REPLACEMENTS

Anyone else think it odd that an airplane and technology company does not have VP Engineering, VP/CIO, VP Training and Safety and VP Investor Relations?

ItsJustSad said...

CWMOR said...

Gone are Mike Brown, VP and CIO; Perry Denker, VP Investor Relations; Don Taylor, VP Training and Safety; Ken Harness, VP Engineering.

NONE WITH REPLACEMENTS

Anyone else think it odd that an airplane and technology company does not have VP Engineering, VP/CIO, VP Training and Safety and VP Investor Relations?

Perhaps those positions will soon be filled by an outside, "partner" company? Maybe not a direct buyout, but a merger of some kind?

Just whistling in the dark...

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Actually with all the VP's gone, maybe the more experienced folks are finally getting a chance to make the decisions and do things correctly. I always found it maddening that the Director of Avionics had to check with the VP for Engineering over what I consider to be a 'no brainer' decision, often coming back with just plain stupid reasons for not doing things. This might be a change for the better.

gadfly said...

Suppose that Vern gets new funding . . . and the little jet is produced in quantities to “darken the sky”.

What, pray tell, is so unique about this thing that will change anything for the better?

It was promised as a six seat jet (it can get itself and four people off the ground, provided you leave a good quantity of fuel behind, and don’t have far to go).

It promised a range well beyond a thousand miles (and with much creative forethought, it’s possible . . . barely).

It promised the latest and greatest in avionics (and if a person is totally ignorant of safety backups . . . it might “dazzle” the novice).

It’s fast (compared to a few piston and turbo-props).

It uses “friction stir welding” (and if you’re not allergic to “MSG”, that may work for some . . . but seriously, this is “whistling in the dark” . . . hoping against hope that long-term conditions will not prove detrimental to an unproven technology, with many concerns that even Eclipse has admitted, and attempted to address).

It’s “cheap” (last I heard, it costs more to produce than the sale price).

It has leather seats (so do both of my Lexus, and the furniture in my family room . . . but they don’t need to fly).

It will soon be approved for FIKI (and so is my SUV with ABS and All-Wheel-Drive . . . and while the little bird was grounded, I came down “the hill” and got to work this morning on “black ice” . . . into Albuquerque).

What does it take to acquire one of these “wonders”? Well, it seems to require a “fat wallet” that may have to get even “fatter” before delivery. It requires patience . . . waiting for a few years for delivery. It takes a certain “blindness” to the many inconveniences of flying an “almost jet”. It takes a certain disregard for the many safety backups . . . “steam gages”, etc. It takes a certain dexterity of working with hand-held devices . . . made by Garmin. And it takes a certain amount of bladder control.

gadfly

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

Gadfly,

Does the Cessna Mustang make
sense? If so, why?

Gunner said...

Hummer asked:
"Does the Cessna Mustang make
economic sense. If so, why?"


For many, it obviously does. The reason: it is what it promised to be. No overhype; no sneering at the competition and sniveling before the creditors. No smoke and mirrors required. No IOU's. No publicity stunts to pull creditor dollars out of escrow or wallet.

Like most Real Planes, it is what it is. It does not need to promise what it isn't.

There is a world of difference between the Cessna Mustang and the Eclipse 500. It begins with maturity and integrity of management.
Gunner

hummer said...

Checking on Mustang vs Eclipse on airtaxi rates:

Mustang at $1,750/hr

Eclipse at $1,350/hr

Says something, Gunner.

gadfly said...

hummer

Although I'm not in the market for a jet, I have a trust in Cessna based on having flown Cessna products, and have worked on Cessna aircraft (I am a fully trained and licensed A&P, and have spent most of my life working in aerospace, in design and manufacturing, among other things).

What I have learned locally about "Eclipse" is in complete contradiction to Cessna.

In answer to your question, Cessna makes much sense . . . the other makes no sense.

gadfly

hummer said...

We have covered this so many times
but it is becoming more relevant;
Mustang appreciates; Eclipe is and
will depreciate. There appears to
be only a couple hundred dollars in
direct cost per hour.

Gunner said...

Yep-
It says, "You get what you pay for."

Obviously the purchasing public feels the same. Eclipse has yet to sell the number of planes in ANY year that it needs, just to break even, in EVERY year. Meantime, Cessna is quite profitable.

It also says, "Sometimes 'cheap' really is!" ;-)
Gunner

gadfly said...

hummer

Were it not for my wife’s health, we would have spent our lives along with my classmates on the mission field, flying and maintaining mostly Cessna aircraft. Now, most of my classmates are retired . . . and most are still living, attesting to the reliability of Cessna aircraft for these many years. Under the worst of flying conditions, these aircraft have a proven reliability that I would trust under almost any condition.

Reputations are “hard won”, by more than endless bragging and “put-downs” of others. Never, ever, overlook a certain amount of humility in the management of an aircraft company. When someone claims to have the “latest and greatest”, at the expense of others . . . run as fast as you can, and keep your hand on your wallet. And a list of “IOU’s” should scare the socks off any potential customer. In the language of a certain high executive in a certain company, who was formerly in computer software, the term is “vaporware”.

gadfly

(It’s 5pm in ABQ . . . time to go home! . . . here at the shop: temp 38.3 F, humidity 34%, at 5,460 feet . . . and the snow has stopped . . . ‘hope the little birds are all safe in the nest.)

John said...

Dayjet Utilization Week 11
I made no effort to break out training flights.

Plane … Tally … Hours
DJS109 … 2 … 2.2
DJS110 … 1 … 1.2
DJS115 … 11 … 7.8
DJS116 … 13 … 8.3
DJS119 … 3 … 2.0
DJS126 … 2 … 1.1
DJS130 … 7 … 6.2
DJS132 … 6 … 2.5
DJS134 … 8 … 7.9
DJS135 … 11 … 9.7
DJS136 … 6 … 3.6
DJS139 … 9 … 6.2
DJS141 … 10 … 6.2
DJS142 … 3 … 2.7
DJS145 … 17 … 15.0
DJS146 … 11 … 8.9
DJS147 … 27 … 26.7
DJS148 … 10 … 6.8
DJS153 … 2 … 3.2
Total ... 159 ... 128.1

John said...

Week 11 Departure Field Table
Departure …. Hours … Tally
(KBCT) …. 40.0 … 48
KGNV) …. 32.1 … 44
KTLH) …. 16.8 … 19
(KLAL) …. 4.9 … 8
(KPNS) …. 4.8 … 6
(KDTS) …. 4.6 … 3
(KOCF) …. 4.0 … 6
(KPIE) …. 3.8 … 5
KOPF) …. 3.2 … 3
(KXNA) …. 2.2 … 1
(KSAV) …. 2.1 … 2
(F45) …. 2.0 … 1
(KISM) …. 1.5 … 2
(KSRQ) …. 1.4 … 2
(KLEE) …. 1.2 … 1
(KDAB) …. 1.1 … 2
(KSEF) …. 1.1 … 1
(KVLD) …. 0.7 … 1
(KAPF) …. 0.5 … 1
(KMIA) …. 0.5 … 2
Total …. 128.1 … 159

airtaximan said...

john,

any clue what's with Boca and Gainsville... this is the head office and the Maintenance facilty.

92 out of 159 flight?

Ed says they are at 30% repositioning
- impute a number for training/etc

20 planes... the Boca - Ganville anomoly..

Seems pretty bad.
Anyone have a bright side?

Stan Blankenship said...

From the morning paper -

Cessna Aircraft Co. has appointed Ron Holter to temporarily manage its recently acquired Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing plant in Bend, Ore.

Yes Virginia, there is life after Eclipse. Ron previously had headed up manufacturing at Eclipse. In January of this year, he returned to Cessna to head up the Mustang manufacturing effort at Cessna's Independence, KS facility.

bill e. goat said...

Above posts prompted me to check out the Eclipse website for the first time in several months.

Noted: BoD downsizing to four. Somewhat confirms my suspicions that Al Mann is indeed the sugar daddy of this thing- exnay Polygon Investments.

Re: Harold Poling (ex-FoMoCo). Not sure what this cat brings to the party. Per Wikipedia (okay, sorry- clue us in if you know more about Poling):

"Poling was never averse to cutting cost and succeeded in returning the unit to profitability. He was often cited as the man that saved Ford Motor Company in the 80's...Poling is an avid and very accomplished golfer".

Well, cutting costs is good if you know what you're doing, and a sure way to screw things up even worse if you don't. What Harold knows about the aeroplane business is squat. Maybe Vern needs a golfing partner, or someone to carry his bag. (Or the bags of money Al Mann is dropping off).

Somewhat expecting the stunt of the year to be launching the Con-Jet (backup to the Avio-NG stunt of the year in case of delay), I perused the Eclipse career links. Sorry boys, don't see no new development hints there. 70+ postings, the only R&D stuff: an electrical DER and two mechanics. Sorry, nothing new going on here. Everything else was service-center or manufacturing related, including the a couple of stress guys to handle manufacturing goofs.

(Does make one wonder what is going on with the Con-jet prototype though, especially given the competing single-engine projects are marching along. Maybe being outsourced?)

Not much of interest in the news release links.

There was a nice link to Phostrex, complete with a Material Safety Data Sheet to calm those who are careless enough not to inquire what is NOT addressed by MSDS.

{I'm not careless enough, just stupid enough, to not know what is not being addressed. (I must point out, that Ken could help us with this! :) I still think it is "too good to be true", and consider this validated by the avoidance the marketplace is giving it}.

CWMOR re: the VP boogie/shuffle (a.k.a., musical chairs on the Titanic? :)

No VP of investor relations? Don't need one, just someone to schmooze Al Mann.

No VP of engineering? Who needs engineering? After all, besides being a spanky golfer, Poling sure knows where to trim the fat.

No training VP? With Avio-NG, the dang things fly themselves.

No VP CIO? No need to bamboozle the press any more- they've already been trained to roll over and play dead, or fetch press releases. Like they do in DC.

(BTW, I agree: Eclipse "Never ceases to amaze me").

Talk of $30-50M?, Much as I suspected, no more difficult than Al Mann blowing a golder booger out of his nose. The $200-200M next Spring? Al to the rescue, but it might come out, shall we say, some other orifice. Still, not much more than a good day's work. (Um, sorry for the graphics on that one, but you get the general idea).

Gunner: I must confess, I agreed with your prediction that Eclipse would have more layoffs around, uh, right now. It didn't make much sense to lay off the temps a few weeks back, only to "ramp things up" now. But careful reading of the career postings suggests that indeed, there is not much of a "ramp up" going on: for a company with 1500 employees, there are postings for:

a) one machinist

b) two assembly workers.

c) some painters

This would seem to be even less than required to keep up with normal attrition. Everything else listed in the "manufacturing" category is overhead-related (managers, team leads, tool crib, records clerk, etc). The many other dozens of postings seem to be overhead related, or similarly service-center related.

(An alternative explanation would be they had already grossly overstaffed on assembly workers, and still have more than enough to go around. Maybe Poling just thought he could hire warm bodies to stand around on the floor and things would happen- and didn't realize how specialized aircraft manufacturing is compared to building trunk lids).
----------------------------
Well, don't mean to become cranky this time of year.

As Shane said:

"Beannachtai na Nollaig".*

?? Ah, rock on, dude!!

(* "The blessing of Christmas, freely translated" - Amen, and God Bless us all :)

Plastic_Planes said...

Stan:

That's Rod Holter, not Ron.

I really enjoyed working with Rod at Eclipse. He is a very smart man who really tried hard to take care of his people. He was not afraid to get onto the floor and work with the folks down there. He was instrumental in many of the early production successes. I wish him well with the folks in Bend.

Rod was full of integrity and I think in the end, that was one of the things that led to him leaving. I cannot say the same (about the integrity) of Vern.

P_P

Stan Blankenship said...

P_P,

You're right of course. Had it wrong in January as well when I noted the change from ABQ to Indy.

Thanks for helping to keep information on the blog as accurate as possible.

Sorry Ron...er, I mean Rod.

Metal Guy said...

So scanning through the posts, there does not seem to be any specific confirmation that the new Eclipse deposit requests were successful. Can someone please clarify if there has been any official word?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

So D-Day (deposit day) has come and gone without so much as a bang or a whimper out of ABQ.

PT Vernum remains uncharacteristically silent, and his 'new media' lapdog (rhymes with Captain Boom) ignored Eclipse retracting the fraud claim and agreeing to pay as required in the Hampson dispute, and instead chose to focus on the expected delivery of S/N 84 by year's end (there is still hope my prediction could come to pass, but I digress).

Eclipse chose to announce the deal when they shared it with ANN, and now neither have even mentioned it since it went out.

They only needed 50 or so depositors to pony up for the latest 'program' - I find it hard to believe they can not count the number of takers for a simple announcement of either making or not making what they needed.

One would think they would be proud to announce how many customers 'trust' them enough.

In the absence of any news out of ABQ or the Eclipse Media Center in Green Cove Florida, perhaps one of the Faithful, who have been rather scarce as of late, could fill us in on the status of the Save Vern Telethon.

It could well be that Eclipse has finally realized that the amount of money they have raised and the amount of money they still need to find, are no longer flashy and impressive, but rather have become liabilities on a scale never before seen.

It was only a few years ago that Eclipse was claiming it would be the 'most transparent' company in industry, turns out to have been, another, failed promise.

Black Tulip said...

CWMOR,

Interesting discussion. Although Eclipse is not a public company it brings to mind the rules for running one. The first rule relates to consistency of press releases and precedents that are set. If you announce a good deal you’ve just made, you better be prepared to also issue a press release if the deal later goes bad. The other issue is materiality. If you put out press releases about insignificant little positive developments then you should also announce little bits of bad news.

This is why responsible public companies act as they do. Important news is issued in press releases followed by an SEC filing. The smaller stuff goes to the trade press.

Why do I feel like I’m preaching to the choir?

mouse said...

It takes a while for Vern to come up with the new, latest & greatest "thing" whatever it is after each failure.

I still expect this to be their last month before BK. The 15th I figured was the last date to try and pull a deposit out before the money got locked in due to a circling of the wagons...

After this date anyone still with a deposit is stuck, and whatever happens to them, they were warned.

Like it of hate it, this site has tried to expose the scam for what it is/was and if a depositor could not figure that out, well then it's just too bad...

I think the fact that even this site has been very, very quiet recently is very telling as well.

All our holding their collective breaths and waiting to see... which means even the "believers" are scared...

hummer said...

Why is this so tough?
Plan A is to get together 50 deposits, foreign and domestic. If that didn't work, there was Plan B:
other sources. Finally Plan C called for that if Plan A and Plan B were
not forth coming, everyone would lose
what they had deposited so they better pony up what was needed for Plan A to stay whole. .. Otherwise
Bye Bye.
You gotta Love It.

Gunner said...

Weekend announcements do not garner much media attention. I expect an announcement tomorrow. Contrary to what I originally speculated, I now expect it to be a "Great News" announcement, accompanied by the return of some old friends to this Blog, hopefully with a more civil attitude.

Of course, the Devil will be in the Details of that announcement. Look for the fine print regarding a large "order" on the ConJet. Perhaps rumors of a Christmas break for the "valued" employees in ABQ. The answers to what's happening in ABQ are invariably NEVER what's in the announcement.

Anything short of an statement that they have money to continue operations and will focus SOLELY on getting the IOU's paid will be, IMHO, the operative issue of tomorrow's announcement. Look, also, for other telltale signs of the Actual Truth, such as Board or Officer resignations in the coming two weeks.

Must be a real nail-biter to the Owners In Waiting.
Gunner

421Jockey said...

Gunner,
You hit the nail on the head. The owners already got the news, I expect it to be public next week. Eclipse got their bridge money (albeit at a high price). I don't understand why all the speculation on a day to day basis on the blog, it seems that we have more important issues to discuss.

I, for one, need FIKI and NG to have complete use of my aircraft. If anyone (mouse) has heard anything firm in those areas, I sure would like to hear about it.

ex-421

Gunner said...

Ex-421-
Now it's you who hits the nail on the head with the statement, "I, for one, need FIKI and NG to have complete use of my aircraft."

From your lips to God's ear, with Vern hopefully tapping the line. ;-)

Congrats on the financing news. What more can you tell us about it?
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

I suspect Avio-NG will be a work in progress, so announcements that it is "done" should be taken with a grain of salt (make that a semi-truck load...). I'm not sure what functionality will be introduced in the first release, and given that it "will be cut into sn 105" I'm not sure what that mean for current operators. I would suspect "cut in" would be happening about right now, if sn 8x has already been delivered (then surely sn 105 is on the line somewhere).

{Or in Eclipse-speak, does it mean retrofits will be available concurrently with sn105 "delivery" (tm) - which is still probably two months out?}
---------------------
Regarding FIKI, well, hmmmm. I think there was mention of a redesign of the boots a few months back, ?something in cohoots with the drag reduction program? O-o-o-o-kay, what's the holdup now; finding ice? That shouldn't be much of a problem of late. Maybe there is some other "feature" being improved? Anybody (I second 421's ping of Mouse :) have some news on that?
Thanks.
-----------------------
Gunner,
The board's already down to four- I don't see it getting any smaller or they can't play bridge. (as in bridge financing? :)

Same with officers being whittled down to a more reasonable number (not to say more reasonable persons perhaps).

There will eventually be a replacement for VP-engineering (but that's been kind of like asking for volunteers to go on an expense paid cruise- "Please step to the end of the plank- the view is wonderful out there").

I think there is some "customer experience" VP, maybe he's picking up the training gig.

I have a feeling Al Mann is getting a little pissy about Vern burning money, and will probably put the Kibosh on the Con-jet until the E-500 is ironed out a little more. (Maybe something for EAA this summer).

airtaximan said...

I wonder what "expensive" means, compared with cutting the price on planes by around $500k?

I wonder if this is a bridge load, and if it is, it only exacerbates the real problem... but they do get to live another few months.

I do not expect Vern to ever lose his ability to get financing. This has been a remarkable feat, especially as of late.

Brilliance of tapping the uninitiated tech (including Bio-) world for financing, and customers, espcially Ed and euro-ed.

Funny, they guys at Aviace were somehow airplane folks, and they failed miserably.

It is probably more about "who you know"... and this guy seems to know deep pockets with little aerospace kowledge.

Truth be told, they have a lot of money, and Vern is trusted... and he has more aviation knowledge then most of them. Not a bad formula, until the company needs to make money.

How long will they give Vern, and how much more money withh they let him burn? Anyone with some tech experience wish to illuminate?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

What story about ROI can be being told that would not eventually be proven to be an OUTRIGHT, bald faced LIE?

They are closing in on $1.5 Beeeeellllllion Dollllllars, with a plane that sells for $1.8M, well, it does unless they need to raise some quick scratch at which point they sell it for a loss, well, for a bigger loss anyway.

With a stagnant order book, an underpriced, unprofitable preemie jet, and an as yet untold liability to actually go back and make all the incomplete jets they 'rushed' out this year actually do all the things they promised the jets would do - one has to wonder how ANYONE can expect to see a dime ever come back.

All of the aircraft 'delivered' this year will only result in maybe $30M (remember, they already received 60% LAST YEAR).

Let us consider how this company treats its customers:

- they had the unmitigated gall to collect 60% 'progress' payments, over a YEAR ago by claiming they would deliver 300 planes within the next 6 months and have only managed to 'deliver' 70 or so
- they have only managed that by shortchanging the customer, forcing them to take delivery of incomplete aircraft, with significant functionality missing and an inability to train
- A few weeks after demanding the deposits, Eclipse announced that they had previously decided to throw Avidyne under the bus and were actually working with a replacement, which they knew would delay the program, all BEFORE demanding the progress payments

Let us consider how this company treats its employees:

- Twice this year (so far) they have announced rather significant layoffs and characterized it each time as 'unneeded' or 'unskilled' or 'weak' employees who could not cut it
- Employee stock options have been so diluted there is no wasy they will ever be worth enough to exercise
- The first time most employees heard anything about the e-CONjet was when the plane showed up at OSH (which I have heard from reliable sources is also the FIRST TIME THE BOARD LEARNED OF IT AS WELL)
- Whenever Vern acknowledges anything being wrong he pins it squarely on his own people, never taking responsibility as CEO

Or let us consider how this company treats its' vendors:

- any hiccup in the program is ALWAYS blamed on a supplier, not in meetings between Vern and the vendor, but between Vern and the Press
- according to the Faithful and Dunn and Bradstreet, Eclipse pays, ON AVERAGE, more than 3 weeks late
- reports are that Eclipse aggressively seeks to take vendor intellectual property
- at least one major structural supplier has had to sue Eclipse in order to get paid according to terms from a renegotiated contract
- the volume promised to vendors in exchange for risk sharing and tooling/capacity investments have been proven to be completely unrealistic, if not fraudulent

It is with this big picture look that I continue to find it amazing that anyone is willing to invest in Eclipse.

I am reminded of the line from Forrest Gump -

"Stupid is as stupid does."

airtaximan said...

CW...

SO?

I find it more interesting to try to understand how to find the few hundred Kens, few dozen Al Mans and other investors of the world seemingly oblivious to anything of the sort you wrote, ROI, honesty, responsibility, integrity or even reason.

What you write is true, and in the end...after probably 2 or 3 billions burnt (they way things are going...) maybe you'll have some proof.

For now, there's just the miracle of Hunnuka, except its not oil that's burning, its money! and no one seems to care!

hummer said...

Going to the Well
I believe the well is dry.
Lincoln said what:
"You can fool some of the people some of the time
All the people some of the time
But you can't fool all the people all of the time"
This bridge infusion didn't pass the smell test here.
Part 135 orders including DayJet must have dwindled from 1,400 to maybe 300.
The balance of the book, speculators are frozen. Who in their right mind would buy a position 2 or 3 years from now?
Owner/operators have really got to be nervous concerning aircraft production out of sequence.
Will FIKI and AvioNG come on line and be anything what they're expected to be?
How can I have this fiasco, hardware and software serviced?
I believe we have seen the final chapter of anything exciting or disruptive. . .and simply watch the rather boring details of the ending. . .
And yet, I continually am reminded of Marlan Brando's part
On the Waterfront. . ."I could have been a contentor. . .I could have been a champion"
What a perverted waste!

airtaximan said...

thanks for the laugh, Hummer... how true - and from you, one of the original believers...not a die hard... just a hopeful!

Gunner said...

Somebody send out a search team. Hummer's been kidnapped! ;-)
Gunner

gadfly said...

No, he’s not kidnapped . . . he just learned the “lyrics”!

gadfly

bill e. goat said...

Hummer,
Well said indeed!!
I think the waste combined with bravado is what most raises the angst of aviation observers. I'm a modest advocate of the airplane, but an incredulous critic of the business plan. (I have a theory though...more later).

I must observe:

1) the airplane is behaving itself relatively well- no reports of ill misbehavior in the field

2) Vern is behaving himself as well of late, with no reports of ill misbehavior in the factory, and he seems to have toned down the bravado as well.

Perhaps there is some hope yet :)

I don't think service will be a problem, particularly if they make it through the next six months. By then, there should be enough fielded airplanes to guarantee someone will take care of them (even if it means a Garmin retrofit).

Gunner said...

Bill E-
"Retrofit" is what you do to your car seat covers when you hit 250,000 miles. "Recertify" is what it's called when you change out an aircraft's entire avionics and elcectronics suite.

LRU's notwithstanding. ;-)
Gunner

mouse said...

421,

I'm getting an update in the next few days and will publish what I learn concerning immediate progress on FIKI & AVIO

BD5 Believer said...

Does anybody have an idea of what the new Part 121 age 65 rule will do to DayJets Pilot recruitment plans?

It would seem that some of the pilot Dayjets planned on recruiting in the near future would have come from age 60+ pilots that were recently retired from their airline seat, but still needed to work due to lost pensions/wage cutbacks etc.

Now that the current crop of 55 to 59 year olds can work another 5 to 10 years, it would seem that recruiting would take a hit.

Does anyone now how many retired airline pilots Dayjet currently employees?

hummer said...

It didn't have to end this way.
The wing could have been redesigned
to leave off tip tanks and carry
enough fuel for 4 hours.
The brakes could have been the proper
size with antilock features.
The avionics could have been Garmin
and a similar panel as the Mustang.
The interior could have been first class rather than shabby and cheap.
Production could have evaluated to realistic numbers and promises
kept.
Secondary market could have been restricted rather than the circus it is.
A structure and business model could have been set into place to
insure a reasonable profit of everything coming out the door
A quality product could have been offered at a fair and competitive
price.
People in production and management could have been well paid and proud of their positions at the company.
Those in the aviation community could have felt pride of Eclipse's accomlishments.
Owners of the aircraft could have voiced there true feelings rather
than being controlled by a NDA.

Based upon these items aforementioned, an IPO could have
initiated and long term prospects of the little jet and the company
would have looked bright.

What Eclipse is now and what Eclipse could have been is profoundly different.

I have tried to remain objective
and learn from this forum and elsewhere over the past few months.

This evaluation approximates a
Greek tragedy. It didn't have to be this way and I for one am sorry to see how it is turning out. It is just not right and it's a shame.
It didn't have to end this way.

bill e. goat said...

Gunner,
You're right about the recertification if there were to be a swap to Garmin.

Which got me to thinking (I hate when that happens)...

If Cessna bought Eclipse, and then put Garmin in, and used their more mature certification (and marketing, and training, and product support, and- oh, stop it now!) processes, the 500 could be positioned as a stepping stone to the Mustang, with avionics commonality.

Maybe even Ron Holter (sorry Rod) could be brought back to ABQ to run the show!
-----------------------
Hummer,
Since Vern is from the PC/dot.com world, maybe that should be a "Geek" tragedy!
:)

Gunner said...

Hummer-
You've been extraordinarily generous to Eclipse. Most of have, though many of us went thru that stage before we joined this Blog.

But I gotta ask:
What caused you, of all people, to come to the conclusion that you're now witnessing an aviation farce and insult? Especially given the rumor that Vern finessed the hangman's noose again?
Gunner

gadfly said...

Goat

Your words of comfort are not going to work.

A new paint job, new owners, new avionics, and a new hood ornament are not going to change much of anything . . . in fact, it would be “most dangerous”. People would assume it represents the quality and character of the “new owners” and their other products.

If it were a car, we could jack up the horn, and replace all the other parts . . . but it doesn’t have a horn!

gadfly

hummer said...

Gunner

Very good questions:

1. "You're now witnessing an
aviation farce & insult"

2. "Vern finess the hangman's
noose"

First, to be very frank and honest with you, I've been privy
to E500 Club's Forum and have read and reread all the infomation and comments.
I have spoken with and interviewed most of the part 135
operations and their staff.
I have spoken at length with several mechanics that are charged with the responsibility of maintaining the Eclipse on a safe and daily basis.
Considering carefully this continuing flow of information and asking questions on this forum or making rash statements and drawing out different views and comments, it is not difficult
to establish some basic truth.
Hence my position about Eclipse.

Second, while Vern has raised money and may continue to do so, it doesn't change anything in regards to the company or the aircraft; it simply allows him to perpetuate the pain a little longer.

Simply put, I have found out what I wanted when I came across this forum, and I am thankful and indebted to all of you for your responses. I, for one am moving on to the Cessna Mustang for my needs.

gadfly said...

Goat

Already at least part of your suggestion has come true: The Eclipse has functioned as a “stepping stone” to the Mustang. (But, thankfully, with little or no commonality.)

gadfly

(And the “hummer family” can get on with life, and sleep well at night, for many reasons.)

mouse said...

Hummer,

You're bigger than many on this site. You are/were willing to take a chance, hope for the best, believe in the dream that many of us did, at one time or another.

Some of us learned sooner than others, and many of the posters were never a part of Eclipse, but saw the company for what it was based on experience, and "been there, done that" with other companies...

Your information now may help many others see what is going on, and I hope it's not too late for them to recover as well.

I wish the pain would end sooner than later as far as the tent coming down. I have a lot of good friends and know of a lot of good people who will be hurt...

Enjoy your Mustang, and know that you will get a very good product that will hold it's value and be supported by a very good company.

Mouse

Gunner said...

Hummer-
Good choice.
Best of luck.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Hummer,

you are executing a business plan, whereby "investors" will be buying planes, and you will be managing them and providing air taxi revenue, right?

How does your plan look with the Mustang vs. the E-500?

I know its a probbing question, but, I'm just looking for -
1- big difference XYZ...
2- not much difference... ABC..

My bet is, in reality the hourly taxi price is around the same becasue the costs are around the same all things really considered. It was never going to be massively affordable for the public, in a 500 or Mustang... so who care - your owners are better protected on the investment side from the resid-value issue.

My bet is the straw that broke your back was the shameless disregard for the value of the plane, long term. The idea of stiffing the depositors and offering $1.25 price is rediculous. (Heck, why not promise $779,000 again?...)

I like your post. Smart... insightful... just like your new aircraft decision.

mouse said...

AirTaxi & Hummer,

IMHO the most important aspect of the EA-500 proposition that people are forgetting is the long term value.

I agree the cost difference between the Mustang and the Eclipse are minimal, in fact the Mustang will be less when you consider all aspects, but mostly long term maintenance and aircraft value.

The EA-500 is a very, very short term charter generator, or a great "loss leader" only. Once a new customer/passenger charters you will have them hooked... once they fly in any other larger airplane, the Eclipse will lose them.

The EA-500 is a VW taxi in Mexico City, and the Mustang is a Lincoln Town Car in New York, period.

The EA-500 will open and expose new markets, and then the "real" planes will move in a take over...

airtaximan said...

mouse,

figgering the possibility of putting more than one passenger on a plane (otherwise, what's the air taxi revolution all about? Chartering a small plane? Joking, right?)... you need a larger plane.

Larger...

any squeeks on the realities facing EAC these days?

bill e. goat said...

Gadfly,
If the Eclipse doesn't have a horn, then what is Vern tooting all the time??
:)

(Hmmmm, I guess you're right about Eclipse being a stepping stone for the Mustang, at least for our chum Hummer).
---------------------------
Minor point, I think ATC tracks the Eclipse as EA50, but some other fancy aerial gymnastic guys have a lock on the EA-500 moniker? (their agility and finesse at twisting and turning no doubt leaves Vern green with envy, and would leave me green with airsickness :)

www.extraaircraft.com/ea500.asp

John said...

New Aviation week Article on Dayjet

50 Customer bookings week
23 planes
Looking at different jets
More Dayjet bases on hold

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