Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Panel Mods and FSW

On May 10, Eclipse provided an update on the Avio NG development. One milestone they identified stated that "All engineering for interior and mechanical aspects of the program are complete. This includes minor adjustments to display mounting on the instrument panel and the fitting and mounting of radios, transponders, and the digital audio panel located behind the PFDs and MFD."

The statement made me curious and I recalled seeing a bare fuselage and instrument panel at Oshkosh. A larger image of this display is available over at
www.eclipsecritic.net.

The panel is interesting because it is machined out of a solid plate of aluminum. There is little room for any additional instrumentation and any significant change in configuration would mean a new machined panel.



Eclipse said the conversion to NG will only take a minor physical change to the panel and this part of the eventual upgrade won't be a particular problem. Additional black boxes and re-wiring may not be so easy however...

What caught my eye in the photo was the number of riveted joints vs the number of Friction Stir Welded components.




Remember, Eclipse claims their ability to deliver airplanes at higher rates and at lower costs then industry standards is due to their use of an enabling technology no other General Aviation manufacturer is using, Friction Stir Welding.

Yes, Eclipse is using FSW, but notice in the photo, the only welded joints in the photos are the curved frames welded to the light green colored outer skin. The same curved frames joined to the darker green colored skin are riveted as are all the longitudinal joints and the attachment of all the brackets for control systems and other equipment.




In this photo, one would be hard pressed to declare that FSW displaced much more than 5% of the conventional fasteners. The rest of the fuselage is not much different, I don't recall seeing any FSW in the horizontal or vertical. In the wing, only the longitudinal stringers are FSW according to reports.



It is amazing how the Eclipse hucksters can stand and proclaim their use of FSW gives them advantage over other conventional aircraft? It is all part of the charade, and this company has been perpetuating the myth since the beginning of the program.

Note: Photo courtesy of Bruce Leibowitz. Thanks from many.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

From EBACE today

Eclipse reveals plans for new aircraft

Eclipse Aviation plans to build another aircraft beyond its archetypal very light jet,
the Eclipse 500. But its product will have to be as much of a marketplace revolution as the -500, or it would not fit the Eclipse model, explains the company's vice-president marketing and sales Michael McConnell.

He says candidly: "All I can tell you is that the new aeroplane will either be bigger or smaller (quote of the century!!) than the Eclipse 500. We want to build other airplanes. We have done a lot of talking; we have a lot of plans, a lot of people and have spent some time on it, but not a lot of time.

"We have to prove we can deliver the Eclipse 500 in the way we told the world five years ago we would deliver it. The markets today are exciting. In some ways Eclipse will take the credit for creating this VLJ market when, in 2000, people said there is no market for it. Now other companies have decided this is a good idea. We think we have a competitive advantage over them in many regards. So the market is crowded."

McConnell concludes: "Slogging your way through a bunch of other manufacturers trying to sell a $2 million-3 million jet, that's not the Eclipse model. The Eclipse model is go find an area where you have a massive, massive competitive advantage, both in product, and in price, which means value; you get more for less. If we can find markets where we believe we can deliver an unbelievable value proposition, then we'll go into those markets."

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Die-Hards? Perhaps Not!

Comments Posted Today on the Eclipse Owners Forum

"I could understand their continual delays with the FAA, but I am amazed to read that they can't even get their act together to train pilots.If it is true that they can't train us to fly the plane when it is delivered, or at least provide enough trained mentor pilots, then we will be buying $1,500,000 of metal that can't be used, but have to carry. I say we should band together and at certain point we can't be forced to give them the 60% if there is no way they can deliver us a plane that can actually be flown..."



"Please tell me this is not true and what the current (as of right now) training resources and plans are.

A no reply will be taken as a confirmation of the posting, and if true I can pretty much assure Eclipse of a customer revolt, likely followed by same from the investors.

Hopefully, this is an error or some misunderstanding.I look forward to your prompt reply."



THERE HAS BEEN NO REPLY!



"I made my second factory tour last week, my first was in February. In the two and a half months, very little has changed. At most only 5 or 6 serial numbers have been added in primary assembly and there were 2 or 3 empty stations there. There were 4 empty stations in final assembly and not a lot of workers around. In the test hangar there were 2-3 aircraft there all day (the same ones) and I was told the rest were out flying, but none ever returned during the entire day.

The touted “maintenance facility” is a joke. It is a small, community hangar with 5 or 6 aircraft in it (2 were DayJet) with almost no technicians and no tool chests or test equipment or other normally appearing equipment seen in “operational” maintenance facilities. The only work going on was a couple of guys on a ladder trying to remove a drill bit left in the tail section of one of the planes."



Another owner writes:

"Just confirmed it, if you were taking delivery in 2 weeks (#20 or so) you can't get a slot in training for about 60 days after delivery, and even that assumes everything goes smoothly between now and then (no fleet groundings, pilot's own planes are 100% reliable for training and check rides, etc.)

Quoting Eclipse, "the focus was on getting manufacturing ramped up and getting the PC, so not enough attention was paid to ramping up pilot training so the planes could actually be flown, until after the PC was received. We are trying to ramp up as fast as possible but it is going slow. The next customer training is in early June. Then only 2 pilots will be trained every 2 weeks until we can expand capacity (date TBD)."



"It seems to me that the backlog will grow, not shrink, (as I hope they are delivering more than 2 planes per month.) I guess Eclipses are piling up in the hangers.

Wonder when they will turn their attention towards service and support for the fleet, such as staff and parts at field service facilities, so you aren't stuck flying to ABQ at your own expense anytime anything needs service? If they weren't thinking about training ramp-up, I am guessing there are other aspects of their program in similar shape. What about aero mod retrofitting, avionics retrofitting, etc., etc., etc?"

"I'm beginning to think they will be lucky to ship 100 planes this year, especially if ship means with trained pilots so they can be flown, not just delivered. I would concur with pete’s ending comments. I, too, wonder where Eclipse and all of us are heading.

By the way; Where is the follow up regarding the pitot/AOA problem promised by 10 days after 4.23.07?"



Thanks to Niner Zulu for sharing this information.
Die-Hards

The following is included for historical reference. Written less than 24 hours ago by airtaximan, it describes the mind-set of the faithful who have been steadfast in their support of the Eclipse program. But even the Die-Hards have their limits as we are learning from today's Eclipse Owners Board...the subject for the next post.


Die-hard (definition):

A pet name devised by Vern Raburn and the Eclipse Aviation marketing department for the early adopters/depositors for the e-500 VLJ.

The name Die-Hard has been publicized/promoted via extensive and expensive advertising budget over many years. Characteristics of the Eclipse "Die-Hard" includes:

A supporter of Eclipse who has placed a deposit for an airplane many years in advance of proposed delivery, and without the delivery slot position which customarily accompanies a deposit. This together with the propensity to leave the deposit with the company even after performance and specification guarantees have been repeatedly recast years after it was known to Eclipse the guarantees would not be met.

The die-hard will not ask for the deposit to be refunded even after the revolutionary engine fails, the revolutionary FSW process is replaced on most of the plane with rivets, and even after the advanced cockpit known by e-clips as AVIO is thrown in the garbage after 8 years of promises and hype, only to be replaced by COTS and called (this is not a joke) Avio-Next Generation.

The "die-hard" will place an additional 60% non-refundable deposit for their delivery-deposit (not a position) while the company has no track-record of delivery anywhere near the delivery rate advertised by EAC, and it is obvious they are just looking for another means of cheap financing for their program.

The die-hard will accept a plane that needs modifications to meet the revised guaranteed performance, needs frequent inconvenient inspections due to wings problems and windows cracking, and required a whole new avionics suite, together with IOUs in the future for FIKI which seems to have become an unnecessary "option" on this plane.

The die-hard will continue to support Eclipse financially even after discovering the orderbook is mostly one customer, a friend of Vern Raburn and which has in all likelihood been given many delivery-positions (anyone they want, really, in no prescribed order) in order to maintain the illusion they have 2500 orders backed by non-refundable deposits.

Finally, die-hards will accept the plane with only ABQ in place for any maintenance.

Die-hards will show a propensity to call industry experts and industry watchers names, and dismiss the evidence provided that there are serious problems with the program, and the airplane.

Die-hards will argue by repeating Vern Raburn's false or exaggerated statements, and often refer to a promised aircraft instead of the one being delivered, as if it was so, despite a track record of consistent failure for 8 years by their favorite aircraft company, Eclipse.

I think Vern's most proud of this group he has cultivated, and well, he should be. They will remain faithful it appears no matter what - hence the appropriate label - die-hard!

Monday, May 21, 2007

Paper Airplane or Fait Accompli?

To the faithful, it is fait accompli, the program is coming into fruition. After all, Eclipse has a Type Certificate, a Production Certificate, airplanes are trickling off the production line, awarded Certificates of Airworthiness, and titles transferred to the very patient owners in waiting. Even a handful of flights are showing up on http://www.flightaware.com/.

However, the skeptics look at the program and largely share whytech's view:

"My picture of the situation is far from complete, but here is what seems to be the case in broad strokes:
1. the acft is terribly late
2. because it is late, it is no longer “revolutionary,” and other manufacturers have introduced designs which achieve parity or even do better in some respects
3. the acft will apparently not meet the original claims for performance
4. their are many, many teething problems now known, and, it is likely that more will be revealed as field experience with the acft is gained
5. there is no support network up and running for the acft yet
6. the training program is not yet up and running at a “professional grade” level
7. there are numerous airframe and systems mods that will be required, with perhaps more to come
8. the insurance situation remains muddy
9. the Company’s financial future appears to be in question
10. other issues that I have forgotten to include?

With this view in mind, if I were a depositor, I would be working with my attorney to recover my deposit, (or would likely forfeit my deposit if I had not yet reached the 60% threshold).

Who needs this aggravation and disappointment? Buying a jet should be a fun and exciting experience for an owner/pilot. If I just had to have an Eclipse, I’d get my money back now, and wait to see what happens before putting $1.5mm -$2.0mm on the line.

I am having trouble seeing and understanding the rationale for staying with it after all that has happened just so far."

Alexa, one of the faithful, explains it this way:

"My rational….there is no other aircraft announced or available that has similar capability at an equivalent price point. Remember many of the early buyers have gotten preferential pricing. The Eclipse even today fills a niche. Most of us that have been around aviation expect new designs to have teething problems. I can’t speak for other customers but my interaction with Eclipse employees lead me to believe that they truly care and are doing everything possible to find and correct any problems."

Gunner, had a different take:

"In some cases, I think it's simply explained as JetJock Fever. Let's face it, every one of us flying a piston or turboprop aircraft would LOVE to be flying a jet, myself included."


Airtaximan concluded:

"Two opposite opinions on virtually everything...kinda like religion...based on belief more than fact. Then "facts" used to support the beliefs.

Both sides are probably comprised of nice folks...just of differing beliefs.

The lack of real data (on purpose) is the problem. This IS the first jet in history with so many myths, inaccuracies, missing functionality, and wavering guarantees.."

Gunner added:

"Never have we seen a SUCCESSFUL aviation company start off by delivering half finished, half certified aircraft."

Then sparky wrote:

"That's where the arguments start. Critics look at what IS, and comment on it. The backers look at what is PROMISED and argue back as though it's a forgone conclusion that it will happen."

What has been promised to the faithful are the next three milestone events:

1. Certification of the "B" mods, which according to the company, will bring the airplane performance into compliance with the performance guarantees required by the purchase agreement.

2. Certification of the aircraft for flight into known icing, promised by September but an unlikely goal unless the company decides to venture into South America this summer in a search for natural icing.

3. Full integration of the avionics suite and certification by the FAA.

Until these events are accomplished, the Eclipse 500 will remain a paper airplane in the eyes of most.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Tale of Two Dinosaurs

Three decades ago, I was a young marketing product manager for EMI Medical, the U.K based company that invented the CAT scanner medical imaging system. This company had been formed just a few years prior to my joining to commercialize the CAT scanner technology conceived in the EMI Central Research Laboratory in London. EMI had no existing business presence in the medical imaging markets or related markets.

The CAT scanner was a graphic example of what is now known as “disruptive” technology. At medical conferences, when the first images produced on these systems were shown, 500 radiologists stood to applaud. Unfortunately, while the technology was disruptive, it was not particularly defendable. Most of the initial products from EMI were based on many of off-the-shelf subsystems, with a bit of proprietary hardware and software thrown in. Since EMI had no prior experience in this area, and no manufacturing infrastructure, these first systems were little more than lab prototypes.

This industry had a well established group of dinosaur participants, with GE Medical being the lead dinosaur. GE had been a market participant for about four decades at that time, with a well established world wide sales and service network, an efficient manufacturing infrastructure, an experienced R&D organization, and excellent customer relationships. GE could be said to be the T-rex of the industry.

While EMI struggled with fixing product problems, building a sales and service network and manufacturing infrastructure, meeting the demand for this revolutionary new product, and collecting awards, including a Nobel prize in medicine, GE set about to develop the next generation of CAT scanner, which was relatively easy to do since the first generation did not fully exploit available technology. Within two years, the GE product was on the market and was superior to the EMI products in most respects. Within ten years, what was left of EMI was absorbed into the GE organization.

I see great parallels between EMI and Eclipse, and GE and Cessna. As a new entrant, Eclipse must create everything from scratch, including not just a winning, defendable product, but also all the infrastructure that is required to sell, manufacture, and support this product, and must do this in a few years, rather than having the luxury of several decades to do this as the dinosaurs have had. This strategy introduces enormous risks, including the issue of creating a competitive, fully functioning organization without an appropriate period of time for organization learning. Even with world class individual employees (and Eclipse has some) it takes quite awhile for these people to learn work together at a high level of effectiveness.

So, the Eclipse story has been played out before (and undoubtedly in many other industries). The moral of the this story: if one takes on dinosaurs, be sure that they are extinct, or at least that there is not a T-rex in the group.

whytech

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The CEO

From Black Tulip

In retrospect many of the problems at Eclipse Aviation are related to management style. Some of the catch phrases used by successful CEOs include:

“Praise in public, criticize in private.”

“You can accomplish a great deal as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”

“Loyalty downward begets loyalty upward.”

With these in mind….

A CEO should be careful about blaming his problems on companies such as Williams and Avidyne. It is a small world and vendors see how others are treated. Fewer vendors mean less choices and higher prices.

A CEO should avoid calling his competitors ‘dinosaurs’ since he may need to team with them in trade groups to fight government regulation and fees.

A CEO should make careful decisions on risk in new product development. Too much risk and the ‘disruptive technology’ disrupts the company, not the market.

A CEO should be careful about written and verbal statements, otherwise he could develop a reputation of over-promising and under-delivering.

A CEO should be careful about accepting a prestigious award such as the Collier Trophy before anything has actually been produced.

A CEO should be cautious about publishing an exaggerated order book based on questionable customer business plans. It may draw difficult questions.

A CEO should be price his product carefully and avoid the trap, “We will lose money on each one but we’ll make it up in volume.”

A CEO should avoid launching an unfinished product lest it draw comparisons to finished products from competitors.

The CEO should be careful about attracting a prestigious board of directors as they are used to, and expect good performance.

The reader might ask, what are the risks of violating the rules?

The CEO runs the risk that an informed observer might start an Internet website that runs an active dialog with many participants. He runs the risk that the word ‘Critic’ might appear in the website’s title. It could contain unflattering, sometimes humorous, comments that are critical of the company.

This requires that depositors, praying that the product will be completed, rise in the defense of the company.

Now having questioned the CEO’s ability in other areas let me give praise where it is due.

The CEO’s ability to suspend disbelief among the faithful is a marvel to behold.

Black Tulip

The tulip mania peaked in the Netherlands during the 1630s. The black tulip was the most sought after, until found to be biologically impossible.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Back into Focus

In the previous post, Boenning & Scattergood scaled back their expectations for Eclipse and IS&S. Whytech furthers the B & S position with two pointed questions and his answers:

Here are the big picture issues:

1. Can Eclipse continue to raise the capital necessary to buy the time necessary to get the airplane right, ramp production, and get the service centers stocked and staffed to a level to support the fleet?

My experience as a private equity investor says maybe, but probably not. Eclipse investors and Board are very near the limit of their patience with this project. Savvy new investors putting in substantial capital at this point are going to write the rules, and they won't be kind to current investors and management, IMHO.

My back of the envelope calculations indicate that another $500 million minimum will be required to see this through, allowing for the kind of uncertainties which have surfaced to date, especially delays, which are the primary driver of cash burn at this time. Capital (time) will solve the technical/certification issues eventually.

2. Is the market there to sustain the business model?

IMO, no, but I have been wrong on such issues as many at least as may time as I have been right.

When the owner/non-pilot comes to understand the limited utility of the EA500, and the time and dollar investment required to use a private aircraft as a routine traveling machine, this market will be gone. "Millionaires" will not want to ride around squeezed into this little airplane if they can afford anything more comfortable and status enhancing.

WT

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Boenning & Scattergood Equity Research on IS&S

INVESTMENT CONCLUSION — Based on recent research we have reason to believe that our F2008 revenue assumptions may be too aggressive. However, despite these findings, the recent orders from Eclipse and American Airlines have provided IS&S’s flat panel cockpit display with significant market recognition and the expected 757/767 commercial orders should provide additional positive momentum.

The market is beginning to realize the strong competitive advantages IS&S’s flat panel cockpit display holds over the competition and now appears to be willing to accept this product as a more than viable avionics upgrade or OEM solution.

The long term financial outlook for IS&S has greatly improved and the table is currently being set for a return to profitability, but we want to make certain we are not creating a state of heightened expectations and that investors exercise caution.


We believe the latest orders, including the expected commercial deals are largely baked in to the current stock price. But as the revenue run rates and margin structures associated with these programs materialize we may see potential upside to our current estimates and potentially see reason to lift numbers. We arrive at our $29 price target by applying a 35x multiple to our C2008 non-GAAP EPS estimate of $0.84.

Conversations with Eclipse Aviation and DayJet raise yellow flags.

Recent discussions with key personnel at DayJet — Eclipse’s largest customer accounting for 1,400 of the 2,400 plane backlog — lead us to believe DayJet will take delivery of Eclipse 500's at a slower than expected pace. DayJet anticipates taking delivery of 50 aircraft in C2007 and 150 in C2008. It expects to receive roughly 10 planes per month towards the end of C2007 into C2008.

Additionally, DayJet has financing of $100m which only covers the first 80 planes.


Finally, we should point out that DayJet has not yet proven the long term viability or earnings potential of its revolutionary air taxi model and we are unsure if it will ever be able to generate enough cash to take delivery of the full 1,400 plane order ($2.1b).

Recent discussions with key personnel at Eclispe lead us to believe that producing 400 planes in C2007 and 1,000 planes in C2008 may prove to be too aggressive.


Based on previously published data, it appears that CEO Vern Raburn has a propensity to over promise and under deliver, and while we appreciate his enthusiasm and lofty goals, we need to take a more realistic view of what Eclipse can accomplish over the next year. The company’s goal is to eventually manufacture four planes per day, but to date the company is still not even manufacturing one plane per day.

Furthermore, we learned that Eclipse would not manufacture all 2,400 planes in its backlog, rather it will take a more measured approach and gauge customer and market demand. We are now estimating that Eclipse will deliver 170 planes in C2007, 500 planes in C2008, and 700 planes in C2009. We believe Eclipse will make every effort to reach the 500 plane per year mark since that is its break-even point.


www.boenninginc.com

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


A Tangled Web

Earlier this month, FlightCenter suggested we "consider whether Eclipse’s support model is sustainable."

He further surmised "that the Eclipse 500 is an airplane that will have significantly higher down time and support costs than Eclipse and /or Eclipse 500 owners have budgeted for. The fact is that there are many highly inter-related systems on this airplane which are provided by independent suppliers.

When the airplane’s electronics catches a cold, it is going to be very hard to figure out which system or systems are causing the problem. Let’s look at the problem from the perspective of Eclipse and its vendors. Many of their suppliers are not naturally aligned, and in many cases they are direct competitors. (Honeywell, Garmin, and Chelton, for example).

When problems are found, coordinating the fixes won't be easy. It is not hard to imagine that there will be finger pointing – and assertions of “not my problem” among the vendors. For example, who is to blame when the aircraft doesn't capture and hold a course correctly? The autopilot manufacturer? (S-Tec) The FMS software provider? (Chelton) The radio provider? (Honeywell) The GPS vendor? (FreeFlight Systems) The display manufacturer? (IS&S) The control system vendor? (Autronics) or the systems integrator? (Eclipse)

What happens if the answer to these questions is that some or all of the above systems will need to be fixed and a new version of several vendors’ products must be released? Then Eclipse will need to coordinate product fixes from up to 7 different companies to provide a fix for a problem that the pilot will perceive as an autopilot problem. Once all 7 companies have produced a fix, then Eclipse is going to need to verify that the fixes are valid.

Let’s look at the problem from the perspective of the support center. How does the repair guy out on the line diagnose and fix problems that could be spread across 7 or 8 vendors? Answer – with great difficulty.

Bottom line, an Eclipse 500 is going to spend a lot of time in the shop while the repair guy on the line or the service technician scratches his head...So the natural reaction will be that he'll pull a lot of boxes out of the airplane and send them back, in the hopes that getting a repaired box will fix the problem. However, a very high percentage of those boxes are going to work just fine when they make it back to the original vendors’ repair shop. The most likely response will be for the vendor to verify that their equipment is working to specification and to send their box right back to the service center unchanged with a note saying something like no trouble found. The service guy is going to reinstall the boxes and find out that he still has the exact same problem.

Which leads right back to the service tech scratching his head trying to figure out what to do next and how to fix the problem…and the Eclipse 500 owner will be wondering when he is going to be able to fly again."

End quote.

In the Eclipse vs Mustang comparison, Cessna framed the point in a very similar manner:

"Eclipse 500 has incorporated features into its aircraft that they term as revolutionary. One such application is the introduction of their AVIO NG system. AVIO NG is a centralized, redundant computer system that controls all aspects of the aircraft – landing gear, brakes, secondary flight controls, fuel, pressurization, electrical and de-ice systems, engines, as well as avionics. Everything that happens in the aircraft occurs through the AVIO NG system.

AVIO NG represents an intricate system of aircraft control. Such a new and complex system can impact the operator.

• Complex systems increase the difficult in troubleshooting system problems.


• Since the Eclipse is so intensive in electrical systems, it takes more electronic expertise to troubleshoot and resolve system faults.

• The knowledge to repair an Eclipse may not be available at all Fixed Base Operators. Only authorized Eclipse service facilities may be able to work on the aircraft, and these are limited in number.

• With the heavy reliance on the AVIO NG as the only means to interface with system functioning, the pilot may spend too much time "head down" "communicating" with the system and not "flying" the aircraft. A visual sign of this concern is the standard keyboard that is attached to the Eclipse's panel.

• Technology must provide real benefits to the customer in the form of increased productivity or lower costs. The complexity inherent in the systems design of the Eclipse 500 may not provide these benefits."

End quote.

Due to their lofty objectives, Eclipse wove a tangled web for themselves. Fully integrate a system to make it technically superior to all other small business jets...save weight, reduce costs, reduce the pilot's workload, enhance safety...who can argue with their goals.

Plus, the company could get something in return. Few of the components are off the shelf, most everything including the FADEC system are Eclipse specific. Meaning that customers will be fully dependent on Eclipse for parts and $ervice.

However, if the company fails to survive, support for these airplanes will be very difficult to come by.


Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Mustang vs. the Eclipse 500

Cessna put out a slick comparison between the Mustang and the Eclipse.

A copy of the piece can be viewed over at:

www.eclipsecritic.net

There is a big difference in the airplanes...a big difference in the prices.

But another measure is the difference in what a buyer pays for the airplane minus what he can get out of it when it is time to sell.

Cessna airplanes hold their values pretty darn good. Due to inflation, there are probably many examples of Citations being re-sold on the used market for prices higher than their original price tag.

Certainly the early Eclipse buyers hope to mitigate that situation somewhat with their low buy-in cost. But if the company goes belly-up, these airplanes are going to be very difficult to support and virtually worthless.

One last thing I would like to add, Eclipse sees the 500 as a good adjunct for corporate flight operations...the perfect little scooter for short flights, single pilot operation, transporting lower echelon personnel. Don't agree!

If the Director of Corporate Flight Operations has a stable of $5m plus corporate jets, he is not going to try to save the company a half-million on anything marginal. He keeps his job by sticking with risk-free recommendations. You can't put either the Eclipse airplane or the Eclipse company in that category.

The Mustang is a safer bet.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007


Time for Some Sunlight on the Order Book

A reader of this blog was surfing with google and discovered some interesting material - minutes of an August 25, 2005 meeting of the New Mexico State Investment Council.

At 9:55 am Gov. Richardson showed up late for the meeting but in time for the discussion on New Mexico's $20 million investment in the Eclipse program. From the transcript:

"Mr. Denker (speaking on behalf of Eclipse) discussed the market. He said Eclipse is now beginning to receive orders in the fractional marketplace and expects to receive an order for ten corporate aircraft by the end of this year. He stated that their largest customer, Day Jet, has ordered 1,400 aircraft and plans to initiate an air taxi service in the Southeastern U.S.
"

"Governor Richardson commented on the impressive number of orders Eclipse has written up to date (2,260+) and spoke to New Mexico’s pursuit of more aircraft presence through legislative tax initiatives and the fact that Eclipse is well known in Europe and Japan."

Denker's statement conflicts with what is reported by others and repeated on the Eclipse web site. These reports claim 239 firm DayJet orders with options for 70 more.


And there is even greater conflict when considering DayJet has only raised $50 million to fund what many believe to be a highly risky venture.

Perhaps the August 25, 2005 represents outdated information; minutes for the April 25, 2006 meeting provided an update:

"Mr. Birk (presumed to work for the SIC) reported that Eclipse Aviation is currently on track for a second quarter certification for the 500, and their order book remains very strong. He said they are currently working through the last remaining issue on certification."

For copies of the full minutes go to www.eclipsecritic.net

UPDATE: May 2, 2007 9:00 pm

Ed “George Jetson” Iacobucci & DayJet’s 1,400 Eclipse 500 Orders by Karen Di Piazza

http://www.charterx.com/resources/article.aspx?id=2733