Tuesday, January 01, 2008

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

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

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

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

Brought forward by bob who added - They failed to mention that they told the world they would make 505 in 2007.

219 comments:

1 – 200 of 219   Newer›   Newest»
baron95 said...

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

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

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

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

Stan Blankenship said...

Eclipse also failed to mention that CY '07 deliveries are less than 100, a number TBD.

WhyTech said...

B95 said:

"Are you the owner of the NJ-based Baron (IIRC) that was advertised on Controller a couple of years ago with the custome pannel with L3 EFIS??!!!????! "

Yes, I am the original owner - sold it to a NJ buyer in 2005 when I acquired a PC-12. I worked with Dan Frahm, who heads avionics at Elliot in Moline, IL. He is a master, and took me under his wing (so to speak) to get the STC's and approvals we needed. Remember that this was before (2000) significant glass was being used in piston airplanes. Now, the G1000 blows this setup away for less total purchase price (G58 Baron,list about $1.2mm).

Yes, the GH 3000 cost around $50K fully featured, but then what is your ass worth? I figured mine was worth spending about 4% of the total cost of the airplane on safety related gear. L3 was using a Baron as the test bed acft for this, so already had an STC which we were able to use. My Baron with all the custom avionics delivered right at $1.3mm, at a time when typically equipped Baron 58's were selling new for about $900K. You're right - not the economy model, but more avionics capabilities than my 2005 PC-12 in most respects.

I like much about the E-clips avionics intended capability, but until its finished, its not a bargain at any price, IMHO.

WT

Stan Blankenship said...

Good discussion on the Eclipse integrated avionics package.

IMHO, there are probably only a handful of individuals who truly understand the entire system in depth. For a variety of reasons, I would not include anyone in the FAA in that handful.

The issue is likely to remain debatable until the EASA certification team gets their hands on the data. If they sign off on the existing design, I would trust their judgement. If they don't, I would trust their judgement.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

To paraphrase a certain former President: "It depends on what your definition of complete and certify is."

FlightCenter said...

Turbine Pilot,

I'm not sure why you bring up IS&S in this discussion.

According to the press release issued today, not one Eclipse aircraft has yet to be delivered to customers with IS&S displays or with three AHRS (or with... the list goes on...)

Excuse me, but I thought the discussion we were having was about the airplane that Eclipse had delivered to its customers.

According to the latest word from Eclipse, we can expect that Eclipse customers will be flying aircraft with Avio until the end of 2008. That is, if Eclipse is able to deliver on its commitments to retrofit the entire fleet this year.

I'd be interested to hear how Eclipse is doing on meeting its targets on that effort. Vern promised that he would have a letter to all the owners by the end of 2007 detailing their plans for retrofiting each aircraft to Avio NG. Did the letter go out? What are the latest start and end dates for the retrofit program?

How is Eclipse doing on getting the first 38 aircraft modified with the aero mods?

Regarding the switch to Avio NG, the faithful have been quoted on this blog as saying that the Avio NG architecture is unchanged from the Avio architecture. It was just a simple vendor change. So I'm not sure what difference you'll find that would eliminate common mode failures even after all the aircraft are modified with Avio NG.

FlightCenter said...

Yes, it is a major achievement to produce close to 100 aircraft in their first year of production.

However, everyone reading the press release should be reminded of how Eclipse's business plan for 2007 evolved over the course of the year.


The Eclipse official production plan as of April 2006 was to deliver 1,000 aircraft in 2007 and to be producing aircraft at the rate of 4 per day in Dec 2007.

In Nov 2006, the official plan was cut to 515 aircraft in 2007.

In April of 2007, the official plan was lowered again, to 402 aircraft in 2007. At that time, Vern promised to achieve a rate of 1/day in Jun 2007, 2/day in Sep 2007 and 3/day in Dec 2007.

In June 2007, the official plan was lowered again, to 216 aircraft in 2007. At that time, Vern promised to achieve a rate of 1/day in Aug 2007, 2/day in Apr 2008 and 3/day in Dec 2008.

In October of 2007, the official plan was lowered again, to a little over 100 aircraft in 2007. At that time, the 1 day production rate was pushed to Jan 2008, now a new milestone was introduced, 1.5/day in Apr 2008 and 2/day in Dec 2008.

At that time, Vern was quoted as saying that "...our analysis shows we can get to one-and-a-half to two a day." Sounds like they no longer believed they had a plan that could get to 3/day....

FlightCenter said...

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

Please note the distinction Vern is making between certifying an Eclipse and delivering an Eclipse to a customer.

There is typically about a 4 week delay between when an Eclipse receives its CofA and when it is delivered to a customer. It seems that there are a few steps that are required between the CofA process and customer acceptance of the aircraft.

Serial #74 received CofA on 28-Oct-2007 and registration submittal on 3-Dec-2007.

Serial #81 received CofA on 21-Nov-2007 and registration submittal on 19-Dec-2007.

FlightCenter said...

Baron 95,

Your choice what you chose to lose sleep over. You say, that an unlikely chain of events would have to occur. We all know that accidents tend to be the result of a chain of events, many of which seem unlikely in advance of the accident.

You say -

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

As mentioned, this has happened to a wide variety of other aircraft. Murphy says - "Anything that can happen, will happen."

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

Murphy's corollary - "Anything that can happen, will happen.. and at the worst possible time."

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

Do you really want to turn off all the avionics? Don't those avionics control most of the other systems on the aircraft? Is that the procedure that is written in the emergency procedures?

If you do choose to recycle the power, What is the restart time on the AHRS? What is the restart time on the displays?

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

One really good way to increase the likelihood of disorientation is to be forced to reach for the breakers in IMC conditions instead of focusing on flying the plane.

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

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

If item #1 occurs, you won't have to experience #5 or #6 (loss of control or structural failure or impact terrain) to convince the pilot he is never flying the aircraft again until he has an independent backup attitude display.

Of course, some of us have made that decision before experiencing event #1.

I do agree with you that money spent on proficiency training is money well spent. It saved my life and two family member's lives once when the plane I was flying had a catastrophic engine failure in IMC conditions.

But the choice you present is a false choice. You don't have to choose between having proficiency training or having backup instruments. You can have them both!


You make the point about 777 vs. 340. And it is an interesting point. As aircraft manufacturers were able to demonstrate substantially increased reliability with the newer generation of aircraft engines, they made the decision to go with fewer engines. The decision to go with 2 engines was based on an incredible number of flight hours with newer generation engines.

How many flight hours do we have with the avionics in question? Enough to project the reliability of the systems with a high degree of accuracy?

As whytech points out, an independent backup is cheap insurance. This is the conclusion that every other twin turbofan jet manufacturer has reached.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

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

767 looses all panels, crew receives flood of warning messages, and flight continues on electro-mechanical backups. Flight was in the Atlantic at the time of the mishap, *more* than 30 minutes from landing. Cause appears to have been one loose ground wire on one battery causing disruption in power and communications.

http://www.rvs.uni-bielefeld.de/publications/Incidents/DOCS/ComAndRep/MartinAir/martinair-summary.html

I was unable to confirm, but that vintage of 767, the backup AI might have been mechanical, as in bleed air driven. It ran for hours without ship's power.

Searching SDRs:

Canadair that lost both PFDs after a lightning strike:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=CA990224018

DC9 that lost both PFDs:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=ASMF200404019

MD88 where some fault in the power system took out all panels:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=DLM88992713

Canadair with a momemtary loss of both PFDs and MFDs:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=CA020110018

Dornier lost PFDs due to electrical fire/heat:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=0126429

DC9 had strange color loss on both PFDs:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=MWEA020428

Embraer 145 had PFDs amd MFDs shutdown while taxiing out, with an uncommanded pressurization on the ground:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=RAIA00506020

Canadair with PFDs that went out:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=CA051212001

Beech 400A had erroneous information on PFDs and was descended using standby instruments. Most likely, the standy horizon was bleed air generated (that's what the plane had when it left the factory).

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=DJFA2005174

Cessna 560 looses all PFDs and MFDs:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=DXTA200601722

MD88 with power problems affects all panels:

http://av-info.faa.gov/isdr/LongFormView.asp?vB=NS&ocn=DLM88070277

There are more....

flyger said...

baron95 said...

That is progress Flyger.

Ridiculous argument. Tells us nothing about what makes "good" and "bad" progress. Denying proper backup instruments is bad progress.

Amusing that the arguments have now shifted away from "it can't happen" to "it won't happen often enough to matter".

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

And how much testing did Boeing put into this? A lot more than AvioNG will ever get. Flying off the ETOPS hour requirements was a major effort.

FlightCenter said...

Industry Badmouthing

Aero-News ran an editorial today proclaiming that badmouthing the competition is bad for the aviation business.

They asked ANN readers to send them an email with their thoughts on the subject.

baron95 said...

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

25% is not the right figure, but it can be up to 20% on very long routes.And it does so, because it has to lug around all the extra drag and weight of two extra engines and associated systems. The point being, at one point 3/4 engines was the right answer for 350 px long rang airliners. Now the right answer is two engines maintained to a higher standard.

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

And that is a very valid point. It is certainly an potential exposure. Question is, will it make a real world difference? It is a fair question.

Flyger said... And how much testing did Boeing put into this? A lot more than AvioNG will ever get. Flying off the ETOPS hour requirements was a major effort.

Flyger, firstly, thank you for taking the time to search and post the incidents. I'm short on time today, but I'll read them in due time. I don't want to split hairs with you, but I picked post 777/737NG aircraft for a reason - these planes were being delivered with integrated avionics a la Avio NG (and please forgive me for even mentioning the three in the same sentence - I know there is no comparisson). The incidents you cite were for add-ons or discrete PFDs installation. That was just the way those PFDs were designed into and certified into those planes - i.e. with reliance on the steam gages for backup. Most pilots with DC-9/MD-8x type ratings got them on the steam gages anyway, and then did differences training with the glass-evolution.

All your points are valid, including the one about needing to certify/test to much higher standards if you try to go from 3 to 2 engines and from 3 to 2 trully independent instrument sources.

Now, maybe Eclipse is not to be trusted in doing this, but it is not a given that 2PFDs + Steam Gages is ALWAYS safer than 2PFDs + MFD display. It depends on the quality of the design, manufacturing, maintenance and training.

I'm sure you know, for instance, that much of the ETOPS regulations have nothing to do with design or engine reliability - there are things related to procedures and training. For example if you want to fly a 737NG or 777 ETOPS you can't have the same mechanic/inspector change the oil on the right engine and the left engine. You need two independent work crews to do that.

Yes, I'd feel better if the MFD was independently developed from the PFDs in the Eclipse. But given the way part 91 aircraft are maintained, services and opperated, there is so much more chance of things getting screwed in the field, that I don't consider it a fatal flaw.

What good is it to have all this independent development, separate code, etc, if in the end a tech in the field crimps or bends a harness or leaves wire/metal in place that can touch the main/emerg bus in turbulance?

Again, we need to have perspective here. Given the realities of GA, and of my own training, I prefer the PFD+PFD+MFD driven by 3 ADHRS setup over PFD+PFD+3Steam gage setup. I do however see your point and consider your preferences just as valid.

baron95 said...

Yes, I am the original owner - sold it to a NJ buyer in 2005 when I acquired a PC-12. I worked with Dan Frahm, who heads avionics at Elliot in Moline, IL. He is a master, and took me under his wing (so to speak) to get the STC's and approvals we needed.

Bingo. I didn't think we'd see many planes like that. Thought it had to be yours. Congrats again for getting that setup on the Baron. Trully awesome today, even more so in 2000.

Shane Price said...

FlightCentre,

In Ireland, we know something else...

O'Toole's Law:-

Murphy was an optimist.

Shane

baron95 said...

Flightcenter said ... Murphy's corollary - "Anything that can happen, will happen.. and at the worst possible time."

Except that in this case it has not happened. The F22 is a case in point. They did face an all-dark pannel, but, as often happen, that was in VMC and they descended and landed without incident.

Flightcenter, I agree with you and FLyger on your statements that a trully independent third source is a good and conservative design and has served turbofan designs well.

But please condier this:

1 - Must turbfoans are operated by two professional pilots. Eclipse will most likely be operated by single owner/pilots.

2 - Professional crews may have an OK time transitioning from PFDs to steam gages or combined 3" displays like L3 3000. Eclipse owner/pilots may not.

3 - The size/price point of an Eclipse is the size price point of piston twins - If a Baron sells for $1.3M today, what would a C421/Duke sell for if they were in production? $2M.

Why is it that the design standard for a 6000lb 5 pax plane need to be so much higher simply because it has turbofans, vs piston or turboprop engines?

That is backwards thinking. The powerplant should not dictate the safety reliability standard. It should be the plane size, mission, likely pilots, etc.

If you saddle VLJs with part 25 standards they will end up costing way too much. You need to do cost benefit analysis.

Lets say you have only $1.5M or so to spend as a pilot. Without the Eclipse, the best new twin engine plane you can afford is a G58 Baron. You get one ADHRS and 3 steam gages. You don't get to get above weather, you are severely discouraged from large deviations due to cruising speed, you have a tough situation on engine out on many take/off climb conditions, etc...

Then, you can have a $1.5M Eclipse with some compromises (2ADHRS for instance), no demonstrated engine out performance, not engine shut off option if you lose power to FADECs, etc... or you can have a $2M Eclipse with all the reduncies, but you could not afford.

The question for me is, will I be safer on a G58 or the $1.5M Eclipse? The $2M would be out of reach.

We MUST have inexpensive turbofan airplanes to revitalize GA. If the safety record of 6000lbs turbofans in much better than the twin props while still much worse than existing biz jets, so be it. It is still progress.

Eclipse's safety reccord will NEVER be that of a 77NG or even a C550. And the reasons are not (primarily) because of the Avionics backup design.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Except that in this case it has not happened. The F22 is a case in point. They did face an all-dark pannel, but, as often happen, that was in VMC and they descended and landed without incident.

It was an extremely fortunate series of circumstances that allowed the planes to get back to Hawaii. They had two major issues, keeping upright and navigating back to a small island in the middle of the open Pacific. They found themselves in VMC daylight conditions to solve the first one. The second one was solved by the extremely lucky coincidence that the refueling tankers were in the area when the systems went down. Lastly, the planes were equipped with a backup radio not typically installed which worked without the need for the aircraft systems.

I find it hard to squeeze much "solace" from the F22 incident. They played Russian Roulette with 5 chambers loaded and got away with it. It teaches us that independence is a good thing, not that one should count on luck.

Black Tulip said...

We have a great deal of aviation experience here on the blog and I hope someone can clear up a question. I’ve heard two definitions for ETOPS:

Engines Turn Or People Scream

Or:

Engines Turn Or People Swim

Which is correct?

flyger said...

Airbus A319 that lost basically everything on the flight deck at once:

http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/categories/commercial/754.html

How will a single amateur pilot deal with this when it taxes a two person professional crew?

JetProp Jockey said...

There have been some interesting discussions relative the use of words.

The press release touts 104 completed aircraft in 2007, a new record.

The number of "delivered" aircraft is stated to be +/- 85.

In reality, these should be listed as "Paid for" rather than delivered.

How many aircraft have been paid for that the owner cannot fly home because they are on the wait list to get their Type Rating in . . . 2months or so?

flyger said...

Boeing 777 experiences software glitch. Use of backup instruments mentioned to disambiguate faulty information presented to the pilot:

http://www.aviationtoday.com/av/categories/commercial/703.html

According to an Aug. 9 Boeing message to operators, "The flight crew should cross-check the standby instruments if there is any doubt as to the accuracy of the primary airspeed, altitude and attitude."

Turbine Power said...

Flyger--you've listed several lightning strikes or events that caused every display panel to go dark. A big part of your pitch is that airplanes with just flat panels are bad because all the flat panels might fail under some bizarre set of circumstances.

"All airplanes must have a mechanical backup" is an interesting argument, but certainly not unique to Eclipse in any way. And it is an argument that was long-ago rejected by most major manufacturers because of the very low likelihood of such an event. There are thousands of jets flying today that don't carry mechanical backups at all. Here are just a few--

A 2005 Citation Sovereign:
http://tinyurl.com/yp28b9

A new Falcon 900EX:
http://tinyurl.com/ysnk79

A nice CJ1+:
http://tinyurl.com/2eatv7

Your pitch isn't an anti-Eclipse one. It's really a pro old-mechanical-gauges one.

And that's understandable. You've yet to give us a reason to believe that the mere fact that IS&S makes both the PFDs and the standby ADI display means it's an unsafe design. You'd have to show that IS&S DIDN'T take to heart its responsibility to make the backup display so it would still work after a PFD failure. You haven't done that.

So, you've cleverly, if subtly, switched your pitch to go against using just flat panels in an airplane, but in doing so, you're attacking thousands of modern planes flying safely every day with just flat panels.

Gunner said...

Flyger-
You forget the 2005-2006 claims that AVIO had been tested and it had been determined that the chances of a total failure were along the order of 10^-999997654

That was even BEFORE the system was completely designed by the has-beens at Avidyne. Surely it's even more Bomb Proof today. Just ask The Cardinal...or Turbine Power, if you prefer.

But, then, I repeat myself.
Gunner

JetProp Jockey said...

HOW ECLIPSE GETS OWNERS TO PAY FOR PLANES THAT THEY CANNOT FLY

The following is a typical discussion between Eclipse and an owner who’s aircraft is ready for “delivery”.

Phone rings and the owner answers:

ECLIPSE: Mr. Owner (O), this is Delivery Coordinator (DC) for Eclipse calling. I have great news. Your new plane is ready for delivery. I would like to schedule a time for you to come out here and do your inspection and take delivery of your aircraft.

O: This is wonderful. I will clear my schedule. Can I come out next Monday?

DC: That day would be fine. Naturally you will need to make arrangements to wire the remaining 40% balance to us next Tuesday. If something turns up during the inspection you can have the wire transfer delayed.

O: I can’t wait. Will I be able to start my Type training on Tuesday after the money is transferred?

DC: Well, not exactly. After you make the final payment, you will be put into the training schedule, and right not that looks like about 12 weeks out.

O: WHAT! You want me to make a final payment but not take delivery of the airplane for another 3 months?

DC: I know this isn’t the best situation, but everyone else in the same boat.

O: You mean that others people are paying for planes that they can’t use?

DC: They all react the same as you. I’m not officially authorized to recommend this, but a lot of guys in the same situation have had their financial advisors read the blog called Eclipse Critic. Somehow they don’t seem to mind paying and waiting after that.

O calls his Financial Advisor (FA) and tells him the situation and asks him to check out the Critic Blog.

FA: At this point you have paid in 60% of your contract – correct?

O: Yes, and it really bugs me to have to pay the last 40% and not be able to use my new airplane.

FA: You know that even after you pay for the airplane and do your training, there are quite a few things that are not complete on the airplane if the information on the Blog is correct.

O: Yes, but at least I will have my own jet to fly around.

FA: Well, based on a real concern that I have about the strength of the company, as hard as this is for me to say, I think you better pay the balance and get that thing registered in you name. If the company is as shaky as it seems, you are a lot better off owning the airplane than being an unsecured creditor if something bad happens. There seems to be some pretty smart guys posting on that Blog, and for the sake of a couple months of interest on your money, reduce your risk and take delivery.

O: Thanks

O calls DC

O: I’ll be there Monday with my money.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

FlightCenter posted the linkie to Capt. Zoom's Badmouthing Heartbreaker article. I read it and found myself searching for a wall to smack my skull against repeatedly.

Zoom asks if the badmouthing is hurting aviation?

Yes it is.

Unfortunately, the primary purveyor of such perjorative prevarication is noneother than Zoom's own favorite dark horse Scion cum-CEO from Albquerque, Eclipse's Vern Raburn. He has done so outright, as well as every time he tries to equivocate the never-yet-produced 'someday' version of his unfinished preemie jet to the fully-functioning aircraft being delivered daily by the experienced OEM's.

This headline made me laugh until I cried, the irony was so thick I was looking for a knife to cut it.

The continued soft-glove coverage of Eclipse's many self-inflicted woes and blind repetition of the Eclipse Press Release language by ANN and the mainstream trade media is a source of great frustration and disappointment to me.

The most vocal badmouther in industry is the same guy ANN named as #8 on their Hero's list.

Whatever happened to the Capt. Zoom guy who called Happy Miles on being the fraud that he was and pointed to the safety issues at SNF? Whatever happened to the guy that alerted the market to the dangers of the Mini-500 kit helo? Whatever happened to the guy who stuck it to companies that were taking customer's money and failing to deliver complete aircraft?

I want that Capt. Zoom back - until then, keep your hero's and heartbreakers Jim, I ain't buying.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

"All airplanes must have a mechanical backup" is an interesting argument, but certainly not unique to Eclipse in any way.

It is an interesting argument. But one I'm not making. I am saying backups should be independent, isolated, and sole purpose. Don't maneuver my argument to some place you think it will be easier to attack.

In every single one of your examples, the backup is an independent, isolated, and sole function device. It is not integrated into the MFD which has so much other stuff to do. The backup has one job and one job only, to provide the last ditch information to the pilot in case of catastrophic failure of the primary systems.

Those backups *have* been used.

The Eclipse differs from the jet industry norms in three particular ways:

1. The backup systems are integrated into the primary systems and are thus not independent. This causes them to share potential fault stimuli. There are many examples of PFDs and MFDs all going down at once, so this is not a 1 in 10 to the 9 type of situation.

2. The primary systems are a proprietary code base developed only for Eclipse and is likely to contain errors. So far, everything produced by Eclipse contains errors. It is inconceivable that software bugs won't be present in their code when Boeing, Airbus, Garmin have all had them.

3. The Eclipse is piloted, at least intended to be, by a sole pilot whose ability to deal with catastrophic primary failure is limited. The vast majority of jets fly with 2 person crews and when faced with this situation, had serious challenges even though they had independent backups.

That combination of integrated dependence, likelihood of bugs, and single pilot strain under failure make the risk too high in Eclipse.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger, you have to forgive Ken, he can not acknowledge the saliency of your argument without acknowledging yet another, in a long string of problems with the basic design of the Eclipse - after all, the cognitive dissonance has already cuased MPD/DID (see DSM-IV-TR).

The rest of us get it and you are spot on. Even if the attitude sensor is of a different design as ex421 stated, the base code and architecture of the MFD and PFD's is the common failure potential unless they are UNRELATED, derivative works lead to SHARED failure modes.

Eclipse has not yet demonstrated a core competency in software code development, rather, they have shown to be only as competent at software developemt as they have shonw to be at designing a reliable, durable aircraft that can be delivered on budget and schedule.

Turbine Power said...

Flyger, we'll have to agree to disagree. At least until your argument morphs again.

Now you're back to "it must be independent to be an acceptable backup." A minute ago you were on "the backup has to be mechanical in order to be ok."

421 told the blog that the Eclipse backup IS independent. You would like the reader to believe that because the backup display comes out of the same factory as the main display that it cannot be counted upon to work if the main display fails. I think that's silly, but emerges as the crowning logical end of your long illogical argument.

The essence of your "it must independent argument" is the same as this equally illogical argument: "We must not fly in the Eclipse because both ENGINES come from the same factory. If some unknown, bizarre, catastrophe should befall the left engine, it is very likely that the right engine would face a similar fate, and we would be left with no engines at all!"

It's a silly argument, but it effectively demonstrates that you're out of ammunition with which to attack the Eclipse.

Gunner said...

Ken-
Stop with the engine to flight instruments comparison....please. It makes no sense. Twin engine planes are regularly provided with separate and independent fuel supplies, separate and independent fuel pumps, separate and independent sources of ignition.

Not all, we agree. But, as a Rule, the very Best and Safest. There's a reason for this and no enumeration of exceptions by you will make invalidate that Rule. They'll only serve to make you look, well...more silly.

Ex-421 claimed the backup system software is separate and independent, yes. But he never explained what he meant by that. You would now have us believe that IS&S sequestered two teams of engineers to develop two separate software packages and codes to perform the exact same functions.

That's just silly and no amount of your traditional polemics will make it otherwise. You really need to take Dan McElroy's advice and stop boxing yourself in here.

Gunner

Stan Blankenship said...

Posted of the radar screen, brought forward for better visibility:

Tufftoys said...
I'm concerned! Eclipse wants to build these aircraft faster than a speeding bullet, yet they keep hiring people off the streets! I know that the state pays Eclipse $$$ for everyone they employ (even the contractors). I wouldnt mind the "newbies" so much, but they are making it difficult to build these planes when "we" the contractors are having to fix their mistakes ... over and over and over again, the same ones. Now I know for fact there are alot of contractors that are here making alot of money, that are here just for the money. And Eclipse just lets them walk around talking on their cell phones stealing money from not just the employer but more important the employees that have been told (lies) over and over they will be getting raises. What pisses me off is when a newbie stops production because of the lies and his or her's excuse is "they dont pay me enough" or "just look at the contractor talking on his or her cell". Eclipse does infact have to have contractors period. The problem I see is that Eclipse needs to FIRE the ones that dont do anything or the ones that continually write NCRs for stupid mistakes. Sure everyone that works on aircrafts make mistakes but come on guys and girls. I know this is a new automotive, I mean, aircraft business so Eclipse might not know about this, so here it is, its called TRACKING. Eclipse you need us I know. What you dont NEED is some more Boeing mechanics, I dont know if you are know this or not; Boeing aircraft have really really thick skins ... do do dooo! Ya need helicopter mechanics that are used to working on light skins. Every NCR generated is how much money out of the employees pockets? Let me get this straight, now you want me to teach the newbies? Yea thats gonna work. Make your own people happy and they will return the favor.
FIX the jigs, thats how you make your money. If you have two right hand skin jigs that dont match guess what your not making the same skin!
Take those huck clinches out of the build up, the tail is going to fall off!
Stop hiring automotive and/or Intel people, THEY dont know how to lead or build an aircraft. ITS a cycle let me show you:
Newbies---no clue
Contractors (boeing)--- no clue
together generate lots of NCRs
NCRs goes to engineering
Engineering --- have a clue but cant find it
Man hours to be done with the NCR ????
Moneys from the NCR that is wasted on and takin from the employees????
The painter that ground off the hilock heads, what did you make him? Painter of the year or shop forman?
Tufftoys

1:25 PM, January 02, 2008

Jim Howard said...

"There are thousands of jets flying today that don't carry mechanical backups at all."

Very Clintonian. Every cockpit photograph you list clearly shows an independent backup, most of which have their own batteries. Sure, the display is electronic not mechanical, but the point is that they are independent of the main avionics systems.

Not one depends on the primary MFDs or PFDs for backup attitude information.

The Eclipse scheme for backup attitude information is unique.

Gunner said...

Jim-
i don't think Vern used the word "unique" to describe it. "Ground Breaking" is certainly more apropos.

Gunner

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

A minute ago you were on "the backup has to be mechanical in order to be ok."

Show me where I wrote that. I said backups had to be independent.

421 told the blog that the Eclipse backup IS independent.

Sigh. One more time. The backup displays on the MFD. The MFD is based on the same hardware and software as the PFDs. There have the potential to fail from the same stimulus since they contain the same faults. In addition, the MFD is asked to do other things than be a backup, so it has far more stimuli available to cause it to fail, many of which the PFD share.

Not independent.

Field experience shows this to occur even in very well designed and extensively tested airplanes. There are examples of both software and hardware triggers that have taken out all panels.

You would like the reader to believe that because the backup display comes out of the same factory as the main display that it cannot be counted upon to work if the main display fails.

Yes, for certain fault stimuli, that is true. The key isn't the factory so much, but the software and hardware design being susceptible to a single stimulus taking out all the panels. For the Eclipse, there is no independent backup if the panels go out.

It's a silly argument, but it effectively demonstrates that you're out of ammunition with which to attack the Eclipse.

How can we have a reasoned discourse with you when you presume that all who disagree with you do so from pure spite? You care more about what people say about the airplane than the airplane itself or how to make it better.

Turbine Power said...

Gunner, by your logic, you should be very concerned about the FADECs that so many modern jets use. Heck, each plane comes with FADECs from the same manufacturer. Do you know that the Mustang actually has two identical FADECs? My goodness! A software bug will crash the plane!

Cessna should put a Williams engine on the left side of the Mustang and a PWC on the right. And FADECs from different manufacturers. Just in case. And the owner should be careful that no single mechanic ever works on both engines.

Maybe they'd be better off still with a jet engine on the left side and a piston engine on the right. You can never be too careful!

What do you fly now, gunner? Was the left flap made by the same company as the right? Aren't you very scared that both might fall off at the same time due to the same bizarre glitch occurring to each? What about your flight controls--did you think to have them dual redundant and manufactured by different companies just to play it safe?

Come on boys; stop being so silly.

Gunner said...

"Argument with one who has rejected reason is like administering medicine to the dead."
Thomas Paine

Not only was the discourse more civil around here for a while; it was far more intelligent also.

Gunner

Jim Howard said...

"Gunner, by your logic, you should be very concerned about the FADECs that so many modern jets use."

Of course you're right. Many people are in fact very concerned about possible unusual failure modes of Eclipse FADEC system, as has been previously noted here.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Give it up Ken, you lost this argument with your first reply months ago.

FADEC's are certified to DO-178B Level A, MFD's (and even PFD's for that matter) are (typically) certified to DO-178B Level C, completely different requirements for fault/error tolerance, and code quality.

FADEC's typically feature dual redundant processing and dual independent (but identical) code/operating software, with any ONE channel being able to operate either or sometimes BOTH engines. MFD's do not (typically) have dual voting processors and the ability to function perfectly in the event of the loss of an ENTIRE circuit/channel.

Error checking on the Eclipse is a voting system between the PFD's, MFD and APC's as I recall, so when it all goes dark except the MFD (assuming an electrical issue) there is no voting on whether or not it is correct, you simply have what you have.

Ex421 did not, I believe, suggest the code was different, he said the sensor was different which I would believe, after all, he actually has an Eclipse. If the processors and code are the same as the PFD's, then the MFD is subject to the same failure conditions related to software or hardware - if there is a common failure mode, you do not have independent standby attitude data, you have three screens which can be taken down by a single failure (assuming a software fault).

It is really not that hard to understand, although more in-depth knowledge is required than anything you can gleen from the Eclipse double-top-secret-decoder-ring bookstore or possibly even the type rating course (maybe ex421 would care to offer more on this).

421Jockey said...

Flyger,

Perhaps for the benefit of everyone who has to litens to you and I nitpick the definition of "independent", we just need to agree to disagree on this one.

You are right: The backup information is displayed on the MFD which also serves different functions.
I am right: The PFD & MFD are two seperate pieces of hardware that have no reason to expect that a simultaneous failure is mroe likely than with separate manufacturers. (ex. ligtning strike etc.)
You are right: The same people probably wrote the software for both inputs (I don't know for sure but I'll give you that)
I am right: The Pitot, static, AOA, Air Data Computer, and other inputs are all independent of the PFD inuts.
You are right:...... You get the picture.

I have spent the past 2 evenings (Go Blue) pouring over the systems manuals and the Maintenance manuals. They are extremely complex and thorough. I do not know how to begin to summarize the systems on this Blog (besides, Vern would sue me) but the more I read, the more I am convinced that the risk of the events that you described happening are well within my personal definition of acceptable risk.

I know, there can always be more redundancy, and I will leave the silly examples to others on this blog, but one of the reasons that I became involved with this endeavor more than 7 1/2 years ago was to be a part of the new technonogy emerging in the GA industry. I don't want to have a new aircraft that has 20 independent inputs for 20 different steam gages, all made by 20 different manufacturers. I had that on my 1980 Saratoga (Great Plane!)

You may consider this to be to too great a risk. I, on the other hand, feel that there are many more risks (mostly my own skills and my personal ability to cope with these risks), that are more important for my time and effort.

I know that we will continue to disagree, but let's both just agree to disagree.

ex-421 Jockey

airtaximan said...

so, Eclipse produced and delivered 103 planes in 2007 - anyone want to declare VICTORY on the contest? My guess was 105...

and a brief comment on the avionics issues... remember, customers are accepting delivery of the plane the way it is - unfinished... IOUs... replacements parts... upgrades, etc. Do you really think they care a lick about back up instruments? They seem to be perfectly happy with whatever they are being given.

Declaring back up instruments "surperfluous" on this plane, from this company, with this track record is rediculous.

SO they say its safer... that's comical
I put it in the same category as the claim the plane is "easier to fly" - considering the high failure rate for trainees

airtaximan said...

from the post:
"The VLJ leader completed a total of 103 aircraft in 2007. Previously, the fastest ramp to 100 aircraft was achieved by Cessna, which reached 100 Cessna Citation 550 aircraft after approximately 18 months."

This is pure BS. The majority of the planes were started in 2006... by this logic, they could have set a much better record, had they waited until YE 2008 to "deliver" 350 planes "in the forst year of production.

There were around 50 planes started in Q2 or so of 2006 until the end of 2006 - not delivered until mid - late 2007.

From start of production until end of 2007, which is almost 2 years... they delivered around 100 planes, most of which need to be completed, retrofitted and fixed up to meet the guarantees and promises.

This is a record?
Pretty sad.
Have they no shame?
Obviously, not.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

To piggyback on ATM and ex421, and I hope ex421 will answer this:

My bet is that the plane, physically, is rather easy to fly with the possible exception of reportedly high stick forces for roll. That is, the stick and rudder aspect of flyingthe plane is easy and enjoyable.

The impression I have from the limited pilot reports we have seen, is that systems management with the current iteration of Avio (and presumably Avio NfG) is somewhat clumsy. My guess would be that in a CharlieFoxtrot situation, the plane would be a real handful to manage, not to fly, but to manage.

It is my opinion that we stop 'flying' and become 'systems managers' when we transition to complex aircraft, and that transition evolves as the planes become more complex and faster.

While true that the Eclipse slows to Baron speeds in the pattern, if the defecation hits the oscillation in night IMC at cruise you are not travelling a mile and a half a minute in broad daylight, you are doing 6 or 7 miles a minute and are 5 or more miles above the ground in pitch black interspersed with flashes of lightning - a far more challenging environment. If HAL takes an electron nap you have precious little time other than to descend ASAP and that could be made MORE difficult in the admittedly unlikely event of a loss of all attitude info.

It was also admittedly unlikely that Titanic would strike an iceberg in a way that would sink the 'unsinkable' ship. It was, it turned out, as unlikely as the chain of events that led to the exlposion of the number two O2 tank on the Apollo 13 Command Module. And yet, they happened.

The point remains the Eclipse has used what appears to be an unconventional design approach that has EASA as well experienced pilots and engineers scratching their heads, and THAT should say something.

Gunner said...

Ex-421-
Agreement to Disagree is a completely acceptable resolution to such personal value judgments as Risk Assessment.

I think few of us are arguing that the design risks are unacceptable, EXCEPT in light of the safety CLAIMS made by Eclipse, the perceived inexpensive solutions to truly independent backups and our own anecdotal experiences with equipment failure.

You're clearly aware of the potential risks in the architecture and you're comfortable with them. It's your plane, your dollar and your risk. I say "go for it" and enjoy yourself. I give you (and Baron) high marks for not attempting to paint AVIO as something that it is not.

Again we see that disagreement need not be uncivil. Again we see that those who admit to the risks are FAR better spokesmen for Eclipse than those who would argue there are no trade-offs with this plane; only advancements and benefits.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

plus...

Highly "integrated systems" and claims regarding "easier to fly" and "virtual co-pilot" present their own flight management issues.

I suspect that overall this plane is harder to fly, all things considered, given the "reliance" required on the systems, and the basic human factors that are a fact of life for "these" pilots.

Rumors of high time airline pilots failing... as well as lower time neophyte soon to be jet pilots failing, provides some evidence. Evidence used very loosly. We have little data, although I did read somewhere about the Dayjet pro pilot failure rate being extremely high.

The stick and feel issues are almost irrelevant. The other issues are serious... enough to fail.

A real testament to "easier to fly" according to someone?

Gunner said...

AT-
The high training failure rate is only because you insist on talking about the WRONG PLANE! You continue to talk about the plane that is being delivered today. That's the problem.

Everyone knows this is a minor development hiccup. AVIO NG will solve all these problems....Ken promises.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

unner,

I really like you.

Thanks

FlightCenter said...

Turbine Pilot,

The FADEC and engine system's design is a fail safe design. They are designed so that when, not if, the FADEC fails, the aircraft continues to fly, the engines continue to turn, because the aircraft systems are designed to allow the engines to continue operation in the event that the FADEC(s) are no longer operational.

Even if the fail safe mechanisms didn't work properly and the engines stopped functioning, the pilot(s) would still be able to properly maintain control of the aircraft and fly the aircraft.



When the displays fail, they no longer display, they can't be designed to "fail safe" for the display of attitude function.

The difference between an engine out situation and a no instrument situation in IMC is that there is a much higher probability of departing the aircraft's operating envelope in an IMC situation with no instruments.

If the aircraft systems were designed with an independent attitude source and an independent attitude display, then the aircraft's attitude would continue to be displayed in the event that the displays fail.

gadfly said...

One hundred four?

Here’s a question: Which is more dangerous, an “out-right lie”, or a “half-truth”, or a “ninety percent truth”?

Frankly, I’ll vote for the “90% truth”.

“Your husband is out of surgery . . . he’ll do just fine . . . we got 90% of the malignant tissue!”

“Chicken is always suppose to be a little pink when it’s cooked.”

“What good is a fish, if it doesn’t smell like a fish!”

“It’s organic spinach . . . how can it possibly be bad.”

“The Albuquerque-based manufacturer . . . has produced its first 100 Eclipse 500 planes faster than any other general aviation jet aircraft maker in history.”

gadfly

(“Zero”)

FlightCenter said...

Ex421,

Thank you for your post, your thoughtful comments and for looking through the manuals in detail to try to shed some light on this discussion.

I'm not sure, but it seems I must have missed an earlier post of yours on this subject.

I was under the impression that the third AHRS was going to be available only after serial #105.

Or were the 3rd AHRS / Part 135 options made available earlier?

Do you have a third AHRS installed in your aircraft?

If so, is it made by the same manufacturer as the other two AHRS or is it made another vendor?

I do agree that reasonable people can come to different decisions regarding the risk associated with flying. After all, we all started flying single engine aircraft.

Some still prefer flying single engine aircraft, while some prefer two engines.

I met an FBO operator (non-pilot) who said the only way he would fly was with two (jet) engines, two pilots and two drinks.

FlightCenter said...

ATM,

I'd be a bit cautious about declaring winners of our little contest until about mid-February.

The FAA registry database seems to be lagging at least a month right now.

I've seen them go back and "fix" CofA and registration dates several weeks after the first data was entered.

I'd also be cautious about reading into the Eclipse press release that they are saying anything about delivering 103 aircraft.

The press release really doesn't say anything about that. It says that they produced and certified 103 aircraft.

Now the headline makes a much bolder claim.

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

That is an interesting claim, but according to Vern, it will be Dec 2008 before all 100 aircraft are retrofitted with Avio NG.

So it will be at least another year before Eclipse completes its first 100 aircraft.

It is a sure thing that Cessna will complete 100 Mustangs before Dec 2008.

Anyone want to make a bet on when Cessna delivers 100 Mustangs?

airtaximan said...

FC,
"I'd also be cautious about reading into the Eclipse press release that they are saying anything about delivering 103 aircraft."

seriously?

Vern said it, and I BELIEVE HIM!

Where's my prize?

Just like the owners in waiting... they want waht he's selling! So, who are you to disagree with the 103 number?

Kidding of course.

What's your estimate

If its 103, so I win?

EclipseOwner387 said...

ATMAN said, "They seem to be perfectly happy with whatever they are being given."

I would say that is not a fair assertion. Most of the owners are excited to see progress but are mostly offended that they had to take delivery of an unfinished plane. I am positive that some ugly dialougue has taken place and I am glad I am not the delivery coordinator. That is a tough spot to be in.

ColdWet said, "The impression I have from the limited pilot reports we have seen, is that systems management with the current iteration of Avio (and presumably Avio NfG) is somewhat clumsy."

I didn't find AVIO to be clumsy at all in its current iteration. I have over 100 hours in a glass Cirrus so perhaps it was less daunting to me. My take on it is that if you have limited or no glass experience it takes a learning curve but is very intuitive after you make the transition. A new pilot that learns only glass would probably find steam gauges more of a challenge - my opinion.

EclipseOwner387 said...

FC and ATMAN,

Eclipse didn't use the word delivered in their press release. They said produced and certified.

My guess is 95-98 is the delivered number.

Was the contest for delivered or COA?

Gunner said...

While mini "steam gauges" may not be de rigeur in avionics fashion these days and, while modern technology has given us other options for independent verification/backup/redundancy, Eclipse apparently has not opted for either path.

I have to laugh when I hear others denigrate those little steam gauges, though. They might not be your preference (or mine) when the "balloon goes up" at FL350 at night with a thick undercast below. But just how much instrumentation do you require to keep the shiny side up and descend to safety when the Primary Directive is to get the plane on the ground as soon as possible?

Certainly the ability to chart and fly from LAX to Heathrow is real cool. It's also about as valuable for backup instruments as a crated, spare engine in the bed of your Ford Pick-Em-Up. In that moment of sudden, still darkness in Le Petit, what do we all think you might sell one set of those old 3" steam gauges for? Pretty much priceless, I'd reckon.

I spend about 3 weeks a year in "tactical" firearms classes. I'm always amused by the High Speed, Low Drag "operator" types who smirk at the 30-30 lever action rifle that sits in my truck when I travel. With every commonly available "black rifle" at my disposal, if not in my possession, I rely on a simple, bomb-proof, 100+ year old design. Laser sights, high dollar optics, Night Vision....I have 'em all and use 'em. But my standard backup is a Winchester 1894 design.

Hardly, what one might take if going to a Modern War, but I wonder how much the gendarmes would have paid for rental of that piece at the shootout at Bank of America in North Hollywood in 1997?

The point is to choose the tools that are most appropriate to YOUR likely mission. Learn 'em well and keep it simple. And don't pretend you're a Steely Eyed Dealer of Death when it comes to firearms; or Chuck Yeager when it comes to aircraft. That stuff will get you real dead for a real long time.

Gunner

EclipseOwner387 said...

Does anyone besides me find it sad that Garmin is discontinuing the GNS 480? I really have no practical experience with it but I was seriously considering it in my Mirage coupled with the GMX200. In many ways it appears superior to the 530/430 line.

421Jockey said...

FlightCenter,
The problem with these discussions is which Avio is which? You are correct that the pre-ng aircraft (like mine) do not have a third AHRS. I was discussing philosophy with Fylger, therefore I did not limit to the original configuration. I do not expect to have NG installed until late this summer, so I have additional considerations on these discussions. The good news is without FIKI, I am pretty much grounded in the great white North.

AT,
Training is a whole different issue. On this one, I have to be a pretty staunch defender of what Eclipse is trying to do. They have designed an exellent FITs program that teaches low to mid time pilots like me to fly like a professional. The instructors and program are both top notch. Right up to the time that you have to take your Check Ride. Then the FAA makes us go back to when we all got our instrument rating. The check ride has nothing to do with flying a jet in the current ATC environment. It is all about flying approaches to ATP standards. Nothing wrong with that, but I had a 2 1/2 hour check ride and we never got above 10,000 AGL. Everything was judged on +/- 5kts., +/- quarter scale deflection and +/-50 feet WITHOUT AUTOPILOT. That is why this is the most difficult Type Ride in the country today.

We can't hang this one on Eclipse.

ex-421 jockey

EclipseOwner387 said...

In regards to the "back up" instruments discussion- While I am sure Eclipse has tried to think of everything, I would have a fully charged 496 ready to go just in case. Why risk Murphy when $2300 buys a sweet little get out of jail free card.

airtaximan said...

eo,

you say ToMAto, I say Tomato... what a few planes when Vern gives the impression they were "all done" and "all doen in 2007" anyway?

I say He says I win, so I win!

I defer on all points regarding the plane and traiing to you - but, I find it amusing that Dayjet airline pilots expereinced a very high failure rate for a plane that is "easier to fly".

thanks

baron95 said...

Flyger said ... That combination of integrated dependence, likelihood of bugs, and single pilot strain under failure make the risk too high in Eclipse.

Again, all very true. Just like the fuel scheduler on the two GE engines on the ETOPS 180 777-300ER come from GE and are identical. So are the FADECs, so are the FMS on the 777s that comand the FADECS that comand the fuel controllers. Isn't it possible that on climbing through FL350 at an exact temperature of -25C the FADEC SW will encounter a bug and command a hard roll to iddle? (I do believe the 777 has mechanical FADEC overrides, but you get the point, right?)

Flyger you are VERY technically correct - and I have come close to agreeing with you on your preferences for trully independent backup air/atitude data/presentation.

I just don't believe the bar should be that high for a 6,000 lbs 5 pax personal turbofan. ANY owner that feels as strongly as you do can have a set of TSOed steam gages put on the pannel for about $10K and an independent electronic display for about $100K.

I'll go as far as say that I'd like to see that in the Eclipse options sheet.

But I'd not go as far as saying that the EA-500 design is less safe then the comparable $1.5M 6000 lbs aircraft currently flying. It just does not seem to be so.

Perhaps we should just agree to disagree on that one point, while agreeing in principle on the others.

baron95 said...

I am confused! Is Turbine Pilot the ex Ken?

FlightCenter said...

EO387,

The contest rules were that the winner of the contest would be the person who most closely projected the number of Eclipse 500 deliveries where deliveries are defined as the transfer of registration as recorded in FAA Registry Database.

The demise of the 480 was inevitable from the day that Garmin acquired UPS AT. It was just a matter of time until Garmin incorporated the WAAS technology into the 430/530 series.

The fact is that the 480 never got more than 10 or 15% marketshare, before or after Garmin's acquisition.

One of the reasons was that it just wasn't very simple to use. I know at least two pilots that had access to an aircraft with a 480, but refused to fly it in IMC conditions, because they weren't confident in their own ability to manage the 480.

The 480 had the most advanced WAAS technology at the time it was introduced. The problem was that the there weren't a lot of airports with WAAS approaches when it came out.


UPS insured its low market share, by pricing it substantially higher than the 430. ~$12K for the 480 vs. ~$9K retail for the 430.

And you could get substantially better below retail deals on the 430.

So you could pay a lot more for a 480 today, so that you had the chance to fly an LPV approach sometime in the future.

When Garmin offered a $1,500 upgrade for any existing 430/530, it really became a no-brainer.

It really was an outstanding business decision for Garmin and an excellent deal for the 430/530 customers.

FlightCenter said...

Here is the link for anyone who wants to check the Eclipse Critic projections made 6 months ago.

Eclipse Aviation Critic Projections

Here are the 6 folks closest to the current number in the FAA registry database.

mouse 75
coldwetmackarelofreality 84
bonanza pilot 90
hiflyer 97
black tulip 99
airtaximan 105


By the way the mean of all the projections was 99 and that very well may be the number for the year.

If so, the blog (and black tulip) will have predicted the 2007 deliveries exactly correctly.

It just goes to show the wisdom of the blog.

By the way there is a good book on the subject if you are interested.

The Wisdom of Crowds

FlightCenter said...

Ex421,

Thanks for the clarification.

Congrats on passing the Eclipse ATP type rating!

Sounds like you are added quite a few new skills in the process.

Sorry to hear that you aren't doing a lot of flying this winter.

EclipseOwner387 said...

FC,

When Garmin adds airways to the 530 and 430 I will be happy.. but the 480 even appears to handle comm freqs, VOR/LOC ID's, remote transponder, etc. in a superior fashion. Hopefully they will add more of these features into the 530/430 line. I understand that the 530/430 was more popular (that is what I am used to as well) but some of that is marketing don't you think? The GNS480/GMX200 combo with approach plates and charts was saluted as a superior setup by those who have experience in both of the garmin lines.


Sorry for the off topic conversation but the affordable GA NAV/COMM/MAP solution is monopolized by Garmin. Maybe Honeywell's new KSN 770 will keep them honest and on the upgrade path. Now back to normally scheduled programming.... I think we left off with someone saying Turbine Power is really Ken in disguise....

flyger said...

baron95 said...

ANY owner that feels as strongly as you do can have a set of TSOed steam gages put on the pannel for about $10K and an independent electronic display for about $100K.

From the TCDS:

"Any modification or changes in cockpit configuration which may affect aircrew workload, cockpit noise level or day/night operational capabilities must be evaluated by an FAA Aircraft Certification Flight Test Pilot."

Unlike other airplanes, for some reason the Eclipse setup can't be modified unless you get an FAA certification test pilot to approve it. Lords knows if they would so such a thing, and how many of these special pilots there are, but it sure seems like Eclipse things they know best and want to prevent you from changing it.

I'll go as far as say that I'd like to see that in the Eclipse options sheet.

Me, too. If it was, I would not complain and simply recommend that you get it.

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

I have spent the past 2 evenings (Go Blue) pouring over the systems manuals and the Maintenance manuals. They are extremely complex and thorough. I do not know how to begin to summarize the systems on this Blog (besides, Vern would sue me)

Why all the secrecy and threat of suit?

I am reminded of Vern's comments many years ago where he described how "open and transparent" the company would be. How naive he was. Now he's no better, perhaps worse, than any other company. Every press release has so much space "between the lines" now days. Just another thing he had to learn about the industry.

Who can buy these manuals, where do you get them, and how much do they cost?

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

I am right: The PFD & MFD are two seperate pieces of hardware that have no reason to expect that a simultaneous failure is mroe likely than with separate manufacturers. (ex. ligtning strike etc.)

Not entirely true. In a few of the cases in the FAA SDR database, a malfunctioning generator or peripheral was able to disrupt the panels. The particular noise or fault generated found the same weakness in the hardware because it was of the same design.

For example, in the case of the 767 in the Atlantic, the loose ground strap on the battery caused high ground currents in the signal wiring harness. Because the PFDs and MFDs were connect to some many things, the ground current disrupted communications for all of them. The backups, having no signal connections *at all* to the PFD/MFD system, was unaffected.

So hardware weaknesses can and do cause simultaneous failures.

But, really, my primary concern is software. It presents the most opportunity to have simultaneous triggers as we saw in the F22 case. A good part of my concern is that I don't think Eclipse can hit a home run in software quality on the first try. In fact, I expect them to frack it up pretty bad because they think they already know how to manage software development.

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

Gunner, by your logic, you should be very concerned about the FADECs that so many modern jets use. Heck, each plane comes with FADECs from the same manufacturer. Do you know that the Mustang actually has two identical FADECs? My goodness! A software bug will crash the plane!

A design flaw in the Diamond Twin Star took out both FADECs causing both engines to shutdown. This occurred exactly after liftoff at gear retraction, the *worst* possible moment. The FADECs each had two redundant channels. That's right, all four engine control channels failed from one relatively ordinary stimulus, a weak main battery.

My point is not that having identical FADECs is bad. My point is that no designer thinks of everything. No, I don't advocate having FADECs of different design on each engine. FADECs are intrinsically more likely to be built correctly (PFD/MFD are more complex, like the difference between an alarm clock and a Windows PC). It is a lot easier to get 10 thousand lines of code right than 10 million.

And the owner should be careful that no single mechanic ever works on both engines.

Many airlines have such rules. They don't allow more than one engine to be worked on in a given shift. There are a number of incidents where this has lead to compromised safety, some of them quite harrowing.

http://www.flightsafety.org/amb/amb_sept_oct99.pdf

Come on boys; stop being so silly.

Time to look in a mirror.

WhyTech said...

flyger said:

"My point is that no designer thinks of everything."

This is the fundamental issue. These systems are so complex that all failure modes (especially multiple failures) and their side effects cannot be practically predicted in advance.

WT

twospool said...

Flyger says, "Unlike other airplanes, for some reason the Eclipse setup can't be modified unless you get an FAA certification test pilot to approve it."

That's incorrect. The type certficate data sheets for many modern planes contain similar limitations.

The Mustang: "No significant changes may be made to the installed cockpit equipment or arrangement (EFIS, autopilot, avionics, etc.), except as permitted by the approved MMEL, without prior approval from the responsible Aircraft Certification Office."

The CJ1: "No significant changes may be made to the installed cockpit equipment or arrangement (EFIS, autopilot, avionics, etc.), except as permitted by the approved MMEL, without prior approval from the responsible Aircraft Certification Office."

The CJ2: "No significant changes may be made to the installed cockpit equipment or arrangement (EFIS, autopilot, avionics, etc.), except as permitted by the approved MMEL, without prior concurrence from the responsible Aircraft Certification Office."

The CJ3: "No significant changes may be made to the installed cockpit equipment or arrangement (EFIS, autopilot, avionics, etc.), except as permitted by the approved MMEL, without prior concurrence from the responsible Aircraft Certification Office."

There are many other planes with this limitation.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Twospool - the Cessna product TCDS's says agreement/concurrence from the ACO and is limited to installed equipment and arrangement, the Eclipse TCDS REQUIRES evaluation by an FAA Flight Test Pilot for any change in cockpit configuration - clearly not the same.

airtaximan said...

WT,

comon, these guys CLEARLY understand program risk, and have a handle on what is realistic and what they can promise... there's no way they would ever overlook ANY failure modes, get into a system design that is very risky or complex so as to make it impractical to accurately predict failure.

C'mon.

What you wrote is exactly the point. No one can make the argument the system is bullet proof, no way. Eclipse is not the company to dismiss conventional, proven, redundant back up systems.

twospool said...

Coldwetmackerelofreality--I believe you are incorrect. The Eclipse type certificate data sheet does not require evaluation by an FAA Flight Test Pilot for ANY change in cockpit configuration.

It requires evaluation only for changes "which may affect aircrew workload, cockpit noise level or day/night operational capabilities." Addition of a backup instrument does not require an evaluation (it has been done a number of times in lieu of the third AHRS).

airtaximan said...

FC,

I am proud to be one of the contenders, and proudest still that I am the most optimistic of the finalists... sonsidering how so many die-hards consider me to be one of the harshest critics.

Thanks

airtaximan said...

FC,

what was VErn's "guess" at the time?

this can be a good benchmark for future "promises"...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Twospool, I figgered you might say that but was going to give you benefit of the doubt - oh well. Yes it does not say 'any' change, but neither do the Cessna TCDS's.

In fact, the Eclipse says "Any modification or changes in cockpit configuration which may affect aircrew workload, cockpit noise level or day/night operational capabilities..." where the Cessna TCDS says "No significant changes may be made to the installed cockpit equipment or arrangement (EFIS, autopilot, avionics, etc.), except as permitted by the approved MMEL". Clearly not the same limitation.

The point remains that only the Eclipse TCDS REQUIRES evaluation by an FAA Flight Test Pilot rather than approval/concurrence of the responsible ACO, this, and the definitions of change themselves are clearly not the same.

eclipso said...

Based on COMPLETED,(as promised) and delivered aircraft, Eclipse=0 (zero). The Wright Brothers= 1 (at least)

bill e. goat said...

Well...for a dead horse, it sure seems to have a lot of "kick" left in it! :)
-------------------------
Catching up a bit,
TP,
I think the reference to vacuum-driven accesories was meant as an example of how simple it could be to provide a reliable infinite (at least until you hit the ground!) power source. And, before poo-pooing air-stream "disruptive" devices :), I'm sure we're all familiar with Ram Air Turbines (much more expensive than a venturi!:)

And...since the subject of Mustang came up- you know where this one is going! "Say, what's that funny thing on the panel, you know- that thingee on the panel that looks like a standby indicator?!?"
Cessna Mustang

Also, I noted the A380 has a similiar Thingee-on-the-panel
Airbus A380

And, on for thingee's on the panel on THIS side of the Atlantic
Boeing 787

And, while the F-22 doesn't seem to have a thingee-on-the-panel, it does come up with a backup of sorts- maybe one Eclipse should consider
F-22 Backup System

Throw in the G-5 and Global Express- what a bunch of dinosaurs!!! :)
Gulfstream G-550
Global Express
-----------------------------
As an example of independence versus redundancy, others have noted that the F-22 does have a Heads Up Display. But- it appears it was a REDUNDANT display, not independent. I suspect since Lockheed "borrowed a little code" between the PFD -AND- the standby indicators (that Flyger mentioned) -AND- the HUD. Tsk tsk, three displays, all running the same code, all go down at once. (Ah, what else comes to mind? Hmmm, three displays, same code, hmmm:)

Yup, three "redundant" displays, but not "independent" displays.
------------------------------
Regarding the A320 tree-trimming routine...
Thanks for the info BD5 believer.
I'm sure you guys have perused it, but Wikipedia had an interesting tidbit:

"A320 operation anomalies...
"The month prior to the accident, Airbus posted two Operational Engineering Bulletins indicating anomalous behavior noted in the A320 aircraft.
"These bulletins were received by Air France but not sent out to pilots until after the accident:

OEB 19/1: Engine Acceleration Deficiency at Low Altitude

This OEB noted that the engines may not respond to throttle input at low altitude".

Sounds like party a pilot judgement thing as well, maybe a little too-impressive of airshow maneuver...

Speaking of "tree trimming", I think this guy was trying to trim the grass! (Like Baron95 said, "Pilots will occasionally do dumb things").
(I appologize for the caption- who knows where these things come from...)
History -almost- repeats itself
...maybe more correctly, we ofter repeating history, by not learning from it. Vern, ah, are you listening, or out inventing (yet) another

"center-pivoting, infinitely-faceted, rolling device" ??

(Otherwise, dinosaur-speak for a wheel:)

flyger said...

twospool said...

The type certficate data sheets for many modern planes contain similar limitations.

It isn't quite the same. The Cessna TCDS talks about changing or moving the *installed* equipment. The Eclipse TCDS talks about anything that "might affect crew workload". Adding an additional instrument in the pilot's field of view clearly "might affect crew workload" since it uses some of their attention.

The Eclipse wording is vague and broad enough that it could be interpreted that *any* change to the cockpit requires the FAA certification pilot approval. Some even wonder if the use of portable GPS units (like the "free" 496) are allowed under the TCDS language.

The next issue is that the Eclipse panel is so meager in space that there is no good place for a standby instrument group. Generally, that is not something the individual owners have to figure out, it is something that is planned for in design.

Eclipse keeps thinking they know better than anyone else and then learning that might not be so.

Cessna should produce a button that says: We said you couldn't, and you didn't! But they are too professional a company to do that. Funny how ANN lauded Vern, then decried the bad mouthing going on. Interesting double standard.

airsafetyman said...

"comon, these guys CLEARLY understand program risk, and have a handle on what is realistic and what they can promise... there's no way they would ever overlook ANY failure modes, get into a system design that is very risky or complex so as to make it impractical to accurately predict failure."

I think that is exactly what they have done. At some point the proof is in the pudding. If Avio is not overly complex, risky, and impractical, why isn't it finished, installed, and flying by now?

twospool said...

flyger: "Some even wonder if the use of portable GPS units (like the "free" 496) are allowed under the TCDS language."

Nobody that knows anything wonders that.

"there is no good place for a standby instrument group."

There is a standby instrument group already.

"Cessna should produce a button that says: We said you couldn't, and you didn't!"

Why? Eclipse did create a new class of jet aircraft. They did beat Cessna to certification despite Cessna's overwhelming headstart on jets. And they did out-produce the first year run of anything Cessna has ever made. Eclipse did all that, and the dinosaurs hate it. You do, too, it seems.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Twospool, can you explain how calling attention to questionable design decisions and pointing out the install base in the thousands for more conventional design decisions equates to 'hate'?

Thanks in advance.

And here is a question for you that I am sure you can answer quite easily, has Eclipse delivered ANY fully functional jets that do everything the brochure says they will?

Has Cessna delivered any jets that do NOT do everything the brochure says they will?

Definitely MPD, Ken's gone apoplectic.

airtaximan said...

Eclipse did create a new class of jet aircraft.

www.machdiamonds.com

especially check out the foxjet

"They did beat Cessna to certification despite Cessna's overwhelming headstart on jets. And they did out-produce the first year run of anything Cessna has ever made."

correction... it was 2 years of production...year one was one, incompleted aircraft "delivered" and around 50 started and completed in 2007... you cannot penalize Cessna for calling a year "a year" and you cannot penalize Cessna for certifying "finished" aircraft.

So, I credit eclipse for redefining "year of production"... "deliveries" and "certification".

Sadly, there's good reason to dislike the redefinitions.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

While we are on the subject of recent history Twospool:

Perhaps you can tell us who had the first full TC for a VLJ (here is a hint, not in the 505 area code and they they do not consider their product a VLJ).

Maybe you could tell us who earned the first PC for a VLJ.

Maybe you could tell us who delivered the first, and in fact, has delivered ALL fully functioning VLJ's that do everything the brochure said they would.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ aproved by EASA.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ approved for FIKI.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ with a functioning FMS.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ with WAAS capable GPS.

Don't worry though, there will be other choices for the above list soon, they just won't include Albquerque as their HQ, instead they will come from NC, CO, and Brazil.

Gunner said...

"Eclipse did create a new class of jet aircraft."

No they didn't, but they sure as hell took credit for it.

"They did beat Cessna to certification despite Cessna's overwhelming headstart on jets."

No they didn't. They "beat" a fully certified version with a partially certified version. AVIO NfG, necessary for use of the plane was only certified in it's rudimentary stage more than a year after Cessna began deliveries of a fully functioning, stable model Mustang. FIKI is still not available on the Eclipse, as pointed out by Ex-421 who admits his "produced" plane is effectively grounded as a result.

"And they did out-produce the first year run of anything Cessna has ever made."

No they didn't. They produced more unfinished planes than Cessna produced completed ones, I agree. But, again, look to the enjoyment Ex-421 is reaping from flying his "produced" Eclipse.

Besides, Cessna is not in the "cheap plane" business. As a result they fully met their production goals. Eclipse, OTOH, missed their goals by an order of magnitude of 10. That's right. They "delivered" less than 10% of the aircraft they promised...and still haven't finished THOSE.


Pretty sad for General Aviation, if you ask me.
Gunner

baron95 said...

"Any modification or changes in cockpit configuration which may affect aircrew workload, cockpit noise level or day/night operational capabilities must be evaluated by an FAA Aircraft Certification Flight Test Pilot."

Wow - I did not know of this. wierd restriction. Why tie your hands and your customer's hands this way. But do you think adding a 2" Electrical/backup AI would qualify under this provision?

Bill.e.goat said... And...since the subject of Mustang came up- you know where this one is going! "Say, what's that funny thing on the panel, you know- that thingee on the panel that looks like a standby indicator?!?"

The biggest problem I have with the Mustang pannel is that they don't have summary engine parameters on the PFD. I know that is not a big issue, but it would really simplfy the single-pilot scan. Even some single pistons have this now. I'd like to see Garmin/Cessna work on that.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

In all fairness, Eclipse DOES hold a significant first in the VLJ race, and a second in fact, that is Airworthiness Directives.

Cessna has failed to beat Eclipse by not requiring any AD's against the Mustang.

Good job Vern!

flyger said...

twospool said...

Nobody that knows anything wonders that.

Again you've chosen a personal attack over enlightened discourse. Not a single piece of evidence or discussion on to support your opinion was presented.

There is a standby instrument group already.

A "proper" standby group. What Eclipse has are "redundant" instruments, not "backup" instruments. The distinction is important.

They did beat Cessna to certification despite Cessna's overwhelming headstart on jets.

Ha! Nobody who knows anything wonders about that!

Eclipse certification is *still* not done. Cessna gave Eclipse a 3 year head start and still beat them handily. The Mustang, unlike many other Citations, was a complete new design from the ground up, so they had just as much work to get it done as Eclipse.

And they did out-produce the first year run of anything Cessna has ever made.

Not a single Eclipse is "done". Not one. Every delivered Mustang is done. Really done. Every one. Cessna would have never shipped airplanes in the state Eclipse has.

And the gall of Eclipse to proclaim their "achievement" to deliver 20% of their production goal is just amazing. Even worse is the faithful dancing about it. Eclipse has the record for the most number of airplanes promised but not delivered in a given year, about 400. This after telling us so proudly how all the gizmodic design features and technologies would make production so fast, the planes would be a blur.

We start 2008 much like we did in 2007, wondering if Eclipse can build the airplane fast enough.

Eclipse did all that, and the dinosaurs hate it. You do, too, it seems.

I love it how the faithful always tell us how we hate something. Amusing.

Eclipse has a half done type certificate. It has shipped half done airplanes. I guess that makes you half right!

As for the dinosaurs, they had concerns early on that Eclipse could pull it off. Those have long since faded. Now they look at Eclipse as a boon to their business. Eclipse created this new generation of demand that they can't fill, and even those who get an Eclipse will be looking to upgrade at some point. The net effect is more business for them.

baron95 said...

Gunner said ... "Eclipse did create a new class of jet aircraft."

No they didn't, but they sure as hell took credit for it.


Well, it all depends how you define VLJ as having a MTOW of under 6000 lbs, then Eclipse 500 is really (currently) in a class by itself. And it appears that no other twin jet is in the works under that weight.

You know that light twins are considered to be twins under 6000 lbs. So even the FAA recognizes that distinction.

The Mustang has an MTOW about 45% higher than the Eclipse and a price about 80% higher.

To claim these two planes are in the same class is a stretch. Not even Cessna tries to claim the Mustang is a VLJ.

We need to grant to Eclipse the fact that they did indeed certified and produced the lightest personal/biz jet and the only one in the light twin category of under 6,000 lbs MTOW.

It is true that the certification and deliveries are incomplete as per the purchasing contracts, but it is a new class.

The closest planes in weight and price to the EA500 are the Baron G58 and the Piper Meridian, respectivelly just below and just above.

Both planes have a full fuel payload (when properly equipped e.g. FIKI, A/C, LRT on the Baron) of about 350-400 lbs!!!! and 20-30% less range, 120-180KTS less speed, 15000-30000 less in optimum operating altitude, etc.

To deny the *HUGE* leap in capability from existing planes in the same weight class and price range that Eclipse brought to GA is not a sustainable position.

Now, Eclipse may as well fail and orphan 1/2 finished planes. But as of now they moving the GA bar quite a bit.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Wow - I did not know of this. wierd restriction. Why tie your hands and your customer's hands this way. But do you think adding a 2" Electrical/backup AI would qualify under this provision?

The fact you have to ask shows how vague the restriction is. Vagueness means it can be reinterpreted at will by the powers that be.

I could easily see the restriction being interpreted as saying that anything that is in the pilot's field of view affects his workload and therefore must be evaluated.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

To deny the *HUGE* leap in capability from existing planes in the same weight class and price range that Eclipse brought to GA is not a sustainable position.

I agree. This is why watching them fail at it so painful. They did have a really good idea, one that captures the imagination and fills a previously void spot in the market. There is clearly demand at that price/performance point.

I think that is why the faithful have so much faith because Eclipse represents a dream they don't want to let go of. In many ways, I don't blame for that. It may also explain the critic's motivations, they also believed at one time but have become disillusioned. If you know what the industry is like, it is hard to take the mistakes Eclipse is making.

But, alas, the dream was oversold and underdelivered. The things that are slowing down the airplane actually have *nothing* to do with the dream, which makes it all the more painful. With just a little more knowledge and humility at the beginning, the plane would have been flying in large numbers by now and the revolution would be in full swing.

Alas, the dream has faded quite a bit.

Black Tulip said...

I always thought two spools was enough, but I guess you need more for things to work.

eclipso said...

With over thirty years aviation, (fixing and flying), it was slightly over a year ago that some of the most talented aviation people it he country were in ABQ. I was impressed at the knowledge on the floor. I was saddened by the fact that NO one would listen to them and this aircraft would and could have been the "rock star" of the new aviation age. But the egos and " cheaper" way took over. Often times, the lowest bidder is not the cheapest. It is and will continue to become a "mcDonalds" mechanic empire as the experience moves on and the Burger flippers take over. ...."you want fries with that VLJ?"

Gunner said...

Baron-
The bottom-line, amazing part to me is that we have semi-certified, semi-complete aircraft in the hands of experienced pilots who are having a VERY difficult time passing a proficiency test immediately after training; when their skills will be at their very best.

The fact that this test is at ATP vs Commercial or Private standards is not the issue: that was a choice made by the Designers and the Regulators to render operation of this aircraft "safe".

Here's just ONE possible downside of this situation:

The potential ramifications to single pilot jet operation regulations are enormous. If one or two of those pilots should have a serious problem, both the Designer and the Regulators will move heaven and earth to demonstrate that "It was not our fault. The Pilot couldn't handle the plane."

The result? Some Congress Critter, tired of sitting on his thumb, will initiate legislation to "tighten" up on standards for SP operation of high performance aircraft.

It's called the Law of Unintended Consequences, in light of a new "class" of easily flown twin jets. And it DOES NOT bode well for General Aviation.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

ATM,

At the time of the entry deadline for our contest, the official Eclipse production plan was to produce 216 aircraft in 2007.

bill e. goat said...

Flyger,
Thanks for the interesting links regarding display failures. It seems hard to argue the case of “it won’t happen again”, when history seems to pretty stubbornly insist otherwise.
------------------
TP,
Thanks for kindly providing cockpit shots...and making the case for a standby indicator (Jim Howard noted this too :)!

You mentioned-
2005 Citation Sovereign
new Falcon 900EX
nice CJ1+
(maybe a slightly better shot),
powered-up standby in CJ1+

All of them show a dedicated standby indicator; perhaps it is more helpful to use the word “autonomous” as a synonym for independent.

Mechanical versus electronic standby is immaterial- autonomous (independent) is the crucial ingredient. (Baron95 and Gunner both mention “steam gages”, I would add that nowadays a typical “steam gage” is indeed all electronic solid-state device, which simply has a steam-gage form factor of it’s mechanical-based predecessor for ease of installation, while offering greatly enhanced reliability / lower maintenance costs).
---------------------
Baron95 also mentions good points about the burden of certification for VLJ’s and associated cost. I agree, and think this is a perfect case of why Eclipse should NOT have gone to a glass cockpit completely- the design and certification expense have lead to a two-year program delay- a hit a mature company could take with revenue coming in from other products- but an na├»ve –or arrogantly ignorant- mistake for a startup company.
---------------------
TP,
Good argument about dissimilar engines and FADECS. I would point out that engines are indeed tested in a dissimilar configuration, using flying testbeds- one “test” engine, other engines are certified. Regarding FADECS, I am not sure of their software certification level- hopefully some fellow bloggers can enlighten us. (On some flight critical hardware, a typical scenario is to have two dissimilar microprocessors, running different code, but constantly comparing their outputs. If there is a disagreement, a degraded (simplified) “limp home” mode is triggered).

FC,
“The FADEC and engine system's design is a fail safe design. They are designed so that when, not if, the FADEC fails, the aircraft continues to fly, the engines continue to turn, because the aircraft systems are designed to allow the engines to continue operation in the event that the FADEC(s) are no longer operational”.

(I think this is the “limp home” mode I am thinking of. However, I believe it is still the FADEC commanding the engines, just in a degraded (simplified) operating mode).

Flyger,
Thanks to reference to the Diamond FADEC failure (I think a few other folks were familiar with it too)- it certainly is thought-provoking, and is a textbook illustration of a "chain" of events.
---------------------
421 (ex) Jockey
“I know that we will continue to disagree, but let's both just agree to disagree”.
I agree!
I mean I disagree!!
:)
---------------------------
EO387,
Good point about the $2300 “get out of jail free” card (496)!
-----------------------
Shane,
O'Toole's Law:
"Murphy was an optimist".

Me too- but I still hope everyone had a Happy New Year and 2008 will be a great year for all !!

gadfly said...

Thursday, January 3, 2008
Eclipse Built 104 Jets in 2007
By Andrew Webb
Journal Staff Writer
Eclipse Aviation completed more than 100 aircraft in 2007— far short of earlier predictions but a feat nonetheless compared to other aviation companies, its founder said.
The company said it had built and issued certificates of airworthiness to 104 aircraft since Dec. 31, 2006, making it the "fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 airplanes."
The previous record was held by Cessna, which reached 100 Cessna Citation 550 aircraft after about 18 months, Eclipse said in a news release.
The Cessna Citation 550, or Citation II, began production in 1978.
Doug Oliver, a spokesman for Cessna, said he could not verify the production rate.
"I'm not going to waste time looking up data from the 1970s so Eclipse can boast. We're concerned with selling our own airplanes," he said. "It doesn't matter who produces what in how many months."
Eclipse is headquartered in Albuquerque and employs about 1,600 people.
Founder and CEO Vern Raburn sought to adapt techniques used in the computer manufacturing industry to building aircraft. He had previously predicted that hundreds, and at one time, up to 1,000 Eclipse 500 jets, would be delivered in 2007.
But the first year of production was plagued with delays, including supplier holdups, internal processes that didn't work as planned, and last-minute changes to the plane, ranging from redesigned windshields to replacing the $1.6 million jet's computerized "brain."
The delays led to a rumored cash crunch as Eclipse failed to reach a one-plane-per-day production goal, and even to layoffs of some aircraft assembly technicians near the end of 2007.
Given those challenges, Eclipse said more than 100 planes is a significant achievement for a startup company that had never built an aircraft.
"We're transforming how jets are built and how people travel," Raburn said in a news release. "It's an audacious goal and one that stretches us every day to go beyond what seems possible. Day-to-day setbacks are inevitable, but the reality is that we have created a new aircraft category and are bringing a new breed of jet to market at a rate never before seen in general aviation."
The company isn't saying how many of those jets have been delivered to customers.
But company spokesman Andrew Broom said deliveries to date were "pretty close" to the number of completed and certified planes.
Eclipse has trained about 150 pilots and has nearly caught up to the demand for pilot training, Broom said.
"In the coming months, we'll be able to schedule training before the person comes to take delivery," he said.
Broom was cautious about predictions for customer deliveries in 2008. "It's in the hundreds of hundreds," he said.
The company said it has orders for more than 2,500 planes.

Shane Price said...

Eclipse redefines maths:-

Broom was cautious about predictions for customer deliveries in 2008. "It's in the hundreds of hundreds," he said.

Where I was taught, 'hundreds of hundreds' was 10,000.

The Great Raburn is going to reduce the cycle time to a matter of hours!!!??!

2008 sure looks a lot like 2007 (and 6 and 5 and...) already.

Shane

Copernicus said...

Turbinepower = Ken Meyer?

Two different people can have the same opinions and conclusions about any given subject matter. Two "old saws" address this truism. Pick your old saw:

Great minds run in the same channel

OR

Fools think alike

Gunner said...

Great Minds and fools may, indeed, think alike. They generally don't employ the same kneejerk reactions of attacking the messenger, however. Nor do they, of coincidence, demonstrate the same style of writing, the same phraseology or the same tactics of debating the nit when cornered.

Coincidences are always a possibility. But they hardly excuse identical patterns of uncivil discourse and sophomoric debate.

YMMV
Gunner

AlexA said...

Gunner said, “The fact that this test is at ATP vs Commercial or Private standards is not the issue: that was a choice made by the Designers and the Regulators to render operation of this aircraft "safe".”

Gunner you might want to double check this statement. I believe that you need a Type Rating for any jet aircraft and all type ratings are to ATP standards.

With type certification for the D-Jet due in less than 90 days you must be getting excited.

421Jockey said...

Hey Everyone,

Check out N570EA on Flightaware.
1303nm non stop. That would be impressive.

Will he make it non stop?

BTW, INL - maybe FIKI tests?

421Jockey said...

Acutually 1354 nm usig high alt airways.

Gunner said...

Alexa-

As so often happens, you make our point. Pilots are reported as having FAR greater trouble passing the check ride in the Eclipse than in other twin jets....starting with none other than Mike Press.

Sorry to hear Eclipse's requirements are no more demanding than the others. Surely the pilots are no less experienced.

The only conclusion that leaves us is that Ex-421 and Mike Press are absolutely correct: in its present configuration, on a good day, with our training fresh behind us, the plane is a real handful to manage.

Yet, scores have been delivered to pilots in this condition. Many will not be able to "burn in" the lessons from their training because they can't fly the plane until the weather warms up (or FIKI is approved)....like I said, until the weather warms up.

Doesn't sound like much of a "value proposition" to me...especially when wives and kids lives are put on the line for the sake of saying, "We delivered the mostest".

BTW, welcome back. I assumed you'd lost interest after 9Z(?) reported that you'd put your own Eclipse on the market. How's that going? Lots of takers, I'll bet.
Gunner

baron95 said...

Gunner said... The fact that this test is at ATP vs Commercial or Private standards is not the issue: that was a choice made by the Designers and the Regulators to render operation of this aircraft "safe".

Getting a single-pilot Jet/ATP rating without full motion simulator time and without coupled autopilot is not an easy task. I'm also not sure how good the Eclipse instructors are and how tough the examiners are, so I can't really comment on that aspect of the failures.

I do believe strongly though, that requiring ATP standards for a 6,000 lbs, 5 pax machine to be used on part 91 is total overkill. The FAA standards must be revised if VLJs and particularly the single-enjine personal Jets (which will be 4,500 lbs machines) are to reach a wide market.

Flyger said ... The things that are slowing down the airplane actually have *nothing* to do with the dream, which makes it all the more painful. With just a little more knowledge and humility at the beginning, the plane would have been flying in large numbers by now and the revolution would be in full swing.


Exactly. I want 6,000 lbs twin turbofans to be a reality and 4,500 lbs single turbofans to be a reality. I liked the fact that Vern raised the funds to do the former and got a flying concept on the latter into the air. But I hate the way he has gonne about it - it really sucks.

Which brings us to the question. If Cessna is producing/selling Mustangs at $3M at a 300/year clip,
if they wanted to do a 5 pax twin turbfon at 6,000lbs MTOW with PWC610s (like the Eclipse), but with Garmin 1000, etc like the Mustang, at say a 500/year clip, how much do you think they'd sell it for? I'd venture something in the $2.0M-$2.2M. What do you think?

That would be a great value.

baron95 said...

Alexa said... With type certification for the D-Jet due in less than 90 days you must be getting excited.

Where did you get this data? I don't think D-Jet is nearly that close. If they do get it in 90 days it will be an Eclipse-type certification with lots of incomplete certs. I still think that the engine intake on the D-Jet will prove problematic and require a redesign. The plane also has no hope of achieving it's design useful load, being heavily overweight by over 10% of MTOW according to some sources.

AlexA said...

Gunner said, “I assumed you'd lost interest.” You know what happens when you assume;-) From my perspective the blog recently has gone in a downward spiral.

9Z was right, my original position is long gone. I am now the proud owner of another position further down the line.

I’d figure that with D-Jet certification less than 90 days away you must be practicing a lot to ATP standards (no time for hunting).

421Jockey said...

Gunner,

Just to clarify, I never said that the EA50 is a handful to fly. I stted that the check ride is to unrealistic standards that would be difficult in ANY plane.

Actually, the plane is very easy to fly. After becoming acclimated to the systems and avionics (yea, I know), this is about the easiest aircraft to fly that I could imagine.

ex-421

Ringtail said...

Gunner said:
BTW, welcome back.

I agree with that last statement Gunner made...please stick around Alexa.

i have been out of pockett; has Mirage00 resurfaced? - We need him back here also

Ringtail said...

I am looking over some of my notes from last year. Did we ever get a critical review of the AFM by Stan. If I remember correctly, it (AFM) contained the "smoking gun"...some sort of cg problem?

Turbine Power said...

gunner said, "Pilots are reported as having FAR greater trouble passing the check ride in the Eclipse than in other twin jets....starting with none other than Mike Press."

Gosh gunner, all this time I thought Mike Press passed his checkride months ago. You telling us he didn't? How's he fly his plane so much? And what about the 150 other pilots that have passed the checkride? It can't be impossible.

It is understandably a challenge to fly any plane to ATP standards without a flight director, but Avio NG removes that deficiency. Pilots will get another break when the coupled approaches work (though you still have to handfly two approaches).

I know pilots who have chosen a turboprop over a jet because they don't think they can pass the checkride. Which reminds me, didn't you recently decide to get a homebuilt turboprop? That's a good move; the D-Jet would have required you to pass an ATP-level checkride.

AlexA said...

Baron95 Said “Where did you get this data? I don't think D-Jet is nearly that close.”

B95 the commitment comes from the Diamond Deposit Agreement that states certification by Transport Canada will happen the first quarter of 2008. Check out the Diamond Aircraft web site.

Hey we all know that Diamond has Transport Canada in their back pocket. Oh no Eclipse has the FAA in their back pocket. Never mind. With less than 90 days it should be interesting.

Turbine Power said...

ringtail asks, "Did we ever get a critical review of the AFM by Stan?"

Talk is cheap; the AFM costs (not much, though; it is under 200 bucks). I'll bet the loudest voices here turned to wimpers when it came time to cough up the money and actually buy the AFM.

Stan Blankenship said...

turbine power & ringtail,

Review of the AFM and a legitimate media pilot report are both awaiting the same event -> for Eclipse to complete the airplane.

You guys probably read the headlines for the latest press release and jumped up and down and hugged yourselves...

"Eclipse Completes First 100 Airplanes"

This company has yet to complete its first.

Gunner said...

Ex-421 said:
"Just to clarify, I never said that the EA50 is a handful to fly. I stted that the check ride is to unrealistic standards that would be difficult in ANY plane."

I understand that and had no intentions of putting words in your mouth. The question on the floor, however, is why the checkride is so difficult for so many pilots when we don't hear this about comparable aircraft.

I suspect ColdWet may have been right: the plane is a pleasure to fly, stick and rudder, but a handful to MANAGE and stay ahead of under the hood or when Mother Nature starts throwing us curves.

Is this not a fair representation of what you've stated? If so, it has very real ramifications for the Real World problems facing the currently "produced" model.
___________________________

Oh, my, the entire Gang is back. I would hope that the recent civility outbreak can continue. It really has been far more pleasurable and productive around here. Barring that, I ask the world to watch the way guys like Baron, EO and Ex-421 are treated by the Critics in comparison to the manner that the Critics are treated by Ken, RedTail and Alexa.

And to that end of civility, Alexa asked (rhetorically) about my ATP intent. Fact is, Alexa, I've done the Commercial written and flight sign offs. It's only the hunting season that's delayed my check ride. I'm scheduled to take the ATP
ground this weekend, but may have to put that off a bit as I intended to have the Commercial ride behind me first. We'll see.

I don't think I need to be in the rush you claim, though. My D-Jets aren't due for some time now, as you well know. I didn't want to be among the first.

How's your own training coming, given the rate at which Eclipse is promising to churn out product? Are you Multi rated yet?
Gunner

flyger said...

There were a lot of interesting comments in this article:

Eclipse Aviation completed more than 100 aircraft in 2007— far short of earlier predictions but a feat nonetheless compared to other aviation companies, its founder said.

Thus confirming what many critics said earlier, that it would be a major feat to get anywhere near the production rate Eclipse was predicting. Yet, we kept hearing how the new technology was going to make it possible. Guess the critics knew something after all.

So when we criticize Eclipse today, will those comments become celebrations by the company later on how hard it was to fall short of their promises?

The company said it had built and issued certificates of airworthiness to 104 aircraft since Dec. 31, 2006, making it the "fastest general aviation jet aircraft manufacturer in history to produce its first 100 airplanes."

Notice the language. Eclipse is claiming they built their first 100 airplanes, as a new company, faster than anyone else, not that they ramped the first 100 airplanes of a given model faster than anyone else. I missed that distinction earlier.

It means, for example, that Cessna could have easily made more than 100 of a given model in a year, but that wouldn't qualify since it wasn't Cessna's *first* model.

I bet Eclipse doesn't score well on the fully amortized cost for the first hundred. Has any jet maker spent as much to get to this point?

The delays led to a rumored cash crunch as Eclipse failed to reach a one-plane-per-day production goal, and even to layoffs of some aircraft assembly technicians near the end of 2007.

Layoffs? That is contrary to reason if they have cash and they need to ramp up production. We keep hearing that they aren't in financial trouble and that production will go up. I guess too many people are standing in the way on the shop floor.

"Day-to-day setbacks are inevitable, but the reality is that we have created a new aircraft category and are bringing a new breed of jet to market at a rate never before seen in general aviation."

Telling us what reality is doesn't seem to be one of Vern's strong points.

But company spokesman Andrew Broom said deliveries to date were "pretty close" to the number of completed and certified planes.

I would guess it is within a hundred or so.

"In the coming months, we'll be able to schedule training before the person comes to take delivery," he said.

Man, what a concept! Maybe Cessna should look into that. Oh, they did. The very first Mustang's pilots were ready for it when it came off the line.

The question it raises is if training capacity is increasing or whether deliveries are slowing to allow for people to train earlier.

And, of course, the big question is how were they going to train all those pilots if they actually *did* build 500 airplanes? The planning seems quite poor.

Broom was cautious about predictions for customer deliveries in 2008. "It's in the hundreds of hundreds," he said.

Ah, the new math. I wonder what Broom would say if he was being not so "cautious"?

There are interesting little peaks of daylight between the lines in these stories. Maybe someday we will known what the heck is going out there.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Two personal attacks in two posts, now that's the Ken we all know and love, well, know anyway.

Of course, TP can't possibly be Ken, TP reportedly hails from South Africa and is in the transportation industry......unless, hey wait a minute.

Now if only we could get M00 back then it would be like one big happy reunion, well, a reunion anyway.

Since raisin brain (two scoops) seems to have suffered an aneurism from the simple question I asked earlier, I'll try with our favorite apologists for the Church of Flyantology:

Perhaps you can tell us who had the first full TC for a VLJ (here is a hint, not in the 505 area code and they they do not consider their product a VLJ).

Maybe you could tell us who earned the first PC for a VLJ.

Maybe you could tell us who delivered the first, and in fact, has delivered ALL fully functioning VLJ's that do everything the brochure said they would.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ aproved by EASA.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ approved for FIKI.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ with a functioning FMS.

Maybe you could tell us who produces the only VLJ with WAAS capable GPS.

Sure, I knew you could.

Gunner said...

oops-
just saw Ken's latest posts. Looks like my admonition about civility was rather prescient.

Ken-
Someday, at some air show, some stranger is gonna walk up to you and just bitch slap the snot out of you. Before you have the chance to recover from the horror and embarrassment of the encounter; before Shari has a chance to come to your rescue, he's gonna do it again.

Then he's gonna introduce himself as someone you met on a Blog from the safety and comfort of your library wing chair.

BTW, that someone won't be me. I'll be the guy behind him, ROTFLMAO. I'll probably have been headed over to shake your hand for running off as many potential Eclipse Depositors as you have. GA needs LIVE aircraft owners, you know?

You never fail to disappoint, though. ;-)
Gunner

bill e. goat said...

CWMOR,
I think you just made a nice list of New Year Resolutions for Vern!

bill e. goat said...

...of course, some might point out that Vern is already pretty resolute (ahem, amongst other things:)

"Bold", "Steady"

(... ??Ed Smith?? Captain of the Titanic...)

421Jockey said...

N570EA just completed a non-stop 1300+ NM journey from International Falls Minnesota to Gainsville Florida in 3 1/2 hours. Even with an average 20 knot tail wind, that is an impressive flight.

ex-421

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ex421, that IS an achievement, even for an Aero-Mod plane, very impressive even with the tailwind as you suggest.

As an owner of a plane with (currently) very limited utility due to lack of FIKI, I would think you would be hoping they are in search of ice.

I wonder why they would do that with a customer plane unless Eclipse itself does not have any aero-mod planes available.

Black Tulip said...

Ex-421,

Very impressive. Tell us more if you can...

Aircraft mod status.

Souls and baggage on board.

Average outside air temperature aloft.

Fuel remaining at shutdown.

Last thirty minutes of the cockpit voice recorder.

421Jockey said...

BT,

This is sn 70, an aero mod model. I do not know the rest of the details, but I too, would like to hear the last 30 minutes of conversation.

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

N570EA just completed a non-stop 1300+ NM journey from International Falls Minnesota to Gainsville Florida in 3 1/2 hours. Even with an average 20 knot tail wind, that is an impressive flight.

That's fairly impressive, although the tail wind was a big stronger than 20 knots at FL410. It's a bit cross, west to east, but in the range of 35 knots average tail wind component on the route.

Also, the temps are *wickedly* cold right now along most of the route, about ISA-20 which is rare at altitude. This helped the airplane get to altitude much faster. The Eclipse is *strongly* affected by temperature, particularly climbing to high cruise altitude. I seriously doubt they can do this flight in the summer both for the higher temps and the lack of winter winds.

What would be more impressive yet is to know the weights for empty, cabin, and fuel, then how much of it they had left at the end (let's hope it is more than 300 pounds). I have yet to see *any* real empty weights on an Eclipse. It is like it is a secret or something.

421Jockey said...

Flyger,

Can't you give them even one "attaboy"? How many aircraft that cost $1.1 million (he paid slightly less than that) can even come close to that performance and economy?

I'll save you the time. NONE.

FlightCenter said...

BT,

That's the second time you've got me laughing out loud today.

FlightCenter said...

Has anyone else seen an Eclipse fly 3 hours and 46 minutes before?

I sure don't recall seeing anything close to that time enroute previously.

According to flightaware, even this aircraft's longest previous flight was ~2.1 hours.

flyger said...

421Jockey said...

Can't you give them even one "attaboy"?

Attaboy!

Now tell me the particulars. How much fuel was left. Without that detail, I don't know if the airplane was truly spectacular or if the pilot pushed his luck.

If he expects to do this routinely, we will read about it in the papers.

How many aircraft that cost $1.1 million (he paid slightly less than that) can even come close to that performance and economy?

I'll save you the time. NONE.


You're right. Which is a shame Eclipse got bogged down building the wrong bits of technology, none of which made this flight possible.

I note his flight, while lasting 3.5 hours, was delayed about 3 *years* at "the gate".

421Jockey said...

FC,

I just checked the AFM and this is within the long range cruise numbers on the chart. Add in a small tailwind and low temps, this should leave IFR reserves in the tank with time for a divert to an alternate (after a climb to 25,000 ft) and still have a 30 min. reserve.

This was a perfect situation to demonstrate the max cruise limits.

flyger said...

FlightCenter said...

Has anyone else seen an Eclipse fly 3 hours and 46 minutes before?

Yes, it has been done. I think even 4 hours was done at one time. Do note this was at FL410 which means the fuel flow was quite low.

As far as I can remember, this is the farthest distance I have seen an Eclipse go. This leads some credence to the aero mods doing their job. It is certainly a better flight than the "NBAA range" debacle that Eclipse did.

airtaximan said...

from a pilot forum online:

"Thats funny you mention a Baron. Thats what the pilot of Dayjet called it Baron on Steroids. I see them coming and going a lot. Mostly they are empty. All the employees have been real nice and eager to show the airplane to everyone.
I called the sales dept to see if we could use them as a supplement to our dept. but unless you go from dayport to dayport it was actually cheaper to charter a larger jet than use them.
I wish them good luck.. it is a tough market.."

pilots know...
the crowd is smart..

everything else is smoke and BS.

IMHO, an optimistic critics view.

Soon all will be visible and know.

The crowd predicted it.

airtaximan said...

anpther pnline pilot forum post - crowd wisdom at work?

DayJet can't get pilots???

Got a call yesterday from a DayJet recruiter. I asked the lady how she got my info, because I have never applied to work at DayJet. She said:" I found your info on climbto350." I told her my stuff is over three years old there. Must be desperate. Just my opinion, but that Eclipse seems like a Ford POS.

Has this happened to anyone else?


"They sure haven't called me. They must know i'm a 200 pounder!"

EclipseDriver said...

flyger--""I note his flight, while lasting 3.5 hours, was delayed about 3 *years* at "the gate"."

Ah, yes. The begrudging acknowledgement of a true hater.

But have no fear...the haters are gradually getting better at eating crow, and they'll be forced to get better still.

This isn't the way they hoped it would turn out.

airtaximan said...

more from pilot site:

"My only concern with this airplane is that it has no independant backup adi.

It was certified on the basis that each of the three displays can display attitude information from any of the 2 or 3 adhr systems, providing an equivalent level of safety to the normal practice of providing a backup attitude indicator of some kind.

If all the glass goes blank there is no attitude information. (I've heard a rumor that Dayjet sticks a backup ADI on the glareshield).

Every other IFR legal airplane I'm aware of, from the C-172 to the F-22, A-380, and B-777, all have an independent backup attitude instrument of some kind.

The Eclipse may be unique in using the primary displays for backup attitude information.
__________________
Experience is a hard teacher because the test is first, the lesson afterward. "

bob said...

Looks like Vern will have to find a new wooden boy. Broom is out in mid January.

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
There is a saying, regarding painful lessons learned the hard way:

"It is good to learn from experience- but it is better to learn from someone else's experience".

I think Eclipse is still learning the hard way.

flyger said...

EclipseDriver said...

But have no fear...the haters are gradually getting better at eating crow, and they'll be forced to get better still.

Was there supposed to be something useful or enlightening in this post? Do you consider everyone who criticizes Eclipse to be doing so for spite? Is that the defense mechanism that keeps your faith intact?

flyger said...

airtaximan said...

Every other IFR legal airplane I'm aware of, from the C-172 to the F-22, A-380, and B-777, all have an independent backup attitude instrument of some kind.

Mostly correct, the F22 backups were, as was clearly demonstrated, not independent. They put the "backups" on multifunction displays and ran everything on a common code base. Sound familiar?

Black Tulip said...

So it’s unanimous. We give an Attaboy to the crew of N570EA. The jury has ruled out:

Ferry fuel tanks.

In-flight refueling.

Drafting (VW behind a semi).

There are many parameters we’d like to know as we enter this accomplishment into the pantheon of Eclipse Aviation achievements.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger, you have to excuse the Faithful, they went to the Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth Charm School and thus have all the grace and tact of a ballroom elephant. They think interruption, condescension, insults and attempted intimidation are the modern way - rather than fact based discussion and sharing real-world experience.

They speak about begrudging acceptance yet not one of them has taken up my challenge to name who the first full TC for a VLJ (here is a hint, not in the 505 area code and they they do not consider their product a VLJ), or who earned the first PC for a VLJ, or who delivered the first, and in fact, has delivered ALL fully functioning VLJ's that do everything the brochure said they would, or who produces the only VLJ aproved by EASA, or who produces the only VLJ approved for FIKI, or who produces the only VLJ with a functioning FMS, or who produces the only VLJ with WAAS capable GPS.

It's easy of course because the answer is one name, it's just not the name they want it to be.

Stan Blankenship said...

bob,

If you are right and Broom is headed for the door, one has to wonder if the guy really considered his options.

If he stays to the bitter end, he will be in the catbird seat to write the book and probably get a seven-figure advance. Then there could be another seven-figures for the screenplay.

BTW, I would like to get my prediction in early - when they do the movie, Harrison Ford will play the part of the Eclipse Critic, John Travolta will have the starring role as Raburn and will do all of his own stunt flying.

Ringtail said...

Gunner said:

But my standard backup is a Winchester 1894 design.

Amen brother...you and I would get along fine in hunting camp

ringtail

Gunner said...

RingTail-
I agree. You'd be crunchy and tasty in venison chili. ;-)
Gunner

Shadow said...

Bob is correct that Broom is leaving.

The Shadow knows

bob said...

EAC is telling its suppliers to plan on 455 aircraft in 2008. Put me down for 300. Still well short of being profitable.

FlightCenter said...

Stan said,

"If you are right and Broom is headed for the door, one has to wonder if the guy really considered his options."

I bet he left because he considered the value of his stock options.

FlightCenter said...

bob said,

"EAC is telling its suppliers to plan on 455 aircraft in 2008."

Do you have this from more than one supplier?

The last word we heard from Vern in a letter to his customers was that he expected to produce 530 - 650 aircraft in 2008. (Oct 2007)

Interesting.

Gunner said...

FC-
Why wait till tomorrow, when you can begin to lower expectations today? That's the beauty of the Eclipse PR model.
Gunner

FlightCenter said...

I thought this report might be interesting to those of you who haven't heard enough about submarines lately...

Christmas Vacation on a WWII Submarine

flyger said...

bob said...

EAC is telling its suppliers to plan on 455 aircraft in 2008.

That number is less than what Eclipse was saying it could make in 2007 at the start of 2007 (515 airplanes).

It is pretty hard to have any confidence in that number. Given that the goals for 2007 were revised constantly downward.

FlightCenter said...

In October of 2007, the official plan was lowered again, to a little over 100 aircraft in 2007. At that time, the 1 day production rate was pushed to Jan 2008, now a new milestone was introduced, 1.5/day in Apr 2008 and 2/day in Dec 2008.

If we take those rates, assuming those are per "work day", and we assume the rates are hit on the first of the months in question, we get:

jan: 21 (1/work day)
feb: 20
mar: 21
apr: 31 (1.5/work day)
may: 31
jun: 31
jul: 32
aug: 31
sep: 31
oct: 32
nov: 31
dec: 42 (2/work day)

Total: 354 airplane in 2008.

If you assume the rates are per calendar day, the total jumps to 495 airplanes, still short of 2007s forecast at the start of the year. It seems pretty clear the "1,000 per year" goals are out of reach.

I predict around 250 airplanes in 2008 *if* the line is unfettered by financial problems (BK, layoffs, vendor problems). This is one airplane per working day. That's one hell of a production rate, but still well short of profitability, which is why many doubt Eclipse can survive. Let's not forget that having that much material in production flow cost lots of money so the production ramp is a major strain on capital, even with the 6 month prepayments.

bill e. goat said...

FC,
"...(Vern) expected to produce 530 - 650 aircraft in 2008. (Oct 2007) Interesting".

Not just interesting- Verntastic!!
------------------------------
Stan,
"John Travolta will have the starring role as Raburn and will do all of his own stunt flying".

When it comes to exploits, I think Vern's are mostly financial, but allegorically, I don't think even Bob Hoover would try to pull the stunts Vern has...
Bob Hoover
Note: Bob Hoover did fly an AeroCommander (similar to one of the planes in Eclipse's stable, I believe.

(Gotta admit, Bob makes pouring ice tea upside down look easy- Vern is equally impressive with financial maneuvering!! :)
---------------------------

Flyger,
Good analysis on 2008 monthly totals- I'd sign up for your estimate (I'd put it at 225-275).

While tempted, I didn't make a put on the production numbers for 2007. While contemplating other's estimates, I realized I would be "playing the Eclipse game" and giving them credit for uncompleted airplanes. NOT.

I figured the first Avio-NG plane wouldn't be ready until sometime in 2008Q2, and that's what will count. Although, in typical Eclipse fashion, even that estimate has been subject to "lowered expectations", with Avio-NG being "phased in" throughout the year...

(BTW, the number I was tempted to estimate 2007 at was 65. It would appear Eclipse handily surpassed that...Until one wonders what 1000 production workers were doing in 2006. I'm crediting them with building 35, but pushing them into dark corners until the redesigns were done.

(The 2006 and 2007 redesigns, not the 2008 redesigns...)

FlightCenter said...

flyger,

250 is the number I picked for 2008 E500 deliveries, back in June of 2007.

Of course, I thought that Eclipse was going to deliver 131 aircraft in 2007, so it would seem that I'm overly optimistic when it comes to Eclipse production forecasts.

BEG,

In terms of tracking your 2008 delivery projection in the spreadsheet, if you want to enter the contest I'd ask you to provide a specific number, not a range for your projection.

Jim Howard said...

When FIKI certification happens, as it will sooner or latter, I expect a signicant price increase.

Once they get FIKI then the last problem is selling airplanes for more than they cost to build.

bill e. goat said...

FC,
Put me in for 232 for 2008- thanks (fun database!)
------------------------
Jim,
What do you figure the price will be jacked to?
Do you think it will be a

a) a marketing move "Hey, we're FIKI now!"

b) or more of a "Hey, we're going broke unless we jack the price"

c) or an exploitation of price creep on the Mustang?

Thanks.

flyger said...

Jim Howard said...

When FIKI certification happens, as it will sooner or latter, I expect a signicant price increase.

To new customers or to the existing order book? I don't see how they can raise the price on the backlog without a full revolt, not to mention there is a "contract", and raising the price for new customers won't help for years on revenue.

Everyone bought the airplane with the understanding that it will have FIKI. So I don't see how Eclipse could raise the price claiming they have a new capability. FIKI was already "priced in" as they say.

Once they get FIKI then the last problem is selling airplanes for more than they cost to build.

FIKI is almost a trivial task compared to finishing AvioNG. Which makes me wonder why it has taken so long. I suspect that FIKI will be granted only to the "aero mod" airplanes (>serial 38?) and that's why it wasn't done earlier. The early serial airplanes will have to be retrofitted to be FIKI. Ah, the joys of being an early adopter.

There are two key milestones this year: FIKI and AvioNG being *really* useful with FMS, WAAS, FD, etc. I think FIKI should happen in months. If that doesn't happen, be prepared to hear that already delivered airplanes will have to be further modified to make it work. As for AvioNG, I think it will take 18 months to something we would consider fully usable. The saving grace here is that AvioNG is likely to be software, so accepting the airplane half baked isn't fatal. The owners are already committed so they have to take the airplanes that way.

If Eclipse exits 2008 with FIKI and usable AvioNG, and they made at least 300 airplanes in the year, then I think they are going to make it. They got a chance...

Shane Price said...

FlightCentre,

After much mature consideration, and a review of the economic, political, religious and social outlook for 2008, I predict that Eclipse, (mis)led by Vern Raburn, will deliver 42 E500's

I know this is the same prediction as I made for 2007, but this has several advantages.

First, I avoid work, wherever possible. Giving the same answer is proof of my method, IMHO.

Second, I don't think the 'real' money chase is going well. As soon as the BoD wake up and smell the roses, Vern is toast.

Third, Deep Thought, the largest, most complex (fictional) computer ever, says that was The Answer.

So, put me down for 42.

Again.

Shane
PS. Black Tulip, it was NOT Slartibartfast. He only wanted to design fjords, not predict the actual answer...

Black Tulip said...

Shane,

Yeah, I know. Deep Thought and Loonquawl were more involved with 'the answer'. But look at what a good job Slartibarfast did with the fjords. Norway came out very nice.

Shane Price said...

Anyone else notice oil has hit $100 a barrel?

For two days in a row?

You guys are in an election year, and there are 2,700 purchasers for a $1.6 Million (or whatever number you like) toy?

Can someone please, please explain the logic of the Eclipse order book?

I begin to wonder if, like South Carolina in 1860, Eclipse is 'too small to be a country and too large to be a lunatic asylum'....

Shane

Copernicus said...

Price Increase

Under the terms of the Eclipse Deposit Agreement (deposit of $100,000 or so) and also under the Purchase & Sale Agreement (signed at 6 months prior to delivery with the 60% deposit required)Eclipse reserves the right to raise the price. Eclipse does not need a reason. If Eclipse raises the price then the customer can choose either to go along with the increase or to get a refund of any deposits to date.

To raise the price on the P/S customers, who have already sent the better part of $1 million, would be a PR nightmare and would force Eclipse to send back as much as $900,000 per customer, if the customer didn't accept the increase. The alternative to Eclipse, however, would be to produce an airplane for $1.4 million (taking a guess at their 2008 costs)and get about $500,000 (the final payment) for it. So because it is about equal either way, they would probably not increase prices to this group.

To the depositors, they might, however. First it they raise the list price by $500,000 they could raise the price to depositors by $400,000 so the depositors are still getting an advantage. If they lose some, then they have to send back $100,000. But they would probably keep most customers and get enough additional from the keepers to fund the cash needs of the dropouts. Also, they would probably be smart enough this time to make the depositors' discount to list price so small (no more than $100K) as to prevent speculating in positions. The would also reverse their current position of not being able to sell new airplanes because positions and hardly-used airplanes are available in the secondary market.

Shane Price said...

Black Tulip,

I prefer Switzerland myself, but agree that Norwegians are much nicer people.

Not as good at selling single engined turboprops, but better drinkers.

Shane

Black Tulip said...

Shane,

Be careful what you say about South Carolina, one of those good ol'boys might come gitcha. That's where they ask, "If I divorce my wife, will she still be my second cousin?"

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Shane,

The logic of the order book can be understood thorugh the use of an electronic brain and a strong Brownian motion producer (say, a cup of hot tea), similar to the propulsion system in the Heart of Gold spacecraft.

Also known as an Infinite Improbability Generator.

Alternatively, take 8 parts honest early adopters; 3 parts semi-honest air-taxi concepts; and 13 parts vaporware orders from a sister company; combine in a leased publicly owned airport facility, add $1.5B dollars and one huge ego, non-shelled of course; mix thoroughly, then cook on simmer for 9 years - voila Preemie Jet Souffle.

Shane Price said...

ColdWet,

The only thing I distinctly recall about souffle is that it goes flat pretty soon after you take it out of the oven.

Is there a danger this might happen to an Eclipse 500?

Shane
PS, As I think people have noticed by now, I survived both the slopes and a poor internet connection.

flyger said...

Copernicus said...

Under the terms of the Eclipse Deposit Agreement (deposit of $100,000 or so) and also under the Purchase & Sale Agreement (signed at 6 months prior to delivery with the 60% deposit required)Eclipse reserves the right to raise the price. Eclipse does not need a reason. If Eclipse raises the price then the customer can choose either to go along with the increase or to get a refund of any deposits to date.

I have to hand it to Vern, he's brilliant. Now he can raise the price. Either the customer goes along with it (more money), or he had their money interest free and unsecured for 8 years! Given the delusional state of the faithful, most of them are going to do the former just to avoid admitting what a mistake they made. Good money after bad! And those same faithful now defend him here and everywhere else.

Vern makes Enron execs look like amateurs.

bill e. goat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bill e. goat said...

Shane,
“Can someone please, please explain the logic of the Eclipse order book”?

(I think the logic is to make the company appear attractive to potential buyers- of companies, not airplanes).
-------------------------
"The only thing I distinctly recall about souffle is that it goes flat pretty soon after you take it out of the oven".

(?? Has the champagne gone flat at Eclipse yet ??)
--------------------------
“I know this is the same prediction (42)...I don't think the 'real' money chase is going well. As soon as the BoD wake up and smell the roses, Vern is toast”.

(I think this would HELP Eclipse boost production...revise accordingly to 43 per year).
---------------------------
“Deep Thought, the largest, most complex (fictional) computer ever...”

(I think somebody sold Ed at Dayjet on using Deep Thought. Probably the same guys that sold Vern the Big Shovel for digging Deep Hole)
----------------------------
“I survived both the slopes and a poor internet connection”.

(Welcome back! I think your good internet connection is going to put you on slippery slopes with the “faithful” though! :).

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

People leave Eclipse because there is no growth... less than a ahandful have ever been promoted... and if they are its only to be Verns puppet...

No advancement, no raises, no stock value, no energy left...

mouse said...

When the plane begins to age all the original people will be gone and engineering and tech support will be nil...

flyger said...

Niner Zulu said...

As of now, there is about an 80% probability I'll go with a Mustang.
...
The only disappointment will be the day I write the check.


When you sell, and get more than you paid for it, you'll be happy. I expect the used market prices of Mustang and Eclipse to head in very different directions. The speculation market on positions already has.

John said...

Dayjet Week 14
Including a 4.45 Hour delivery flight for aircraft 156 on Jan 3, 2008
Total flight time 31.4 hours with 38 legs

Craft …. Hours … Flights
DJS109 …. 1.4 … 1
DJS115 …. 0.7 … 2
DJS132 …. 2.6 … 2
DJS134 …. 0.8 … 1
DJS135 …. 0.4 … 1
DJS139 …. 1.2 … 2
DJS141 …. 5.2 … 8
DJS142 …. 5.8 … 8
DJS146 …. 2.8 … 3
DJS148 …. 2.9 … 3
DJS150 …. 1.4 … 2
DJS152 …. 1.7 … 2
DJS156 …. 4.5 … 3
Grand Total …. 31.4 … 38

Flights were predominately out of KBCT and KGNV.

Departure … Flights
Albuquerque(KABQ) … 1
Boca Raton (KBCT) … 12
Craig Muni (KCRG) … 3
Gainesville(KGNV) … 8
Key West(KEYW) … 1
Lakeland(KLAL) … 3
Leesburg(KLEE) … 1
Naples(KAPF) … 1
North Palm (F45) … 1
Arkansas(KXNA) … 1
Ocala(KOCF) … 1
TallahasseeKTLH) … 5
Grand Total … 38

FlightCenter said...

john,

Wow, that sounds like the all time low for aircraft utilization at DayJet.

Is that what your numbers show?

If you take the best case for DayJet and assume that they only flew 3 days last week, then their aircraft flew less than 0.4 hours per day. If you assume a rate of 30% for dead heads and positioning, then they flew less than 0.3 revenue hours per aircraft per day.

(These numbers do not include the delivery flight.)



It will be very interesting to see what the utilization is next week, for the first full week of the new year.

bill e. goat said...

Speaking of deliveries and Dayjet utilization...
I am still sticking with 50 total, eventually.
And probably, this reaching 40-45 this year.
So, I expect 30-ish deliveries this year to Dayjet.
I think the Dayjet delivery rate over the next 18 months will be the most critical factor for Eclipse.

If Ed raised -a truly Verntastic- $250M, well, he can dig a pretty deep hole too, before things implode (that's enough bucks to buy maybe 150+ airplanes, and sustain operating losses for ?18 months or so?). But if the E-500 airtaxi thing isn't working out, I believe he will "save his powder" and dabble more with dinosaur-ish charter; probably with larger aircraft. (And if Eclipse were pursuing a larger product instead of the Conjet, they might be a player).
An exception to this reasoning would be if Dayjet "goes long", and tries to spend their way to profitability.

Get out the Deep Thought Accounting Package software...(I think he can borrow a copy from Vern).

airtaximan said...

"And if Eclipse were pursuing a larger product instead of the Conjet..."

with such limited overall activity, I would think the load factors for "per seat" are VERY low. Perhaps 1. Conjet might be the only solution to per-seat (one-person chartering = per seat... sorta).

I doubt that Dayjet would go larger, because this would only make matters worse - unless the aboandon their "micro-regional" service replacing CARS, and go after real jet trips. This would mean Eclipse missed the air taxi market completely.

** I would consider at least 1/2 the Gainsville and Boca trips to be non-revenue. Just a hunch.

I wonder if this result is "worse than their worst scenario"?

Any takers?

*** QUESTION: ANYONE READING THIS BLOG EVER TAKEN A DAYJET FLIGHT? O+D, HOW MANY PAX, COST?

bill e. goat said...

ATM,
"I doubt that Dayjet would go larger...unless the aboandon their "micro-regional" service...and go after real jet trips. This would mean Eclipse missed the air taxi market completely".

Yup- that's my forecast. That's where I think Eclipse could have offered -maybe- a "break through" product. (And Dayjet too).

Seems like there are a lot of cookie-cutter designs out there (hey- if it works, don't change it), so it would have to be substantially different / "disruptive" to have a competitive advantage. Maybe a twin-jet Caravan sort of thing or something. Extra roomy, extra efficient, even if it means extra slow- market it as roomy and luxurious (lots of leather and wood and glass) and "faster than a car". (Glass cockpit, okay, whatever- the only "glass" the passengers care about is in the cabin trim).

Think "Air Limo" or -especially if it's roomy and comfortable- "Air Yacht" instead of "Air Taxi". Sort of Hindenberg-ish; roomy, good view, faster than a steamship, exlusive clientele.

(I think that thing was filled with gas too- so Eclipse should compete well).
Disruptive Gas Bag

And, it could also be offered as a utility plane, sans gaudy interior. (Regretably, while exceptional for personal transport, for corporate use, the E-500 suffers in both opulence and utility).

bill e. goat said...

In the interest of completeness...
(You KNEW it was coming...)
The Disruptive Gas Bag (part 2)

:)

Shane Price said...

Goat,

Thanks for the welcome back.

And the laughs...

You might need to watch your back, having a go at The Great Raburn like that!

Shane

bill e. goat said...

Hi Shane,
Indeed I have considered the avenues of retribution available to Vern's minions, and keep expecting an E-500 to fall on my head.

(...like most of us :)

baron95 said...

Shane Price said ... Can someone please, please explain the logic of the Eclipse order book?

If you are in the market for a personal or light duty corporate/charter plane in the Eclipse $1.5M price range, what else could you buy?

An equipped Baron G58 is $1.3M (just below the Eclipse), an euiped Meridian is just under $2M (just above the Eclipse).

The Eclipse performance wise is 100-170 KTS faster than those planes, clruises 15,000 to 25,000ft higher, has 30-40% better range, climbs 60% faster, etc.

If (and it is a big if) you assume that Avio NG2.0 will happen and FIKI will happen and someone will be there to support the plane, it is almost a no-brainer decision.

John said...

FC-- all time low utilization was the Xmas week when there were 4 total flights.

Re-- Dayjet capital raise, I believe the big money raise was reported as a loan commitment to purchase aircraft. This means the "money" used is secured by the craft in a purchase-lease back arrangement, and Dayjet can not use the loan committment for operating expenses or other style of craft. They likely do not even have access to the capital.

The operating expenses will be met by the April $50M seed capital raise. This money may be nearly gone given anticipated burn rates.

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

Baron-
You (and a couple others) truly are a breath of fresh air in the way you support Eclipse with a healthy dose of reality and reasoned skepticism. You do the company great credit with your approach. I mean that.

To your post, the admission of the "Big If" is the entire nub of the Critics' point these past two years. Other than company longevity, these "Ifs" have no place in the aviation industry we've known. Jets have historically not been "certified", "produced" or "delivered" with half finished avionics suites, multiple Inop Placards and one-year-plus lack of functional deice.

It gives the industry a real bad name mainly because it is downright DANGEROUS. This appears to be the legacy of Eclipse's "disruptive" approach and many of us find it truly offensive.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

First, I want to second Gunner's comment, the rational Eclipse supporter is a far cry from the Faithful, thank God.

I would another big IF though, and that is, Eclipse has, so far, still failed to sell the 500-600 per year they say they need JUST OT BREAKEVEN.

The order book would be twice as big as it is now if they had successfully met this critical business need. They are off to date by a factor of 2, IF you give them credit that every single option will be exercised. If you look only at acknowledged hard orders they are off by almost a factor of 5.

Without the needed volume for breakeven at the current price (which works out to $1.8M as most folks would equip the plane), the only solution is raise the price but then the question becomes what will people pay for a, STILL incomplete preemie jet?

The lack of significant sales for nearly 3 years now indicates the current price appears too high for the current level of functionality, how will they sell if the price goes up $500K, or $1M.

Aside from Vern, I think poor sales performance is the real achilles heel of this whole thing, and the ECJ will exascerbate it, not relieve it, in my opinion. All indications and a few rumors are that Eclipse has sold next to zero EA500 positions since the ECJ showed up at OSH. As was commented on here at the time, the ECJ essentially IS the plane Vern originally promised back in 2000, only with 2 less seats and one less engine. When, not if they introduce it, they will be competing with themselves as well as with the speculators on the EA500 - that will not be pretty.

Despite numerous promises in late 2006 and early 2007 for better communication the company remains opaque not transparent but shrouded in secrecy.

And still no VP Engineering, no CIO, no VP Training and Safety, no VP Investor Relations, and no new word on PhostrEX.

What will the New Year bring?

bill e. goat said...

CWMOR,
"What will the New Year bring?"

Robots!!

(ah, the mechanical, not human, kind).

(I think that was the answer to everything that was wrong back around March or April of last year anyway).

I predict the next PR lackey will have tourette's syndrome. Such random blurtings will probably provide a more consistent corporate message (and be more reflective of Eclipse's strategic planning):

"Revolutionary"!
"WCSYC"!
"Disruptive"!
"FSW"!
"Air Taxi"!
"2700"!
"The First"!
"Phostrex"!
"Con-Jet"!

...and yes,
"Robots"!

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

In reviewing the various bits of news for 2007 has anyone else realized that Airbus and Boeing combined for roughly 2600 orders, in 2007 alone?

That's right, those two dinosaurs alone, sold as many planes in 2007, a single year, as Vern and crew have sold, over the entire 9 years since announcing the program.

Airbus and Boeing achieved this after selling an equally impressive 2000 plus airliners last year.

And Vern keeps trumpeting how he is 'revolutionizing' air travel.

Somebody better notify Toulouse and Chicago, apparently they are dead but just don't know it.

airtaximan said...

BAron... I am not saying you are wrong... in fact the performance "improvements" provided by a completed eclipse 500compared with the similar size props is of interest to me, insofar as what it "delivers".

My point: does some extra range and speed for this class of plane, with these payload range stats and small size really "deliver" added value over the props? What practical value, really? I am not saying there is none... just noodling.

Here's why: I know osomeone who offered a same day package delivery service to a major parcel service provider, and they said "why?". The day is segmented into work time and night time, for most businesses that would use the service. If the package is there by the next morning, (the next business cycle) that's probably in time for the company to do anything with it in most cases. They do provide very expensive same day service, use the airlines for this, and lose money. They do it, becasue they do it. This is the answer. Its an extremely small part of their business, and it loses money.

Somehow, I think a few knots faster, for short distance trips, and the ability to perhaps go higher, in such a small plane, is "of limited value".

Its a small market, no where near big enough to justify the low (based on high production rate) pricing offered by eclipse. So you raise the price commenurate with the limited (dare I say niche?) market, and "what happens to the value?". Is it gone.

In fact, I think the single jets will erase any value... per conjet comments noted here.

Just my opinion - I am wide open for comebacks.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

If (and it is a big if) you assume that Avio NG2.0 will happen and FIKI will happen and someone will be there to support the plane, it is almost a no-brainer decision.

I concur with those points.

There is one other issue and that is long term viability of the airplane. People are still flying airplanes built in the 50s and 60s because they are able to upgrade them with modern avionics, add STC engines, etc. The Eclipse seems very "unupgradeable" beyond whatever the Eclipse factory wants to do. You are more "locked in" to a proprietary airplane that, some day, Eclipse will no longer want to support or modernize to current standards. Don't believe the crap about how AvioNG is "future proof". Eclipse can't predict the next 12 months of their own shop floor so 10 or 20 years from now is hopeless.

Imagine if all Cessnas flying had the original avionics they came with from the factory. Yeah, that would be bad, real bad.

bill e. goat said...

Flyger,
Your comments reminded me of a post Mouse (I think) made a few months back- years earlier he had proposed Eclipses be leased rather than sold, to more handily facilitate upgrades (and maintenance on the life-limited engines).

I think this is the same scheme IBM used for mainframe computers back in the 1950's.

Indeed, there is a parallel with Eclipse- IBM had a proprietary system back then. IBM recognized the marketing limitations of that, and promoted the open-sourced PC architecture in the 1980's.

Better to have a small slice of a big pie, rather than all of a small pie, I suppose, was the thinking.

It appears Eclipse is going for the whole pie right now. (Sort of like Apple did with proprietary hardware. Their market share shrunk to 4%, despite the sputterings of cultists (hmmm, "We were the first!", mouses, GUI, etc. Good points, but so what- the market wanted upgradability and backward compatability).

Product diversification, and branding, (and using open-architecture components) has boosted Apple's profits of late, maybe something Eclipse will embrace as well.

Black Tulip said...

Flyger said,

"Imagine if all Cessnas flying had the original avionics they came with from the factory."

Compare the Cessna Conquest and the Twin Commander... both long out of production. Conquests were delivered with proprietary avionics made by Cessna. Twin Commanders were delivered with third-party avionics packages, either Collins or Bendix-King.

Guess which aircraft has retained value better and is easier to retrofit with successive generations of avionics?

(There are other factors - Cessna would rather ignore old Conquests and sell you a Citation. Twin Commander is well supported.)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Wanted to share a great read, Richard Aboulafia's latest missive. Althougn not an identified participant here, Richard sounds like he is most certainly 'one of us', and his writing style in the latest letter makes for a great read.

Enjoy!

http://www.richardaboulafia.com/shownote.asp?id=260

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

BT, the twin commanders rock, from the Shrike all the way to the 690's and 1000's.

Of course, I am a big Ted Smith fan, Heineman as well. Like Bill Lear, these guys knew how to make a point.

From wiki:
In 1950, when the developers were working to satisfy CAA regulations for certification of the 500, they chose a novel method of demonstrating its single-engine safety and performance: they removed one of the two-bladed propellers, secured it in the aft cabin, and flew from Bethany to Washington D.C. on one engine. There they met with CAA personnel, then replaced the propeller and returned to Oklahoma in the conventional manner. The flight received nationwide coverage in the press.

What a concept, don't say you can do it, ACTUALLY DO IT.

Maybe the spirit of Ted Smith can visit Vern in that 690 of his sometime and teach him a thing or two.

airtaximan said...

CW,

"That’s right. Propellers. They’re as old as the Wright Flyer, proving that older technology can enjoy a renaissance. Business planes have led the way in restoring propellers to a prominent position. 2007: Year of the Very Light Jet? Hardly. More like 2007: Year of the Turboprop Business Aircraft. While Eclipse and Cessna delivered fewer than 150 VLJs, Cessna, Hawker Beechcraft, Pilatus, Piaggio, and Socata almost three times as many turboprops—a record for the last 25 years. VLJ production is headed up, but so is prop production. And if you assume, as I do, that Eclipse implodes like a hollowed out termite hill in 2008, the Prop:VLJ production ratio will be similar to this year’s. Props provide a better cabin with low operating costs. They can be almost as fast as a VLJ, which means total trip time is insignificant."

I SWEAR, I AM NOT him! (read my last post)

bill e. goat said...

Propellers, turbofans, etc.
How DINOSAUR !!
"Gravity Power"
Just another perpetual motion gas bag :)

Regarding other gas bags, on a slightly more realistic note:
Freighter Gas Bag
I was saddened to see these guys go bust. I thought this had great prospects, especially with rising fuel prices and environmental concerns. (I think Lockheed is working on something of more modest size for surveillance systems- particularly high-altitude phased array search radars).

Or, for something equally "disruptive":
310 kt cruise

baron95 said...

AT said...In fact, I think the single jets will erase any value... per conjet comments noted here.

I agree. For personal transportation, a 5,000lbs single engine jet (ala ECJ/Cirrus) with 5 seats would most likely hit the mark if priced in the $1.0-$1.5M.

Realistically though, these jets are 5 years away. Maybe a year from now we'll have the D-Jet ready. But that is a different design that has lots of challenges. They simply chose the wrong engine (not enough power) and the wrong configuration (FOD issues, maintenance/access issues, etc).

flyger said...

Black Tulip said...

Guess which aircraft has retained value better and is easier to retrofit with successive generations of avionics?

Uh, both of them? I guess I missed your point.

A Cessna Conquest I or II and turbine Commanders are well over $1M airplanes and are easily updated with leading edge avionics.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

For personal transportation, a 5,000lbs single engine jet (ala ECJ/Cirrus) with 5 seats would most likely hit the mark if priced in the $1.0-$1.5M.

SEJs are far more challenging than people give them credit for. There are certain regulatory hurdles and there are certain business liability issues.

Understand that any engine failure in an SEJ is probably a lawsuit. A failure in a twin jet is not. I've heard that the total life cycle cost, to the manufacturer, for liability and to deal with the lack of redundancy in other systems is about the same as the cost of the second engine.

I don't think there has ever been a certified SEJ for those reasons. I will be very curious to see if someone manages to do that without so many compromises that you would have been better off with a second engine.

Gunner said...

Baron said:
"I agree. For personal transportation, a 5,000lbs single engine jet (ala ECJ/Cirrus) with 5 seats would most likely hit the mark if priced in the $1.0-$1.5M.

Realistically though, these jets are 5 years away.
"

Well, if that's the case, Eclipse won't be around to provide one. If you agree the price of an SE should be in the range of $1-1.5 Mil, you have to agree that the EA-500 needs to be sold north of $2.0-2.2 Mill.

I doubt they'll have many takers at that price given current competition. Besides, a fully functional EA-500 twin is still a couple years away.
Gunner

Shane Price said...

Baron95,

I'm not sure you understood my point.

The relative merits of small aircraft was not what I asked.

The logic of the '2,700 orders' is where I have problems.

This number has remained static for more than 18 months. Every piece of press coverage mentions it, but during that period we have discovered that the greater part of that number, the DayJet one, is not actually '1,400 orders and options' but something short of 350 by the same measure.

Bear with me on this.

'2,700 orders' contains one, incomplete (bit like th aircraft itself, but I digress) '1,400 from DayJet'. Ed himself admits that he is looking at alternatives. Vern wants to build 1 a day, but is not getting orders for one a day. If he was, the order book should have grown by about 500 during the 18 months.

So, help me out here.

Why is the order book static?

Who is in the order book?

Where will the 'new orders' come from?

When can Vern tell the whole truth about the 'orders' he claims to have?

And sorry to be a bit of a pain on the subject, but...

Why will investors continue to pour the required funds into Eclipse in an election year?

How will anyone afford to run a small, short range jet with oil at (or north of...) $100?

Why would suppliers (Fuji in Japan, Hamsons in the UK, PWA in Canada) be happy to get paid in Dollars that are worth 30% less than they were 12 months ago?

When will your government wake up to the idea that your total tax take won't pay the INTEREST on your debts?

NOW...

Explain the logic, please.

Shane

bill e. goat said...

Shane,
You bring up troubling, annoying questions- just remember:

WAR IS PEACE
FREEDOM IS SLAVERY
IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH

Apparently, on your side of the pond, the "news" people do not have the best interest of the people at heart, as they do here, by providing comfort and entertainment that makes us feel happy about ourselves and confident of our leaders.

Too bad it's not so simple for you "over there". But once it happens, you will get used to it, and you'll wonder why it was ever any other way.

Shane Price said...

Goat,

Classic 'non denial denial' answers.

For a moment, you had me worried.

You were beginning to sound like Ken...

You guys have the Pentagon, the CIA, the White House and Fox News to keep you informed.

We have the EU.

I wonder which of us is better off?

Still don't understand that 'order book'. Wonder if anyone outside (or even inside) Eclipse does either.

Shane

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