Thursday, January 17, 2008

Eclipse Aviation Receives Level D Simulator Certification on First Attempt

VLJ leader to provide full motion simulator training for customers

ALBUQUERQUE, NM - January 17, 2008 -

Eclipse Aviation, manufacturer of the world's first very light jet (VLJ), today announced the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has certified its first flight simulator, manufactured by OPINICUS, as a Level D Full Motion Device. Obtaining this level of certification on the first attempt is unprecedented for a new manufacturer of a new aircraft. Level D is the highest qualification the FAA grants for simulators, and this certification will allow Eclipse Aviation to type certify student pilots without having to train in an aircraft.

Immediately after achieving Level D certification, Eclipse initiated the certification process for its Part 142 syllabus and integration of the simulators and learning environment. This second part of the certification is scheduled to conclude in late January with an official Part 142 certificate from the FAA.

The certification was the result of a successful partnership between Eclipse Aviation, OPINICUS of Lutz, FL, Higher Power Aviation (HPA) of Dallas, TX, and Flight Simulation Company (FSC) of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"It is quite a feat for a new manufacturer to be granted this level of flight simulator certification on the first try, and particularly so with an aircraft as innovative as the Eclipse 500," said Vern Raburn, president and CEO of Eclipse Aviation. "These simulators will play a major role in our progressive training program, and this milestone reflects our commitment to bring only the highest-quality training devices and instruction to our customers."

Eclipse's training capacity is accelerating with each new certified device. The company expects to have three Full Motion Level D simulators in customer operation by April 2008, with the second device slated to receive certification in February, and the third in March 2008. Eclipse continues to use a Flight Training Device (FTD) for cockpit procedures training, flight skills assessment, and to augment training and improve proficiency. Eclipse expects to have all four full motion simulators in operation by late 2008.

Following official Part 142 approval, Eclipse will begin its first simulator training class for customers in late January, 2008 with subsequent classes beginning in February 2008.

Thanks to EclipseOwner387 for the heads up on this one.


FlightCenter said...

The last communications from Eclipse on this subject came earlier this month. At that time the plan was that Eclipse would have 2 simulators online by the end of January and 3 simulators online by the end of March.

This press release changes those expectations to 1 simulator online by the end of January and 3 simulators online by the end of April.

The earlier communication committed that Eclipse would be caught up with the training backlog by the end of March.

There was no word in this press release as to whether that will be pushed out as well.

One has to believe that these simulators are certified to simulate Avio, not Avio NG.

For the owner of serial #105, this is a good news / bad news situation. The good news is, he has his certified Avio NG aircraft. The bad news is, according to word on the street, he hasn't had the Avio NG training.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Does anyone else notice how the Eclipse PR machine takes what would be a 'yawner' for any other aircraft company and while delivering bad news makes it look as if they are achieving something dramatic?

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

This latest chapter in the continuing “Eclipse Saga” reminds me of the man that went hunting for a fur coat. And a bear went hunting for a meal. As it turned out, the man got his fur coat, and the bear got his meal.

We’ll be on the lookout for a man wearing a fur coat. They say a man is known by the clothes he wears.


(Was that your stomach that just growled?)

bill e. goat said...

All righty now. Four full-motion simulators is down right spanky.
Time for another session of:
“Fun With Math”!!

I donno the utilization, but for our fun purposes, I figured:

Four pilots per simulator for two weeks. That mathematically (sort of like 1.7 kids per household) comes out to 2 pilots per simulator per week. That would be 20 hours per week per pilot, for a total of 40 hours in the sim. Probably about right for systems familiarization and flight simulation.

Of the Four simulators, on average one will be down for maintenance at any given time. That comes out to 3 simulators available.

Of the 52 weeks per year, knock out 2 weeks for Christmas, 1 week for Thanksgiving, and 1 week for Vern’s Birthday, or some such. That leaves 48 weeks available for training.

(2 pilots / simulator / week) x (3 simulators) x (48 weeks / year)

= (2 x 3 x 48) = 288 pilots/year through simulators.
The systems familiarization wouldn’t need a full motion simulator, so say only half the pilot’s time is spent there, then the “throughput” is doubled to 576. That’s a lot of bodies!

How does this play with production forecasts?

Figure 48 weeks, 6 workdays per week, 2 planes per workday = guess what? 576 airplanes per year!

(I"m *certainly* not saying I believe it, but I think the saying is “they have method to their madness” :)
Another way of looking at the numbers:

Say Eclipse looses $250K per airplane.

$250K x 576 = $144M
Which is about what the newest FOV (Friends Of Vern) agreed to pony up...

Anonymous said...

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Does anyone else notice how the Eclipse PR machine takes what would be a 'yawner' for any other aircraft company and while delivering bad news makes it look as if they are achieving something dramatic?

That's standard MO for them.

I think the sims are about 4 years late from the original schedule. And like everything else Eclipse has done, this was caused by totally scrapping their first attempt at them.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Which is more unprecedented - a new OEM of a new plane getting first try cert on a Level D sim


a new OEM of a new plane REQUIRING a Level D sim?

I am telling you, the guy is compelled to be 'special' and no amount of hyperbole is too much for him.

What does anyone suppose to have been the last new plane from a new OEM that required a Level D full motion sim?

Anyone, anyone?

The amazing sVerngali makes these ridiculous assertions that nobody bothers to fact check him on, to say whether or not it is A) True, or B) Relevant.

Do other OEM's make their own sim's? No.

Do other OEM's certify their own sim's? No.

This is likely the first time a brand new (new, if you don't count the 10 years and $1.X Billion it took to get here) OEM has contracted and certified its' own Level D full-motion sim for a new plane (new, if you don't count the multiple design and production iterations) - making any implied comparison totally meaningless and completely irrelevant.

Which version of Avio does the simulator simulate?

Which version of Avio is the training syllabus developed for? Oops doesn't matter, the 142 certificate isn't complete and the syllabus is not certified either.

How does the training syllabus deal with uncertified optional functionality? Oops doesn't matter, the 142 certificate isn't complete and the syllabus is not certified either.

Which version of the plane does the simulator simulate?

Which version of the plane is the training syllabus developed for (A or Aero-Mod)? Oops doesn't matter, the 142 certificate isn't complete and the syllabus is not certified either.

How far behind schedule was the simulator certification?

How far behind schedule IS the 142 certification?

How far over cost was the simulator development?

How many vendors were tossed under the bus re: the simulator? Hint - at least one.

How many vendors were tossed under the bus re: training? Hint - at least two.

THESE are the questions that should be asked, even though we critics already know the answers.

airtaximan said...

I think its time to fess up...

We are not properly called "critics" anymore, we are reporters

There are no longer "faithful", "supporters" or "die-hards" just shills.

Truth hurts

bill e. goat said...

"Which version of Avio does the simulator simulate"?


...guess that's why they're getting FOUR simulators!

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

"I think the sims are about 4 years late...this was caused by totally scrapping their first attempt at them".

(And the first two flight sim "partners")

But you see, it was necessary to "re-invent" flight simulators.

And then re-reinvent them.

Black Tulip said...

I suspect there will be tremendous competition for simulator time. In my case, I’ve been able to get into training facilities after hours and fly the DC-10, MD-88, B-707 and B-737 simulators. Its typically late evening; a tired-looking commercial or military crew ‘deplanes’ and we slide in.

Some Eclipse enthusiasts write poetically about a future airplane as if it existed today. We’ve read lengthy comparisons of the many fine qualities of the Eclipse compared to any of the dinosaur products.

For those writers - flying a Level D Simulator may be as good as it gets. Eclipse should set this up as a profit center, plus it may turn the heat down on delivering real aircraft. Think about it…

Unrestricted climbs to 41,000 feet.

Fully-coupled approaches supervised by flight director and moving map.

“We're in visible moisture below five degrees C, I’ll turn on the anti-ice…”

Alternates are never needed.

The Carnarsie circling approach to Runway 13 Left at JFK is optional and not part of the training or checkride.

Oil price increases are only a second or third order effect.

gadfly said...

Dark Blossom says, “For those writers - flying a Level D Simulator may be as good as it gets. Eclipse should set this up as a profit center, plus it may turn the heat down on delivering real aircraft. Think about it…”

You’ve got it right, for sure. But your flight plan needs refinement.

“Area 51”, “Bermuda Triangle”, “Roswell” . . . and a “fly-by” at eye level of the monolith in “Space Odyssey 2001”, complete with virtual apes. (Right there, the possibilities are endless.)

Yep! . . . me thinks you have a winner.


bill e. goat said...

Your post about "refining" the flight plan and virtual apes, got me to thinking about Walt Disney "automatons".

Maybe that's what Vern was talking about when he said the Eclipse production line was going to be using robots.
I'm wondering how the recent CoB is going to affect executive staffing. How long before a new VP of Engineering is selected? (Seems like it shouldn't be a hard position to fill- is there some reason NOT to fill it? The only reason I could think of is: they are reviewing Russian candidates?).

Speaking of jobs: the Evil Empire's (excuse me- the "Happiest Place on Earth" :) web site now lists 86 career openings- up from around 65 a few weeks ago- apparently the cash infusion is having an impact. Everything looks to be production or service-center related. Mouse says the ConJet is a go, in fact, has been on-going. Makes me wonder if the single isn't going to be built in Russia?

I think getting an export license for the Pratt motors might be difficult. And if one considers engine "scaling down" to be a challenge, maybe this is a more logical platform for an indigenous eastern-block engine, as the ConJet will be using one with around 50% more thrust than the 610's.

If it seems a bit "Verntastic" that the Russian govenrment is pumping money into the ETIRC scheme, consider- Russia wins three ways:
1) Engine manufactures get to do some R&D in a new arena (VLJ-class).
2) Airframe companies inherit some work assembling the ConJet
3) Russia gets some more exposure to U.S. avionics. (Or perhaps the other way around: maybe AvioNG_2.0 will be using "valves" :)

Metal Guy said...

You also have to understand that it’s probably the simplest simulator out there – think of all of the inop features of the Eclipse and the simulator gets pretty darn simple folks. The more complex autopilot functionality and FMS integration are the tough parts.

Congrats on Eclipse achieving this event which is unprecedented for a new manufacturer of a new aircraft .

It’s also unprecedented offer such a feature limited and crippled Level D simulator. But hey, it matches the actual aircraft – how hard could it have been?

They should be apologizing to the customer base for such limited functionality and significant delays in the simulator program. Instead they stroke themselves – what a bunch of arrogant imbeciles.

Now finish the damn airplane and update the simulator to match the final functionally. Then and only then can you toot your own horn. Until such time, I for one am not as impressed with them as they are of themselves.

gadfly said...


Does the new simulator know how to sing, “Mary Had a Little Lamb”? . . . while all those things go “in-op”?


Metal Guy said...

Regarding the current valuation of the company, assume they have 5 primary investors who have invested equal amounts.

This puts it at something like $1.2B / 5 = $240M per investor. The latest financing round of ball park $150M purchased controlling interest, which means they purchased more than 1/5th of the company for roughly half of what the previous investors “paid” for it.

(This correlates to the real-estate market where the actual valuation of a home is what it can be sold for, not what the seller is asking.)

That corresponds to a real-world valuation of the company is roughly half of the cash invested.

So Vern has lost his investors something like $500,000,000 to date, which explains why he could not go back to the same well again – they clearly have had enough.

Obviously one can tweak the above numbers, but I don’t think it affects the end valuation much.

Good job Vern!

Anonymous said...

Hello everyone. Long term observer of this informative blog.

bill e. goat said:

(2 pilots / simulator / week) x (3 simulators) x (48 weeks / year)

= (2 x 3 x 48) = 288 pilots/year through simulators"

sounds right. Howerever I wonder whether the mentors are also supposed to go through the sim as well. They are supposed to have 100 approved mentors on a list, but how many have been trained on the new Avio-NG and have been type cerified (ATP standard checkride) on the planes? Or is this not necessary?

I suppose that at least a typical new pilot would need maybe 100 hours to be totally confortable. Given the low utilization (fiki issues, etc) that can take six months.

If so, till maybe the summer, there will be a need to train 1 mentor per pilot, until the early ones are available for rotation?

Just a thought.

Shane Price said...


Welcome. Not only is this blog informative, but it's also fun.


As a follow on to your mentor comments, can I add one about DayJet training. In the last thread we found out that they (DayJet) don't have any more paperwork with the FAA.

One would imagine that this would free up training resources for owner/pilots in the near term.

Also, was there any mention, anywhere, of how (or where) training was scheduled on this side of the pond?

Since we know that 12 'European' aircraft were priority for the Avio NG upgrade you would think there was some plan for training as well....


FreedomsJamtarts said...

Which agencies in the USA and Holland have to vet that $100+M from Russia? I would think a distressed private owned company producing big ticket widgets could be an excellent Laundromat for soiled cash?

I hear Al Bloom has been promoted to Iraqi minister of information.

"There are no Americans in Baghdad".

The Etirc white knight fits pretty well with what I have been saying about the company being kept on life support by Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin or Paris Hilton.

fred said...

shane ...

(i'm responding from the other thread)
thanks for your welcome back , did you have a good time on holydays break ?
ok , so back to topic ...
thanks (again ) for correcting my english ...
this is what i meant : if you set your house on fire to see how long it's going to take the fire-brigade to save you , don't complain after they were late ....! ;-)
which is exactly what it seems you understood ...and what i was meanning ...!

when you say "russian are the only one to be mad enough ..."
well ...well...well...
you know , i'm working with russians in Russia ...
so please allow me to correct you on some "details" ...

Russians are not mad , they are very pragmatic , tough , sometimes violent , well organized when it suits them , still unaware of lots of western ways of mind , stubborn , sometimes clever , ...

i think it was Napoléon who used to say about russians that the biggest mistake anyone can make is to fail to understand that they are asiatics minds with european faces ...

what you're stating is looking like the fantasy most westerners have in mind ...

last time i've been talking with head of russian presidential security services , he was just saying to a collegue "russian mafia ? what about russian mafia ? don't you know the russian mafia is gone long ago to places called New-York , London or the french riviera ?"
(which is unfortunately very true !)

will they be mad enough to lend money to EAC ?

well (again) i don't think so !
unless someone from Russian Govt is directly involved into the project of transfering the whole thing to Russia , why should they pay for something which is probably going to be worth nothing very soon ? (and then easy to collect scraps for a fraction of the price ...)

it could be someone from a local Govt ( a province governor or similar) but then again where the money would be coming from ? federal budget allowance !
all the same type of personn who made such thing have been caught in doing such things , have been removed from offices quite abruptly ... since the president has the constitutional right to dissmiss anyone "playing" a little the nation money ...!
so next question is : " how a guy would jeopardize a very good position , with the possibility to end-up in jail , for something NOT yet prooved sustainable ??

at the contrary :

as i was mentioning yesterday , i have seen many times already peoples playing with "bank guarantee" ...

the plot is very simple = you go to see someone from a bank (it can be russian in that case ) who is very eager to put cash in HIS pocket ...

you rent the "guarantee" for XX millions (that would be a very good destination for the money EAC raised in the "ONE MILLION = ONE PLANE" deal made by EAC at the end of 2007 ...)

The bank does not care , they got cash against paper

the middle men and eventually the bank officer (s) do not care , they made a juicy commission on the deal ( already paid)

the problem start when you want to use it , because you cannot raise money against a bank guarantee , you can back-up a loan with it , but you are to have the loan before the guarantee and both banks are going to agree about a safe procedure (it's called a "closing") then big surprise ...

what do you think will happen ?? :-))

on the subject of Eco. :

most americans did not understand that the past situation was merely created by the stream of cash coming from poorer countries lending money to US fed. for safety and return ...

Now with the emergence of what is called "B.R.I.C." (stand for brazil,russia,india,china) those countries are shifting for better profit AND much more credibility

when you know that in the past few years US Fed and Govt was swallowing about 80% of the world savings to make a VERY deficit like budget or situation not looking too bad ....

you can fear of what is going to happen when this influx of capital is going to come to a stop (it started to be the case at the end 2007 ...)

on top of that , there is just so much debts pilled in america , that if Mr Bush would like to go back on the moon , they don't need a rocket = the debts put one on top of an other should be enough ....!

the $ is loosing value , it's only the beginning ...

but what the Fed. do not want to understand is articulated around few aspects :

1° the European Bank is not supposed to lower interest rates ...
but more and more voices (including the head economist of ECB) state "it's not fair" why should USA be allowed to lower the sum they have to pay back by destroying theirs own money ?

at the same time , 68% of products consumed in USA are chineese made ...

if the dollars is lower , chineese products become more expensive = inflation ...! and they would be replaced by what ? who is going to sell to a coutry with a probability of getting paid with very freshly printed maoney ? and americans producers won't cope with such deal for quite some times ...

and even if they can , workers will have to work more (in terms of productivity ) for less money (to curb inflation and to get a competitive advantage )

if US consumers stop spending like mad , the US eco. collapse

if the dollar keep on falling , prices will go-up , consumers will refrain spending = US eco. collapse !

if the US interest rate remain the same , the credit crunch will be bigger , when peoples will understand the good old way of " buying what you don't need with money you don't have" is gone , they wont spend and Firms won't invest , so jobs will be trashed = US eco . collapse ...!

if interest rates are raised (in order to curb inflation and buying-power of US$) sums to be paid back on deficits accumulated would become unbearable , people won't spend theirs money would be gone into taxes ... = US eco. collapse !

so all of this to explain the "Japaneese Scenario" become more and more likely by the day ...

because if you think for a second : WHAT IS INFLATION ? = a very good way for politics to spread the losses of theirs mad-policies and forgett about theirs friends whom benefited from those mad-policies ...!

what next ? inflation quite high with a mild recession , it's called " STAGFLATION" exactly what japan did experience for the last 15 years , they just seems to recover but theirs internal debts are still very high ....!

Anonymous said...

Shane Price said:
"Also, was there any mention, anywhere, of how (or where) training was scheduled on this side of the pond?"

If I understand correctly (someone please correct me if I am wrong), without DME option cerified (avioNG 1.5?) there may not be an EASA certification of the plane.

Thus no simulator certification of an unapproved plane, hence no training scedule, hence no deliveries on this side of the pond.

FreedomsJamtarts said:
"The Etirc white knight fits pretty well with what I have been saying about the company being kept on life support by Hugo Chavez, Vladimir Putin or Paris Hilton."

The more you think about this whole thing the more scary it looks.

If my memory serves right (it was some time ago), wasn't Mr. Pieper the vicechairman of L&H when massive fraud on the investors/creditors was commited?

I think he actually was the residing chairman while the SEC performed the investigations in the accounting irregularities.

Latter the Belguim judge ruled that fraud was definitly commited, and that a number of the BoD members need to be removed from board. Pieper took the company into bankrupcy. About 5000 employees lost their jobs worldwide. The company investors lost 10+ Billion dollars.

Which brings to mind the third entity in this strange triange. The famous head of a certain collection department(aka head of the Litigation commitee) of another now bankrupt IT company, whose responsibilities included sending threatening letters to private enterprises and demanding payment for licence on software that the company actually did NOT own. Not to mention actually suing whose-who and other wierd actions that were discribed as "rabid" by respected community leaders.

And when the true owners of the software counter sued them and exposed the fraud, the BoD members requested the court to seal the info relating to their places of residence for fear of public reprisals. With bankrupsy immenent our hero resigns to persue a new career in aviation!!

A very strange mix.

airsafetyman said...

When you do a Google search for "Roel Pieper", the new non-executive chairman of Eclipse, the results are not encouraging, to say the least. This whole Eclipse/DayJet/Russian connection is starting to look like a really bad James Bond movie.

fred said...

i decided to call my friend in EASA to ask about cert for E500 and possibilities of having a simulator based on a plane non cert. , non finished , non funded , etc...

the answer came very straight (sorry for using such words but i want to put it the way it was said ...)

"When will you fuck-off with your joke about that piece of shit ?"

which i took for : NO , no way !;-)

apart this , some news from the russian front ...:

the city where Etirc is supposed to buid ( assemble or pretend to assemble or may assemble ) a plant for E500 production is :

Ulyanovsk or Улья́новск

which is a wonderfull thing for the simple reason i have a good pal working in the city duma (city council)

after being asked about a new firm develloped , in this city , mainly dealing with General Aviation ...

the answer came as :

"Ulyanovsk would be a strange choice ...! not very practical as an other town Воро́неж or Voronezh
is actually a town where producing aircraft has a long history AND is under-going some restructuration !

in our town (Ulyanovsk ) there is a fund dealing with small and medium buisness which has priority status with federal budget ...

but a 1B US$ or a 100 M US$ bizz in the town wouldn't been considered as small or even medium bizz , it would be so huge , the city itself may want NOT to host it !

at the time being , from the city duma records , there is not a single evidence of either a russian or foreign entity undergoing such actions as paperworks , licence , land plot buying , etc , such a project would be likely to take ...!

and nowhere it has been announced such a deal was on his tracks anywhere else than in the mind or ideas of its conceptors ...! "

well i think that say enough ... in itself ...

but it would have been funny to see an American plant close to the Lenine's birth house .... ! :-))

Shane Price said...


Excellent and very clear statement of the general economic conditions, which I believe both of us think will doom the Eclipski in short order.

Your friend on the inside of EASA must be Irish. This would explain his clear opinion of the E500.

Влади́мир Ильи́ч Ле́нин, known to history as Vladimir Ilyich Lenin, might not be a good chap to promote to some of our American friends.

He was not that keen on private property, for one thing....

I really like the idea of Vern distributing private capital in the birthplace of the leading Communist icon and revolutionary!


FreedomsJamtarts said...

Cheech and Chong summarised this whole business plan years ago:

FreedomsJamtarts said...

You don't need DME to fly in Europe. It's helpful if you ever intend to get an IFR approval though :)

For JAR-OPS 1.652 you need two of them. Where does the ADF get installed?