Sunday, January 06, 2008

Upgrade Schedule and Progress

Jricciardelli Posted: 06 January 2008

As promised earlier this week, I want to give you an update on our progress and plans for the ETT and Avio upgrades.

As Mike Press reported (and thanks for the pictures), the first aircraft is undergoing the Validation/Verification of the ETT performance mods at Gainesville. We began the mods during the week between Christmas and New Years after several of the mechanics from Gainesville return from ABQ… Since mid-September, we have been sending teams of mechanics from GNV to ABQ to help the modification of development and production aircraft to include installation of Avio, ETT mods, new wing de-ice boots and other minor upgrades. I know some of you think that the planning and execution of these upgrades should be quite simple the most important part is the training of the mechanics and we have taken advantage of every situation possible.

So the first aircraft undergoes a Val/Ver using a draft service bulletin that validates the bill of material (BOM) as well as the removal/installation instructions. Once complete, the SB is then released. The first mods (Val/Ver) will likely take 28 days due to special attention and correction of any issues. The first aircraft after the SB is released will take 21 days and we anticipate the cycle time can be reduced to 18 days after each bay has done 3 upgrades.

Aircraft 028 ETT mods will therefore be complete by January 21st. The Avio mods will begin on January 14th and should likely be done by February 8th… This allows for time to release the SB and start upgrades on customer aircraft on February 18th. The material is being gathered and the draft SB is available.

All bays will not open simultaneously but will be staggered during the first month to accomodate for learning curve, additional mechanics and training. we anticipate having a minimum of 6 service bays dedicated to upgrades with two in Albany (February 18th/25th) and one in Van Nuys in early April… West Coast owners may want to schedule aircraft into that facility when available which contributes to my statements below....

So now to answer the question on everyone’s minds.... when will my aircraft be upgrades?

We will dedicate 50% of our initial capacity to non-US aircraft as these aircraft can not be used by the owners as currently configured. Although I know that US based aircraft want the upgrades as soon as possible, I believe that addressing non-US aircraft with 50% of my capacity is a very fair compromise until the 12 non-US aircraft are complete (again depending upon owner scheduling).

For US based aircraft we will be going sequentially from SN 001 to SN 124. Some aircraft between 105 - 124 have NG) so there is a total of 110 aircraft upgrades required.

At the time of upgrade, we will incorporate any necessary configuration changes for FIKI (new boots, ect) at the same time. We also hope to be able to offer any options that you may want to have added but this will be subject to being able to release additional service bulletins.

As in the case of the Pitot upgrade from last August, we will contact the first several owners to try and schedule them in and in the case that they can not bring the aircraft to the service center at the available slot, that slot will be offered to the next serial number. Some may decline due to operations and scheduling, some may opt to wait for Van Nuys, some may wait until other options are available… In any case, we will try to accommodate everyone’s specific needs.

We anticipate calling owners beginning on January 17th to start scheduling upgrades for February 18th. So you can expect about 10 owners per month to be contacted and we do this weekly or if schedules change and opening exist.

Our goal is to complete all modifications within ONE YEAR of the release of the validated service bulletin and should get through about 75% of the aircraft this year… Of course, this schedule is dependent on the validation of the SB, measurement of actual versus forecasted times and an anticipated learning curve.

Please keep in mind the sequential order we will adhere to and I ask you to not call to try and move up in order… Customer Care will be in contact with you at the appropriate time.

Either way I try to organize the schedule will result in 50% of you being disappointed (if I went front to back or back to front) so I believe the sequential order from lowest to highest serial number provides the soundest strategy and addresses those that have had the aircraft the longest without the Avio NG capabilities.

I hope that this answers your questions for now and provides the latest information, program plan and strategy from Eclipse relative to the upgrades.

I am attempting to provide this type of information on a more regular basis but keep in mind I do not plan on answering any threads that start due to these postings. This information is intended to answer your questions but I can not be drawn into a time consuming debate…

Have a good night and see you in ABQ (or in one of my travels)

John R

Thanks to interested eclipse follower for sharing this message sent today to the Eclipse owners and owners-in-waiting. Here are some of their responses:

"Why does Eclipse continue to issue such useless, inane press releases? It is wonderful that they are pursuing good, established maintenance procedures. In the mean time my million dollar aircraft is grounded in Michigan under the constant coverage of a Great Lakes Airmet for icing.

Where is the press release for FIKI?

When do I get my functioning Avio NG?

Until then, I think management should realize that is inflamatory to make these silly announcements until they have something important to say. Concentrate on a safe aircraft that will do what you say it will do rather than how the mechanics will have nice pictures to go along with their work instructions.Right now, my aircraft is neither safe, nor functional."

And:

"I hesitate to suggest this, and sincerely hope this is dead wrong, but it may get worse before it gets better.

There is an unsubstantiated rumor, heard directly from employees in Albuquerque, that Eclipse is getting FIKI certification only for Avio NG aircraft.

Even if they have 6 NG production lines across the two states (and how many months will it take to get those all in place), at 21 days per plane (which they have said is their goal) that’s 6 every 3 weeks; for 115 planes (estimate of non-NG production) it would then take 57 weeks to complete the retrofit.

Of course this clock doesn’t even start until they have the process developed and certified, and per Mike Press posts, they are only working on the ETT/aero mod changes on the first plane now. Remember, they get no revenue from retrofits (since we’ve all paid in full) and the more lines they staff, the higher the expense. So one could reasonably wonder what their level of motivation, and funding, will be to staff and complete the retrofits quickly??

If this rumor was true, and this schedule is close, there will be non-FIKI, limited avionics planes flying around throughout NEXT winter, even if NG is upgraded ! "

And:

"So this means there will be significant numbers of Eclipse 500 Jet aircraft flying handicapped, with no FIKI capability well into, if not throughout, NEXT winter, 2008/2009. And that’s “his goal,” when have they EVER met a single goal or promise. Customers who have paid in full, who previously were given a November 2007 date for FIKI, in writing, in a contract. I think it is safe to say this is an unprecedented failure in modern aviation times, even with other recent startup manufacturers such as Cirrus, Columbia, Diamond and Galaxy.

This company continues to underwhelm in terms of customer experience. Long term, poor customer service, low satisfaction, and high executive and employee turnover does not bode well for Eclipse becoming a successful, lasting corporation.

Would an alternative be to spool up qualified outside contract companies to ramp up the work more quickly? Or bring more lines up at the three very large service centers?

Oops, we have paid in full, we have just a promise for eventual upgrades with no dates in writing, and outside assistance means more money out from Eclipse- we have no leverage and we are screwed. Oh well we are just the customers.

Post NG position holders beware, your time will come, you will face this treatment as well, just on another issue.

I’m sure prospective customers will be interested as they see how Eclipse treats existing customers when they decide where to bring their money. I can see the headlines now, Eclipse Jets to fly through two winters with no FIKI, Eclipse misses it’s contractually promised FIKI upgrade delivery dates by over 12 months, 100 customers who paid >$1 million for planes delivered two years late wait one full additional year for what they were promised, etc. etc. etc."

168 comments:

bill e. goat said...

Flyger,
Thanks for the interesting single.v.twin jet analysis. I agree (and think the single engine designs, just don't look quite right. (I have to say, the ECJ looks less weird than the competitors- I don't know how that will translate into performance, re: "if it looks right, etc etc").

I figured Williams was being mighty forgiving if they let Eclipse use one of their engines on the Con-Jet; a little digging suggests it was a larger Pratt motor (PWC615)
Single Engine Jets
----------------------
I think Vern should have contemplated your sage advice many years ago, regardless of the fuel/noise converter count:

"In short, there are substantial challenges in building an economical (airplane). It is not nearly as simple as it appears".

bill e. goat said...

Checking the "evil empire's" web-site for the "Robot" press release (can't find it, sort of like trying to resurrect G.W.'s blurtings about "Mars" a year or two ago), I noticed something a little interesting regarding CWMOR's observation about the continuing vacancy of VP of Engineering (amongst other top-level vacancies- not including the one between Vern's ears:)

Ah, there are NOT any openings for Engineering...VP or otherwise.

In essence: EVERYTHING listed could fall correctly under:
a) Manufacturing (VP Todd Fierro)
b) Product Support (VP John Ricciardelli)

(Of the 53 openings posted, 32 were manufacturing-related, 18 were service-center/support-related, and the other 3 were IT, HR, and Finance).

“Engineering (VP or otherwise)? We don't need no stinking engineering!"

Avio-NG?, FIKI?, well, don't worry- maybe that's what the HR receptionist is being hired to work on...
----------------------------
Shane, I did notice an opening for a “Product Support” pilot- that part about being involved with “Airplane On the Ground” operations though, made me wonder if I ought not to start wearing a hardhat and watching the sky a little more closely...

flyger said...

bill e. goat said...

I figured Williams was being mighty forgiving if they let Eclipse use one of their engines on the Con-Jet; a little digging suggests it was a larger Pratt motor (PWC615)

I would imagine the bridges are burned pretty badly at Williams, so one would expect a PWC engine, plus they have experience with the series. If so, the TCDS limitation (requiring multiple engines) still applies.

Now, if it is a PW615 on the ECJ (which happens to be the Mustang engine), that is rated at 1460 pounds thrust continuous. The EA500 has two PW610 which are rated at 850 pounds thrust continuous, or 1700 pounds total for the airframe.

See? The single engine jet needed an engine nearly twice as big. You didn't get the huge savings you were expecting by having only one engine.

In some ways, jet engines behave more like we should expect. If you have half of them, they are twice as big. It is only because piston engines are so heavy relative to their power and the airplane size that we have this mistaken idea that the two engines are only as good as one of the same size (which is pretty much true in the light airplane piston world).

Single engine jet makers are applying lessons from piston twins to jets. Those lessons do not apply in the way they think. It will be interesting to see if any of them get certified *and* they represent a truly more economical alternative to a twin jet.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Stan,

The "rebuttal" to John R.'s letter to owners may or may not have been written by the "fellow" blogger. That post was copied from the eclipse500club.org forum. I thought it was in poor taste myself since John R is trying to engage the owners with info on the forum. But it is a free country. At least we still have that going for us...

EclipseOwner387 said...

Oh and kind of cool to see SN28 being used as the first to get retrofits. That used to be my airplane for those who haven't followed the history of SN28.

bill e. goat said...

Flyger,
I did note in the press release that Eclipse was quoting 41K ft for the conjet- you make interesting points about certification challenges, and fuel efficiency penalties if they can't operate above 25K.

I heard once that the military had a saying about engines, that a twin engine fighter cost twice as much as a single engine fighter, even if they weighed the same. Supposedly the justification for the Navy using A-7's and the Air Force picking the F-16, so I imagine there was a grain of truth in there somewhere.

I doubt if that's true today, I've read software being around 60% of the cost of the F-22, and probably B-2 and F-35. Of course, those are low-volume production airplanes. (I guess Eclipse can rejoice in surpassing B-2 production- and nearly B-2 development costs- ha ha. Although- I think the Northrop beat Eclipse on schedule, despite being equally "disruptive". Although, the customers behind the 2700 orders are pretty Stealthy, so maybe I'd give that one to Eclipse :)

It would be interesting to know what percentage of the Eclipse R&D budget was dedicated to the avionics develoment effort, and to consider how much time and money could have been saved with Garmin- I really do think it would have been "completed" two years ago.

Which makes one wonder what the heck is going on with FIKI...New boots, or new new boots?, or ???

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

Has anyone out there ever had a significant Avionics upgrade + Annual + Airframe mods done on any plane in 21 Days? You know, the rip out the silver crown stack and add a 530 / 430 /MX20 plus Mode S kind of deal.

Eclipse management thinks they will be able to plan this process, start at 21 days and get down to 18.

My maintenance experience is that some of these planes are going to sitting snuggly in those hangers for a few months at least. The fact that the first planes were built without a PC, would have me believe there will be differences in the routing of wiring harness, in the installation of clamps, in the alignment of bracket etc. Lots of little things which add up and take time and nerves.

I would guess to do this job you will need to stip out the entire cabin furnishings - Eclipse will need a repair line set up to fix all the fit in finish problems there.

I would expect that the maintenance crews will detect at least one significant problem simply because they will be looking much closer at the airframe than you normally would a one year old jet. (Chaffed harnesses, cable runs rubbing or interfering, cracks maybe).

The size of the plane will lead to very little parallel work. Until the cabin is out you can't start on anything, once the cabin is out, there is likely no more than can work in the panel area at a time.

After the work is "Completed" (Trademark Eclipse Aviation), their will be a lengthy trouble shooting on some planes.

Don't know how it is in america, but good avionics guys in Europe are a rare and expensive breed. A Part 66 B2 licences is a lot harder to get than an A&P, but at the end of the days it is the years of experience you need and that is going to be just as differcult to get in the states. It's the experience which will be needed to sort out all the little issues which will mount up.

Do you cut and splice a new harness to make it fit, or send it beck to ABQ and ask them to make branch X 3/8" longer.

For the first A/C they won't hit 21 days. For the second they might, using their dream team and flogging them to peak morale.

No way in hell are they going to have 6 dream teams all making 18 day turn around. Once the focus is off this area, once the dream team have had a guts full and start heading for greener pastures, it all falls apart.

This retrofit will never stablize on 18 days. It will flop around sometimes taking two months sometimes taking six. Those customers with the best contacts and pushiest personalities will get their retrofits through faster at the expense of those who are too trusting and patient.

It would not surprise me if a partial eclipse has a birthday in maintenance. When things start going wrong, a year goes fast.

Of course, none of this matters, because the retrofits for most A/C will not be performed by Eclipse, as they will be bankrupt....

Black Tulip said...

This kind of performance would be very disturbing if this were a business. Thank goodness Eclipse is only a hobby.

Turboprop_pilot said...

Flyger:

Really insightful post on singles vs. twins. I recall hearing that singles with greater than 25,000 foot ceilings were grandfathered as the certification requirements had changed and that new singles would be impossible (?) to certify higher. The fuel efficiency improves so dramatically with altitude that a 250 jet will be very inefficient.

Turboprop pilot

Gunner said...

TP-
Is that for single engine jets or TurboProps also?
Gunner

Shane Price said...

Black Tulip,

As usual, you nailed the whole sorry mess with one comment.

Shane

Turboprop_pilot said...

Gunner:

I heard about it for turboprop planes but imagine being at 410 in the Conjet, engine fails with no backup bleed air and you need to get down to 12,500 over the Rockies in IMC. Seems insurmountable without a second engine... and those RJ pilots managed to lose both engines at 410- be interesting to hear how long they had cabin pressure.

I figured that we have so many experienced certification people on the blog (critics, not faithful since some seem to all be 11 or 12 years old) someone would know or find out.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Gunner,

Hard for me to believe TP is correct about the FL250 ceiling. Why would Piper and Eclipse be touting single engine cleansheet designs with ceilings of Fl350 and Fl410? I met with Jeff Owens (former Diamond guy and now with Premier Aircraft) over the weekend and he said the D-Jet has FL250 limit because Diamond doesn't want pilots flying in the more dangerous flight levels. Business decision - not a regulation.

Gunner said...

EO-
Agreed as to Diamond's reasoning for the FL restriction. It's also because it's less expensive to build and certify a hull to FL250 pressurization than FL410. Lastly, they feel that the performance of these singles will be such that they'll seldom see clearance to the higher Flight Levels.

Not saying that Diamond has the right idea. The fuel burn penalty at FL250 has been mentioned here and is real. Then, again, there tends to be no free lunch in aviation...everything is a trade off; including deletion of a second engine.

I question TP's assertion because, quite honestly, I do not believe Piper is dumb enough to have missed such regulation, if it exists, and also because we all know of SE TP's that fly higher than FL250. Why would a single engine jet be penalized when single engine TP's are not?
Gunner

airtaximan said...

I keep reading the "upgrade schedule and progress" and thinking...

Everytime the position holders are asked to pony up more cash, there's a little surprise (not a good one) that just follows the rosey picture painted for them when they are being asked for money.

The frustrated owners posts are very telling.

Gunner said...

Brother AT-
At the risk of Faithful-like repetition:

Why wait till tomorrow, when you can begin to lower expectations today? That's the beauty of it.
;-)

Gunner

flightguy said...

How will Piper fly to higher elevations on a single? It's called a standby system for pressurization. (APU) Is Eclipse smart enough to know they need one? You decide.

airtaximan said...

G:

LOWER...

this is all couched as "good news"... can expectations get lower?

Sad State of Affairs.

Brilliant comment by the poor guy who seems sorry he's waiting for a plane which he's already paid for, instead of waiting for a plane while he still has his money.

"desperation" vs "desire"

airtaximan said...

single vs twin...

MRO

Gunner said...

Nature of The Scam, AT.

It relies on sleight of hand: Buyers begin by falling in love with the concept of owning and flying their own Private Jet.

Over time, you lower expectations enough such that they're satisfied with the concept of just owning a Private Jet. Flying it becomes a secondary issue that will "work itself out". That's why The Faithful can only describe the Value Proposition in the future tense.

By the time they realize their dream of jet ownership, they're at the mercy of the Con Man as to when they get to actually enjoy its use.

"Don't get high on your own supply" seems more apt than ever.
Gunner

flyger said...

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Has anyone out there ever had a significant Avionics upgrade + Annual + Airframe mods done on any plane in 21 Days?

One thing in their favor is that the airplanes are uniform so a standard production line style process could be used.

This is quite unlike upgrading a panel in a 1970s airplane with 30+ years of accumulated changes.

So, yes, it does seem possible, with the right planning and organization, that Eclipse could take in an early airplane and do all the mods in 21 days.

So far, Eclipse has not shown demonstrated that they plan that well, but there is nothing here that prevents it.

Gunner said...

Don't forget....Eclipse is a pioneer in the use of LRU's. No worries, mate.
Gunner

flyger said...

EclipseOwner387 said...

Hard for me to believe TP is correct about the FL250 ceiling. Why would Piper and Eclipse be touting single engine cleansheet designs with ceilings of Fl350 and Fl410?

Because they have not fully evaluated the implications of an SEJ above FL250.

I met with Jeff Owens (former Diamond guy and now with Premier Aircraft) over the weekend and he said the D-Jet has FL250 limit because Diamond doesn't want pilots flying in the more dangerous flight levels. Business decision - not a regulation.

See, even he doesn't realize the regulations do change, or this is just a cover story for why they aren't doing it. The FAA also recognizes the danger, that is why the regulations *do* change. Here is the applicable FAR:

23.841 Pressurized cabins.

(a) If certification for operation over 25,000 feet is requested, the airplane must be able to maintain a cabin pressure altitude of not more than 15,000 feet in event of any probable failure or malfunction in the pressurization system.


There are quite a number of things that change at FL250, but the above one is the key one. An engine failure *is* a probable failure and if you use engine bleed air for pressurization (which is true for all of these planes), then the engine is part of the pressurization system. Even if you prove technically that the engine is 100% reliable, it is still possible for pilot action to shut it down (fuel exhaustion, for example). Thus you need to have redundancy in the pressurization system.

There are ways to do this without a second engine. An electric compressor with a big battery, for example. Or, an APU (which would have to be on during the entire flight to be ready when the main engine fails). But all of these techniques end up weighing a lot, cost a lot, and increase the number of different things to maintain. They also increase crew training to understand how they work and what to do when they fail.

Thus, when the final balance sheet is done, you didn't save anything over a twin jet in terms of price, performance, or capability.

It certainly *is* possible to build an SEJ that flies over FL250. What I claim is that it won't be economically superior to a twin jet. It certainly won't be in terms of performance, reliability, and, the big one, liability.

Predictions:

Piper's airplane gets two engines or gets certified to FL250. The two engine route is the correct plan.

Diamond and Cirrus stay limited to FL250.

Eclipse doesn't last long enough for ECJ to matter. If they do, then ECJ is FL250 limited.

JetProp Jockey said...

Flyger -

Based on your copy of the FAR relative to pressurized aircraft, how have several single engine turboprops (JetProp is FL270 and Meridian was FL290) gotten certified for flight above FL250?

twinpilot said...

Jetprop Jockey,
The single engine turboprops were certified before the new regulation took effect and were grandfathered in.

flyger said...

JetProp Jockey said...

Based on your copy of the FAR relative to pressurized aircraft, how have several single engine turboprops (JetProp is FL270 and Meridian was FL290) gotten certified for flight above FL250?

The FAR was amended after the base TC for those aircraft was approved. They got "grandfathered".

FL410 is closer to outer space than to sea level. I don't see the FAA looking kindly on an airplane where everybody is unconscious in a minute if the lone engine quits. It is already dangerous enough with two engines (witness Payne Stewart). So even though Eclipse has shown a remarkable (and some would say dangerous) ability to get the FAA to bend to its liking, I don't think it is happening this time.

The SEJ craze exists only because people are falsely applying piston knowledge to jet aircraft design.

FlightCenter said...

Dunning-Kruger effect

"ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge"

"Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill."

"Incompetent individuals fail to recognize genuine skill in others."

"Incompetent individuals fail to recognize the extremity of their inadequacy."

JetProp Jockey said...

flyger - when was the FAR amended? The origonal PA46 airframe that was TC in 1983 had a max altitude of FL250. The STC for JetProp allows the additional 2000 feet with the limit that we use a slightly lower max differential (actually produces a higher cabin altitude). I am not sure if the Meridian got a TC or and amendment to the PA46 TC, but it was allowed to FL290 until the RVSM change which effectively reduced the ceiling to FL280. I believe that the Meridian was certified in 2001.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Flyger,

So is Epic in trouble on their efforts to certify above FL250? They certainly don't have a grandfathered TC.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Flyger said:

"The SEJ craze exists only because people are falsely applying piston knowledge to jet aircraft design."

You could replace SEJ with VLJ and be just as accurate - it is only the 7th of January and we already have a good candidate for quote of the year.

The point is spot on.

Also spot on, is to see the criticisms being leveled on the E500 site by owner's-in-mourning slowly recognizing that yet another series of promises has been made and missed and that the new spin is causing them to question the future.

I truly feel for these folks, as the anguish and disappointment in evidence in just those two posts is palpable.

Lowered Expectations, the REAL legacy of Eclipse.

baron95 said...

FLyger said...In some ways, jet engines behave more like we should expect. If you have half of them, they are twice as big. It is only because piston engines are so heavy relative to their power and the airplane size that we have this mistaken idea that the two engines are only as good as one of the same size (which is pretty much true in the light airplane piston world).


Flyger, price/performance wise, I don't believe there is ANY question that a single engine setup is better than a twin. That applies in for piston planes, turboprops and jets. We don't need to speculate - just look at the existing data.

There are lots of examples in Pistons:

Original PA34-Seneca (200HP x 2) vs Lance (300HP x1), same cabin/wing - same speed, much lower burn and acquision/maint/insurance costs for the Lance.

Baron (2 x 300H)) vs Bonanza (1x300) HP, same cabin, almost the same wing, 15% lower cruising speed at 50% lower fuel burn.

In Turboprops, just look at the PC12 vs the King-Air 200, almost identical cabin space and performance, PC12 has much lower acquision costs and fuel burns.

In Jets, look at the military (I know diffent animal), but there have been so many fighter designs sharing the exact same engine for a twin and a single, and the price/performance favors the single, completely.

I believe that any SE Jet designed to fly above FL250 should have electric presurization (a la early King Airs and a la 787). So all you need to go above FL250 is stand by electrical power for the descent (in addition to the double panes, stand-by O2, etc).

Newer RSVM airplane/autopilots will automatically comand a 90 degree turn and steep descent to 15,000 ft on presurization loss. I believe all these SE Jets will have that capability i ntheir avionics suite.

I think it is a false argument that SE Jets will be particularly hard to certify to FL350 and even 410.

It is also true, that for the same technology/generation, larger turbofans are more efficient than smaller ones. So 2x1000lbs engine will burn slightly more fuel than a 1x2,000lbs turbofan and will weight measurably less than the two smaller fans. When you remove the weight, of the extra engine installation and systems, the extra fuel needed to carry the weight, etc, even for the same installed power, a single will perform substantialy better and burn substantially more. And of ourse, will cost substantially less, given that a new turbofan is the single most expensive item in the design.

I think SE Jets will prove successful just as SE Turboprops were.

SE Turboprops didn't exist until 2 decades ago, and if you exclude the Caravan, didn't exist as personal/corporate transportation machines until the 90s. Now, Meridian, TBM, Pilatus, are outselling Turboprop Twins by 3 to 1, and have put all the turboprop twins out of biz, except for the King Airs and the exotic Piagio.

The economics are just too compeling. the same will prove true IF someone develops the right SE Jet.

baron95 said...

Oops, we have paid in full, we have just a promise for eventual upgrades with no dates in writing, and outside assistance means more money out from Eclipse- we have no leverage and we are screwed. Oh well we are just the customers.

Why would apparently inteligent and successful people accept an incomplete product and pay it in full, with not even a firm date when they'd be made whole or receive compensation?

Would any of these people take delivery of a Mercedes Benz SUV missing the instrument pannel and 4 wheel drive and pay full price? Without even knowing when they'd get the missing bits?

Would they take delivery and pay a home contractor in full for a home that is missing a kitchen?

Whare are these people thinking? did they simply have the hots for a jet, any jet, and didn't care?

It is amazing to me!!!

And even NOW, after a documented history of Eclipse missing all their targets/promisses, apparently people are still taking planes with missing avionics, FIKI, etc, no contractual dates to receive the missing bits, and PAYING FULL PRICE.

Why?

EclipseOwner387 said...

Baron,

Many of these owners feel they have more to lose if they don't play ball with Eclipse. They believe they have a great value in their low cost position and that by giving Eclipse some slack that will in turn help Eclipse succeed. Many of the owners truly believe they are helping make aviation history and are "invested" in the eventual positive outcome. In other words, they want this to happen so badly they have not treated this like a car purchase at all.

That doesn't mean that there aren't difficult customers. There are and many have sold their positions or have been given special attention by Eclipse to keep some peace in the ranks.

Customer loyalty has been incredibly impressive.

Plumer said...

BTW i may be off the subject here, but has anyone heard of this Sino Swearingen Aircraft Corporation and their jet? Kind of a miraculous one?

JetProp Jockey said...

B95 Asks why?

Answer - to chamge one's status from an unsecured creditor with $600 to $700 at risk to being the titled owner of an incomplete aircraft.

Your options are these:

1. Refuse delivery and ask for a full refund - not sure if any current depositors have a refundable event at this point or not. Big negative - eating crow after bragging to all of your friends about your jet.

2. Refuse delivery and wait for a future delivery of a complete airplane. I would assume that the interest promised on the deposit would stop since a delivery was offered. You remain an unsecured investor in the company.

3. Pay for the plane and take a sort of delivery. If the company makes it, eventually the machine gets completed and all is well. If the company goes bankrupt, you are banking that the value of the plane will be greater than the extra 40% you paid to take possession along with the costs to pay someone to eventually finish the airplane.

Classic rock and hard place situation. It all started with guys who thought they could make a quick buck and own a twin jet.

bill e. goat said...

Baron95,
I enjoyed your post, but regarding turboprops, 2 spinners v 1 spinner...
2007Q1-Q3 results:
PC-12 68
TBM 29
Meridian 34

Total = 131

King Airs (Raytheon+HBC)
Total = 108

3:1 is a little, shall we say, "Verntastic"!

(although, I'll concede, 2006 was not a great year for RAC, looks like new management is paying off).
-------------------------
FC,
I think you are mistakenly referring to the Reagan-Bush effect...:)

Shane Price said...

Plumer,

The SJ30 was the one that caught my eye, and in a roundabout way, got me here.

Nice idea. High speed, long range, single pilot rated, all the toys.

HOWEVER...

Long and difficult history, going back 20+ years. Old design, in other words. Also, a bit on the expensive side.

Sino (the company) has just changed hands, with the Twainese Government rumoured to be out about $700 Million on the deal.

Finally, the last time I looked, they had only delivered two aircraft.

Shane

Shane Price said...

Single v twin.

Time was, no one dreamed of flying across the pond without 4 engines.

Or more...

In the 70's there was a fashion for 3 engines on them new fangled widebodies.

Only in the late '80's did twins get the license, and it was initially limited to within a certain range of a suitable airport.

Latterly we have the revised ETOPS regs, which pretty much removes these limits in return for better (more costly...) maintenance.

Roll on the single engined transatlantic passanger jet.

The trend is clear.

Less is more.

Shane

airtaximan said...

1 vs 2

MRO

-anyone who operates private A/C knows this is the biggest cost driver.

baron95 said...

Bill.e.Goat said ... 3:1 is a little, shall we say, "Verntastic"!

Bill, thanks for checking the actual numbers. I should have checked it myself prior to posting. I had this 3:1 ratio from reading some Richard Aboufala (sp) article, but I think that might have been TP vs VLJs.

It may be that for personal owner flown machines the SE TPs outsell Twin TPs by 3:1, but we don't have hard data on that.

But the point remains that when SE TPs for personal/biz travel got on the scene, they displaced quite a bit of Twin TPs, and all of them were certified above FL250 and performed much better than the Twins.

I expect the same will eventually be true for personal Jets done properly (i.e. not the D-Jet).

Black Tulip said...

EO387 said,

“Many of the owners truly believe they are helping make aviation history and are "invested" in the eventual positive outcome.”

Charles Ponzi, born in Italy, was arrested in Boston in August, 1920. It is said that local Italians (insert aviation enthusiasts) were skeptical about Ponzi, but reluctant to turn him in because they felt he was performing a great work of substantial benefit to the Italian (aviation) community.

Gunner said...

Flyger-
I saw the regs you quoted and am still a bit confused. I recently flew a SE Turboprop (Epic LT), with a homebuilt certification, coast to coast at FL270 and they're now talking RVSM qualification possibilities.

Surely the LT wasn't "grandfathered" in and I don't believe they offer backup pressurization. Are Experimentals exempt from the FL250 limit that you describe?

What am I missing here?
Gunner

baron95 said...

JetProp Jockey said...
B95 Asks why?

Answer - to chamge one's status from an unsecured creditor with $600 to $700 at risk to being the titled owner of an incomplete aircraft.


I don't follow this. Most of these early positions are for less than $1M and were secured by a $100K deposit. Then the position holder gets a call saying send us your 60% payment because we'll deliver you a plane sans, aero mods, sans FIKI, sans Avio full function.

At that point, I'd say forget it. You are proposing to deliver a 50% complete jet, I'll agree to send you a 30% progress payment or give me my deposit back.

This is like you go to the MB dealer and order an S65AMG special order and put up 5%. Then when your car is ready to ship from Germany he asks you to put a 60% payment. But if he tells you the car will ship minus the AMG mods, minus the instrument pannel, would you agree? I doubt it.

And buying a S65AMG is just as emotional a purchase as buying an Eclipse.

Furthermore, most of these people had already have to wait 8 years of disapointments. They can't be that emotionally married to their position.

I fail to understand how smart people would agree to that, other than they believed it is a good financial deal, because of the low intro price and hope to sell for a profit.

In that case, there is no need to feel sorry for them. They made a financial bet and may loose or win. It is nust business.

baron95 said...

Gunner said... Are Experimentals exempt from the FL250 limit that you describe?


Experimentals are just that. The regulations that apply to experimental aircraft are mostly related to make sure they don't injure people on the ground (e.g. no flying over population centers in first 50 hours, etc), rather than protecting the ocupants.

Experimental airplanes do not have to comply at all with Part 23 certification rules.

gadfly said...

baron

In this case, it is not simply “just business”. This “upstart” has walked onto the scene claiming things that current history has shown he cannot produce . . . yet has brought a cloud of disgrace over an industry, that some of us think is worthy of protection from character assassination, and unfair accusations. Whether or not the “industry” is worth protection, you make your own decision . . . but some of us have spent our lives pushing the quality and experience of flying to higher levels. And this is no small thing.

gadfly

(It’s too late for me to divorce myself from a “dog in this fight” . . . I’ve been at it longer than the world learned a term called, “WWII”. And on another note, back in “those days”, people did things beyond this present discussion, in weeks or months . . . simply because it was the right thing to do, without all the pompous claims of the present item of discussion . . . if you get my point.)

flyger said...

baron95 said...

Flyger, price/performance wise, I don't believe there is ANY question that a single engine setup is better than a twin.

That "piston think" is hard to break. When the final balance sheet is computed, the single engine jet is a tough sell. I'm not saying it can't be done, lots of suboptimal things are done. I'm saying it won't provide the benefits you think it will.

The piston and turboprop examples don't apply, they are not jets. It is really because the jet engines on a twin are so near the center line and have so little drag when inoperative that changes the equation, plus the redundancy in systems.

I believe that any SE Jet designed to fly above FL250 should have electric presurization (a la early King Airs and a la 787).

The combined weight of the battery required, the electric motor, and the compressor section would exceed the weight of the second jet engine. It really takes more power than you think to have a decent flow of pressurized air in the cabin.

Both the examples you cite are twins which didn't need the battery. Even so, those pressurization systems are heavier than using bleed air from the engine directly. It is, after all, the most efficient air compressor there is.

Newer RSVM airplane/autopilots will automatically comand a 90 degree turn and steep descent to 15,000 ft on presurization loss.

You think the FAA will allow you to assume that works each and every time? Not a chance.

Look at the scenario you just created. Something goes wrong with the engine (out of fuel, bearing goes, whatever). Now instead of having maybe an hour of glide time and distance, the autopilot drives the airplane down to 15,000 ft uncommanded and turns you 90 degrees? Well, that certainly eliminated many places you could have glided to. He probably lost 90% of the possible landing sites that way.

So the pilot turns off the autopilot to save his precious energy to make landfall or a descent airport. Too bad he passes out in the next minute and all perish. What a chain of events for something that started out being relatively benign.

Think these things through people! This isn't a theoretical exercise. Real people are going to be flying in these things someday!

I think it is a false argument that SE Jets will be particularly hard to certify to FL350 and even 410.

I guess that is why there are none today, it was too easy. Let me know when someone does it.

It is also true, that for the same technology/generation, larger turbofans are more efficient than smaller ones.

Yes, this is true, although the efficiency difference between a PW610 and PW615 is not great, maybe 6%. It is also true that flying higher is more efficient. If the single keeps you low, then bye bye efficiency.

When you remove the weight, of the extra engine installation and systems, the extra fuel needed to carry the weight, etc, even for the same installed power, a single will perform substantialy better and burn substantially more.

The above is true for pistons. It is substantially less true for twin jets. Eclipse couldn't make their ECJ fly with a PW610 even though it was 75% the weight of the EA500. They had to get a PW615 which was 86% of the total thrust of the EA500. So all those theoretical advantages didn't work, did they? Now add back the weight of whatever it takes to make the pressurization work and the weight advantage is gone completely.

Now, Meridian, TBM, Pilatus, are outselling Turboprop Twins by 3 to 1, and have put all the turboprop twins out of biz

The thing that put the twin turboprops out of business is the twin jet. A jet engine is intrinsically cheaper to build than a turboprop (no massive gearbox, no big prop, no messy prop controls, etc).

Also, the single engine turboprops don't cost less than a twin. Indeed, a PC12 seems to cost *more* than a King Air! Where's that cost advantage you said existed?

The economics are just too compeling. the same will prove true IF someone develops the right SE Jet.

Google "Gulfstream Peregrine". It was tried over 20 years ago.

flyger said...

airtaximan said...

1 vs 2

MRO

-anyone who operates private A/C knows this is the biggest cost driver.


None of those people operate a single engine jet. If they did, they would know jets don't operate by piston rules.

flyger said...

Gunner said...

I recently flew a SE Turboprop (Epic LT), with a homebuilt certification,

Bingo! Homebuilt means "not certified", means no 23.841, means no redundancy in pressurization system needs to be demonstrated.

airtaximan said...

flyger,

would you agree you could save on average $75k per year in 1 engine vs 2 engines MRO...

but your other points are well taken. Aviation is a trade, by definition. Single IS trading something vs twin.

perhaps there are some folks that can enlighten us about the aero and performance trades.

www.machdiamonds.com for Peregrine. Little know fact!

bill e. goat said...

Baron95,
No worries about numbers- and we both forgot the stalwart Caravan (54; and throw in six Piaggio's, that brings it to 185:114 single.v.twin; throw in a few bad years of Raytheon management, and that's probably close to 3:1).
------------------------
Shane,
I was thinking about what a single 12-foot (ahem, 4 meter) diameter fanjet would look like on a 757 fuselage...Seems pretty preposterous indeed! But it did get me to thinking...of the relative merits (demerits, actually), of duct loss -versus- nacelle drag. To wit: two engines mounted on wings have less, “pressure loss” I believe is the term, but more drag from the nacelles, I should think. I guess the ECJ-style represents the best combination; no ducting, and only one nacelle. It would be funny to see such a ECJ scheme “supersized” for the latest huge fans.

(I think part of the idea behind the “unducted fan” and “ultra high bypass” demonstrators of the late 1980's was getting rid of nacelle drag. Maybe a single engine version of this would look something like- a SUBMARINE! Come to think of it, I guess all the subs of late -?maybe ever? WERE single “prop'd”, so maybe there is something more to this than I originally thought...Gadfly?)
Prop Efficiency

It makes me think that if there really are substantial savings to be had, someone would be doing this single engine bit for a freighter (okay, there is that Caravan thing again, but I mean BIG freighter). Same thing with the flying wing schemes- if it really worked out as much as proponents insist, then there would be freighters and military transport versions (where passenger acceptance is, ah, not such a priority). Since there are no single engine commercial-size transports, I suspect this confirms Flyger's assertion that total thrust is what matters most, whether it is from one or two engines. But, I also appreciate Baron95's data, regarding piston single vs twin (the Cessna 337 vs P210 comes to mind- about the same size and speed, but 337 burned a lot more gas).

And, I wonder if there is something about the usage of airplanes, US vs Europe: most of the single turboprops are made in Europe, most of the twin turboprops are made in the USA. Using GAMA's 2007Q1-Q3 numbers again
GAMA 2007 Q1-Q3

In Europe, PC-12 (68) + TBM (29) = 97 singles, versus, ah, 6 Piaggio twins.
In the US, Meridians (34) + Caravans (54) = 88 singles, versus KingAir's 108 twins.

Maybe cost of fuel, or average trip length, or taxes, or ...?
----------------------------
Contemplating the advantages of redundant engines, versus (some) degree of efficiency gain with singles, brought to mind what might be the most unreliable element of all: hoo-man bee'ns. Cockpit's have gone down from a small gaggle, to two. A further reduction to one??? Hmmmm. With all this autonomous air vehicle buzz, computer assistance, artificial intelligence, virtual copilot stuff, well, maybe that's coming one of these days...

So there's the future: A flying wing, with a a submarine-like pusher prop, and a single pilot. Very “disruptive” indeed.

I can see a demand for oh, say, 2700 or so of them.

bill e. goat said...

The Gulfstream Perigrene was perhaps a victim of unfortunate timing more than engineering challenges, being promoted in the mid-1980's; a VERY dark time for GA indeed. Regulatory requriements were still a bit lax by today's standards, so in a more favorable business climate, it might of had a better go of it.
-------------------------
ATM,
Thanks for the link to Peregrine.
(Looks like even IT had a standby attitude indicator- oops, there we go again :)

baron95 said...

Flyger said... Also, the single engine turboprops don't cost less than a twin. Indeed, a PC12 seems to cost *more* than a King Air! Where's that cost advantage you said existed?

I know we are straying further and further off topic (Eclipse) here, but for the record, the PC12 cabin size/range places it in direct competition with the King Air 200, which, similarly equiped with the executive interior, etc, costs $2.5M more. Advantage Single.

Flyger said... The piston and turboprop examples don't apply, they are not jets.

But it does. It has been proven out in military jets over and over again. Think F15A vs F16A for example. First flew within months of one another, same PW F100-200/220 series engines. the F16 has 90% of the F15 performance for 50% of the acquisition price ($29M vs $14.5M). Needless to say the Viper outsold the Eagle by a large margin both to the USAF as well as international market.

If the power and reliability are there, 2-engines are better than four (proven by the airlines, Boeing and airbus), and if the regulators, insurance and lawyers allow, one engine is better than two (cost/performance) wise.

Why hasn't it been done before? Turbofan's have always been out of $$$ reach for personal ariplanes until very recently. Actually, they are still out of reach except for a fraction of the market, and then only because we have such unsophisticated piston engines. FJ33s and PWC610/615s are the only engines that are even close to being cost-acceptable for personal (4-5 seat planes) and they have just been certified (past few months). And as always, powerplants drive aircraft design.

It is very hard to deny that the ingredients for a GA renassance are just now coming into place.

Not Outgrageously Priced Reliable, Fuel Efficient, FADEC Controlled Turbofans (PWC610/15, FJ33s): Available only in the past few months.

Not Outgrageously Priced Integrated Glass/AP/FD/FMS (G1000 WAAS, GFC 700): available only in the past few months.

Now give the entrepenours and engineers time to cook up a proper SE Jet. It will happen in the next 10 years.

Stan Blankenship said...

From my evening mail - a report that Cessna may have went on a couple of joyrides today. One segment of a flight made it thru flightaware's filter, check N717LK.

Other observations, "...aside from the interior, which did appear to be nice as far as fit and finish, IMO, the aircraft was shoddy. Skin quality was horrible, the paint job was worse than the $99 special done by the discount auto painters with overspray everywhere, the door design was poor, the fairing from the wing to the fuselage was sealed with something that looked like some form a caulk, and it was discolored common to the leading edge boot, and in general it was very disappointing.

One of the issues was that the top half of the door can be closed with the lower half still deployed and the system says the door is secured for flight. I was expecting something more from the aircraft, since they seem to want to compete with the Mustang. I was expecting an inexpensive aircraft, but what we saw today was CHEAP."

baron95 said...

FLyger siad ... Eclipse couldn't make their ECJ fly with a PW610 even though it was 75% the weight of the EA500. They had to get a PW615 which was 86% of the total thrust of the EA500.

I'm not sure I follow your thinking here. If the ECJ has 75% of the weight of the EA500 and is to have the same max operating altitude of FL410, I'd expect it to need about 75% of the EA500 power to have similar climb performance. So given that there are ONLY 3 engines available to power this Jet PWC 610/615/617 (remember that Eclipse burned all bridges with Williams), I think they obviously picked the closest one the 615. The 610 would give them only 50% of the EA500's power to lift 75% of the weight (clearly a bad choice), the 617 (Phenom 100powerplant) would provide about 100% of the EA500's thrust, and is way too much (too much $$$, to much fan diameter [ I think], too much weight).

So the designers picked the right engine for the design. Actually they didn't pick it. There simply is no other engine that is suitable and abtainable. Which just proves why these SE personal jets have not happen yet. suitable engines are only now becoming marginally available and choices are pretty slim.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

It will happen in the next 10 years.

10 years? So you think the current crop isn't going to make it? Or is that the new "Eclipse standard time of development"?

airtaximan said...

One of the issues was that the top half of the door can be closed with the lower half still deployed and the system says the door is secured for flight.

how do you spell safety?

I guess this part of the preflight is the virtual co-pilots job?

flyger said...

baron95 said...

I'm not sure I follow your thinking here. If the ECJ has 75% of the weight of the EA500 and is to have the same max operating altitude of FL410, I'd expect it to need about 75% of the EA500 power to have similar climb performance.

Now that's "jet think". You've basically said that total thrust is the key to a jet's performance, not the number of engines.

If we assume that the ECJ is "75%" the "capability" of an EA500 (which I think is about right), then we ended up with the same ratio of engine to utility as we did in the EA500. In essence, there was no weight savings over a twin when corrected for capability.

As you pointed out, in the piston world you can often make a very good single from only *one* of the twin's engines. For example, a 210 is a fine airplane using one 310 engine (and both airplanes have about the same useful cabin load). So why wasn't Vern able to do the 2:1 scale when he made a single jet?

Because the piston rules of thumb don't apply.

To summarize, an SEJ faces these hurdles:

1. Engine maker liability. The engine maker is not taking on greatly increased risk for half the revenue. The "no single" limitation is part of the type certificate so it can't be changed without PWC help. If they don't want to, there is nothing Eclipse can do about it.

2. Restricted maximum operating altitude. Without a redundant and lightweight pressurization system, the SEJ will be limited to inefficient altitudes making it worse on fuel than the twin.

3. Scaling. When you build a single jet of similar cabin, payload, and range, you will need an engine nearly twice as big in thrust each of the twin's engines. The total weight and cost will be lower but not by much. You need to carry and burn nearly as much fuel, too. You didn't get a 2:1 advantage.

4. Redundancy. A second engine is the ultimate in redundancy. Two prime movers, two sources of electrical power, two sources of cabin pressure. A single will have to make up for some of that lost redundancy which costs weight and complexity over two engines.

5. Market. There are flights that a single simply can't do safely, such as over water or over inhospitable terrain. There are also people who value their safety enough to specify a twin.

6. Pilot qualifications. Some think a single engine jet will be easier for pilots to fly. The training standards will be so high that it won't make any difference. This is very much unlike piston airplanes where the twins have a considerable training barrier.

The net effect is that the balance sheet for the SEJ is not nearly as rosy as a casual analysis would suggest.

Let's see what comes out and how well it performs. Right now, the SEJ has the benefit of not existing so the compromises are not evident, it is "perfect" because it is imagined to be so.

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

Goat,

Think DC-10 with one in the tail.

Wing structures get lighter because they don't have to support the weight and thrust of engines on pylons.

Overall weight comes down for the same reason.

The 'ultra wide' cabin becomes an option, rather than the 'double decker' approach of the A380. Makes it easier to integrate in existing airports.

My gut tells me that one, really BIG fan could be so much more efficient that the designers would include a few 'small' backup jets for things like cabin pressure, electronics and other safety systems, and STILL be 'better' overall.

On the matter of 'will punters fly in them' I reply that few of us know (or care) what we fly in from point to point. We walk down an airbridge and only discover what we are on by reading the safety leaflet.

Baron95,

You have several good points, but the one about two engines providing backup is not one of them.

After all, a few years ago, all the long range aircraft had FOUR...

Shane

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Flyger responded to my post on the retrofit :
One thing in their favor is that the airplanes are uniform so a standard production line style process could be used.

I don't agree with this point at all. as I stated in my first post:
The fact that the first planes were built without a PC, would have me believe there will be differences in the routing of wiring harness, in the installation of clamps, in the alignment of bracket etc. Lots of little things which add up and take time and nerves.

I would bet that management will fall into the same thinking you proposed. The planes are all the same, we'll do one design and then it's a simple install job.

Balance that against the reported poor quality and significant rework eclipse used as an argument in the Hampson tail suite.

What do you think rework means to commonality?

Turbine Power said...

Niner zulu--"Audio volume level for 4 outputs is presented in a "colored bar" format. Not sure that's particularly useful as it takes up screen real estate better used for something else..."

I think you are knocking without knowing. {sigh}

Avio NG is laid out in multiple tiles and pages. All essential information is constantly available; all other information is called up with button presses that re-configure two large areas of the MFD to show whatever the pilot wants to see. There is no reason to show W&B all the time, so you see it when you ask for it. Ditto the audio sublevels (there are master audio volume controls available all the time) and many other things.

As to the design being rushed out the door and not thought out well--this basic layout was decided years ago; they're finally getting to implement it all. It's a damn good layout, and it wasn't invented last week, last month or last year.

Turboprop_pilot said...

Engineering ramble re SE jet:

Pressurization just requires enough inflow air to equal leaks with the outflow control valve closed.

Noodling a SE high altitude legal and safe design:

Minimize the leaks so the inflow air requirements are minimized. The better the pressure vessel design, the less bleed air required and the better the engine performance during normal use.

Monitor the inflow minus outflow so the leakage rate is known (if it is too high, correct before high altitude flight is allowed).

If inflow air is lost (engine, bleed air failure, etc.), seal outflow and initialize backup. Allow cabin pressure to slowly climb to legal maximum during decent. Using same processor as required for leakage tests, graphically show decent required to reach safe altitude.

Possible backups (I do not have time to calculate pressures with altitude, cabin volume, minimum possible leak rates, etc. Sorry):

Kevlar pressure bottle with air under high pressure

Electric back up pressure pump
Ram Air Turbine deployed on failure

Small APU

Oxygen generator like gadget


Jets like altitude. I would bet against a SE jet with a low altitude restriction but I think a clean sheet design could overcome the SE drawbacks- flyger’s 6% better fuel efficiency is a pretty big number when coupled with efficiencies at high altitude.

Turboprop pilot

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken's South African doppleganger sez:

"...it wasn't invented last week, last month or last year..."

Finally he admits it is not state of the art or cutting edge, and I can say I agree with him.

Just as shocked as the rest of you, I understand Dante is passing out parka's for Brutus and Cassius.

lol - IOW, Afrikaaner Ken is saying 'only some of the page layouts suck'.

baron95 said...

flyger said...
10 years? So you think the current crop isn't going to make it? Or is that the new "Eclipse standard time of development"?


Yep. I think 10 years for a "new" class or GA airplanes to start hitting the market is as fast as you can go from concept to availability.

VLJs concepts first flew were discussed 10 years ago, and we still don't have a single one (my definition of VLJs is less than 6,000 lbs MTOW) being delivered. Things move slowly in aviation.

We'll see D-Jet (1st half assed attempt at SE Jet) be certified in the next 2 years with severe limitations on payload/range/speed. It will have some success, just because it will allow people to have "a Jet", any jet.

4-5 years from now, we'll see a D-Jet refresh, with a better engine, increased MTOW, increased fuel, and perhaps a certification to FL300 or 350.

6-7 Years from now, we'll see the first real personal jets (with MTOW under 5,000 lbs) hit the market from Cirrus and (long shot) maybe Eclipse. These will have some limitations, perhaps, 25K cert limits, no FIKI, etc.

9-10 years from now, the personal jets will have full function.

That is roughly what I expect. If the economy is very strong, it can be accelerated by a year or two. If the economy falters, it will be pushed back by a couple of years.

If you think the skies will be dark with VLJs and Personal Jets tomorrow or in 5 years, you will be disapointed. Progress is slow in avaiation - think decades, not years.

Incidentaly, the Piper Jet, though not a project of interest to me (It is too big, heavy, wrong config, to be a SE Jet), will likely get cancelled, and or take 10 years to be done. I'd like to be wrong on that. Piper does have a history of incredibly fast certification of new planes. The Meridian, being the last one, was done incredibly fast for a cash strapped company. Maybe they can pull this one off as well. The Meridian, really came out with no major design flaws, and got a fix for the paltry useful load in 2 years.

Copernicus said...

Re: Stan's post on Cessna dismissing Eclipse after look-see flights

The GA business functioned as a classic oligopoly for many years. Few manufacturers, clear posting of each other's prices, disincentive for capital expense for technical advance (if the other guy isn't doing it, why should I?)all resulting in many years of status quo. It takes a newcomer putting forth a better/cheaper/more advanced product to force oligopolists to move towards competitive rather than oligopolistic behavior. They don't like it one bit and human nature sometimes causes them to just dismiss the upstart, if they can't squash him.

The adverse comments about the Eclipse by Cessna on Stan's posting were most interesting. They sound like, "We build real airplanes and this one is a joke. They can't even paint it." This could have been a GM comment on the first Hondas. Door alarm, paint job, bonding of a wing faring? This is not an indictment of the airplane, but rather a modest punch list of details on number 68 that can be (has been?)easily corrected for later serial numbers.

Paint, door and wing faring notwithstanding, if I were Cessna wanting to sell Mustangs at $3+ million, I would have to take serious account of a competitive, albeit somewhat smaller, design that goes just as far, faster and burns less fuel while costing $1 million less to buy and correspondingly less to insure. The Eclipse company and the agonizing bit by bit completion of the airplane is not Cessna style, but Eclipse will either become professional or, in an instant, could be part of EADS or the like--then what Cessna?

Next there is the single engine jet. Maybe it will be limited to 25,000 feet with the consequent effects on fuel, speed, etc. as discussed here. Still, which would you rather have, one of these for $1 million, a non-pressurized Columbia for $600,000, a Malibu for $1.2 million or a Mirage for $2 million.?

You can bet that if Eclipse takes in $100+ million presently (rumor says it has)that the investors are thinking one-two stepup of SE to EA500. In this area Cessna is a complete void, going from SE piston, unpressurized Columbia straight to Mustang. If Cessna dismisses Eclipse because of the way the bottom half of the door closes, they do so at their peril. Eclipse, or a successor owner of the two jet products, could one day be pushing both up and down the product line and it will not be as part of the old oligopoly.

baron95 said...

Flyger Said .... Restricted maximum operating altitude. Without a redundant and lightweight pressurization system, the SEJ will be limited to inefficient altitudes making it worse on fuel than the twin.


I really don't know why you guys think a SE Jet requires a redundant pressurization sytem!?! There is nothing in the regs that require that for flight above FL250.

This is what you need to demonstrate to the FAA... your Jet is flying at it's max operating altitude, say FL350. You then fail any systems related t opressurization that can likely fail. Engines, outfolw valves, door seals, (1 window - unless they are double pane, fail safe seals - I need to check on this for part 23), etc.

Now, all you need to do is perform the emergency descent procedure, and demonstrate that the cabin pressure does not go above 15,000 ft.

That is it. I'm not saying that proper design is not required, it is.

Above FL280, RVSM, the plane must be on autopilot at all times. As I said, most new jet autopilots/fd/fms will allert if cabin presure goes above 8,000 ft, and command a 90 degree turn and emmergency descent if cabin presure goes above 10,000 ft or othe predetermined value. They will close the outflow valve shut, and that will allow plenty of type to get down.

And this is not a binary thing - you get to FL410 or nothing. You can demonstrated say FL310 and get approval. Then fine tune the emmergency descent procedures, have better outflow valve shut off, initiate alarm and emergency descent sooner, etc, then get approvat to FL350/FL410.

On another note, If a SE Jet is designed for 300KTAS, like apparently Cirrus and D-Jet is shooting for, then Cert to FL350 and FL410 may not be a major deal.

You guys can claim all the theoretical advantages in range and cost on you NBAA scenarios, with a direct and unrestricted climb to 410 all they long. *BUT*, what are the chances of your flight from say NYC areas (ISP or HPN) to south florida say FLL or Boca Executive, ever getting that climb with that M0.5 airspeed?

Answer: NONE. You'll be kept low and descended early on the return all the way to Dover. Then you'll be sequenced with the PC12s and King Air 200/350s at FL200-FL250.

So while in theory it is a big penalty, in practice it is not.

If I were certing a personal jet likw Cirrus Jet, i'd aim for FL280 no RVSM at first - that is an easy 13K ft 3 min descent from pressurization change to 15K feet. Then see what was hapeneing in practice and what my customers were asking for before trying for RVSM and FL 310 or 350. I would ignore FL410. Not compeling for a SE personal Jet.

anonymous avionics engineer said...

Dunning-Kruger effect explains a lot. Perhaps Eclipse already has enough incompetent individuals at the upper levels of the Engineering structure so they don't need a new VP. When I was there that certainly seemed to be the case.

'We'll do it right the second or third time' because we don't have time to do it right seems to be the Eclipse standard.

baron95 said...

Here is an article from a guy that seems t ohave flown/sat is some of the VLJs and bought 8 of them with some frinds.

Sounds wierd, but his observations seem to be very down to earth.

Thought you'd enjoy reading his opinions.

http://philip.greenspun.com/flying/very-light-jets

Some snipets...

On Eclipse

I have not managed to talk my way onto an Eclipse flight, but have sat in the aircraft. Exterior and interior finishes are excellent, substantially better than a TBM-850 or Piper Meridian. The front seats are very comfortable for a 6' tall pilot (me).

In March 2006, I visited the Eclipse factory in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The sales people and pencil pushers were remarkably arrogant, a startling contrast to their relatively humble counterparts at Cessna and Embraer. The employees on the shop floor were not smiling and having fun cooperating, as I've observed at the Diamond factories in London, Ontario and Austria.

On D-Jet

Diamond offers a greatly simplified single-engine jet with a service ceiling of 25,000'. One way to look at this product is as a greatly improved Piper Malibu rather than a scaled-down business jet.
The D-Jet will cruise at 315 knots, carry a total of five people, and operate from 2500' runways. Gross weight is 5,110 lbs. Range, not specified as NBAA, is claimed to be 1,350 n.m., but only if you're willing to slow down to 240 knots.

On Mustang

Operators so far seem happy with the 50 Mustangs that have been delivered. The only fleet-wide problem has been one major software glitch in the Garmin G1000, which was quickly found and patched (aeronautical engineers get smarter every year; pilots and programmers get dumber). How are they selling? In the fall of 2007, the local Cessna sales guy demoed the plane to 7 prospective customers and 5 of them placed orders. If you put down $175,000 today, your plane will roll off the line three years later. Two friends and I together bought six Mustangs that will arrive in 2009 and 2010.

On Phenom

The Phenom 100 has a cabin volume of 305 cubic feet, substantially larger than the Mustang. The 100 cruises at 380 knots, faster than the Mustang, with a similar NBAA range of 1,160 n.m. The final numbers aren't in because the plane isn't certified, but Embraer promises more speed and a lot more space for a 15 percent price premium and maybe 15 percent extra fuel. Have they rewritten the laws of physics? Not exactly. The wing of the Phenom 100 is a more sophisticated design than that of the Mustang.

Turbine Power said...

Coldwetmackerel--"...it wasn't invented last week, last month or last year...Finally he admits it is not state of the art or cutting edge, and I can say I agree with him"

You're a funny guy, albeit all wet. If they'd invented the avionics package last month, you'd say it was "cobbled together at the last minute under pressure." Now that you know the interface was actually carefully planned for several years, your sputtering complaint changed to "it isn't new enough."

Ah, the mantra of the frustrated hater who can gain no traction.

So, how did they come up with a state-the-art system first conceptualized years ago? It was VISIONARY :-)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Denial, it's not just a river in Africa.

If you want to talk traction son let us be realistic, you have all the traction of a Yugo on ice, by comparison I have the traction of an M1-A1 Abrams tank.

You truly have nothing of substance to offer to the discussion do you.

Take delivery of YOUR jet yet?

Get trained yet?

Flying in FIKI or with FMS and Moving Map yet?

Or were you too busy creating your fake Afrikaaner 'transport industry' profile?

YOU sir, are the hater, YOU hate we critics, YOU hate the facts we constantly bring up, and YOU consistently fail to provide any substantive backup for your ridiculous and inflammatory posts.

Eclipse has taken 10 FREAKING YEARS, and no less than two vendor partnerships, to cobble together a UI which at least some experienced EFIS users find clunky (yes, even if only SOME pages, the criticism still applies).

Eclipse has taken 10 FREAKING YEARS to co-develop not one, not two, but THREE different sets of hardware and UNTOLD lines of code - to create a PARTIAL LEVEL OF FUNCTIONALITY.

Eclipse has taken deposits from several hundred owners-in-waiting claiming their planes were imminent, and delivered on 1 in 4 of those promises.

Eclipse has taken more money to develop less functionality and to lower expectations beyond that of any other TC'd aircraft in history.

Can you explain how focusing on the many shortcomings of the incomplete Eclipse, and factually identifying them or comparing it to complete, fully functioning aircraft equates to hate?

That is not hate Ken, it is truth.

You may hate the truth Ken, but in the end, there it is.

You are obviously in the 2nd stage of Grief.

First stage was DENIAL (there is nothing wrong, I will get my jet).

Current stage is ANGER (why is this happening to me, I just wanted a cheap jet, damn critics).

But fret not, next will be BARGAINING (just let me get MY jet). Some of us thought you had already progressed to this stage, but regression seems to have occurred.

Then you can look forward to DEPRESSION (I'm so sad I didn't get a functioning jet for my money).

Last will be ACCEPTANCE (it is OK I did not get a functioning jet for all that money).

No charge for this diagnosis, call it a donation to the cause.

Your friend,

Dr. Fish

PS: What do you call an Eclipse Faithful who is in such denial he creates a profile claiming to be someone else from another country: AfriKen American

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

The invective tells it all.

And the beat goes on...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Physician, heal thyself.

What was insulting or abusive my AfriKen American brother?

Asking if you had your plane yet?

Asking if you could use it yet?

Asking if you had been trained yet?

Accurately reflecting the state of the avionics development?

Accurately reflecting what Eclipse has DONE to its' customers?

Improving on your own use of the word traction with a colorful analogy?

Or calling attention to the bogus 'industry insider' profile behind your new digital nom de plume?

Waqs it when I dared to calle YOU a hater? That is called irony, it is in the dictionary, not too far from invective.

EclipseOwner387 said...

ColdWet,

Why do you think Turbine Power is Ken? Even if it is (which I seriously doubt since Turbine Power's profile was created March 2007), what difference does it make? You hide behind a catchy moniker hiding your identity. Turbine Power has that same right don't you think? And AfriKen American - really poor taste and not funny. My opinion is that we are better served to keep this blog about the Eclipse and Aviation. Don't you agree?

Gunner said...

EO-
The more pertinent question is why TP comes on here with the EXACT personal attacks we witnessed from Ken prior to his announcement that he was leaving until he took delivery of his Jet.

People reap what they sow and are treated as they treat others. The Critics have repeatedly demonstrated their willingness to enter into reasonable discourse with reasonable people. Evidence:
You
Hummer
Baron95
Ex-421

Name two Critics that have been afforded a polite relationship with Ken (TP), Mirage, RedTail or Alexa.

And they call US "haters".

Gunner

ps: I thought the AfriKen American quip was pretty good and couldn't imagine anybody taking personal affront to it; yourself included

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ex-EO,

'TP' has added nothing to the discussion of the Eclipse but the same tired old party line canards and personal attacks that were, for awhile at least, not present here after a certain blogger took his ball and went home mumbling about the plane.

Go back and see what of value he has posted - be prepared to look for a long time. He has directly insulted folks, and used the same class-envy-in-reverse poor rich man argument that Ken used.

I don't care whether he is or is not a certain blogger, don't care except the profile suggests he is a transportation industry insider, presumable leading to more 'credibility' than say an intelligent physician and entrepreneur who repeatedly demonstrated his faulty knowledge was book and press-release-based - right words, wrong context.

It should be obvious to anyone that a large fish is not typing my posts, but if a neophyte were to review the profile of the bloggers he/she would see 'transportation industry' and 'south africa' in the profile for a certain 'new' blogger - again possibly lending undeserved credibility.

Many folks have pointed out the obvious similarities in rhetoric and style, and TP has not objected, he has been teased in Africaans and missed it, so it only goes to reason . . . .

IOW, if it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and swims like a duck...

We will not all share the same sense of humor ex-EO, and thankfully the Bill of Rights has no prohibition against being offended (or bored or underwhelmed), so I am afraid that's all the further that one goes - I thought it was funny.

I DO keep it about the plane and the company ex-EO, the infrequent detours are caused by the Faithful.

Rational supporters, like yourself, and B95, and ex421 are what make this thing work with we critics. The Faithful hurt Eclipse when they attack others rather than deal honestly with the deficiencies of the plane, about which I posted, and which TPKen, fully in character, refused to answer.

AlexA said...

Gunner said "Name two Critics that have been afforded a polite relationship with Ken (TP), Mirage, RedTail or Alexa."

1. Stan
2. Gunner

EclipseDriver said...

Whoever Turbine Pilot really is, he certainly has gotten you critics to consume a lot of energy spinning your wheels, but never getting anywhere.

Good for him.

Gunner said...

ED-
That's his mission in life. Unfortunately, the unintended consequences of his behavior and attitude have a cost:

Potential Purchasers come here to see what the hoopla's all about. When they see the kind of "defense" of Eclipse put up by those like TP/Ken etc, they tend to be unimpressed.

That's part of the reason why even a fraudulent "Order Book" has stagnated. People just ain't buying it.
Gunner

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ED,

I would not consider calling attention to the mismanagement that 10 years, $200M, three sets of hardware vendors and EVEN THEN only being able to deliver PARTIALLY FUNCTIONING aircraft spinning wheels.

Similarly, I hardly believe that repeatedly pointing out how cheap the plane is supposed to be to buy and operate, and then giving pass after pass for every transgression (DayJet-Gate and progress payment-gate late in '06, Avio-gate in '07, and now Mod-Gate in just the first week of '08) causes US to spin OUR wheels - that could save someone $1.8M and a lot of heartache like that being expressed on the E500 site by actual owner's.

Fact is that TPKen and his Faithful brethren serve a greater purpose, just not the one they intended - I believe they help the critic's cause by proving to be foils - we should likely consider them in terms attributed to a certain Russian leader, begins with 'useful' and ends with 'idiots'.

baron95 said...

Vern is just learning some lessons the hard way - mannufacturing a complex machine (not sw) with quality and profitably is not easy.

Not saying that SW is easy. But the hard part is R&D and development & test. Once the thing works (or sometime mostly works and customers don't have a choice), the production bit is trivial.

Not so with A/C. Even if you subcontract a lot, and become just an integrator, fitting the pieces together in accordance to a TC/PC with good fit and finnish is tough.

On the good (for him) side, he is learning on other people's dime and is bringing some amount of "innovation" to GA.

On the bad side, he maybe discouraging others by demonstrating how expensive and unlikely success can be.

I for one, am dying to see the next page of the Eclipse book. I.e. Vern gone and the company acquired by EADS or the group now controlling Mooney, or the group now controlling HB.

Then we will (hopefully) get open communications about the good and the bad, and a realistic plan to properly complete, price and produce the EA500, and, more importantly (to me) the ECJ.

Iunfortunately it looks like we'll need to suffer through a new year of Vern promisses and sub par delivery.

Oh well, I've heard that child birth is seldom painfree ;)

If only the Eclipse position holders and owners could set the reccord straight. If Vern over promises and the owners accept the over promises and try to excuse/protect Vern, the truth will not be known till it is too late.

flyger said...

Turboprop_pilot said...

Pressurization just requires enough inflow air to equal leaks with the outflow control valve closed.

That works the day it leaves the factory. From then on, the leaks increase. There are requirements for a certain amount of airflow otherwise the people on board suffocate.

If inflow air is lost (engine, bleed air failure, etc.), seal outflow and initialize backup.

How did you know the backup was functional? In most cases, it will need to be "on" during the flight to be sure. When it fails, you need to exit high altitude flight since you no longer have a backup.

Kevlar pressure bottle with air under high pressure

Doesn't contain enough volume to matter, takes up too much space.

Electric back up pressure pump

Probably the most viable approach, but requires battery, motor, compressor. Weight is non trivial.

Ram Air Turbine deployed on failure

A RAT is too complex. How do you test it before flight? It also weighs more than you think.

Small APU

Okay for big airliners. For this small SEJ, you can't find turbines that would do it (it is already using small engines as it is), so this is, egad, a piston engine. How do you know it will start when cold soaked at FL410? You don't, so it needs to be on during the flight. Talk about added risk and crew workload to monitor that.

Oxygen generator like gadget

This doesn't produce pressurization which is what the rules require.

I would bet against a SE jet with a low altitude restriction

Diamond didn't. And for that, they will probably get certified. The others, well, will see.

flyger’s 6% better fuel efficiency is a pretty big number when coupled with efficiencies at high altitude.

It is peanuts. Fuel is only about 1/3 the operating cost, so you save the SEJ owner 2% of his operating costs with that 6% efficiency gain. He saved a lot more on the engine maintenance (maybe 25% on the per hour for one big versus two small, so about 6% overall savings on the total hourly costs).

So, would you choose an SEJ that saved you 10% on operating costs versus a twin? Even if it was 20%, that's a hard sell and I doubt it is that much.

Piston airplanes are around 50% savings. Not too hard a sell at that point.

Doesn't matter what anyone thinks, the proof is someone doing it and selling it. Then we will know how good or bad it really is, if someone manages to jump all the hoops. Even after you "solve" the pressurization problem, that leaves you with all the rest, including liability which has no technical solution.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

I really don't know why you guys think a SE Jet requires a redundant pressurization sytem!?! There is nothing in the regs that require that for flight above FL250.

FAR 23.841. The FAA differs from your view. And in this case, that is all that matters.

Now, all you need to do is perform the emergency descent procedure, and demonstrate that the cabin pressure does not go above 15,000 ft.

From AC 23-17B, "Systems and Equipment Guide for Certification of Part 23 Airplanes and Airships", on pressurization:

This amendment requires that cabin pressure altitude not exceed 15,000 feet in any probable failure for airplanes certificated to operate over 31,000 feet (later lowered to 25,000 ft). It is not proper to use an emergency descent procedure to show compliance to this rule when compliance can be achieved through design.

An emergency descent is not an approved means of meeting 23.841 unless you can't do it "by design". Since you can always do it "by design", like adding a second engine, an emergency descent has never been approved as a method of meeting 23.841.

All this regulatory stuff is online. You can look it up. Prevents embarrassment.

Okay, let say, for argument's sake, that you get the FAA to accept an emergency descent as meeting 23.841. First, it still ain't easy as you have to get from FL410 to 15,000 ft before the cabin goes above 15,000 ft. Now the cabin typically didn't start at sea level, it started probably at about 9,000 ft or maybe higher. So you have only a very small amount of excess air with which to work. Even small leaks will cause a problem. How fast can you get down? You can't exceed Vne, plus you have to give the crew some "recognition" time to start the descent. This all adds up to time you don't have.

Next issue is that you created *multiple* emergencies from one *cause*. The *only* engine just failed (emergency one) and now you have lost pressurization (emergency two). The first emergency is best dealt with a long glide to a safe airport. The second is best dealt with by a screaming descent. Contrary treatments required due to one cause.

Accidents happen because of a chain of events. You have already linked two chains before the pilot gets a chance to do anything.

Above FL280, RVSM, the plane must be on autopilot at all times.

The FAA will never accept an autopilot performing an emergency descent, on its own, as a treatment for a pressurization problem. What do you think happens if the "cabin altitude alert" sensor gets it wrong? Then you might have an engine at cruise power during the emergency descent.

So let's review. An SEJ has an engine failure for some mundane reason. The airplane is now a glider (emergency one). The pressurization has now stopped (emergency two). The electrical system is on battery (emergency three). The autopilot has taken over command of the airplane and put you into an unusual attitude to spiral you down as quick as possible (emergency four). Meanwhile, if still conscious, the pilot is trying to find a place to land. If he doesn't (because the stupid autopilot flew him out to sea and used up all of his potential energy), well, too bad! Ditch or off airport landing (emergency five).

By this time, the poor single pilot is overwhelmed. He feels like his airplane is possessed, and it is. When pilots get overloaded like this, they make very rash and very wrong decisions.

Compare the twin pilot. Engine fails for some mundane reason (emergency one). Mash a little rudder, start floating down to SE ceiling, call center, and find a nice airport to land at, even if it is 250nm away. No big deal.

Jet engines might be reliable, but do you see any jet engine maker accepting the liability for the above scenario? I don't.

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
421Jockey said...

9Z,

This was an original Avio panel (Avidyne) not Avio NG.

ex-421

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

I don’t care whose avionics package it is; this situation gets sadder every day. Can you imagine this dialogue appearing about the product of any other aircraft manufacturer?

FlightCenter said...

Yes.

Black Tulip said...

Whose?

FlightCenter said...

Delivery Update

The FAA registry database shows a total of 79 E500 aircraft for which registration has been transfered.

According to the FAA "in process" website there are a total of 96 E500 aircraft for which Eclipse has submitted paperwork to transfer the registration.

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

Summary - Very little change from last week's delivery update. There have been no new CofAs listed in the registry database since the end of November.

However, on 4 Jan 2008, Eclipse notified the FAA that it had transfered registration of its own company aircraft from Eclipse Aviation Corp to Eclipse IRB Sunport LLC.

This includes their test fleet, 502EA, 503EA, 504EA, 505EA, 506EA as well as their L39 - 88EA, their Cirrus SR20 - 499SF, and the Econ Jet, 5184U. My guess would be for a legal, tax and/or accounting reasons....

Gunner said...

Whose?
Moller's

flyger said...

FlightCenter said...

However, on 4 Jan 2008, Eclipse notified the FAA that it had transfered registration of its own company aircraft from Eclipse Aviation Corp to Eclipse IRB Sunport LLC.

Hmm, moving some assets around. Wonder why that would be...

Say, didn't Enron "make" money leasing stuff to itself?

flyger said...

Black Tulip said...

I don’t care whose avionics package it is; this situation gets sadder every day. Can you imagine this dialogue appearing about the product of any other aircraft manufacturer?

Any sufficiently complex software product has bugs.

Make sure your life doesn't depend on such products.

FlightCenter said...

BT,

Well if Embraer lost all their displays, and Gulfstream lost all their displays, then I'd say its entirely possible that they could also (with much less publicity) have experienced a number of simultaneous incorrect CAS message lights/warnings.

My point is that incorrect CAS messages can happen to anyone. Is it more likely to occur with the multiple vendor architecture that Eclipse has chosen? Certainly.

421 and 9Z,

It doesn't sound (with the little data reported here) that the kinds of failures described here are likely to be caused by either Avidyne or IS&S displays. There are numerous sensors, from multiple vendors, that route through the ACS, who then processes that data and sends messages to the displays telling them what message lights to light.

My first gut instinct would be that if you have this problem with Avio, you also have this problem with Avio NG and the root cause is unlikely to be found in displays that are reporting the status sent to them. Temperature, vibration, grounding, voltage, noise, and moisture issues come to mind.



The advantage that Embraer and Gulfstream had in their situations was that they could have a conversation with one avionics vendor to resolve the situation.

Eclipse has a much harder resolution path.

baron95 said...

Flyger, thankd for taking the time to pull out the relevant regs, and for the carefully considered opinions you provided.

I do think it is an interesting aread to watch and see what will be in the FAA certification agreement letter for the Piper Jet, Epic, etc. I do firmly believe it is a workable issue, but concede that an agreement with the FAA on how to comply must be reached.

By the way, the scenario that you described is not that dire, as it would unfold.

First, cabin presure would start at 8,000ft or lower, since that is a certification requirement.

Second, on engine failure, outflow valves close and the cabin would rise very slowly. If under a modern RVSM FMS, the AP would comand a 90 degree turn at best glide, as the plane would start drifting down from assigned altitude. No presurization emergency exists or will exist for many minutes. In fact it may not exist throuh the entire descent profile (see below).

Now pilot selects heading to nearest suitable field, notifies ATC, plans descent and takes manual control of the FD/FMS.

If, cabin pressure raises above 10K feet, there will be an alert and pilot dons quick donning O2 masks.

Continues with descent.

If during the descent, with pilot already under O2, the cabin were to reach 15Kfeet, passenger O2 masks would deploy.

Pilot continues with descent. Focus contines to be on landing, no additional action is needed.

Pilot lands.

From Piper's doc on single engine design decisions for the Piper Jet found here...

http://www.newpiper.com/piperjet/images/piperjet_designroom_3.pdf

"One of a pilot’s prime concerns is cabin decompression at high altitudes. In the event an engine fails at 35,000 feet, the cabin will not experience a rapid decompression. Instead, pressure will leak out of the cabin at a much slower rate. If the cabin were to reach an altitude of 15,000 feet, an automatic emergency oxygen system will deploy oxygen masks to the pilot and passengers with enough oxygen for the entire emergency descent profile."

baron95 said...

I do think that FL310 or 350 is a better max operating altitude for a SE Jet that can do M0.7.

FL 250 or 280 is prob a suitable max operating altitude for the M0.5 to M0.6 jets as they'll have problems getting cleared to the 30s anyway.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

First, cabin presure would start at 8,000ft or lower, since that is a certification requirement.

There is no such requirement for FAR23 airplanes (which an SEJ will be). What you quoted is true for FAR 25. The cabin can be higher to keep the differential down to reduce cabin weight.

No presurization emergency exists or will exist for many minutes. In fact it may not exist throuh the entire descent profile (see below).

You have a very optimistic expectation of how tight the cabin is. It will take extraordinary efforts in manufacturing to achieve the leak rates you require for this scenario, and those will be lost within hours of being out the field.

"If the cabin were to reach an altitude of 15,000 feet, an automatic emergency oxygen system will deploy oxygen masks to the pilot and passengers with enough oxygen for the entire emergency descent profile."

Note the phrase "emergency descent profile". Piper isn't doing the best glide scenario you described, and they hope the FAA will accept oxygen masks as covering 23.841. I don't think they will. Providing oxygen masks is trivial to do but still doesn't absolve one of 23.841.

Now read these two paragraphs from the Piper document which follow one right after the other. Can you find the contradiction?

Should an extremely rare engine failure occur, the PiperJet will still give pilots a large safety margin. An astonishing 17:1 glide ration gives a no-wind gliding range of more than 100 nm and approximately 45 minutes of glide time. The pilot consequently has plenty of distance and time to select a suitable airport in which to land. More often than not, pilots will be able to choose from among the best of many airports within gliding range.

One of a pilot’s prime concerns is cabin decompression at high altitudes. In the event an engine fails at 35,000 feet, the cabin will not experience a rapid decompression. Instead, pressure will leak out of the cabin at a much slower rate. If the cabin were to reach an altitude of 15,000 feet, an automatic emergency oxygen system will deploy oxygen masks to the pilot and passengers with enough oxygen for the entire emergency descent profile.


Using the 45 minutes glide time number, the Piper Jet has to keep the cabin above 15,000 ft for almost 26 minutes! And that was from FL350, it would be even longer for the ECJ at FL410. Even if you manage to seal the cabin up that good, which is practically impossible, are they dead anyway from lack of oxygen?

Let me know when someone certifies an SEJ above FL250.

Copernicus said...

Flyger and others make excellent points regarding the certifiability (or lack thereof) of a single engine jet above FL250. Assume that FL250 becomes the effective maximum. Eclipse is shooting for a price of about $1 million as is Cirrus.

This is the Eclipse Critic Blog and Eclipse would be due some criticism for giving expectations of FL410 with associated speed, range, fuel burn etc. only to later yield to the reality of FL250 performance. Anyone who bought into the FL410 idea in principle or (would anyone actually do this?) with a deposit would qualify to write Chapter 2 in the Eclipse indictment book, even while Chapter 1 is still a work in progress.

Granted the above limitations (and assuming the SE Jet can be sold for $1.0 million), however, don't forget value for money. I repeat my earlier question: Which would you buy?

1. Cessna 400 (nee Columbia), unpressurized turbocharged single for $620,000

2. SE FL250 Jet for $1.0 million

3. Malibu Mirage for $1.25 million

4. Malibu Meridian for $2.0 million

flyger said...

Copernicus said...

Which would you buy?

2. SE FL250 Jet for $1.0 million


I don't think an SEJ can be built significantly cheaper than a twin. The engine maker will charge you more for the one engine because it is larger and because they need to cover their liability for being on an SEJ. Certain other systems will be more expensive on an SEJ (fitting dual generators to the one engine for example). Mounting the single engine is more complex (ducting, split fin, etc) than standard pylons and rotables.

At the end of the day, an SEJ just won't be much cheaper than a twin to buy. If it is limited to FL250, it will also be more expensive to operate than the twin.

The other airplanes on your list are in a different class when it comes to operating expenses. Those planes don't really compete with an SEJ at all. That's like saying a $50K Aztec and a $50K 172 compete with each other. They don't.

airtaximan said...

MRO

Copernicus said...

So if the SE Jet really can't be sold much cheaper than the twin and if it has the FL250 limitations for speed, range, etc. then my list should be:

1. Cessna 400: $620,000
2. Mirage: $1.25 M
3. SE Jet: $1.75 M
4. Eclipse: $1.9 M
5. Meridian: $2.0 M
6. Mustang $3.0 M

With this spread, the value and price points for 1, 2 and 4 seem in a logical order. With these available, 3 and 5 appear commercially weak. If 4 gets its problems ironed out, both technical and business-wise, it seems a much better value than 6, but some people will prefer 6 due to cabin size and comfort.

It would be consistent with past disappointments by Eclipse for them to dangle the prospect of a $1 million, FL 410 jet before eager prospects, only to revise the idea to a $1.75 M FL 250 jet later on. The former would be a spectacular, breakthrough and the latter would be an uncommercial curiosity.

Please: What is MRO?

airtaximan said...

Mainteance, Repair, Overhaul.

only significant benefit to single engine jet, IMO, is MRO. Could save $100,000/year or more

YMMV

flyger said...

airtaximan said...

Mainteance, Repair, Overhaul.

only significant benefit to single engine jet, IMO, is MRO. Could save $100,000/year or more


An SEJ limited to FL250 costs way more money in fuel than the costs to overhaul the second engine. For example, the Eclipse AFM draft say it takes 75% more fuel per mile at FL250 than at FL410. That's 45 gallons an hour more, which is $250/hour just for that. The engine reserve and maintenance doesn't cost that much for two engines, let alone one!

And this doesn't include all the times the FL250 jet will have to deviate around weather that the FL410 jet didn't. And it doesn't count that the headwinds are often worse at FL250 than at FL410.

Day in and day out, the twin will be cheaper, all costs included.

YMMV

Bingo! Your mileage *will* vary.

Black Tulip said...

The thread has been dominated by discussion of single engine jets – no surprise since little news is coming out of Eclipse. I don’t expect the skies to darkened by SEJs especially if Jet-A prices keep going up. They’ll be a novelty for those who just have to smell jet fuel in the morning and hear that distinctive whine on startup.

I believe another propulsion system will continue to grow in popularity. It’s called an un-ducted extremely high-bypass turbofan… otherwise known as the turboprop. If Jet-A gets really expensive, the single engine jets will seem ‘fuelish’ in comparison. Of course, many will want a jet anyway for the bragging rights.

A turboprop moves an eight-foot diameter column of air slowly and efficiently compared to the one-to-two-foot diameter column moved at higher speed by the turbofan. The single-shaft engines such as the Honeywell TPE-331-10 are especially efficient, producing 400hp at 35,000ft burning 192pph on a standard day.

With this engine installation, the British term ‘airscrew’ comes to mind. In the Twin Commander, the propeller turns one revolution for every twenty feet of forward aircraft motion. Honeywell has built 14,000 engines in this family since 1963.

Note that last fall General Electric acquired Walter Engines in the Czech Republic. They produce a less expensive two- shaft competitor to the Pratt & Whitney PT-6, with 1,500 engines in service. The only thing missing is a new design of a single-shaft turboprop engine as they are about fifteen percent more efficient that the two-shaft.

If Jet-A goes back down to two bucks a gallon then ignore much of this post.

airtaximan said...

flyger,
I swear, I almost used the W...

I'm not saying it makes sense, its just a benefit for singles.

I'm pretty sure there are some smaller fanjet engines being optiomized for lower altitudes, right now, making for inexpensive twin fanjets for FL25, all things considered. This makes your point even stronger.

I personally do not think the singles are a great idea... but I like the djet.

Stan Blankenship said...

Great discussion on SEJ's.

It will be interesting to watch the OEM's, the FAA and EASA deal with these issues.

Jets equate to high speed and high altitude cruise.

The reg's for single engine airplanes relate to 61 kt stall speed, spin recovery and redundancy in the pressurization system...none of which comes easy for a SEJ.

When the existing reg's were written, no one was thinking in terms of a high performance SEJ. But today, there is a market for a SEJ, the OEM's are ready to build a new generation of people movers, the biggest impediment may be antiquated regulations.

Shadow said...

Stan, the same antiquated reg comment also applies for SSBJs regarding quiet supersonic flight over land.

airtaximan said...

I hear rumors of furniture moving in a corner office in Abq... sorta

ExEclipser said...

BT: "The thread has been dominated by discussion of single engine jets – no surprise since little news is coming out of Eclipse."

Not much to criticize.

I think they are doing real good taking the bull by the horns. I'm sure it's not picture perfect planning, but what is ever perfect on Clark Carr Loop?

DayJet has moved into my market now. Woo hoo! I think I'm going to rent a plane and take my wife on a date to Miami.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

exe, that's what I call a $5K hamburger (hopefully no icing between where you are and where you want to go), but hey, it is your hard earned coin.

I would disagree about there not being much to criticize, I just think that the frustration and anger being communicated by the anguished owner's (unable to operate their planes, and wondering why their needs are being ignored in favor of the small number of aircraft 'scheduled' for European delivery) has been very eleoquent.

I almost feel sorry for those guys.

baron95 said...

For those that like to track Eclipse's in FlightAware, can you tell us what the average cruising altitude has been? I wonder if those planes are getting to 400 or 410 very often?

Can you break down for the East and/or Northeast? I'd venture to say they are probably flying a significant portion of the trips in the east way low.

Therefore, the comments of real world range of the EA500 being more like 700-800nm.

And, for a SE Jet with lower climb rates and M0.5-0.6 cruising speed, they'll never get FL350 and above anyway. Certainly not in the east/northeast.

Just curious.

airtaximan said...

...DayJet has moved into my market now. Woo hoo! I think I'm going to rent a plane and take my wife on a date to Miami.

- per-seat does not guarantee you will be flying with your wife
- very limited "window" to make dinner, so plan on $4/mile for each of you
-nearest GA airport to Miami is 1/2 hour drive in traffic at least
- if you are "renting the plane" charter, you are probably better off with another plane!

Kidding, sorta, of course.

PS. how far are you... we can really evaluate this "dream flight" on Dayjet for dinner with Lovey in MIA.

421Jockey said...

B-95,

I hate to disagree, but getting high has not been a problem. I spent time recently on the East Coast and every time I got what I requested including FL390 on a trip where I could catch a tail wind. I have been filing the exact flight plans (route & altitude) that the Lears and Falcons have filed, and been 100% successful in getting what I asked for.

Maybe they think I am a Falcon (FA50), but so far, so good.

This thing is a BLAST to fly.

ex-421

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ex421, could you give us an overall opinion on fit, finish, utility and operating economy now that you've had it for a while?

Even comparing to your previous mount would be helpful as I suspect many if not all of the individual adopter types will be moving 'up' to the Eclipse.

WhyTech said...

Stan said:

"The reg's for single engine airplanes relate to 61 kt stall speed, spin recovery and redundancy in the pressurization system...none of which comes easy for a SEJ."

Not sure what you mean by "easy" but Pilatus got around the 61 kts stall speed by demonstrating that the structure was sufficiently crashworthy at 66.5 KTS, and added a stick shaker/pusher to "stall/spin proof" the airplane, and thereby be relieved of the spin recovery requirement. Of course, with a jet, perhaps these outs are not available.

WT

flyger said...

Stan Blankenship said...

When the existing reg's were written, no one was thinking in terms of a high performance SEJ. But today, there is a market for a SEJ, the OEM's are ready to build a new generation of people movers, the biggest impediment may be antiquated regulations.

To support this view, you would have to say how the regulations are no longer grounded in the realities of building an SEJ. I just don't think that is so. I would say the opposite is true, the regulations are perhaps a little too lax for SEJs since we don't have any operational experience on what they should be like. As we all know, regulations get motivated not by forward thinking, but by hindsight.

I think the greatest impediment is the engine makers. An SEJ is lose-lose for them, less revenue, more liability exposure. Hard to see PWC execs jumping for joy over that.

EclipseOwner387 said...

Flyger,

There is some speculation that with time an SEJ like the D-Jet will not require a type rating. The argument being that it will be simpler and safer to fly than a piston single. These are not my words but from an industry insider with years of experience at an establised firm. What is your take on that view?

Stan Blankenship said...

whytech,

I was aware of FAR 23.562(D) which allows for higher stall speeds providing scaled up load criteria is met. Part of this means higher rates of energy absorption for the seats and meeting the minimum rate is a challenge.

Was not aware the FAA would accept a pusher/shaker arrangement in lieu of spin tests. But that makes sense as well. The Aircoupe as I recall was spin-proof because the manufacturer limited the up elevator to the point the airplane became stall proof.

flyger said...

EclipseOwner387 said...

There is some speculation that with time an SEJ like the D-Jet will not require a type rating. The argument being that it will be simpler and safer to fly than a piston single. These are not my words but from an industry insider with years of experience at an establised firm. What is your take on that view?

It is a common belief that the easier an airplane is to fly, the safer it is. I don't agree with that view. To play devil's advocate, an airplane that is very easy to fly instills false confidence. The pilot's skill ability is ahead of his judgment ability.

The accident record is full of pilots who had all the required skills but lacked judgment. For some reason, people think teaching more skills will solve that.

That's the purpose of a mentoring program. Your mentor is not there to help you with stick and rudder skills, he is there to help you develop your own judgment process and to serve as a safety valve if your judgment was wrong.

I don't think SEJs will be excused from a type rating. First, the manufacturers want pilots to be well trained, so they aren't looking to put people in planes too quick. Second, if the plane is easy to fly, then the training won't be onerous skill wise. What did you really save with no type rating? Third, I don't think the FAA is ready to take that big of a step in regulation. They want professional people sharing the flight levels with the airliners. Fourth, which ever VLJ becomes the first to not require a type rating will attract the least qualified pilots. No manufacturer wants to be first on that list. Lastly, I don't think flying a twin engine jet is really that much harder than a single. They are both easy. So if one has a rating, the other will, too.

WhyTech said...

Stan said:

"Was not aware the FAA would accept a pusher/shaker arrangement in lieu of spin tests. "

I talked to a number of people at Pilatus trying to understand what the spin characteristics would be, including the Chief Engineer and Chief Test Pilot. Both said that they didnt know because spin testing was not required or conducted due to the "stall proofing" afforded by the shaker/pusher. No doubt it would be ugly - possibly unrecoverable.

WT

Black Tulip said...

Whytech,

Interesting thoughts about the possible stall/spin characteristics of the PC-12. Do you think these had any bearing on the March 26, 2005 accident in Bellefonte, PA of N770G in icing conditions?

AlexA said...

I realize this is the Eclipse critic blog but since we are beating SEJs to death, the latest issue of the D-Jet flyer had interesting information. With projected certification less than 90 days away there is no conforming sample flying.

1. Flight testing of S/N 002 has been limited since the trip to NBAA…
2. The team continued to make good progress building S/N 003, completing the airframe and major systems in December as this issue of the D-JET Flyer went to press.

More interesting tidbits:
“…nosewheel steering, the fuel level indication system and flap control system have all been further developed…” This with less than 90 days to go, it’s obvious the design is still in flux.

Also interesting is there is no mention of the thrust rating. It was rumored that 1400 lbs of thrust would provide lackluster performance even with the aircraft lightly loaded.

“to validate D-JET’s bifurcated inlets by combining a fuselage mockup with a production-spec engine” This seems to indicate that no real world high angle of attack testing has been done.

The question is when is Diamond going to fess up and release a more realistic schedule.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

No Alexa, the question is what does that have to do with the Eclipse?

Perhaps you would care instead to address the fact that FIKI now appears to be as much as 2 years late for some operators.

Or maybe you would care to address the fact that Avio 1.0, which has no functionality beyond Avio TU, won't be fully retrofitted for up to a year.

Or maybe you would care to address the unmitigated gall that Eclipse has demonstrated by extorting several hundred million dollars in deposits and 'progress' payments by promising planes were to be delivered within 6 months, only to deliver 20% of the promised planes and NONE with full functionality.

Maybe you could try and explain why it is good that you have to defend what Eclipse does TO their customers instead of FOR their customers.

Diamond has not failed with the D-Jet yet, and while I suspect schedule, weight, range, and many other things MAY not work out as planned, they would have to be 10 years late and 5 times over budget to be on par with the subject of THIS blog.

Good luck with the D-Jet Critic Blog, bet you get all kinds of venomous threads from those Diamond maniacs, or not.

Stan Blankenship said...

***MEDIA ALERT***

Eclipse Aviation to Hold Press Conference to Announce Developments in Long-Term Financing

WHAT:
Eclipse Aviation will hold a press conference to announce recent developments in long-term financing.

WHY:
Eclipse has had an exhilarating first year of production and delivery. At this press conference, Eclipse will update attendees on an important financing development, and discuss an exciting new opportunity to grow the Eclipse 500 market.

WHEN:
The press conference will take place at 1:00 PM Mountain Standard Time on Monday, January 14th in Sunport 2, the Final Assembly facility located at 3250 Spirit Drive SE, Albuquerque, NM 87106.

HOW:
All media participants must RSVP to Alana McCarraher at 505-944-3036 or
alana.mccarraher@eclipseaviation.com.

WHO:
Eclipse invites all interested media to participate in this press
conference. Any media questions prior to the event should be directed to
Alana McCarraher at 505-944-3036 or alana.mccarraher@eclipseaviation.com.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Hmmmmm,

"...discuss an exciting new opportunity to grow the Eclipse 500 market"

Sounds like fire sale part deux.

My bet is something like Save Vern Telethon last month, 'if you pay by midnight tonight' and save later - maybe open up to the outstanding early adopters who are up to as much as 60%.

Curioser and curioser.

Wonder how all those IOU's on options are coming. Any word to our owners/supporters like ex421 or exEO387?

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baron95 said...

Flyger said ... What did you really save with no type rating? Third, I don't think the FAA is ready to take that big of a step in regulation. They want professional people sharing the flight levels with the airliners.

I am not in favor of eliminating the type rating. On the contrary, I believe a type rating should be extended to all sophisticated airplanes from a Cessna 400, Cirrus SR22 turbo to a TBM, to a PC12 to the King Airs.

HOWEVER, I think it is totally ridiculous to require the type rating to be flown at ATP standards. The type rating should be at the standard of the certificte private/IFR, commercial/IFR, ATP as appropriate, at least for planes that are less thank 6Klbs MTOW, or maybe even all the way to 12,500lbs.

It is completely ridiculous that you can fly a King Air 200 without a type rating, yet you can't fly a D-Jet. Completely backwards thinking. This needs to be fixed.

Regarding flying with the airlines comment, non-type rated pilots fly GA planes with the airliners by the thousands everyday below 10,000 feet, on hold, on approach, on class B, on SIDs on STARs, the most perilous phase of flight. To be worried about non-type rated pilots flying straight and level on mandatory autopilot at FL 280-410 is just a red herring. If the FAA is really worried about this, and is not worried about all the student pilot traffic at LAS, NYC class B, etc, they are just misguided.

Niner Zulu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
baron95 said...

Ex 421 said... I hate to disagree, but getting high has not been a problem. I spent time recently on the East Coast and every time I got what I requested including FL390 on a trip where I could catch a tail wind.

Thanks for the info ex421. It was not a loaded question, I was just curious. It is excelent news. What do you file as cruise speed? 350KTAS/M0.65?

One follow up question though. Did you get delays climbing out in the east or got descended too early, or pretty much unrestricted climbs and normal descents.

I wonder what a SEJ with M0.5-0.55 speed and 2,000ft/min mas rate of climb down low, 500 ft/min up high would get.

bill e. goat said...

What:
"to announce recent developments in long-term financing".

Why:
"update attendees on an important financing development, and discuss an exciting new opportunity to grow the Eclipse 500 market".

Ooo-kay...somehow (no offense to CWMOR) this sounds a little...fishy. I don't see how announcing the latest progress on the hole-to-China project warrants more than a PR, as opposed to a "media event", so I'm expecting a stunt of some sort. Growing the market? Fractional ownership plan is the only thing I can think of.

The frac's thing would seem to work against Eclipse now- seems like they'd be trying to push units out the door, not "fractions" of units out the door. (Seems like a way to sustain production, not boost production). Complicated subject, I'm sure.

"Eclipse has had an exhilarating first year of production and delivery".

I guess that's what delivering 1/6 th of projected volume is called now days. (505 vs ?85?). I can hardly wait for the first "stupendous" year of production.

"Curiouser and curiouser"
well said, indeed...
---------------------
"Eclipse invites all interested media to participate in this press
conference"

Okay, so Stan...???

baron95 said...

alexa said... The question is when is Diamond going to fess up and release a more realistic schedule.

It is more than a question of schedule. There are serious problems with the design and meeting performance. This is like the DA42 problems squared, where they missed performance by 33%.

The D-Jet has serious issues:
1 - Engine installation/access issues.
2 - Intake air turbulence issues.
3 - Water/ice/other RWY contminants being thrown by the nose wheel into the intakes.
4 - Meeting the blade/rotor departure safety with the engine in the middle of the fuselage/tail.
5 - A *LOT* of weight gain.
6 - Miniscule useful load.
7 - Climb performance.
8 - Runway performance.

In short, the D-Jet faces serious redesigns, serious certification challenges, and serious performace shortcomings.

It is not clear to me that the FJ33 can carry this design. If they have to replace it with the FJ44, it will be a monstrous redesign. Much worse than the Eclipse engine swap. The smalest JF44 is a *HUGE* engine compared to the largest FJ33.

I have very bad feelings about the D-Jet. Of all the flying prototypes, only Adam 700 is in worse shape. Those guys have no clue how to design a plane. The A500 with 2 350HP engines performs worse than the Malibu with lower useful load and range. Ridiculous.

flyger said...

baron95 said...

HOWEVER, I think it is totally ridiculous to require the type rating to be flown at ATP standards.

I agree.

It is completely ridiculous that you can fly a King Air 200 without a type rating, yet you can't fly a D-Jet.

Even worse, an MU2. That should have had a type rating from day one. Same goes for Merlins, Commanders, etc.

Regarding flying with the airlines comment, non-type rated pilots fly GA planes with the airliners by the thousands everyday below 10,000 feet,

Actually, they don't. Airliners are busy in and out of class B airports, the GA crowd goes into other airports. The two don't mix very much at all in the airport environs.

To be worried about non-type rated pilots flying straight and level on mandatory autopilot at FL 280-410 is just a red herring.

Not really. The upper flight levels are almost exclusively flown by professionals who work with ATC and know what to expect. The system runs smoothly because of it. If you start having a lot of personal pilots up there they have to know the ropes or it will clog the system. The high altitude controllers aren't used to the screw ups the GA types do all the time at low altitudes.

You can tell the FAA is a little worried about this. But I think it will work out since all these jets are going to have training programs worthy of type ratings if not actually one. This will be followed by mentoring.

The FL250 limited airplanes won't have as much of an issue here.

baron95 said...

Ah, the wisdom of FAA regs.

An ATP must have instruction/sign-off to fly a tail wheel Luscomb with a 1500lbs MTOW. Yet a brand new private pilot can fly a 10,000lbs PC12 with 7 passengers with no training and no insurance legally.

Trully amazing!!!

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

as previously posted:

Monday there will be furniture moving.. name plates changing, in the corner office - I'm convinced.

Noodle:
the only exciting growth could come from a low cost leasing program... or an airline partner.
Just imagining here...

any other crystal balls?

PS. they already know the cannot finiah the plane, and no one with money seems to care all that much, so... I do not expect anything exciting related to this

Metal Guy said...

Stan,
You clipped the release just a little short and missed the very last one:


WHAT TO BRING:
Personal check (blank please), money order, or substantial amounts of cash. Vaseline is optional based on your personal pain threshold.

Any media questions prior to the event should be directed to
Alana McCarraher at 505-944-3036 or alana.mccarraher@eclipseaviation.com.

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

B95 said:
"An ATP must have instruction/sign-off to fly a tail wheel Luscomb with a 1500lbs MTOW. Yet a brand new private pilot can fly a 10,000lbs PC12 with 7 passengers with no training and no insurance legally."

Not so far out of line - the PC-12 is much easier to fly! :-)

Seriously, I do agree with the notion that airplanes like the B200 King Air and PC-12 should require a type rating. While they dont go quite as fast or as high as most jets, these are complex systems airplanes which require some expertise when something goes wrong. The fact that the PC-12 has one engine in some ways makes it more challenging to fly than a twin.

WT

WhyTech said...

BT said:

"Do you think these had any bearing on the March 26, 2005 accident in Bellefonte, PA of N770G in icing conditions?"

Possible, and the NTSB seems to think so. The report says pilot error - perhaps he got slow down low and the pusher activated and distracted him. No indication in the extensive investigation that the pusher failed.

The shaker activates well before the pusher, and the pusher well before the stall. The pusher is quite powerful and requires a 70 lb or so pull to override, so its not going to go unnoticed. However, there is a pusher override button on the yoke, and if the pilot held this down to defeat the pusher (advocated in some training programs when close to the ground to deal with an uncommanded push) then the airplane could have stalled. This is pure speculation on my part - I have no knowledge of this event beyond the NTSB report.

An ironic aspect of this accident: the pilot was returning home from a 3 day recurrent PC-12 training program at SimCom in FL.

WT

Dave said...

discuss an exciting new opportunity to grow the Eclipse 500 market.

Sounds like MLM

flyger said...

WhyTech said...

Seriously, I do agree with the notion that airplanes like the B200 King Air and PC-12 should require a type rating. While they dont go quite as fast or as high as most jets, these are complex systems airplanes which require some expertise when something goes wrong. The fact that the PC-12 has one engine in some ways makes it more challenging to fly than a twin.

I concur 100%. Anytime you are flying over 250 knots in the flight levels in a pressurized all weather airplane, you need to know a lot regardless of whether it is a jet or prop, or has one or two engines.

I would characterize the Luscombe as requiring more "skill" to fly well, and the PC12 as requiring more "judgment" and "knowledge" to fly well. After all, how many hours of study does it take to understand the environmental controls in the Luscombe?

Black Tulip said...

SCRIPT FOR POWERPOINT PRESENTATION
HOLD FOR JANUARY 14th MEETING

Members of the press, welcome to Eclipse Aviation. We will update you on an important financing development, and discuss an exciting new opportunity to grow the Eclipse 500 market. Actually we are going to describe four opportunities.

Several years ago I said that the skies would be darkened by the Eclipse 500. We’ve decided to make them even darker by certifying the single engine version of the Eclipse that we flew into Oshkosh. There is great commonality in the two aircraft. We expect to build on our unprecedented success with the Eclipse 500 to achieve rapid certification of the single jet.

Our second announcement is one of near-epic proportions. Actually we got the idea from Epic Aircraft. If they can migrate from a kit-built aircraft to a certified one, why can’t we go from a certified aircraft to a homebuilt? We are now offering the Eclipse 500 aircraft in kit form. We’ve got a lot of parts here that could be relieved from our inventory and offer the homebuilder an exciting challenge.

For instance, take all those Hampson tail feathers in the warehouse. Anybody with a decent-sized garage could have one fixed up in no time. Anyway, why have all those teenie-tiny flush rivets when the DC-3 looks so retro and cool.

There’s gotta be some machine operator who is a homebuilder up in Saskatchewan that can finish up the known ice design and testing. And there are a lot of smart techies up near Microsoft in Seattle who could make short work of Avio NG. Naturally Eclipse Aviation will retain the rights to intellectual property developed by kit builders. We’ve offered a big head start and it’s only fair to our investors

Finally, you might ask, what about the hundred or so aircraft in the field? Not to worry. Owners who take over the completion of those aircraft are not in danger of violating the FAA’s fifty percent owner-built rule. If you want some help, you can come to any of our three upgrade centers and we’ll teach you to twist a wrench.

As you can see, each of these actions improves our financial situation. But I saved the best for last. Our single-engine jet needs a name. We know that naming rights can be exceedingly valuable. Many businesses have paid large sums to have their logo or name on the local sporting venue. The first person to come up with $100,000,000 can pick the name for our new little jet. Better act now before we bump up the price.

Thank you for joining us today in Albuquerque. Any questions?

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

ATM,
"Monday there will be furniture moving.. name plates changing, in the corner office - I'm convinced".

In other news,
Bill Gate's last full day at Microsoft

"Billy G." - the other bill g.- is a substantial investor in Eclipse.

Elipse Avio-NG behind schedule, sequential "upgrade"/bug fixes releases planned...

Free sodas at Eclipse like Microsoft...

Vern used to work for Bill...

"Eclipse Aviation will hold a press conference to announce recent developments...the press conference will take place at 1:00 PM Mountain Standard Time on Monday, January 14th"

...??? :)

FreedomsJamtarts said...

The new CFO is rumoured to be Hugo Chavez and company is to be renamed to Enron Aviation.

airsafetyman said...

"Think DC-10 with one in the tail.

Wing structures get lighter because they don't have to support the weight and thrust of engines on pylons."

Oops, not so! The wings have to support the weight of the engines no matter where they are located on the airframe. Think of the spar as a beam. If all the weight is centered at the midpoint it will fail under load sooner than one that has the weight distributed along the beam. A airplane with wing-mounted engines can actually have a lighter weight spar than one with fuselage-mounted engines. Just one reason the 737/747/757/767/777/787 and all the Airbus airplanes have wing-mounted engines.

bill e. goat said...

FJT,
I think the reorganized company will be named:
EnAir

With a customer support division called:
RonGround

:0

bill e. goat said...

ASM,
Interesting point about engine location vs weight- I would have thought the opposite, but I can see your point- that most of the load comes not from thrust, but from "pulling g's", and it's better to have the engines out on the wing to simplify (shorten, lighten) the load path.

(My single engine un-ducted fan pusher is sure going to look funny with that arrangement though... :)
----------------------
So, those Honda fellas: I don't quite get the over-the-wing thing: same benefit ASM notes, plus more ground clearance? Seems like high-AOA would be more challenging though.

Along the lines of "disruptive" aerodynamics...Given the advantages of canards (both wing and pitch control are lifting, instead of fighting= more lift + less drag), why don't commercial fly-by-wire transports use them? Thanks to all you aero types out there.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Bill E, thanks for correcting the Enron thing.

Canards - the simple answer is they need longer runways - much longer.

Because the canard needs to be set at greater angle of incidence than the wing, ensuring it stalls first, and thus avoiding deep stall, you can never use the full lifting ability of the wing.

Due to the distance from the wing Center of Pressure from the CofG, you would also need a huge canard/long arm (lots of tail volume) to control the pitch change range if you added slats and slotted fowler flaps. If you can't use the full lift coefficient range of the wing, and can't (easily) use high lift devices, you end up with either a large wing, low wing loading, heaps of drag in cruise and terrible ride in turbulence, or very long take off and landing runs.

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Oh, and wing volume is your primary tank space, but having your most variable mass far from the CofG also require large tail volume (large Canard or large arm.)

baron95 said...

Bill.e.Goat said ... So, those Honda fellas: I don't quite get the over-the-wing thing

Well, if you accept the advantages of wing mounted engines (weight of the engines counteracts the upward lift forces and bending moment), then you have two choices - mount on the bottom of the wing or the top of the wing.

The optimum (aerodynamically) way to mount on the bottom of the wing is hanging way below the wing from a pilon/pod - see Airbus A320/B757 setup. However, that requires a very tall landing gear for clearence, FOD prevention, etc. Tall landing gears are heavier, take more space on the wing that could be devoted for fuel, etc.

You can keep your landing gear shorter, a la B737NG, by hanging the engine pod/pilon in front of the engine, flatenning the bottom of the nacelle, etc. All these solutions have negative earodynamic consequences.

OR

You can mount the engine on top of the engine - a la Honda Jet.

Pros: you can have very short/light landing gear with no concerns for clearance/FOD.

Cons: You need to put the engines on a POD to keep the engine in-let in clear air (particularly at high angles of attack). Those pods will have to be significantly longer (heavier subject to vibration, flutter, etc) than the ones for below the wing mounting. Another con, is the difficulty in servicing the engine, vs bellow the wing mounting. E.g. How the heck do you put an inlet cover on the Honda Jet when you park it?

Looking at the plane, it seems like the pod is not that heavy, and they may have a better solution. Will be interesting to watch.

flyger said...

bill e. goat said...

Interesting point about engine location vs weight- I would have thought the opposite, but I can see your point- that most of the load comes not from thrust, but from "pulling g's", and it's better to have the engines out on the wing to simplify (shorten, lighten) the load path.

The thrust overcomes drag. The wing creates drag, so that load path is short, too.

Along the lines of "disruptive" aerodynamics...Given the advantages of canards (both wing and pitch control are lifting, instead of fighting= more lift + less drag), why don't commercial fly-by-wire transports use them?

Turns out they aren't as efficient. First, the tails of large airliners often have fuel tanks in the and they can trim the airplane to minimize the tail down force effect. Second, a plane can have lift on the tail and be stable, it just can't have as much incidence as the main wing. So the tail is not always downforce. Third, and this is key, the tail generates thrust. It takes some of the downwash from the main wing and redirects it backward rather than downward.

As a practical matter, a canard airliner wouldn't fit very well at the gate. But this has nothing to do with aerodynamics.

This is why every airliner has the same basic layout, it is the most efficient stable form. A flying wing might be better (like a B2), but has many other issues including instability and lacking a volume that you can pressurize at light weight.

baron95 said...

FreedomsJamtarts said...
Oh, and wing volume is your primary tank space, but having your most variable mass far from the CofG also require large tail volume (large Canard or large arm.)


Correct. Cannards are something that sounds good in engineering school (2 lifting surfaces), but suck in practice - think Beech Starship (not just the Canard fault).

That is why there is only one successful biz plane flying today with Canards - the Piaggio Avanti - and, as we all know, it is a three plane design, Canard + Conventional Tail.

The reason the Avanti is successful is because it is the only biz plane flying that can mount the PWC PT6s the correct way. As you prob know, the PT6 has it's flow backwards. On a PC12 or TBM, air actually enters trhough the back of the engine and exits through the front. It makes so many turns that the air molecules are very dizzy when they exit. On the Avanti, air enters in the front, even with RAM pressure, and exits straight out even with some turbojet efects. The ESHP equivalent shaft horsepower of the Avanti is much higher than the same engine mounted on say a King Air 350. The three tail plane config allows them to keep the wing way back and mount the engines reversed (which for the PT6 just happens to be "straight").

Incidentally, look at the performance of a Conquest II-10 vs a King Air 200 - no contest. And that is because the Garret engines have straight flow, vs reverse flow - you get RAM air bennefit in the intake and turbojet benefit in the exhaust

paul said...

The reason the Avanti is successful is because it is the only biz plane flying that can mount the PWC PT6s the correct way. As you prob know, the PT6 has it's flow backwards. On a PC12 or TBM, air actually enters trhough the back of the engine and exits through the front. It makes so many turns that the air molecules are very dizzy when they exit. On the Avanti, air enters in the front, even

Are you saying they have somehow moved the accessory section? It is on the opposite end from the prop gearbox.
The PT-6 actually has a intake screen on the sides fwd of the accessory section. You are correct in that the air does do a 180.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The reason the Avanti is so successful is that it delivers jet speeds on turboprop fuel flows and has a ramp presence second to none.

Given the choice between 2 and a half partially finished Eclipsii and one Avanti I would take the faster more efficient plane that is already done already.

Turbine Power said...

cold wet..."Perhaps you would care instead to address the fact that FIKI now appears to be as much as 2 years late for some operators."

FIKI is not two years late. It was promised by 9/30/07 which makes it 3+ months overdue.

"Avio 1.0, which has no functionality beyond Avio TU..."

That's wrong, too. You must have missed all the posts on this blog describing the additional functionality Avio NG offers over Avidyne Avio.

"Given the choice between 2 and a half partially finished Eclipsii and one Avanti"

You're on a roll. According to Business and Commercial Aviation, the Avanti is more than 4 times the price of the Eclipse 500.

flyger said...

Did you guys see this?

http://www.aero-news.net/news/commair.cfm?ContentBlockID=2d0f4c93-0997-4ab5-99b0-5e3921c141cc

A 747 with four generators has a single fault (leaking water) that takes out all four and the main power bus. It landed on emergency backup battery power which is nominally good for only 30 minutes. Good thing it was 15 minutes from landing! Now what would have happened if it had been out in the ocean?

Lesson: things are not nearly as redundant as you think they are!

flyger said...

Turbine Power said...

FIKI is not two years late. It was promised by 9/30/07 which makes it 3+ months overdue.

That's just the *last* promise for FIKI. In late 2006, Eclipse made noises about FIKI being "almost done, in two weeks". When they took your deposit money, when did they say your airplane would be ready? What was it, 2004? Hmm.

And, as it is, some of the airplanes won't actually get through the retrofits until perhaps mid 2009, so it *still* might take 2 years from your date!

You must have missed all the posts on this blog describing the additional functionality Avio NG offers over Avidyne Avio.

Today, right now, what does AvioNG do that Avio didn't do? Not what is promised, but what it does *TODAY*.

You're on a roll.

You must be a graduate of the Ken School of Charm.

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

Flyger,
I heard of an episode on a certain newish jet that had a similiar failure- condensation during descent dripped into a power distribution box, everything went dead (except for the standby indicator).
Certain Newish Jet Flt Deck

(Got to hand it to those News, they sure know how to make a nice jet. Ooops, sorry. Hey, I didn't whine about the AfriKen thing. Mostly because I didn't get the pun. No offense to our Jewish, or Black friends here. With a guy like Huckleberry running, my personal ethno-religious background is wide open for -deserved- good taste puns. And IAI really DOES make nice jets, just not this particular one. And guess what: they have standby indicators too! - sorry).
Astra aka G-100 Flt Deck
Galaxy, aka G-200 Flt Deck

Searching the web for "total electrical failures" to ferret the specifics out, I ran across this, um, "interesting" tidbit. (Conspiracy theory, etc, blah blah blah. Maybe we aren't the most nutty guys on the web after all...Guess we'll have to try harder :)
Find "Total Electrical Failures"

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken, did you read John R's letter to the customers?

Some will not have FIKI until late this year or early next, that would be as much as 2 years late from 4 months ago now wouldn't it?

FIKI is still not even certified so the delay at this point for installation is a complete unknown beyond what Eclipse itself told its' own customers. If you have issues with schedule they are with John R., not me.

And of course, as always Ken, you missed when I clearly said - 'as much as'. But keep it up, YOU are on a roll.

Avio NfG 1.0 does not offer any new actual functionality right now, today, now does it Ken, just more talk about what it might do in the future - reread the posts and the press releases. If there IS more actual functionality, right now, then Eclipse did a piss poor job of communicating it - if I right, then it means someone did a piss poor job of reading it.

As for pricing, I would take a nice used Avanti Ken, kind of like you taking a nice once crashed light twin - only I would skip the once-crashed part. Even compared to new I was closer being off by $2-3M than Vern has been on ANY promise, guarantee, schedule or budget, so guess I'll try the Eclipse approach and take some solace in the multitudinous failures of another.

I had hoped for your sake that the 'move' to South Africa had perhaps cleared your cognitive dissonance, oh well I s'pose it was worth a try.

As usual, you would prefer to pick inconsequential nits with posters here rather than deal with the actual issues.

Which VLJ has FIKI today and which does not?

Which VLJ has FMS today and which does not?

Which VLJ has WAAS GPS and Moving map today and which does not?

Which VLJ manufacturer has skirted bankruptcy by its own admission while simultaneously assuring vendors and customers finances were OK?

Which VLJ company is forcing its' long suffering customers to accept a partially functional incomplete jet with a stack of IOU's and INOP placards?

Which VLJ has its own customers complaining about how they are being treated on the company sponsored website?

We did not make you waste a couple million bucks Ken, you did that all on your own - we have tried to help you see the light for some time now - I still pray you will, one day, maybe, get the plane you so richly deserve - the one you continue to shill for in a vain attempt to make sure that at least you get your plane (one of them anyway).

Still think you were better off when you were talking about his and hers and getting Shari a Mustang - bet you wouldn't have to lie about being a 'transport industry' guy from South Africa on the Mustang Critics Blog - oh that's right, there is no Mustang Critic's Blog, they are actually delivering what they promised.

bill e. goat said...

Well, there is a saying, something about don't let the good be an enemy of the perfect, or something like that (and I think there is saying to just the opposite effect, condemning complacency).

But, sometimes the choice isn't between a $5M airplane (or a used ex-$5M airplane, that with age has even higher operating expenses) and the Eclipse. If instead, the choice is between a piston anything and the Eclipse, I'd go with the Partial Eclipse, even if it means waiting another couple of years for the thing to be completed.
----------------------
Interesting discussion on airflow through the PT6; I think the stage is ready for a lightweight low cost turboprop. Not sure the Walter's is the "revolutionary" ticket, but a step in the right direction.
--------------------------
Regarding the Avanti, I thought it looks both beautiful, and weird. The fuselage is not symetric, but has a "slope-y" front end, like some Russian commercial jets, the Embraer 170/190 family, and the 787. I thought this would be a bad thing, with the frontal center of pressure being offset, but Wikipedia has an interesting short discussion on the Avanti, and mentions:

"Distinctive design features include a non-constant cross section cabin, the revolutionary shape of which approximates a NACA airfoil section. Piaggio claims the fuselage contributes up to 20% of the Avanti's total lift"

Very clever! (One downside, as mentioned with Eclipse, is that with a non-constant cross section, it's hard to "stretch" the airplane for growth).
Piaggio Avanti
And although I really like it, I must note that the GAMA numbers show only 6 deliveries for 2007 Q1-Q3.
Okay, and here's yet ANOTHER standby indicator :)
Avanti Flt Deck

Turbine Power said...

Coldwet wrote...

"Some will not have FIKI until late this year or early next, that would be as much as 2 years late from 4 months ago now wouldn't it?"

Is that the new math?

The answer is "no." Certification early next year would not be two years late.

And that wasn't what you wrote anyway. Do you not remember what you wrote? I can repeat it for you if your memory is failing you.

"Avio NfG 1.0 does not offer any new actual functionality right now, today, now does it?

Why on earth is this the favorite ploy of the hater? Keep saying the same WRONG thing and somehow maybe it will become correct.

It is wrong. It was wrong when you first wrote it. It is wrong now, and it will forever be wrong. Deal with it. Avio NG, in it's first release, offers considerable functionality above Avidyne Avio.

And then you wrote lots and lots of words. Doubletalk really, because none of it admitted you were wrong. None of it contained your apology for incorrectly knocking the plane.

I am not surprised.

I am instead amused at your clumsy effort to knock the plane by repeatedly stating things that are inaccurate.

airtaximan said...

TP,

Do you know its almost 3AM in South Africa?

You must be on travel... in say, the US perhaps?

HAHAHAH!

If you are nOT Ken, you should really meet him some day - man, talk about two peas in a pod.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Ken stop lying about what I said, can you ever give up your old tricks, even with a new fake name?

I did not say certification would be 2 years late, I said it would be late by as much as two years for some operators - here for your continued avoidance and misrepresentation is my exact quote:

"Perhaps you would care instead to address the fact that FIKI now appears to be as much as 2 years late for some operators."

While we are at it Ken, enlighten us, what specific NEW functionality exists in Avio NfG 1.0, TODAY, right now? Because the press release only said the following:

"With Avio NG installed, Eclipse 500 customers receive higher primary flight display (PFD) and multi-function display (MFD) resolution, enhanced user interface features, four-color weather radar and greater overall systems reliability. Avio NG also provides increased functionality for optional equipment, including a third AHRS, Skywatch HP, Class B TAWS, DME, ADF and a Mode S enhanced transponder with diversity capability. As additional Avio NG functionality is certified in early 2008, Eclipse 500 customers will be able to add these features through simple software updates."

Beyond better resolution displays (a feature not a function), unspecified 'enhanced user interface' (could be feature or function or nothing, can't say from the vague release), the only 'function' that appears to be available right now, for the plane and optional equipment as certified today, that might not have been available with Avio TU appears to be 4-color Wx radar.

The rest is for optional equipment that is not presently certified or available, isn't it Ken.

So out of the misleading appearance of loads of 'new' functionality, the answer is maybe Wx radar.

I can accept that I missed maybe one item, I was going from memory.

Can you accept that Eclipse and you are trying to make it seem like more than it actually is? You know, like you always do.

Still means no WAAS GPS, no FMS, no Moving Map, no FIKI, no Skywatch HP, no Class B TAWS, no ADF and no enhanced Mode S. For a $1.8M twin turbofan aircraft.

Still means an unknown schedule to FIKI and then an implementation schedule that could stretch into 2009 - by Eclipse's own admission.

Still means Eclipse continues to deliver partially functional incomplete aircraft as is currently being lamented by Eclipse supporters who already own the jet in some cases, and who have been told, perhaps more than once, that their jet will be delivered any day now.

Still means you remain a desparate shill for a company that is going to find a new way to be the laughing stock of industry come next Monday.

Call right away, operators are standing by.

airtaximan said...

actually, by the timezone and stamp on your post... its almost 5AM in SA.

trouble sleeping?