Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eclipse Aerospace, the 'new' EAC?

Clearly efforts to attract funds continue apace, since any investor in this troubled sector requires proof (in the form of cash) that the owners will support the 'new' company. So, Mike Press is asking, politely, for $100,000 as evidence that his effort merits more funding than that of say, the EOG. Several parts of the communiqué below intrigue me, in particular the offer to purchase existing aircraft. If, as I suspect, this refers to the ex DayJet fleet I'm surprised that attention is being drawn to it in this way. After all, one of the key issues in restarting anything is how much revenue is possible from the current fleet. And we all have our opinions as to how many E500's are actually flying...

Anyway, read it, in full, and try and work out what Mike and his merry crew are up to. Whatever happens on the 24th of June, I wish each and every one of the bidders the very best.

Shane


TO: ALL ECLIPSE 500 OWNERS AND DEPOSITORS
FROM: MIKE PRESS (S/N 4) AND MASON HOLLAND (S/N 473)

Our last communiqué was on April 24, 2009. We would like to take this opportunity to give you an update on the status of our progress since that date. We have a lot of exciting news to cover in this document.

We would also like to present our offer to owners of current aircraft serial numbers 1-260, as well as our process for performing upgrades beginning on or about July 1, 2009. (Note: This communiqué discusses the service, support and modifications to be performed in the United States. We are still in discussions with our European partners and will provide an update on Europe in the near future.)

Current Status of Asset Acquisition
We are pleased to announce that we are now in the process of finalizing the legal documents required for the acquisition of the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation. Many of you have heard that there is a proposed sale date of the Eclipse assets on June 24, 2009. This sale assumes that a qualified bidder (such as ourselves) submits a properly drafted Asset Purchase Agreement (APA) and it is accepted through a short auction process managed by the bankruptcy trustee.

Based on our current estimates, we have the investment funds committed not only for the purchase of the assets but also for working capital to get the company restarted. Of course this is an estimate depending on whether there are any other bidders and how high the bid for the assets goes. We believe that it is in the owners’ best interests that only the strongest bidder is at the table so the balance of the investment raise that is not used for the acquisition could be applied to working capital. Therefore, by the June 24th closing date, we feel confident that if we are awarded the assets, we will be fully funded and ready to resume operations of the company.

In going through the legal paperwork, we have settled on a permanent name for our company moving forward. From this point forward, we will now be known as Eclipse Aerospace. Eclipse Aerospace will have two primary divisions, which include the production arm of Eclipse Aviation and a separate and distinct division, Eclipse Service Network, which will operate and manage the network of company owned and third-party service centers.

Progress On Modifications
FIKI Modification- We are excited to announce that we have received FAA approval to begin FIKI modifications immediately, regardless of whether we obtain the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation. Therefore, we are ready to start performing these modifications immediately in our Chicago ESN Service Center.

1.5 Modification- Immediately upon obtaining the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation, we will also be able to begin the 1.5 upgrade. Our ESN team has sourced all the necessary parts and FAA approvals were already obtained by the manufacturer prior to the bankruptcy. Therefore, we are confident that these upgrades can begin shortly after the assets are acquired.

AvioNG Modification- Immediately upon obtaining the assets of Eclipse, we will also be able to begin the NG upgrade. Our ESN team has sourced all the necessary parts and FAA approvals were already obtained by the manufacturer prior to the bankruptcy. Therefore, we are confident that these upgrades can begin shortly after the assets are acquired.

ETT Modification- We are in negotiations with third party vendors who will be able to perform the major airframe modifications for these aircraft. This will allow our company resources to focus on other modifications and aircraft refurbishments. It will also allow us to begin the ETT modifications earlier, and in parallel, with the other modifications.

Aircraft Buy Back and Refurbishment Program
We have a number of owners who wish to sell their airplanes to our new company. We are negotiating terms with each of these owners on an individual basis. As we take possession of these aircraft, we will update the aircraft to full functionality, refurbish the paint and interior as needed, perform a full inspection, and make them available as Eclipse pre-owned aircraft complete with a warranty from the factory. These highly desirable aircraft will be offered first to deposit holders of the past company at substantial savings over a new production aircraft.

Offer presented to Owners of serial numbers 1-260
We have been in discussions with the Eclipse Owners Group Steering Committee (EOG), and proposed numerous ways we could work together in a future endeavor. Unfortunately, all of our suggestions have been rejected, and there have been no counter proposals from the EOG. Therefore, we would like to reach out to each owner and extend the following offer:

We are now taking deposits for modifications of aircraft. For each aircraft owner that submits a
refundable deposit to our escrow account prior to the deadline, (to be used solely as a credit towards the completion of modifications and service), the owner will receive:

• Priority Service – We will schedule upgrades for FIKI, AVIO NG, and NG 1.5,
beginning immediately, in the order in which the forms and deposits are received.
FIKI modifications will begin at ESN’s Chicago facility on June 1, 2009.

• Discount – Each aircraft owner who places a deposit prior to the deadline will receive
a 20% discount off of the retail price of all parts for the modifications. We have not
established a retail price for the upgrades yet, but we have stated in previous
communications that we will set a reasonable retail price based on industry standard
markups.

• License to Assets – Each aircraft owner who places a deposit prior to the deadline
will receive a royalty-free, perpetual license for the components of the type certificate
and intellectual property needed to provide service and upgrades to their aircraft on
an ongoing basis should our effort fail in the future. This license will remain in full
force and effect at the cost of our company until such time as the fleet reaches a total
size of 750 aircraft, at which time the license will expire.

The deposit amount is $100,000 regardless of what upgrade is needed. All deposits will be placed in a third party escrow account and are fully refundable until and unless we win the Eclipse assets. The deposits will be used to secure your place in line for modifications only. Once we have established the final price for the modification, you will be presented with a quote, and upon your acceptance of the quote and no more than 60 days prior to your scheduled modification date, your deposit will become nonrefundable and used to order parts as well as provide working capital for the modification effort. This offer is open up to May 31, 2009, which is the deposit deadline.

If you would like to place your deposit and be placed in the scheduling queue, please contact Ken Ross or Cary Winter of our ESN team to request the deposit form. The contact information is listed below.

Summary
Our Eclipse Aerospace team stands committed from day one to provide a “Customer First” experience in restarting Eclipse Aviation, immediately offering service and upgrades, and eventually restarting production of the Eclipse 500 over the course of the next several years. Our business plan has been very clearly defined, our financials are in order, and members of our team are receiving great acceptance and co-operational spirit in dealing with the appropriate departments within the FAA and other regulatory bodies.

In addition, our team is in communication with all the major suppliers, and we are planning a supplier summit to be held in early June in Albuquerque. At that time we will begin a major effort to reestablish parts inventory and make parts available to owners on the most cost effective basis possible.

This cooperative effort of our investment group, the current owners of Eclipse Aircraft, suppliers, and future owners of Eclipse aircraft has been fantastic. We appreciate everyone’s participation, and we hope that within the next several weeks, we will be able to see a positive end to this part of the process that will keep your aircraft in service and ultimately bring the Eclipse back into production.

Should you have any questions about how the upgrades will be performed and in what order, or if you wish to secure your position for upgrades, please do not hesitate to contact members of our ESN team, Ken Ross and Cary Winter, using the following contact information. If you have any questions about investment opportunities, the structure of our company, or the escrow account for the deposits, please feel free to contact Mason Holland or Mike Press using the contact information below.

We look forward to working with you.

In order to schedule your modification and request a deposit form please contact:
Ken Ross: phone- (847) 325-1180 or e mail- ross@eclipseservicenetwork.com
Cary Winter: phone- (847) 325-1177 or e mail- winter@eclipseservicenetwork.com

For all other questions or comments please contact:
Mason Holland: mason.holland@eclipseaerospace.net
Mike Press: mike.press@eclipseaerospace.net


Questions and Answers about this Communiqué

How safe is my money if it is not in escrow and you're using it for
day-to-day operations?

The dollars on deposit for modifications will remain in an escrow account until the official sale of the company. If Eclipse Aerospace wins the bid, these deposits (only with your approval of the quoted price and in no event prior to 60 days before your scheduled modification) will then be released in order to obtain parts from suppliers and to staff and re tool the Service Centers. In the alternative, you may request a refund.

Isn't this what happened with Eclipse? What's to stop you from using the deposit money and never providing my upgrade?
No, old Eclipse did not use escrow accounts and did use deposits for working capital as they were collected. We are funding an escrow account and will not release your funds from the account until you have approved the final price for the upgrades and have a scheduled date for your modifications no more than 60 days out.

Why even collect the deposits now if they are refundable?
It is important to our investor group to ascertain the true need for establishing a separate holding company which will provide the perpetual license for the TC and IP on an individual basis. Therefore, we are making this offer as part of the purchase of the assets of Eclipse. Those who feel this is an important value point for them should strongly consider this offer and participate.

In addition, we are also trying to quantify the demand for the upgrades and plan accordingly for them during our first 6-12 months of operations. One of our main goals from day one is to get aircraft 1- 260 fully conforming including all modifications as soon as possible.


What are the details of the license to the assets?
Simultaneously with or shortly after the purchase of the assets from the Trustee, Eclipse Aerospace intends to place the Type Certificate and certain intellectual property into a separate holding company (separate and distinct from the assets of Eclipse Aerospace). Each aircraft owner who has made the deposit for modifications prior to May 31, 2009 will be issued a royalty-free, perpetual license for the components of the type certificate and intellectual property needed to provide service and upgrades to their aircraft on an ongoing basis should our effort fail in the future. In addition, this license will transferable with the aircraft when and if it is ever sold.

What if I do not send in a deposit by May 31?
You will still receive service and we have no intent of charging service access fees. You will simply be charged our retail pricing (not eligible for the discounts above), your place in line for modifications will be scheduled after those who had placed deposits for the deadline, and you would not receive the royalty free perpetual license for your aircraft.

213 comments:

1 – 200 of 213   Newer›   Newest»
ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Still some major obstacles to overcome but I like it, well stated, the two division approach is also good - obviously someone has been helping them put together a more mature and dare I say possibly workable concept.

Of course, current owners already have an irrevocable license and can develop any fix/mod they desire - but a nice touch none the same.

Interesting stuff.

fred said...

how high the bid for the assets goes ...

more than one $ , is already too much (i don't know if in USA things are sold , sometimes, for the symbolic $ ...)

We believe that it is in the owners’ best interests that only the strongest bidder is at the table so the balance of the investment raise that is not used for the acquisition could be applied to working capital ...

No , that is NOT the best victims interest ...

that would be a NORMAL auction , the best would be to have ONLY ONE (non) Bidder ...!


Therefore, by the June 24th closing date, we feel confident that if we are awarded the assets, we will be fully funded and ready to resume operations of the company. ...


better resumed by "How,If, But" ...
standing for :

How could we ...

If we had ...

But money we don't ...! ;-)

fred said...

We have a number of owners who wish to sell their airplanes to our new company ...

wow , i'm amazed ...

some victims came back to their sens ?

there is still some hopes to find some sanity into this mess , alleluia !!


These highly desirable aircraft will be offered first to deposit holders of the past company at substantial savings over a new production aircraft. ...

is that a new iteration of the soviet communist way of making cars ?

in past Soviet factories used to make a thousand cars with the spare-piece of only 100 ...

simple : you build the first 100 , to reach the second 100 , de-construct the first 100 to have enough material to make this second 100 ...

off-course , in this case 1000 is purely accordingly to GosPlant ...

it can be a million or any number !!


now here , they are going to serve all the victims with the 260 first , which sounds the same to me ! ;-)

uglytruth said...

Shane you forgot to add that it was satire written by Black Tulip

airsafetyman said...

"we are ready to start performing these modifications immediately in our Chicago ESN Service Center."

Which doesn't really exist, has no FAA Repair Station authorization, and don't ask about liability insurance O.K.? Also we are short a few sets of jacks, some multi-meters, and some good torque wrenches. Would be nice (but not essential) if they were calibrated. So bring your own. Anything goes amiss, you can sue the mechanic, and you will be the pround owner of the mechanic's Chevy with only 347,000 miles on it.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

ASM, this is North American Jet's Mx facility - they are sharp guys from what I have heard and I believe they do hold a 145.

airsafetyman said...

"ASM, this is North American Jet's Mx facility - they are sharp guys from what I have heard and I believe they do hold a 145."

Then why not spell it out in plain English? Whats with the 'Chicago ESN Service Center' nonsense?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Because it sounds 'more official' Silly.

Yes, it is nonsense and part of this whole appearance vs reality thing. NAJ is one of the better equipped/trained Mx facilities - there are better IMO but they are solid.

Ken Ross and his right hand man are capable from what I have seen/heard. Just more of the same ol' same ol' in terms of appearances.

I would like to see a change in tactics but expectations have been set already, so I guess we shouldn't be too surprised. If the pattern holds we will see something new from the EOG and from Friedman/Reed in the next few hours or days.

airsafetyman said...

"Because it sounds 'more official' Silly."

I am beginning to see. Like 'Eclipse Aerospace'. Of course with the engine AD note they have less aero than before - or is it less space? In any event an astute brand manager would realize that the name 'Eclipse' is somewhat tarnished by now. A new name for the aircraft is clearly needed. I propose recalling a name from automotive yesteryear that is most appropriate: the Terraplane!

FreedomsJamtarts said...

We are excited to announce that we have received FAA approval to begin FIKI modifications immediately.
Searching the FAA STC DB for Eclipse, EA-500, A0002AC all turn up no approved STC's for the EA-500.

Mike you must be proud of this approval. Please post a copy of the approval sheet on your website.

Lucky I am not a betting man, as I would put the money on this FAA approval being nothing more than a scope of work expansion to an existing Chicago repair station to include EA-500 line and base maintenance.

Immediately upon obtaining the assets of Eclipse Aviation Corporation, we will also be able to begin the 1.5 upgrade.
Isn't AvioNfG 1.5 a prerequisite for FIKI approval? This is a certain conflict between this and the last statement, although they do say they can "Start" fiki upgrade on June 1. They do not say if they can ever finish it.

Our ESN team has sourced all the necessary parts and FAA approvals were already obtained by the manufacturer prior to the bankruptcy.
They have sourced the parts, but under who's production certificate? Eclipse Aerospace has no PC. Do all of the vendors of these "Sourced parts" now have PMA?

The deposits will be used to secure your place in line for modifications only.

Call me cheap, but 100K to stand in this line sound like a value prepositional even Eclipse position holders could pass on.

Personal License to IP.

Who else thinks this contract will be written such that you can't share data with anyone who could possibly help you ( such as our chilly fish).

My guess is way less than 1 in 260 people can do anything with personal license to the source code of their firefox browser. Probably about the same ratio as EA-500 owners who can do anything with the IP.

In addition, we are also trying to quantify the demand for the upgrades and plan accordingly for them during our first 6-12 months of operations.

I wonder what happens to these guys ego's if there shouting for attention is met with a loud silence of the Position holders showing them the real demand?

Deep Blue said...

Anyone who has a distress, failing or failed business background will know this is merely speculative talk from unqualified parties (and that's being generous).

There are no "aerospace" firms playing this "opportunity" nor are there any financial players that specialize in junk or reorg or flips. Even Patriarch refuses to even sniff around the edges.

In my experience, if there was a bonafide, even latent golden nugget here, it would have been uncovered a long time ago (even pre-BK or pre-RP)by any number of specialists or industrial firms.

Here's another way to look at it: even if the E500 were "perfect" technically, with an intact production center and cooperative, extant supplier base, at nearly any price competitive with Mustang, EMB or other substitutes (even substantially less in pricing), it faces an impossible profitability scenario in the global market.

The VLJ category, or at least this first "Beta" version of it, has failed or stalled.

I've seen the kind of nonsensical "offers" like the one posted before, many times: it is not even in a category of "speculative" offer; it is something even lower in the food chain: a completely financially unqualified, industrially empty "nuisance offer."

FreedomsJamtarts said...

Deep blue, don't sugar coat it :) The Position holders like it rough.

Black Tulip said...

Eclipse Aerospace sounds nice. Why suffer the limitations of our atmosphere when the galaxy is before us.

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...

Safetyman . . . "terraplane"!

Good call . . . truth in advertising. Terra refers to "earth", as in "grounded".

gadfly

And for a greater sense of safety, the "terra firma plane". The more "firma", the less "terra'". But the acccurate first name predicted the end . . . "eclipse".

airtaximan said...

man, THANKS for some meat! Finally, I was getting worried!

I find it astronomically funny that wih all their experience, hard work, FAA approvals, financing and escrow strategy... they have no clue about demand or pricing.

Makes me think two thoughts:

A- $775,000, $837,500, $975,000, $1,250,000, $1,500,000, $2,150,000, $2,250,000 amd beyond...........

B- 1,000 (nimbus), 2,200, 2,400, 1,500, 229+70 (Dayjet), 2,500, 2,500, 2,500, 1,440 (Dayjet) 2,500, 2,500, 2,700, 2,800, 2,500 ------

Perhaps add C- annual production volume prjections for year 1... lets see: 400, 300, 200, nope... 1 or none... year 2 600, 400, 300, ....

C'mon... laugh!!!

baron95 said...

The real question is why EOG feels they can't team up and support Mike Press. He seems to have a reasonable paper plan, with a couple of substantive nuggets (FIKI upgrade).

Is this an EOG ego trip? Or do they see something in MP's plan that smells bed?

As an owner, I'd rather support a guys that claims to have hard dollars and is not asking me to "buy in" to their ideas (e.g. EOG).

Go figure.

airtaximan said...

I think the fact that the EOG does not endorse Press' deal means its DOA.

I wonder how many deposits Press needs?

10, 20, 50, 100?

If he had a real plan he would have real money - he does not, IMO. Here's why - if he wins the bid, he has the clients... or the are SOL. Simple.

He HAS 260 planes worth of demand. The only question is, are his prices "in line with" what someone who bought an EA50 would pay.

If he loses this "demand" its becasue he cannot make money providing affordable-enough support - surprise - that IS the EAC business model, it is their value proposition - affordability. That's why they are DOA.

All we know for sure, is Press says he has some sellers. WOW... surprise.

- one could safely "assume" that IF you win the bid and can provide service, you'll have 260 planes to maintain and fixer up... the only reason you would doubt this is:

1- if the owner's group told you to FO

2- if your prics were too high for the likes of KM...

In either case, you have no business, few clients... not many willing participants in your plan.

So, unless MP is planning on shafting the owners - why would he? definition of shafting might be charging them non-eclipse-dream pricing (read realistic) for service in the minds of the wners... he should feel very secure in his ability to project the market size - 260 jets... or thereabouts.

Short of a revolt - you know the market IF you are providing service at the right price.

Problem is, of course, with all their expertise and hard work, and supplier discussions, and FAA papers, and MRO center, etc... they won't disclose the price for service - IMAGINE THAT.

This is a retarded attempt to win the bid and worry about the rest later - hey look! I have the clients deposit money... until they balk at the pricing. But wait, I am the only game in town AFTER the auction.... you have to come to MP... you helped him fleece you... here's your deposit money back - line up at the next window, where service is 20 more and you get it later.

Vern Raburn'm lesson number 1... get the deposit money, shaft'em all later

WhyTech said...

According to Col. Press:
"our financials are in order"

To any considering this offer, I suggest that you respond with, "show me the money!"

gadfly said...

What am I missing in all this discussion:

It all reverts back to a discussion of finances, and support schemes. Almost nothing is mentioned of the “bird”, itself.

In my firm opinion, the design/structure/fabrication/etc., etc. is basically flawed . . . and no amount of rearranging the thing can ever make it into a viable product.

Sure . . . maybe the thing has potential . . . the “shape” and general layout. But this thing started life, designed for a small engine, by someone who was early-on “thrown under the bus” . . . empirical testing “at speed” was never carried out (the “wind tunnel facility is incapable of anything above 170 knots, and no amount of computer programs can fill in the blank of such an un-even thing, that does not resemble the original computer model). From those early days, the thing seems to have been designed by committee . . . sort of like what’s going on in Detroit at present.

On the one hand, it’s easier to talk about finances and promotion . . . but that is really a “cop out”. Sooner or later, the discussion will come back to the bird, itself . . . it will be forced in that direction . . . and me thinks that intelligent discussion will show a “dead parrot”. And unlike the imaginary “Phoenix”, it will not arise from the ashes.

gadfly

julius said...

Freedoms,

FIKIAVIO NG 1.3 is sufficient.
But what about the dry ice and the cockpit windows - IIRC Kathy mentioned some problems.

Julius

airtaximan said...

simple scheme:

1- you give me refundable/escrow money which I leverage to buy the assets

2- I acquire the asstes and have the only viable support for your plane

3- I tell you how much it will cost you and you balk

4- I give you back your money and say "get to the back of the line and I'll charge you 20% more"

5- seems like a GREAT PLAN.

Once again, if MP has the money and the plan... he deos not need your "escrowed deposit money"...

The more I think about this, the more disgusted I become.

It would be fairly simple, IF they had all that they refer to in place (including the expertise), to provide a price for the various refurbs, upgrades and service. Even within a margin of error.

It makes no sense for anyone to do this - none.

Anyone who is really qualified will purchase the assets (loose term) and provide service - no upfront money of any flavor required by the owners.

I sincerely believe no qualified company will show - BTW, but this does not mean owners should have to caugh up more money to subsidize unqualified bidders.

This "help me buy the assets so I can leverage them against you later" plan really kinda sucks.

It shows desperation - and an ability to color the facts in a way that should turn anyone's stomach...

Deep Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deep Blue said...

Freedomsjamtarts said:

"Deep blue, don't sugar coat it :) The Position holders like it rough."

Good point; allow me to re-phrase in Yankee English:

This latest 'offer'/web post is Bull Shit of the very finest excrement.

As for 'rough positions', that notion may be taking on a new meaning for the EAC stakeholders.

Best regards (I assume you are a Brit?).

airtaximan said...

DB, so you agree?

Amazing stuff...

EAC - should stand for:
Easy Access Cash

Step right up and provide some of your cash - I can almost hear the organ grinder in the background

BTW, your previous post on this was beautiful

airtaximan said...

Excuse to Access Cash

baron95 said...

Gad, the only ingredients needed to make an airplane fly are paperwork and cash - tons of it.

The discussions around Eclipse will always revolve around finances.

The production techniques are OK - after all they have, for a few months, demonstrated a single month production rate higher than any other GA jet, haven't they?

The bird, by all acocunts flies well.

It needs a panel+fiki upgrade, with early SNs also needing an aerodynamic cleanup and new tip tanks.

Nothing basically wrong with it that can't be readily fixed or improved, given, again, enough cash and enough time to get the paperwork done.

I don't believe any of these groups will pull it off, but I hope they do and that this bird, at least the 280 or so that are "almost done" anyway.

gadfly said...

baron

Please don't be offended if I turn down the offer of a free ride in the bird . . . even if they should ever complete "just one".

gadfly

airtaximan said...

BAron,

I think this aeroplane has a lot of unknowns, and unknown unknowns, too.

What we think we know, is an illusion... I am not kidding.

Your comment about production volume, speaks volumes - they took almost a year of production to deliver 1 plane...had many in work on the floor for a year or so before delivery.

To claim any sort of rate based on what they did, is silly - sorry.

They took a long time to make a plane, and deliver it even if unfinished... any plane off the line that is.

So if one does not care about quality or cost to build, and spends many man years of work per plane, to say - YES we delivered high rate... this is just a silly thing to claim.

Their best claim in this regard is how many people they busied for how long delivering planes... so they could claim for a brief moment about one-a-day... that's about it.

And its BS.

airsafetyman said...

"This "help me buy the assets so I can leverage them against you later" plan really kinda sucks."

Well, maybe. But those owners who sign up today get a "salad-shooter" at no extra charge. Operators are standing by!

airtaximan said...

yeah... probably could have promised free engines for life... all you pay is shipping and handling!

baron95 said...

ATM said...they took almost a year of production to deliver 1 plane
------------------------------
Substantially better than all the years that Boeing has taken to deliver ONE 787 to..... drum roll.... the paint shop. And better still than the years that Diamond, and Adam, etc, have taken to deliver ZERO planes.

Other than Cessna and Embraer, everyone else did worse, right?

So they are at least average.

YES. There are lots of unknowns as there is with any new type. The ONLY thing that is scary is that Eclipse does not the cash or the paperwork ready to address them.

Again, it is back to cash. No one is terribly worried that Boeing missed by 2 years and 6tons on the 787 or that Airbus missed by again 2 years and 6tons on the A380. They have enough cash to make amends (compensation and improvements).

The only thing scary about Eclipse is that they have no cash to continue. Why don't they have cash?

1 - They don't have another established product line (e.g. 73G/77W, A320/A330) to milk while they fix their problems.

2 - They ALWAYS depended on inflated claims to attract funding.

3 - They had to build a whole company in addition to a whole new plane.

Results were predictable. They ran out of cash.

All the engineering challenges discussed here would be readily solved by mo money. Yes, even Avio, except that that one would require its own dedicated money printing press in the basement.

baron95 said...

Gad, I'd not pass on a free chance to fly any reasonably designed and assembled plane for which I am reasonably competent to fly.

If there were an Eclipse near me offering small (e.g. 10 or 20 or 30) block hour purchases, I'd gladly take it for some summer fun. I might pay $1,000 wet for it.

Longer term blocks or leases - forget it.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Someone needs to find a new place to stick the damn static ports. Piss poor design. New autopilot servos too, this autopilot works too damn hard and that is why there is all the cutoffs in "not smooth" air.

fred said...

Baron

the only ingredients needed to make an airplane fly are paperwork and cash - tons of it. i think you're wrong on such !

i used to think the same way , until i had the chance to meet really talented craftsmen ...

ask anyone here with real field-knowledge of what is production of fine-works ...
(i'm thinking about Mr Gad and some others ...)

the craftsman i met told me once something that i won't forget :

"are sure as you will never make a princess out of a donkey , someone being a worthless worker for a salary won't be any better for ten times his wages ..."

money is kinda oil to make things smoother , never an answer !

Kathy said...

Eclipsepilot, do you fly planes with the newer servos? They're much better along with (because of?)the software that goes with them.

Also, do you fly a plane with a large tab on the bottom of one of the flaps? It's been speculated that once trimmed a plane with a large roll correction gurney tab may have a side slip component in cruise causing airspeed disagrees.

As for the new ESN, I'm quite sure NAJ would be better off without Mr. Press' rhetoric. They've been doing fine. So have a number of shops already doing NG and Garmin installs. By the time they have any assets the IP value will be dissolved with all of the STC and PMA activity completed or underway.

There victim pool is shrinking quickly.

fred said...

Yes ATM :

this Mike's thing is real rubbish ...

only trying to revive the Vern's spirit !

(watch me straight in the eyes until you feel dizzy , then give me your cash ...)

you're right as well on the "production claim" ...

not very difficult to find out :

take the ultimate numbers of planes made divided by the number of staff (which is a problem here : since NOT a single one is finished = i would feel tempted to say N= 0 ) divided by the number of months to achieve the final result ...


following this simple (and imperfect) calculation :

there would be not enough peoples on earth to have made the Ford-T or the Volkswagen beetle !

so production an achievement : if it would be finished , it could arguable ... but in the state it is = only a sad joke !

Dave said...

RoelJet Aerospace's main product appears to be comedy rhodium.

fred said...

The discussions around Eclipse will always revolve around finances. ...

NO !

it has been revolving around finances because up to the end , it was at the same time :

*the most comical aspect

*the most crucial aspect

*the most used excuse to deliver a "low average" product which was sold to be a revolution ...


if someone crazy enough would have drown Wedge under banknotes = the plot would have lasted only longer ... i doubt any better !

Shane Price said...

Dave,

To be fair to Mike and his Merry Men, (Eclipse Aerospace) they parted company with our favorite Dutchman several months ago.

Hence the upfront remarks about being "... in
discussions with our European partners" and providing an update "soon".

I suspect they fell out with Roel for the reason everyone else falls out with Roel. He promises you loads of cash and then borrows what he owes you, off you. Finally, he refuses to pay you back.

Just ask Al Mann....

Shane
PS I know it's nonsense. Roel likes it that way!

fred said...

Monsieur Shane :


He promises you loads of cash and then borrows what he owes you, off you. Finally, he refuses to pay you back. ...

yes !

exactly why the Russian deal collapsed ...

nothing to do with any crisis or bad will ...

only , they are used to call cat , a cat ...

so when someone in the remote part of the country was proposed to become Ultra-rich , he reacted exactly like any speculator , anywhere ...

when it came to really talk about cash and conditions :

they realized that they were supposed to lend the money to someone who was supposed to bring something in exchange ...

a cat is called a cat ...

they were probably too down-to-earth to miss the beauty of the plot ...

being offered something in exchange for a loan , loan used to buy the thing offered in exchange ...

aka "Crazy loop" !

much too down-to-earth to see they were buying something worthless , with the help of someone they didn't need ...

the only part that was real : it is THEIR money in the line of fire !

julius said...

baron95,
2 - They ALWAYS depended on inflated claims to attract funding.
are you sure?

EAC always depended on lies ("inflated claims") and therfore told lies?

And the wedge is a great entrepreneur (my point of view: undertaker performing cremation of cash)?

I am astonished!

Julius

Shane Price said...

Snippet compendium

A few comments from the inbox:-

1.I met a airframe fabrication specialist, he consults for the big boys. He is aware of Eclipses use of FSW on their airframes. He say's it's great for rockets that they use once and toss into the ocean. But he fears that these welds will break and cause unchecked structural damage that will manifest itself in a most violent manner. These parts are annealed and are difficult to service and repair.

It's a throw away plane no matter how you look at it.


2. I've had several contacts from 'ex Eclipsers' on the tailcone delamination issue. It would appear that this problem was far more common in the factory than anyone thought, especially with the starboard tailcone, for reasons not explained. While the specific area identified in my last post was the most common, there was also quite a bit of it around the nozzles as well.

3. Our old pal, Ken Meyer, has 'switched sides' in the owners squabble between the EOG and Col. Mike. I have to tell you that my source accused Ken of 'pimping' for what we must now call Eclipse Aerospace.

Nothing worse than a fight between (former) friends.

Shane

fred said...

"Our" kenny a pimp ???

i thought he was surgeon ?

what is next to go wrong in our world ? ;-)

(ps: i admit , this is very bad taste ...)

Black Tulip said...

Speaking personally I have never had a problem with my tail delaminating. However should it happen it is nice to know there is a surgeon at hand.

airsafetyman said...

"I have to tell you that my source accused Ken of 'pimping' for what we must now call Eclipse Aerospace."

And that would make Col Mike a pimper or pimpee? It really is hard to keep track! I am quite sure they deserve each other, though. As the two old ladies said: "let's be frank with each other; first you can be Frank and then I'll be Frank"

eclipse_deep_throat said...

ok, i am breaking my own rule by posting again .... but i have to ask: has anyone noticed that "Eclipse Aerospace" already exists? but the link below seems to be from a defunct org for the X-prize going back to 2004...

e.d.t.

http://www.freewebs.com/eclipseaerospace/index.htm

julius said...

e.d.t.,


http://www.freewebs.com/eclipseaerospace/index.htm:

Eclipse Aerospace is a VIRTUAL AEROSPACE COMPANY, developing add-ons for Orbiter Space Flight Simulator and for educational purpose. Any resemblance of our site, company name and our add-ons with any other site,company or products is simply a coincidence and should be treated as such.
your are right, when creating a new company the name of the company should not conflict with existing names, internet names, etc.

Perhaps Col. P's company does not exist at this moment (How much does cost to create a LLC?).

Julius

P.S.: There will be more "swingers" - perhaps Ken didn't want to switch off the lights and close the door as the last in the EOG club!

fred said...

well done EDT ... !

reading the link :

it is a VIRTUAL company doing VIRTUAL things for a VIRTUAL competition ...


i am sure that Col.Pimper feel much safer to be like home ...

;-)

fred said...

BT :

you never had problems with your tail , but it's real nice to have a surgeon around ...

like that there is still some hopes for the resting Parrot is by chance wake-up time happen one day ...

;-)

Fly-an-Eclipse said...

baron95 said... Gad, I'd not pass on a free chance to fly any reasonably designed and assembled plane for which I am reasonably competent to fly.

If there were an Eclipse near me offering small (e.g. 10 or 20 or 30) block hour purchases, I'd gladly take it for some summer fun. I might pay $1,000 wet for it.

Longer term blocks or leases - forget it.

Baron, I'll trade you a ride for lunch on you. Email me at eyeindasky@gmail.com

airtaximan said...

"Substantially better than all the years that Boeing has taken to deliver ONE 787 to..... drum roll.... the paint shop. And better still than the years that Diamond, and Adam, etc, have taken to deliver ZERO planes."

Man.. keep thinking...

Better than Boeing on the 787 - no, not at all, by any measure. Boeing will be a couple of years late delivering the plane - Vern was many years late... but we're not talking about this, are we?

We're examining your claim that (EAC) "after all they have, for a few months, demonstrated a single month production rate higher than any other GA jet, haven't they?"

My point ws that they claimed this and apparently, you bit... reality is, the production started a year before they delivered 1 single plane... when they claimed they would deliver hundreds and hundreds. When they delivered many planes per month, those planes were started a long time before, and had many many many man hours in them.

At one point, we gonculated the man hours to be more than the plane costs to BUY. Just the labor.

In any case, like I said, they proved you could partially build a lot of planes, and then shovel some of them out the door in a week or month, and use 10x normal labor hours to do it, and claim...SUCCESS... in your opinion...

I think not.

Also, please do not go flying in that thing. You have really no idea what you are getting into.

Dave said...

Something seems to be up with Mann v Roel because there is some court thing happening on 6/18.

Dave Ivedorne said...

Black Tulip said:
Speaking personally I have never had a problem with my tail delaminating. However should it happen it is nice to know there is a surgeon at hand.

It's my rather sad duty to inform you that your sense of relief is misplaced - Ken's the wrong surgeon for relieving that particular malady.

Windshield fogging up or cracking? Ken's your man. Tailcone's delaminating? Ahhh - not so much...

Would you prefer gel or suppositories?
DI

WhyTech said...

B95 will love this:

There is an article in today's WSJ re the UAW in which is an interview with a UAW member/Jeep employee who says he is hurting because he made $130,000 last year, but is making less this year. What's wrong with this picture?

baron95 said...

Some drive by rumblings (short of time today)....

EDT, the clue was when Eclipse Aerospace had a .net email address. That usually tells you the .com is already in use by another CO.

Shane, I'm glad that Ken is behind EA. Their plans is substantially "less bad" than the EOG cockamamie idea of having owner own shares.

WhyTech, that is depressing, but being corrected.

What now gets me worried is that the US/State/Local governments will be the ONLY places where militant and untouchable unions rule. These employees continue to retire with full pensions at age 50, full medical benefits, they get paid higher than private sector comps and can't be fired.

It is a disgrace. In a few years the US will be like France and India, where every one aspires to be a government "functionary".

They will tax us all to death so they can hold on to their unsustainable ways.

Airlines union - being brought back in line.

UAW - being brought back in line.

Govmt Employee Unions - unchecked.

We need to find a way to offshore government ;)

Deep Blue said...

May I most humbly suggest that just as this current string is pretty much dead, so too is the Eclipse story.

This blog has done its job. There really isn't anything else to discuss in a substantive way as all the issues have been vetted, explored, uncovered, etc.

The rest is just tabloid, as that is the only group of players left.

Any real players at EAC long ago left.

So should we.

Best regards.

Shane Price said...

Deep Blue,

While I'm happy to agree, in principle, that the blog has run its' course, I'm more than willing to continue for a little while longer.

Specifically, the 25th of June.

This, of course, is the day AFTER the final bids are due. I'm personally interested in who will bid, and how much they're prepared to lose.

Sorry, 'invest'.

At that point, my personal view is 'we' are no longer required. Anyone who's been foolish enough to have ignored three and a half years of discussion and debate on what is one of the most widely read blogs in GA deserves all they get.

But I could be wrong...

Shane

eclipso said...

If for no other reasons, SOME type of blog should continue just to keep the contact going. I've met some very good folks here, had personal contact with a few and learned everything from EAC to economics, to ethics. Kinda like a jam session with aviation people. Just a thought.....

Deep Blue said...

Shane/Eclipso; agree on both counts. it will of course be quite interesting to see what transpires through the "formal" BK process.

Eclipso: I suspect most if not all blog participants feel the same way; a diverse group of smart minds that could tackle any number of important business issues; along with being a healthy 'social' site. In some ways it probably doesn't matter what the next aviation topic is, as long as it generates debate and analysis and opens up broader topics, which it always does and should.
Regards.

uglytruth said...

New topic: FRAUD / THEFT / CORRUPTION / KICKBACKS

I was at EAC in SP10 & 11, just a few days and stumbled into things that made me think there was rampant corruption in purchasing. Are any suppliers, vendors or anyone with info willing to step up and fill us in on what they know? I don’t know if it was free tickets or trips or cash or dinners or how it was being done but……things did not pass the smell test. I also asked 3 people that had been there for a while about my suspicions and they knew some things but would only talk in vague generalities.

I always find it hard to believe that these people are incompetent. I think because lots of the purchasing people came from Intel they were veterans at extorting ‘favors” from suppliers. They probably brought a lot of new tricks to the manufacturing world.

Or is that just the way the world works now and I’m just a honest, naive small town hick?

Shane Price said...

Deep Blue, eclipso et al,

It might be instructive to review what happened during the period between the 'end' of Stans' original blog and the start of this site.

Several of us visited other arena's, but none quite seem to feel right. Sometimes it was the format, other times it was the content.

Have a look at the later comments here , and you'll get a flavor of what 'we' went through.

And don't be too surprised to see many familiar names.

Shane

baron95 said...

I, for one, would like to see this blog continue with two "mission statements":

1 - Continue to cover the "unwinding" of the Eclipse saga. Either way, this will go on for years as the 260+ EA500s linger in one form or another and the assets get traded like Mooney's and Piper's and Aerostar's.

2 - To serve as a general watch dog for the false promises of cheap(er) personal jets. In my mind, ALL have over promised and/or underdelivered. Adam, Eclipse, Diamond, Cirrus, and a bunch others just getting started.

I think collectively, this blog, has an ability to spot and warn VLJ-crap spewed by their purveyors, and hopefully continue to make potential buyers, suppliers, etc better informed with a counterpoint.

Yes, I'm a constant critic of the "everything Eclipse/Vern did/does must be wrong" tone of most in this blog. But, of course, that stands in contrasts with the "nothing we did is wrong" tone from Vern/Eclipse. And every now and them, some real bit of info or sound word of caution emerges on the blog.

So Shane, if you are up to it, please continue. If you need help moderating (VERY MUCH NEEDED) or creating posts, I'm sure others will pitch in to keep it going.

Anyway, just my 2c.

Happy Memorial Day weekend to all. Lets not forget the role that aviation has played into keeping this nation and the western hemisphere free and safe and salute the fallen fliers, designers, and assemblers of these incredible machines.

Jim Howard said...

Aviation Week says 'Still No Viable Bidders'.

http://tinyurl.com/noViable

michal said...

Please continue this blog. I will be gone to Europe soon and want to come back at the end of July and read this blog and perhaps find out what happened to Eclipse. Please continue at least for the next few more months. Thank you.

Fly-an-Eclipse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fly-an-Eclipse said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fly-an-Eclipse said...

Baron95, did you miss the post, or simply do not have the interest?

gadfly said...

michal

Somehow, me thinks someone will write a book about the bird . . . a “memoire”, as it were, and I would suggest a title: “The Can of Beans and the Dead Parrot: the Sequel”.

Someone recently spoke of the many jobs that were created by Eclipse . . . ‘sort of like the stimulus to the building trade by the firebombing of Dresden or Tokyo, in the final days of the second great war. We, in Albuquerque, continue to remember the promises made to countless families, and gullible workers, by politicians all the way up to the governor, and opportunists at all levels. But at least, Dresden and Tokyo did come back with extremely generous help from their former enemy. But the manufacturing community of Albuquerque will continue to be a wasteland for many years to come . . . present politicians are in the “CYA” mode, and are not likely to change their normal behavior.

Whether in this excellent “blog-site” or another method, some of us will attempt to remind the world of the recent events in the little city by the Rio Grande. There are countless small companies that will not soon forget the corruption and outright deception perpetrated on those who continue the struggle to survive, or have simply “given up”, and are even now in the process of closing the doors of their small companies, wondering how to survive in a socialist economy that has dropped on us, like a bolt of lightning.

There was more I wanted to say . . . but I realized it was beginning to be about “us”.

Many months ago, my wife and I were at a local McDonald’s, getting our usual . . . the cheap “green chili cheese burgers”, large fries, coffee . . . and we noticed the young man and his family . . . he was wearing his “Eclipse” work shirt.
And I asked him about his work, and the company, etc. He was so pleased . . . and had such great expectations. Little did he know what I knew . . . that he was working for a “scam operation”, and would soon be destitute . . . desperately looking for work to feed his little family. And I thought at the time, this is downright criminal . . . what is happening before my very eyes, and I am helpless to do a single thing about it. At the time, I was much younger . . . about seventy years old, so could not fully relate to the young man’s plight (with my SS income, etc., . . . secure as long as the federal printing presses don’t run out of ink.). So, today, I still come to work . . . no income, no more employees . . . shops around us have given all their employees the maximum time off . . . some sort of holiday, I’m told (but they don’t have any work).

What can I say positive about Eclipse? That’s easy . . . early on, anyone truly knowledgeable in aeronautics, aircraft design/manufacturing, and business ethics could easily discern what was coming. They almost put it on billboards . . . and people didn’t believe it, or didn’t bother to understand it . . . and lined up to put their money or future on what they “wished” to believe, rather than believe what was openly obvious from almost everything that proceeded from the mouth of the great and holy guru. It was a great demonstration of human behavior, etc., etc. There isn’t room to carry this on further. (We already knew about the governor, and his “toadies”, . . . all the low-life that survives on “offal”, and the media . . . what more can we say in that regard?!)

Well . . . this could go on for a time, but I’ll close with the comment that we make dead sure that this snake can not ever again come back to life . . . hundreds, yes even thousands of innocent folks have been seriously hurt by the downright dishonest tactics of this operation, and some of us are committed to seeing that it doesn’t happen again.

gadfly

airsafetyman said...

I kinda agree with Deep Blue. Watching EAC with Col Mike and the Kenster auger in is a big yawn. On the other hand where are you going to find statements like: "receive the royalty free perpetual license for your aircraft." without reading the secret decoder ring instructions on the back of your kid's cereal box? Thats right up there with a "future-proof" airplane! And what about Roel? Surely there is some blog reader in the Netherlands that will sound the alarm should he ever again slither over the side of his yacht. Or what about nut-case Capt. Zoom in his faux-Hemingway war correspondent costume tossing softball questions to Eclipse shysters. You really could not make this stuff up.

Black Tulip said...

"Or what about nut-case Capt. Zoom in his faux-Hemingway war correspondent costume tossing softball questions to Eclipse shysters."

In this case, reality beats out parody. How can satire keep up?

Kathy said...

This is a repost since I post late for US time zones.

Eclipsepilot, do you fly planes with the newer servos? They're much better along with (because of?)the software that goes with them.

Also, do you fly a plane with a large tab on the bottom of one of the flaps? It's been speculated that once trimmed a plane with a large roll correction gurney tab may have a side slip component in cruise causing airspeed disagrees.

As for the new ESN, I'm quite sure NAJ would be better off without Mr. Press' rhetoric. They've been doing fine. So have a number of shops already doing NG and Garmin installs. By the time they have any assets the IP value will be dissolved with all of the STC and PMA activity completed or underway.

Their victim pool is shrinking quickly.

FlyanEclipse post seems to have been ignored as well.

Airsafetyman you have obviously never laid a hand on a EA500. Have you ever even seen one in person? Most if not all of your assumptions have made an ass of yourself to those that actually know the jet. If you don't know what your talking about just stay quiet regarding functional and operational issues but I would certainly not attempt to suppress your viewpoints re the biz aspects of the mess.

Does anyone here know what RVSM critical areas are to the safe flight of an aircraft above FL290?

The nose cowl installation is open to interpretation by the mechanic that installs it. A hack sealant job will create flow problems across the pitot/static system. Where is the RVSM critical area on the jet? It's not placarded with red lines. Yes I know it doesn't need to be since it's not a RVSM "retrofit"...?

As for the "nascar jet" roll issues I have personally seen jets that were beyond the roll rate/second standard pushed out the door to delivery. When test pilots objected they were told "It's your paycheck." This not only concerned their paycheck but the entire company, since it was ALL at the wire.

Again...a jet that will not trim level with 100% Right roll trim pushed to delivery.

It apparently will take a cockpit window frame structural failure to really ground these things.

airsafetyman said...

"Airsafetyman you have obviously never laid a hand on a EA500. Have you ever even seen one in person? Most if not all of your assumptions have made an ass of yourself to those that actually know the jet. If you don't know what your talking about just stay quiet regarding functional and operational issues"


I see. Which of my operational and functional issues don't you care for. That the airplane never should have never have been delivered without weather radar? That the airplane needs some way of putting weight on the mains during landing? That the wheels, tires, and brakes are totally inadaquate? That the airplane should be coinsidered a sport, day, VFR-weather airplane until the avionics nightmare is sorted out? That the logic behind the stand-by instrumentation is guaranteed to kill people? That the Micky Mouse throttle should be replaced? And yes I have seen several Eclipse airplanes. Thank you for letting me to continue to comment on the business aspects of Eclipse, though, I really appreciate that.

RonRoe said...

ASM,

Most of the E500s delivered have functioning weather radar.

I'm sorry to hear that the standby instrument system is "guaranteed" to kill someone. Have they been exploding and imbedding shrapnel in the pilot's eyeball, perhaps?

The blog is lucky to have an "expert" like you who has actually _seen_ several airplanes. In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

airsafetyman said...

"Most of the E500s delivered have functioning weather radar.

I'm sorry to hear that the standby instrument system is "guaranteed" to kill someone. Have they been exploding and imbedding shrapnel in the pilot's eyeball, perhaps?"

Wowee, Gee! MOST have weather radar! That would be a big comfort to Eclipse passengers to know that the guy up front dodging embedded thunderstorms MIGHT have weather radar. How comforting! And no-need for the FAA-mandated stand-by attitude gyro for 135 operators. What does the FAA know? Sabatini retired before he could change that rule, and the FAA now is peopled by such sticklers. Just toss that sucker on the ramp and go fly, RonRoe, after all, Vern said it was quite OK!

Shane Price said...

To one and all...

I'm all for moving the blog forward, and will repeat my invitation for constructive suggestions as to how this might be done.

I appreciate Baron's comments about moderation. I've tended to be very moderate, and have removed very few posts in during my time.

The creation of headline posts is something I truly enjoy, and have to limit myself to about one a week. People who know me will attest that verbosity is one of my (many) failings...

However, my personal 'mission' ends with the disposal of the mortal remains of EAC, which is scheduled to occur on or about 24th of June.

This is almost exactly one month from today.

In the past, a number of you have helped, behind the scenes, in various ways. It's now time to ask yourselves a hard question.

'Do I want the job?'

If the answer is yes, email me, at the usual address:-

eclipsecriticng@gmail.com

Shane

Gunner said...

Shane-
What we have here is an assembly of some of the most knowledgeable people in aviation. The Eclipse story may be pretty much done, but there's much more on the table.

As an example, Peter Maurer of Diamond has sent the first 110 D-Jet Depositors a letter declaring a VOLUNTARY default event. It seems those planes must be delivered by June 30, with a 9 month grace period. But Maurer refuses to pull a Vern....he's stepped out in FRONT of the deadline and deserves Aviation's Class Act Award for it.

In our case, that means only one of the 4 D-Jets ordered is subject to the refund, but the transparency and good faith of the gesture gives me enormous confidence in this company, once the economy rebounds.

I only spoke to Peter once before. Yet I left a message for him two weeks ago and he returned the call that day. He was honest, up front and (as I stated) transparent. He promised to call when they'd firmed up their plans for refund and guess what? A week later I got that call!

So, we've still got the D-Jet to discuss. Certainly not as exciting as the Eclipse Lawn Dart Collection, but neither is it as contentious.

Then there's the Cirrus offering. Certainly that bears discussion.

Mixed in there is the Survivor at Bend (or not, as the case may be). Epic is certainly struggling under an economy in which you couldn't borrow money to finance a plane if you owned the bank. I know of at least two Federal cases file, one as plaintiff (against Williams no-less), the other as defendant. Heros or villains, the jury is still out; and will be until a dozen Builder-Owners of the LT learn whether their planes will be completed or the assets siphoned off.

So, stay tuned. There's much left to discuss in the GA development world. I vote you expand your horizons.

Gunner

Gunner said...

Query: What do guns and aviation have in common?

Answer: Not much....until now! I'm proud to announce that aviation's hardest working and most articulate editor/reporter is joining the SWAT Magazine masthead with the next issue!

How's THAT for a mini-bombshell, people?

One thing that bothers me is the lack of good aviation news content since Karen and CharterX parted company. There's got to be a way we might parlay her talents with those of this Blog to fire up a pre-eminent aviation news in-site.

Like I said...there's still much that can be done.
Gunner

Turboprop_pilot said...

Gunner:

How'd you lure Capt. Zoom to SWAT? Congrats!

ex Turboprop_pilot

Black Tulip said...

Gunner,

Glad you have Karen on the case. She gets a top grade for her investigative reporting on Eclipse.

Shane Price said...

Mmmm...

I begin to see a future path. Rich/Karen would make a good 'thing' better, as far as I'm concerned.

The inbox has also been humming with positive vibes since the announcement was made.

Rich has never been afraid to put principle first, which I personally admire.

The principle, for both us?

Vern was a tool....

The outcome of that now infamous lawsuit was, thanks to our favorite publisher, satisfactory for the Honor Roll.

What says the blog? Should it revert to it's natural home in the U.S. following it's (sometimes frenetic) sojourn in Ireland?

Shane

Gunner said...

Oh no you don't, my Irish cousin. You've done an admirable job where Stan left off. Even he agrees, based on his participation.

I'm talking about a collaboration, not a torch-passing. And even on that, I've no concrete ideas, except for the fact that we've put together a pretty damned fine group of business, engineering and journalistic minds during the course of this Blog.

I'm not "offering" anything specific here. More like trying to explore where there's an aviation journalism "gap" that we might fill. I've no further preconceptions.

Like SWAT, the Ayn Rand part of me, would insist that it pay it's own way after a bit of help. That would be a precondition.

Where do each of you guys turn for news of the industry? How good is that news? How much is known but not reported for fear of pissing off the advertisers? That's a niche that we got to explore in rebirthing SWAT in 2001.

RThe formula's worked well for us and has been fairly stress free from an editorial pressure point of view. In fact, we've had a Chinese wall between editorial and advertising from Day 1 and it's really played out very well for everyone in the mix.
Gunner

airtaximan said...

Shane,
If its work load that has you wanting to retire, that's one thing... if its lack of interest at this point, that's another.

If you would like to split the work, perhaps a group of moderators would work out?

If its lack of interest, someone needs to run with the ball...

I wonder if the blog will grow and flourish with multiple GA topics, or if it will lose its audience.

Perhaps post something of a more general nature regarding GA, and see what the reaction is.

Fair said...

If you want to expand the audience, you need a blog name that doesn't single out EAC. How about GAwatchdog.blogspot.com?

fred said...

Monsieur Gunner :

i feel like such an honor you are back with us ...!

your idea of creating something "marketing free" is brilliant !

agree that the view should be widened a (big) bit ...

since the "parrot" may rest for ever , it a wonderful idea to have somewhere to get "bits & pieces" of infos which are money-making-stress free , even if one has to use his own discernment before reaching any conclusion .

i hope to have the pleasure of meeting one day ...

airtaximan said...

funny thing is Eclipse AViation Critic almost makes a good name for a global GA blog...

"a falling into obscurity or decline" - eclipse.

with all the American gov't backlash against the private jet... I would imagine this name could stick!!!

Shane Price said...

Gunner, ATman, Fair and the rest of 'you'

I'm pretty clear in what piqued my interest, which was/is the 'Vernastic' scam attempted at EAC. I couldn't let that one rest, in a 'all that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing' sort of way.

So, when EAC is consigned, officially, to the dustbin of history on or about the 24th of June, my (more or less solo) moderation of this blog will end.

I'm quite happy simply to stop, in a manner similar to Stan, or to have a more formal handover to another 'member in good standing' of this august crew.

Eclipse Aviation Critic NG has served many purposes, most of them 'good' and I'd be sorry if another individual or group could not be formed to carry on in an agreed fashion.

But if that can't happen, I won't lose any sleep!

It is, after all, only a blog...

Shane

airtaximan said...

Shane,

I believe it will be a long time before another such "scam"....

And, in this respect, I see your point!

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

Shane-
I wasn't aware of your position in that regard.

I respect that and urge you NOT to effect a hand-off. Take a lesson from Stan. He shut down when it was his time and the subject matter never suffered, thanks to you.

Part Deux has been a raging success. But this incarnation is YOUR legacy. If you choose to become a simple participant, do so as Stan did.

Part III will be whatever someone makes it.

With thanks for your service...and hopes you'll keep doin' whatcher doin'.
Rich Lucibella

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

Shane, Gunner, et al:

Let’s consider the obvious, yet, basic facts that most bloggers continue to overlook.

Most businesses fail . . . nothing new there.

Most aircraft designs either fail, or have serious faults that must be overcome . . . nothing new there.

Honest businesses that fail hurt the entrepreneurs, and those who knowingly invest in the attempt . . . nothing new there.

Had Eclipse been included in the above descriptions, there would be no need to continue discussion on the subject.

But Eclipse used unknowing/unsuspecting young people, . . . and some “old”, to supply the labor and energy . . . promising things that the naive, and their families, made moves and efforts that they could ill afford. Many young struggling families gave everything they could, to make this thing happen. And they were dumped without any more concern than for a dog struck on the freeway.

In addition, to give “credence” to the promises, the politicians and governor of the state pronounced their blessing on the effort . . . giving away millions of taxpayer money and benefits.

Some customers (not all, to be sure) . . . folks that had a high level of disposable income, have made statements showing a certain callousness to the plight of hundreds . . . maybe thousands of workers (and their families), who in effect, gave their “best”, to make this thing happen, little knowing the short-comings of the event, and some “customers” figured they got a bargain, at the expense of a bunch of “sucker employees”.

Me thinks that many of those responsible for the deception will simply walk away . . . without the slightest twinge of conscience. The governor, himself, has not shown the slightest remorse.

Hopefully the people of Albuquerque will take careful note and not allow this sort of thing to repeat itself. But Albuquerque has a history of being naive in such things. Eclipse seems to have broken all former records in damage done to the small manufacturing community by the “Rio Grande”.

The “blog” did things that the local newspaper and other media has refused to take up in an aggressive manner (they only report after “pressure”, or after others have reported the facts). A few read it and learn . . . you two, and Stan, and Karen, and a few others exposed the contents of the “can of beans”, against great pressure. But the debris remains . . . and there seems to be no justice coming any time soon.

No . . . I don’t have any answer. But I “hurt” for those who are unable to repair the damage done . . . and am powerless to fight those in high places.

gadfly

Beedriver said...

amen Gadfly,

I hope this Blog will continue in some form as the development of the VLJ catagory is very interesting. and usually only in blogs of this type will you get ongoing information without commercial biases all the time

Stan And Shane et al have done a great job and the quality of the posts in general have been great(even if I disagree with many of them) we must thank the moderators of this blog and also the unbelievable hapenings at Eclipse that drove us to follow the blog and post on it.

an example of a Blog I follow on an interesting aviation subject that is an example of an ongoing successful niche blog is www.dieselair.com It focuses on diesel engine developments for aircraft and is well run. However running a blog takes a lot of time and effort and is very difficult for anyone to continuously manage.

In order for a blog to be a long time effort there needs to be a passionate person to continuously take care of it.

How we help keep the person doing it with resources to eat so he/she can spend the time is a question we should think about.

x said...

LabQuest "LBQ501" The high-hour LabQuest 501 has no recorded flights since landing in BWI on May 8th.

Since Reading is the "home"- it appears some change in utilization of this craft has occured. Could be sale to private party, AOG, ??

I don't have complete records on LBQ501 (missing a couple of weeks in July 2008).

The records I do have total 668 hours on the frame and 1245 flight plans. I haven't subtracted for the "diverted" plans, so actual activity is a bit less.

baron95 said...

Hi Fly_An_Eclipse,

I had indeed missed the post. I'd love the chance to buy an Eclipse pilot lunch and the opportunity to be in the plane.

I'll contact you (after June 10 - overseas till then) to get your restaurant destination picks ;)

Thank you in advance for the opportunity.

baron95 said...

Congrats to HB for the EASA certification and first European delivery of the G36 Bonanza and G58 Baron.

BricklinNG said...

Certification of two 50+year old designs (from the era of passenger trains, the DC4, rotary dial phones and vacuum tubes) gussied up with new instruments should not pass as a noteworthy accomplishments. While Eclipse failed we should not forget that progress in small airplanes has been painfully slow.

Remember that when the Staggerwing was delivered it had similar equipment to the airlines' DC3s so the guy who learned to fly and bought an airplane could fly as fast and reliably as the airlines (or close to it). Airlines started getting equipment that would go higher, faster and with better electronics. Small airplanes were stuck with Staggerwing performance and largely have that performance today in the price range that an average, successful person can afford. The electronics have improved to the point that a $300,000-$500,000 Diamond, Cessna or Cirrus has electroincs that exceed those in many airliners, but the basic airplane performance is not much changed in 50 years.

Beedriver said...

unfortunately the physics of airplanes and aerodynamics has not changed in the last 50 years and thus new airplanes built now will have very little additional performance compared to what was available 50 years ago. until we can operate in a different universe with different laws of physics we are stuck with 50 year old performance.

just compare the Mooney to the Cirrus. the Cirrus would be substantially slower if it was designed to be able to recover from a spin.

virtually all developments have followed improvements in powerplants. The new higher efficiency fan jets and perhaps heavy fuel combustion engines will drive any new performance vs cost developments. Just think what could be done if the engines on the Eclipse cost $50,000 instead of $200,000 each

Certifying anything in this new age of regulations is an accomplishment.

Deep Blue said...

BrickLinNG:

interesting point; one might say that the EAC aircraft were actually a step backwards in design.

Beedriver said:

"virtually all developments have followed improvements in powerplants. The new higher efficiency fan jets and perhaps heavy fuel combustion engines will drive any new performance vs cost developments. Just think what could be done if the engines on the Eclipse cost $50,000 instead of $200,000 each"

Indeed; buy you may be leaving out improvements in materials science and reductions in weight where the engines don't have to heave alot of heavy systems up to altitude. I'm thinking of the Spectrum for example.

Beedriver said...

There have been improvements in design and materials etc however just think how fast the spectrum would go if it had a corn cob radial on it. The low weight high efficiency turbofans and turbo props that are available today are the key to today's airplane designs.

Carbon fiber etc is great however it really costs a lot to build with it and only in very high usage applications where the airplane flys 12 hours a day can the extra cost be compensated for by the lighter weight. It also remains to see what the spectrum will actually weigh and cost when it is certified. you can usually do almost as well with aluminum and rivets if you wish. re the Mooney vs the Cirrus when they have virtually the same powerplant the performance and cost in equivalent manufacturing volumes is virtually identical.

gadfly said...

Someone spoke of a “corn cob” engine . . . and frankly, with today’s technology, if it were coming from Toyota/Lexus or Honda/Acura, a twenty-eight cylinder “corn cob” engine would be a simple thing . . . precision and reliability are now taken for granted. A “corn cob” engine would be working in low temp, low stress conditions . . . and by today’s standards is no longer a “big deal”.

The “very light jet” can hardly be placed in the “jet class”, except that it has a couple turbo-jet engines. A half century earlier, aircraft were flying faster, and farther with “props” . . . using easier-to-build and much friendlier technology. But the “aura” of flying a jet excites folks . . . they go “bonkers”, casting reason to the winds, and pay big bucks to fly a “jet”.

Turbo-jet engines are great, but they operate in an environment outside the practical world of the little Eclipse. (Notice, I said “practical” . . . including the overall economy and practical return on investment, etc., etc.)

Piston engines are complex things, requiring many moving parts. But the fine points were worked out long, long ago. Overhead cam/valve engines were commonplace almost a century ago.

You want reliability with precision? . . . it’s an easy thing. Take a straight “six”, the smoothest of all reciprocating engines . . . or a “V12” (two “sixes” side by side) . . . and you have the best there is. Nothing new here . . . this is eighty year old technology.

You want economy? . . . do the numbers . . . and you’ll come up with a sub-400mph aircraft, with some form of “recip” engine every time.

You want to go over four hundred mph, choose a “turbo-jet” . . . and pay the price. Slower than 400mph? . . . go turbo-prop . . . and invest in great instrumentation.

You want the ultimate in reliability, mixed with reasonable economy, and can stand to get from point A to B, without impressing your friends, then fly something like the new Quest “Kodiak”. It might not appear that you have a “Rolls-Royce” in the garage, but people that know a thing or two will admire your intelligence.

Oh, there’s one other category: You want cheap transportation? . . . simply fly commercial. You’ll get there whenever you wish . . . cheaper than owning your own “air chariot” (Upgrade to first class with all the money you saved . . . you’ll have to rub elbows with common folks, but you’ll get there in reasonable time, without all the hassle of keeping up with the latest training, or keeping a full-time pilot on call, along with all the other hassles of owning your own set of feathers.) You want 50,000 feet? . . . fly with a friend that owns a high flying bird . . . and save your money.

If you are seriously rich, then get a “real” jet, and stop playing silly games. If you’re not “seriously rich”, you don’t belong in this crowd . . . no way, no how! Frankly, you look like someone in a “blue striped” sear-sucker suit, wearing a straw hat, from the 1930's . . . and there’s no bird so rare as someone boarding a “Bondo” covered bird, on the Albuquerque tarmac . . . paid for by the citizens of New Mexico. So, why do you play with a “Wal-Mart” quality contraption, thinking that the world is impressed? The “locals” are impressed . . . but not in a good sense.

For the pure pleasure of flying on the wings of the wind, keep it simple and slow.

The “gadfly” has good friends that own and fly the best of the best of “real” personal jets . . . yet, I shop at “Cost-Co”, where the price of natural peanut butter makes a difference. And you know what? . . . it doesn’t much matter.

gadfly

(Watching an old movie with “Nieuports” and the old “Gnome” seven-cylinder rotary engines last night, was a reminder of how far we’ve come . . . or how little we’ve progressed in ninety years . . . it’s still a matter of getting “there” in a hurry, and landing “soft” . . . something that even today seems to be a problem with the little “Eclipse”. In that regard, maybe those old aircraft had the advantage.)

baron95 said...

BriklingNG, I believe that the G36/G58 are the first two piston airplanes to receive EASA certification. Noteworthy from that point of view only.

baron95 said...

There was a quantum leap in capability when airliners crossed the piston to (fan)jet chasm.

Biz Av quickly followed and joined the airliners on the other side with comparable performance.

The issue is that personal GA has been unable to cross that divide, and therefore remains stuck on the piston-limited side of the chasm with performance similar to the piston transports of yesterday (if we ignore the brief age of the Connies and DC-7s).

While the cheapest turbofan engine available costs almost the same as an entire piston-powered plane of similar size, and the gvmt mandates due to propulsion method make fanjets that much more expensive to certify, train, etc, that chasm will not be crossed anytime soon.

Single turbofans will help some with the acquisition costs, but it is still out of reach for most personal flying.

gadfly said...

Consider this like the special feature on Friday evening, when my Dad would take my Mother, my baby sister, and me from Sunland (California) down to Hollywood Blvd., near Vine Street, and go to the “Newsreel Theater”. The time was the early 1940's . . . my Dad was working nights on the Lockheed YP-38, and building a house in the Verdugo Foothills. If we timed it right, we’d get there in time to see last week’s news reel, a special feature, and the next week’s news reel . . . and then sit in our ‘41 Chevy, eating “Pastrami sandwiches”, while watching the strange people go by on the sidewalk. It was certainly a full evening of entertainment . . . a welcome moment in the midst of war.

The subject? Engines and technology:

Turbine engines were “old hat” . . . having been well understood long before the Titanic (the central “screw” of the Titanic was steam turbine driven). Piston engines were also well understood by the time of WWII, “The Great War”, so it is no big thing that aircraft engines, by that time, were reaching towards a pinnacle of design. It would take the English and Germans to take turbine engines into the realm of aircraft . . . and GE, having already been most successful with stationary and marine turbine engines, was the logical company to expand the turbine engine into American aviation.

But consider, if you will, the complexity and precision of the early aircraft engines. We speak of carburetors that can operate at all altitudes, and in all attitudes of flight . . . maintaining a 33-35F degree throat temperature, etc. Consider the delicate timing of three, five, seven, nine or eighteen . . . or twenty eight cylinders, with near perfect balance, as each piston reaches “top dead center”, based not on the position of the master crank, but on the “pins” as they rock back and forth on the “master rod”, connected to the master piston. And the subtle differences in the “cam lobes”, making sure that each intake and exhaust valve opens at the precise time, in every other revolution . . . and the varying needs of each connecting rod’s lubrication, etc. Think of “hollow valves”, filled with sodium, to distribute the heat as it liquefies internally in the valve stem. Think of "odd" numbers of cylinders in each row . . . or the "ideal" of 120 (or 60) degrees between powerstrokes in a gasoline engine . . . or 144 (or 72) degrees with a "diesel" (in "inline" engines). How can a ten-cylinder diesel, use 20 pistons, in a "two stroke", with two crank shafts? (Ask "Fairbanks-Morse" . . . a wonderful design that kept many of us alive.)

Why is a "six" superior to an "eight"? . . . or a "straight six superior to a vee six?

Why a "double counterbalance" for each "crank"? And two "mains" for every crank?

We could go on for many pages, discussing the complexity of a radial or inline engine “back then” . . . but the bottom line is that in our present time, believing all things are “simple”, and/or can be “fixed” with a change in the program code (algorithm), maybe we have lost the ability to think, and “reason” . . . and forgotten on what foundation our modern life is built.

gadfly

gadfly said...

baron

"Cheap turbines" are still in the infancy stage. The technology is actually already in place . . . but the demand in quantity is at a stand-still. There will come a time when demand and "quantity" come together on a reasonable scale . . . and, like "piston engines", the price for a "two-pack" of turbine engines will be a common thing.

At present, there still seems to be a mental block, that an engine must be "re-buildable". There may come a time when an engine, turbine or turbo-prop, is no more than a normal consumable . . . rather than the marvelous radial tire of Michelin in 1948, . . . or the aluminum pop can.

No more "re-caps", no more "re-builds" . . . 'just a quick change every few thousand hours, with not the slightest need for a re-build.

Who will be the first to get the big picture?

gadfly

(Pick a number of practical hours . . . design and manufacture accordingly . . . and make the disposable engine that folks can pick up in plastic bags along the highway, and turn them in for a nickel refund, and think they're saving the earth. Big whoop!)

gadfly said...

It's too late to correct the mistake, so don't be too hard on me. The "Great War" was WWI, in retrospect, not WWII . . . but either way, technology has little changed since the "Second" of the two great wars.

(Three days off in a row are almost more than I can handle . . . so I better get back to work!)

gadfly

Dave Ivedorne said...

Speaking of corn cobs, there's some actual ( sort of ) EclipseJet news...

Seems that RiP's star player tested positive after putting a bit of whacky tobaccy in the ol' corn cob pipe - bringing Monsieur's hoop dreams to a screeching halt.

( from Google translation ):

"Four minutes before the start," says Pieper, "we were told that our American star player Orien Greene could not play because he was a positive doping test for cannabis."

( not from Google translation due to being entirely imagined ):

"We're confident that the test results will be overturned. I've secured new testing from a laboratory in Ulyanovsk, with the backing of Mr. Putin."

Would you prefer hand-rolled, or from the four-chambered hookah?
DI

WhyTech said...

"No more "re-caps", no more "re-builds" . . . 'just a quick change every few thousand hours, with not the slightest need for a re-build.
"

Right on! I have often thought of this as a "disposable" engine. Using some kind of batch fabrication production technology (yet to be conceived I guess) not unlike the methods used in the semiconductor industry, at least in broad concept. Maybe even make a bunch of them, select the ones that work to spec and throw the rest away. And some think that VR engaged in disruptive thinking! Labor is getting too expensive to fix anything.

Shane Price said...

Whytech,

The ME 262 had Junkers Jumo 004 engines which required such extensive maintenance they were replaced after 10 hours of combat flying.

I find the idea of 'disposable' engines not at all challenging. As long as the replacements are cheap enough, who really cares?

I've been reviewing various documents in the past few weeks, in preparation for my final few headline posts. One source claimed the P&W 610 had an 'ex works' cost of just over $50,000. EAC were being charged about $225,000.

Let's imagine you could buy a pair of '1,000 hour' engines for, say $150,000, your cost is only $150/hr.

Most people could live with that. The factory making them would get a volume benefit, and lower warranty costs as well.

But all this is pure speculation, as the key issue of low cost driving high volume has been beaten to death on this blog over the years...

Shane

Beedriver said...

A manufacturing cost of $50,000 to a sales price of $225,000 + is about right.

from my experience a mark up of 4x to 5x is about right for manufacturing a complex device like a Jet engine in the volumes that the 610/615 are manufactured in. The R&D costs and other huge costs to design the engine as well as liability need to amortized fairly quickly. there also needs to be substantial profit for the company to be able to afford to develop the next generation.

As I remember P&W is profitable but not spectacularly so.

airsafetyman said...

This disposable engine discussion does not make any sense ot me. The whole history of jet engines has been to increase the allowable exhaust gas temperatures to extract the best specific fuel connsumption possible. The turbine blades at the heart of this technology are very, very expensive. There are many reasons for a turbine engine to lose efficiency, erosion of the compressor blades being only one. You are going to toss the engine and the very expensive turbine blades in the hot section because of easily replacable wear on the compressor section? Then there is the question of the accessories which have to be manufactured to exacting standards to be efficient and airworthy. Going to toss those, too? I can see operators having a built-up spare ready to go (been there, done that many times) but to trash an engine when 99% of it is perfectly servicable seems a momumental waste to me.

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

ASM,

You make an interesting point. While a ‘disposable’ turbine engine might be produced, I don’t think operators would be happy with fuel specifics. The Brayton cycle requires the highest turbine inlet temperature for best efficiency. Turbines best equipped to tolerate this utilize directionally-solidified or single-crystal blades, at least for the first stage. This technology has found its way into high-end aero propulsion engines and industrial gas turbines. The blades are very expensive to produce, in part because yield is an issue.

baron95 said...

I actually think that engine technology is going in exactly the opposite path.

From automobile engines, to aero-pistons, to turbines, there is a clear trend towards ever more sophisticated engines, using ever more expensive materials, with more electronic content, and longer lives.

This is being done for a number of reasons, but 3 are primary:

1 - Need for fuel efficiency = light weight, low SFC.

2 - Intolerance of users for down time = reliability of the engine trending towards time of useful ownership (e.g. Airliner engines need to last till first heavy check on the wing, car engines have to last with no maint other than fluids through typical 5-year first ownership).

3 - Need to keep maintenance costs down. Even if an engine cost US$1,000, the cost to remove/reinstall an engine plus accessories, plus loss of use costs, plus flight testing, docs, etc, becomes significantly.

So, I think the trend is less engines (Airliners go 4 to 3 to 2, Personal GA goes 2 to 1), on condition maintenance/inspection with most service performed on wing/tail without removal, telemetric self-check/reporting to reduce downtime.

These engines will me more expensive, but provide lower total cost of ownership (TCO).

I have one hope for reduced costs of smaller turbines. That is the proliferation of long-flight-duration military/surveillance drones. I think if the world is putting 2,000+ new drones/year in service, all powered by fanjets that need to operate for up to 24 hrs straight at altitude, we may start to see a volume/cost/reliability virtuous cycle.

airtaximan said...

need to think about safety when contemlating throw away engines... by definition, might mean designed for lower life, less robustness, lower cost materials, etc... would not necessarily make me feel comfy regarding reliability and safety.

If I know the engines are designed to be inspected, overhauled, etc... but last thousands of hours, it means they were made a certain way with a design life. If someone tells me they are designed to be worthless after 1000 hours... I am a little less comfortable, by definition.

I am not so sure a safe, reliable, robust durable (think birds...) engine can be made as a disposble...for a lot less money.

It might be a longer life engine with less inspections/overhauls that might be less expensive.

Example might include, cruise missile engines... not designed for multiple flights, more than an hour or two use, etc... etc... yet cheap

don't really know about this one.

gadfly said...

taximan

Your email is good in that it lists many of the assumptions that most folks make, when thinking of “disposable” or “throwaway” engines.

We could use any number of examples of the past, from ball point pens . . . expensive watches that only kept accurate time for a day or two . . . to VCR’s that cost many hundreds of dollars, etc., etc.

Often, complex devices gain expense by being designed for repair . . . that is, great care is given to parts that can be removed and put back, and “resealed”, etc. In fact, probably the single greatest expense in manufacturing complex devices is in the allowance for re-assembly of complex mechanisms in un-controlled environments.

Sure, there are problems with materials, etc., but think of something as simple as a “sealed ball bearing” for a front axle on your car. In the old days, we had to periodically remove the bearings . . . wash the races and rollers or balls, carefully press them back together (hoping to not include even a single grain of sand or crud), pack in the thick grease, and maybe get another five thousand miles before doing it all over again. But, today, for a couple dollars, the bearing is permanently sealed for life . . . possibly the life of the car for 200,000 miles of high speed driving. And, if needed, the “old” is thrown away, and a new one installed . . . maybe ‘just for routine maintenance and not because the old bearing showed any detectable wear.

Big corporations like “Disneyland”, periodically replace all the fluorescent lamps . . . not because they’re burnt out, but because they’ve learned that to replace them early, saves much money in tracking down the ones that eventually burn out.

As a tool designer, myself, I have designed and built original machines both ways . . . and the “non repairable” ones seem to last indefinitely, are less expensive to build, and consistently perform far more accurately over extended life. And they have a smaller “foot print”.

In the “old days”, electronic components for military use cost many times the norm, simply because they each had to be inspected . . . sometimes causing damage simply from the act of inspection. The commercial equivalent . . . resistors, capacitors, etc. . . . were usually more reliant, and one tenth the cost . . . but we were required to use the mil-spec stuff aboard the sub. Another example is the vascular clip system . . . in the early days, I designed applicators of the finest of material . . . titanium and “CRES” (stainless steel), etc., . . . and in re-sterilization, the hospital help often did serious damage to the instruments. When disposable applicators were developed, they were pre-loaded with 25 clips . . . enough for repair of two arteries . . . and then thrown in the trash. They always worked, were always sterile, and, overall, cost far less.

So, re-think some of your objections . . . and consider the vast number of examples that show the “one-time-use” device is usually more reliable, and better economy overall.

gadfly

julius said...

baron95,

I actually think that engine technology is going in exactly the opposite path....
good ideas!

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is to design a/cs (engines) also based on electric power. The DA42 accident in Germany showed that this is a paradigma change for the OEMs. (The engine control unit failed, when the legs were collected after take off).

Turbine engines are comparatively light. But what about their efficiency at low speeds and low altitudes? What about the number of cycles and thrust changes?

BTW: The latest small GA a/c are made of "plastic"!

Julius

airtaximan said...

Gad,

Perhaps I am really thick headed, but as I read your post, I thought you were making my point!

Disney replaces light bulbs becasue they are fairly inexpensive and worrying about which one's to change and when BEFORE they go out or just as they go out... will be more trouble than they are worth. So...

If somene dies when they go out... you would change them a lot sooner, and if they were designed for 1000 hrs, you would have to change them even sooner...

I am not sure I buy the idea that disposable, lower lifetime engines are the way to go. Actually, disposable is a non-issue... just the lower life wrries me... and disposable with lower cost and lower life, really gets me.

Perfect air bearings and that's a nice improvement with no real issue - its not disposable, probably less expensive, more durable... that sort of innovation works... but its not disposable...

WhyTech said...

"This disposable engine discussion does not make any sense ot me. "

Linear thinking! Who said anything about turbines? I did label the concept "disruptive!"

Beedriver said...

potentially concepts like "power by the hour" which is common in the Jet world will make either engines that are replaced with new at some defined point or continuously kep in good shape the way things will be done.

Thielert engines originally were supposed to work that way and Robertson Helicopters are completely rebuilt from end to the other every 2000 hours

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

taximan

Whether I was making your point may not really matter. But you bring up the “fluorescent” lamps thing . . . so let’s look at that for a moment.

Quality of those “inexpensive” lamps is extremely precise . . . in other words, of such close tolerances that the manufacturer of the lamps can predict a certain life expectancy within extremely narrow limits . . . yet sell all that to you or me at “Home Despot” (yeh, I know how to spell “depot”) for maybe four bucks . . . and make a good profit. What Disney cannot control, nor predict, is Southern California Edison keeping the voltage at precisely 120 vac over extended time, so to pay a union employee to get a ladder, go in there a couple hours after the evening fireworks display, and change a few “tubes”, costs far more than simply sending in a crew on a regular schedule . . . and change out all of the tubes in the “Small World” pavilion, and get it over with in one swell foop!

Take the medical world . . . in olden times, the RN would carefully sterilize a “Luer Lock” 2ml glass syringe, and related 25Gage needle, to prepare for the patient to receive a “shot”. Have you ever played with a glass syringe? . . . absolutely clean and dry . . . hold your finger over the end, and spin the plunger . . . the tolerances are so close, that the “piston” (plunger) seems to spin forever on that “air bearing” of which you speak.

There’s a lot of money wrapped up in the cost of that glass syringe . . . and it’s serial numbered, to keep the plunger and barrel together . . . they are not interchangeable.

Or you can purchase a box of “Becton-Dickinson” sterile and single use syringes . . . and another box of 100 25G1 needles, ready to go, for about the cost of a single glass syringe. Either one will get the job done . . . but you can figure out for yourself the actual cost difference to the hospital. (Cost to the patient, after the government “red tape”, . . . an excellent term in today’s political climate, not withstanding.)

Back to airplanes and things that go zoom: The “Eclipse” purchased engines from P&W without focusing on actual usage . . . that is, the engines “might” need to be in heavy use (not referring to MTOW) over many years, somewhere down in Florida . . . or they might take a Dentist and the love of his life down to Mexico, in good weather, now and then. So Eclipse attempted to hit all targets with a single shot . . . and failed. No fault of the engine, but a failure to bring reality to the table.

In the end, a precision engine “could” have done well for the dentist . . . and, frankly, done well for the mass transportation of ants down in Florida. But the focus was fixed on the expensive trail, without consideration of the actuality of the situation.

Someone will get the big picture, and go on to great things . . . maybe someone even now reading these comments. You and I simply happen to be the “catalyst” to bring these things together.

That’s a great word, “catalyst” . . . bringing two things together . . . bonding, as it were, without the “catalyst” actually part of the final product. Again, back when we made honeycomb fiberglass panels, 12 x 81 feet in size, and 3 ½ inches thick, we used vast amounts of polyester resin, and catalyst (MEKP . . . methyl ethyl ketone peroxide) . . . and another little known ingredient called “Cobalt Naphenate”, the "accelerator" . . . “that’s the one” that really got things moving. Precision was extremely important . . . just the right amount, and no more!

One night, someone forgot to wash out the “accelerator” line with acetone, in the core making machine, and about 2AM in Albuquerque down along Edith Blvd. things really got moving . . . but that story will have to wait.

It’s always dangerous to “do new things” that don’t conform to common knowledge . . . but the “disposable engine” is precisely right on target.

gadfly

gadfly said...

Soon . . . all too soon, the Eclipse will live up to its name, and disappear from view. Debate it all you wish . . . it’s a dead horse. What was that horse that could fly? . . . Maybe if it were named “Pegasus”, we wouldn’t be having this discussion.

Out of the ash heap . . . maybe something else might “fly”. The next generation of “VLJ” (or “first” generation, if you wish), won’t be an “electric” version, as our friend expressed from across the pond. But it will be extremely close to all that has come before . . . “composite” (“plastic” is not a good word here . . . meaning “pliable” . . . needing something to stabilize it to a given shape, and resist change). Or, it could be the proven material of the past century, a form of aluminum . . . hey, it “works”!

Why not electric? . . . All the “electrons” that do the work, and the massive (by comparison) circuits and infrastructure will be present at take-off and landing . . . the aircraft will of necessity carry “all” from start to finish. The “fuel” is another thing . . . but technology is not quite ready for that step . . . just yet. It may get there . . . ‘just not now. Place “electric” on hold . . . but keep it in mind!

Other fuels are politically “incorrect”. . . and I’m not about to take on the stupid arguments of the masses, and the media . . . global warming! . . . Yes, it’s all going to burn at the right time. But in the mean time, let’s stay focused.

Oil is still king in aviation . . . and the disposable engine concept is “old hat” in most other economies . . . take your pick. When’s the last time you had a lawnmower engine re-built? You buy a “Kubota”, run it for ten years, throw it away (or sell it at a garage sale) and get another one. Strangely, aviation, that appears to be on the cutting edge, remains near the back of the train . . . somehow fixated on technology that caught our imagination way back in the 1940's . . . the Me262, the “Comet”, the P80 “Shooting Star”, etc., and so forth . . . and can’t seem to get their rear end in gear.

Some of you, who read this blog, have the where-with-all to do something constructive . . . so do it! There’s a market out there, waiting for you. Keep it honest, and communicate openly . . . we’re downright tired of scam artists and flakes. There’s a need for safe inexpensive aircraft . . . and it’s well within present technology. As my old boss, Adriano Ducati (yeh, “that” Ducati) used to say, “Make it quick and dirty . . . but precise!” Or in other words, Keep it simple . . . and, by all means, do it right the first time!

gadfly

WhyTech said...

Building on Gad's discussion of disposable technology, look at what has happend in computers in just 40 years. When I was beginning my career as a young computer engineer in the mid 60's, a serious computer filled a good sized room, didnt do a whole lot, and there werent many of them. Today, there are hundreds of millions of computers in the hand of ordinary people, which are many times more powerful, and which we throw away about every 6-12 months. This doesnt prove that the same thing will happen with acft engines, but it does illustrate how an unexpected technological innovation (semiconductors) changes the rules of the game. Just because we cant see it now doesnt mean it cant/wont happen. The linear thinkers were working on smaller, lower power consumption vacuum tubes (turbines) when the transistor came out of left field.

gadfly said...

WhyTech

Look for the possibility of something in the way of high strength, high temp, fine particle ceramics . . . out of left field. If it were me, I'd be talking with someone like Coors at their ceramics division. And even in Albuquerque at the "Bell Group", some rather fancy ultrasonic machining of ceramics, etc., has been developed over the last thirty years. Sure, it seems "far out", but prepare to be surprised in the next few years. Precision high performance, low cost engines may be much closer than you think. Ceramics have already been used in jet engines, and in engine blocks. And even today, we've hinted at "air bearings" . . . something I was able to explore, briefly, about forty years ago . . . but didn't have the means to pursue.

Sometimes it takes this sort of discussion to "tweak" someone's brain, to further explore what seems at first to be "far out".

gadfly

Beedriver said...

ceramics are an interesting technology. Ceramic bearings are already standard in many applications and ceramic turbochargers are standard in many applications. the key will be when key gas turbine components can be molded instead of machined. if the compressor and turbine section can be molded instead of machined the costs will come down dramatically. the other key is to be able to run the combustion temperatures higher. the efficiency of a gas turbine is directly related to the peak combustion temperature. most of the efficiency gains in gas turbines are due to the ability of the turbine to run hotter or being actively cooled by having actual cooling holes in the turbine blades. Something about this high temperature requirement being a law of thermodynamics.

airtaximan said...

my question would be... how do you make something disposable, and failsafe for a long enough life to make it man-rated?

The technology discussions are interesting, but I bet, if you added up all the material cost in an engine, it would not be more than 25% of the cost.

OK, ceramics are interesting, air bearings, other innovations...

I just cannot imagine why after all the labor, machining time, etc... and the added issue of building in LOWER life and having engines "throw away" and replaced...

Well, the MRO of an engine adds a ton of cost - yes. In fact so much so, that often, OEMs GIVE engines away at or below cost, just to have the revenue stream from the MRO. Take MRO away, and you have higher intial cost, not lower.

I think we are FAR away from a throw away engine. When it comes, it will be due to innovations we have not imagined yet, IMO.

Well, perhaps GAD has imagined!

airtaximan said...

Last comment,

The EA50 was too limited in real world utility to justify a large (enough) market to bring cost down, really.

If you want a lower cost jet and engine, any time soon, you should build a very highly demanded jet airplane... one with so much utility that it "eclipses" many current models and drives huge demand.

Drive scale, and you'll see based on volume, the cost will come down.

I am not sure subtiered suppliers will EVER AGAIN believe the higher rate economics argument... VErn nailed that coffin shut for a long time... but LOW rate manufacturing is a big issue for cost in this industry.

perhaps developing a cnfig and perf spec wish list will get us to see what the plane can look like... including price... just a thought - flightcenter would say we'll be pretty much spot on - "designed by a crowd" so to speak.

gadfly said...

Yes, Beedriver, keep thinking of most features in a ceramic engine being molded, including the active cooling passages, etc., etc. Your brain is pointed in the right direction. Such precision in monolithic parts is almost there, now.

gadfly

WhyTech said...

"I just cannot imagine why after all the labor, machining time, etc... and the added issue of building in LOWER life and having engines "throw away" and replaced..."

The fact that you cannot imagine it is prt of the point. In such a dispoable engine, there would not be "all the labor, machining time, etc." If you could imagine it, it would likely have already been done.
You will likely dismiss this as irrelevant, but look what happened with the transtion from vacuum tubes to semiconductors. Today, a CPU chip with 10 million or more gate equivalents costs on the order of $100 to manufacture. It is not repairable, but it almost never fails, and when it does, you plug in a new one and throw the old one away. If one could even build such a configuration with tubes at any cost, MTBF would be measured in seconds at best.

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airtaximan said...

"...it is prt of the point. In such a dispoable engine, there would not be "all the labor, machining time, etc."

OK, I'll bite... what part of the disposable missile engines are not disposable?

I simply do not understand the idea that we do not recognize what already exists in this industry, and mismatch the future by avoiding the present or past. Sorry, I do not know of a better way to say this.

Dismissing the idea that disposable and less expensive somehow results in less durable or less safe, is covering one's eyes.

All I am saying is, there will need to be a massive technological shift for the low cost disposable safe man rated engine to come to fruition - today disposable and lower cost means less safe.

IF technology leaps beyone the man hours of machining... if technology enables this, that's one thing. All I am saying is with what I see and know, there is no path, beyond high rate to reach low cost - and EAC missed the equation by one major factor. Their plane was not useful enough to result in higher rate and lower cost.

Once someone comes up with a config... I think even with todays technology and no disposable engine, rate will lead to lower cost, and the disposable engine will be obsolete - it will be harder and more costly with no basic advantages, and higher safety risk.

I love disposable razors.. the handle costs $10 and the disposable parts costs $100 per year. An elecrtic razor costs $100 for 10 years...

Orville said...

Another VLJ enters the ring.

And take note of this - another "technology guy":

Michael LemaireAn experienced CEO with a highly successful track record of founding and managing companies in a variety of technical arenas.

From AVweb:With many established aircraft manufacturers putting new projects on hold, fresh start-ups working to introduce new designs are scarce. But Stratos Aircraft, of Bend, Ore., is moving ahead with plans for a new all-composite certified very light jet, and recently unveiled a mockup of the fuselage design. The mockup will debut at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh later this summer. "There's no four-seat aircraft with this kind of performance," Stratos CEO Michael Lemaire told the Bend Bulletin recently. The single-engine jet will fly over 1,500 nm at more than 400 knots, at altitudes up to FL410, according to the company's Web site, and will sell for about $2 million.

The company now is trying to raise $12 million to build two prototypes, and then find another $100 million to get the airplane certified and start production, according to the Bulletin. Fully refundable deposits of $50,000 are now being accepted. In recent years, start-up companies that have tried to bring new aircraft to market have found it tough going -- Eclipse Aviation and Adam Aircraft being just two of the more prominent examples. But Lemaire, who has founded and managed other companies in the computer industry, said composite VLJs are the biggest step forward in general aviation since the Learjet. "If you are interested in aviation, this will be a part of history," he told the Bulletin.

taildragger said...

I've been lurkering here for quite a while it seems and had to jump in with a story from Avweb today. Perhaps Vern is not gone, merely changed his name see http://www.avweb.com/avwebflash/news/StratosMovesForwardWithVLJPlans_200451-1.html Hopefully that will work. If not just go to Avweb.com and find the Stratos story. Also, there is another FPJ (I love that description) for sale, this time for a mere 1.6M!

Keep the blog going. Aviation Consumer back in the good old days used to be the "truth in aviation" since they took no advertising. I can't say they are still up there, but this blog certainly brings out the truth! Nice work to everyone including Ken!

gadfly said...

Tool bit inserts of silicon carbide and ceramics are readily available at retail prices at less than $20 each. They are manufactured at tolerances of less than 0.0001 inches, and consistently “cut metals” up in red temperatures. Think in terms of molded/cast turbine blades, using the same technology, far exceeding the precision of today’s turbine blade requirements.

Think also of re-enforced ceramics, using sapphire or silicon nitride “whisker fibers”, ‘just now in its infancy . . . but as with many “babies”, consumer demand greatly accelerates technology, and rapidly brings down costs.

But along with these possibilities, the conventional structure of a jet engine no-longer holds. To attempt to apply these new technologies to present design is as practical as applying “point-contact” semi-conductors (diodes and transistors, NPN and PNP) to microchip mapping and manufacturing.

To quote a famous investigator of new technology: “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas anymore.”

gadfly

gadfly said...

The old Swede was heard to say, “Too soon old, too late smart!” That’s me (although it’s my wife that is the pure Swede . . . I’m an English/Scottish mix).

It also occurred to me, that maybe (and I choke on the admission) that the French might have something, when they say, “It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you pronounce it properly!” Well, I’ll not follow that to its logical conclusion, but applying all that to the prospect of a “disposable” engine, we need to call it a “re-cycle-able” engine, or something else (I’m for “something else”).

The days when you could have your car compressed into a “coffee table” didn’t go far, especially, if you lived in a second floor flat in Chicago. But a jet engine that could be “melted down”, and supply enough ceramics for complete 96 piece tea service, for the poor in Outer Mongolia . . . well, now we’re cooking . . . at least it sounds good. Or maybe, if we really wanted to get support, selling re-cycled ceramic paraphernalia to the “farmers” of northern California . . . now we’re talkin’ “big money”.

Bottom line here: The general aviation community needs some serious “PR”, that distances itself from a “compressed Eclipse coffee table”, and old-fashioned jet engines, based on 1950's technology (when I was running around Southern California in my ‘41 Chevy) . . . and make the most of some fantastic advances in refractory materials, and manufacturing techniques, that we were only dreaming of, back then. It is not often that technology and dreams come together in such a marvelous way. But where are those, who like Kelly Johnson, and the others . . . did the impossible, against all odds, and with not one tenth what is available to the world today?!

gadfly

(Note: I’m not trying to build a fire under some of you . . . I’m attempting to do far more than that. I’ve heard all the reasons against moving into the new territories . . . after while, it all disappears into the back-ground hash. But once in a while, someone gets the picture, and gets off their rear end . . . and uses their brain as God meant it to be used. In my life-time, I’ve known a few . . . but not many!)

gadfly said...

You're there . . . I know you're there . . . I can hear you breathing.

Put some effort in that muscle between your ears and exercise those little grey cells. It's actually fun. You'd be amazed at what happens, at the least expected moments.

When I come back, I expect to hear all kinds of reaction . . . some good, some bad . . . 'really doesn't matter. At least there's some brain activity, and that's a good sign. And keep breathing deeply (gotta produce all that CO2, to give some folks fodder for their complaints . . . "carbon emissions", that is).

gadfly

(The "wife" suggests a fine gourmet dinner at McDonald's, on the way home . . . my taste buds are already urging me to close this comment . . . who am I to argue with great ideas?!)

gadfly said...

'Last comments for today:

Anyone can tear down good ideas (with little if any intelligence), but it takes effort, and a certain amount of optimism, etc., to contribute toward the overall success of any enterprise . . . such as general aviation. Maybe some cannot contribute to the technical aspects, but they can still be supportive, and work to find ways to support the "geaks", or intellectuals, and those that make things happen.

What was the comment about three types of people? . . . those that are part of the answer, some are the problem . . . and the rest haven't a clue . . . something along those lines.

Good night!

gadfly

(Chili cheeseburger, fries, vanilla shake, coffee . . . got it!)

baron95 said...

Hey Julius,

Something we can agree on - finally.

Yes, if/when, battery power density reaches the point where electrical power is suitable for manned flight, there will be a quantum leap in cost/performance/safety.

The only reason I didn't mention it is because I think it will be a long time, if ever that battery efficiency will intercept conventional powerplants in aviation.

baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
my question would be... how do you make something disposable, and failsafe for a long enough life to make it man-rated?
--------------------------------

Controlled and predictable failure mode. Just like the Phenom uselage is designed for 35,000hrs/cycles, because that is the design point and jet engines are designed for predictive performance degradation prior to failure.

A properly designed and instrumented airframe part (e.g. engines, landing gear, etc) should have measurement mechanisms for vibration, wear, temperature for a given fuel/air setting, etc, and reliabibly predict when maintenance and/or replacement is needed.

I don't need to check the air on my tires nor do I need to guess/inspect if my brakes are good. I have tire presure monitors and brake wear monitors that will watch it and let me know when variations from norm and or remaining useful live reaches 10% (on the brakes) so I can replace them. Similarly, the engine measures actual oil condition and will tell me to change my oil in as few as 1,000 miles (if on the track) or as many as 13,000 miles.

The issue in GA is that there is a lot of variability in use patterns (e.g. planes that may fly twice in a year vs planes that fly every day), installation/maintenance techniques, etc, that it will be very hard to achieve consistent engine performance.

Another example of what works for the airlines not working for GA.

Deep Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deep Blue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Deep Blue said...

(OK, third try; tired tonight)


A quick comment on this "disposable" issue.

I'm not sure disposability is the real issue, or all the related technical and man-hour/precision work economics that are being struggled with here.

Certain parts of the automotive and even computer hardware industry may be instructive:

It isn't about cheap or disposable; it's about maintenance-free.

Certain autos don't wear out or become disposable per se; they just don't break (perhaps Honda is an example); indeed, the engines can fairly reliably with little other than "line maintenance" (oil change, e.g.) go to 200,000 miles. Computers? the best really don't ever break; they merely become obsolete, but could chug on indefinately.

I've long argued with the aviation "industry" that maintenance/after-market add no value (except of course to the providers); maintenance is non-value added.

The ideal maintenance regime is none.

Can this be done under current technology?

Yes.

The economics?

The OEMs don't want to discuss it.

The aerospace industry is driven by things breaking; wearing out; failing (relatively); and of course by non-condition parts replacement and service.

Take out "maintenance" and the aerospace industry falls apart.

It's like dentistry economics: drill and fill.

Shane Price said...

Deep Blue,

I think you've hit the nail on the head there. Aviation is not the only industry predicated on high intensity maintenance, which of course provides a service revenue stream.

That's probably one of the reasons Ryanair were able to pay $25 million dollars for
'nominally' $37 million dollar 737-800's. Have you noticed how each airliner deal struck talks about the 'list price' without ever getting specific?

The industry I operate in is very similar. We talk about 'click' charges rather than the boring details of how much it costs to service, support and 'feed' our machines. In the days before highly automated printing equipment, most professional printers had local expertise to fix 90% of what went wrong. Now, the 24/7 help desk (located half a world away) uses remote diagnostics to identify which part is broken and the supply chain delivers it within 'x' number of hours.

And this in the printing industry, where there's still a strong 'craft tradition'.

So yes, I think you're right. Too many 'disposable' parts in aviation and the whole stack of cards would fall apart.

Shane

airsafetyman said...

Well, a GE CFM-56 engine went about 15,000 hours on wing before its first removal. They did not trash the engine they overhauled it, reinstalled on another airplane, where it logged an ADDITIONAL 19,655 additional hours before its second on-wing removal. On condition maintenance means closely monitoring the performance of a component and changing it out before the performance degrades or before wear will make overhaul prohibitively expensive. You never operate the component until it exhibits excessive wear and fails. In the example of Eclipse, its the airframe that is the disposable item at a certain calendar/hour/cycle limit not the engines. The engines can go indefinitely under the existing maintenance program. Imagine running an Eclipse into a shop, removing the engines, discarding the AIRFRAME, and installing the same engines on a low-time airframe.

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

"It isn't about cheap or disposable; it's about maintenance-free."

Well ... sort of. The notion of "disposable" incorporates both cheap to acquire and maintenence free. If it breaks, its so inexpensive that its not worth it to fix it. Maintenence free by itself will tolerate considerably higher initial cost to avoid the ongoing maintenence costs. If/when it can be done, "disposable" is what GA needs to drive a larger market.

There is no need for a light GA engine that will go 10K-20K hours without major maintenence - will never see this in the life of an airframe. A CFM-56 costs what - $10mm? I think that many GA owners will be willing to trade off operating cost for lower initial cost - mainly fuel efficiency, but possibly also maintenence. For an acft operated 100-200 hours per year or less, this might be a reasonable tradeoff (within certain limits).

Orville said...

taildragger,

You and I (and our posts re: Stratos) are apparently invisible. :)

Silly me - I thought it was pretty significant news.

airtaximan said...

back to eclipse...

is smaller and lighter cheaper?

for many reasons, its tougher to make a robust and/or inexpensive littler engine... may be easier to make a more cost effective (total lifecycle cost) larger engine...

cooling is easier... parts can be more robust, tolerances potentially (at least relatively) lower in larger engines.. etc...

tiny blades/vanes, etc... are tougher to make last longer...

just a thought... becasue I really think this issue is the heart of the misguided plan at EAC.

A larger plane with higher utility would have been lower cost, really... IMO, becasue it would have been easier to manufacture, and appeal to a larger market - IMO.

I think they gained nothing and lost a lot by building such a small plane. It was a basic design flaw.

gadfly said...

Orville and Taildragger

Your posts aren't invisible, but the Stratos is . . . until one actually flies. In the mean time, we watch another aircraft that is fast becoming invisible, as in total "eclipse".

Dave said...

Roel on the upcoming Eclipse auction

Beedriver said...

As for VLJ projects out there there is one that is moving forward to actually flying a prototype and is being built by a few smart guys on a proven airframe originally designed to be a jet. Their only goal is to fly the conforming prototype this summer. After it flys, they will see if they can get the resources to take it to the next level.

It is Aerostar. see www.aerostaraircraft.com they originally tried to go out and get money but the low cost hype from Eclipse killed it.

this is an article about the original design. http://www.aerostaraircraft.com/Twin&Turbine.html this prototype will be powered by two P&W 615s so it should be somewhat of a hot rod.

they have redesigned to to a different concept that requires less modification of the stock airframe and are taking the very low key approach of flying it first, see how well it actually performs, and then go out and get support.

What a radical approach, only talk about it when you can prove you have something.

gadfly said...

Beedriver

". . . only talk about it when you can prove you have something." I like that!

Sort of like a couple guys named Wilbur and Orville.

gadfly

(And they only spent their own money, and risked their own necks.)

Shadow said...

Orville, the Stratos VLJ was announced in May last year: May 2008 Press Release. That's why everyone is yawning when you mention it.

Beedriver, as for the Aerostar FJ-100, I'll believe it when I see a flying prototype. They've been working on this project for more than 10 years, with nothing to show so far (AIN story from 2002). Sad to say, but Eclipse got way more done in 10 years than Aerostar ever has.

Dave Ivedorne said...

as for the Aerostar FJ-100, I'll believe it when I see a flying prototype. They've been working on this project for more than 10 years, with nothing to show so far.



Good. Cheap. Soon. ( Pick two. If you get greedy and insist on all three, you'll get only one - if that much. Just ask an Eclipse 60-percenter. )

Here at the Depot, our Chalupa Burger costs $1.69, and we'll have it ready for you in 22 seconds. I won't hold my breath waiting for you to believe that it's actually any good. Aerostar obviously chose the "not in 22 seconds" option here.

"Pick two" is so immutable that it should be considered a law of physics.

Pay at the second window,
DI

Orville said...

Re: Stratos

I just put it out there because:

a) AVweb found it newsworthy
b) Another successful "tech guy" thinks he can make it work in aviation
c) Another "pay me now and I'll show you the goods later" plan
d) Great claims on range, speed, altitude, cost
e) Basically - too good to be true

So - seemed like a good lesson in "history repeats itself".

Now, back to your regularly scheduled progam.

Cheers!

Shadow said...

"AVweb found it newsworthy."

But only after the Bend Bulletin wrote a story about Stratos 11 days before AvWeb did. Further, AvWeb parroted the Bend Bulletin story, so if you want to quote the source then link to the original story, not the one that heavily borrowed from the original. Would you rather buy real crab meat or imitation crab meat?

I'll reserve judgment on Stratos's chance of making it. But for Aerostar, I think Dave I. needs to add "snowcone's chance in hell" to the list. Would you like cherry flavoring on your snowcone while it's still in solid form?

Dave Ivedorne said...

Basically - too good to be true.

The "too good" part is the proposition that for $12 million, two prototypes can be produced.

For a nominally $2 million aircraft ( that would more realistically be priced a bit higher ), it's frankly inconceivable. It requires that an investor believe that all "sunk costs" have already been incurred. All I see at this point is a fuselage barrel and a "plan". Quite a bit more sinking would accompany any movement toward S/N 001.

We've seen that even after $2 billion++ spent and 260 prototypes built, it's not inevitable that a finished product is ever produced.

DI

Dave Ivedorne said...

Would you rather buy real crab meat or imitation crab meat?

For a buck-sixty-nine, you'll take whatever kind of "meat" we put in there!

"snowcone's chance in hell".

We're basically in agreement. It's just obvious to me that Aerostar hasn't made getting it done quickly a priority. That gives them a certain amount of opportunity to do it well on the relative cheap. It has no bearing on whether or not it could succeed in the marketplace ( and I tend to think not ).

Hmmmm. "Snowcone Soup"? I think I've got a new menu idea...

DI

gadfly said...

Since the conversation has been diverted to the Stratos, let’s consider some things.

Think “engine” buried inside the fuselage (with 3x thrust) and “composite” and “heat” and “delamination”, and maybe the future of the Stratos is not all that rosy.

As pretty as it is, me thinks it may be filled with “gotcha’s”.

gadfly

compleat_outsider said...

For an example of a new company that is proceeding at a very slow pace, try Seawind. Their design is interesting, if very strange, and they even make a point of explaining why they are not like Eclipse in their latest newsletter Of coures, they had many aircraft flying even before the company was founded.

Deep Blue said...

ATM said:

"this issue is the heart of the misguided plan at EAC. A larger plane with higher utility would have been lower cost, really because it would have been easier to manufacture, and appeal to a larger market."

Yes.

Which begs the question: "for whom was (is) the VLJ?

The whole "miniaturization" concept borrowed from IT is sexy but misguided in may ways for GA.

The regional jet is closer to the ideal air taxi platform; but Embraer, Fairchild, Canadair, never really delivered on the promise either.

At the GA/owner bizav level, I think you're also right. I never understood why EAC was focused on such a small craft. Mustang seems to be a smarter response; Phenom also. EAC was obviously focused on cost. The E400 even more so.

If Vern were left to his devices, I suspect the E300 wold have been a "body-bubble" with a beanie rotor on top! (God love him).

stan said...

From the BK court (doc. 670):

"The Trustee does not believe that a sale of the Eclipse Assets will necessarily close and be consummated on or before June30, 2009, and believes that an additional budget will be necessary for a time period commencing July 1, 2009."

In a footnote:

"The Trustee contemplates employing FAA counsel to assist in the closing of a sale of the Eclipse Assets. Such FAA counsel will likely incur fees and expenses both during the budget period, and also on and after July 1, 2009."

If I understand the numbers correctly, there still remains over $4m in the BK kitty and the burn rate is about $1.5m/month.

To be continued.

fred said...

Monsieur Stan :

you are right !

as long as they will be a $ to be squeezed out of this nightmare , the saga will keep going on ...!

i just wonder why so many (?) out of those 260 haven't come to their right mind to figure it out ...

Hang on , grab some pop-corn ... the show is not over yet ... ! ;-)

airsafetyman said...

"The Trustee contemplates employing FAA counsel to assist in the closing of a sale of the Eclipse Assets. Such FAA counsel will likely incur fees and expenses both during the budget period, and also on and after July 1, 2009."

Isn't it a little late in the game to discover you need a FAA lawyer, and would that not be a conflict of interest anyway? Perhaps a Trustee should have been appointed who knew what he was doing, but why start now; the entire program has been a farce from day one.

fred said...

Asm :

Perhaps a Trustee should have been appointed who knew what he was doing ...


are you insane or what ?

we are talking about EAC ...

so if they would know anything else than grabbing the cash , the thing wouldn't have been such a farce , to start with ...! ;-)

michal said...

I don't share the sentiment that somehow E500 was too small to succeed. I don't think it is true for either the market appeal of the aircraft or the technical challenges. If Cessna wanted to build a 6000 lbs. Mustang rather than the 8500 lbs. one they most likely would have succeeded albeit with even smaller interior, fewer seats, etc. At some point of the scale miniaturization might have introduced additional technological obstacles but I don't think E500 was even close to this point. If Eclipse did not try to invent too many things, employ too much unproven technology they could have succeeded. The "miniature" P&Ws mounted to this aircraft are fine, in fact they seem to be the most robust part of this whole design. And generally the final price of the aircraft tend to be proportional to its weight - the formula works well at least within some brackets.

julius said...

michal,

I don't share the sentiment that somehow E500 was too small to succeed.obviously, too much money was burnt before the first fpj was produced!

The concept of the E500 might fit for Mike, Ken, or the wedge, but not for airtaxi operators or people of the size of RiP. One has to squeeze the luggage behind the last seats. There is no space for a privy...
Is there enough cockpit space for a Garmin 1000 without electronic circuit breakers? (I think,up to now Garmin doesn't offer something like that.)

The nice sales data of the fpj simply do not reflect the fact that all fpjs were sold with loss of approx. $M1 per a/c and didn't comply with the promised configuration!

I think the failure of the Ch 11 363 sales showd that there wasn't any estimation in the E500 concept!

Julius

airtaximan said...

"I never understood why EAC was focused on such a small craft."

VErn has often made this fundmental business error... he tried to leverage technology instead of meeting a market demand.

The Williams demo engine called the FJX-2 (for NASA) was in his eye... he saw the V-jet (even smaller than the ea50... and he was in LUST.

He was married with no kids, and I think the plane was just fine for him... he even once said he designed/built it for himself...

Enough said.. there are only so many Ken's... the market that requires scale, IMO would probably be for a larger airplane - and the larger plane could be built for less money. Especially less than what the ea50's really cost, all things considered.

How many GrobSPNs could you sell for $2.5M?

michal said...

"Enough said.. there are only so many Ken's..."

In fact there are thousands Kens or folks like Mr.McKendrick (sorry if misspelled) who has 3 daughters - this airplane fits their bill. I could agree this was poor Part 135 airplane but other than that I see nothing wrong with its size and I sat inside one.

fred said...

michal :

the Fpj wasn't too small to succeed !

it has just being poorly addressed in term of market-target ...

IF Vern instead of being full of BS and Ego in trying to actually make the market , would have been humble enough to simply meet the needs of the said market :

the story would have been totally different !

not one FPJ too big for daddy flying mom and too small for flying paying customers ...

kinda "trying to please everyone is the best way of pleasing no one "
but either a bigger one with 2 or more seats for paying customers ...

and / or a smaller one with only 4 seats for personal use ...

the problem : Vern needed the cash of daddy when he was in need to make daddy dream about the "wonder" possibilities in Air-Taxi

while his good old buddy in DayJet couldn't or didn't want to put the cash to have something developed for his REAL needs (air-taxi)


this is where (IMO) the whole plot got corrupted : trying to meet contradicting interests when needing both parties agreement at the same time !

so it turned into a scam and lack of humility pushed Vern to burn hips of money before running out !

airtaximan said...

michal:
there are not enough thousands of Ken's...this is the point.

When they found this out, they promoted the plane as a transport work-horse which was complete BS...

Anyhow, my point has been, that this plane (size) is fine for some folks... but in order to deliver on the low cost proposition, it needed to be great for a lot of folks... thousands and thousands...

It would have made more sense to build a larger plane, with greater payload and range and "forward price it" such that anyone considering:
Mustang
Phenom
CJ1,2,3
HB400
Premier
Lear45
Kingair
TBM
Mirage/Meridian.....
and/or pre-owned versions of even some larger planes

could consider this plane...

The $1M price was BS... the $1.5 million sales price resulted in losing $1M or so per plane...

Maybe the right plane is larger and costs $2.5M -$3M?

Jet trips are basically 1.5hrs and more than 400 miles in duration... or you drive or use a prop... or you are deciding to use your plane because you have it, or you just like arriving in a jet...

Utility will drive the demand, price will drive a larger than expected demand, and may drive the price lower.

Smaller will appeal only to a small segment - think "prowler" - car nut short run expensive production...

Anyhow... its all but over, except for the theorizing!!

baron95 said...

Before there were jets, there were prop planes ranging from single seat, 50 HP, to 100 seats pressurized airliners with 4 engines with thousands of horsepower.

The aviation market is a continuum from single seat $100K to 500 seat $250M.

Successful designs have and can be created to explore any size/capability.

Tho ONLY thing that has changed is that the fan-jet quantum leap in capability has not YET been successful in the Personal/GA level.

It will take several more tries and further maturation of the technology, certification, training, financing, insurance, navigation for it to arrive.

So there is nothing "wrong" with the EA500's size or the DJet size or the TBM size or the SR22 size.

The only mainstream pressurized, currently in production personal/GA planes that are even remotely affordable to individuals are the piston Mirage and the TP Meridian at $1M +/- and $2M +/- respectively.

A fan jet of the same size (roughly EA500/D-Jet cabin size)needs to be competitive in speed, range, payload, cost, ease of pilot certification/insurance, reliability, etc with those planes using the alternative technology (fanjets).

Until such time as that is achieved, the small fan-jet designs will suffer.

Now, small fanjet technology has been and likely will continue to advance at a faster pace than AV piston technology. So at some point they will intercept.

Of course, someone may also come in and create a discontinuity in the aviation piston engine with a modern technology diesel/jet-a or even hybrid assisted (for take off, climb) auto-derived powerplant.

The main barrier is, lack of investment $$$. And that was the barrier that Vern/Eclipse solved/crossed, and that is why it is so painful they mismanaged it.

baron95 said...

Stratos?!?!!

This is so funny. I can design, this afternoon, a paper plane on CAD, build a small scale model next week, fly it for 1/2 hour on a local tech wind tunnel, create a mockup next month, create some glossy web pages and claim xxx speed, yyy range, and $xx needed for certification.

These guys should be laughed at *HARD*.

I'm not one to discourage entrepreneurship, but these guys have a serious deficiency in their homework - their claims look ridiculous.

Deep Blue said...

Fred said:

"while his good old buddy in DayJet couldn't or didn't want to put the cash to have something developed for his REAL needs (air-taxi)
this is where (IMO) the whole plot got corrupted : trying to meet contradicting interests when needing both parties agreement at the same time!"

Very good and important point. With all the investment in scheduling software, there seemed precious little thought around designing in a built-to-purpose aircraft. Why?

If you read DayJet's literature during their development stage and look at their business case, it consisted of enormous amounts of ink devoted to justifying or rationalizing the E500, rather than revealing a new market insight concerning a designed air taxi craft.

B95: nice write up on history of aircraft categories. I think one central element left out of these discussions however, concerning the growth of GA and an interception of a GA aircraft and turbine power, is the development of smart ATC.

By smart I mean something as nearly automated and easy as driving a car.

The DayJet gang always talked about their "Nexgen" routing and fulfillment system. I always asked them about the more important component: the NexGen customer (changing travel habits).

In the case of GA and owner/operators, they have yet to go "NexGen" as pilots. Piloting has really not developed much over the decades (some argue it has deteriorated). Yes, the cockpits are more digital and weather information is better displayed, but this isn't terribly correlated to improved piloting skill nor reductions in workload and increases in safety margin.

Nonetheless, flying is going to have to get radically easier, including an "Intelligent ATC" infrastructure to handle thousands of "Dumb" personal jets. This is what will grow the GA market: car-like dispatch and trip execution ease. After that, piston, TP or turbine is the easy part.

Vern wanted to build the "Model T" but the roads haven't even been paved yet, let alone signals put at the intersections.

WhyTech said...

"By smart I mean something as nearly automated and easy as driving a car."

Right on! Most of those who can afford a turbine acft for personal use will not /cannot achieve and maintain the (ATP) piloting skills to use these acft safely day in and day out for real transportation. Until the piloting/ADM process is dumbed down considerably via technology on the ground and in the air, there will not be enough utility in acft ownership for any but the seriously committed to spend the dollars.

michal said...

"So there is nothing "wrong" with the EA500's size or the DJet size or the TBM size or the SR22 size."

And I fully agree with that. You get buyers for all these categories. You are not going to tell someone who is getting E500 for $1.7 mln. that in fact what he needs is the Mustang or the TBM at $2.7 mln. Many folks happen to be price sensitive. And by the way, I am not getting into argument if E500 at $1.7 mln is "feasible" - this is a separate topic which has effectively been beaten to death here.

airtaximan said...

"You are not going to tell someone who is getting E500 for $1.7 mln."

-this person does not exist, sorry.

you guys make me laugh so hard sometime...

Eclipse proved one single fact - you cannot build and deliver a $1.X M twin jet... that is all they proved.

No one is telling anyone what they need, either - just that lower cost requires hig(er) rate production, AND this is probably more realistically achieved with a more capable jet.

Sorry, making it smaller and lighter did not work... did not solve the problem.... made a mess.

Next time, I hope somone is smart enough to avoid this mistake again... sounds like some here want to continue to believe... this is the problem, history repeating sotaspeak.

Beedriver said...

The technology already exists for a fully computer controlled airplane where the pilot only tells the aircraft where to go and it takes the best path there. when the next generation of ADS-B transponder is fully implemented than an aircraft can see and avoid other aircraft and the pilot basically becomes a passenger. Todays UAVs are already so well controlled that the need for a pilot is eliminated. they have auto land and automated navigation etc. the big unsolved problem as of this time is to know where the other airplanes are so they can be avoided.

When this capability is available in the civil aviation world then the need for an ATP or any others difficult flying skill will be eliminated and flying an airplane will be no more difficult than driving a car.

Then the personal Jet will become a reality with 10s of thousands sold every year. as then, any one with several million can own one and use it safely anytime.

Some of these boxes are already being proposed as a backup for a single pilot who becomes incapacitated. they can take over the control of an airplane and a safety pilot located 1000s of miles away can get the airplane safely on the ground

Beedriver said...

If you want to know more about complete computer control go to APOA pilot magazine Jan 2009 Waypoints commentary.

http://www.aopa.org/members/files/pilot/2009/january/wp0901.html

I do not know if you must be a member to see the article

Excerp from the article

It’s a ways off yet, but David Vos has a vision of the future for general aviation that includes small, high-performance flight control and engine management systems that reduce costs and improve reliability and safety. Vos is the founder of Athena Controls, which was acquired by Rockwell Collins last April.

Vos’s work on solid-state gyro systems led him to the development of GuideStar, Athena’s family of fully integrated digital flight control systems. Hundreds of such systems have flown on UAVs of all types around the world, including across the Atlantic Ocean. Vos estimates that a UAV flown by an Athena system completes an autolanding every 20 to 30 minutes worldwide. Athena systems now have more than 300,000 flight hours in various UAVs and experimental manned aircraft.

“There’s no reason in 20 to 30 years that in every aircraft a pilot could decide to have the autopilot land the airplane on any particular flight,” Vos said during a recent interview. On the next flight, the pilot could choose to make the landing. While Vos believes such flights could routinely occur much sooner, he is aware that the notion of general aviation aircraft and pilots performing autoland flights to near zero-zero weather conditions is disconcerting to some. “We want people to feel comfortable with the technology,” he stressed. That comfort factor will require a change in culture that Vos believes must occur on its own and not driven by his or any other company.
Electrons at work

The GuideStar system is basically a micro inertial navigation suite that includes an integrated air data attitude/heading reference system updated by an externally linked WAAS GPS sensor. The INS uses MEM—microelectromechanical—sensors, including accelerometers, rate gyros, magnetometer, and air data pressure sensors to determine the aircraft’s position and attitude in space. Input/output connectors on the case allow that information to be ported to primary and multifunction displays to aid the pilot and to servos connected to flight controls to guide the aircraft

airtaximan said...

bdriver..

and there's no real reason the plane needs to be small to use this technology, either.

WhyTech said...

"When this capability is available in the civil aviation world then the need for an ATP or any others difficult flying skill will be eliminated and flying an airplane will be no more difficult than driving a car. "

Well, it going to take more than this I think. The getting from A to B while avoiding other acft is the easy part. The challenging part is when pilot judgment (aeronautical decision making) is critical to safe completion of the flight. Dealing with unexpected icing, a squall line, engine failure, fire, explosive decompression .... well, you get the idea. It is possible to conceive of this being handled by other than a human pilot in the acft, but not any time in this century.

Deep Blue said...

Whytech said:

"Right on! Most of those who can afford a turbine acft for personal use will not /cannot achieve and maintain the (ATP) piloting skills to use these acft safely day in and day out for real transportation. Until the piloting/ADM process is dumbed down considerably via technology on the ground and in the air, there will not be enough utility in acft ownership for any but the seriously committed to spend the dollars."

May I say in response, "Right on!"

"Dumb down" indeed, but that is in a good way. While I am a over bearing ATP, I realize GA must grow through easier flight completion.

Beedriver said:

"The technology already exists for a fully computer controlled airplane where the pilot only tells the aircraft where to go and it takes the best path there. when the next generation of ADS-B transponder is fully implemented than an aircraft can see and avoid other aircraft and the pilot basically becomes a passenger. Todays UAVs are already so well controlled that the need for a pilot is eliminated. they have auto land and automated navigation etc. the big unsolved problem as of this time is to know where the other airplanes are so they can be avoided."

Yes. Indeed. So if we can dispatch and execute a pilotless craft with such precision (although I might add that super-trained officer-level "pilots" are flying these things) then it seems a technology transfer back to civil transport is not far away.

Bottom line? GA pilots need to upgrade their skills to ATP level or hire the USAF to dispatch their flights.

airsafetyman said...

One sector of the aviation seems to be doing OK; the turboprop sector. Beech, as always, delivered more King Airs than all of their turbofans combined in the first quarter if this year. It was 29 Beech turboprops to 16 turbofans for the first quarter of 2009. Last year, before the economic collapse they sold 29 turboprops and 20 turbofans for the first quarter. The numbers for Piaggio and Pilatus have held steady with 5 and 18 for the P.180 and PC-12 in the first quarter of 2008, and 4 and 22 for the first quarter of 2009. I don't see all this facination with having a turbofan airplane; when a turboprop is much more practical for the mainstream owner pilot. As far as dumbing down pilot skills it doesn't appear "remotely" feasable to me.

michal said...

"Sorry, making it smaller and lighter did not work... did not solve the problem.... made a mess."

Sorry, we have through this hundreds of times. It is not the "smaller" that made the mess it was the Avio + plus all other 'inventions' plus poor management plus bloated promises plus unrealistic pricing along the way that made this project blow up.

fred said...

michal :


It is not the "smaller" that made the mess it was the Avio + plus all other 'inventions' ...


yes !

i do believe that IF EAC + vern would have been honest enough , they would have developed 2 set of planes ...

not that i believe in the "smaller make it cheaper" but at least the ones paying for something to be used personally wouldn't have paid for developing something not meant for them ...

trying to have a plane with so many "typical use and mission" so widely apart on the spectrum of plane's usage resulted into something that couldn't really be tuned for such use (any of them)

if you add the farce consisting into having Dayjet bluffing about the number of aft they did needed in the first year ...

then you land into this mess :
a typical user having a plane designed for his use while dev. is being paid by others having a completely different use ...

both uses being totally antagonist ...

when at the same time it had to "look like" small enough to be what it was supposed to be (cheapest jet ever made ) while being big enough for being of any use for the second ...

kinda re-inventing the wheel or the electronic butter-cutting wire ... :

purely useless , looking good on paper , but that's about all !

julius said...

michal,


sorry...EAC was TU in december 2007 (or 200x) because all of it's doings.
IMO the failures of the recovery trials were also based on the product.
If EAC would have done or not done this or that... game is over - rien ne va plus in this business roulette!!

There is always a "potential market niche" below the Mustang standard but not without Garmin 1000 standard,...

The auction will show the visions of the TC winners!

Julius

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

Genau , julius ...

i am quite sure there may be a niche ...

problem is :

you cannot address this niche with sub-any-standards thing sold as a real revolution into GA ...

i don't think "need" for garmin 1000 is a crucial factor , but at least some confidence to buy something worth the money being paid for ...

we are touching here one of the main aspect of EA500 dilemma :

too good to be true !

so the plane is what it was meant to be : a dream gone sour !

eclipse_deep_throat said...

It is Official:

GM files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy a few moments ago. While not connected to the GA biz, it is still a sad day for Manufacturing in general. Specifically the pathetic state of American Manufacturing. My biz degree in Production and Operations Management is, essentially, obsolete. All factories of the future will make 100 million widgets per year with only 10 people (and **that** is how we will get disposable planes / plane engines). The factory will be in China with all the engineers in India...

e.d.t.

airtaximan said...

michal,

the price was the only attractive thing about the plane... period. It was supposed to be enabled by:

1-smaller (and all the tech that was "required" to make it smaller and lighter
2-large production volume (and the tech that was "required" to make it faster and cheaper.

Small size drove a lot of the decisions you claim had nothing to do with the failure of the plane...

Had they made a larger, mor robust, higher utility plane, they might have been able to reach higher demand (instead of dayjet BS orders) and they would have avoided a lot of the BS technologies required to svae weight here and there and fit in a small package.

They needed high volume for the pane, and in the case of this design, there was no volume available, really... to justify the low price.. without the volume and low price, there was nothing to buy for most folks.

airsafetyman said...

"Specifically the pathetic state of American Manufacturing."

But Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Hyundai, ect, are cranking out quality cars with American workers in American plants. Maybe it is American MANAGEMENT that is at fault? Who in their right mind, for instance, would have hired Nardelli to head Chrysler after he ran Home Depot straight into the ground? How brain-dead can you be?

eclipse_deep_throat said...

ASM said:
Maybe it is American MANAGEMENT that is at fault?I agree completely. But when it comes to incompetence in Govt, George Carlin used to say, 'where are the "honest" politicians?' Even IF we could get rid of all the scum in American Biz, the same problem exists: who fills the void when this is what comes out of American Biz schools? Who decides who represents the stockholders? In other words, I think the real Wizard of Oz is the one behind the curtain picking the ones who get to be considered for the Board of Director seats "representing" the stockholders.

Note that Kent Kressa was on the EAC board ...and he's on GM's BoD. Irony, eh?

e.d.t.

http://www.gm.com/corporate/investor_information/corp_gov/board.jsp#

Dave said...

Maybe it is American MANAGEMENT that is at fault?I think it is something deeper than that. There seems to be a deeper problem with the strong emphasis on short term gains and high compensation based on those short term gains. It seems like company execs are encouraged to destroy companies in the long term in order to achieve short term results. Other countries just don't have that mindset and compensation system to the extent that we do.

Beedriver said...

Lets think about a possible root cause for American management problems.

People do what they are rewarded for. and the US rewards CEO's for short term thinking and planning. our financial system is not set up to reward long term thinkers and doers. Stockholders (that's us) only care about short term results, so what do the stockholders reward management for? this years results. In that case long term things like R&D, quality, investing in the future, developing a good workforce are not profitable in the short term.

However, closely held companies act differently, as the owner knows that he will need to have a viable company in a few years.

So how might we change things to promote longer term thinking in publicly held companies?
My suggestion is that we change the capital gains tax laws so that capital gains is taxed at full rates unless stock etc is held at least 5 year and then there is no tax. This would make stockholders ask not only, what are you doing this year, but how are you, mr CEO, going to make sure my stock is valuable in 5 years.

This would drive towards a balance of short and long term actions.

WhyTech said...

"I think the real Wizard of Oz is the one behind the curtain picking the ones who get to be considered for the Board of Director seats "representing" the stockholders."

Dead center! Most boards are full of cronies representing management. There is a tacit understanding: "You sit in my board and look out for my interests and I'll sit on your board and do the same for you" Shareholder interests are rarely front and center.

Dave said...

Dead center! Most boards are full of cronies representing management. There is a tacit understanding: "You sit in my board and look out for my interests and I'll sit on your board and do the same for you" Shareholder interests are rarely front and center.Despite not being from the US, Roel is a good example of this. Even though he was an "independent" director, he was in reality anything but. He was buddies with the CEOs of CA and L&A yet he was theoretically the "outsider" who was supposed to protect the shareholder's interests rather than management's interests.

WhyTech said...

"Note that Kent Kressa was on the EAC board ...and he's on GM's BoD. Irony, eh?"

Not only is he on the GM board, he has been appointed Chairman and given the task of recruiting a new board (except for five current directors who will remain on the board). Irony, eh?

julius said...

fred,

problem is :...oui!

I meant Garmin 1000 is standard, but AVIO NG 1.5 (with the Garmin 400W) is sub-standard!
Ken might be lucky to get AVIO NG 1.5 with the Garmin 400w (better than current nothing), but a 2008 Cessna 172s pilot will not be amused when being forced to use the fpj "avionics"!

You noticed the AF 447 flight from Rio - sad.

Julius

gadfly said...

Back to Eclipse:

Big jet . . . little jet . . . design problems . . . on and on and on. Even the fact that the thing was way over gross weight, when delivered “incomplete”, barely addresses the basic issue. The entire enterprise was riddled with deceit and outright lies. On the day that the escrow accounts were called in after a less than successful attempt to fly for a short period over Albuquerque everyone involved should have seen, clearly, the total picture.

Our governor, had he the integrity of a true leader, should have stepped up to his responsibilities and initiated a complete shutdown on the operation until things were resolved. And those who were doing business with Eclipse also had responsibility to take a stand. But most folks stood around . . . drooling, no doubt, without a clue . . . and did . . . Nothing! And then were “taken by surprise” when the house of cards collapsed.

Sometime in the future, should there even exist a “general aviation” in the US of A, do not relate the viability of a “Very Light Jet” in any configuration, with this farce that is in the process of final rigor (mortis, that is) . . . the two are not related.

All other things being equal, and fair, in a free society (which future, at the moment, has some serious doubts) . . . it is the belief of the “gadfly”, that technology is far more than prepared to provide small economical and relatively safe jet "transport" . . . but spending “other people’s money” must be limited, and complete honesty and open-ness is a “must”.

Success is not determined by throwing money, and “x” number of engineers, into one end of a big building, with the expectation of delivering successful flying machines out the other . . . ! It take genius, honesty, talent (including a vast amount of manufacturing "know-how"), dedication, understanding of human nature, and a willingness to risk a person’s own money, . . . and a great amount of humility in the process. And then, there’s a small possibility . . . "small", but worth the risk, that good things will result.

Sow to the wind . . . and reap the whirlwind. Nothing new here! Eclipse simply proves an old adage.

In the Hebrew Bible, in the Psalms, now and then you come across the word, “Selah” . . . it's a note to the musicians as they sang praise to God. "Pause . . . and think about it." In the English language, we would say, "Meditate on this!"

gadfly . . . “Selah”.

(The translation of "meditate", is, literally, to "chew the cud". Another time, I'll tell you what I learned, "first hand", about a cow, "chewing the cud" . . . a most fascinating experience, to be sure. Did you know that there is no food value in dried grass for a cow, . . . or a deer, an elk, a moose, a goat, etc., etc., . . . until they "chew the cud"? I told you it is fascinating!

"Meditate" . . . a word lost to the present generation! Yet, "pure gold" . . . available to all!)

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