Tuesday, September 1, 2009

OPEN !


Eclipse Aerospace has acquired the assets of Eclipse Aviation, and today, September 1st, 2009, was their first official day in business.

The press has not exactly been "all over this".

(Perhaps they are a bit -overly, I believe- cautious, because they are not quite "all over" their last experience of being mindless regurgitators of press releases- that being un-cautious, practically unconscious, and definitely unconscionable copy-dispensing drones).

Let's hope Eclipse (et al) and the press (THE press, as well as Mike Press- and Mason Holland-) are able to make this experience a more OPEN experience, than the previous adventures in aerospace episode.

Here are a few -of the few- available links on the opening:

KOB, ABQ CH4, Part 1

KOB, ABQ CH4, Part 2

AP (Sept 1st): Eclipse Reopens

The new company is off to a modest start-15 employees. With appreciation and empathy for everyone involved, it is difficult to predict how fast, and how far, things will ramp up.

But- it's a start- and a welcome one.

145 comments:

Phil Bell said...

Congratulations to Eclipse Aerospace.

"Critic"-al analysis will follow at a later date. But for now- it's "Enthusiast" time!

Phil Bell said...

Speaking of "critical".

Let's not be so critical of each other!

No_Skids was right on the mark- some of the previous comments were "worthy" (ahem) of Jerry!

Gafly's right- sometimes I wish we had a "tube 13", or a "bleep"-out feature like Jerry has...

But we don't- so while I urge participation- I also urge self control and mutual respect.

Politely- Blog On!

airsafetyman said...

"Has anyone actually met Mason Holland? With all of the press releases, have they ever published a picture of Mason?"

Actually there is no Mason Holland. He is a hologram made up by the evil aliens who have taken over the Roswell, NM, base where they were kept for experiments. The head alien was formally known as "Vern" except when he assumed the appearance of "Roel". Now he is "Mason". Are you starting to understand?

WhyTech said...

Snippets from Forbes:

"Mason Holland Jr., of Charleston, S.C., the new chairman and president of Eclipse Aerospace, said in an interview earlier this month that the company will reopen its doors debt-free."

Wasnt the last CEO a software guy too? And this one appears to be an absentee CEO (living in SC). Is the Company also cash free? Much more important right now.

"Mike Press, who co-founded the new company with Holland and is its executive vice president,"

Well, not exactly the executive team recommended by the blog.

RonRoe said...

I'd like to tell you all about Mason Holland, since I've had business dealings with him. I've met Mike Press a few times, but don't know him well.

I'd also like to give you the actual figures for July and August flight times, as published on the Eclipse Owners Club web site.

However, while I would enjoy injecting some facts into the discussion, I would not enjoy being slandered by the likes of CWMOR and ATM, so I won't bother.

In the meantime, talk quietly among yourselves, and continue mistaking Mason Holland for Al Mann, and South Carolina for California.

You have only yourselves to thank if your "Enthusiast time" is Enthusiast-free.

PlaneTruth said...

Where's the Real Frank Castle? He was more genuine. At least he knew he was an asshole. ColdWet and ATM take is blog and themselves way too seriously. Grow up guys. It a blog, and you have nothing better to do with your time?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Slander? By me? Come on RR, we have actually had a couple decent conversations. Why suggest you would share information that could provide for a good conversation and then pre-emptively accuse us of slander? Who is not playing fair in that?

If you are interested in keeping score, I have been the victim of slander lately, not a purveyor of it - even Ken and I, who have had some ugly knock down drag outs in the past have had very reasonable conversations recently.

Don't take your toys and go home, stay and make a contribution - also, check the profile if in doubt, there are people pretending to be others to create just the atmosphere you are concerned about.

Congrats to M&M although I would have picked other than a Tuesday to begin.

Bubba responded to my question about pricing on the other thread. Bubba, I was not accusing you of making things up, I was trying with humor to reconcile the statement to the press, by Press, that they had not contacted hundreds of vendors with the information shared here on the blog that certain folks had seen very convincing information that M&M knew what it would cost to produce a new plane.

I maintain my position that any talk of restarting production should be a giant warning sign that all other efforts will suffer - you cannot do both (support and build-up to a restart of production) without a team roughly as large as the original design team (200-300 engineers and technicians) - and that means a payroll alone equal to what was paid for the assets.

M&M need to get the messaging under complete iron-fisted control soon or they will begin to damage their credibility.

Best of luck to them.

PlaneTruth said...

slander
An untruthful oral (spoken) statement about a person that harms the person's reputation or standing in the community. Because slander is a tort (a civil wrong), the injured person can bring a lawsuit against the person who made the false statement. If the statement is made via broadcast media -- for example, over the radio or on TV -- it is considered libel, rather than slander, because the statement has the potential to reach a very wide audience. Both libel and slander are forms of defamation.

From the legal description, no one has been slandered here. Libel, yes. But then again, can an anonymous entity be libeled or slandered? Hmmm.

Shane Price said...

Anyone notice that 'PlainTruth' has denied access to his/her profile?

This is passing strange, as it appears the 'identity thief' who's been annoying several of us here has the same 'MO'...

A coincidence?

I also being to wonder at the similarity of writing style of the comments posted by Ken Meyer and 'PlainTruth'.

Anyone else notice a connection?

Shane

WhyTech said...

"You have only yourselves to thank if your "Enthusiast time" is Enthusiast-free."

Believe it or not, many here are enthusiasts. I became an enthusiast when the EA50 was introduced about 12 years ago. I was enthusiastic about the *concept* of the acft, and remain enthusiastic about the *concept*. The one thing I was not enthusistic about in the beginning was cabin size - too small for any paractical use, IMO. Things are much different 12 years later. There are two competitive acft in service which deal with the cabin size issue, and offer the support one would expect for a complex product at this price point, and offer modern avionics from a reliable supplier. So, while I remain enthusiastic about the *concept*, and about the Mustang and Phenom, given that Eclipse has bungled the implemetation of the *concept* in every way conceivable and then some, its difficult for inquiring minds to remain enthusiastic about the EA50.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Eclipse is a great step up aircraft from pistons. Cabin size is bigger than most pistons. And the thing is fast and economical. Funny I don't see you guys blasting the cost of a piper meridian. 2 million dollars for that? Give me a break. This is all relative. M and M better get their act together.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Good point WT. The idea behind the EA-500 was impressive, and SOME of what was achieved is pretty good - fuel economy as an example.

This is where the critic and ehtusiast, insofar as Eclipse are concerned, part ways - and it is the same BTW for hardcore enthusiasts of other types of planes, or motorcycles, or boats, etc.

Talk to a Long-EZ driver and he will be convinced that his EZ is the best thing since sliced bread, most will gloss over the need for twice the runway of a conventional runway, even though they plan their flight accordingly.

Same thing here.

Why is a Mooney faster on less horsepower than say a Bonanza? Because it is a smaller plane with less whetted area. Are they comparable? Yes. Are they the same? Clearly not.

Consider the speed difference between an experimental Lancair IV-P and a certified Malibu using the same engine - 100 mph. The IV-P is pressurized as is the Malibu, but again the IV-P is a much smaller plane both in terms of cabin size (a tight 4 seats vs 6 place near cabin class on the Malibu), and especially in terms of wing area.

Airplanes are compromises between competing design interests of speed, comfort, efficiency, reliability and safety - different companies and different designers tackle these compromises differently.

Cessna and Embraer compromised on outright speed for cabin comfort and compromised on reliability vs weight. Eclipse compromised cabin comfort (compared to similar aircraft) for speed, and appears to have compromised nearly everything to try for a low weight.

I am enthusiastic about the overall prospects for GA as the industry recovers, and I am hopeful that M&M can make this thing work for the owners - as I have gotten to know a few of the owners I truly hope they get something useful for their money and they end up with at least substanitally the plane they were originally promised.

I will remain critical of the plan and the plane, but I will praise things when I think they are being done right - that is how it works.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

When I created profile I was an Osteopathic Medical Student in my 4th year of medical school. Didn't change profile because you guys seem to like calling Ken Dr. Didn't want to steal his thunder. Jk

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Omsiv, do you really think that the Meridian is overpriced, comparitively speaking?

Consider the cost of PC-XII or a C-90, then look at the Malibu/Mirage and Bonanza and latest Mooney's, even the Cirrus and Diamond planes.

We also have the proof in the pudding of the the failure of a host of companies seeking to fulfill the promise of a jet plane at piston prices (Safire, Adam, Eclipse 1.0 and 2.0).

EAC ended up owing a billion dollars after taking in 2 billion and only delivered 260 planes - they lost money with selling prices all the way to nearly $2M.

Could it be that planes really DO cost this much to build, sell and support?

I agree that the EA-500, if completed, would be a great step up plane from high-end piston singles and twins, and it might be the last plane some operators, like Ken and Shari for example, would ever need.

But it is not yet complete, support is a huge question mark, and the company is only just re-opening the doors after being effectively closed for almost half a year.

It also does not compare favorably against the planes in the same business space if considering TCO/LCC. It does not compare favorably to the Mustang or the Phenom because it was not intended to compete with them - it was intended to compete with Bonanza's and Barons and Malibu's, oh my.

The problem is that it was not intended to be a step up from the high-end pistons, it was intended to take those sales in the first place. Had it all worked out as planned, it might be successful but the history at this point is clear.

The dream of a super low price high quality twin jet the size of a Baron remains just that, a dream.

There are limits to how small, cheap, fast, reliable, etc., that any set of compromises can realistically provide, and it does not match the design point of the EA-500.

Shadow said...

Thanks for the explanation, EP OMSIV.

Deep Blue said...

Whytech said:

"Is the Company also cash free?"

Now that's funny (and it appears, true).

Well, if any of you have been to the EAC facility in ABQ, it's an awfully fun and invigorating place to be. And there's probably nothing more inspiring than to be around a start-up, especially one building something new.

Let's hope this new effort has some success. The odds are against it, but what else is new.

Most troubling though seems to be the capital conundrum. Even in its heyday and with capital markets over-flowing with credit, equity and debt, Vern still had trouble finding real arms-length working capital tied to the company's capital structure (versus customer deposit funding).

That game is likely over and the markets brutally uninterested in ventures that require the kind of funds EA really needs.

While the previous "Russia" episode drew appropriate criticism (and laughs) it does probably represent the only kind of potential capital out there (like Piper's deal with Brunei). EA's likely only capital source of any magnitude is sovereign foreign investment: Asia or Middle East.

Some venture equity may try and make a "splash: with some 50-100MM commitment, but as we've all seen before, it's never enough.

The other thing that would worry me is that the founder and his group of co-developers (in avionics and airplane design) along with others that 'fathered' the project, are all gone.

That's a problem in that it signals an abandonment of a very young project (and usually signals a realization by the founding team that the venture is flawed or the market too young or another mix of knock-out factors that they realized and walked away from) and I've never seen a complete turnover in management, linked to such a young venture, ever succeed.

Turn-around efforts at Burger King or Taco Bell; restructuring a hotel chain; raiders taking over a media group? Sure. But that is much different from taking on a failed venture with a problematic technology and weak market, outside a mass market consumer good environment.

I could be wrong though; I have been, once or twice...

WhyTech said...

"Eclipse is a great step up aircraft from pistons."

The Eclipse *concept* is a meaningful step up. In its present unfinishd and relatively unsupported state, its actually a step down, IMO.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Kudos where due, I think Ken was the one who suggested the sale might close yesterday, turns out he was right.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

IP is thereal bugger here as far as upgrades go. However, I think this plane still can be the step up plane. It flies well and has a few hiccups like other aircraft. Also you guys say the niche is gone and granted a great deal of depositors lost money here, however there were still 900 orders for the thing and I think some of those depositors could be brought back with the offer of coupons and prospect of fully completed aircraft. This plane will be more than original price, that's obivous, but it still will be the cheapest one out there. Say all you want about used mustang being cheaper etc. So is a Lear 25D, and with the initial upfront cost that is a lot of gas to Burn through. But is still burns the heck out of fuel and costs a great deal to maintain. If new eclipse establishes itself then maybe people would want a brand new aircraft with new warranty etc. People like new things.

By the way can we stop calling this eclipse 3.0, because for all intensive purposes eclipse 2.0 under Roel never really existed anyway. It's not like this company has tried and failed twice.

WhyTech said...

"it still will be the cheapest one out there."

Well .... not necssarily a claim that would get my pulse racing!

WhyTech said...

"turns out he was right."

You run the risk of creating monster by acknowledging that Ken was actually right once. ;-)

Shane Price said...

Snippet(s) Time....

1. Cirrus appear to be following a 'similar' path with the Vision jet. Rumblings reach me about a price rise (to "$1.7 million") but the original lower price of $1.3 million will be retained for those prepared to pay more money, right now.

Sounds very familiar, don't you think?

2. It seems there are several disappointed former 'executives' at EAC, who had been promised new roles (and fat salaries) by the 'winners' of the Chapter 7 process.

The lack of immediate financial return from their efforts might have something to do with trying to 'have their cake and eat it'.

By backing more than one bidder....

3. One of the repair shops working on FPJ's reports very dry (as in, lacking resin) woven components. It would appear that beauty is not even skin deep, on our favorite tiny jet.

Sorry, I of course meant to say 'twin jet'.

I'll now return to writing my 'comic', which really is turning into a barrel of laughs.

I'm just not quite sure which section the bookstores will put it in. At present it could make it into 'humor', or even 'drama'.

One thing is for sure.

Just like EAC, it won't be in the 'business' section....

Shane

flyger said...

RonRoe said...

However, while I would enjoy injecting some facts into the discussion, I would not enjoy being slandered by the likes of CWMOR and ATM, so I won't bother.

Why is it that some supporters come across like pouting 2 year olds? They keep defending their lack of factual information by saying we aren't worthy to see it.

If you have some pertinent facts, or even pertinent indications or evidence, by all means share them with us. The "I know something you don't but I won't tell you" is so childish. The rest of us simply think you don't have anything worthy to say.

Now back to your regular day care activities...

Shadow said...

OMSIV,

The problem with the 900 orders is that many customers had two or three orders apiece, with the extra one or two aircraft intended as investments (speculation). Worst case, there could have been only about 300 customers with three orders each. More probable, though, is about 600 customers, some with only one aircraft on order and nearly half with more than one order.

In any case, we know there were a lot of "repeat customers," including Ken with his order for two Eclipse 500s, notwithstanding his separate E400 order.

Bottom line is that 900 orders doesn't mean much. I'm more interested in how many individual customers that translates to, especially since the Eclipse 500 speculative market is dead right now. Pretty much all business jet and GA aircraft speculative markets are dead right now, so the Eclipse 500 is certainly not alone in this respect.

PlaneTruth said...

Shane Price said... Anyone notice that 'PlainTruth' has denied access to his/her profile?

So much for not including paranoia in the list of mental illness on the blog.

WhyTech said...

"Bottom line is that 900 orders doesn't mean much."

Have to agree. Espcially since these "orders" were booked before it was public knowledge that the shit had hit the fan at EAC. How many of these would come back in the near-term knowing what is known now? My bet: around 9.

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

Shane said... One of the repair shops working on FPJ's reports very dry (as in, lacking resin) woven components. It would appear that beauty is not even skin deep, on our favorite tiny jet.

Fiberglass is only supposed to be saturated with resin only to the point where the fibers will stick together. The uneducated in the workings of fiberglass always think more resin is better. If you look at most homebuilts you will see that the weave of the cloth is filled with resin until it is smooth. That's just extra weight, and provides no increase in strength. Sort of like Shane's post - no understanding in what he posts, and provides no increase in his credibility.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Of course, a licensed A&P with experience in composite component fabrication and repair wouldn't know anything about dry layups. (insert rolleyes smiley here)

Or maybe EAC was training and authorizing repair shops and technicians who were not qualified to determine a dry layup - that would be a real confidence booster if I owned one of these things.

And also, AC43.13 wouldn't have any useful definitions and illustrations to help A&P's, technicians and even owners in determining what might be a dry layup. (insert 'duhh' smiley here)

And it would be unheard of for EAC to have experienced a quality escape. (insert double rolleyes smiley here)

Shane Price said...

PlainKenTruth,

Sort of like Shane's post - no understanding in what he posts, and provides no increase in his credibility.

What I was told was that the repair attempt was complicated by the weakness of the original part.

And speaking as someone who's been molding several types of glass reinforced plastic for more than four DECADES, I'm quite comfortable is describing your last comment as the end product of bovine mastication.

The FPJ was built down to a price, rather than up to a standard.

Sadly.

The fact that repair shops are reporting same should hardly come as a surprise.

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

As an aside, anyone see photos of the elliptical winglet installation on the Citation X?

Sexy baby, yeah!

An expensive mod ($800K for parts and labor if I recall correctly) but the performance gains (for what is already the fastest current biz jet) are impressive.

Nice to see a program move ahead.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Sorry, it is about $600K parts ($420K) and labor ($180K) for the winglet install on the Citation X, not $800K.

Reportedly provides a 5% reduction in fuel flow, 15 kts faster, 150nm more range (to a whopping 3220nm).

That is a mod that could pay for itself in a fairly short time for a plane that is reasonably well used.

Congrats to Cessna and Winglet technology for a job well done.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Oh great, Shane's back with his whippetts.

PlaneTruth said...

EclipsePilotOMSIV said... Oh great, Shane's back with his whippetts.

He probably has writer's block, or broke his crayon.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Time for some fun questions/prognostication....

So, who do we think M&M&M will tap to head up this incarnation of the Eclipse show?

An experienced aircraft OEM exec?

An experienced aerospace supplier exec?

An experienced C level exec with turn-around experience but no specific aerospace experience?

What percentage of the former EAC middle-management/team leads will return to EA?

50%

25%

Less than 10%

What will be the first upgrade developed and certified by EA?

RonRoe said...

flyger sez:

"Why is it that some supporters come across like pouting 2 year olds?"

flyger,

Thanks for making my point.

You also said:

"They keep defending their lack of factual information by saying we aren't worthy to see it."

If I didn't think some of the people here were worthy of the information, I wouldn't bother to post at all.

As to lack of factual information, I acquired an E500 position, took delivery of an E500, invested in EAC, have been to every EAC customer and shareholder meeting, am type rated in the E500 and C510, and have about 100 hours in each, although the C510 is mostly right seat time, so technically not PIC. I also have an ATP and around 3,000 hours of total flight time, every penny of which has been paid for out of my own pocket.

In addition to that, I've been a member of the Eclipse Owners Club since its inception.

As to the new company, besides knowing Mason Holland and Mike Press (I've only met Al Mann once, briefly), I've been to presentations by Eclipse Aerospace laying out their plans.

In maintaining my E500, I've had experience with the ABQ and GNV service centers, as well as 3rd party facilities post-BK.

Whenever I had the chance, I had in-depth discussions about the architecture of Avio and AvioNG with the Eclipse employees who designed and implemented them.

I've had discussions with Vern Raburn about markets and customer service, and I've talked several times with Peg Billson about vendors and customer service. Between Vern and Peg, I probably have had about 8 hours of face time with Eclipse senior management.

In addition, whenever I've met an Eclipse engineer, I would find out as much as I could from them about their area of responsibility.

So, from time to time, I may have some facts to interject into the discussion. But, I'm not going to bother to do all the research, fact checking, and composition before posting, just to be insulted for my efforts.

I'm a firm believer in the old aphorism, "You reap what you sow." I'm sorry that the more gentlemanly posters, like gadfly and (usually) bill e.goat will miss out on the chance to discuss whatever modest contributions I might be able to make, but as usual, the innocent suffer for the sins of others.

Speaking of gentlemanly, what happened to you, CWMOR? I used to have a lot of respect for you, because you would to state your opinions (no matter how wrong they were :) in a cogent, civil fashion. Recently, I've lost a lot of that respect, since you've descended to the level of the "gutter sniping" that you were complaining about. All because you're frustrated? Which is the better measure of a man's temperament, the way he behaves when all is going well, or the way he acts when he is vexed?

P.S.
Plane Truth,

Thanks for the correction. I should have said "libeled", not "slandered". Maybe I should just use the catchall term "defamation."

gadfly said...

Thanks, RR . . . you've confirmed a suspicion I've long held . . . there's a pony in there, somewhere!

gadfly

(But please don't stop throwing in a few "oats" now and then. Us horses gotta' feed on sumpthin' from time to time.)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Well RR, it is up to you to determine what measure you use for respect or not.

I don't believe that I have ever 'attacked' or libelled or slandered you, and if you go back will see my recent 'frustrated' posts are pretty well constrained to a single posester but to each his own.

I have been on this earth long enough to know you can't be all things to all people. I have come clean about being frustrated with a particularly petty and vile individual, but I have since returned to more civil discourse.

I would like to think that if you recognized there was a change in tone, you will also recognize a return to the previous approach as well, but that is up to you.

If you care to share some of the utilization info to help see if there is a real pattern emerging or if we were being offered a difference with no distinction it will be appreciated.

Would be very interesting to see if you were presented with pricing data that led you to conclude M&M know what they are doing re: production - not looking for specific prices or terms, just in general to get a feel for your impression of the M&M plan.

RonRoe said...

gadfly,

"I just know there's a pony in there somewhere" is the punchline to one of my favorite jokes.

I guess I'd have to be lumped (no pun intended) in with that kid, because I'm always looking for the pony, too. As a matter of fact, I've noticed that the pessimists, who are too smart to look for a pony, never find one. Every once in a while, I find a pony where I least expect it.

RonRoe said...

CWMOR,

I'm not privy to EA's pricing info for resuming production, but as I've said before, I believe that selling refurbed airplanes is key to their strategy for figuring out what buyers would pay for a new E500. If they can't sell the refurbs at what they see as a reasonable price, I'm guessing that they wouldn't restart production. Of course, even if that is the case, the market can shift, or they might create a new market, e.g., by convincing the U.S. or a foreign government to order 100 planes.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Thanks RR, very clear reply.

I would agree if they can't move refurbed DJ planes for a profit resuming production should be a no go, although profitable production according to all of the plans that looked at it, seems to require a signficant effort to redevelop/retool at best, redesign at worst, and that takes time and money I am not convinced the new EA has access to.

WhyTech said...

"Every once in a while, I find a pony where I least expect it."

RR, very informative post, and one that enhances your credibility greatly, and IMO, your "credentials" warrant considerable respect.

However, I guess what keeps bubbling to the surface here is a different approach to life in general which carries over into our various aviation endeavors. Many of us would prefer to assure that there are plenty of ponies in there before we take the saddle off the peg, not hope to find one after lugging the saddle around endlessly. This refelcts fundamental differences in decision making and risk taking styles which are likely to never be fully understood or respected by the opposite style. Still, these differences are no reason criticize one another without reasonable restraint. Sometimes it is difficult to distinguish where the line lies between spirited debated and talking trash.

gadfly said...

RR

The “new market” may be a dead end for the E500. The design had already used up all future “mods” . . . they used up their reserve empty weight (what? . . . about 1,200 pounds overweight?) . . . the essentially forward swept wings (noted by Stan, early on) and wing-tanks would require a major re-design (think “winglets”, etc.) . . . and many subtle things that have been only addressed after production began (think “fillet” around leading edge of vertical fin, and other little clues) . . . and the many other things we could list. All this reminds me of the car my Dad always wished to own (had he lived a few years past 44) . . . the little “MG”, with spoked wheels . . . always and forever a “fair weather two-seater”. In my thinking, the E500 is a flying MG, but with hopefully better systems than “Lucas”, . . . and a “drip pan” in the hangar.

The E500 should have been recognized early on for what it was . . . a “trial balloon”, with a very limited order book and limited production run expectation . . . with a serious model to follow. In fact, the computer software folks do that all the time . . . with “Beta” versions.

gadfly

(But, then, them there are me own opinions . . . I thunk em up me-self.)

RonRoe said...

WhyTech,

Risk tolerance is indeed highly variable among individuals.

Remember, though, that there are two aspects to risk: probability and consequences. A venture may be risky because the likelihood of success is not great, like betting on 00 in roulette, or it may be risky because of the severe consequences of failure, regardless of the likelihood, like Russian roulette, where you bet everything against a "red" outcome.

If the possible reward is substantial enough, I'll assess the probability and make a bet, but only if the worst case scenario is something I'm willing to live with. In other words, I might play roulette, but I'll never play Russian roulette.

When I bought stock in EAC, it was with the understanding that it was highly speculative. In fact, I signed papers stating such, and affirming that I was a qualified investor. I did not invest a large amount (low 5 figures), and I could afford to lose every penny of that. Good thing, because I lost every penny of that.

The same thing applied to my purchase of an E500. As it turned out, I got the jet. Now, I would say I won that bet, while others might say that I really lost, but wouldn't you say that I'm in a better position to judge whether I'm happy with the result or not?

So, there are risk takers and then there are risk takers. I guess I would fall into one of those categories ;-)

From time to time, people have asked me whether they should buy an E500 or invest in one E500-related venture or another. I give them all the facts I have at hand, making sure that they understand all of the risks, and leave the final decision up to them, since it all boils down to their tolerance for risk.

So, here's a question for you, WhyTech: Why do people get so upset about all this?

I can justify my actions to myself, so I don't have any need to justify them to anyone else. I don't think I'm qualified to second-guess someone else's decision making process, so I can't criticize their motivations.

But, some people seem to get their knickers all in a wad, either trying to rationalize why they did this or didn't do that, or proclaiming someone else has an ulterior motive because they did this or didn't do that.

Wassup with that?

flyger said...

RonRoe said...

So, from time to time, I may have some facts to interject into the discussion. But, I'm not going to bother to do all the research, fact checking, and composition before posting, just to be insulted for my efforts.

So, you do have the time to systematically list your qualifications to say something, but then don't have the time to actually say anything useful. So what was the point of extolling your credentials if you aren't going to use them?

As far as I am concerned, you don't have any right to complain about misinformation if you won't spend the time to provide correct information.

You should also know that a prime factor in the market value of EA500 aircraft, and thus whether a production restart happens, is contingent upon establishing a reputation of reliable and factual information about the EA500 and Eclipse Aerospace. It looks really bad if an EA500 owner claims knowledge that he won't release. That doesn't cut it any more, we've all heard that before.

Given that it is in every EA500 owner's interest to establish the value of the brand, and that you aren't willing to speak on its behalf with your experience (now so documented by your post), it leaves one feeling like there isn't any information to reveal. I, for one, will believe that given what is before me, and I don't think I am the only one.

Let me say it again. Eclipse Aerospace will be a failure if the only believers are current owners.

So, your choice is to injected some facts and risk possible ridicule, or don't and be dismissed as providing no value at all and ultimately hurting the brand more. To say it another way, why are you letting the critics control what you say?

WhyTech said...

"So, here's a question for you, WhyTech: Why do people get so upset about all this?"

I'll attribute this to human nature. To one kind of risk taker, based on his information/experience/judgment, the risk looks dumb. To another it looks like the risk and reward are in an acceptable balance. Neither are actually right or wrong (except perhaps after the outcome is known) in part because they have different expectations. And there is some tendency for the "I am smarter than the other guy" syndrome to be working in both cases.

RonRoe said...

flyger sez:

"So, you do have the time to systematically list your qualifications to say something, but then don't have the time to actually say anything useful. So what was the point of extolling your credentials if you aren't going to use them?"

I didn't say I didn't have the time, I said I didn't have the inclination.

I posted my credentials to refute your assertion that I didn't have anything worthy to say. While I can't absolutely prove something as subjective as worthiness, I said what I said to show that my experience puts me in a position where a reasonable person could conclude that I know a little something about the topic.

"As far as I am concerned, you don't have any right to complain about misinformation if you won't spend the time to provide correct information."

In the great American tradition, I most certainly have the right to bitch about anything I want, whether or not I intend to do anything about it. Isn't that in the Constitution some place? :)

"It looks really bad if an EA500 owner claims knowledge that he won't release. That doesn't cut it any more, we've all heard that before."

It's probably no worse than when a critic (who SHall remAiN namEless) does the same thing, don't you think?

I'd answer your final question, but I'm not going to, just to prove that I'm not letting the critics control what I say.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

RR, please keep posting, you are a breath of fresh air and I mean that in the most positive way possible.

baron95 said...

CW said....Why is a Mooney faster on less horsepower than say a Bonanza? Because it is a smaller plane with less whetted area.
-----------------

While that MAY be part of the answer it is not THE answer. The Mooney simply has a better aero design. And it too is outclassed.

Current Mooneys have a smaller cabin, less comfortable interior and have basically the same speed as a comparable C350/400 which have a much larger cabin and fixed gear.

Why? Much better aero design.

Why is a Mooney much faster than an Arrow? Same cabin size, same engine....Better aero design.

The EA500 by all acounts has a superb aero design. Superb - top of its class - any way you measure it.

Don't ignore the basics - in the end, performance is all about your aero design, engine efficiency and weight. The EA500 is superb all all of these acounts - superb. Believe it or not, of the three critical factors, the PWC610 is the weakest contributor - their SFC is a notch below the 615/617 because of the lower cost needs.

RonRoe said...

CWMOR,

That's the first time anyone has referred to me with a sentence containing the words "fresh" and "breath."

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron, you are wrong about why the SFC is lower on the 610, and about the reason the Mooney's perform better than comparable planes.

610 SFC is higher because the 600 family uses the same basic core and fan aerodynamics - you lose SFC as you scale down (clearances become larger as a percentage of blade span and chord as but one example). This is true for everybody not just P&WC. The only way to try and cheat the system is to get into some truly innovative and challenging design concepts, like adding a 3rd spool.

Going back to when the Mooney was introduced, it has always provided better performance per hp when compared to similar planes. Best example is to compare the Mooney M-20 series to the Piper Arrow.

Even with the tapered wing the Arrow is measurably slower than the Mooney, using the same engine.

Both are 4 seats, both are 200hp, both are retracts, yet the M-20 is anywhere from 10 to almost 40 mph faster. The Mooney is a smaller airframe, they have similar wing area (167 vs 160) and similar MTOWs (2600 lbs vs 2500 lbs).

Compare the profile view of a Mooney to an Arrow and you start to see why one is faster. Look at the planform view, it becomes even more obvious. Mooney's are comfy but not as roomy as an Arrow or Bonanza - they are a smaller airplane, pure and simple.

The Cirrus and Columbia-nee-Corvalis represent a 40 year jump in design and technology compared to say the Bonanza, Eclipse has no such advantage in materials or design over its jet powered competition - it was designed using, ostensibly, the same tools and techniques, by the same people in some cases.

As has been discussed previously, there are parts of the Eclipse that appear to be overbuilt, and there are other parts which seem thin.

The point is that the Eclipse is demonstrably smaller than the other jets to which it can be compared, by a ton or more in weight, and by many inches to feet in internal and external dimensions.

Smaller is not necessarily bad, but it contributes a lot to the speed difference which is the primary advantage the Eclipse has - Eclipse owners give up space and room for speed - just like Mooney owners.

It goes back to the point I made a week or two ago explaining why the Mustang and Phenom are slightly slower and heavier, they chose producibility and comfort over optimizing the design for the last Nth of performance, keeping costs under control. It is essentially the same difference between a B-36TC and an Mooney 252.

gadfly said...

Some will say, “Here he goes again!” But that’s OK! . . . because sometimes life experiences help explain other things, and how to deal with them. We have a few that want to simply “put down” others, . . . and for “whatever reasons” are often hard to discern.

But it reminds me of countless long hours, in a small “sonar shack” in the dark, at the back port side of the forward torpedo room, four hours at a time every twelve hours . . . there was no day nor night, nor weekends off . . . they all blended together. The 48 transducers of the huge BQR passive sonar head (as opposed to “active” . . . pinging would have given us away in an instant), right under the bow, could listen out to 70 or 80 nautical miles, depending on the conditions. And yet there was always the constant sound of what we called “carpenter fish” . . . large schools of fish that sounded for all intents and purposes like a bunch of carpenters . . . hammering and sawing away, day and night, always on the deepwater side of the 100 fathom curve. It was my job to listen for outgoing and incoming ships, merchant and warship, with the occasional fishing trawler, in a “not-so-friendly” harbor . . . and those “carpenter fish” kept up a constant annoying background noise, making it difficult to listen for an enemy ship, the rpm of the screws . . . how many screws . . . the heading . . . whether it was sitting “high”, or “low”, with a heavy cargo, what type of engines or turbines, etc., etc. And those pesky “carpenter fish”. The ocean is an extremely noisy place. But after a time, I was able to “filter out” the fish, and concentrate on the job at hand.

And so it is with those of you who wish to have intelligent discussion, and those of you who, like those “carpenter fish”, are here simply to make noise, and make your presence known. For me, I’ve learned to filter out much of the nonsense, and concentrate on the “tidbits” of good info . . . and make use of it. As in those days so long ago, we spent 4,000 miles to get to the place where we could get needed information . . . and then after a month on station, we spent another two weeks (four thousand miles), returning home to Pearl with that information. For sixty days, no-one knew where we were, not even “SubPac”. So, we didn’t let a few irritating “fish” (not you, Cold Wet) hinder our mission.

Now, some of us have come to this airplane party to, believe it or not, gain some good information, share good information, that might be of profit in our own business, and in helping general aviation along in the right direction. So, like has been said before, there are three types of people . . . those that are the problem, those that are the solution, and those that haven’t a clue what’s happening . . . or words to that effect.

gadfly (again)

(And speaking of Mooney . . . ain't that "Mite" somethin'? . . . 65 hp, and that tricycle gear . . . worked on one once, at Long Beach . . . back in those "olden times". My good Greek friend owns a "four place" Mooney . . . loves it.)

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The Mooney's are tremendous aircraft, your friend is fortunate to own one Gad. But you 'put on' a Mooney, much like a fine suit, as opposed to getting into a Bonanza, like getting into a comfy jogging outfit.

I love both planes, the Bonanza for its' fantastic handling, nice appointments and great hauling capacity at a very respectable clip; the Mooney for unparallaled efficiency, great speed, and plenty of sex appeal.

Two different ways to accomplish the same basic mission. I also like the Arrow for certain missions.

In the same way, a complete EA-500 would compare favorably to the Mustang or even the Phenom, as a different way to accomplish the same mission. Unfortunately, as a wise friend has oft pointed out, no such plane has yet been built.

I think we will see developments, perhaps from the new EA, more likely from individual owners, that will drive ever closer to the original promised spec, but it will take time and money in large amounts - but I am not sure that you can 'get there' from here.

gadfly said...

Cold Wet

It's all part of the design on the "Mite". If that spring doesn't snap down that tricycle gear in about a second, you simply push your feet through the floor, and start running like mad.

gadfly

flyger said...

RonRoe said...

I posted my credentials to refute your assertion that I didn't have anything worthy to say.

You felt it necessary to impress me that you could say something if you wanted to?

Why?

I'd answer your final question, but I'm not going to, just to prove that I'm not letting the critics control what I say.

That'll teach them!

eclipse_deep_throat said...

has anyone notice the group picture on eclipseaerospace.net??? well, it is the same on both sites.

i recognize some of the faces, Larry Bates (VERY red complection with yellow shirt) for certain ....the Facilities manager. the guy in front of him, i'm not sure about his name, but i saw him all the time. i also see Brent Christner, one of the engineers ...and Tony Parker. never worked with Tony and only had occasional dealings with Brent. i think i even see Ed Lundeen there hiding in the center...

my question though, is who is the lady in the group shot???? i'm guessing she is their HR person, and she looks like a MAJOR improvement from Tina Rulo. but they don't list her bio or even her name. anyone recognize her???

e.d.t.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Eclipe 400??? WTF??? Someone please tell me that is just the webmaster not keeping up.

Looks like Jack Harrington in that picture too. He was an exec at EAC (VP Business Affairs I think) - nice guy, good people.

But I thought M&M said NOBODY from former management, that would put Lundeen out too.

Oh well, at least they are starting on the website.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Well, this is a good start (typos and all).

http://www.eclipseaerospace.net/files/communications/Communique_9_1_2009.pdf

I wish them luck.

WhyTech said...

"Eclipe 400??? WTF???"

Pretty much my reaction. Read the bios: very little real GA "consumer" acft experience in the group.

Why in hell would they use a barely tweaked version of the Eclispe Aviation website if they want to signal business NOT as usual? IMO, terrible first public foot forward.

C U Next Tuesday said...

EDT said - who is the lady in the group shot???? i'm guessing she is their HR person

She is payroll/accounting not HR - Lori David.

Black Tulip said...

Eclipse 400?

The blog and the world-at-large are tolerant. But please give us a break.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

WT, Wynters and Ross are potentially good fits IMO from their experience with NAJ, Wynters is sharp for sure.

I like the focus on service and support in terms of highpower headcount, and some of the limited info in the PDF is headed the right direction.

The website leaves a bit to be desired I agree and is hopefully not representative of the intent going forward.

EclipsePilotOMSIV said...

Just out of curiosity... Roel was the one who gave up on the 400. What makes this aircraft dead at this time. I am sure there was some testing cost sunk into the E400 by Eclipse Aviation already. If the newco makes enough money, and is able to restart production successfully, then why in the hell can they not make a go of the 400?

I mean hell, they put the E500 on their website. That thing isn't gonna be produced anytime soon.

By the way, I saw in the customer communication that the were going to EVALUATE the ability to restart the production in 6 months. Not simply restart in 6 months as some of you have been speculating...

WhyTech said...

"What makes this aircraft dead at this time."

You are missing a key marketing point here. The E500 is a consumer product, meaning it is bought primarily by individuals for personal use. It is not a "working" airplane purchased by corporations for exec transport, or by transportation companies for pax transport.

In comsumer product marketing, the "brand" is everything. The Eclipse brand is in the toilet, (perhaps irretrieveably so) due to all kinds of credibility issues. It further grossly compounds the credibility issues to be "communicating" about the 400 at this early stage in EA history (1 day old or so). If I were running marketing at Eclipse right now, I would be keeping a very low *public* profile, with at most a few very measured press releases confirming meaningful progress in very low key terms. The only market communication needs the Company has in the short-term are to restablish a working relationship with owners (260 at most), vendors, and a handful of potential investors. EA knows where all of these people are and how to reach them privately, thus avoiding costly public communication mis-steps at this early stage,which could further damage the brand. The time to go public is when there is some serious progress in dealing with the hundreds of issues left behind by EAC. IMO, this is, at the earliest, 6-12 months down the road. IOW, keep it close and in the family until the bugs are worked out. Not like Obama on healthcare, where premature disclosure of a half baked plan has likely killed any meaningful "reform."

Bubba said...

"Bubba responded to my question about pricing on the other thread. Bubba, I was not accusing you of making things up, I was trying with humor to reconcile the statement to the press, by Press, that they had not contacted hundreds of vendors with the information shared here on the blog that certain folks had seen very convincing information that M&M knew what it would cost to produce a new plane."

And I was trying to be humorous in my response. I'm a big boy with thick skin. You gotta be with a name like Bubba:)

Bubba said...

Remember!!! You read about this FIRST on this blog! Shane posted this news a day or so ago. This is HOT off the press:

Cirrus announces Jet Pricing:

Today Cirrus Aircraft announced a maximum initial price of $1.39 million USD for owners of current production reservations for its single-engine Vision Personal Jet. This price will be for a Vision Jet delivered in a very well-equipped configuration analogous to the current GTS model in the best-selling SR22 piston family of airplanes from Cirrus Aircraft.
"Cirrus is uniquely positioned to understand materials costs and the costs of manufacturing of the Vision Jet by way of our experience in building and delivering nearly 5,000 SR20 and SR22 aircraft," said Cirrus Aircraft President and CEO Brent Wouters. "With our pricing announcement today, we have rewarded those who partnered with us since the beginning of the Vision Jet development program by creating substantial and immediate value in their production position reservations. At the same time, Vision Jet pricing for new reservations is equally compelling given the revolutionary performance and capability demonstrated by the V1 flight test aircraft to date."
For customers reserving a Vision Jet production position between now and December 31, 2009 with a non-refundable $100,000 deposit, the maximum purchase price for a Vision Jet will be $1.55 million. Beginning January 1, 2010, a new Vision Jet production position reservation will be secured with a non-refundable $50,000 deposit with a maximum purchase price of $1.72 million. All prices are in 2009 dollars.
Wouters concluded, "Our commitment to the Vision Jet is absolute and unequivocal. Cirrus has the personnel, leadership and conviction to bring the Vision Jet to serial production as quickly as possible. Others share our view as several third parties have expressed an interest in investing in Cirrus Aircraft and the Vision Jet program specifically. While only time will tell whether those inquiries are fruitful, we will keep the program moving forward with internal resources in the meantime. This same incremental funding approach brought the SR20, and later, the SR22 aircraft to market and out of that effort was born the best-selling four-place piston airplane for now seven years running."

WhyTech said...

"Our commitment to the Vision Jet is absolute and unequivocal."


Riiiiight!!! Until it isnt anymore. Gotta love those non-refundable deposits - they inspire so much confidence! Sound familiar?

baron95 said...

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...
The Mooney's are tremendous aircraft,
------------------------

It IS not - it was at some time.

It is an aberration that that airframe is still in the market.

Pilots don't want them - that is why the company has been bankrupt more times than I can count and that they been selling 3 planes a month or less.

It is smaller than the competition (Columbia/Cessna and Cirrus). It costs more to insure (due to ret gear). Has about the same speed. Has much lower useful load. Cramped cockpit. Substandard interior and finish. It is a nightmare to build with a welded steal frame. It only has one door for entry/egress and escape from an accident. It costs more.

There is virtually nothing in that plane that is class leading.

And that is why they can't sell the thing.

So what IS tremendous about a plane that lost virtually ALL its buyers to the competition and is inferior on virtually all measures?

CW, you keep on telling Ken to deal with what IS vs what was or may be.

Right now Mooney IS the 4-seat plane with the absolute worst prospects on the piston market.

But hey, if we want to be nostalgic about it, I always thought they were "cool". The same way a VW air-powere Karman-Guia was cool - but you'd have to pay me good money to own one.

baron95 said...

Re the PWC610 - it has lower SFC partly because of smaller fan and lower bypass and partly because of its less sophisticated core/blade design. I should have mentioned both - thanks for pointing it out.

I disagree with you that the EA500/Phenom/Mustang are equally optimized for weight and speed (in the case of the Mustang).

First of all, while they wasted money, I believe that Eclipse, given their plans for 1,000 planes/year, and the venture funded set up, had a much larger R&D budget. Yes, they wasted R&D dollars on the engine debacle and on the Avionics debacle.

But, other than the ETT, there was no major snafu on the aero/weight/frame/wing design. So the higher R&D budget was put to good use.

It is quite amazing how the Eclipse design and wing survived a substantial weight increase and still met guarantees and achieved FIKI and without growing the band-aids that the Mustang had to grow.

That is all I need to know - that is the mark of an outstanding aero design. I think Embraer matched them on that. But the Mustang is one step behind in aero design. It has power that is higher by roughly the appropriate amount to account for the weight and size differences compared to the Phenom and Eclipse, while being 30 KTS slower and needing boot vgs, strakes, fin boots that were unplanned for to meet FIKI.

That is the sign of a sub-optimum aero design that is a step behind the other two.

There is no gentle way to put it.

Now - I'm not saying it was a bad decision by Cessna. They can hide behind service and reputation, they need to not encroach on the CJ1 performance too much, and so it is OK for them.

In any event, I believe they could have and should have done better.

Boot VGs!!!!!! Come on!!! 35 KTS slower on proportional power!!! Come on. That is a bit much.

baron95 said...

Bubba said...
Remember!!! You read about this FIRST on this blog!
Cirrus announces Jet Pricing...

And attempts to lock in NON-REFUNDABLE deposits....
-----------------------------

Translation in plain English:

Cirrus needs to draw in investors. Investors told them they will put money in if they show orders backed up by non-refundable deposits. Result - Cirrus forced to announce prices, run till-year-end special to lock in order and HOPEFULLY get the money and certify the jet.

Sounds familiar.

Go ahead - send your check.

Adam, Epic, Cirrus and top notch companies, run by top notch people - your money is safe.

Go ahead - order a few of them. You will make money in the positions.

Remember what the CEO of Cirrus said..."We are CREATING VALUE for the position". Translated in English, put your money in, then sell your position.

All I can say is good luck.

I wish them well. I really do.

I'd love to see SEJs from Diamond and Cirrus at $1.XM (big X).

But seriously....what is the first conforming flight, certification, EIS, production volume info?

What is the difference between the CirrusJEt V1 and the EA400?

They are both prototypes - not conforming planes.

Lets see how many fish (errrr orders) they hook.

baron95 said...

So ATM, did EA's pdf answer your concerns on their part 145 authorization to perform the mods?

Were you surprised about how quickly and simply the issue was addressed? A simple partner soon to be acquired affiliate - I know that was posted here - but were you shocked?

I think EA's announcement was as good as could be expected day 1.

EXPERIENCED field guy on board. FIKE and NG mods in progress in Chicago.

Honest answer that all else (including getting ABQ up and running would take time).

I'd say Ken's plane just went up in value by another $50-100K.

That sure beat the recent depreciation of the C510s ;)

Now it is back to the cage for me - my whole summer was shot by one pesky deal - who needs customers? - oh, yes - they pay the bills - agrrrr.

Happy bloggin. ;)

airtaximan said...

So ATM, did EA's pdf answer your concerns on their part 145 authorization to perform the mods?


Why refer this to me?

I never doubted thier ability to continue to run NA Jets operations and provide the servives NA Jet was offering.... in fact I suggested they do exactly this, around one month ago, when the discussion was about "how they could make this a workable plan". I suggested they do it under a license... but apparently, the guy from NA jet wanted them to buy his operation.

airsafetyman said...

Well, in the 'communique' they say they 'have bought' the Chicago repair station in one place in the report and in another place they say they are 'going to buy' the Chicago repair station. Hate to be picky, but which is it? Basically it seems to be: "We don't have the talent in-house ourselves or the FAA authorization to do anything in ABQ, much less do we have a FAA repair station certificate, but we are going to buy one located in Chicago. With what money we are not real sure, yet, but we'll get back to you. Then we will manage both Chicago and ABQ out of our pharma offices in Charleston, SC. Also, we are closing the Albany and Gainesville Service Centers, which we never ours to begin with, but it sounds like we are doing something. Then down the road, hopefully, we can unload the whole thing on the Chinese". Yep, I'm impressed!

WhyTech said...

"It IS not - it was at some time.

It is an aberration that that airframe is still in the market.

Pilots don't want them "

Baron, ever hear of market segmentation? SOME pilots dont want them.

These are consumer products. The purchase decison for such products is rarely made on the basis of rigorous. objective criteria, but rather on highly subjective "impressions."

Why do you think Harley Davidson is still around offering 1930's technology and styl;ing when vastly superior bikes are available from most Japanese manufacturers, BMW, Ducati, etc? Harley is selling a "bad boy" image, not a superior piece of engineering. SOME prople find this appealing - go figure!

The personal airplane market is also segmented. Some want Mooneys, some dont. I happen to like Mooneys, having owned a 201 some years ago, and would no doubt buy one over an odd looking Cirrus or Cessna/Columbia plastic airplane

PlaneTruth said...

ColdWetAndSchizo said... Mooney's are comfy but not as roomy as an Arrow or Bonanza - they are a smaller airplane, pure and simple... The Mooney's are tremendous aircraft.

And yet you claim the Eclipse is way too small, and too uncomfortable.

Where's the doctor???

PlaneTruth said...

Baron95 said... Yes, they wasted R&D dollars on the engine debacle and on the Avionics debacle.

Those R&D dollars are what ended up funding the Avidyne R9. Avidyne used the AVIO development software and finally finished the project to produce the R9. The R9 IS what was supposed to go into the Eclipse, but Avidyne failed to complete the development on schedule. So, I wouldn't call those dollars "wasted", Eclipse just didn't get to use the result of the investment made.

Shadow said...

PT,

The avionics might have been done on time if Eclipse didn't keep changing the requirements by the hour. Same thing happened with other vendors, such as Hampson. Eclipse kept changing the engineering requirements, so by the time parts/software was delivered they never met the current spec, which was changed umpteen times while software was being developed or parts were built. You can't constantly keep changing the goal posts and then blame the suppliers when they don't make the goal.

Eclipse could never stop monkeying with every little detail. As a result, there really never was a "finalized" design. Just look at the non-standardization of the in-service fleet right now for proof. At some point, you have to lock everything in. If you want to improve things, then do it after certification as an upgraded model, such as the Eclipse 550 or something. Oh, but wait! That would be "dinosaur" thinking, wouldn't it?

Deep Blue said...

Whytech said:

"Why in hell would they use a barely tweaked version of the Eclispe Aviation website if they want to signal business NOT as usual? IMO, terrible first public foot forward."

Answer: as you stated before, WhyT, debt free...and cash free as well.

This looks like a classic speculative "buy" with the speculation not on the business, the aircraft, the real estate, the brand, the customers, etc, but on their ability to raise money to operate the business that they got their hands on. EA is a capital speculation.

PlaneTruth said...

You guys are so two-faced.

The website is a rehash of the old site. Therefore you state they have no money. Had the website been a completely new web design, you would have stated "too flashy, big spending."

As ColdWet stated in a previous post, the only ones that EAI has to communicate with to are the customers at this point. I'd rather see them spend nothing of website design, and concentrate of getting the business going with a handful of employees.

Deep Blue said...

PT said:

"the only ones that EAI has to communicate to are the customers at this point."

Indeed, but they surely need to communicate to investors. And suppliers, among others.

If they can get a core group of customers into a committed relationship, they may be able to financially traunche out the business, a step at a time. Life could be worse.

PlaneTruth said...

DeepBlue said... Indeed, but they surely need to communicate to investors. And suppliers, among others.

But that is exactly what they did with the website. Why are you getting on their case for not doing more?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Speaking for myself, the issues with the website are minor but represent a potentially major philosophical problem.

M&M have had 2 weeks from the approval of the sale to go spend maybe $2K to have the old EAC website content stripped, scrubbed for relevance to their stated business objective, and put up under the new domain name - this is not a big deal.

Instead however, they changes only the key elements of the old EAC website, presumably for expediency's sake, and ended up pushing out an incomplete website to meet a self-imposed schedule.

This is the same kind of thinking, schedule uber alles, that drove the delivery of 260 incomplete jets, that created contracts for parts and assemblies at one rev, when the design called for a different spec.

Is this terminal for EA? Not hardly, we are only a few days into this next step of the adventure, BUT it does indicate, to me, a focus on schedule, not on quality or overal readiness.

This impression is further solidified by the competing messages that have been delivered, decision on whether or not to restart production in 6 months for example, vs Mason's restart in 18 months. Forget for a moment that to restart in 18 month they would have needed to start the redesign/retool effort 6 months ago, the issue is consistency and consistency comes from calm, deliberate measured thinking.

Other examples include typos and the confusion in the press release as to whether or not they had already purchased NAJ, or were going to purchase it. Presumably this is a 7 figure transaction (should be IMO) - I would expect that all parties involved would have a clear understanding of whether or not the check had been written, let alone cleared the bank.

M&M need to get to a single, cohesive message (which they appear to be working towards), better to take a couple days or even a week of delay to get to a confidence inspiring coordinated message than to trip over their own feet coming out of the gate.

Would sure like to see a real airplane person in charge soon as well. Do any of the Faithful have an indication as to whether or not that is in the cards? No offense to M&M, but they are not the guys for the job - they deserve kudos for convincing Al Mann to buy the assets, from, well, Al Mann - and they have started to put together a good team on the support side, and keeping some of the key engineers is a good step as well (Christner and Jackman) - but they need a good leader.

Pointing out these shortcomings really should be considered tough-love, not hate or being unfair - the guys can really learn a lot if they are open to.

airtaximan said...

For you who are trying to locate me, I appreciate it, but, I really don't run a flight school. Good luck with your venture, though.... seems interesting!

Beedriver said...

We need to understand that the reason that Mooney only sells a few aircraft every year and the new 172, A36 baron sell 50 to 100 each year is because many of the group of customers that want that airplane and what it offers are mature or pragmatic buyers.

this is because in any mature market there are only a few people that buy a new product if it really does not offer any improvement over a used one at a very substantial discount.

In this world any practical "Pragmatic buyer" person that wants what Mooney offers will look at what is available and find out that for generally 1/2 the price of new you can take a good used airframe, put in a new engine, add the latest avionics glass and all, get new paint and interior, change every O ring etc and only pay 1/2 of new.

Cirrus offered something new especially to the non pragmatic early adopter buyer and so they sold a lot of airplanes. they are now suffering from the glut of used airplanes on the market with virtually the same performance at 1/2 of the price.

There are many niches and the trick is to dominate a niche.

My feeling is that there is a substantial niche for single engine personal jets at $1.5 million or so and another niche at 1.9 million for twin engine personal jets like the EA500 The real question for EA is how big is the twin engine personal jet market and have the 260 existing ones, if upgraded to full spec with FIKI etc filled that niche.

Markets are always defined by price vs capability vs the purchasers personal likes and dislikes.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Nice point and well stated Beedriver! Why will folks who can afford a nice M-B AMG buy a Cadillac CTS-V instead? Because they can.

I can see a complete and fully functional EA-500 achieving 50-80 sales/yr (when the economy recovers) if it can be sold for $2.3-2.5M.

The question is can they be built and sold profitably at that volume and that price - and how much will it take to get there.

My put on the answer is yes they can probably be built and sold profitably at that volume and that price, but the list of IF's is very large, will take about 2 years to run to ground, and has a price tag of around $200-250M.

Realize though that this is not a value judgement (should it be done). Anything is possible, all it takes is cubic dollars and a solid (read that unchanging) plan.

PlaneTruth said...

ColdWet... Is this terminal for EA? Not hardly, we are only a few days into this next step of the adventure, BUT it does indicate, to me, a focus on schedule, not on quality or overal readiness.

It indicates that they may have a lot to do and maybe they are focusing on the really important parts, other than pleasing the critics.

michal said...

"My feeling is that there is a substantial niche for single engine personal jets at $1.5 million or so and another niche at 1.9 million for twin engine personal jets like the EA500"

Well this $1.9 mil sounds like a low number and so far appears unrealistic. Perhaps after all chips are down it will something like $2.4+ mln instead. At this point even $1.5 mln for a single engine jet is a suspect.

WhyTech said...

"And yet you claim the Eclipse is way too small, and too uncomfortable."

The Mooney is NOT a twin jet with a $2mm+ price tag.

julius said...

Plane Truth,

It indicates that they may have a lot to do and maybe they are focusing on the really important parts, other than pleasing the critics.


Yep - but the hardest critics are the potential members of the new exec team and they insist in being pleased.

And what about the potential suppliers and, yes... the customers who accept some minor problems but want to see their fpj flying - lots of critics.
The list of critics is not complete!

When is EA going to do the first maintenance job of a fpj? When will the "FIKI-SB" be redone (a first priority task!)?

Naturally M&M must "revive" the assets or scrap parts of them...


Julius

Plastic_Planes said...

EDT Said:

i recognize some of the faces, Larry Bates (VERY red complection with yellow shirt) for certain ....the Facilities manager.

EDT, the Facilities Manager is Larry Jones, not Larry Bates. Larry Bates was the Paint Shop Manager and the one chiefly responsible for setting up SP3 and the paint shop. He has moved on to other things. Larry Jones has remained on site through all the BK proceedings as a facilities caretaker (he also led the tours of prospective customers and buyers on through).

P_P

Beedriver said...

Thanks Cold Wet for the positive comment. it is nice to hear positive comments or at least friendly comments pointing out other information and educated opinions that may provide contrary evidence.

I am trying to look at market niches from a competitive point of view not the cost to build the airplane side. In markets with competition, the price is not set by the cost to manufacture but the retail price for airplanes niches above and below that niche.

The job of the manufacturer is to figure out how to make the machine and sell it at the market defined price and make some money at the same time.

I think what will drive the market price point (as others have pointed out) is the price for the next higher category which appears to be the Phenom and mustang. I seem to remember that people have said that a new Mustang is in the 2.4 to 2.8 million range. If so that will really prevent many Twin engine personal jet sales at much over 1.9 million.

If a machine (airplane) is operated only a comparatively few hours a year, say less than 200, than purchase price and the cost to pay it off plays a very big role. That is why you see charter companies flying old 727s etc and making money as they fly them comparatively few hours per year and the higher operating cost is more than made up by the low purchase price amortization.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Plastic Planes said:
EDT, the Facilities Manager is Larry Jones, not Larry Bates.

My bad. I even have an uncle Larry. Too many Larry's to remember ....and I realized my error afterwards. But it was a good test to see who was/is paying attention...
;-)

e.d.t.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

PT, my point was not that they should be out to please or impresss me, it is the same point I made before that YOU pointed out - they DO need to be focused on making a good first impression with their customers (and their vendors).

Rushing a website into use that is full of recycled EAC info, suggests the 400 is a potential product, and can't say whether or noth they have actually bought NAJ shows a lack of review.

It is the same kind of thinking that produced the plane that Ken is flying, and that others have - that is varied configurations and incomplete.

M&M allowed an artifical and wholly self-imposed schedule constraint (they could have gone a couple more days and the only criticism would have been here on the blog which you right point out should not be particularly high on their list) to drive them to release an incomplete, inaccurate, potentially misleading website.

Given that a website is a fairly minor effort compared to the magnitude of the tasks at-hand, one can either cut them some slack or wonder if they can't focus on this long enough to spend a couple bucks and to have gotten ahead of theg ame over the past 2-3 weeks to build this in advance, what does that say about their overall approach to this business.

It is still very early, and I am willing to cut them some slack but as I pointed out, there is already a pattern emerging. We can chalk it up to simple and innocent missteps in getting NewCo up and running, but that might be overly optimistic.

Shane Price said...

Interesting Article

Business & Commercial Aviation magazine has a piece in the current issue, titled "Bankruptcy Sale promises new life for comatose VLJ"

The author, Fred George, clearly understands his subject, as the many hurdles the FPJ has to surmount are accurately described.

1. 32 of the first 39 still need the what we've referred to as the 'aero mods' and he describes as the PIP (performance improvement package).

2. 89 of the first 104 await AvioNG, which includes the IS&S displays as well as sundry other 'bits'.

3. FIKI and AvioNG 1.5 upgrades are required for practically all existing FPJ's.

He goes on to make it clear that a) these upgrades will cost an unknown sum and b) even with upgrades, the aircraft cannot meet the promised range, especially on warm days.

There is an interesting conclusion to his comments. While advising people of that some things 'can't be fixed' (the tiny cabin) and to 'steer clear of this orphan' until the picture is a bit clearer, he also notes that you can pick a used one up for a third of the cost of a used Phenom or Mustang.

Read it, if you can. It's a well researched view of the current state of the Eclipse 500.

Shane

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Those numbers are staggering Shane.

The good thing is that with the 'promise' of 'free' upgrades revoked by the BK, NewCo has a potential source of revenue.

The Aero mods should be a $300-500K program - so potentially $10M in revenues there (assuming all planes are modded - although I bet that a big chunk of those are probably the DJ planes).

The Avio NG mod is probably a $200-300K program - so potentially $20M in revenues there.

$30M or so in revenues just for needed upgrades is not a bad place to be, unfortunately, I am not sure that NewCo can get everyone at retail, and there will be pressure I am sure to not charge retail for these mods - but that line needs to be clear - must be profitable to be around long enough to make the 'decision' on restart of EA-500 production.

Those 90 planes probably represent several years of work as well, so some predictability for the service operation which is also potentially nice to have.

In hindsight, the numbers are not that surprising. EAC had no incentive to spend $15-20M on upgrades for those planes, it was a losing proposition for them, and they had already cashed the checks.

Hopefully, EA can price the mods fairly and capture the vast majority of that work.

Curious how EA is planning to treat planes being maintained by other than EA-nee-NAJ? There are some good organizations with no ties to the NewCo.

baron95 said...

Re Mooney.... you guys are over complicating things.

Cirrus(Columbia) offered more for less and killed Mooney. Simple as that.

A36/Matrix/PA32s continue to sell because Cirrus does not offer a 6-place/larger interior.

And Whytech, I agree with you on personal choices. On the HD example you brought up, you have to remember that HD was bankrupt. It was only when they addressed their reliability and technology deficit that they came back to live. Look at the braking system of a modern HD and it is on pair with the European/Japanese bikes. Before it was a joke.

Same with the A36 - it got a nice bump when it moved to the G1000.

CW, your CTS-V example is very similar, with a twist.

Cadillac sedans had been written off by the sub-60, non-urban-black car buyers because they were substandard. With the new CTS-V they achieved driving dynamics parity with the M5/E63AMG/XFR etc (interior is still a bit off).

BUT ---- here is the big BUT ---- they CAN ONLY SELL IT by charging $20K-$30K less than the other cars.

And that IS the issue.

Cars like the M5/XFR/E63AMG are halo cars, that command hefty premiums and hefty profit margins.

The CTS-V can only be sold at a discount to the other cars. Why?

Because the brand is damaged. It can NOT longer command premiums.

So, over time, BMW and Mercedes will be more profitable, invest more in R&D, maintain their higher brand value and kill Cadillac and Lincoln as luxury brands.

The CTS-V is a wonderful car - and I love to see them on the road - particularly when driven by a competent river that is not on the way to the nursing home. But it may be too little too late for Cadillac. I hope not. We'll see.

But Mooney - is DEAD. Too far gone.

Shadow said...

Baron said: "Because the brand is damaged. It can NOT longer command premiums."

Sounds exactly like the quandry that Eclipse is in right now. This is precisely why new E500s would have to be priced at Beedriver's hypothetical $1.9 million. But the question is if the new Eclipse can make a profit at that price point. I asked my magic 8 ball that very question, and the answer was "My sources say no."

Deep Blue said...

The article is indeed quite pragmatic. Refreshing.

One potential scenario to consider:

The Eclipse sale out of C7 was merely executed to rebate a DIP loan and the "New Eclipse" really nothing but a shell left to deflect certain transactions and liabilities. I've seen this game played before; it may or may not be relevant here.

It's also possible that one last, lone investor is still succumbing to sunk cost fallacy; has been sold on a "re-start" with a small squirt of financial gas, in the hopes that someone else will come along and take the batton (also known as the "lottery ticket" method of making one last go for a win, at a very small price and the odds taken into consideration).

The photo of the new management team looks like a marooned, ship-wrecked crew that has been abandoned on a deserted island, with their last message in a bottle, floating out in the financial seas, hoping someone may pick it up. God luv, em.

baron95 said...

Beedriver said...I think what will drive the market price point (as others have pointed out) is the price for the next higher category which appears to be the Phenom and mustang.
--------------
Partially, but the secondary market in GA has a disproportional impact on limiting prices.

This decade there has been a step change in GA capabilities with G1000 flight decks with SVT and the like, with a correspondent "bump" in NEW sales.

When this fleet of second generation G1000-SVT planes (e.g. Perspective/Prodigy) hits the used market in droves that will put a lid on new prices. That will be THE competition.

Shane Price said...

ColdWet,

A bit of careful analysis required, methinks!

I'm pretty sure that ALL of the DayJet birds fall into the 'further work required' column.

Moreover EA have a major incentive to get these birds done first, as they represent a revenue opportunity for them. I can't claim to know all the ins and outs of the ownership history, but somewhere along the line these ex DayJet birds seem to have 'become the property' of EA.

Now, if they can get a small number of these 'done' before the end of the year they'll be able to claim success and, as a key aside, generate some revenue.

However this won't illuminate existing owners, as nobody will know how much these upgrades actually cost except Eclipse Aviation.

It won't help owners who are AOG, awaiting bits that are also 'required' by EA. Since they've assumed the assets (sans liabilities) of EAC, I'm sure any supplier who attempts to deal direct with an end user will brought to heel, very swiftly.

Finally owners will feel they're heading for the back of the queue, no matter how strident the assurances are from EA.

Interesting times, for sure.

Shane

baron95 said...

Shane says that Fred George writes...
He goes on to make it clear that a) these upgrades will cost an unknown sum and b) even with upgrades, the aircraft cannot meet the promised range, especially on warm days.
-----------------------

Low standards of journalism - what else is new.

"will cost an UNKNOWN" - unknown to whom? Him?

"Cannot meet the range"!!! - by how much? 2%, 20%, 50%? big difference.

"Specially on warm days"!!! - is he comparing the standard conditions range to the range on warm days??? Does he even known what the AFM range for higher than standard temperature days is?

But he article clearly impressed Shane ;)

baron95 said...

Shadow said...

Baron said: "Because the brand is damaged. It can NOT longer command premiums."

Sounds exactly like the quandry that Eclipse is in right now.
-----------------------

Not quite.

Of ALL the VLJ startups - Eclipse has BY FAR - the best brand equity. After all, they are the ONLY ones that:
a) Produced certificated planes.
b) Are alive.

Broadening the brand view...

Compared to light GA brands...there are the waling dead like Mooney...the have beens waiting to die like Piper...the limping along like Beech.

There is no "take it to the bank" brand in light GA comparable to a Mercedes or BMW that Eclipse (like Cadillac) has to face.

The light GA brands are ALL weaklings. Yes, even Cessna.

Diamond had no problems selling against the 172 - it decimated the CESSNA SKYHAWK brand for private individuals and only flight schools by the old bird.

Cirrus had no problems decimating the CESSNA SKYLANE brand for private IFR transportation, and only short field and utility buyers get new 182s.

Eclipse had no problems building a 1,000+ backlog of jets against Cessna, Embraer, Cirrus, Diamond, and the like.

Light GA is bankrupt. The existing brands are bankrupt or struggling at best.

Had Eclipse not squandered money with Williams debacle and Avio debacle and lived long enough to have the EA400/EA500 combo with completed functionality, there would be a lot more decimation in the ranks of the walking dead of light GA.

PlaneTruth said...

Baron says... But he article clearly impressed Shane

Not to worry. It's just another one of Shane informed sources.

Shadow said...

Baron, after so many depositors and suppliers were burned by Eclipse, you'd better believe the brand is damaged!!!! The other GA players might be weakened in the current economic environment, but at least their name isn't mud like Eclipse.

PT, we're still waiting for some meaningful contribution from you here on the blog. Stop the cute "drive-by" posts that are merely intended as flame bait. Also, it's very unflattering when you verbally polish Baron's knob.

julius said...

baron95,

Eclipse had no problems building a 1,000+ backlog of jets against Cessna, Embraer, Cirrus, Diamond, and the like.


you want to restart the discussion about market sizes of luxury houses at the seaside close to the top skiing areas .... for $50.000?

Just to remind you:
1. EAC didn't menage to produce any fpj according to specs...
2. EAC didn't menage to sell any fpj to actual costs.

Is this a success story? Now it's just history!

M&M wrote:
Our Albuquerque location will not be open for
several weeks as we inventory and re-staff, we will announce the opening date shortly.

and
Has EAI established pricing for parts, modifications, and upgrades?....

You know , there is no new price list!
(The "old" prices including costs (production or procurement plus price of suppliers) should be available...)

Anyhow, under these conditions there is no know price tag which allows a reasonable ROI and there no backlog of jets...

EA is just a small maintenance shop - not more!
In "several week" or months we might have other infos!

Julius

PlaneTruth said...

Shadow said... Also, it's very unflattering when you verbally polish Baron's knob.

I think my quips are at a higher level than what you demonstrate as "worthwhile".

baron95 said...

Julius,

Join the present discussion.

Discussion is on Brand Strength.

Cadillac vs BMW et al contrasted to Eclipse vs Piper et al.

Example cited above is that light GA Brands are no barrier for entry.

Have anything to contribute?

baron95 said...

Shadow said... Baron, after so many depositors and suppliers were burned by Eclipse, you'd better believe the brand is damaged!!!
---------------------

Are you arguing with yourself?

The discussion is if the "established" AKA "walking dead" light GA brands present a substantial barrier to entry to new comers with a better product or idea.

Diamond, Cirrus, Eclipse proved that they can sell very effectively against their brand and product weakness.

Don't confuse Eclipse execution problems, which have been documented ad nauseum, with the present conversation.

Now please carry on...tell us how Eclipse burned through $3B and only delivered 260 planes and blah, blah, blah....feeling better?

baron95 said...

Finally my plane is about to take off - time to turn off the hacked iPhone Tethering.

Have a great Labor Day weekend folks.

Much work ahead for EA.

Much blogging and arm chair CEOing for us ahead in the fall.

I just realized that never before, since I started flying did I fly as so little this past year and this past summer. If my experience is typical, it does not bode well for GA.

Real planes for real life said...

Here is a link to the new B&CA article. It speaks for itself.

http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_content.jsp?channel=bca&id=xml/bca_xml/2009/09/01/BC_09_01_2009_p96-161224.xml&headline=Eclipse%20500

michal said...

"Example cited above is that light GA Brands are no barrier for entry."

So what, we know the story behind Cirrus, Diamond, Columbia, etc. Please tell us something we don't know. And also don't mention Eclipse in the same breath with Cirrus, Diamond, it is simply ridiculous. Cirrus and Diamond were selling known quality/quantity at known price, there were no surprises when it came to pick up time. Yes, execution matters big time, for a buyer it is the key ingredient of the whole equation.

"Have anything to contribute?"

I am wondering myself when I read your stuff...

julius said...

baron95,

Eclipse is not alive.
Even the simple nav db updates for AVIO NG are not available (M&M: soon..). You call that "alive"!


A jet that shouldn't fly through clouds in the higher FL's is a joke! OK - in one or two years this problem might be solved.
Flying with a handheld GPS (only Garmin 496..) is remarkable for jet which already uses GPS...
(oh just to get the weather...).

Bad executions or good executions - aren't they important parts of the brand?

Some years ago Alfa Romeo had nice cars but some of them were rusty after two years...
In the 80th some Jaguars didn't like full or high speeds for more then 15 min...
It took quite a while to get rid of these "add-ons" to brands..

You remember Cessna and Embraer do not or could not perceive the fpj as a competetive product - because of its mini size and its "price"...
There was no "against Cessna..."!
The wedge wanted to create a new market segment etc.

BTW: Someone said that a potential
Cessna SEJ might have the weight of the fPj...

Back to the incomplete fpj:
There are some question marks with the current FIKI. The AVIO NG installation with Garmins will give a late 90ths experimental feeling...
You will add "fast and fuel nipping" (and forget: no cold soft drinks before the flight...)!

The "brand": fast, tiny, incomplete (for about $1.6M, less 250hrs), and TC holder on a critical path!


Julius

Deep Blue said...

Baron95: might I ask you a question (I'm currently in the back of my Falcon):

If you could buy an E500, would you? Would you operate one with your family in the back? If you could buy Ken's for $500K, would you take it? If you could buy a brand new one, with all the upgrades provided, fly-away cost $2.5MM, would you bite?

For all the fairness you direct to EAC V.1 through V.3, methinks you would never step foot in one.

Am I wrong?

Happy Holidays to all and Blue Skies to all the pilots out there!

Black Tulip said...

Baron95,

I think I speak for many here. Why not shed your Baron and buy an Eclipse? You could arrive at Martha's Vineyard in style.

baron95 said...

Didn't read the whole thread since earlier...but saw the last 2 posts addressed to me...

A - I have shed the Baron last year - only have minor interest in one LLC that owns one, and backup blocktime on another. So, you can say, I'm 1/2 in, 1/2 out of GA. Well, more like 10% in, 90% out at this time.

As for the Eclipse, in its present form, for $500K or so, it would be a nice VFR/lightIFR plane to do the MVY milk run and dip the toes in jet ownership.

But I'm trying to stick to a self imposed rule. Next plane will have a no compromise flight deck (currently that means Cirrus Perspective for Pistons and Phenom Prodigy for turbines).

I need 5 seats and 700 lbs of useful load.

Of all the VLJs, the Diamond seems to fit the bill the best if it ever gets certified and has a good flight deck and simple SP procedures.

As for time to pull the trigger...I see no reason to rush. Personal demands on my time and lots of international flying, leave little time to fly.

I see A LOT of frames chasing very few pilots/owners in the $1-$3M light GA turbine future. It will continue to be a buyer's market for decades to come.

There is little benefit for buying now. I have been offered a handful of partnerships on turbine planes by owners who are not flying enough or can't foot the entire bill anymore. I expect that will continue.

So net/net - I'm happy to wait and see.

I very much doubt that I'll own more than 50% of any plane in the next 5 years, unless Diamond hits it out of the ballpark or Phenoms drop below $2M.

So for now, I play arm chair buyer.

I think there is also a fair chance (1 in 10) that I'll simply drop out of GA ownership for good.

baron95 said...

Oh, to answer the other question, knowing what I know, I'd have no problems flying the EA500 with my family in the back.

I just don't want to own one. If someone sells me a jet card at $500/hr on one I'd by 20 hrs this summer ;)

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

michal said...
Cirrus and Diamond were selling known quality/quantity at known price, there were no surprises when it came to pick up time.
-------------------

Are you serious, man?

Cirrus has been selling a Jet without telling people the price, the specs or the delivery time - what was the known quantity they have been selling? Only this week they announced the price - still no delivery time.

No surprises on delivery time? Ask Gunner, who has a handful of Djets on order when he will get his.

Ask all the DA-40TDIs and DA-42 pilots that have had their planes grounded for way over 1 year for lack of engines.

What planet are you from, man?

Do you even know what you are talking about?

baron95 said...

700lps payload, I meant.

michal said...

"who has a handful of Djets on order when he will get his."

Aaah.. here you go again, so those vaporware jets are on you agenda. If so then don't make sweeping statements about "GA brands".

airtaximan said...

$500/hr.. that's funny. Recent quoted EA50 prices for 1 hr charter trips are in the $1,500-$2,000 range.

- the real question is, why?

WhyTech said...

A little "enthusiast" talk for a change (although not directly Eclipse related). I just came into the 21st century by adding a Zulu headset and iPhone to my helicopter. The Bluetooth feature of the headset works perfectly with the iPhone to permit phone calls and stereo music via the acft audio system. Can even get email in the helo! (Some of this capability is approved for use only on the ground, but could be valuable for an in-flight emergency.)The music quality of the Zulu is quite good, especially with the "Front Row Center" audio enhancement feature turned on. However, I still (slightly) prefer the comm voice quality of the Bose Series X to the Zulu. Garmin Pilot MyCast aviation weather service is now available on the iPhone. No wires needed beyond the usual headset cable. Overall, I recommend this setup highly. Too bad flying machines are not as hassle free!

Black Tulip said...

Baron,

"I think there is also a fair chance (1 in 10) that I'll simply drop out of GA ownership for good."

Many of us have felt the pinch over the last year... hope you get back in the game.

WhyTech said...

"Garmin Pilot MyCast aviation weather service is now available on the iPhone."

Not quite available just yet - still in Beta, but coming to an iPhone near you "this fall." However, I have found an iPhone avition weather/flight planning app I like even better: ForeFlight. Very inppressive capbilities. See the Apple iPhone store for details.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Paul Bertorelli wrote an interesting article on the VLJ market over at AvWeb - some good points.

http://www.avweb.com/blogs/insider/AvWebInsider_VLJprices_201117-1.html

julius said...

CWMR,

thanks for the link!

Paul Bertorelli reviewed what happened in the VLJ segment.
But I think it's more are cry to remind Cirrus (and Diamond, but not Piper!) to look at the books!
Is $M1.55 the correct upper price?
For all "first" orders?


A small company must obvoiusly check if any investment is sustainable assuming realistic economical conditions.

Julius

WhyTech said...

"The CTS-V can only be sold at a discount to the other cars. Why?

Because the brand is damaged. It can NOT longer command premiums."

Right. The Cadillac brand has for generations been associated with fat old men in white shoes. No self respecting MB AMG (car guy) would give it serious consideration no matter how good it is. It will take at least two more generations to "repair" the Cadillac brand if GM gets serious about doing so.

Somewhat similar to the Eclipse situation. The "airplane guys" stayed away form Eclipse because they knew better. It attracted mostly "new-to-airplanes guys" who had not graduated from the college of aviation hard knocks. Now the brand is close to destroyed for all prospective buyers, and it will take a very long time with near flawless performance to repair the brand and attract any new buyers.

Black Tulip said...

"fat old men in white shoes"

Very funny. Wish I could think of the analogy for the Eclipse owner.

Got to do steep turns, slow flight and land a Phenom 100 this weekend. Neat airplane.

WhyTech said...

"It will take at least two more generations to "repair" the Cadillac brand if GM gets serious about doing so."

Kind of reminds me of a "brand enhancing" effort by Chrysler in the mid 1960's. I was active in the SCCA National Rally program at that time, and Chrysler decided to field a factory team of Chrysler 300J's. They did modest prep on the cars and hired some top teams. It was amusing to see these boats wallowing down narrow dirt roads at near the speed of light. In the end, it didnt do much other than provide some comic relief for the other participants.

WhyTech said...

"Wish I could think of the analogy for the Eclipse owner."

I can think of some, but dont want to start another flame war.

Shane Price said...

'Fat old men in white shoes'

I think I'm entitled to make a comment on Cadillac, if for no other reason than my grandparents were one of the very few people to own examples here in Ireland.

In the 1920's and 30's...

The brand is not sold here, and indeed I can't recall it every being available through factory channels. So, it's fair to say, they can't go anywhere but up!

But they won't. It's too small a market, with specific requirements which GM will not be bothered with.

I'm reminded of my early days (mid '80s') dealing with Apple Computer. At the time they were undergoing a difficult transition from the 'first generation' Apple II, a CP/M based personal computer which made significant inroads into small business, education and of course the hobby markets, to the 'professional' Apple Macintosh, granddaddy to the iMac.

They misfired, several times, with such notable turkeys as the Apple III and the Lisa, as well as the early Macs, before getting something that almost worked in the Mac Plus and finally hitting their stride with the Macintosh II.

I made money, in fact I made lots of money, guiding printing professionals through these early minefields. This almost in SPITE of Apple, who tried very, very hard to shoot themselves in both feet.

Several times....

But, in the end, Apple managed to get the Mac into a robust position in its core markets, and have expanded the company into segments nobody could have imagined in 1984.

Eclipse, and a lot of other recent aviation startups don't have the intrinsic 'first mover' advantages that Apple enjoy. They don't have a core market, or at least one that any of us can clearly identify. They fail to excite (anymore) at a 'disruptive' price point, or game changing technology.

Apple had each of these advantages, in spades. They were able to ride out economic troubles, key personnel changes, dominant competitive challenges and a host of other 'sharks-in-the-water' incidents.

Eclipse, Cirrus, etc, well, just don't.

Ok, it's not fair to compare Apples with Lemons, to mix my metaphors, but I think you get my drift....

Shane

Black Tulip said...

"I can think of some, but dont want to start another flame war."

Careful now. I think I may have worn a slide rule on my belt and used a pocket protector early in my engineering career.

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

"I think I may have worn a slide rule on my belt and used a pocket protector early in my engineering career."

I confess to the slide rule, but NEVER a pocket protector! Geeks never really change their stripes. I try to conceal it, but my wife says its not working.

WhyTech said...

"But, in the end, Apple managed to get the Mac into a robust position in its core markets, and have expanded the company into segments nobody could have imagined in 1984."

Yep. I was an Apple bigot in the early days. Purchased a Mac 512, Mac Plus, and Mac II primarily for ease of use compared to the then MSDOS machines. Havent purchased an Apple computer since about 1989 as PC's became more capable, flexible, open, and cheaper. I have just purchased my first Apple product since 1989: an iPhone 3GS. I must admit that I am blown away with the capabilities and user interface. Been using cell phones since 1984 and nothing else I have seen comes close. This from a world class sceptic who is about as stingy with praise as one can be. Too bad that EAC couldnt get the EA50 so right!

WhyTech said...

'Fat old men in white shoes'

Mainly applies to Caddys from the 40's on. The early cars were apparently very well regarded.

baron95 said...

Re Paul'Bertorelli's article on Pricing GA Planes...

Piper is currently the price leader in two categories:

The least expensive Pressurized GA plane - Malibu Mirage at about $1M.

The least expensive pressurized GA turbine - Meridian at about $2M.

The next step up from there is the TBM850 and the Mustang at $3M.

All three companies involved are established and have economies of scale in place. All the above planes sell in about the same low volume order of magnitude - a few dozen a year. So neither has a meaningful volume advantage.

So, lets assume that they are are all priced using the same philosophy, and that there prices are equally proportional to costs.

So what conclusions can we draw?

1 - Twin fan-jets on a similar sized frame (C510) costs about the same as a single turboprop (TBM850)?

2 - Single turboprop on a similar priced frame (Meridian) costs about twice as much as a single piston (Malibu)?

I don't think so.

The difference in cost from the Malibu powerplant to the Meridian powerplant is about $300K, yet it costs about $1M more - why?

I think it is all about value pricing. The Meridian is 2x more valuable to a pilot/owner than a Malibu. It is sold at 2x not because it costs 2x more, but because it is 2x more valuable. It is only 25% faster, but its powerplant is 500% more reliable. It costs more to operate, insure, etc. But all in all it is 2x more valuable.

Then you ask, how come the TBM ant C510 are priced the same. Do they cost the same? Possibly. But more important, in my opinion, is that they provide about the same VALUE to a pilot owner.

The TBM somewhat slower slower, but has better range and costs a bit less to operate. Avionics are the same. The 510 has more cabin space, is more comfortable, flies higher, but requires a type rating/IOE period (which is a hassle for some), costs more to insure,etc. So call it about a wash.

So, PRICING IS ABOUT VALUE. Not cost.

So how much more value does a CirrusJet provide above an SR22-Turbo XSeries, which is a $600K plane?

Both have the same max op altitude. CirrusJet cruises 50% faster. Is pressurized so no O2 and your kids won't scream during a descent. Avionics are likely on par. It will likely climb faster. On the other hand it will burn about 3x the fuel, cost 6x to insure, require a type rating, etc.

Put it all together in a blender, and I think the Cirrusjet probably represents a 2x to 3x value over an SR22 Turbo X series.

So it should be priced in the $1.2M to $1.8M. That is where Cirrus priced it. So far so good.

Can it be profitable at that price?

Volume will be low and it is irrelevant as there are no economies of scale that can be derived if you build 50/year or 100/year. So ignore volume.

Powerplant for CirrusJet will cost $300K more. Pressurization, retractable gear, environmental, and larger airframe another $300K or so. So we already consumed one of the Xs (in the 2x-3x value) on add-on costs alone.

Getting tight, but not fatal yet.

But then comes the killer....

The FAA wants the Cirrus Jet to be certified to the 6,000lbs-12,500lbs class standards. They require training and type-rating (that need to be part of the price) that is much more involved. Sims are likely required. Certification and aero design costs are much higher as a result.

OK, so all of those are one time NRE costs. So here IS WHERE THE BET ON VOLUME COMES IN. Lets say those NRE costs are $200M.

If you assume you will build 1000 planes during the recovery period of say 5 years, that is a contribution of $200K per plane. But if you only deliver 500 planes that is a contribution of $400K per plane.

And then the games begin. Do I price lower, sell more and spread the NRE costs more widely? Or to I price higher, have lower volume but recover my NRE costs faster?

May a company thrives or goes bust on this decision.

baron95 said...

Continuing from above....

If you care about my uninformed opinion...

Companies that do not have a stable source of revenue to play this game while prices/volumes work themselves out have no chance.

Adam, Eclipse, never had a chance. Cirrus, Piper, Diamond have a tiny chance.

Cessna, Embraer, Bombardier, can design, certify, price and build a 4-5 seat SEJ ANYTIME THEY WANT and kill the others.

Embraer won't do it (too conservative).

Cessna MAY do it.

Cessna is dying to do pay back to Cirrus. They may preempt the CirrusJet with the C505 Mustang Jr launch just like they did with the Eclipse 500.

In Cessna's case, they'd walk backwards from the Mustang's price. Lose $250K in engine cost and another $250K in size, systems, complexity costs. So the C505 would be priced at $2.5M, will be 50kts slower have 200nm less range, be limited to FL350 and burn slightly less fuel per mile.

That is probably enough to kill any other attempts.

So if you want to build a SEJ - make sure it provides enough value to survive the C505 Mustang Jr.

That is the bar you need to clear.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

WhyTech said:
No self respecting MB AMG (car guy) would give it serious consideration no matter how good it is.

Well, I beg to differ with that statement. I'm not a Mercedes snob, but I will describe myself as a total car nut on the level of Jay Leno. I have the "enthusiast" desires but not the enthusiast budget to act on it. In high school I would spend countless hours drawing and desiging my own cars. At that time (circa 1986), we didn't have the Internet. And I had no guidance from my guidance counselors to really consider a career in Industrial Design. Eventually I managed to do the research via analog means ...which led me to the Art Center College of Design in beautiful Pasadena, CA. But my gut told me that a business degree would be more practical -- and cheaper -- than a design degree from a private school...

Now at age 37, if the Powerball lottery jackpot landed in my hands, WITHOUT HESITATION you would see a puff of smoke as I head out to buy all the cars of my dreams. A Caddy CTS-V is definitely at the top of my list. However, GM is also good at cannabalizing from its own product line, and my current fav car is the Pontiac G8 GXP, with the manual 6-spd tranny (and it's $20K cheaper than the CTS-V). Again, with money not a consideration, and my best friend able to fix just about anything, I would have mostly GM toys in my garage, starting with a 1965 Corvette coupe, black, with fuel injection and disc brakes ....and my other fav, the 1996 Corvette coupe with the LT4 engine. I love the 1996 'Vette just cuz it's the last year for the clamshell hood that shows off the front suspension.

My mechanic bud is kinda worried that I'd get a 1988 Pontiac Fiero GT. Yep, I'd have that one too no matter what it takes to keep it up and running....

I suspect the aviation business is the same too. Eclipse might not be able to convince as many people to roll the dice, but if they are smart, they will quickly learn how to sell the sizzle and not just the steak. IMHO, the best thing they have is the Eclipse 400. Forget about the 500, but support it to learn what bugs need to be fixed before you put *anything* in production. Then, 18-24 months from now, start work certifying the EA400 with the FAA and EASA. Don't pussyfoot around any of the challenges. And don't be foolish enough to announce a production schedule before you have a TC. Maybe plan on making 50-100 per year IF you can start attracting deposits. Set them aside in an IRON CLAD escrow account that retains refund rights if you fail to meet certain deadlines, etc...

Some people will be willing to give GM a second chance ...and others in the GA market may also have that sentiment for Eclipse. What matters now is their future, not their past. Yeah, if I had the $$$ to risk, I would certainly buy the EA400 because (A) it looks F**KING AWESOME ...almost like an X-wing fighter from Star Wars, and (B) because it would shock the crap outta my ex-wife if I could FLY to Grundy County, TN each weekend to see my kids!!! That would truly be a cool use of disruptive technology, where I could hire my own pilot and yet not spend as much versus fractionals, charters, or commercial travel.

M&M: are you listening???!

e.d.t.

WhyTech said...

"I will describe myself as a total car nut on the level of Jay Leno."

I said "car guys", not excessively rich collectors.


" I would have mostly GM toys in my garage, starting with a 1965 Corvette coupe, black, with fuel injection and disc brakes ....and my other fav,"

This is an antique, a relic. Interesting in its day, but fit only for museum display today. Corvettes have always been pretenders, rarely taken seriously by true car guys. Audi, MB, Porsche, Ferrari, McLaren, Jaguars and GT40 in their day (1960's) - now we're talking real cars!

baron95 said...

I think the CTS-V is a very poor analogy re Eclipse.

It is an awesomely good car from a driving dynamics point of view - and I greatly admire it and the people behind that car - including having the Caddy development engineer/test driver brake the N'ring record himself, vs hiring a race car driver.

But it is too little too late. It had a nano-second spotlight. It got eclipsed in design by the XFR, in safety and driver aids by the new E63AMG, and it will likely be clobbered when the new F10-M5 debuts.

The issue with the US brands is that they have not staying power in their good cars.

EDT's example of the G8 is a good example. Great car - but it was killed after 1 year.

What was the predecessor to the CTS? What will be its successor? How many times has GM changed names? What crappy sedans will be above and below the mid size CTS?

There has been a C/E/S class and 3/5/7 series forever. Each car in the class/series is at or near the top in the category.

A flash in the pants single model does nothing to improve a brand's reputation.

For every CTS-V driven by a performance oriented driver, there are 1000 boaty and/or FWD cadillac sedans on the road driven by clueless people on the way to the nursing home.

It is hopeless. It can not be fixed.

Cadillac has NO BRAND EQUITY.

GM is much better off creating a new brand with a made up name like Acura, Lexus and the like.

It is beyond me why they can't see that.

WhyTech said...

"For every CTS-V driven by a performance oriented driver, there are 1000 boaty and/or FWD cadillac sedans on the road driven by clueless people on the way to the nursing home.

GM is much better off creating a new brand with a made up name like Acura, Lexus and the like."

Some things we agree on. The CTS-V might have a chance as a GM Lexus-like or Accura-like brand, but as long as it says "Cadillac" on it, the true car guys will stay away in droves.

As I previously posted re airplanes, these are consumer products and are not usually purchased on the basis of rigorous analysis, but rather on highly subjective impressions. Show me the car you drive regularly and I can tell a great deal about you. The nursing home inmage will plague Cadillac for some time to come.

StuckInNM said...

WhyTech said... "The nursing home image will plague Cadillac for some time to come."

Perhaps... but keep in mind Cadillac had tremendous success with the Fleetwood, de Ville, Eldorado, et al. I'm fairly sure Caddy consistently outsold Lincoln through most (if not all) of the 1960s-1990s, and was at the top of US luxury auto sales for most of that time as well.

There once was a market for land yachts... and GM responded with much success, and decent (for what they were) products. When that market shifted to the European/Asian model, Caddy was far too slow to update its lineup... but with certain exceptions (Cimarron, Escalade, V8-6-4 and Olds diesel engines) Cadillac need not apologize for very much in its history, if making money is the name of the game.

As long as GM is around, I think Cadillac be fine. It will almost certainly outlive Eclipse Aerospace.

WhyTech said...

"Cadillac need not apologize for very much in its history, if making money is the name of the game."

Agree - but they are going to appeal to a different segment of the market than those who buy MB, BMW, Porsche, etc.

Phil Bell said...

New headline post up!
-Phil