Sunday, November 15, 2009

So, How 'bout those Single Engine Jets? I thought it would be fun to see how the Cirrus program is coming along. Things have been a bit "disruptive" lately, with some management changes, but I think it is a promising program.

There's a great short article in Flying Magazine, March 2009, by Robert Goyer, Cirrus Vision Jet Gets Lighter. While tempted to place it "between" the Eclipse EA400 and EA500, marketing-wise, it is interesting to note that at 6000 MTOW (or 5,999, depending), and 1900 lbs thrust, spec-wise, it is much closer to the EA500. Performance wise, it is not quite so impressive compared to the EA500 though, with a full-fuel usable load of 400 lbs, and a max speed of 320 knots (odd that Cirrus compares it to the SR-22 Turbo: "Cirrus is designing the Vision SF50 jet to be a step-up aircraft for a pilot currently flying a high-performance single, like the Cirrus TURBO, or a twin engine piston rather than being a down-sized business jet. The Vision will carry more payload, farther and faster than the Cirrus TURBO while maintaining the same outstanding handling characteristics". Certianly the SR22 turbo is a very fine airplane, but still, using that comparison in one's own marketing information seems a bit overly modest. (Especially if there is a 300-400 percent price difference...)

"The New Cirrus Jet"
(Philip Greenspun's Blog; June 17, 2009- (It's not so new to readers here). Seems like I frequently come across Philg's postings when I'm searching for something or other on the web regarding airplanes. He's a good writer and observer- an interesting read indeed.
"I sat in a mock-up of the new Cirrus Jet today alongside Alan Klapmeier, the company’s co-founder". "If the Cirrus Vision jet can be delivered at anywhere near the originally promised price ($1 million 2006 dollars) it will certainly be a revolution in family jet" (!?! Guess KoolAid had to make up for lost sales in New Mexico somehow).
(About six weeks later, Alan Klapmeier was out, and his bid to take over the program rejected. Sounds like an outstandingly talented and pssionate aviation enthusiast. But I wonder if that poppycock about $1M had something to do with it...I think we've seen enough of that kind of bunk for a while. Still, he did a great job growing Cirrus from 1984-1999. Too bad Eclipse didn't study Cirrus. Or Cessna).

S-T-E-P Right Up!!
(This is from the Cirrus web site, Nov 16, 2009):
"Our expectations for the base cost will start around $1 Million US dollars...We are presently accepting deposits* for delivery positions and we will eventually ramp up to a delivery rate of one jet per business day. We expect the annual order rate will closely match the delivery rate, so the wait will never be shorter than it is now."

Private Plane Manufacturer Cirrus Aircraft Offers Vision Jet
(International Business Times, September 10, 2009):
"Customers who reserve their aircraft 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. The price will then increase beginning in January 2010".

Cirrus Hiking the Price of Vision Jet
(AIN, Chad Trautvetter, October 1, 2009):
"Cirrus Aircraft last month raised the price of the single-engine Vision Jet, a personal VLJ, to $1.39 million for existing position holders and to $1.55 million for new orders placed before December 31. The price increases to $1.72 million for orders placed after January 1."

(? $1.0M, $1.39M, $1.55M, $1.72M, in "2009 dollars", think maybe $2.0M in 2012?)

"Cirrus Jet in Capital Crunch, But Progressing
(AVweb, Mary Grady, November 5, 2009):
"Undertaking the development of a light jet is a project "not for the faint of heart," Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters said at AOPA's Aviation Summit on Thursday..."
(Nor for the light of least not when they start... although they do tend to get that way).

A memo from Brent Wouters, Cirrus President & CEO to Cirrus Aircraft Employees.
(Cirrus, November 10, 2009):
"Cirrus CEO notes significant progress in last 12 months, seasonal adjustsments still to be made and increasing optimism heading into 2010 in message to all employees".
(Nice that he's trying to keep everyone informed- I suspect the rumor mill there had a jump on the story before it was official though).

Cirrus Reduces Staffing Levels
(NorthlandNewsCenter, November 11, 2009):
"Company officials say more than 50 people are being furloughed...Cirrus officials says the move is in regard to an anticipated decline in economic demand during the first quarter of next year...Officials say the curtailments will not impede progress on Cirrus' jet program."

Cirrus Vision Overview
Nice slide show for "jet position holders". (That sounds a little more dignified than the Eclipse "position holders" nomenclature).

(Despite earlier metion of the L3 SmartDeck avionics package, the overview says V1 prototype updated to Garmin Perspective, which makes sense, since their piston lineup also uses Garmin).

But it looks as if there were some hard feelings over that:
L-3 seeks $21.7 M from Cirrus in SmartDeck Lawsuit.
(AINonline, Stephen Pope, July 1, 2009):
"L-3 says Cirrus then agreed to go ahead with the purchase of 75 SmartDeck systems, but in December asked that L-3 not ship the systems because of a slowdown in aircraft orders. In February L-3 sent Cirrus a bill for $18.7 million to cover SmartDeck development costs. Cirrus allegedly replied that it owed L-3 only $3.5 million–the stated purchase price for the 75 systems. Since then, “Cirrus has failed to pay any amount due to L-3 and has not responded to any communications from L-3,” the avionics maker said in its lawsuit, which is requesting an additional $2.99 million to recover money allegedly owed for stand-alone systems."

And, with the Cirrus cancellation, so far no announced OEM is using the L3 SmartDeck avionics package (New Flat Glass "L3 introduces SmartDeck with Huge Displays"
(Flying Magazine, November 2007, J. Mac McClellan).
Well, I guess in 2007 12.1 inches was "huge".
Still pretty nice, but I think the Garmin G3000 is 14.1 inches).
(Consistent with apparently no firm users for the SmartDeck, the L3 website, all the "news" articles are from 2007...)

As some have pointed out, the now-cancelled Grob SPn was using the Honeywell Apex avionics suite.

Grob went bankrupt, but it looks like somebody has bought them (yeah!), as their website seems to still be up, with some recent minor news).

Interestingly, as others have noted, Avidyne has a nice upgrade package for the piston powered SR-22 Cirrus aircraft).

Looks like Cirrus was going to use the old Northwest Airlines facility at MSP for the Vision Jet, until things slowed down.


Phil Bell said...

This is a rather strikingly "bubble-ous" picture, but I believe it is a true, if unusual, perspective (because the landing gear tires appear round, not oval). Pretty good size cabin, I should think.

View of the cabin with the sliding center seat. Pretty clever. (Given the weight limitations, I doubt if there would ever be three people large enough in back to need the extra shoulder room, but still, nice to perhaps bring it forward for a flat bench, if c.g. allows).

Note the funky little step/antenna looking thing at the lower aft corner of the door. It is the vortex generator- a big one- described on the slide showing air separation over the wing root. (This is the only picture I can find of it). Reminds me of the observation Bassmaster had regarding the VOR antennas on the vertical tail of the Eclipse being used as auxiliary lift devices...Say, where ARE the VOR antennas on the Cirrus Jet...?)

The ventral fins seem bigger here too, did there used to be just one central ventral (er, no rhym intended)- now there are two, but canted- maybe better rotation angle for takeoff and landings? (or maybe I just didn't have a good view of them before).

baron95 said...

Two comments:

1 - This just shows you, again, how efficient and outstanding the EA500 aero/structural design is. Same MTOW and it runs rings around the CirrusJet in range, speed, altitude, payload, despite having an extra engine and structure to fly 3 miles higher.

2 - I hope Cirrus makes it with the SJ50. But, to date, they have given no indication that they actually can pull it off. It sounds to me, that, like Piper and Diamond, they are going from redesign to redesign to redesign to redesign. Never a good sign.

baron95 said...

Regarding previous economics discussion...

Yes, things are tough right now.

Remember how tough they were in 1982? High unemployment and 20% interest rate? Remember how good they were in the 90s and earlier this decade? You have to be careful thinking the good or bad times will always last forever. It is a cycle.

Things will get better. Yes, even in manufacturing and construction for unskilled labor. Look at GM and Ford - despite all their problems, they are stronger companies now than in 2007.

In the end, the USA has the biggest asset in the world. People. People that come here and are born here to prosper.

Look at all these other countries that BEG mention that have higher per-capta GDP. Aging Fast. Declining population. Governments (e.g. Italy) bribing women to have children - but they don't want to have children in that system. The USA (also Australia, NZ) is the only advanced and large economy with a growing and vibrant population. We'll soak up all that excess housing in short order.

And BEG, like your "productivity" old-definitions, your use of per-capta GDP is very, very misleading.

I'll give you just two reasons:

1 - You are not adjusting for cost. I'd rather live on $20K in the Los Angeles than $40K in London or Tokyo.

2 - Family size. As I said above, the US population is still growing, and we have more kids than Ireland and Japan and Germany, etc in a household. So lets say the US average household has 3 ppl, and the average German household has 2. Lets say our per capta income is $40K and theirs is $50K (it is not). Per your conclusion, the Germans are living 25% better. Well, but per above, the average American family has a budget of $120K, while the average German family has a budget of $100K. True that 20% higher budget has to support 33% more people, but things like housing, don't scale linearly. Add to that the higher taxes, higher cost of living in Germany (everything from burgers to cars is more expensive), and you'll find out the answer as to why the average American family live in larger homes, has more cars, more material wealth, etc than the German family. And you'll find out why German women do not want to have kids.

Shadow said...

Wow, I see Baron couldn't miss an opportunity to pump up the Eclipse 500 yet again. Makes me wonder if he's on payroll at Eclipse Aerospace, or are they calling it Eclipse Aviation these days?

Phil, unless the management changes at Cirrus, then the jet will never be certified, let alone built, by that company. For starters, Cirrus doesn't currently have the funding needed to continue the R&D efforts for the program. Using drips and drabs from the SR20/22 profits will result in a time line that will make the aircraft obsolete by the time they're done with it. And Brent Wouters reportedly has the jet in his crosshairs--I was told that he went to the Cirrus board a day before this year's Sun n Fun started and asked that the jet program be killed. The board declined, but remember that Alan was chairman at the time. Will the board reject his suggestion next time, especially since Alan isn't there to save the jet?

IMO, the jet program is DOA at Cirrus.

Shane Price said...


For such an 'outstanding' design, the E500 seems to be headed toward the dustbin.

Maybe, just maybe, design is simply one part of the business equation which EAC so spectacularly failed to compute correctly.

If you asked any of the victims of this business 'crater' what they would have preferred, I'm pretty sure they'd be rooting for a continuing business over mere engineering prowess.

In particular I'm confident that the two hundred odd depositors currently suing named EAC bigwigs would prefer an aircraft to their current condition.

Heck, even some of the suppliers might get back on board if a few 'compromises' crept in.

But, and this is what really bugs me about EAI, not one jot of design is any use if there are no plans to restart production.

Without more aircraft getting built, EAI are simply running a glorified flying club. And it's a club that, by definition, can only get smaller over time. The E500, like any machine, will wear out and become uneconomic to operate.

Your economic argument for the FPJ has one, enormous, hole in it.


In Europe we 'treasure our leisure', seeking only the income that supports the lifestyle we choose. In America the 'trusting masses' work much too hard, denying yourselves time off in favor of more cash.

So it comes to pass that Americans, who have the disposable income to fund their VLJ plaything, don't retain enough time to actually enjoy it...

The outcome is predictable. Too many of your toys end up unwanted and unused.

In Europe we enjoy our toys, and as a result make (and use) 'best in class' cars, boats, hotels, skis, wristwatches, wine, beer (Guinness, without a doubt) and yes, aircraft, in the world.

I could, of course, make a much longer list, but what's the point?

You'd never have the time to appreciate it....


Shane Price said...


I'm interested in your thoughts on the Cirrus Jet. Recently I was approached by an 'interested party' who'd looked, carefully at a number of the live programs in this 'personal jet' arena.

They had contacted suppliers, identified potential customers, researched press articles and (you guessed it) trawled the blogs.

Cirrus was one of the few they'd narrowed down to, but they were worried by the same sorts of things you've identified. Leadership changes, program slippage, cost increases, vague sales numbers and wooly marketing.

Seems it's very hard to satisfy all the business requirements, when trying to drum up investment capital....

I told them that, if I was them, I'd be keeping my powder dry for a little longer. And half an eye on China as the likely medium term venue of choice for GA manufacture.

After all, Jack Pelton at Cessna clearly thinks similar thoughts, and he's no mug.

Unlike me!


gadfly said...

It’s that time for a comment or two, from the “gadfly”.

The US economy is going to hell in a hand-basket on “greased skids”, while our illustrious leader is off somewhere bowing to foreign leaders, apologizing for our existence, while it would appear that our formerly greatest enemy is telling “him” to get his “economy” in gear, or they will soon run out of customers, to which to sell their many products . . . at Walmart, Target, or “whatever”.

Strange world, it would seem! Yet nothing’s changed.

As our once great nation returns to agriculture (what with growing corn to distill to add to our gasoline to reduce our fuel mileage by a minimum of ten percent and increase the subsidy, etc., etc., etc.,) . . . and even that is now in question . . . we remember the time when Eli Whitney invented that great drink, “Cotton Gin”, that enabled one man to do the work of “fifty”.

Is it time to get cynical yet? . . . Kυνισμός . . . Hah! . . . bet you didn’t know that I know Greek! Well, the truth is “I don’t know Greek”, and came within a gnat’s eyebrow of flunking high-school Spanish . . . I made a deal with “Miss Utzman”, promising that if she gave me a passing grade (“D-”, as I recall), I would not take the “make-up class”. I made it through . . . earning grades qualifying me to go into the Navy Submarine Service (below “C” level . . . that’s a joke, son, a joke” . . . but not far from the truth) Truth is, it’s all Greek to me . . . and I haven’t a clue . . . but it’s impressive, don’t you think?

(Later, I did quite well in Spanish, and spent some time in “door-to-door” evangelism, in Chicago.)

Back to aerioplanes and things that go “zoom”, etc.: Whether it’s a “Cirrus” or “Eclipse” or “Whatever” . . . name your own poison, . . . Any company must be built on honesty, and a thorough knowledge of whatever they propose to produce. In today’s economy and political agenda, which is clearly aimed at destroying the American economy (it’s called “Marxism”, in case you hadn’t bothered to take the time to study Marx, Engels, Lenin, and Stalin . . . I have!, and written some papers on the subjects, and even received excellent grades from a “Marxist” college professor, English Rhetoric, Dr. Warnick, Orange Coast College, Costa Mesa, California, 1959 . . . in case there’s a skeptic in the crowd), and manufacturing structure, it is vitally important that not the slightest detail is to be overlooked.

The battle may appear in doubt . . . and it is a battle, even in the best of times. We began our first major battle when Jimmy Carter was doing his best to destroy the economy . . . but we won that battle, thanks to the next president.

The last thing any company needs . . . aircraft included, is to begin on false premises and political ties with people in high places.

In college, it doesn’t take the “professor” more than a couple minutes to see through a “scam” . . . nor does it take the public, and people who know about aircraft to see through the charade . . . that Eclipse presented.

Let’s not allow that to happen again.


(Single engine, "twin", who cares? Scam is the same in every language. Do it right . . . and honest, people, that is, the "right" people, will find you out . . . and the rest? . . . the "law" will find you out, eventually, and in the mean time, you will not enjoy peace, or success.)

gadfly said...

It’s truly fun making a comment now and then. Some of you write . . . on the side, and it’s an encouragement, to be sure. Sometimes, it would seem that battling the normal economy is enough . . . and lately, the US has elected a man that clearly stated that he would destroy certain major parts of our economy . . . our very nation. And now he’s in charge, or believes himself to be in charge.

My agenda is beyond the political elements . . . any of you who have followed the “gadfly” should know that by now. But I still belong strongly to the nation in which I was born, and served in certain conditions that one would not call “safe and serene”.

So let’s approach it from a different view . . . let’s move forward in time, just outside yours, and my, life-time. OK . . . now look back on what you and I have left behind. Do you see things that count for eternity? . . . and How ‘bout what’s going in your your absence? You left a family . . . or at least someone . . . and are you pleased with the legacy? No, leave yourself out for the moment . . . that might not even be appropriate for this website . . . and besides, I don’t have permission to go there.

But look back on your work. Are you pleased with what you did? Sure, you could have done better . . . all of us could . . . but at the time, did you give it your best?

Let’s keep it focused to the “news of the day” . . . the rest is for another time. Eclipse came and went . . . and now has somehow “returned”, but very few if any know what’s going on over at the west end of ABQ. Some others seem to be helping the “customers” . . . keeping some of the birds flying. That is a commendable enterprise . . . who could criticize such a noble endeavor.

Pardon me as the “gadfly” drifts about. Last week, a Democrat, of all people, died. Bruce King passed away. He was far more “conservative” than almost any living Republican . . . so we’ll pass on criticism about his “party”. Bruce (and the “gadfly” shares his name, as my middle name, and going back over seven hundred years of Scottish history) . . . was a most honorable man, a two-time governor of New Mexico, an owner of a vast ranch, honestly acquired . . . and completely free of any scandal. In the thirty nine years that I have called New Mexico my home, I have not once hears a single criticism that would put a shadow on the name of “Bruce King”. His “good work” ? . . . I’ll not go there. God alone knows . . . and that is all that counts. Do you need to know that he was kind? . . . honest? . . . without politcal blemish?

Let’s simply say that when it comes to the final judgement, it’s first “Whom you know” (Bruce King knew the right "One") . . . don’t miss that, it carries the weight of everything else. And secondly, “Were you obedient to what you were instructed?” (Outwardly, it would appear that Bruce King was a good steward of all that the "Master" left in His charge.)

Beyond that . . . do whatever! . . . It don’t matter much, no how!


(They were bragging about property. The first said, “I had so much land it would take me an entire day to reach the western property line.” “Yep”, said the second, “I once had a pickup like that.”

agroth said...

From Phil: As some have pointed out, the now-cancelled Grob SPn was the only firm customer they had for the L3 SmartDeck avionics suite.


Wasn't the SPn going to use the Honeywell Primus Apex? That's what the mockup had when I sat in it a few years ago. Did they announce a change that I missed?

agroth said...

From Phil: The ventral fins seem bigger here too, did there used to be just one central ventral (er, no rhym intended)- now there are two, but canted- maybe better rotation angle for takeoff and landings? (or maybe I just didn't have a good view of them before).


You are correct on the former single fin. I think the change is to refine stall and stability characteristics.

Beedriver said...

It is not surprising the EA 500 has a better range than the Cirrus. The EA 500 is designed to fly higher where fan jets are more efficient etc. To make a fan jet efficient in the 20's you need a really big fan, ie propeller. if you wish to look at airplanes designed to fly in the 20's powered by jet A you need to look at the TBM 850 and Pilatus PC 12.

Even then the fuel efficiency of a turbo prop is terrible. the smaller efficient ones like the Garrett have a fuel specific of .6 or more lb per hp hr. Turbines get less efficient the smaller they are. to get efficient you need engines like are used on the most modern airliners with huge bypass ratios and tight clearances between the blades of the compressor etc and the housing.

For comparison modern diesels (and even the Junkers aircraft engines made by the German's in world war two) get .35 or less lb per hp hr

What needs to be done is repackage the Diesel technology now being used at Audi, BMW, Diamler and Iveco into an engine designed for aircraft use with the right form factor light weight etc.

It cannot be done by just taking a v8 like Thielert did because the v8 is too heavy and the wrong shape to replace existing engines. The engine needs to be purpose designed for aircraft use. People that have looked seriously project that a 550 hp diesel full power to 20,000ft + would weigh about 700 lbs wet wit everything necessary firewall forward without the propeller.

The Negativist said...

I've followed development of "the jet" since the beginning, or at least since 2005 or so. I really hate to see the design sprout more fins, running the risk of devolving into something like this.

agroth said...


If it makes you feel better, there has been a net loss of fins on the Vision. It has gained a ventral fin, but lost the winglets. :-)

The Negativist said...

Give 'em time, agroth, give 'em time. My gut tells me the Vision will also prove to be an inelegant, inefficient design -- one requiring multiple "attachments" to make it handle properly. Hope I'm wrong.

agroth said...


I hope the program survives long enough for you to be proven one way or the other.

I agree the 1900 is aesthetic overkill, but I've always liked the look of the Lear 31. Of course, I also like the look of the DA42, so that's not saying much. ;-)

baron95 said...

Shane, tell the person that approached you that there is no (is in none, nada) benefit to bet on any design.

Just wait till they are flying and available. One thing is for certain, a significant percentage of position holders on DiamondJet, CirrusJet, AnyJet, will put their jets on the market at or shortly after delivery.

So why bet and take the risk and tie your money?

The CirrusJet and DiamondJet will *AT BEST* match the TBM850 performance in cruise, while offering a lot less range.

That is hardly progress worth having.

And we all know what the worst case scenario is, right? Adam 500 anyone?

And the middle of the road scenario. EA500 anyone.

For $3M take your pick. TBM850, C510, Phenom 100. All great planes, and well supported.

For $2M? Simple.

Wait till the above planes depreciate to that level.

Gambling on a startup jet is not advisable.

Phil Bell said...

Thanks for the catch regarding the Grob SPn and Honeywell Apex- you are quite correct. (I've updated the headline to reflect your good catch). Which makes it even more discouraging for the folks at L3, I should think- sure looks like a nice product.

Phil Bell said...

Thanks for the insight on the precarious plight of the Cirrus Vision. Deep pockets required.

(Seems like Cirrus would have sold it off to Alan K for some bucks, if they didn't want it- maybe some hard feelings there or such? ...Or maybe he just didn't have the dough...)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Shane,
Regarding the Cirrus program, I think you are spot on- "I told them that, if I was them, I'd be keeping my powder dry for a little longer".

What worries me is the moving price- and non-refundable deposit. Technologically, I think it considerably lower risk than Eclipse (mostly because the avionics and engine are much more mature. And Cirrus has a "cash flow" to sustain development. But I think it would keep them drained for 2-3 years- maybe TOO drained.

As Baron put it when he concurred with you, "Just wait till they are flying and available".

Phil Bell said...

Hi Gadfly,
"Eli Whitney invented that great drink, “Cotton Gin”, that enabled one man to do the work of “fifty”.

Was that
"Cotton Gin" the "KoolAid" of it's Day?

Phil Bell said...

Aha- yes, about those ventral fins- sort of like the canted-outward fins on some other programs- gives a naturnal "pitch over" load in a stall, I would suppose.

Phil Bell said...

The Negativist,
That B-1900 is one kludged looking product. Guess it worked adequately back in it's day (but it sure looks like a fright!).

Phil Bell said...

I concur about the Adam- I thought it had a nice roomy cabin, but it looked a little inefficient/"draggy".

Beedriver said...

my view is that cirrus blew it. they should have designed a single engine turboprop like the epic or the TBM 850 It would be flyable by the average piston cirrus owner with some training, be anatural step up from the piston single without needing a type rating etc., have had far better range and carried as much as the jet and even would survive a bird strike. Again the Cirrus jet only had one engine so there is no advantage on safety.

a turboprop 6 place is not as sexy as a jet but is much more practical. Fast, longer range, comfortable, etc.

I think the new cirrus should snoop around Epic and see if they can buy the rights to the single turboprop in the bankruptcy. It is composite, which Cirrus knows how to make and a proven design which would fit right into their product line.

A single turboprop at the same price they are charging for their jet would be a spectacular winner.

Beedriver said...

RE. Epic Air what is the latest news on EPIC Air bankruptcy?

is there a blog out there that is following the events of the bankruptcy?

The trip I took in an experimental EPIC LT was great.

this was a short hop from Minneapolis to and from OSH . 250 knots or so at 6000 ft

the airplane had just finished a non stop trip from Seattle to Minneapolis with six people on board plus a dog and luggage.

It is really a nice very roomy airplane and much more capable than any of the single engine jets and even the EA 500

Barry said...

I was in Colo. Springs this morning and they were loading the Sport-Jet in a semi. Said they were taking the plane to LA for a show on Sat. I'll try to find out more about it and post an update.

Shane Price said...

Wedge in the Doghouse, Snippet

Word reaches me that The Bearded One is pretty cheesed off at getting sued by EAC depositors.

Especially as he's had to hire expensive lawyers, and pay them himself. Must feel like getting divorced, all over again.


EASA playing hardball, Snippet

Reports in the specialist press, which somehow find their way here to Ireland, indicate that our European Mandarins are following the old dictum of 'don't get mad, get even'. After they withdrew the original certificate, issued a year ago, stringent conditions have just been laid down for any revival.

Which boils down to EAI paying (again) for all the works done previously.

And everyone knows how expensive EU paperwork ends up being. The chattering classes over here don't see how EAI can afford the EASA cert....

There you go, two Snippets for the price of one.


michal said...

"discouraging for the folks at L3, I should think- sure looks like a nice product."

I read review of L3 in FLYING. The author was not pleased with the fact that it lacked twist-able knobs and everything was relegated to softkeys, even simplest thing like course or heading change was done through softkeys.

I agree about Epic LT - great aircraft, great design, it is a far more impressive aircraft to me than any of the VLJs. Too bad the owner turned out to be another swindler.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

No real news on the Epic front that I have heard, I fear the worst frankly which is too bad.

There are discussions ongoing but I am not at liberty to discuss any of them (only passingly aware of them to begin with).

I actually like Beedriver's suggestion that 'somebody' pick up the Epic program, but I doubt Cirrus could, let alone would.

I think the Jet is dead at this point, all signs portent its eventual demise, I believe between now and perhaps SNF next year - Cirrus can blame the economy for lack of sales AND lack of capital, but the program has not been adequately supported for about a year, maybe more.

I am not sure at this point that Cirrus is truly a going concern - given the wild fluctuations in staffing and the story behind it. I think they are probably going courting and are, or at least were, trying to make things look good to a potential suitor. I have no inside info here, just a suspicion.

If I had to suggest a potential suitor for the Epic program, it would be an established OEM that already builds business class aircraft, and ideally would have some composite experience - hint, there are two companies that fit this description.

If the M&M show have to repay for the EASA certificate they can kiss 7 figures goodbye, so I suspect if the snippet proves out that M&M need to pay 'again', then NewCo will announce that they will not pursue EASA until they 'stabilize the final configuration' or similar.

The only SEJ that will get to market, IMO, is the Diamond, and it will be heavy and slow with no real beneift over comparable turboprops beyond jet appeal, which will be 'enough' of a reason, for enough people, to make it a modest success.

PlaneTruth said...

Shane, as usual you haven't got a clue.

1) Vern's lawyers should be paid for by the D&O insurance carrier. That's what the coverage is for.

2) The EASA revocation was for non-payment of some of the work done. EAI paid the bill and the certificate was reinstated. Done.

baron95 said...

Phil Bell said...
And Cirrus has a "cash flow" to sustain development.

Are you sure that cash flow is positive?

Eclipse has cash flows (from investors and depositors) measured in the tens to occasionally hundreds of millions of dollars per month - for many years. And that was not enough.

And you think Cirrus will be able to do it with cash-flow from operations, which at best is near zero?

The only way to design, certify, jump-start manufacturing for a new jet program is with massive investments - not trickle cash-flow from operations. That is like trying to do open heart surgery a little bit every day.

T2 said...

Plane Truth

Not sure where you are getting your info but...

EASA OFFERS NEW ECLIPSE OWNERS GUIDE TO RECERTIFY EA500 – The European Aviation Safety Agency has outlined a series of measures that Eclipse Aerospace must meet before it will reinstate the type certificate for the Eclipse 500 aircraft. EASA revoked the type certificate in June (BA, June 29/303). The agency more recently transferred the name of the TC to new owner Eclipse Aerospace, but did not reinstate it (BA, Oct. 5/152).
Eclipse Aerospace in late October received a list of steps that it will have to take in order to get its TC back.
Those items include: incorporating the Eclipse Aviation Service Bulletin, “EASA Configuration Definition for Aircraft to be exported to and registered in EASA Member States;” complying with FAA airworthiness directives dealing with fuel filters, pitot system, throttle lever and the airplane flight manual; ensuring that the EA500 is operated according to the EASA-approved Airplane Flight Manual; obtaining Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum operating approval; and not allowing any changes to the EA500’s software-based line replaceable units without coordination with EASA. The agency also wants to approve any modification or changes in cockpit configuration which may affect aircrew workload, cockpit noise level or day/night operational capabilities.
By Benet J. Wilson (

baron95 said...

CW would be an established OEM that already builds business class aircraft, and ideally would have some composite experience - hint, there are two companies that fit this description.

Lets see, builds business class aircraft and has some composite experience.... lets count...

Cessna (C350/400 are composite)

HawkerBeech (The most - Starship, Premier, Horizon)

TBM/EADS (also EADS/ACJ) - lots of composite structures and expertise there.

Bombardier/Lear - tons of composite expertise, including the first all/mostly-composite part 25 project - Lear 85.

Embraer - Lots of composite structures expertise.

Boeing BBJ - no need to explain.

Mitsubishi, get the picture - too many to count.

baron95 said...

I agree with CW that the DiamondJet has the best chance as the "next" VLJ to be certified.

But even that project has many hurdles to overcome. Company financial stability, certification, fuel burns/range down low, weight, bleed-air to heat that long inlet in incing, etc, etc, etc.

I hope they make it.

Compared to the TBM they will have *A LOT* of advantages:

1 - Price (roughly 2/3 of the price).

2 - Safety - nothing worse on the ramp with kids around than a PT-6 free spinning gigantic prop.

3 - Operating cost - those PT-6/prop combinations are hugely expensive. Overtime the -33 should do better.

4 - Comfort, quietness, vibration.

5 - Lower MTOW (sub 6,000 lbs) which translates into much lower annual and landing fees, particularly overseas.

6 - Substantially improved avionics.

7 - Much simpler engine start, operation (with FADEC, no flap interconnects to limit power, prop controls, etc).

8 - Better visibility over the nose.

9 - Bigger, better positioned radar antenna.

10 - It is a jet, it is a jet, it is a jet. It even looks to the lay person that it has two engines. Will make some passengers feel more at ease.

It will also have several disadvantages.

A - Range.

B - No reverse (big item on contaminated short runways for prop pilots transitioning to jets).

C - NO huge cargo door to load big items.

D - Requires a type rating, due to the brain-damaged FAA.

I think on balance, given unrestricted production capacity, it should outsell the TBM by a good margin - 3 to 1 maybe - 120 to 40/year.

airtaximan said...


just like the plane...

Floating Cloud said...

Mayor Marty trips up

It would seem our outgoing Mayor Marty, Eclipse and Aviation Enthusiast, leaves his Albuquerque post with an indelible foot print on the backside of the city.

michal said...

"6 - Substantially improved avionics."

Identical avionics - both have G1000.

baron95 said...

LOL Michal.

Sit on a Cirrus Perspective or Phenom PRodigy G1000-based cockpit, then sit on the TBM850 or Baron G58.

Sad, sad, sad.

Not the same at all.

Don't be fooled.

Beedriver said...

An interesting piece of data about what airports you can land at in some parts of Europe. According to one of the Aerostar owners who lives in Munich, no airplane that is less than 6000 lbs can land at the Munich main airport. That is why he flies a 700 Aerostar at 6315 lbs gross weight. If his airplane was less than 6000 lbs he could not land at the main airport. then he would have to use an airport 40 Km further out.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron, you have listed several companies, two of which are correct from my original point, the rest are not - you missed my point.

I would explain it, but you would probably just simply counter that I did not know what I meant when I wrote it.

The AvWeek article T2 quoted from is very interesting, I forgot about it (been trying to not get involved here lately). EASA has laid out some pretty tough requirements and explicitly identifies some tough items that are, in all honesty, beyond the ability of M&M to guarantee.

Strange things are afoot at the Circle K Bill.

michal said...

"Not the same at all.
Don't be fooled."

Exactly the same, +/- synthetic vision which can be installed. Who is fooled here? But your style of argumentation is clear - whip up everything to absurdity.

Shane Price said...
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Shane Price said...

Plain Truth,

Get connected my friend, to more reliable sources that your EAI PR buddies.

T2 posted the piece from "Business Aviation" issue dated 16th of November, 2009, which is, after all, only two days ago.

What part of that wasn't clear? The EASA TC will not be reinstated until EAI spend a lot of money they don't have, and offer promises they can't keep...

As for Wedges' insurance company they have declined cover, which is, after all, what you'd expect them to do. So far I'm reliably informed he's spent a handy four figure sum filing his defense.

We all know how hard it will be to prove that The Bearded One was merely negligent in his duties, which is what the policy covers.

The 'shocking' alternative is that the judges decide Wedge acted in bad faith, in which case the insurance company can wash their hands of the claims, and deny Wedge his legal costs.

So, is he merely an unlucky fool, or a devious, calculating fraudster?

Frankly, I don't care, as either outcome will show the world why many of us refer to him as The Wedge.

The simplest tool known to man....


julius said...

Plain Truth,

what's the current value of the FAA TC?
Oh, M&M should improve FIKI, TC holder! Where do you repair you a/c?

What's the value of an EASA TC for M&M?
EASA, AvioNG 1.5 and FIKI: We will be starting one EASA, AvioNG 1.5 and FIKI upgrade on a
European airplane in October. We will price this upgrade when we finish this aircraft as it will be used
for EASA Validation/Verification.

How much do the CRIs ("modifications") cost for an EASA cert a/c apart from FIKI and AVIONG 1.5?
If there are no EASA E500-cert MRO-shops in EASA-land then forget your dream to sell your a/c in EASA(EURO)-land!


baron95 said...

OK Michal - go hit the recover to level button on the TBM. Let me know how that works out for you from an unusual attitude.

I could go on and on - but you think all G1000 implementations are alike, more power to you.

Beedriver said...

Here is a data sheet that compares the Epic LT, TBM 850 and some other turboprops.

It would be interesting to see how they stack up against the EA500 and the other single engine jets. anyone want to do the comparison?

Barry said...

I found out the Sport-Jet is staying in CA for a couple of wks. The second show is a black tie, invitation only, show. Think they said it's Dec 6. I asked the price for the show; $1.1 mil (engine, avionics) for completed experimental.

The guys at the fbo there said folks from New Zealand and England were in for 3 days of mtgs recently re Sport-Jet. Second time for New Zealand. Something may be up here, hard to say, I think they are pretty tight-lipped about that program.

michal said...

"OK Michal - go hit the recover to level button on the TBM."

No such button, and so? Is Perspective's blue button such a huge leap into the future? Don't make me laugh please. Do Boeings have such a buttons, they must clearly be in the middle ages. In fact TBM's systems (with CAS) are perfectly well integrated into the G1000 suite, except one mechanical dial for pressurization. You said you could go on and on - I would gladly hear more because if the blue button was at the top of your list it doesn't bode well for the rest.

airsafetyman said...


I recently had to sit though a painful presentation by an EASA mandarin. This clown was with the UK CAA before he transferred to EASA so you can imagine what a disaster he would be to do business with. You remember EASA, they were the ones who sat on their asses for months before finally observing that the Euro-produced pitot tubes for the Airbus were - - - - shit.

bill e. goat said...

"I think it (Cirrus Jet) is considerably lower risk than Eclipse (mostly because the avionics and engine are much more mature."

And the CEO too!!

"And Cirrus has a 'cash flow' to sustain development".

There was no problem with cash flow at Eclipse !!

It was just the "disruptive" flow rates involved !!

bill e. goat said...

Your socioeconomic theory has had quite an impact on me !!

I enjoy a good challenge, (but too much of a good thing...?)

But don't fear, I'm busy working on a response!


bill e. goat said...
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bill e. goat said...

"It would seem our outgoing Mayor Marty, Eclipse and Aviation Enthusiast, leaves his Albuquerque post with an indelible foot print on the backside of the city."

Figure the state & city of ABQ "flushed" $20M on the hype of Eclipse.

Mayor Marty was in office for 8 years.

$20M / 8 years / 250 biz days per year =

$10K/biz day

Five business days would be $50K

Thanks for the link, "Mayor Chavez gets $37K in worker's comp" (back injury while running around on a photo op during a brush fire).

Assuming mayor Marty was out for a week recovering, it seems like it would have been cheaper to have him on leave for all eight years!!

(Same for most politicans, probably :)

bill e. goat said...
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bill e. goat said...

(And btw, I think the tooth fairy short changes people, and Santa helps himself to the cookie jar).

baron95 said...

michal said...

"OK Michal - go hit the recover to level button on the TBM."

You said you could go on and on - I would gladly hear more

I and everyone else could go on and on...

E.g. Plane and Pilot Magazine: "First things first, Cirrus Perspective isn’t a G1000. The displays and bezels are different—bigger screens, fewer buttons. The architecture is different—dual and redundant attitude and heading reference systems (AHRS). The operation and buttonology are different, meaning intuitive and logical. The autopilot’s logic and failure modes are different; they’re more fault-tolerant and robust, thanks to those redundant AHRS, and as such, the names were changed to protect the innocent. Maybe it’s a G10,000, but whatever you call it, it’s not your father’s G1000."

- 35% Larger PFD with enhanced SVT integration and HITS
- Significantly enhanced autopilot logic, not limited to recover to level button (a.k.a. the push before you pull [the chute] button)
- 3" grouped and lined backup instruments vs unreadable and scattered on the TBM
- Substantially enhanced, simplified and grouped within easy reach of buttons and knobs.

And on the Prodigy...
- ALL THREE G-1000 displays are IDENTICAL and SWAPABLE (with jsut a screwdriver) for dispatch reliability - you can launch with 2 working.
- The G1000 display config is not stored on the displays, but off-board for ease up swap and upgrade.
- A central maintenance computer records all events of interest and will soon be datalinked to Embraer's central maintenance.
- CAS has a priority system to announce faults - for example a failure of a system that has redundancies and the pilots can't act on will not be announced on an ILS - it will be announced on the ground.
- Electronic, battery powered backup instruments (PFD-like presentation) that provides A THIRD ADHRS that can display on the G1000 PFD (should one or two Garmin ADHRS units fail).
- Misconfiguration alerting (e.g. incorrect flap setting as you advance power for take-off)

Does that help?

{p.s. not a knock on the TBM at all - great plane - they just did a plain vanilla, on-the-cheap G1000 implementation. Embraer and Cirrus invested *a lot* on flight deck "sophisticated simplicity". Embraer focused on dispatch and robust maintenance, Cirrus focused on the low-time pilot.

Well, at least the TBM is not as bad as the PC-12 which has dozens of additional buttons and complexity, for no added benefit.

baron95 said...

Sorry to disappoint you B.E.G., but I don't have a "socioeconomic theory".

I just report on actuality. No value judgment, no wishing things were different - just observe, note, adapt and enjoy.

Incidentally, did you catch the news that VW received 62,000 applications to their 2,000 or so positions in their new factory in Tennessee? Starting wage $15/hr rising to $20/hr in 3 years. 300 already hired. No unions in sight. No whining about work rules.

If you missed that, you probably caught on that BMW and MB are moving new products for assembly in the US South as well, right?

Oh and that Chinese companies are setting up battery and wind-turbine manufacturing sites in the US to take advantage of "attractive labor conditions".

Not theory - just actuality. The good kind.

michal said...

"Does that help?"

No Baron it does not help. On the Perspective your words (lots of them and very flowery) fall flat, you have not mentioned a single item besides larger PFD that TBM doesn't have (but then it has a larger MFD). Instead we get a barrage o meaningless propaganda slogans like 'substantial', 'significant', 'intuitive', 'logical', etc. But to finally gain some traction you rolled out Phenom 100, a much more expensive aircraft than TBM. But even then Prodigy's features represent only incremental enhancements considering the incremental price increase of the whole package, nothing that would even remotely be a game changing experience. So ultimately your arguments are as hollow as always - smoke and mirror and if nothing works - drown everything in simplistic slogans. You missed your calling .. you should be a used car dealer with this amount of spinning you are capable of.

julius said...


Oh and that Chinese companies are setting up battery and wind-turbine manufacturing sites in the US to take advantage of "attractive labor conditions".

You remember your words: Design made in US - produced in China!
China is looking for leadership...
even at the expense of the health of its population!

Stand by instruments: Cirus, Mooney, Cessna ("old" pistons) delight the troubled pilots with misplaced standy instruments: at the knees (Cirrus/Cessna) or in front of the copilot (Mooney)!

Is there any need to distinguish between MFD an PFD in a modern a/c?
Obviously not! It's just the "contents": In front of the pilot(s) so-called primary flight data are mainly presented and in the middle (or the second display) one also displays other "secondary" data.

I think, when rolling on the airport the airport chart could be offered in front of the pilot.
With "Ready for departure" the typical "flight instuments" should be shown in front of the pilot etc.

All these functions are available - but perhaps they just part of the screen hardware logic!


Dave said...

I don't know if this has been mentioned before, but Roel and Al are really going at it in court. Mann is accusing Roel of hiding assets and he even hired a PI to do a report on Mann's hidden assets. Mann also pre-emptively seized (with a foreign court order) Roel's boat.

gadfly said...

Up where we live in what's known as the "East Mountains" (just east of the Sandia Mountains, that border Albuquerque), we have small insects called "No-see-um’s". As the name implies, they are almost invisible . . . but they have a bite that causes many folks, like my wife, to swell up wherever they "bite", and small weaping sores continue for a few weeks. The first major rains of the summer stop the menace . . . but until then, people with allergies may suffer . . . sometimes with eyes almost swollen shut.

They are a major nuisance, even to those of us who seem to have blood that is fatal to mosquitoes. But the “gadfly” will continue to be a nuisance, reminding folks . . . Well, here’s what I just said to one of you in an email: “As time passes, some of the earlier concerns about "metal fatigue" are going to be more and more a concern. As far as I can determine, no qualified empirical testing has ever taken place . . . and me thinks there lurks serious growing problems just below the surface of all that smooth white paint. If and when a piece of skin comes loose in flight, the results may not end as happily as the 737 in Hawaii, that transformed into a "convertible" in mid-flight.”
Of course, even that Hawaiian incident did not end happily for the “stewardess” that suddenly, and without warning, disappeared into the Pacific Ocean.
Someone on this blog-site answered my last comments with not allowing any of the “A&P’s” in his group to even work on the little jet. As an “ex” A&P, I cannot blame him.

But in my own mind, ignoring the obvious is living in a fool’s paradise. This little bird, no matter how “pretty” or how much it might be, or could have been, has never truly proven itself, nor has it been put to the test. My own first experiences, going back six decades and more, were observing, and later actually building/designing test fixtures, etc., to “prove” reliability of critical aircraft control and safety systems. Good design . . . good equipment has nothing to fear. Should anyone in aviation expect anything less than common practice in the 1940's, ‘50's, etc.? Or, maybe the new mind-set is to pretend like “Mary Baker Glover Eddy” . . . the danger doesn’t exist . . . and if a person just has the proper mental attitude, everything will turn out “just fine”.


(‘Just when you think you have seen the last of him, he shows up, . . . again!)

airsafetyman said...

"Mann also pre-emptively seized (with a foreign court order) Roel's boat."

No! Not the Favonius! What will the Roelster do without one of the wonderful Euro-boats to campaign in on the yachtie circuit? Is there no justice?

RonRoe said...

gadfly said: "As far as I can determine, no qualified empirical testing has ever taken place"

At the last NBAA E500 Maintnance and Operations session, EAI reported that 48,000 cycles of fatigue testing had been completed. Only two minor cracks had appeared.

According to EAI, reaching 60,000 cycles with similarly good results will allow them to extend the life limit to 20,000 cycles, with no calendar limits.

The current 10 year limit was based on static testing only, where the test machine was broken during testing because they exceeded the limits of the test rig before they reached the airframe's limits.

Shane Price said...


Al v Roel

Last I heard, Bart (the son who 'viewed' the plant during Chapter 7) was running 'blocking tackle' for his old man, who's alleged to have ducked coming to the hearings.

I was wondering why, but now I understand.

Mr Mann has seized his only remaining means of trans Atlantic transport....


baron95 said...

LOL - Mann vs Roel - that cracks me up. Like a soap-opera.

Now we just need for a someone's body to be found in the boat ballast tank.

On a more serious note, it jsut demonstrate how Vern, Mann and Pieper, (perhaps other investors) went about this venture in a "personal" way, not looking dispassionately at the merits and risks.

Same seems to be true with Epic, with lots of commingling of personal and business assets and expenses.

Another ego/personal-feelings saga came to a head at Cirrus with the A.K.

Adam was always personality-driven.

Predictable results ensued.

Floating Cloud said...

Bill e. Goat,

Mayor Marty tripping on fence to catch APD helicopter during bosque fire photo op? 37,000 + dollars…

Mayor Marty getting medical treatment for back injury for life? Priceless.

Brought to you by the makers of “Eclipse,” the paint job that makes you look much leaner and meaner than you really are.

bill e. goat said...

Hi Floating_Cloud,
I'd rather look skinny and pretty.
I've heard stripes make people look thinner.

Looks like Wedge has gone on a diet.

(But then, looks might be deceiving- some say one can't change their stripes...)

Floating Cloud said...

Bill e. Goat,

I know those horizontal stripes really stink!

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

One might say,

"A tree is known by it's fruit".


"A skunk by any other name, is still as skunk".

(Or something like that .)

bill e. goat said...

I think the attitude recovery button on the Cirrus is a pretty cool idea.

But, like their "ballistic recovery parachute", I somehow wonder if it's not there to compensate for unproven (or worse) spin characteristics...

(Still, a nifty idea regardless).

bill e. goat said...

I was pleasantly surprised by your innovative idea regarding the chart location during taxi (in front of the pilot on the PFD, instead of on a MFD).

Down right...Disruptive!!

(Makes a feller wonder why nobody hasn't already done that).

BassMaster said...

Did anyone else see the pr about the eai deal with the makers of corridor MX software. Don't see what the big deal is since naj already uses it. Reminds me of mcconells big deal with outsourcing IT at ea just before the doors closed. Alleged huge contract when they couldn't even fund payroll. Naj has been around for a good while providing solid MX for many types. Sure they have a vested intrest with their ownership of a small fleet of 500s but I fail to see what the risk exposure provides them above what they already had without the alphabet club.

As for a 20 yr life? Does the testing involve spilled sodas and such in the belly true to real life testing. Humidity and saline conditions? We will unfortunately see things happen well before even 2014 so let's first see 10 years.

Gad not sure why your so concerned with the chem milling as there are other issues. I certainly agree that a skin faliure will be catastrophic but let's hope that folks do their jobs to create a proactive MX program. We should be more afraid of overspeeds in certain high time and cycle planes. It seems the typical 500 is almost equal in hrs and cycles. Try to find a straight answer to how many fuel leaks have been fixed on those oh so flexible wings. Find out how many MX techs have requested ndt for windsheild frames. Sure old lears get the same rap but they are acually old.

bill e. goat said...

"Sorry to disappoint you B.E.G., but I don't have a 'socioeconomic theory'."
Sorry to tell you Baron, it is obvious you do have an agenda.

"I just report on actuality. No value judgment, no wishing things were different - just observe, note, adapt and enjoy."

Oh my, that's rather amusing and insulting at the same time. It is obvious you are reporting on the part of the story which promotes the agenda you are trying to advance. It's generally amusing that you believe it's not obvious, but also annoying that you believe others are so incapable of analysis, ill informed, and gullible, that they might be duped into accepting the erroneous conclusions you promote.

"Incidentally, did you catch the news that VW received 62,000 applications to their 2,000 or so positions in their new factory in Tennessee? Starting wage $15/hr rising to $20/hr in 3 years. 300 already hired. No unions in sight. No whining about work rules."

Ah yes, the anti-union agenda, for one, just came out. And the low wages is good, is another.

Manufacturing jobs paying just twice the minimum wage is an urgent alarm. This is illustrative of the race to the bottom. (What, another agenda perhaps? Hmm- we'll have to pay close attention).

"If you missed that, you probably caught on that BMW and MB are moving new products for assembly in the US South as well, right?"

Another *part* of the story. You didn't mention what products were moved OUT of the US South. Or what products stayed. And why.

"Oh and that Chinese companies are setting up battery and wind-turbine manufacturing sites in the US to take advantage of 'attractive labor conditions'".

Oh deary me. Baron, I enjoy the information you tease us with, and the tantalizing conclusions you offer.

( China seeks $450M in U.S. Stimulus money for windmills ).

("As a result, we’ve got a consortium—U.S. Renewable Energy Group, Cielo Wind Power and A-Power Energy Generation Systems—so bold that it believes it can get nearly half a billion dollars in American stimulus money for 2,000 Chinese wind turbine jobs. The consortium says it would import 240 Chinese turbines to Texas, where 300 temporary construction jobs would be created and another 30 permanent jobs established.")

B95: "Not theory - just actuality. The good kind".

I think...NOT. Instead, let's try... "spinning an agenda for those who are gullible dim wits, who don't read. Or think".

Not to be argumentative, it's just you can't issue agenda statements, (even discounting this too-easy China example), and expect them to have traction or even credibility, by relying on stupidity, ignorance, and/or like bias.

(It makes responding more like a tiring chore of debunking a cultist, rather than engaging in illuminating discorse).

bill e. goat said...

of course :)

baron95 said...

Hey B.E.G. - I never said I don't have an agenda. I said I don't have a "socioeconomic theory" as you stated.

My agenda is pretty simple. I try to point out when the wrong lessons are being "learned".

The US economy is not crashing down simply because we have a housing bubble to work through.

Epic/Piper/Adam/etc won't sail through with pipe dreams.

Eclipse, with all their problems, was not evil, and did accomplish more than any other startup JetMaker since the 60s.

Free Americans are amongst the most productive ($$$ output/$$$ labor cost) workers in the world, and have nothing to fear, but the threat of intransigent unions and politicians.

The US-China symbiotic model, has the potential to achieve escape velocity and leave the rest of the world behind.

So, lets not screw it up.

In other words, US future is bright, and anyone that preaches doom and gloom gets a piece of the Baron agenda ;)


Andy said...

From BEG:

I think the attitude recovery button on the Cirrus is a pretty cool idea.

But, like their "ballistic recovery parachute", I somehow wonder if it's not there to compensate for unproven (or worse) spin characteristics...

(Still, a nifty idea regardless).


I won't reopen the parachute/stall debate, except to say that Alan was talking about a parachute system before the SR20 was even designed.

I'm not going on things I've read. I spent a lot of time at airshows as a kid in the 1980s talking with the entire Cirrus team (which was really small then--like single digits) along with a bunch of other aircraft companies. That was my favorite part of airshows.

Yes, Cirrus chose an alternate method of compliance, and I certainly wish they would have done the whole battery of tests and made any adjustments for standard compliance.

My understanding is that SR22s can be successfully spun (I'm referring to sanctioned testing), but don't necessarily comply through the full envelope, hence the use of the parachute as an alternate compliance method. The idea for the parachute, though, came long before the intention to use it for alternate compliance on spins.

The attitude recovery button is simply one more tool to help disoriented pilots reorient themselves (like in the clouds or at night after getting into an unusual attitude). Yes, you can do this with a regular autopilot, but we all know how people freeze up and it's a lot easier to be able to just hit one well-lit different-colored button.

I would guess something similar will be standard on most light aircraft in the next five years. Heck, I included this feature on a hypothetical future aircraft back when I was a "tween" 20 years ago. The idea has been floating around a long time.

(Andy Groth--aka agroth :-))

P.S. Thanks, Phil, for your work on the blog!

Shane Price said...


The recent 'Attitude Recovery Button' discussion prompts me to consider something.

Would such an ARB have helped Vern during any part of his time at EAC?

I, for one, think not. He was too arrogant and blinkered to learn from his multiple mistakes or take advice from anyone.

What worries me is that EAI appear to have similar attitudes....


You have an interesting approach to what you perceive as the root cause of American manufacturing problems vis (too) powerful unions and (dodgy) politicians. You go further and claim that American workers, unfettered by these 'twin evils' are the most productive in the world.


You choose to ignore the crippling cost of mostly imported energy, which sees America on the bottom of any international productivity ranking.

Historically, the American body politic has made some catastrophically poor choices, the most injurious being the hysterical reaction to civilian nuclear power after Three Mile Island. That was a failure, not of 'unions' or 'politicians' but of your silly and misguided media.

Follow the French lead. Ignore the mob, and build new PWR's, then stand back and enjoy 80% of your electricity from a source for which you actually have the raw materials, and a historical lead in technology. Remember, you guys invented it...

Instead, you bury your head in the sand and ignore the fact that the US consumes more than 20% of world oil production for less than 3% of the population.

It's not just the unions and politicians you should be worried about!

Sorry about that, but I felt you needed (urgently) a 'reality check'.

PS I live and work less than 120 miles from one of the ' dirtiest ' nuclear facilities in Europe.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Shane said,
Historically, the American body politic has made some catastrophically poor choices, the most injurious being the hysterical reaction to civilian nuclear power after Three Mile Island. That was a failure, not of 'unions' or 'politicians' but of your silly and misguided media.

LOL. That's kinda funny Shane. Well, lemme answer this with an equally funny one-dimensional answer: rent the movie Chain Reaction. You do have American DVDs in your land, eh?

Cheap and clean energy may not really be a 'right' of the masses. But I do have a strange feeling there are Morgan Freeman-type people (referring to his character's role in the movie as a CIA spook) in our Govt that are forced to protect the Energy Industry status quo for one reason or another. Hmmm, it might cause people to go to war as they fight over the limited resources...

On the other side, I know the Energy Industry has a vast agenda but that does not mean they are the Evil zealots you see in movies like The China Syndrome or Silkwood. Sure, making a profit is part of their agenda. But affecting positive public perception is yet another. I'm certain the last thing they need is another negative movie, this time by Michael Moore or Morgan Spurlock. So, IMHO, many American energy companies are (smartly) biding their time for when Fusion reactors are a commercial reality. When that happens, they *may* have a competitive advantage via a 'green' energy solution that no one else has. I think they are hoping for that opportunity to help rehab their image ...with the help of our "misguided media." If we can sell 10+ million Chevy Volts per year (on the Today show this am), that will also change what the market wants, in terms of clean energy from A to Z. Critics of the Volt rightly point out that it only makes for a "longer tailpipe" since our power plants are so dirty. But to my surprise, there are quite a few new reactors planned here in the US:

WHEN we start the transition to a fusion-based economy, what happens to all traditional fission reactors all over the world, and in naval ships / submarines? Maybe American companies will satisfy that unmet need via upgrade components as part of their business plan. Won't it be funny if the French come to us for help in mothballing their old, obsolete technology?

Yes, in the short-run, it has been bad for the US ...especially in consideration of all the time and money wasted on WIPP and Yucca Mountain; I know the French are better too with recycling or reprocessing their nuclear waste. LOL, but on the plus side, it looks like some $$$ was diverted to Sandia labs...


Shadow said...


Alan didn't buy the Vision jet program because Cirrus priced it too high. The figure I've been told is that Cirrus wanted $500 million for the program. Given his past experience, Alan could start a new company and SE jet program for a lot less money.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think Bob Bornhofen has spent more than $10 million on his SE jet program, and he already had one prototype flying before it crashed (presumably due to wake turbulence).

Heck, I'll bet Alan could get a group of investors together to buy Epic on the cheap and certify their SE jet and perhaps some of their other various jet and turboprop aircraft for less than $500 million.

Shane Price said...


I'm glad you 'outed' me so quickly!

My key point is the energy deficit in America which distorts many markets, sometimes in subtle ways.

I was just fed up with Baron hammering away at 'bad' unions and 'failed' politicians, as if disposing of both was the cure for all ills. Yes, there are good reasons to be very suspicious of Baron's pet hates. I know, I've met several, of both kinds, over the years. Generally I enjoyed the contact but found myself feeling I'd 'supped with the devil' when thinking about them afterwards. But they are not the principle problem facing US based manufacturing companies today....

And yes, the French will need help a) vitrifying all their nuclear waste and b) finding somewhere to store if afterwards. Knowing them, they'll find a purchaser and make a profit out of the deal.

My original point is well made. The French are not hostages to Middle Eastern despots for their domestic electricity.

Unlike the US of A....


baron95 said...

Hi Shane - totally agree with you on nuclear power. But, again, it was not the media's fault. Their job is to hype things up to sell papers, TV ads, etc. They did that very well.

The politicians role is to buck the hype and do the sensible thing. Set the tone, use their public mandate stage and lead the nation in the right direction.

I ABSOLUTELY INCLUDED the cost of energy when I said that free American workers are the most productive in the world.

In case you haven't noticed, we in the US, have the lowest cost of energy of any advanced (and almost all) economies.

Fuel and electricity rates used by trucks, construction equipment, assembly lines, etc, are lower here than virtually anywhere.

Have you checked electricity and fuel costs in places thought to be manufacturing powerhouses (like Japan, Germany, Brazil) and compared them to the US?

Anyway - if you think the AMerican worker is not competitive, on an all costs and all-output level, how do you explain more and more and more assembly plants moving from Europe, Japan, Korea, etc to the free US South?

(P.S. note that we have a 2.5% import duty on cars - so tariffs is not the answer. And shipping a car from Asia to the US adds only about an extra $200/car (IIRC), so that is not the answer either.

baron95 said...

The recovery to level, push before you pull type button is the sort of innovation that makes GA more acceptable to sophisticated, new blood in GA.

In the Cirrus, that button came about as a result of an accident (in FL I believe) where, in IMC, a pilot became confused due to failing PFD (Avidyne). There are many such incidents in IFR flying by non-professional pilots.

With that button, Cirrus can have a military style simple memory due list ingrained in their pilots.

Messed/up, unsure of attitude....Push BLue Button....didn't work....Pull handle.

In flying or AOPA magazine this month there is an article by an F15 pilot that became completely disoriented in IMC due to failing avionics....he was frozen...when he got a glimpse of the ground lights and recovered will full burners and high-G to avoid pancaking into the ground, with feet to spare.

These things happen all the time. A push/pull out is a worthy addition to the options list.

KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...

BassMaster . . . “not sure why you're so concerned with the chem milling as there are other issues” . . .

OK . . . here’s two brief stories that will illustrate my true purpose:

Circa 1936, in the town of Rice, California, my Dad ran a“two pump” Shell filling station. Groceries and supplies were by a six or eight hour round trip into San Bernardino, by Duesenberg at 90mph. My Mother, attempting to keep busy in a town of maybe fifteen people, decided to paint a wooden chair. She did an outstanding job . . . the once rough and contoured seat was now smooth white enamel . . . and in a day or so with night-time temperatures often above 100 degrees, the paint quickly dried.

A friend, Bill (or Ed) Horton, came out from Riverside, the following Sunday, still dressed in his suit from church. They visited there in the little house . . . the "bigger" of the two houses, that is. When it came time for him to leave, he rose from the chair, taking with him a new coat of white paint on the seat of his good suit. (Although I was present, I hadn’t yet been born.)

Here’s the second story . . . from two years ago, this month: A close friend and engineer noticed some returning spots on his face, and went to the doctor. On closer examination, while removing them, it was discovered that Ray had just two weeks to live . . . the cancer was throughout his body. Actually he lasted three weeks, giving us a few more times to visit . . . and then attend his funeral.

Examining the skin, inside and out, “under the paint” on the little bird will bring the eyes of the “inspector” in close contact with the little bird . . . and the likelihood that he’ll see other things of extreme interest. I cannot comment on other things of which I have recently been told, but I would think that a close examination is going to reveal other more serious things that might/should be addressed. Maybe some attention has already been paid to the little bird that ran off the runway at Brandywine . . . and discover what happens when landing gear goes poking through the upper skin of the wet wings.

White paint can cover hidden problems . . . and a close examination of the skin may reveal deeper dangers.


(Rice, California . . . one of three contenders for the first nuclear test. It lost . . . but a look in “Google Earth” reveals that a nuclear test would not have done a more thorough job of making the town almost disappear. I have a collection of old photos . . . memories of the stories told by my parents . . . and the copper emblem from the car: An eagle, with spread wings, “Duesenberg, Straight 8”, sitting with other keepsakes . . . I looked at it this morning.)

gadfly said...

Here ‘tis . . . late Friday! You all need something a little light for the weekend to take with . . . ! So here’s one more story . . . but this one “tongue in cheek”:

The old Swede was lying in bed . . . he knew his remaining time on earth was down to hours at best. He could smell the hot coffee and “Skorpa” from the kitchen. With great effort, he slid out of bed, and crawled the few feet down the hallway of their little second floor flat there in North Chicago near Wrigley Field. He reached the little table . . . and put his hand up to grab a piece of that hot bread, only to have his wife slap him on the hand. “No, Oly, . . . dats for the funeral!”

(Dontcha know?)


(‘Been married to a Swede for almost half a century . . . and still want to ask the question: “Go with!!! . . . Go with!!! . . . Go with what?” . . . Dat’s not funny!)

RonRoe said...

The same Swede was lying on his deathbed. In a weak voice, he asked for his wife: "Lena, are you here?"

"Yes, Ole, I'm here." came the reply.

"How about our children, are they here?" he asked next.

"Yes, Ole, dey're all here." she said.

"And the neighbors?" queried Ole. Once again, Lena answered, "All here, Ole."

Ole then sat up in bed and said, "Well, if you're here, and the children are here, and the neighbors are here, why is the light still on in the kitchen?"

RonRoe said...


Did you hear about the Swede who loved his wife so much he almost told her?

KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...


Yah! And being a Scot, meself, I looked up the invention of copper wire . . . something about an argument over a penney between a Scot and a Swede.


(All seriousness aside . . . when that little blond “RN” touched me with those cold hands, I decided right then and there, she would be my wife . . . that was January 10, 1962 . . . and on December 22, 1962, we were “Husband and Wife”. ‘No regrets in almost 47 years, four children, and nineteen grand-children . . . but what an education! Come to think of it, we saved a lot of money using all those Christmas decorations in the church . . . brides maids dressed in red . . . those Swedes sure know how to save a “Kroner”, now and then. And who’s going to eat too much “lutefisk” at the reception? . . . not even a Swede!!! We’ve said, marriage is for better or worse . . . divorce? . . . never . . . murder? . . . maybe!)

(A minister/Bible teacher, whom I respect, said that a preacher cannot pronounce a couple “man and wife”. If he isn’t a man by the time he’s married, a preacher can’t make him one. . . . Dr. Walter L. Wilson, M.D., . . . I still have the recording/tape I made, back fifty years ago, over the radio, from Church of the Open Door, Los Angeles. The old “gadfly” is a true geek . . . having gotten into this “technical stuff” a long, long time ago . . . taking it most seriously.)

Swedish Tomato Soup . . . K-Not funny . . . har! har!

Now can I close up the shop and go home?

julius said...


there is not enough yellow cake!
Then one has to use the breed reactors - not stable, finished technics.
Even fusion technology isn't where it should be: 1980 the first fusion reactors should be available and deliver clean power! I do not know the current "vision" when (if) the first commercial fusion reactor will be working!
Even the wedge managed to present something after some $B...

Then there is the waste problem. In Sweden one says the there will be a secure and accepted (by the neighbours) storage.
I do not know if there is an accepted secure final storage for any radioactive material in France or UK.
In Germany the certificate of a secure final storage was/is the basis for all running nuclear power plants...The lack of this storage and the way this was handled by politicians and industries cause the ongoing problems and discussions about nuclear power!

Even solar panels may cause problems if they cover a "huge area" and reflect to much heat...

Perhaps geothermal power is the solution for heating...and cooling!

Anyhow there is no simple solution!


P.S.: You remember the Brundland report?
Good place to store any stuff: Somalia....(with some not so legal governmental support no problem!).

WhyTech said...

"There are many such incidents in IFR flying by non-professional pilots."

Change "non-professional" to "incompetent". Aviation is not for the clueless - never has been, never will be. The "make it easy for me by giving me a get out of jail free" button is absurd - just encourages greater incompetence. IMHO.

baron95 said...

I'm sorry Whytech - I disagree with that approach.

There is absolutely no reason why 30 years from now, that IFR flying with sysnthetics/infrared/radar augmented view and ADS-B-in/out++ can not be just like VFR flying.

Liberating IFR pilots from NDBs/VORs into vision enhanced, self-separation...

Couple that with FBW with protected logic to prevent airplanes to depart controlled flight, even prevent CFIT, even take automatic evasive action on imminent collisions.

Yes, it will take time - decades - but there is not reason not to make IFR flight safer, more idiot proof, year after year.

The heroic age of Jepersen mapping out approaches on paper charts with needle and ball and 4-color course guidance, should lie in the romantic past.

$3M machines should come with crash-proof logic.

WhyTech said...

"The heroic age of Jepersen mapping out approaches on paper charts with needle and ball and 4-color course guidance, should lie in the romantic past."

Well, I dont disagree with the sentiment, however its not the current reality and wont be for quite awhile. The technology to do this is pretty much here now, but the regulatory and ecomonic requirements are far in the future.

"$3M machines should come with crash-proof logic."

I dont have a big problem with this as long as it is not a crutch for the "sophisticated, new blood in GA" to avoid developing appropriate ADM and instrument skills. IMO, many of these new "sophisticated" types dont want to commit the time/effort/dollars to be safe, competent pilots.

julius said...


"IMO, many of these new "sophisticated" types dont want to commit the time/effort/dollars to be safe, competent pilots.

What is the reality? The pilots should use the AP to reduce workload:
How many hours does an (IFR) pilot (GA or airliners) fly the plane?
They taxis to the runway, rotate - when are they activating the autopilot? When will they deactivate the AP - at about 200ft above the runway?

Flying an a/c with a "perfect AP" is just like at home at the computer...(flight plan changes, holdings,... included)!

IMHO I think most GA pilots want to fly the planes.

But once these features are available (and naturally used) they must be maintained - accordingly.

It's up to the pilot to find the balance between flying with and without these little or big helpers.


WhyTech said...

"It's up to the pilot to find the balance between flying with and without these little or big helpers."

Nothing wrong with autopilots. I wouldnt fly single pilot IFR without one. But, when the autopilot or other automation crashes, one needs to be proficient without it.

michal said...

Flying an a/c with a "perfect AP" is just like at home at the computer...(flight plan changes, holdings,... included)!

I think it is a bit simplistic look at the situation. Take GFC700 AP in G1000. A pilot needs to understand its modes very thoroughly, its failure modes too. It is easy to screw up if one gets the notion it is just like clicking on your PC. Yes, it can fly holding patterns, procedure turns but it does require constant attention, staying on top of things. It is a beautiful tool but it needs a competent pilot too.

baron95 said...

Automation will not reduce the need for pilot training and competency.

It will just change the important skills.

Every neuron that a pilot does not need to assign to learning to shoot NDB approaches with a crosswind or about carburetor ice is another neuron that can be dedicated to route/autopilot programing and situation awareness.

As I said, we are decades away from substantial changes in automation and regulations to benefit from them.

But change will happen by discontinuity in technology. Just like the advent of electronic stability control cut the SUV rollover incidence by 90%, SVS+redundant PFD/MFDs will likely reduce incidence of IFR/night-VFR terrain collisions. Adoption of lower cost turbine power with reliable fuel gauges and trend monitoring programs should reduce the incidence of engine stoppages. Elimination of VOR and NDB from navigation, should enable pilots to train to real scenarios where double/triple redundant power, GPS, ADS-B, Cockpit weather is available all the time.

The first indication we'll have on those will be in the next 5-10 years. The key thing to watch is the insurance premiums for integrated cockpits such as Prodigy and Perspective.

Phil Bell said...

Hello Andy Groth,
Thank you for your kind comments- I'm delighted you can "drop in" and visit!

(Hope you'll continue to stop by as time permits- I've really enjoyed your comments!)

Phil Bell said...

New Headline Post is up!

Barry said...! Amazing that Cirrus would ask around $500 mil for the jet program! No wonder A.K. didn't bite! You are right; he could buy one of the smaller programs for a lot less, or do it himself. However, if he tried it himself, bet he'd get all kinds of grief from Cirrus re IP issues.

I wanted to correct some info; I had the dates wrong. Sport-Jet is in LA for a show the first part of Jan, not Dec. It was trucked to LA and seems to be at a custom interior shop. Word has it that a high-end interior is being put in before the show.