Sunday, December 20, 2009

787 First Flight

Congratulations to the Boeing team for the first flight of the 787 Dreamliner.

As well noted by the blog, this occurred on Tuesday, December 15 (2009), About 27 months later than initially forecast.

Boeing has had such a great record for meeting delivery and production schedules, I was curious to review what happened to delay this great day in aviation history. I fear I noted some striking similarities between the 787 and Eclipse 500 programs, at least judging by the press releases. (The most striking perhaps, was the wildly inaccurate press releases themselves, in hindsight).

* "On September 5 (2007) (Boeing) announced a three-month delay, blaming a shortage of fasteners as well as incomplete software"

* "On October 10, 2007, a second three-month delay to the first flight and a six-month delay to first deliveries was announced".

*"On January 16, 2008, Boeing announced a third three-month delay to the first flight of the 787"

* "On April 9, 2008, Boeing officially announced a fourth delay, shifting the maiden flight to the fourth quarter of 2008"

* "November 4, 2008, the company announced another delay, this time caused by the incorrect installation of some of the structurally important fasteners"

* "Boeing confirmed on December 11, 2008, that the first flight would be delayed until the second quarter of 2009."

*"On June 23, 2009, Boeing issued a press release stating that the first flight is postponed..."

It is also interesting to note the EA500 "first flight" was likewise about 27 months late- the deposit locking first flight was August 28, 2002, the "real" first flight was December 31, 2004, 28 months later. It is also telling to note, in both cases, it was near the end of the year (VERY near, in Eclipse's case).


* "On March 28, 2008, in an effort to gain more control over the supply chain, Boeing announced that it plans to buy Vought Aircraft Industries' interest in Global Aeronautica, owner of the South Carolina plant that manufacturers major portions of the 787's fuselage. The purchase will make the assembly plant a 50–50 joint venture between Boeing and Italy's Alenia Aeronautica."

* "In July 2009, Boeing also agreed to purchase Vought's facility in North Charleston, S.C. that makes 787 fuselage sections, for a total cost of $1 billion."


* "The national union representing about 190 Seattle-based FAA engineers this past Tuesday submitted a formal critique to the agency, calling the new policy "an unjustified step backward in safety."

* "The former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) chairman who oversaw the TWA 800 investigation, said he's disappointed in the FAA but not surprised."

* "It appears that management has overruled the judgment of the people that have day-to-day responsibility for the safety of aircraft..."


* about 840 firm orders for the 787

* about 840 firm orders for the EA500

More or less, in both cases. The 787 firm backlog was over 900, but there have been some recent cancellations. The EA500 "order"(tm) book was "over 2700", but how many were "real"(tm)? Well, 260 were "delivered"(tm), and Shane reported there were several hundred jilted wantabe owners, and the law suits reported earlier had over 200 plaintiffs.

(Note: I have no doubt the 787 "firm" orders are indeed very real- the 737 "Next Generation" likewise had stupendous firm orders -over 1000- before certification, and they proved to be very real indeed. Plus, Boeing is a publicly traded company- too bad Eclipse was not obligated to adhere to the same transparency standards...).


With the advantage of hindsight, there is ONE singular item which is disturbingly ... convenient, about the entire 787 saga:


So what? With said advantage of hindsight, it seems THAT was just a little bit too...CONTRIVED. (EXACTLY like the December 31, 2004 "first flight" of the EA-500: that sort of thing doesn't coincidentally happen- it was staged).

Which, could make one think perhaps ALL the scheduled events were just a bit too contrived- and that the schedules themselves are contrived.

Using what we've read on our predecesor blogs (EAC and EAC-NG), one can reasonably deduce went wrong at Eclipse- too much focus on meeting scheduled stunts, and not enough focus on real development. Meeting the scheduled milestones, even if so shallowly as to reduce them to being simply contrived stunts, seemed to take precedence over delaying "the show" of scheduled stunts, whether it be first flight, Oshkosh, Sun and Fun, "Certification"(tm), "Delivery"(tm), etc.

With that frame of reference established, one wonders how much the 787 program has suffered from "7/8/7" thinking (artificial/unrealistic milestones/schedules).

Wikipedia 787
FAA to Loosen Fuel Tank Safety Rules...


Phil Bell said...

I'm sure there has been tremendous pressure to achieve corporate financial goals, for both Eclipse and Boeing, which requires timely technicalogical and logistical progress.

But unrealistic schedules and milestone stunts seem to be counter-productive in the long run.

Phil Bell said...


Could you please drop me a line at

Thanks :)

julius said...


EAI released a new customer communiqué... Approx. $1K fees to learn how to use the FIKI buttons and the mini "fms" if one has some experience with the the Garmin 400 series. Otherwise the lessons will be more time consuming and therefore more expensive. But EAI was fair to hind to Garmins products for self learning.

When will the next 787 flight take place - today?
The best indicator for the 787 test status or progress are the sorties and not the offical press releases or no-releases - one should remember of the Paris Airshow 2008!


P.S.: Chasing news is one thing -
but producing information and not only data is the better way!

Phil Bell said...

Hi Julius,
You are absolutely correct- real progress comes from constructing airplanes, not from constructing press releases.

Regarding the 787 first flight, I was modestly impressed- at over 3 hours, it seems to be a legitimate test sortie, rather than a flashy stunt.

And I agree- I'm waiting for the:

1) Second flight of the first test article, and

2) First flight of the second test article.

Phil Bell said...

In rereading the headline post, I made a correction for the sake of new readers: by referring to "reading right here" regarding the Eclipse saga, I was of course referring to our distinguished predecesor blogs,

Eclipse Aviation Critic, by Stan

Eclipse Aviaiton Critic-NG by Shane.

(Links to both sites are on our current home page)

Thanks guys!

(I have to laugh a bit, when I consider this headline is associating Eclipse and the 787 programs, and note that Stan was ahead of the game over three and a half years ago, when he started the blog
787-Another View).

airsafetyman said...

Boeing did win the contract to refit the McDonnell Douglas A-6E with composite wings. About 200 aircraft were retrofited. A very few years later the aircraft were parked in the desert and replaced by the F/A-18 which "can't carry much and can't carry it far". Wheither this was due to problems with the composite wings or the US Navy's exqusite talent for pi##ing away the taxpayer dollar isn't known.

airtaximan said...

"But unrealistic schedules and milestone stunts seem to be counter-productive in the long run."

Imagine if Boeing projected a program that would take this long.... you think they would be a few MORE years late? This had anyone even agreed to fund the program with the insight into the very lengthy timeframe...

The only real impact to a very aggressive schedule up front, might be losing the ability to claim such a schedule in the future, and even at that, one could always argue "we learnt, we're smarter now... we'll meet the schedule this time".

Otherwise, there's no downside, except someone gets to write something about how behind you are. No real downside.

Regarding EAC, it was just a bunch of BS from the beginning, so the schedule was USED as a rouse to make people think they were being more transparent. When the sh_t hit the fan, the transparent schedule was deleted from the web site, and the usefulness of that tool was no longer useful. The money was infused based on this tool to suspend disbelief... they it was deleted.

I do not equate Boeing with Eclipse, as a matter of fact, they are opposites in many more ways than they are similar.

sparky said...

Air safety,

I remember when the wing-change came about. It was a huge learning curve for those of us that worked on the A-6.

The wing-fold mechanism was totally different(rotary actuator VS Linear) as were the wing lock mech. It took a while to get used to trouble shooting the new stuff.

The worst was when we had to change an outboard wing, the Boeing reps asked for detailed notes of what we had to do(with pictures). When we asked why, we were told it was so they could use it for the repair manual....

BTW, the F-18 was a political decision. The Navy asked for a new fighter/bomber and when presented with the F/A-18 and asked what we thought it was reported that it didn't have the payload or range needed to adequately do the job required. The airframe was so small and light that it was limited in the number of carrier landings it could safely make. It couldnt carry many of the weapons systems it needed and when launched with a full load, the standard operating procedure would be to climb to altitude and scream for a tanker:)

The respose from the Pentagon upon hearing the report: "Glad you like it"

airsafetyman said...


Thanks for the info on the A-6. The F-18 was an outgrowth of the Northrop F-17 that was designed for the Air Force and cancelled. The project was revived and passed to McDonnell-Douglas who developed the original F-18. That was such a flop they scaled it up into the "Super-Hornet" F-18, that is barely adaquate in an attack role (if that). The Navy could have easily adaped the F-15 to carrier operations, but noooooooo - that was a USAF airplane, so they parked the capable, re-winged A-6s, replaced them with the woefully inadaqate original F-18s, and are replacing THEM with the marginally better Super Hornets, which is still grossly inferior to the F-15. Our tax dollars at work.

BassMaster said...

Watch abc news tonight to see some sad monkey business going on in atl. I can't believe they got this stuff on video. Massive FAIL for a few FAA guys.

RonRoe said...


Do you mean this story?

gadfly said...

This "FAA" thing may look bad on the surface, but don't be too quick to judge. 'Having been a business owner for 33 years, and having sent others on business trips many, many times, $1,400 per person out of my own pocket can at times be a bargain. What my people did after hours was none of my business, so long as they accomplished the purpose of the trip. Sure, I could do the same trip at half the price, and often did. But that should be expected.


(While you're sifting through the sand in the wheelbarrel, you're missing the fact that "Congress" is stealing wheelbarrels . . . by the truckload. If you don't remember the joke . . . let me know! But it's a "groaner".)

gadfly said...

Trivia from the “gadfly”:

In conversation yesterday with a friend who brought by some special Christmas presents, we discussed cable control systems . . . beginning with the B47 to the present (since over the years, he has flown many of the major aircraft, and was once in charge of a major “Star Wars” program) . . . and the conversation included the loss of the vertical tail on the Airbus out of Boston, some time back. He not only verified my earlier suspicions of the lack of continuity of the fibers in the composite attachment points (8, as I recall from a brief view of an un-edited bit of news footage), but that there were no metal inserts for the “through holes”, to prevent undue stress between the fiber surfaces and the underside of the fastener “heads”. For most of you, this means little or nothing, but they are unforgivable mistakes in fiber composite/metal attachment design. (The pilot was accused of over-active use of the rudder . . . he cannot testify in his defense . . . he didn’t survive the incident.)

A few days ago, while on the way to the “library”, as is my habit, I grabbed a book to read rather than stare at a wall for ten minutes while listening to distant thunder. The first book at hand was “The Wright Flyer, An Engineering Perspective”, Edited by Howard S. Wolko, National Air and Space Museum. And as I anticipated, I learned something new . . . having to do with “wing covering” which translates into modern technology in the field of fiber re-enforced composites, the subject of some of our recent conversations.

It turns out that the “Wrights”, while developing their “wing warping” control (the beginning of ailerons), built the wing structure in such a way as to maintain full beam strength while allowing for the “twist” in the outer portion of the wing. We already know that. But I caught something for the first time . . . the fabric covering the wing was laid out diagonally . . . “on the bias”. They prevented the “wrinkling” that would have occurred had they laid out the bolts of material in line with the wing.

Here we are a century later, and wondering if Boeing got it right with the “787", and that the engineers understand the full impact of these facts. I suspect that they understand the basics . . . but I’m concerned with the power that “bean counters” and “bureaucrats” often play in design and implementation of sound engineering principles. Example being the need for a “fix” on attached stringers that should, in my opinion, share fibers between stringers and skin, rather than being “glued” or attached to the skin.

Well, the “gadfly” does a lot of guessing . . . maybe wrong. So take it for what it costs . . . not much. And if it only causes you the “think”, and hopefully understand, then my work is not in vain.


(Over the “holidays”, comments have been slow of late. “Christmas” has become a politically incorrect word, yet “holiday” is acceptable. Now think of that for a moment . . . “Holiday” means precisely “Holy Day”. Holy to whom? Priorities, priorities, priorities . . . So much for the grey cells!)

gadfly said...

‘Another comment before I forget: On another subject I asked my friend about the “laser positioning system” that he invented, and I had designed/built the gimbal prototype, optical chip calibration systems, “Bragg-cell” mounts, etc. In the process of things, the people that were contracted to write the code and complete the circuits for the system decided they knew better and made “shortcuts” in both code, and in circuit design, including a “floating ground”, in a Analog to Digital system which in turn “lost” basic references from nearby power supply interference . . . bottom line, months of hard work were lost due to stupidity, motivated by laziness and “penney pinching”.

In this modern time, we have come to expect nothing short of near perfection in the design of cars and electronics, yet we are still confronted day after day with the deliberate stupidity of people that will not accept clear instruction nor obvious facts, but for reasons of their own (probably “pride”), will follow their own whims and amusements, without the slightest concern for what their behavior costs “others”.

Friday morning, as is the custom, I’ll wrap a “natural” turkey in aluminum, set the oven to 450 degrees (F), cook it for about 2 ½ hours (or a little more), think of the many hours my Grandma used to spend slowly cooking a similar beast . . . take it to one of our “kid’s” home, and enjoy the total destruction of a once living beast, far more intelligent than many of the people with whom I come in contact with in the engineering trade.

It’s a sad commentary . . . but each of us enjoy the “Holy Day’s” in our own way.

“Mele Kalikimaka”, brudda! Or in the words of a good friend and, once, first string center for Stanford, Bob Long (or his twin brother, Bud): “A Cool Yule and a Frantic First”!


gadfly said...

Yeh . . . You're out there . . . I can hear you breathing.


gadfly said...

Over the past year or two, many things have taken place. And often some of us who are more “vocal” and aggressive contributors have taken priority. It is far past time for the less aggressive readers to share their thoughts.

Do we wish to hear your thoughts? . . . Far more than you can imagine! Some of us have an input far beyond our “worth” . . . but we often lack the true data that comes up from the “shop floor”.

For instance, back a year or two, the folks working on the Eclipse might have made a major impact on the future of a thousand or so families, that had bought into the “hoax” of the politicians, from the governor on down . . . but as is so often the case, all those involved are intimidated by others . . . and nothing gets done, and many are hurt . . . big time. I would like to say, “You’re excused!” . . . But you are not excused. No way! You had opportunity to “speak up”, and you did what? . . . “Nothing!” And that’s what this is all about . . . people watching events go by and doing . . . absolutely “Nothing”!

Will the governor get his “just desserts”? Hopefully, he will! . . . and all those that collaborated with this fiasco. But in the mean time, this does little to correct the vast catastrophe that has affected the Albuquerque economic landscape. We’re still here . . . attempting to deal with the disaster left behind. The “News” media seems to have forgotten (and to maintain full disclosure, I have a financial involvement in the major news medium in the State of New Mexico and in the major educational institution, “UNM”), but many families are still hurting, and will continue to hurt for many years to come, because of “Eclipse” and their false claims.

Whether at the state or national level, major things are taking place. And many are adding their “Hurrah” to those on the cutting edge, yet remaining in the shadows when “Push comes to Shove”!

The “Eclipse” thing was only a minor hiccup in the events of our economy . . . even less, yet it demonstrated current events, and what we are about to experience at the national level.

You people that once worked at Eclipse have a responsibility to speak up and make your message known. Your silence will only perpetuate . . . that means “repeat” . . . a disaster, over and over into the future for yet other families to go through what you have experienced.

Here’s my guess: You won’t do anything . . . and the thing will happen again and again. I don’t gamble . . .but if I did, this would be a “sure bet”.


gadfly said...

You want something positiive? . . . Take a long look at the image provided by Phil at this blog heading. Observe the contour of the wings . . . absolutely beautiful. The subtle contour displays absolutely everything an aerodynamic engineer could wish . . . every curve is near perfect.

And did I mention . . . yesterday we've been married for 47 years, "four kids" all married, and nineteen grandkids, with the "oldest" in submarine school at Groton, evidently following after his "Grandpa".

Back many years ago, building balsa gliders, who could have wished for a more perfect contour of a glider in flight?!

While "Mr. Gains" was teaching something or other about early California history, or maybe China (me thinks California was in fifth grade . . . sixty years ago things tend to "blur"), my mind was on the sea-gulls gliding over the school yard out the window towards the "Verdugo Foothills"(back then, anything less than 5,000 feet was considered a "hill"), as they effortlessly glided over our playground. And I wished that I were "out there", rather than listening to whatever was happening in the classroom. Oh, don't missunderstand . . . I took it all in, but I had other priorities. But I didn't take notes . . . except in my brain. Well, for my efforts, I earned a good solid "c-" or lower . . . but at least I "passed".


(But I did learn what I determined to learn . . . as I watched those beautiful seagulls . . . effortlessly gliding over that Emerson Grammar School playground in Burbank, California. Later, my interest was torn between "gulls" and "girls" . . . but that's for another time . . . somehow, I never got past the "girls" part of the equation.)

michal said...

I could never comprehend how Boeing who have been in business of designing and making aircraft for so long could have erred in estimating time of first flight by about 500%. I could understand 20% or even 50% but 500%!! But ultimately this will all be forgotten if only this aircraft enters service and becomes a huge success. Also did Boeing make the right call making the 787 an 'all-electric' aircraft - time will tell.

gadfly said...

A last comment:

In the next couple or three weeks or so, I'll have lunch with a major player in the scheme of things in the state of New Mexico. He and I are good friends going back a long time. What would you have me relate to him?

'Don't even attempt to guess . . . you won't come close. But I'll share with him any serious comment.

There 'tis!


BassMaster said...

Gad point undertood. To you and all happy holidays.

gadfly said...

And a blessed Holy Day to you, tool!


baron95 said...

Happy Holidays, All.

You guys thing that progress is always predictable and well organized?

No. Progress is messy and uncertain.

Particularly in aviation. People (many) died for progress. Many materials were tried and abandoned.

Did the Comet advance airliner technology? Yes - with disastrous human consequences.

Did Concorde? Yes. With atrocious financial consequences.

Did the 777 with ETOPs 180 out of the gate? Yes - with predicted calamity (remember 4 engines 4 long haul) that never happened.

Boeing was right to push the envelope. They lost schedule, configuration and vendor control. They tried to correct it with less aggressive means and failed. They bit the bullet and are now (apparently) correcting it.

Same with Eclipse - they placed some huge bets on a new engine and new avionics architecture and lost. They tried to recover and run out of runway.

That is how progress is made. By fits and starts. Nothing new to it.

The ONLY guaranteed way to never miss a schedule and to never fail is to be meek and never even try.

Those who try to innovate sometimes fail.

Those who try hard to push the limits of innovation OFTEN fail.

That is how it is. Let's just hope we don't learn the wrong lesson from 787 and EA500 - not to be aggressive.

The lesson is to be bold and be prepared. Ride the innovation tiger aggressively at all times.

Happy Holidays again.

baron95 said...

From the previous thread and the discussion on when A400 technology would flow to the civilian market to allow 400+ kts @ 40K ft turboprops.

Err.... Are you guys forgetting about the Piaggio II?

FL410 M0.7 - am I missing something?

The A400 is a great technical and capable (on paper) machine, but will be a tough sell given the price tag, the operating costs, etc.

I hope it does well, and our NATO allies stop being such a drain on our transport fleet.

Phil Bell said...

Merry Christmas to all!

(And Happy Birthday too ! :)

BassMaster said...

A prayer and best wishes go out to all the pilots that have been flying hard imc and fiki lately.

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Gadfly said,
You people that once worked at Eclipse have a responsibility to speak up and make your message known. Your silence will only perpetuate . . . that means “repeat” . . . a disaster, over and over into the future for yet other families to go through what you have experienced.

Um, as much as I love reading your posts Gad, this takes me by surprise. On many an occasion, I stuck my neck on the line depending on the issue. Now, at the time, I didn't know my VP of Quality (Saul Pacheco) was making $300K, but I'm glad that I let him have it when he was mad that I embarrassed another department (I found an unlocked tool locker on a day the FAA was on-site). It's kinda ironic he was fired for letting a tip-tank w/o lightening protection get installed on a plane AND even delivered to a customer. His LinkedIn profile shows that he is working in NY for Schweizer Aircraft. Where is the outrage? If the incestuous revolving door of incompetence allows bad managers to move from one Aviation/Aerospace company to another company with zero accountability -- what on earth are the grunts supposed to do about it? Are you prepared to pick up the phone and demand that someone like Pacheco isn't allowed to work in the aviation biz again? What about Peg?

By May of 2008, before I was laid-off, I started emailing the FAA and NTSB directly because of what I perceived as an expectation from my current manager to gloss over certain deficiencies in my department. This worthless manager is now back at Lockheed Martin -- while people like me are stuck here in Albuquerque -- hoping to hold on to our homes. EAC was ALWAYS a story of two separate and distinct classes: the one's who were 'the elites' in the Aviation biz -- and the rest of us locals. On more than one occasion, I saw co-workers leave EAC to "go back" to their real jobs with Cessna, or Boeing.

My name has been used publically in the local paper after my silly rant to the Govrenor around August/Sept 2008. But nothing happened. This is not an issue to get the masses riled up no matter how much money was wasted. In once case - after Mayor Marty proclaimed that he was "98 percent certain" that Eclipse was saved - my honey was at her job recanting the story to one of her customers. After she connected the real dots for her customer, the lady had the epiphany that so many of us have had privately when she said, "Oh, the Mayor lied to us." Ho-hum, alert the media.

This is how the aviation biz works. And I suspect that you can't change it any more than I can. However, I did have this silly notion that I could be a positive force from WITHIN the organization. So my goals changed to try to do "the right thing" for as long as I was there. Most of us grunts were lucky to have even had that option for the 2, 3, X years that we worked there...

Merry Christmas.


gadfly said...

e.d.t. . . . It would appear that you just did the right thing and expressed to the world your message. Many folks will read it and tell others. What they do with this knowledge is their responsibility, but at least through you and others the message is being made known. And the fact that Eclipse totally failed underlines your message.


ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Many folks I know have been laid off in the chaos of this past year, I pray they may find greener pastures and rewarding undertakings, and ask you pray for them too.

Many promising programs and companies are on the brink or in the drink, may the strong ones survive, and may the rest fail with the least possible collateral damage.

That said, Merry Christmas to all!

And prayers for a hopefully better new year.

uglytruth said...

EDT; I worked for The Productivity Team at Eclipse for 6 weeks around Sept 07. I was there 3 days and stumbled into purchasing fraud when I went to see why needed supplies that had been requested 3 times were not there. When the purchasing lady (Darlene Black) got back from a few days off I got nasty emails telling me everything went thru her and to butt out. I knew right then I had stumbled into corruption of some sort. I have never been in a place where most of the AP's were proud and conscientious of their work and were surrounded by idiots both new trainees and management. We (contractors) were hated by most everyone at Eclipse and given the cold shoulder by most in the bullpen. I did as I always do in supporting the guys on the floor. Most of them life long in the field. I didn’t pretend to know anything I just thought of myself as being in a support role. I tried to use my head, and when I had ideas I would always ask group leaders if it made any sense and would be of use. When needed tools were not ordered or excuses were made about 16 week delivery I called “my guy” back in Ohio and had him track the exact tool number down along with delivery and costs. If I remember right there were 4 different tools needed. 3 were in stock and 1 was 2 week delivery. Prices were 30-40% less. When I brought that up to purchasing, my boss, and a few others at Eclipse I was told tools were on order and quit sticking my nose in where it didn’t belong. Eclipse had their own purchasing dept. I looked into door surrounds and non conforming parts and a lack of inspection or any type of quality control……and could get nothing done even after working the proper channels. I got stuck going to meetings in SP10 to “fish bone” ideas. Out of 10-14 people in the meetings only 2-3 were floor type people. Of the 2-3 I was the only one that stuck my neck out. They were all experienced contract workers. They were there for the money they didn’t give a shit if anything ever got done. They must like not taking pride in their work. I’m just a small town idiot that thought we were supposed to be helping them build aircraft faster. I got a call from my boss and told that “Purchasing” didn’t want me back and that Todd Ferro was stalking me watching what I was doing and I should not be a distraction to someone of his importance.


PS As a tribute to Gad; In this Holiday time of year I hope those that tried to do the correct thing at Eclipse get what they need in life if they are needy and wish them the best of luck. And those that ignored this small town idiot that tried to do the right thing and was laughed at and helped in my dismissal, I hope they are sitting in a cold tent, hungry and are thinking about the poor decisions they have made in their lives that lead to their own demise!

Phil Bell said...

Greetings to all,

Eclipse_Deep_Throat and UglyTruth both have good comments, about doing the right thing.

While I think the finances at Eclipse were inevitably a stack of kindling looking for a match, I must say, I don't think anyone deliberately benefited from the chaos, not even the Wedged One himself.

I would offer an alternative hypothesis for consideration:

1) The purchasing department probably knew the cash flow, and investment, was shaky.

2) So, they were probably playing "house of cards" with the supply chain.

3) Which is probably why they got so stressed out about open doors and drafts that might knock over the delicately balanced deck.


airsafetyman said...

EDT and UglyTruth,
You guys did the right thing. It would not have been necessary had you worked in a company with integrity at the top, but how were you to know that going in? You do what you have to do and let the chips fall where they may. The potential consequences (especially in the aircraft manufacturing business) are just too severe to do otherwise and keep your humanity.

julius said...


Merry Christmas to all!

Working as a contractor means one does what the boss asks one to do!
But who is the boss? How to give one's best, if one is there just to verify the crazy ideas of the boss!
If one can look into mirror each morning - that's fine if there is at least some money in the wallet each morning!

Look at Boeing - did they made the "maiden flight" or a 7/8/7 (phase II) - pushing two a/cs into the air? Another pulling out of the hangar of a true (or semi true) a/c would be a little bit boring!
Hopefully the landing gear problems during the second flight are an esay to solve mistake and not a general (quality) issue.
The next flights and the usage of no one and two will tell more than any pr outpour!

EAI - nice words apart from "60 Associates" - approx. four a/cs per Associates...Is this a good relation? Or does this mean that in future - after the AVI NG 1.5/FIKI implemantion activities - there will be another employee to a/cs relation?


P.S.: Economies - in Germany some people anticipate the a - whatsoever - recession in 2010!

uglytruth said...

Two weeks before I was let go I told my boss I had a ticket home. If I could not get any supplies to get something done there was no reason for me to come back. Rest assured they were going to get me the things I needed. Yea right.

I don't work for money I work for results. I believe if you do the right thing little issues like that take care of themselves.

The goal was to build aircraft faster. 2 days and I had 4 notebook pages of ideas to help move things along. Now I might be an ass and have been called a lot worse but I have spent my whole life improving things. I've / we've (no one person does it alone) taken companies heading the wrong way and brought them back to record profits.

If the boss / bosses were so brilliant why was he hiring outsiders to run his company?

fred said...

Greetings to all ...

hope you all enjoy some quality times with your dear ones ...

Herr Julius :
P.S.: Economies - in Germany some people anticipate the a - whatsoever - recession in 2010!

sorry for the believers of the 25th hour , but actually most economies are standing still on the "public spending carpet" ...

when the carpet is going to be withdrawn = no needs to be extra-clever to imagine the result ... ;-)

Baron : (funny ... few things seems never changing ...)

I hope it does well, and our NATO allies stop being such a drain on our transport fleet.

without being a big-brass , i would figure out that the best way to avoid a drain of transport fleet would be to stop sending troops all over the place ...

or to do the job by yourself

that said ...

a wonderful new year for all , with only good things !

Phil Bell said...

Hello Fred,

Seasons Greetings!

I hope your seafaring is going well, and your holidays are being spent in a warm port!

julius said...

boa tarde!

...i would figure out that the best way to avoid a drain of transport fleet ....

I think the US may state "no capacity"... or get a lot of money for the "drain"...
Pecunia non olet and every little helps!


fred said...

Thanks , Phil ...

the seatrip is going well , at least better than i expected ... i wonder now why it took me so long to adopt this lifestyle , no worries , no schedule , no time , only wishes, fun and good times ...! ;-)

Herr Julius ,

i am impressed by your Brazilian/Portuguese ...

i left the boat in Saint-Barthelemy , it would have to be Créole , so "Ka oufé ti'mal"

but i am not fussy enough to have such exigence !!

i am currently spending end of year festivities in Morocco , where i will rest until end of January ...

what i was meaning in previous post :
i found Baron's comments quite funny ...
you know when you ask some helps from neighbor ... does it grant you the right to choose the color of neighbor's wife dress ?

baron95 said...

Hi Fred - Glad the trip is going well.

Are you in Brazil? What part.

I'm in a beech town just North West of Rio - got here yesterday with family and friends. About to hit the waves - long boarding baby - hope the surf is up. Else, just have to sit on the sand watching the girls in bikinis - oh well.

fred said...

Baron ...

i didn't go as south as Rio , after leaving i went to Dakar , then from there to Ascension , then crossed the Atlantic toward Recife ...

after a few weeks in Brazil , i started to go full north to Trinidad then to Grenada , Saint-Lucie , Guadeloupe , Saint Kitts finally stooped for a break in Saint-Barthelemy (beautiful island unfortunately filled with silly billionaires ...)

left the boat for going to Morocco for vacations (sort of vacations of vacations ;-) )

later in the year and before hurricane season , i will cross Panama towards Hawaii and Polynesia ... then i will go to Tonga , New-Caledonia , Australia etc...

one thing i love in Brazil :

the perfectly shaped bodies religion ...

so interesting to see all those "bodies" playing around on beaches a good pina-colada in hand ...

life is such a hardship !! ;-)

uglytruth said...

Your the man!

What a trip of a lifetime, enjoy it to the fullest.

Phil Bell said...

Christmas vacation for now...

So, please excuse the delay in a new headline post- it should be up Tuesday morning.

In the mean time, please email your favorite links regarding Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymers (CFRP) to:


baron95 said...

Wow - quite a trip Fred.

It looks like your boat is getting to get quite a bit more use than Pieper's.

Good luck on the Pacific leg. The one to Hawaii will be quite a long one - 757-200 - type range required to cross.

Orville said...

Fred - totally off topic - but what can you tell us about your boat? Any pictures?

Bon voyage!

eclipse_deep_throat said...


Sorry, I don't have a lot of time before I have to dart out to work... But I just wanted to say thanks for your comments. Yes, in my circles, I referred to Darlene Black as a black hole. It was nuts to have to go thru her. And on more than one occasion, I had to go over her head ....and/or help the MEs facilitate the POs so they were done right. Eventually we got SAP to code things that had to come to me (QA) first ....but it was only done after many "escapes."

Todd Fierro was another nitemare I think we have discussed. Tood only paid me casual attention ...but I have heard from many about his behavior. I'm sure cooler heads are in charge now...

Thanks also to everyone else with their comments. I am sure there are a lot of stories that we don't even know about; I do remember working with a lot of good contractors that I 'knew' I could trust better than my direct EAC co-workers.


fred said...

Phil :

no need for apologies , it's vacation time for everybody ...

Baron :

pieper's boat is of no use for me ... it is a race boat , a bit like taking a fighter-jet for going around the world ... you could do it , but it wouldn't be comfortable and enjoyable ! ;-)

Orville :

i sail on a "Beneteau Oceanis 58" like the name it's 58 feet long ...

i thought about a "wooden boat" but sailing in warm seas with a wooden hull is a real pain ...

since i live on it on my own , i wouldn't like the idea of having to stop "now and then" to clean the hull and have the risk worms can pierce it ...

it's shallow enough to get close to any coast (about 8 feet) so i intend to go "out of beaten tracks" since it doesn't need infrastructure as harbor , marina and the like ... (which i basically hate : in marinas all around the world , one can find sailors who have done " a trip around" just by talking with a good share of alcoholic beverage ...)

as for pictures :

sorry i do not have any ...

i am more the kind to keep experiences and images in the head more than in photos ...

if others want to know , they just need to go themselves ! ;-)
(sorry , but there is no better experiences than your own ones ...)

after this trip , i intend to stop for a while and learn how to fly ...

life is so short , you know ...

Orville said...

Fred - thank you for excusing the off-topic question. Sounds amazing! I chartered a 'bareboat' Beneteau 42 years ago - and sailed the US & British Virgin Islands - nowhere near the trip you've embarked on - but still exciting for me.

Wish you all the best - fair weather and good winds!


Floating Cloud said...

Meanwhile back in Eclipse Land...

City councilers are voting on Monday whether to give free rent to Eclipse Aerospace in exchange for the building at Double Eagle airport. I have yet to read any confirmation that Eclipse ever did indeed own the land they are "giving" the city - and ABQ has a serious deficit. All the focus is on the creation of new jobs to build airplanes in ABQ but REALLY is that true?

Forgeting all the lack of integrity by the people who first built the Eclipse, aren't all the bells and whistles going off warning of significant lack of structural integrity in this airplane? Is the city subsidizing a repair shop and an elite flight school?

Is this a win win or a lose lose situation?

the deal?

Orville said...

Just to clarify - that wasn't '42 years ago - it was a Beneteau 42! :)

uglytruth said...

I heard thru the grapevine you cna get a great deal on a low hours Eclipse. But I'm sure you won't make that mistake.

Thank you very much for your gold tip last spring. Your better than a broker!

Happy New Year everyone.

airsafetyman said...

"City councilers are voting on Monday whether to give free rent to Eclipse Aerospace in exchange for the building at Double Eagle airport."

I thought the Charleston, SC, pharma dude had plenty of money, no? Can't pay the rent? Hey, pharma dude, if you do own the Double Eagle property, SELL IT, and pay your rent. Must be time for another of Col. Mike's "communiques" from the front. I can't wait.

Phil Bell said...

"it was a Beneteau 42!"

Hmm, I had a friend with a Bonneville 421

(They are both pretty big "boats"

(Apologies to Gadfly for misusing the term "boats"...Although there was an Electra Boat... :)

(Just in case some wonder... Electric Boat)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Fred,
Thanks for the "holiday pass"!

(New post is ready to go- waiting for permission for material usage- thanks!)

Black Tulip said...

Fred said,

"after this trip , i intend to stop for a while and learn how to fly ..."

Good decision Fred. You will find a lot in common with sailing... except the knots go by many times faster.

Phil Bell said...

"I am more the kind to keep experiences and images in the head more than in photos ..."

That prompted me to rethink the old mental debate I had as well, before I bought my first digital camera several years ago.

With some experience afterwards, I concur- the memorable moments are quite vivid without pictures (and more enjoyable at the time without the distraction handling the camera).

(Old school thinking on my part? Perhaps- but true nonetheless from my experience...)

"after this trip , i intend to stop for a while and learn how to fly ..."

Bravo! I'm a relatively new pilot too- Best wishes to you and Floating_Cloud (who is also getting ready to "scratch the itch"!)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Floating_Cloud,
I guess the city is getting a fair deal from EAC-Newco. The Double Eagle location is probably going to grow (at a modest rate perhaps).

Thanks for the link to the news video, I don't understand how the reporter is linking free rent to the future resumption of aircraft production though.

But, the idea of more aircraft servicing/upgrading jobs is encouraging. (It's nice that there are now 60 employees at EAC-Newco).

Phil Bell said...

"I thought the Charleston, SC, pharma dude had plenty of money..."

(Looks like he's trying to keep it that way! :)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Baron,
"I'm in a beech town just North West of Rio..."

Best wishes for an enjoyable vacation!

(And of course a safe journey back- If you decide to return- It would be a hard decision!! :)


fred said...

Black Tulip , thanks a lot ...

but there is a major difference between a sail-boat and a plane (if not solar-powered which remains some kind of a joke up to now...)

actually , what i loose in speed (usually around 10 Knts/hour , this is not a race ..after all) i gain in length of possible trip ...

the only limit being the quantity of food there is inboard , as for fresh water there is an reverse-osmosis-device !


fred said...

Phil :

yes , real tough decision for Baron to go back ...

just watch this to have an idea ...

(careful , this stuff may get you crazy ... one way or an other ! ;-) )

fred said...

as for photos :

i do believe that there is 2 main types of travelers :

1° the ones who go to places to show how an extraordinary life they have , once they are back ...

2° the ones who go for themselves , therefor the best picture they can show you is to inoculate yourself to go there by relating their own impressions ...

fred said...

Orville :

you had some pretty luck , already ...

the Virgins Islands are something to be lived at least once in a lifetime !

fred said...

UgglyTruth :

if any of my advice served you , you make me glad ...

your thanks are already a good payment for my modest contribution !

what will be next :

Since the organized-decline of US$ is probably going to be more difficult than Geittner/Bernanke expected ...(did they really thought that Chinese and others were ready to be stripped-fools?)

the fruit of all this noise might very easily be Hyperinflation ...

so take care , and keep real-hard-assets at hands , in case ...

fred said...

as For EA(C)500 :

i believe that servicing the existing ones is quite enough to keep a modest firm busy ...

new-production may be a whole lot different story ...

in my humble opinion , the last mistake to undertake ...

was it where Wedge was wrong ?

often being satisfied with 80% of something is better than being frustrated with 100% of nothing !

julius said...


your boat looks great (youtube demo etc.) and there is a lot of space!
Nice weather, good winds - that must be great trip!

Happy new year and a nice trip!


baron95 said...


I'm having a wonderful time in Buzios (look it up). But....after almost a week, I am looking forward to go back to the good ol U S of A.

Of note, I just crossed 4M miles on AA alone with this trip. Each year, as I travel, I see that places are becoming more and more alike.

I type this on a poolside HP laptop, connected via a EDIMAX 3G-WIFI gateway connected via a Huawei 3G USB Modem, connected via Claro (Local Mobile operator) using Ericsson UMTS/HSDPA infrastructured, with Global Crossing/ATT links back to a Google (Blog) server, while drinking Diet Coke and listening to the BBC in the background via SKY satellite TV.

My kids are communicating in English with the natives who drive to the beech in the latest that BMW, Audi, Mercedes and Hyandai/Honda/Toyota/Ford/GM have to offer. The GM/Ford models sold here are all European models, many locally produced, under a US brand.

Citations mix it up at the local airport - boats (mostly powerboats) of every size dot the harbours.

At night, languages mix - portuguese, spanish, english, german, etc as the crowd parties and consumes.

Other than the tall mountains along the beech and the fitter boddies, sometimes it is hard for me to know if I am in South Beech, Cotê-Dázur, Buzios or Malibu.

I'm truly amazed at the degree of global integration.

It is almost impossible nowadays to buy, use any product or service that is not "internationalized".

Even the blondes at the Brazilian beeches are sporting subcutaneous Mentor (made in Texas) gear, if you know what I mean. ;)

Anyway, happy new year all. I expect that 2010-2011 will be a contraction/consolidation year for GA, with 2012-15 seeing the emergence of the market leaders for the next decades.

So hang on to your hats for another 18-24 months or so. Then flock to the winners and winning projects.

Happy New Year.

gadfly said...

Some of us have a much lower expectation of pleasures in terms of monetary value, yet this Christmas we received a great present: "Jimmy Stewart: Bomber Pilot" by Starr Smith. It's a book worth reading, "just because"!

For me, it's a difficult book to put down . . . but someone still has to open the shop each day, and carry on business. Since I'm a slow reader, this book will continue to provide pleasure for yet a few more days . . . reading about a true pilot, with solid values.

For those who don't know, Jimmy Stewart was a "real" pilot, with a war record of integrity, commanding and piloting B-24 "Liberators" into the some of the worst battles in the "ETO".

Buy the book, and enjoy the reading thereof.


baron95 said...

I'm not sure if it was reported here, but since this is a 787 First Flight thread, I guess I should.

ZA002, the second 787 flight article, had its first flight on Dec 22, powered by the Trent 1000 engines.

ZA002 will be the plane used for most of the systems and reliability test. The goal of the 787 program is to achieve ETOPS 330 right off the bat, with ETOPS 207 as a backup.

That will be quite an accomplishment if they pull 330 off. As a reminder, in 1995 B777 got ETOPS180 right off the bat, and that was monumental - a first.

So now with a fleet of two in the air, things should settle down as business as usual for the 787 certification program.

baron95 said...

In the mean time, while watching ZA002 flying with its livery, ANA just ordered 5 additional 767-300ER as interim lift.

My guess is that the price for those airframes was ZERO, as compensation for the 787 delays and 783 cancellation.

julius said...


It is almost impossible nowadays to buy, use any product or service that is not "internationalized".

that's true. But there are "producers" who are interested in "intrnational markets"! Best example: the big waves (plus 25ft) at certain Hawaii islands. Even a contest could be started with people from around the world...just because there was a storm in the nothern Pacific Ocean causing these waves...

But if the product ("waves" or fpj) isn't good enough ... nada, zero unless there is a good enough wrapping and an approriate buyer...

Happy new Year!


P.S.: In Rio I bought a bottle of cachaca with a German label. It was a decent supermarket and the Basilian cachaca was ok!
Try a caiparinha amazon!

Phil Bell said...

Hello Baron,
Sounds like life is great down there! Have a great time down there!

Remarkable heat wave here- got above freezing by one degree... :(

Phil Bell said...

New post is up!

Thanks to Jon Orsrower for his kind (and prompt- last night!) permission to post the graphic and links to

Phil Bell said...

"But if the product ("waves" or fpj) isn't good enough ... nada, zero unless there is a good enough wrapping and an appropriate buyer..."

Are you saying Eclipse made a big splash (or was just a drop in the bucket) ??

(Whichever, I think Al Mann would like to give Vern a "disruptive" life preservers when sailing on Roel's yacht...)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Fred,
Thanks for the video- those girls are having a blast- looks like great fun!

(Looks like quite a "cultural experience"! :)

Phil Bell said...

Hi Gadfly,
I just saw Strategic Air Command, c1955, with Jimmy Stewart a few weeks ago- that was a really cool movie for aviation enthusiasts" too!