Monday, March 29, 2010

A New Appreciation for Aspect Ratio

Say, something looks a little funny here...
(And it's NOT me !! :)

While shuffling around the flight line one day, I took a break from looking at my shoes and belly button, and happened to look up. Not quite at the stars, as it was daytime. There is a subtle danger with when and where one looks- I had a friend who would fall asleep in a car with his eyes open. Fortunately, this was only when he was riding, rather than driving. I've heard it said that such things are a symptom of insanity. (Which might explain his choice of friends... or render a verdict on my conversational skills).

Surfing the web a bit, it would appear that- no, it is not a sign of insanity, but a neurological abnormality. Reckon some misconception like that is how the Salem witch trials started. (It was kinda spooky though). Fortunately, driving into something wasn't a danger for my friend- but staring into the sun was. Anyway- I was more-or-less awake (I doubt if my boss would appreciate a helpful website I found while researching my friend's problem: "How to Rest With Your Eye's Open"), and not staring into the sun, but nonetheless, what I saw rather started me into a heightened sense of awareness; I happened to look up at the wing of a Dash-8.

And, by golly, it was a rather odd sight. Such a long airplane, and a reasonably long wingspan- but a markedly short-cord wing.

I had flown on a Dash-8 over the holidays, and was modestly impressed. Or if you prefer, modestly impressed it wasn't as bad as I expected: equivalent to a typical RJ in passenger "comfort", but at least it had a certain quaintness about it. It was fairly fast (perhaps a 25% longer trip time on the 400 nm one-way journey), and yes, noisier- even though it was the "Q" model with active noise cancellation.

I'm no aerodynamicist, but for years (like, decades), I've heard "how much more efficient a turboprop is" than a jet. I don't know why that is supposed to be true- but after contemplating the seemingly high aspect ratio of the Dash-8 wing, I wondered if that was a key element.

Aspect Ratio is defined as the wingspan-squared divided by wing area. This gets a little tricky when one considers what is "wing area"- the parts that jut out from the fuselage, or should the fuselage area that "connects the wings" be included in area. I believe this is called "gross area" (as opposed to net area excluding the fuselage area between the wings), and it is what I tried to use for all the comparisons. (Some of the data was vague, but I did my best to maintain consistency- please point out any corrections to individual aircraft if you see them).

In general, a wide wingspan, and small area (short cord) yield a high aspect ratio, and higher efficiency, with less induced drag. There are some complications though(fuel area, wing bending loads, flight control packaging).

I had been thinking of a typical jet as having an aspect ration of around 8; which turns out to be not such a bad estimation. I was considerably surprised in checking a multitude of aspect ratios, with the high placement of turboprops. I did a relatively thorough comparison of a wide variety, and 250 aircraft (see list at the end), and I was reasonably astonished at the Aspect Ratio placement of regional airliner turboprops: below are the two dozen highest aspect ratio airplanes. The turboprop commuter aircraft fell neatly between a reasonably capable older sailplane (Schweizer 1-26), and the Lockheed U2: quite surprising, to me anyway.

As VLJ fans (of sorts), I thought it interesting to note the Eclipse 500 aspect ratio is approx. 9.69, and the Cessna Mustang a 8.89.

Interestingly, the Boeing 787-8 has an aspect ratio of approx 11.12, versus 8-to-9 for other Boeing contemporary models. Airbus models were generally 9-to-10 (except for the A380, 7.52; perhaps structural constraints- especially wing bending loads for such a heavy airplane, kept the wingspan shorter.

RutanModel 76Voyager (non-stop prop)33.85
Scaled CompositesModel 311Global Flyer (non-stop SEJ)32.49
NorthropRQ-4AGlobal Hawk25.01
SchleicherASW28Sail Plane21.42
General AtomicsMQ-1Predator19.23
GrobG-102Astir (sailplane)18.27
LockheedRQ-3Dark Star14.83
DeHavilandDHC-8-300Twin Turboprop13.39
SonexXenoshomebuilt sailplane13.22
DeHavilandDHC-8-400Twin Turboprop12.79
Hawker SiddeleyHawker Siddeley HS 748Turboprop12.67
PiaggioPA-180Avanti (main wing)12.29
ATRATR-72Twin Turboprop12.01
ATRATR-42Twin Turboprop11.09
DiamondDA42TTwin Engine11.06
Saab2000Twin Turboprop11.02
Dornier328Twin Turboprop11.01
Beech1900DPuddle Hopper10.85
LockheedU-2SSpy Plane10.61

Here's the Great-Grand Daddy of all Aspect Ratios lists.

(There were some notable difficulties- swing wing geometries didn't list different wing areas for swept versus non-swept, although some reading suggests it's about a 10 percent reduction). Also, canard configurations are a bit more difficult to compare (should the canard be included in wing area? I did not). Also bi-planes (Wright Flyer) counted both wing areas, although I've read somewhere that a rule of thumb is only a 10% gain in effective wing area for a biplane.

It's kind of fun to look at the data sorted in other ways too (might have to download them and then open them- quirky Google docs issues- even quirkier!):

By Manufacturer/Model

By Wing Span

By Wing Area


By Wing Loading (at MTOW)

Oh, what the heck- Here's the whole list! (Just in case there are difficulties opening the Google doc files. Plus, I was curious to see how big of a spreadsheet I could upload. "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should ..." :)

ManufacturerModelName/CommentsWingspan (ft)Wing Area (sq.ft)MTOW (lbs)A.R.(gross)Wing.Load
WainfainFMX-4Facetmobile (Homebuilt)152147401.053.46
Birdman, IncWing.suitDarwin Special5161801.5611.25
LockheedSR-71Spy Plane55.618001720001.7295.56
General DynamicsF-16XL(Cranked Arrow Wing)34.25646480001.8274.31
General DynamicsF-111.sweptAardvark325251000001.95190.47
FaireyDelta 2Supersonic Research26.8360138841.9938.56
NorthropYF-23Black Widow II43.6900620002.1168.89
RockwellSpace.ShuttleSpace Brick78.0628402300002.1580.98
BoeingX-32Ugliest Airplane Award36590380002.1964.41
ConvairF-102ADelta Dagger38.1661.5315002.2147.61
ConvairF-106Delta Dart38.25661.5418302.2163.23
VoughtXF5UFlying Pancake32.5475187722.2239.52
North AmericanX-15Rocket plane22.3200340002.49170.01
LockheedF-35A (USAF)Lightning II35460700002.66152.17
AvroVulcanBritish Flying Wing99.435541700002.7847.83
McDonnellF-4EPhantom II38.4530617952.78116.59
McDonnellF-15EStrike Eagle42.8608810003.01133.22
Wright BrosFlyer(Bi-plane, calc. w/o canard)40.35107453.181.46
RockwellB-1BLancer (wings swept)7919504770003.21244.61
MitsubishiF-2(F-16 Agile Falcon)36.5375330003.5588
General DynamicsF-16CFalcon32.7300423003.56141.01
McDonnellAV-8BHarrier II30.25243.4310003.76127.36
North AmericanF-100DSuper Saber38.8400348323.7687.08
McDonnell/Gen DynA-12Avenger II70.31308800003.7861.16
NorthropF-5ETiger II26.7186246643.83132.61
GrummanX-29Forward Swept Wing27.2188.8178003.9294.27
McDonnellF-18ESuper Hornet44.7500660003.99132.01
North AmericanA-5Vigilante53700629534.0189.93
VoughtA-7ECorsair II38.8375420004.01112.01
North AmericanF-86FSaber37313.4181524.3757.92
Handley PageB.1Victor11024061850005.0376.89
LockheedJetStar IIBiz Jet54.9542445005.5682.11
PiperPA-28-140Cherokee-fill in the blank3016021505.6213.44
North AmericanT-39DSaberliner44.5342.1177605.7951.91
BellX-1Rocket plane28130122506.0394.23
General DynamicsF-111.landingAardvark63657.41000006.04152.11
Hawker SiddeleyHS 125-700Biz Jet47353255006.2672.24
BAE SystemsMRA4(Evolved DeHaviland Comet)12725382323156.3691.53
GulfstreamG.450Biz Jet77.8950739006.3777.79
WittmanW10Tailwind (Homebuilt)249014256.415.83
Fairchild-RepublicA-10Thunderbolt II (Warthog)57.5506500006.5398.81
CessnaICitation-fill in the blank43.5278.5118506.7942.55
Cessna 310Twin prop3517946006.8425.69
CessnaBravoCitation-fill in the blank47.3322.9148006.9345.83
BellV-22Tilt Rotor, fixed-wing only45.8301.4605006.96200.73
Hawker800Hawker 80051.4373.9280007.0774.89
Hawker4000Hawker 400061.8530.8395007.1974.42
LearModel 60Lear 6043.8264.8235007.2488.75
Ford5-ATTrimotor ("Tin Goose")77.8835135007.2516.17
TerrafugiaTerrafugiaFlying Car27.5103.114747.3314.29
LearModel 45Lear 4547.8311215007.3569.13
NorthropYB-35Flying Wing (props)17240002090007.3952.25
NorthropYB-49Flying Wing (jet)17240001939387.3948.48
McDonnell-DouglasC-17Globemaster III169.838005850007.59153.95
PiperPA-39Twin Commanche36.817837257.6120.93
LockheedP-3Navy Patrol99.713001420007.65109.23
CessnaXBiz Jet63.6527364007.6769.07
GulfstreamG.550Biz Jet93.61137910007.7180.04
GulfstreamG.650Biz Jet99.61283996007.7377.73
PiperPA-42-720Cheyenne IIIA47.7293112007.7638.22
CessnaSovereignCitation-fill in the blank63.1510303007.8159.41
Cessna421CGolden Eagle41.121574507.8634.65
EmbraerERJ-140LRRegional Airliner65.8550.9465177.8684.44
Cessna340ATwin prop38.118459907.8932.55
CessnaV & UltraCitation-fill in the blank52.3342.6163007.9847.58
BeechPremier 1ABiz Jet44.5247125008.0250.61
Cessna 303Clipper/Crusader39189.251508.0427.22
CessnaXLS+Citation-fill in the blank56.3371202008.5454.45
MitsubishiMU-2Twin Turboprop39.2178115758.6365.03
BombardierGlobal.ExpressXRSBiz Jet941022995008.6597.36
Cessna425Corsair/Conquest I44.222582008.6836.44
McDonnell-DouglasMD-95(also Boeing 717)93.410011210008.71120.88
EmbraerERJ-195Regional Airliner94.39961152808.93115.74
Socata850Single Engine Turboprop41.6193.773948.9338.17
CessnaEncoreCitation-fill in the blank54.1322166309.0951.65
CessnaCJ1+Citation-fill in the blank46.9240107009.1644.58
CessnaIIICitation-fill in the blank53.5312220009.1770.51
ExtraEA-400Composite, piston37.7153.644099.2528.71
EmbraerERJ-175Regional Airliner85.3783855169.29109.22
BombardierCRJ-200Regional Airliner69.6520.4530009.31101.85
CessnaCJ2Citation-fill in the blank49.8263.6123009.4146.66
LearModel 85Lear 8561.5401335009.4383.54
RockwellCommander-500Piston Twin49.125567509.4526.47
General AtomicsMQ-9Reaper66460105009.4722.83
Cessna441Conquest II49.3253101659.6140.18
RockwellB-1B Lancer (landing config)13719504770009.62244.61
LockheedL-1049GSuper Constellation126.216541375009.6383.13
CessnaCJ3Citation-fill in the blank53.3294138709.6647.18
EclipseEA500Oh Be Nice37.4144.459509.6941.21
Cessna 206BCaravan52.1279.487509.7131.31
Dassault7XFalcon (three engine)86761700009.7291.98
BristolType 167Brabazon (post WW2, 8xradial)23053172900009.9554.54
CirrusSR-22who needs a name38.3144.9340010.1223.46
PilatusPC-12Single Engine Turboprop53.3277.81045010.2337.62
BoeingB737-800(with winglets)117.4134417420010.26129.61
Shorts360Twin Turboprop74.85442600010.2847.79
SwearingenMetroliner-23Twin Turboprop573101600010.4851.61
Beech2000AStarship (main wing)54.52811490010.5753.02
DiamondDZ40XLSingle Engine39.2145.3264510.5818.2
LockheedU-2SSpy Plane10310004000010.6140.01
Beech1900DPuddle Hopper583101712010.8555.23
Dornier328Twin Turboprop68.94313084011.0171.55
Saab2000Twin Turboprop81.36005026511.0283.78
DiamondDA42TTwin Engine44175374811.0621.42
ATRATR-42Twin Turboprop80.65864100011.0969.97
ATRATR-72Twin Turboprop88.8656.65026512.0176.55
PiaggioPA-180Avanti (main wing)46172.21155012.2967.07
Hawker SiddeleyHawker Siddeley HS 748Turboprop102.58294650012.6756.09
DeHavilandDHC-8-400Twin Turboprop93.26796450012.7994.99
SonexXenoshomebuilt sailplane45.7158127513.228.07
DeHavilandDHC-8-300Twin Turboprop90604.74300013.3971.11
LockheedRQ-3Dark Star69321850014.8326.48
GrobG-102Astir (sailplane)49.313399018.277.44
General AtomicsMQ-1Predator48.7123.3225019.2318.25
SchleicherASW28Sail Plane49.2113115721.4210.24
NorthropRQ-4AGlobal Hawk116.25402290025.0142.41
Scaled CompositesModel 311Global Flyer (non-stop SEJ)1144002210032.4955.25
RutanModel 76Voyager (non-stop prop)110.73629694.533.8526.78


Phil Bell said...

I believe the Wright brothers were the first ones to realize a propeller is really an airfoil.

(And by the way, designed a prop that was 85 percent efficient- not too far off from today's standards).

With that in mind, it occurs to me that perhaps one of the turboprop aircraft's efficiency advantages is the aspect ration of the propeller blades, compared to a typcial fan jet. (Although it seems the new largest-diameter fans might challenge that presumption).

Phil Bell said...

I figure there's a lot of smart aero-types, and corporate knowledge- please post tech insights/corrections-

gadfly said...

An excellent place to begin:


Baron95 said...

Nice research Phil.

A modern wing is such a complex beast, that simple comparisons based only on aspect ratio may not very instructive.

One item that I'd like to comment on is the assertion that "turboprops are more efficient (than jets)".

That needs to be qualified. There is a speed range where propellers are more efficient. Another (narrow) range where unducted fans are more efficient. Another range where high-bypass turbofans are more efficient. Another (narrow) where lower-bypass turbofans are more efficient. Another where turbojets are more efficient, all the way to SCRAMJET speeds, etc.

At 30,000 ft somewhere around 375-425 KTAS - propellers and turboprops become less efficient than turbofans, and fall off very rapidly above M0.7.

Back to our favorite class of planes - the twin VLJ - like the EA500, hanging a pair of turboprops is a non-starter.

The lightest twin turboprops (C425 Baby Conquest, Baby Cheyenne, Baby King Air, etc) are all 8,000lbs-11,000 lbs class machines.

The lightest certified twin turboprop of significance for personal GA is probably the modified Beech Duke - which is a 7,500 lbs class machine. With a similar cabin size as the EA500.

None of these birds can crack 300 KTAS, even with the modern Blackhawk mods and the like. Some, can't crack 250KTAS.

They all (perhaps with the exception of the Duke - I haven't checked) burn more fuel per mile than the Eclipse 500 (of course, some have more cabin volume and payload).

So you can see how they are not more efficient at all compared to the EA500 (and even the Mustang and Phenom 100).

They cruise in the 230-270 KTAS range. While the fan-jets cruise at the 360-390 KTAS range burning less fuel/mile.

Anyway - just wanted to point out that twin turboprops are not necessarily "more efficient". Though I have to say, the Piaggio II is of wicked machine - fast and efficient.

Now, interestingly, when it comes to GA single engine TPs - I think they will be a lot more competitive to SEJs (e.g. TBM850 vs Diamond Jet), than the twin TPs are to twin fanjets.

gadfly said...

‘Giving the baron credit where credit is due . . . we must agree that there is no simple “one size fits all” formula . . . especially when it comes to aspect ratio.

Some time back, I read a few articles that stated that one could not apply the basic formulas of “lift/drag”, etc., to small model airplanes. But conducting my own experiments with models down to gliders the size that one could send “four of them” for the cost of a single first-class postage stamp, I found that claim to be “un-true”. In that regard, I was able to machine models from thin sheets of 7075-T6 aluminum, cover them with “Japanese tissue”, . . . and had wonderful success. Funny thing, here . . . the biggest problem was when a model would land in a “rain puddle” . . . and I’d have to re-cover the model with tissue (the frame being aluminum . . . not balsa), and be back and flying within hours. Think of it . . . an aluminum framed model, weighing in at “two grams”, and flying every time. Oh yeh . . . the aspect ratio was 6:1 . . . wing span 6.6 inches, chord 1.1 inches . . . with about a 6 degree dihedral.

Back to the big stuff . . . take a good hard look at the birds that God designed. Consider the “Hummingbird” . . . you Europeans don’t have this critter, but they exist. In the summer, we have as many as a hundred or more, coming up on our porch, to feed. These little things go south in the fall . . . and some of them cross the Gulf of Mexico to get wherever they go for the winter, and then come back in the spring. Have you ever had one sit on your finger? . . . I have, many times. Think of “aspect ratios” and “fuel consumption” . . . the formulas may need “fine tuning”, but there’s no special set of rules . . . the same rules that apply to the hummingbird, the albatross, the pelican (I could tell you some stories about those amazing birds), the seagull (having studied them by the hour, when I was suppose to be listening to my sixth grade teacher) . . . the rules work at all levels.

Part two . . . coming soon to a blogsite near you!


gadfly said...

Thinking back about flying things . . . we’d watch the “flying fish” come “out of nowhere” from some high wave, and glide across the surface of the ocean . . . they might hit the top of another wave, kick with their tails, and gain some speed and “almost” make it over the forward “Teakwood” deck (on the submarine), to get caught between the slats . . . only to end up as “breakfast” for the officers, after the “Steward” would make his morning collection, and prepare the morning meal. Flying Fish obey the same rules of aerodynamics . . . call them “fins”, or “wings”, or whatever . . . there is a consistency . . . even the two giant “screws” that drove our 2,500 tons forward, through the ocean. The rules that governed the air above, also ruled the water beneath. That’s the good part of all this discussion. The bad part is that “man”, with his tiny brain, is playing “catchup”, attempting to understand the many variables within the compressible element of “air” and the incompressible element of “water” . . . and all of the other possibilities in God’s universe.

There is no simple rule that can be applied to “all”. The Wright Brothers figured (as I recall) that their propellers would require 405 RPM . . . and later they discovered that they were mistaken . . . 402 RPM was the correct number. But that was for an aircraft that would fly at less than fifty mph. Today, with all the sophistication of so-called modern science and technology there is something to be learned from the “Brothers Wright” that will escape the mentality of at least 99 and 44/100ths percent of the modern generation.

We could go off on the “laziness” of working out the many problems, looking for the “quick fix” of anything and everything . . . but we’ll leave that for another time. Back to the subject . . . aspect ratios . . . and other things of length and low drag: It gets back to fine tuning the vehicle for a specific purpose, without the expectation of being “all things in all circumstances”.

God didn’t create His creatures is such a manner . . . and maybe we should take the hint.


ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

A purpose built twin turboprop could compete very handily with the EA-50 or any other similar VLJ design. It is all about selecting design points and capitalizing the development/certification effort.

We know from the prodigious performance of the Piaggio Avanti II that turboprops can cruise up to FL410 and at speeds up to 400 KTS. A King Air 350 can cruise 315 KTS and has a range approaching 2000nm. Heck, the Starship cruised 335 KTS with a range of over 1500nm.

If you really want a ridiculous comparison, why not compare the EA-50 to a Twin Bonanza (affectionately called 'the box the Baron came in'), now THAT would make for an impressive comparo, the best of the early '50's against the mediocre of the early '00's.

There might be a reason or two though why the OEM's are not creating this plane, such as the small number of operators who combined performance, price point and risk in the ratio that resulted in 260 deliveries and somewhere around 800-1000 total customers for the EA-50, over 10 years.

The ROI does not make a compelling business case to the fuddy duddies who run these dinosaur companies who are interested in old fashioned concepts like share holder return, job security, and protecting the legacy of companies that have been building airplanes since there have been airplanes.

Baron95 said...

CW, Not sure why you are getting so worked up.

I mentioned all the latest GA light twin TPs designs certified that could possibly be owner flown.

Unfortunately, owner flown twin TPs proved uncompetitive, and other than the BE90, have all been discontinued, where twin turbofans in the same weight class proliferate.

The BE350 MTOW is 3 times that of the Eclipse and it costs 5 times as much, and burns a ton of fuel. It is kind of desperation to try to use that to make a point.

The Piaggio, I did mention, as it continues to amaze me. But it is size/price competitive with Midsize jets. Not light jets, certainly not VLJs. Still - they have the speed/efficiency down pat at the edge of GA TP speeds for sure.

Mustangs and Phenom 100s sales completely dwarf the BE90's.

Simply put, it is extremely hard, if not impossible to scale a twin-TP (excluding the crazy tandem, single shaft ones) down to the size of a EA50 or Diamond Jet, and uncompetitive to scale them to TBM, Mustang size.

Black Tulip said...


"...the small number of operators who combined performance, price point and risk in the ratio that resulted in 260 deliveries and somewhere around 800-1000 total customers for the EA-50, over 10 years."

Brings up an interesting question. To put it in manufacturing terms, what was the 'yield' for Eclipse Aviation?

Shane Price said...


Simply put, it is extremely hard, if not impossible to scale a twin-TP (excluding the crazy tandem, single shaft ones) down to the size of a EA50 or Diamond Jet, and uncompetitive to scale them to TBM, Mustang size.

Guess we'll just have to wait for our French friends to unveil whatever "twin" they've been working on these past few years.

I'm hoping they go a bit wild, and shock us with a bird that has a diesel prop (up front) and a turbofan in the back. Think of it as an all Jet-A fueled craft that would combine the low and slow benefits of a prop with the speed and high performance of a jet.

Before you get too worked up, remember we're less than 24 hours away from an annual event which liberates jokers everywhere from the locked cupboards they habitually occupy.

Or, you might consider this a semi serious effort to chat about what could be a new class of personal aircraft.


ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Not uncompetitive Baron, sized and spec'd for their respective markets which are, as you may be aware, D I F F E R E N T.

There are no, repeat NO entry level or VLJ jets that approach the number in service for the 90/100 series King Airs, NONE.

There are roughly 2000 90/100 King Airs. You could put all the entry level/VLJ jets ever produced together and not have the same number. This will be true for another 3-5 years at least.

The VLJ was a fad, and it is essentially dead.

Real entry level jets like the Phenom 100 and Mustang may eventually supplant the 90/100 series King Air in sheer number, but so what? Jets are not turbo-props and vice versa.

If there were a C-90 that could do 350 KTS at FL410, I think it would do well.

Given a fraction of the budget burned by Eclipse I could design and certify a light turboprop twin with performance similar to the EA-50, using existing technologies. It would take about 4 years, and would very likely offer more overall utility. Single power lever controls for each side, glass panel, FIKI, coupled A/P, the whole shebang. And priced to reflect the likely volume, it would be roughly a $2-2.5M plane IMO (if from an established OEM).

This is an area where turbo-props and light fanjets CAN occupy the same space, not only physically, but also economically and from a performance standpoint. As the increasing success of the Avanti shows, a competitive turbo-prop design can carve out a nice niche when compared to jets.

Shane Price said...

Brian Skupa Snippet

Been meaning to pass on his regards for a while. He asked me to 'high five' you all, in particular those 29 who featured on the Honor Roll.

While still (somewhat) entangled with legal types, he's in good form, and has moved on.

After what happened to Brian while at EAC, this just goes to prove that no matter how bad things appear, there's often a silver lining.

For 'us' the dispute with Vern ended 100 days after his attempt to SLAPP me, when he announced his departure from the company he'd founded (and run into the ground) on day one of Oshkosh 2008.

Brian went through a much tougher experience, but can at least hold his head high, knowing that he told the truth.

Which is, after all, what prompted Vern to fire him.

The Wedge maintained a tenuous relationship with the truth, at the best of times.

But then we all learned that, eventually.


Black Tulip said...


Good to hear from you. Hope your Partial Eclipse 500 (model) is holding up well, and remains current with service bulletins and required maintenance at proper intervals.

gadfly said...

And, Shane, we still owe a debt of gratitude to "Gunner", for his part in all this.


Floating Cloud said...

Dear Shane:

While I had hoped for the best for the x from Eclipse in his new postion in GA, I am afraid he has further proven himself to be a narcissist. I do not write these words in a light and casual manner. He has displayed behavior indicating that he is incapable of true compassion and empathy towards others, which is a defense mechanism of narcissists because they live in a great deal of pain all the time.

Eclipse is a sad example of the sorry state of leadership that the world has bought into for quite a while now -- the charismatic seduction of narcissists is very appealing, but they only really care about power. Ultimately they have no connection to themselves and crumble.

You and your honor role are the Knights in shining riveted aluminum who continue to fight against injustices in the world. Thank you, Kind Sirs.

Lady Floating Cloud

RonRoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

CW - the turboprop/gear/propeller power unit needed to propel a light pressurized twin, weighs more, costs more, has inherently lower TBO.

It also (typically have to be on the wings) and greatly complicates wing design and restricts efficiency.

If flying above 320-350KTS or so, it has no fuel burn advantage.

Result a more expensive, slower, heavier, less efficient bird.

And remember, the only two GA turboprops to ever crack 320KTAS cruise speed used exotic configurations/materials (Starship/Piaggio). One was a total disaster. The other sells in the single digits/year.

Meanwhile, scores of C500/C501/C510/C525s have been delivered from just one manufacturer, without issues.

Now, if you are talking SE turboprop, some of these disadvantages go away. The natural mounting on the nose keeps the wings clean and reduces mounting weight, etc.

At the same price/weight point we have a Meridian, DiamondJet (almost), operating at a favorable ceiling for the turboprop 25kft which is horrible for the turbofan. Still, it looks like the SEJ will cruise about 40-50kts faster, have 20% better range and about 50% more payload.

It really doesn't look good for the turboprop in the owner flown GA.

That is why virtually none (mainstream) has been certified in almost two decades. Vs a flood of new turbofan designs.

Anyway. That is a side point.

The price point for entry level turbofans (adjusted for inflation) has been declining for decades. No smoothly, but in steps.

I see absolutely no reason for the trend to reverse.

Conversely the, entry level for twin turboprops had a trend to go high with C425s, Commanders, etc disappearing.

So are least in the market place, a turbofan is progressively more within reach today of an owner/operator compared to a (twin) Turboprop.

Stay tuned ;)

Baron95 said...

Now back onto Eclipse. Aviation Week is now reporting on Eclipse, and as usual doing a better job than the other publications.

Quite a few more details on AW&ST:

1 - Holland: “We acquired all the DayJet aircraft from United Technologies’ finance arm, and those will also be completed under the Total Eclipse program and offered to new owners,”

2 - He says that of the 260 EA500 aircraft out there, only 10% were on the market compared with twice that for many other makes and models.

3 - The refurbished aircraft leave the Chicago Eclipse service facility with approval for flight to FL410, a 20,000-cycle life, radar, moving maps and Jepp eCharts. Every airplane will carry a factory warranty

4 - Each aircraft delivered with 300-hour/24 month inspection; current P&PWC Gold ESP engine plan paid up to date of delivery; one-year, 300 hour limited warranty; all service bulletins complete; one initial or recurrent type rating credit included; one year Jeppesen subscription; one year maintenance manual updates; RVSM certified; and EASA upgradable.

4 - European operators are drawn to the fact that the EA500 carbon emissions are so low it is exempt from carbon laws. (claims strong interest from charter operators)


So - there you have it.

Place your bets. In the next two years, do you think the average selling price of an EA500 (one of the 260 already produced) will:

A - Increase.

B - Decrease.

C - Stay the same.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Baron you are so far off from reality and drinking the M&M kool aid that I am once again reminded why there is no reason to try and constructively engage you.

Since you apparently do not know, Piaggio delivers 3 or 4 dozen aircraft per year on average (not single digits as you suggested) and has rampe up production rate a couple times over the past few years, due to, you guessed it, increased demand.

But rather than cause reality to intrude into your delusion I leave you to your googling while I go back to actually making new airplanes happen.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Slight correction, rather than go from memory I checked the numbers and Piaggio average production rate is between 2 and 3 dozen per year not the 3 to 4 I thought I remembered. I was recalling an announcement about doubling rate, but that was before the market change.

However, fuel flows for the Avanti II are, in fact, 40% less than comparable biz jets, and that is all the way up to 400 KTS and FL410.

As I said, a competitive light twin turbo-prop could be designed and built, if, there were enough demand and if the program promised an adequate ROI.

There are not likely to be any totally new programs being developed at this time, but there will be new planes coming on line that were originally put to paper in the past few years. I have personally seen drawings and a model or two for one such plane, and it would be killer - hope to see it happen. There is also the rumored twin engine stable mate for the TBM 850.

To borrow from the great Samual Clemens, reports of the demise of the turbo-prop continue to be, somewhat exaggerated.

Shane Price said...


You do not continue to accept a paycheck while badmouthing the company at every turn.

Your 'badmouthing' is the next guys words of wisdom.

In Brian's case, it was also the next, and the next and the guys after that.

If you were regularly being asked, by 700 (roughly) anxious depositors many of whom had paid their progress payments simple questions like 'when can I expect my aircraft', you have a couple of choices:-

1. Don't answer.

2. Answer "I don't know"

3. Or lie.

The only valid responses, anytime after about 2002, for a person doing that role at EAC was number 1 or 2. The first is clearly not going to satisfy your customer and the second won't either. Plus you'll annoy Vern.

Vern wanted Brian to use number 3 i.e. to tell lies. Eventually he got fed up, told the truth and got fired.

Should he have resigned earlier?


Should Vern have fired him?


Did that vicious email need to be circulated once he'd been frogmarched out the door?

I know what I think...

Stop trying to defend the indefensible. The Wedge was so 'disruptive', in so many ways, that he will be the subject of many a business masters thesis, all headed "How to blow a few billion without really trying"

Or words to that effect.

Put it another way. Two candidates appear in front of an interview panel you're a member of, seeking a responsible senior executive for a start up aviation company. One is the Wedge and the other is Brian.

With a straight face tell me, honestly, how you could recommend Wedge to the investors you'd be reporting back to?


RonRoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

Hey CW, you are creating an argument where there is none. I already said that Piaggio is *THE* exception of a twin turboprop that is price/speed/range competitive with the fanjets in the segment.

They shipped 24 in 2009, and 30 in their best year. Which is good for them. (my single digit comment was off).

But it is still a plane with a MTOW more than twice that of the Eclipse, and a price that is 2.5x that of the Mustang/Phenom 100. Completely different category.

I still see no evidence of a twin TP that can be speed and efficiency at speed competitive in the 6,000 lbs MTOW class with a twin turbofan. I doubt it can be done in the 8,000-lbs class. 10,000-lbs class perhaps. 12,000 lbs class yes - Piaggio.

Anyway - will let that one rest. I know of no project for a new twin turboprop in the Eclipse/Mustang weight-price-speed class. If you know of one share.

airtaximan said...

There is one, far away, in flight test. Well funded, no sales/pre-sales as they did not need the deposit money.

Baron95 said...

(sorry CW - I only now read the end of your second post - you already answered the last question).

I still would be curious to know, in your design, what is the lowest MTOW of a twin TP that would be speed competitive with the representative twin turbofan in that weight/price class.

We have Eclipse at 6,000, Mustang at say 8,000, Phenom 100/CJ1+ at 10,000.

No agenda in that question. If you have crunched the numbers, I'd be curious to know.

airtaximan said...

I think we need to remember how hard it must have been for anyone to pcik up the pieces of EAC and make a go of it.

I congratulate the team over there... kudos. This is why I posted the intial reference to the good news from EA.

The aircraft will never be what was sold or promised. At least someone is working hard and keeping the owners flying under what looks like "customer focused" service.

Again, BIG congratulations.

This can only benefit the owners, and enhance the value of their aircraft.

Its all good.

Baron95 said...

Hey Shane, what is the obsession with Vern blowing through $1B? That is not real money, you know.

Adam blew through $400M (give or take) and delivered 7 half certified piston planes with ZERO full fuel payload.

A single (not very senior) Morgan Stanley trader lost $8.6B in one year trading mortgage backed securities.

And even that is not serious money.

GM, AIG, Fannie and Freddie alone incinerated close to $1T (losses plus lost in stock value).

Losing a $1B is no reason to get excited. Every single dime of that $1B is still in the economy in the form of wages paid to workers, planes that are flying, $$$ paid to suppliers, taxes paid to governments.

What is the obsession? Even if the losses were $2.6B, that is $10M/plane delivered. So what? So each plane cost the equivalent of a used Ferrari GTO or a Van Gogh painting. Big deal.

Now there are 200+ owners flying the planes a company employing 100 supporting them. Life goes on. Lessons were learned. There is a benchmark 6,000lbs fanjet in the skies with the lowest fuel burn per nm, by a long shot.

GA is better for it. The EA50, like it or not is a bogey to shoot for. If nothing else, it was good as a demonstrator of what is possible.

$1B is an OK price to pay for that (industry wise).

Investors lost money? Big deal. Big guys some times win, sometime lose. They lost $1B at Eclipse and prob $10B in the market.

They prob all moved on to the next thing.

Maybe you should try that ;)

airtaximan said...

If nothing else, it was good as a demonstrator of what is possible.

I think you mean "impossible"


gadfly said...

Observing the comments of the contributors of this blog . . . so much is based on “proving this or that person” right, and the other “wrong”. And when the final score is tallied . . . what does it matter?

Something I learned a long time ago . . . the fun, the privilege, the pleasure, the excitement (if you will) of watching and sharing in the process of a “master”, a “genius”, designing something truly new . . . and years later, seeing the results of those early efforts, transforming a major part of modern technology, providing many with a true sense of security . . . and saving many lives in the process.

Now, when it comes to the latest subject . . . “aspect ratios”, etc., . . . we have the privilege of studying such things . . . and have been offered the privilege of knowing the “One” who brought all the variables of flight into practical dimensions . . . the One who not only designed the many variations on the theme, but created the very laws on which they are based.

Imagine, if you will, what it would be like to be a “fly on the wall” (as it were), observing Bartolomeo Giuseppe Guarneri, as he crafted one of his violins. And multiply that my any number.

In a small way, I was privileged to learn “at the feet” of two genius inventors . . . and to live long enough to observe the contributions of both men to the welfare of millions of people, . . . and the advances in aviation (among other things).

And yet, I marvel at the flight of a pelican . . . a humming bird . . . a hawk . . . a seagull . . . all precisely designed for their individual purpose. Aspect ratios, lift/drag ratios, power requirements, and MTOW . . . all fantastically designed to perfection. And, by the way, all manufactured in four or five or six weeks, in an “egg”. (By that reasoning, we had more technology for breakfast, with bacon and coffee, that all the technology since Wilbur and Orville began fiddling with a windup helicopter, as kids.)

While some are attempting to tear others to pieces, it would be good to consider how little any of us know, about the technical subjects at hand. The moral issues, we have been given enough information to know what is right, and what is wrong . . . so on those matters, there is no excuse.

But knowing the Designer . . . that is a privilege beyond expression.


gadfly said...

From the archives, evidence of water on the moon:

julius said...


GA is better for it. The EA50, like it or not is a bogey to shoot for. If nothing else, it was good as a demonstrator of what is possible.

There are no reasons to "shoot" for the fpj: If one builds a smaller and lighter jet then this bird will burn less per nm - but who will buy it or how many will be sold p. a.?

You know the slogan "Customer first" and how it is used.

The fpj is an impressive example how someone tried to adopt an idea (Pronto) and how he failed, step by step...

If you might resume Phil's efforts to find a good plane you will see that "good plane" is very relative - compare your favourite F22 and a "mean" F35!


Baron95 said...

Sorry, Julius. But that is minimizing a very terrific airframe design and performance.

AFAIK, the closest fan jet to have anywhere near the fuel/nm efficiency of the EA500 is the DiamondJet.

Still in prototype, but performance indicates that it burns about the same fuel while flying 60KTS slower and 3 miles lower (as in more in the weather).

Anyone that tries to minimize the fact that flying a 6,000 lbs pressurized twin fanjet at 41Kft is a wonder of modern design, and to do it at the fuel/nm efficiency of the EA500, is just not looking at the facts or has a hard time admitting that Eclipse could do anything wright.

Is the cabin small? Yes. Is it useless? No.

I submit to you that even a two seater, 1,100 nm, 380KTS, FL410, presurized twin jet at the EA500 fuel burns would have been an accomplishment.

Let alone a five-seater.

All the points about pricing and market size and demand, all that is very fair.

But for the design point that Eclipse shot at, they nailed it. If you want to argue that they nail the wrong target that is fine.

But who has done a more efficient fuel/nm pressurized fan jet?

Answer: No-one.

And that is why I have no issues with the Collier Trophy for the plane.

Anyway. Just glad there is at least a modicum of support for the EA500.

Baron95 said...

Now if we are still talking about Aspect Ratio- this picture says it all. Or not. ;)

airtaximan said...


You seem to be missing the point.
Vern proved, beyond... that his plan for a cheap jet is BS.

Tere's no way to produce the plane anywhere near the price point required to attract a large market, such that the plane can be produce cheap.

Technologically, it was a BA story. No matter how small or light, the price is still $2M++.

So, for that price whay not get a real jet or even real turbo prop?

Oh, save time, save fuel... REALLY?
No relly significant, here. Its like offering single pilot operations for charter... most folks would cringe, and either not fly OR spend another $150 for the peace of mind.

Some won't, BUT this is not a large robust market. Its more like a lunatic finge.

300 or so.

Risk taker, instead of "thinkers" -NOT the kind of market to base any product on, especially NOT an aeroplane.


Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...


You seem to be missing the point.
Vern proved, beyond... that his plan for a cheap jet is BS.


Sorry ATM. You are drawing the wrong conclusion.

What Vern proved is what has been proven time and time again. And that is, that startup companies trying to succeed in certifying and manufacturing a turbine and/or fan jet plane invariably fail.

BECAUSE THE GOODNESS OF THE DESIGN, Eclipse went farther than Adam and Safire and so on and so forth.

Such a simple concept, that all here can't seem to grasp. Eclipse went farther than anyone since Lear. Because of Vern and Because of the EA500 design.

It was only Vern's cultivating (as in creating a cult) ways and the goodness of the design that made so many owners and depositors hang on for so long for such a rough ride.

Your interpretation is like saying that DeLorean proved that there is no market for that type of sports car or that Tucker proved that there is no market for safer cars.

Nothing could be further from the truth. They simply proved that, with dominant players like Ford, GM, Chrysler, Porsche, etc in the industry, new car start ups invariably fail.

The cars, were still an excellent proof point and contribution to the auto industry.

Is that so hard to grasp?

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I can give you 2.8 billion reasons why Eclipse went farther than Adam and Safire that have NOTHING to do with the design at all Baron.

The first 1.8 billion reasons would be the money raised from largely inexperienced (in aerospace terms) individual investors, and the other billion reasons would be the combined trade receiveables and customer deposits that defined the bankruptcy.

The Safire was a cleaner, lower risk concept that, had it achieved a fraction of the critical mass that Eclipse did in terms of investment capital (say $600-800M), would be delivering about 100-150 jets per year right now, and would have about 800 jets in the sky by now.

Yes, it is coulda, woulda shoulda thinking, but it is no less valid than your suggestion that the 'goodness of the design' has anything to with the fact that 260 incomplete aircraft were pushed out of EAC.

The 'goodness of the story' is what enabled the investment, and it was the seemingly inexhaustible (for 8 years) flow of investment cash that made possible the delivery of 260 incomplete aircraft.

Story, not design, is the difference.

airtaximan said...


He succeeded at this...

"that startup companies trying to succeed in certifying and manufacturing a turbine and/or fan jet plane invariably fail"

He actually DID this part... what can you not see? Why do you insist on making the wrong point?

Vern got $$$$$$$$
Vern made a damn jet plane
Vern produced it
Vern certified it

You are all washed up on this - HE DID IT

It was just a stupid design.

Every time you rant about how great a plane it is, you just sound so darn foolish. It was a dumb design -

Designed to be sold for $1.5M
Designed to be produced in the thousands
Designed for air taxi


Everyone knows that with enough time and money you can make and certify pretty much anything - the ISSUE with the ea50 was, it was a dumb design.

No major would attempt it, no becasue of any other reason, except, it is a dumb design. There's no market for the silly little jet that justifies the high rate and low cost.

Vern's buddy Ed was a nice stalking horse, but when that pooped out... the house of cards fell.

Bottom line - you is dead wrong - he succeeded at the parts you say he failed at, and by golly - he got the BIG goose egg on the parts you say he succeeded.

Scratch, scratch....

I love all the examples of "there's no 6000 MTOW jet..." know why? It is a dumb thing to go after...

airtaximan said...

I know a guy who ran a bank... where all the Safire deposit money was held in trust. I know an investment group that saw Vern order and Safires...

I happen to have been told on 2 occasions by independent folks, that safire had more than 3 x the depositors with $$ down, compared with Vern.

Would the market validate the design with deposits? I think so.
This does NOT mean Safire could have produced and sold jets. Just that based on depositors, they had a better design.

Vern financed and certified and produced a jet, so what?

All this takes is time and money. He had a lot of both. It STILL was BS.

Baron95 said...

CW, ATM, you are saying correctly, that for a startup to certify/produce a new fan jet, the critical ingredient is MONEY.

The ONLY way to get the substantial amounts of money needed (By a startup) is to have a specially compelling, "disruptive" to use Vern's word, differentiated, design point.

No VC is going to give you $1B to go produce another $3M, 8,000 lbs twin jet to hit the Mustang design point at 150 planes/year. No one. So it is impossible for any startup to succeed.

So, job 1 is to raise money. Vern got that. To raise money you need to pick an unexplored "angle" or corner of the market. E.g. Very small, very low fuel burn, Supersonic. There are the things that get funded.

Tesla only got funded, because they were doing "full electric" cars. Is there a market for $100K electric Elises? Who knows. Prob not. But the point is that no one would fund them to produce a Camry, competitor.

Same with Tucker and Lear.

You guys are smoking something, if you think it is possible to get funded (in sufficient amounts) to go mainstream. To be extra redundant ain't not ever never gonna happen.

So yes. It was Vern. And the Design. And the volume. And Ed. That enabled the funding, and buyers to take a risk away from Cessna and place deposits.

That money produced a very nice flying machine. Unmatched in jet trip costs.

And no ATM, Eclipse did not get past the Startup Phase into self sustaining production. I.e. Completed planes, delivered at a profit, requiring not more capital.

Too much money as wasted on engine change, and too much money/time on Avio/AvioNG/Gavio. Etc.

Still they out raised, outdesigned, out certified, out produced all other fan jet startups in the past 4 decades.

Simple measure of success.

But that is not here nor there anymore.

Lets see how well the type is supported.

So far, it is looking better than anyone here (including me) thought.

And that is GOOD for the industry.

It is good to prove that when startups go belly up with 250 planes in the field, the industry has the capacity to support them.

Why? Because invariably that happens to all start ups.

It was proven with the likes of Aerostar. Now it needs to be proven with more complex types like Eclispe, that all you guys here said could not be effectively supported and would be grounded.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

How can you be so close and yet so far off Baron? It is obviously pointless to try and continue from my perspective.

Only you would consider a $3B smoking hole that has perhaps permanently driven VC cash away from any aerospace program as a good thing.

The story, a nice way of saying the lie, that was the Eclipse, you know, the plane they never delivered, the plane even 2.0 can not deliver despite what they say, was vaporware, never happened, was not realized.

It was the lie that raised the capital, the promise.

Not the design but the story about it.

Using manipulative words and Star Trek like terminology, to an audience that largely lacked the sophistication or experience to throw the BS flag, was BAD, not good.

This is the same as saying Bernie Madoff was good for investing.

airtaximan said...

Baron, you are so funny...

"No VC is going to give you $1B to go produce another $3M, 8,000 lbs twin jet to hit the Mustang design point at 150 planes/year. No one."

A- you wouldn't need a Billion for this -

B- if you promised to sell it for less than half what it costs to make, some people MIGHT believe you and send you money.

BAron... THIS is the point. EA-50 was snake oil...

They DID design, certify and deliver the plane.

It could NEVER be made and sold anywhere close to what the design point was.

Your contention it coulda made it, is flawed.

But your point IS well taken regarding no one throwing a Billion or three at a Mustang competitor - how could it ever compete if the dev cost is 10x Cessnas cost?

The EA50 is basically the same operating performance as the Mustang - BUT much inferior in many important respects - it is much smaller, the avionics is a kluge job, the fit and finish are inferior, the construction method has potential risks, and the minimal fuel savings are out weighed by the depreciation and risk associated with any new design by a new company.

So, except for the projected cost, driven by some forward pricing scheme, SOMEONE DID BLOW $3 BILLION ON A PLANE THAT COMPETES(POORLY I MIGHT ADD) WITH THE Mustang.

They did exactly what you said they would not do.

The design was flawed, as it was supposedly designed to be inexpensive compared to conventional technology jets. In the end, it was right on the conventional cost/performance curve.

The BS story worked to rasie money, they could not produce the snake oil, and the design was flawed.

I think its important to be clear on this, because missing this IS missing the point.

They financed, designed, certified and produced a jet.

It missed the design cost, and it missed the market.

Guess which part is hard?

Black Tulip said...


Are you sure you don't own one of these little devils... an Eclipse 500, either Partial or Total? If not, you really need one.

Baron95 said...

CW, ATM, I don't disagree with many of the assertions you make about the promise being far off, etc. And ATM, it DOES take $1B plus to start a new-co from scratch to get going producing a new Jet design. That is how much Honda is spending, excluding the engine.


But putting the ball in your court. Lets say you wanted to start a new company from scratch to design, build, certify, manufacture a new light fan-jet.

Please tell me a plan. Any plan. That is workable and would go farther than Eclipse. How do you raise the money, hire the people, fund them for the 5+ years to certification and assembly. How do you differentiate and market it. What the specs would be. Etc.

Seriously. Try it. I guarantee you you can't come up with a plan that works, without some huge amount of hype that ropes in investors and depositors.

I'd love to see your approach to launching a new jet company that produces light jets and makes money.

Try it on paper, and you'll understand how monumental a task Vern tackled.

airtaximan said...

You try so hard to make a point...

All I said was it wouldn't cost $1B to make a plane to compete with the Mustang. BECAUSE if it did, you wouldn't be able to compete with it. Cessna spends a fraction of this, so even IF you were as good as Cessna right out of the box, how could you compete -

All things equal (which they are not, Cessna has many advantages) your cost would be $500k per plane higher than there's just on recouped dev cost.

This is the main issue.

Vern claimed to be producing something that was MUCH LESS expensive than any conventional jet. Smaller in order to get there. Lighter, too. Also, new avionics, new fangled engines, blah blah...

It ended up being an expensive miniature jet, with lots of issues, for around the same price as the Mustang.

Ball game over on all the advanced stuff leading to lower cost. You got a small, light (not necessarily a trade I would have made) jet plane that is conventional in price and performance.

Only thing missing is the plane that could compete with the Mustang based on all the great BS...

airtaximan said...

"I'd love to see your approach to launching a new jet company that produces light jets and makes money."

I guess I'd have to make up a bunch of stuff. Maybe start with a visit to NASA, go to some labs. Find technology demonstrators and make up a bunch of stories how I was going to revolutionize the transportation system...

Once again, your premise is off. I know YOU want one of these things, BUT, not a lot of folks really do.

There's no reason to start any company to produce a light jet. Its a dumb goal. Any major can dust off a design and come to market and kill you. There's ZERO advantages you can really come up with.

All you can do is BS the world that you have some technology no one else has, and compete this way.

Truth is, YOU DON'T.

Finally, IF I had something novel, the last thing I would do is start a new company. I'd partner with a major. See, if I really had something, they would want it.

If you think no major looked at everything Vern "had" including the engine, you are a lunatic.

They all knew it was a technology demonstrator that was extremely high risk - they also knew the risks associated with the avionics partnership with avedyne, and the goals of high rate to low cost.

I am being polite when I say risk. It was a BS story.

Floating Cloud said...

Yes, indeed it was a BS story from top to bottom, up and down, and all around...

At any rate it was realed in... maybe?

Floating Cloud

airtaximan said...

Hondajet is $4M

Case in point

Anything else?

Baron95 said...

Hey ATM. You are debating something that I don't disagree with.

That is exactly the point - IF you want to start a new jet company (which you and I agree we wouldn't do), the ONLY way to do it is by inflated expectations to excite investors and depositors. What you call B.S. No debate there. And thanks for acknowledging that, you think, there is no way to start a new GA/turbine company.

Honda is dong it. New engine (with GE). New (never before seen) engine mount configuration. New Airframe. But of course they are self funded by an establish company.

I think it is extremely hard to do it, if not impossible. That is why I continue to be impressed by how far Eclipse/Vern got.

Anyway. Two more planes to watch. DiamondJet and HondJet. Lets see how they do, and the next two jets from companies that have not done GA jets before.

airtaximan said...

"there is no way to start a new GA/turbine company"

I am not saying this -

In fact check out Aerion. Jusry is out, but they have a cool approach - add value where you might, and partner with an OEM, because they have a lot of the pieces you do not need to reinvent.

Problem with your thinking is, you glorify what Vern did, and in order to make your point, you say..."he needed to do this..."

Not true.

The idea that you can compete with the big boys is the light jet category ON PRICE - is flawed.

Hence Honda (quite a start up, I might add) is at $4m.

There are ways and possibilities to compete with the established OEMs. Bad idea to think you can compete on price, unless you have something they do not, cannot get and cannot replace with something else.

The only thinkg Vern had that the oother could really not get, was a freindly order from Dayjet - and even THAT was mostly BS.

So, my friend - I guess we'll have to disagree on one fact. I think if you want to make it in GA you better NOT BS. You better have something really good, and really proprietary. Its even best to be conservative, and involve an OEM on your side.

You think you need to BS everyone.

This is a recipe for disaster all around. Especially in this field.


To revisit history, Vern DID involve an OEM on his side at the beginning - WIlliams. OK, and enginecompany... but according to him and WI, WI was going to design the plane. I suspect, when WI told Vern at a meeting in 1999 that there was no way to get a 6 place twin engine jet plane with anywhere near the marketing performance numbers he needed, he took the project away and moved to ABQ.

I think at that point, he probably coulda figured out most of what he was selling was BS.

Then again, looking at his description of his order book, there's no question Vern knew it was all BS.

airtaximan said...

OH yeah... Honda partnered with Piper as well...

airtaximan said...

VFW 614 - 1970s

AN72 - 1980s

airtaximan said...

boeing YC-14 1970's

Those are your
"New (never before seen) engine mount configuration"

Must be really careful when characterizing stuff as "new, never before seen" in aviation - a lot of stuff has been tried.

... even though you may not know about it. This kind of thinking will make somone mistake a revolutionary advancement out of soemthing thats 30 years old, over characterize its importance (PHOSTERX, for example), and under characterize certain risks already identified, maybe 30 years ago.

Just an observation

Floating Cloud said...

Dear Phil:

That Dash-8 contraption is probably the uglist thing I have ever seen in the sky (or at least online). Even if it's quoficients were stellar it's still a real bow wow visually. Can it really fly?

I am sure many of you have ailing parents who are getting older. My mother just went into the hospital today. Life is too damn short to waste wondering about the little machine that could... Oh that would be the Eclipse 500 I think I can, I think I can, I think I can... Baron, I just gotta love ya' for being so damn positive. Really!

Floating Cloud

eclipse_deep_throat said...

Floating Cloud said:
I am sure many of you have ailing parents who are getting older. My mother just went into the hospital today. Life is too damn short to waste wondering about the little machine that could...

Yes, I agree. I just had a funeral to attend last Thursday; my fiancee's grandmother passed away. Was a very sad week but it helped put things in perspective as to what is really important in life.

On a much lighter note, seems like aircraft repo-men are doing very well in the current economy.


Baron95 said...

Yes Honda teamed up with GE (for the engine) and Piper (at least on paper to market the jet). The engine mount thing is not of great significance, except that Honda is using it to signify their innovation and differentiation. I meant novel in Biz jet. But minor point.

Aerion is more like a design bureau.

As for the B.S. part, I never said that is the recipe for success. But in fields with high barriers to entry (like aviation), the meek won't even get past the starting line.

As for life being short - I don't know. Most of us can expect to live with good quality of life for 80-90 years, which is 3 times to 4 times longer than humans used to live for 99% or our species existence on earth. What is so short about that?

Baron95 said...

Or.....just leave it to the Chinese to show us the way.

It looks like Avic tried to buy Grob, then Piper, looked at Eclipse, and is ending up buying Epic.

Baron95 said...

And on other news, it looks like a bunch of people at Boeing and shareholders have started a movement to try to bring Alan Mulally back to Boeing.

According to this blog, Alan was just lucky with the 777 and the turnaround at Ford. But apparently, some people feel differently and want him back.

They created the BringAlanBack website. Check it out.

Baron95 said...

And in predictable fashion, Goldman Sachs, again, makes money for one of its customers. In this case the good ol U. S. of A.

The Bush/Paulson forced loan to Goldman, which was of course fully paid 4 and 1/2 years ahead of schedule, netted the U.S. Treasury a 20% return, in a short few months.

Not bad, huh? U.S. Treasury and Buffet made money on their investment in Goldman.

Good thing for GA as Goldman is one of NetJets largest customers, was not forced to liquidate their jets into a botomless market (like GM, Chrysler, AIG, etc).

See the connection? NetJets, Buffet, Berkshire, Goldman, US Gov.

A-team playing the game ;)

Baron95 said...

Now this is the weird ruling of the month (you'd think it would be an April fool's joke).

Judge Randall Dunn accepted the $4.3 million cash bid for Epic from Aviation Industry Corp. of China (Avic) on the condition that it sign an agreement allowing the LT Builders Group to run the facility in Bend, Ore.

So the Chinese buy the assets, but gunner (et al), get to continue to run the asylum?

airtaximan said...

See the connection? NetJets, Buffet, Berkshire, Goldman, US Gov.

.. lest we forget Goldman owns a big part of Hawker-Beech

hee hee

BricklinNG said...


Who would do such a thing?

How about Diamond Aircraft?

My sources say that each Diamond deposit holder's contract has an expected delivery date and that the customer's deposit is refundable if (among other things) the actual delivery date will be 9 months or more late. Currently there is a bunch of deposit holders with a 9 month tardy date of 9/30/10, another bunch at 12/31/10 and so on each quarter for a year or two.

Diamond's certification program is in hibernation and there exists no tooling to build the airplane so clearly there will be no deliveries for a long time. Diamond did declare a refund event for the very earliest depositors a year ago, but for the ones deserving delivery by 9/30/10 and later, there has been a deafening silence.

Avons nous un peu de Deja Vu ici?

Baron95 said...

Well, ATM, we may forget, but Goldman Capital Partners is unlikely to forget. They already wrote down the value of Hawker Beechcraft by 85%, and consider it one of their worst performing investment ever.

They went in with $1B in firm + fund money + (I think) $2.6B raised by a Canadian fund.

85% of $3.6B is about what Eclipse allegedly took from investors according to the blog.

So take your pick. Lose $2.8B investing in a VLJ start up or lose $3.06B investing in an established Biz Jet OEM.

Heads you lose, tails you lose more.

Nice industry, huh?

Baron95 said...

Hey BrikliNG, fear not. The Chinese will snap Diamond up pretty soon, and all will be well. Volvo + Diamond is the new Saab, autoaero nordic conglomerate.

Such a vibrant industry.

Baron95 said...

Meanwhile, it looks like Piper/Imprimis are not ready to die yet.

They just hired Randy Groom (previous from Beech and Piedmond) to run the asylum as EVP and chief maestro.

He has the right credentials - lets see.

airtaximan said...

all part of the "A-team playing the game ;)"

as you put it!

No wonder you love/hate this industry - EAC was your hero... in an industry you seem to find a lot to dislike.

Tough to reconcile

Hmm... your A-Team lost a billion or two in GA, AND Vern lost a few billion in GA...

I think I see a trend here... now I understand.

airsafetyman said...

"They just hired Randy Groom (previous from Beech and Piedmond) to run the asylum as EVP and chief maestro.

He has the right credentials - lets see."

He resume is as full of bullshit as I have ever seen. He claims to have been a 19 year-old USAF flight instructor. Not possible. All USAF officers are college graduates who are at least 21 years old and who also have gone through the year or so USAF pilot training program first. He may have been a contract pilot giving preliminary instruction to prospective flight school students in clapped-out 172s. Most people would not bother to even list such a crappy job. The rest of his resume stinks just as bad. God help Piper.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Comparing the write-down of HBC due to historically bad economic conditions and political conditions with respect to General, Defense and Business Aviation spending, with the $3B crater Eclipse created, several YEARS AGO now, is nonsense and is a perferct example of a strawman argument.

You know it must be April when 'Capt' Zoomie goes off on his annual SNF rant - seems he has been predicting the end of that show and the creation of a replacmeent for almost 10 years now. If only he had applied the same level of verve and zeal for the 'truth' with Eclipse - how things might have been different.

BONUS - I predict AVIC pulls out of the proposed partnership with the LT builders and they end up owning the whole enchilada (not based on any inside info, just a hunch).

airtaximan said...

funny thing is, if Bron is right, and GA OEM is such a crappy business, why would the Chinese want any part of it?

Least of which, why would they want a kit company?

ALso, why would they have passed over the "real" GA opportunity - a 6,000 lb MTOW twin engine turbine jet plane with 6 seats, and 1500 range, which can be built and sold for $1.5M, and whch has a "die-hard" client roster of a few thousand??????

But they bought Epic...

Maybe they did not want to compete with the Russians??

Baron95 said...

The answer is easy ATM.

One auctioned out for $4M.

The other for $40M.

Or as they say in college, one full order of magnitude higher.

CW, I don't know what to tell you, but, what is happening at HBC is not due to some short term market conditions. That company is in a slow march to irrelevance. They are significantly under performing all their competitors.

How many Horizons have they delivered after 12 years again? One?

Baron95 said...

I actually, out of curiosity, puled the HBC 8K form they filed in February. Despite the $712M loss for 2009, if you dig deeper, things don't seem too bleak. They actually increased their cash position from 2008, so some good financial discipline is in place.

And the answer to the previous question, is that they managed to get 20 4000s out in 2009.

So, I guess the lights will stay on a bit longer for them.

WhyTech said...

"But apparently, some people feel differently and want him back."

I have been suggesting/forecasting this possibility for 18 months or more. Age may be the major imdediment.

gadfly said...

New definition for "aspect ratio":

Length of monologue (dialogue), divided by breadth of understanding of any given subject . . . actual content irrelevant.

(Of late, some "aspect ratios" are approaching 20, 50, and beyond . . . absolutely fantastic. But the problem is they don't "fly".)

Phil went to great lengths, to focus our attention on actual aircraft design . . . and somehow, the discussion failed to “lock on” to the subject. Some of us did “lock on” . . . and others drifted off like a college class, right after “lunch time”, and never returned to the subject.

A good read can be found, for starters, at:


(There was once a time, not so long ago, when technical/scientific terms such as “falsifiability” [testability] had sound meaning. But no more . . . ! Today’s “pseudo science” is based on emotion and political motive, rather than un-emotional investigation of the evidence. Re: “human caused global warming”, etc., etc., etc. Of course, these problems have been around for centuries . . . but of late, it seems the lunatics have taken full control of the administration of the funny farm and/or “institutions” [appropriate term] of “hired learning” [correct spelling/term/meaning].)

airtaximan said...

One auctioned out for $4M.

The other for $40M.

This explains what? The Chinese don't have $40M... you mut be joking, right?

They are MORE interested in a kit builder than EAC... more interested in company with a prop plane and some designs/prototypes, than a fleet of EA50s.

Or is it, they don't have the cash?

Baron95 said...

OK - here is the expanded answer...

Door #1 - For $4M you can pick up the assets of a company with some credible experience and technology for advanced composites and with a bunch of designs in different stages of applying that technology (from SE TPs to Twin Jets).

Door #2 - For $40M ($20M+$20M)you get to buy the assets for a conventional construction, single-design company, though to be true a certificated one.

Door #1 won.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

It is not now, nor was it ever, an issue about money with respect to AVIC and 'buying' an American aviation company with signficant assets covering high-tech composite construction, modern FADEC/turbofan engines, and current gen EFIS avionics.

AVIC will have the same issues with Epic that prevented it from purchasing the corpse of EAC, namely, foreign ownership and the ITAR regulations.

Mark my words, the LT Builders group will end up with the whole shooting match or possibly a forced marriage with Harlow.

AVIC wanted EAC, but was not allowed to purchase it for ITAR reasons, same will apply to Epic when someone with the requisite experience gets involved.

Beedriver said...

This is an interesting presentation by the president of P&W about the future developments in aircraft engines vs time and the relative merits of various concepts, geared fans unducted fans counter rotating etc..

especially interesting are slides 28 to 28 which show relative efficiencies and the history of improvements in turbine powered aircraft concepts.

Beedriver said...

sorry it was slides 25 to 28

gadfly said...


Baron95 said...

CW - very true regarding AVIC/ITAR.

I think they are trying to get through with a smaller, lower visibility deal with EPIC.

I am told, but don't know for a fact, that EPIC does indeed have some very good composite technology/expertise. If true, that would indeed be a valuable asset. I'm not sure about the quality of the design "files" for the various EPIC planes. But if they are properly documented and secured, can be a nice asset as well for a company with GA ambitions.

We'll see. Maybe the Epic Seven will indeed "win".

Baron95 said...

Beedriver, thanks for the link. Latter slides are interesting.

A couple of tidbits.

Page 27 - Shows Eclipse, by far and away, by itself as the most fuel efficient business jet.

And the shocker is that PWC only expects a reduction in fuel burn of 15% from 2000-2050, vs 70%+ from 1960-2000.

Wow. They think there is little to be squeezed out.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Yes, we get it, when you compare one thing that is much smaller and lighter and optimized for a very specific design point, to things that are bigger and heavier with wider utilitarian designs, it appears to be remarkably efficient in terms of fuel burn.

A Toyota Prius is way more fuel efficient than my lightly modified 300hp V8 Jeep Grand Cherokee, about three times in fact - but a Prius is not as safe, not as comfortable, nor anywhere near as capable as my WJ.

Both can move four or five adults, both can fetch the groceries, and both can be used for road trips - in rough terms they are as comparable as matching the Eclipse 500 with the Mustang or Phenom.

Having experienced both, I would not travel in a Prius regardless of the cost of fuel, and I sure would never want to be struck by another vehicle while riding in one.

Baron95 said...

Mr Mulally today managed to sell $1.75B in 5 year bonds with a 7% coupon.

WoW - lowest rate in 5 years and lower than debt from sovereign countries in the Eurozone (i.e. Greece).

Meanwhile, the same day, Government Motors reported a $4.6B loss and received as a gift a $400M law suit from their minority owners, the UAW.

Chairman Barak is not happy.

But as a Ford stockholder, I'm happy with the lucky Boeing man ;)

Baron95 said...

Hey CW - fuel efficiency (the presentation took into account seats*nm/fuel burned) is just that - one parameter. Not the only one.

People that care about fuel efficiency buy Prius, people that care about capability buy SUVs, people that care about handling buy Porsches, people that care about comfort and safety buy Mercedes. Gay guys buy Miatas.

To each his own. I was just pointing out that the Eclipse was feature prominently on the PWC presentation for fuel efficiency.

There are probably other presentations that cover cruise speed. Others that cover cabin comfort. Others that cover range.

This one was about efficiency. Simple. And note how the Phenom with a much larger cabin, speed and range also did much better than the Mustang.

So there are designs (Eclipse, Phenom) that are indeed more efficient than others (e.g. Mustang). One is larger. One is smaller.

The Mustang aero design does not seem to measure up.

airtaximan said...


I cannot see the presentation, so just out of curiosity, how many seatsxNM/fuel burned?

In other words, was it a mission analysis of a typical mission, say 4 total occupants, and a 2 hour trip with real flows for climb etc... or was it some average number for fuel burn divided by 6 seats? Was it 135 or 91 ops?

Makes a difference for real world reserves and occupied seats available for real missions.

Just an observaton

airtaximan said...

The Mustang Aero doe not measure up...

Nice comment.

I wonder why the market seems to have embraced the Mustang over the other designs and models?

I think Cessna understands a lot more about this market than most, especially EAC... they made some trades, and your fuel burn analysis is something they undoubtedly knew of, and even designed for.

They sell a lot of their Mustangs, for a reason.

Baron95 said...

ATM, *** AGAIN **** aero efficiency is not ever the ONLY parameter.

Cessna has been delivering about 100 Mustangs/year since inception. Embraer has delivered the same number.

So, in the $3M lbs class of entry light jets, the new comer, that has never before sold in that class walked away with 50% of the market.

So, be careful there, assuming that the Mustang is not facing competition.

Even with all the citation history, legendary support, financing, etc, a new guy can come in and take 50% of the market from you.


Better specs, plain and simple.

Baron95 said...

Or put another way, if Embraer was trying to sell the C510 and Cessna was trying to sell the Phenom 100, most likely the market split would be much more in Cessna's favor than the 50/50 it is now.

airtaximan said...

Phenom 100... better specs? really?

Better check those specs again...

"It has a maximum flying range of 1,178 nautical miles with 4 occupants and NBAA IFR Reserves. As of 1 January 2009, its price is US$ 3.6 million"

300 mustangs have been delivered...
100 pHenom100s..

Good luck finding out about their back logs.

To say the PH100 has better specs, is a stretch, and to say it has 50% of the market is a stretch, and to say they are a new-comer, is a stretch.

But, you ARE trying to make a point.


Beedriver said...

If I remember right the basic efficiency of an engine is limited by the difference between the hottest temperature in the engine relative to the temperature that the gas exits. in this case turbine engines, once you get a means to turn the power of the engine into thrust, fans, propellers etc that are as efficient and practical usually in the range of 85%, then what limits the efficiency is the maximum temperature in the engine. this in a gas turbine is because of the materials you can use to make the hot section out of. we are reaching the limits of the materials we have available. unless we start using unobtanium, the increases will be small because we are reaching the limits of physics and materials.

this is potentially why diesels and direct injected gasoline engines are very efficient. the combustion temperature is very high compared to the temperature coming out the exhaust pipe.

As A side note, the new gas turbine electric generators which are powered by natural gas have an efficiency of 60% when they are coupled with a steam turbine to get more energy out of the waste heat coming out of the gas turbines.

Beedriver said...

On another note the main reason for the high efficiency of the eclipse in passenger miles per gallon is that basically you are flying a VW beetle with wings. by making the cabin small and spartan you can make the rest of the airplane lighter with less drag etc. It appears that most people are picking the Mustang or larger because they want more room and a potty

The Geo Metro of 15 years ago got 50 MPG but I bet very few of us think that is a reasonable car for real traveling.

there will always be a few people who will give up creature comforts for low cost but most of us have a level of comfort etc that we need in our transportation.

Owner flow aircraft can be smaller because the guy flying is making the decisions and as long as the Cockpit is roomy enough, what happens to the rest of the people is not very important.

gadfly said...

What silly talk! . . . this design or that design, more efficient than the other. As a neurosurgeon once said . . . many times, “Some dogs like ‘Alpo’, and some don’t!” It has nothing in the world to do with efficiency at any level.

The little Prius, (sometimes referred to in rather crude terms, with a slightly different spelling and similar pronunciation of the name by the “gas station” owners), is great for the “greenies”, driving around town on level ground, but every BTU/calory comes from the gasoline/methanol mix at the gas pump. And there is no magic formula that makes it a better car than anything else . . . while it hauls around a few hundred pounds of batteries, that are not needed on the open highway.

There is no magic in the formulas . . . a pound of fuel supplies “so much heat/energy” . . . and how you spend it comes down to a simple formula of motive . . . haul freight, haul passengers, impress the great unwashed with the fastest, make a profit for the stock-holders . . . some dogs like Alpo, some don’t.

In other words, "logic" took a back seat a long, long time ago. And almost all "science", better called "pseudo-science", is based on emotion more than logic, and understanding of the basics of scientific laws.

(Al Gore is a prime example of the modern "mind-set", and the potential profits that can be squeezed from all those millions of college graduates, that chose to "party", rather than understand a single law of physics . . . and actually "earn" a living.)

Where I live, having reliable “all-wheel-drive” vehicle beats getting under a car, in a snow storm, and putting on “chains”, to drive up an ice covered road, at 7,000 feet, in the middle of the night, with ambient temperatures at near zero . . . while all the other Toyotas are safe in heated garages down in Albuquerque, etc. And now, with “Obama Care”, at 72 years old, I have to choose my vehicles very carefully . . . “take a pill, a pain killer, and get out of the system”. Oh yes, I get the message, loud and clear. Maybe if "Obama" should ever need vascular surgery, he might like to know that an "ultra-conservative" made his recovery possible. And had I known that, I might have had some second thoughts about the whole program. But then, it wasn't about him . . . then, or now.

The blogger that not so long ago declared himself the “devil’s advocate” can demonstrate anything and everything he chooses. If you don’t yet get it, you are living in a “time warp”, forever and ever arguing against the wind. Knock yourself out! . . . but don’t seek sympathy . . . at least not from the “gadfly”.

And, if “Alpo” gives me a few more years, I’ll choose it, over the Sam’s Club variety.


(Us “old dogs” have a problem competing with the “cats” . . . but either way, there’s room for both. And don’t get caught in the endless and senseless debate over “which jet”. Some folks get their jollies over their supposed clever arguments . . . and come out looking like fools.)

(And "Beedriver", your excellent comments and reasoning . . . All will fall on the "deaf ears" of those that have chosen to not understand, and by long repetition, can no longer understand, nor choose to understand, your logic. But don't give up . . . some of us are listening/reading.)

gadfly said...

Beedriver . . . Keep it up. Your logic and presentation says far more in a few words than a certain "other blogger" says in as many "blogs".

Excellent . . . and Thanks! If it were possible, I'd take you out for an "IN-N-Out" burger, "animal style" with fries, shake, and coffee. In my simple mind, that is the ultimate of all meals . . . Period.


airtaximan said...

It still amazes me that a lot of money chased the EA50 as an air taxi plane.

In that market it competes with a prop in many cases. Flying lower because climbing to alt for a short trip is pretty silly.

Anyhow, some folks like to think of the EA50 as a good design. Maybe for them, it is, but for most missions, is pretty dumb, especially for the "purpose designed" air taxi jet.

gadfly said...

Taximan . . . anyone can justify (at least in their own mind) some special application of anything on the planet. But the good designs . . . the “excellent” designs, will go about their business without fanfare, almost invisible, doing not only what they were designed to do, but doing the job of their competition, before the competition really knows their existence. Take these words to heart . . . and observe the future of aviation.

The little jet dug its own grave . . . may it rest in peace. It produced nothing of value . . . and will fly for a brief time . . . a monument to deceit, and political corruption. What was that? . . . stir fried welding? . . . some sort of corrosive fire extinguishing system? . . . OK . . . and what is the next act?

Slip out during the intermission, and avoid the climax of the show . . . and avoid the rush to the exit from the parking lot. “Ecclesiastes”, the “Preacher”, got it right . . . it’s all vanity . . . !


(From the city that brought you a baseball team called the “Isotopes”! Give me a life . . . give me a “half life”! . . . It’s a joke, son, . . . . it’s a joke! Isotope! . . . Half life? . . . look it up, you’ll get it, maybe, in time!)

(The proton asked the bar tender, “How much for the beer?” . . . “For you, no charge!”)

(First atom . . . “I’ve lost an electron!” . . . Second Atom, “Are you sure?” . . . First “I’m positive!”)


Floating Cloud said...

This aspect ratio looks pretty funny too, but talk about fuel effiency!

(And thanks EDT for kind words. Me mum's doing better.)

solar airplane

gadfly said...

Taximan, your comments provide an opportunity of “rhetoric” to the rest of those that read this blog, and nothing following has anything to do with your excellent comments. And so, I proceed!

A long time ago, in about the fifth grade, we studied an oriental invention call the “rickshaw” . . . and as a “taxi”, it probably earned a million times what the little “jet” could ever earn. Think of it: a vehicle with a power system of maybe “75 watts” (maximum . . . a “tenth” horsepower), taking a passenger, or two, from any point of business to any other point of business, in a given city (say . . . “Shanghai”, or “Beijing”/ “Peking”) . . . for a fee that fulfilled the needs of the operator of the “rickshaw”, and the needs of the passenger, or “passengers”. Now, that’s true economy! . . . and traveling in “style”!, with door-to-door service, with none of this extra fee for carry-on baggage, etc., etc. The “rickshaw” was not an early Chinese thing . . . it came when “commerce” between other nations came to the ancient nation, but was, in its time, a “new thing” . . . the “mini-jet”, as it were.

A wise man once declared that there is nothing new under the sun . . . and he also said something about not arguing with a fool, to the effect of coming down to the same level, and being confused as the same. But such discussion for another time!


Beedriver said...

Gadfly, thanks for the compliment. It would be fun to talk some time hopefully I will get down your way.

All markets are made up of niches. some larger some smaller. I think there is a place for the eclipse in the small owner flown twinjet that will carry two to four people including pilot and stuff market. However the niche is probably numbered in 100 per year volumes max instead of 1000 per year sales. The biggest problem with the Eclipse is that it does not have enough performance as this niche will probably be dominated by an airplane that has Lear 60 class performance. plenty of power to take off anywhere in hot and high and climb at up to 6000 ft per minute. A Great pilot airplane the equivalent of the best BMW smooth, fast, and handles very well.

gadfly said...

Beedriver . . . As an "ex" BMW owner (times 2), remember that the fun of driving such a beast comes with a high cost of maintenance . . . and for the market open to the little jet, the high cost of ownership, combined with the limited capabilities . . . well let's just say that the math doesn't add up.


(Maybe, after having owned a "brand new Volvo", the claims of reliability, with the actual performance, best demonstrate the combination of "claims" and actual performance of the little bird . . . a failure on both counts.)

Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gadfly:

While I have to admit the Rick Shaw represents some of the worst things about colonialism, my mother at age 24 fresh from Iowa City and married to a Navy Dentist in late 1959 did go up and down the roads of Gow Chung, Formosa (Taiwan) in a Rick Shaw trying to induce labor with me. (Okay now you all know my age. Me and Shane same, same.)

My mother and I both nearly died when I was born on the island of the Smiling Buddha. I like to think that the Rick Shaw gave me my sense of humor, resilience, and compassion. Perhaps, as you describe it dear Gadfly, it even gave me my sense of flying -- as if I were a floating cloud.

gadfly said...

Well, Floating Cloud, the nearest I came to China was a brief stop of our submarine in Hong Kong harbor in the summer of 1957. I don't remember the "rickshaws", but five of us took a taxi cab around the island, and saw the poverty, the sickness, and many unpleasant sights, of the Chinese that would rather live in the worst of conditions, than to stay in Mao's version of society. Actually, I walked on Chinese soil, in the ocean, after a brief time of "scuba diving" . . . the water was a thick yellow muddy cloud, a storm had stirred up the sediment a day earlier. Down thirty feet or so, the only way to know the direction "up", was to follow the bubbles, visible only within a couple feet of my mask.

Our host, that day, was an English restaurant owner, that often took American Submarine crews out on his sail boat, allowing us the use of his diving equipment. (I have some excellent "35mm slides" of that day, taken with my Japanese Miranda camera and/or Zeis Contaflex II. Adobe "Photoshop" has done an excellent job of restoring the color. I had "watch" that day, but the officer of the day let me take the day off.)

The island of Hong Kong has no "real" water supply of its own . . . and depends on rain-fall into the reservoirs. And there had been a severe drought . . . restricting water to a couple hours per day. We visited the five cities on the island, including the "Tiger Balm Gardens", the bay and tram and mountain top from the famous movie, "Love is a Many Splendored Thing" and the big department stores in Victoria. And not to forget "Aberdeen" . . . a city of "boats", a community of extreme poverty, where some folks are said to never in their life times ever to set foot on dry land.

But our "rickshaw" was a common four wheel cab . . . possibly a "Checker Marathon" . . . but I forget. I've slept since then.

One of my high-school teachers at Burbank High, (California), Mrs. Blackstone, had been a missionary and teacher, with her husband, in China, teaching in the university in Shanghai . . . and driven out under threat of death in the late 1940's.

Good things to remember, within the context of today's "politcial environment", so long ago, and yet so "up to date".


Baron95 said...

Hey Beedriver, back to engine efficiency gain projections from PWC....

They are actually predicting 15% gain from 2000-2050 from ALL sources - engine, aerodynamics, materials - combined. And the contribution from engines would be less than 5%.

I found that shocking.

Even if we pick up on your straight thermodynamics line of thinking, surely, in 50 years we'll be able to come up with materials that can take a lot more temperature extremes.

I mean the 787 engines alone have 10% better SFC than the 767 engines. Even if you adjust for engine size, it is still a healthy 7-8% in one step.

Why PWC is predicting so little advancement is very surprising - unless I am misreading their presentation.

For comparison, automobile fuel efficiency (measured by the EPA and European test cycle) is projected to improve by a full 25% in the next 6 years.

True there are a lot more variables to play with in a car which has air and road forces, more dynamic operating cycles, etc, but still.

I wonder if other aviation engine manufacturers share the view that improvements will be that meek in the next 40 years.

Beedriver said...

Automobiles are a difficult beast to make efficient. airplanes trucks boats etc, tend to operate at 1/2 power or more continuously where it is easier to make them efficient. airplanes especially have been optimized for efficiency within economic,safety, engine life and range considerations. aircraft also have no pollution requirements so high temperature operation where lots of NOx is generated is OK.

Automobiles generally at cruise operate at 10 or 20% of full power for many common mid size automobiles and operate under strict environmental regulations. this is a difficult region for a large, simple, low cost engine to operate efficiently in.

thus we are now seeing much more complex systems in automobiles like hybrids, direct injection,very detailed complex electronic control of mixture, timing, valve advance etc and integrated with multiple exhaust emission control systems, in order to get the efficiency up while maintaining acceleration, drivability, and comfort of the automobile.

The problem is to do this at a reasonable purchase cost. as 90% of humans have a time horizon of 1 year or less, operational costs savings do not matter to most buyers of automobiles and purchase cost dominates the decision.

this is why if we really want the long term benefits as a society of reduced pollution and lower dependence on foreign oil etc. this requirement must be legislated by the government in order to make all auto companies do it. other wise if one company can sell its car to $1000 less and it is a gas hog they will profit by it and have an advantage over the companies that do the right thing. even though we do not like the the government in our business this keeps the playing field level and the smarter company that can achieve these requirements at a lower cost wins.

Baron95 said...

Hi Beedriver, I noted the more dynamic cycle of automobiles, compared to planes, so its not really an applicable comparison, other than they are the two more common transportation systems Americans use.

On any given trip, we typically either drive there or fly there.

I think if you compare a typical owner flown plane and car over the years may provide some answers as to the decline in lower end piston GA.

A 1960 C182 and a 1960 Ford, had both relatively crude, unsophisticated propulsion systems, aerodynamics and safety systems (dual mags and 4-wheel drum brakes) and that was that. The airplane airframe and powerplant with its aluminum intensive construction was actually quite a bit more advanced.

Roll forward 50 years and the C182 is the same airframe, same aerodynamics, basically the same engine, with the only advancement coming from avionics.

By comparison a 2010 Ford Fusion has a huge improvement in safety, efficiency, handling, multiple powerplant systems including hybrid drive).

Also cars like the Chevy Volt only operate the ICE in a peak efficiency more to charge the batteries, which will yield even more savings at the expense of cost and complexity. Still, it is another niche offering that will suit some people (e.g. daily commuters with charging at both ends).

But back to aviation, perhaps the issue is lack of competition.

For example the 77L, 77W, 77F have and exclusive engine provider - GE. And RR is (for now) the exclusive engine supplier to the A350. And in general, the number of jet engine suppliers is dwindling. Often (e.g. Engine Alliance) they will partner, rather than compete head on.

On the most produced jets - Boeing and Airbus are very content in splitting the market and raking the profits from the 737NG and A320 family.

While fuel represents only 5-10% of an automobile's TCO over 5 years, it represents 2x to 3x that for aviation. So you'd think the incentives would be higher there, not to mention the tangible impact on range, etc.

It would be very disappointing if only 5% improvement in fuel efficiency in aviation in the next 40 years came to pass.

airtaximan said...

the greatest way to get "efficiency" up in all these vehicles is to increase the laod factor.

You need payload-range to do this... so very small planes are SOL, cars can add pax, so can planes with seats and range capability.


In other words, that tiny little engine over there sips fuel... WOW what an improvement...Ohhh... you can't really use it for much, its too small...

airtaximan said...

UTs GTF projects pretty attractive increases in efficiency

Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...

the greatest way to get "efficiency" up in all these vehicles is to increase the laod factor.


Yep. That is why whenever I have to go on a trip, I ask anyone on the ramp and FBO to come along.

The more people I take, the more efficient my plane is.



But seriously. I know what you mean. And if you remember, that is EXACTLY what Day Jet set out to do and what Crandall et al perfected on airline load/yield management.

Still, for a given load/yield profile on a route, a more efficient plane wins.

In other words, a fleet of 100 738s will will be more efficient flying a schedule than a fleet of 100 733s or MD80s.

For private fliers, the real implication of efficiency is more related to range and payload.

For the typical private personal GA owner flying 50-200 hrs/year, other factors like depreciation, borrowing costs, insurance, annual maintenance, hangar costs, etc are much more dominant.

Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gadfly:

The People's Republic of China in the late 1950s is a far cry from Southern Taiwan,which is more connected to Polynesian islands and of course Kun Shi Chek's expulsion and ultimate rape of China -what a mess. As you know it was a scary time post WWII, Vietnam just starting to explode, Mao's China, Japan rebuilding. Even so my parents had a very different experience than you in your yellow water. Maybe because they weren't inside a submarine... do you think? But instead they were the most darling couple of all, the most popular at the officers club.. everyone loved to know a dentist. Now I am not saying this didn't have its downside later -- by the 70s things got really challengeing for all, including me a fabulous young woman in her twenties coming of age during a time when anything goes...

Hey, not sure where I am going with this, but DOES anyone care about the solar aiplane?

gadfly said...

Well . . . there is a potential of about 100 watts per square foot in direct sun (or about one kilowatt per square meter, as I recall, as measured at Sandia Labs in Albuquerque, many years ago). But that is at noon, on a cloudless day, and at 100% efficiency. So, if you could achieve a ten percent efficiency, and could keep “solar cells” all lined up just right with the sun, you could (in theory) produce one horsepower (746 watts) for every seventy-five square feet, between . . . say . . . 9AM and 3PM. But in practice, the solar airplane is a long way from achieving even limited use.


(Someone is bound to say my numbers are off by a wide factor . . . but whatever the actual numbers, the bottom line still falls far short of practical application.)

gadfly said...

Earlier, today, I looked up the name of my old boss, Adriano Ducati, and read about the three Ducati brothers (and Adriano’s first low-powered short-wave radio, communicating between Italy and the United States around 1922) . . . and of course, their motorcycles, etc.

Adriano came to the US after the war, and worked with Wernher von Braun on the space projects. When I came to work with him, his project was using “magnetohydrodynamics (MHD)” for space propulsion.

We built a large aluminum box, filled with capacitors ( the entire assembly weighed about 800 pounds), hung it on “music wire” (to eliminate most torsional forces) , in a large fiber-glass high-vacuum chamber . . . and I also built a set of “cone” scales, to measure propulsion forces, with foil weights, for balance.

The idea was to charge up the capacitors, over time in space from “sun light”, put a small “puff” of argon gas into a focused plasma generator nozzle, discharge the capacitors, creating a small puff of force, and accelerate a space vehicle over time . . . using mostly sun light (and a small amount of argon stored on board). The idea worked . . . and we conducted many experiments.


(Discharging a few hundred pounds of capacitors in a couple milliseconds can be a rather exciting thing . . . and nothing to treat carelessly.)

(Adriano was the one that often told me to build something, “Quick and dirty . . . but precise!” . . . which got things done on a low budget, without the red-tape, had it been done by the government.)

airtaximan said...


funny comment about asking anyone on the ramp to come along. Revenue operators might find this an attractive option. Dayjet would have, except, they competed with props (props have same payload range, same seats or more, lower costs) because they used the ea50. Pogo, trying the same thing, lost.

Bottom line, whoever thought the ea50 was a good design for air taxi use, was far off the mark.

I have a food processor at home, which is extremely efficient. It uses little power, works quickly, does a great job of chopping, blending, etc...

I would never claim it was a good design for, say, mixing cement.

Vern claimed the EA50 would revolutionize the transportation market, and that it was purpoe designed for air taxi. It failed.

Baron95 said...


If you were hired as the CEO of a charter company that wanted to fly customers on 200-600nm regional routes with an everage seat occupancy of 1.5 pax/leg, starting with 3 dozen new planes (to take advantage of the Obama fast depreciation GA incentive program), with an insurance requirement of two engines, what plane would you select?

Starting low and going high, the choices are: DA42, Seneca, Baron G58, Total Eclipse at $2.15M and new (lets pretend), C510 Mustang, King Air GT90x, Phenom 100, CJ1+, Premier, CJ2+, Phenom 300, CJ3+, BE200, Piaggio Avanti II, BE350, CJ4, etc.

Seriously - what would you choose? 2 engines, new, for 300-600nm regional charter, 1.5 pax/leg. Those were the DayJet and Pogo requirements and jibe pretty well with the average charter requirement.

Curious to get your answer and reasoning behind it. Though I am afraid you may find a way not to answer.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Why a 2 engine requirement Baron, afraid the obvious and only currently successful platforms for this mission, namely, single engine props, might be too attractive?

Seriously, why not just totally make a requirement that would only allow the EA-50, like under 6100 lb MTOW, 5-6 seat, twin jet aircraft not currently in production.....

Baron95 said...

Hi CW, because MOST insurance companies and corporate policies for use of charter planes require two engines.

Baron95 said...

Because most places outside the US do NOT allow IFR charter with single engine.

Baron95 said...

The requirements above are the typical charter requirements.

I could add pressurized. I could add turbine. I could have add 350KTS+ cruise speed. I could have added sub $3M price tag. Etc. Any of those requirements would knock out half or more of the list. So I think the requirements are very typical and fair.

We can even remove the Eclipse from the least to leave the irrational bias out of the equation.

If it were me, I'd pick the Phenom 100 or the Mustang, depending if my charter were biased more towards 600nm or the 300nm side of the stage length and the financing package I got from either OEM. But those are the two I'd pit against one another to get my order.

Are you saying you'd play say TBM, Meridian and PC12?

Baron95 said...

On other news, congratulations to the UAW-free, right-to-work state of South Caroline, its out workers and BMW.

BWM has just exported vehicle number 1,000,000 from their state of the art South Carolina plant. They did that in 15 years.

How is that for a success story.

No wonder the Dow crossed 11,000 today, settling at 10,997 at the close.

I'm glad that Boeing is moving a lot of production capacity and expanding in the Carolinas. Oh, and the largest customer for Total Eclipse seems to be based there as well.

Meanwhile in UAW-dominated Detroit and Michigan - well, highest unemployment in the country and a landscape that would make a slum resident from Sao Paulo or Beijing scared to walk on.

gadfly said...

Assuming an honest business plan, there is no “right” or “wrong” answer to setting parameters to a potential design. But most folks who attempt to get into the business seem to make the common mistake of attempting to put ten pounds of sausage into a five pound skin . . . and almost without exception, they all fail. (We’ve beat the little Eclipse to death, on this point . . . but it’s a prime example, coupled with certain questionable business ethics.)

Stay focused on a single issue, use the “tried and true”, with possibly one or two . . . or even three innovations, and the goal is easily within reach. Take the time to “prove” a basic design, and then go on to the next step. Over a century of trial and error provides the designer with enough options to “pull off” a winning combination. But, then, vulture capitalists are not known for the virtue of patience. Even now, Toyota is learning to go back to its “roots” of building for the future, rather than the “make a quick buck in the next quarter” mentality, of the “west”.

The internal combustion piston engine is a prime example . . . almost everything on a modern engine has been around since the early twentieth century . . . with slight improvements, not on the design so much as the availability of new alloys, machining methods, lubricants, and electronic controls. But all the “basics” have not changed enough to improve performance by more than thirty percent . . . in almost a hundred years.

And talk about failures: A listing of the automobile companies, and engine manufacturers, runs into the hundreds, or thousands. But the basics have little changed.

The nice thing about the “piston engine” is that almost all of the minor problems have been worked out, and the innovations of a century ago, have been refined . . . “fine tuned”, if you will, to the point where a new design is almost like going into an “all-you-can-eat” cafeteria, and loading up your tray.

And anything that flies, under 400 knots is no more complicated than the menu at a local “McDonald’s”. But don’t expect to get prime rib, at the “Happy Meal” price . . . it ain’t goin’ to happen, no-how! But you can order an “In-N-Out” burger, at a reasonable price . . . and go away more than satisfied. (You’d think I had stock in “In-N-Out” . . . ‘wish I did!)


(“Turbine engines” . . . I’ll make a prediction that the next generation of small turbine engines may use “high temperature ceramics” for the blades, and maybe even the rest of the rotary parts. In machining, modern tool cutters of ceramic are chewing through steel and other alloys, with the “inserts” operating in the bright red to almost white heat range, removing material at rates that even ten years ago would have seemed impossible. And in the past we needed to "cool" the cutting tool . . . today, we avoid cooling the tool to prevent the thermal shock, but only allow a thin film to lubricate the tool . . . and no more.)

(Most of you "haven't a clue" what I'm talking about . . . but a couple, maybe three or four, will get the message . . . You're welcome!)

compleat_outsider said...

The piston twin has gone the way of the three engine airliner - it was there to meet a legal requirement but the apparent added safety proved not to be worth the expense. Turboprop singles are now replacing twins whenever they can do so legally. Will the next step be the single engine jet?

gadfly said...

Good point!

Case in point: Quest Kodiak! . . . when extreme safety in the worst conditions trumps everything else.


Floating Cloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Floating Cloud said...

Complete_outsider says:

"The piston twin has gone the way of the three engine airliner - it was there to meet a legal requirement but the apparent added safety proved not to be worth the expense. Turboprop singles are now replacing twins whenever they can do so legally. Will the next step be the single engine jet?"

April 9, 2010 7:04 PM

I am afraid that will be so-- for whatever reason human life may/or not be put at risk. Have to have trust in the universe to figure this one out.

Baron95 said...

3-engine TU-154 just took out the Polish President, first lady, most of the cabinet, dignitaries, etc.

It is very rare that the number of jet engines is a determinant safety factor.

If you have a fixed budget, the amount you spend on cockpit automation, weather, terrain avoidance, map/situation awareness, training, redundant electrics, etc is much more productive in enhancing safety, than if you spend a dominant part of that budget on a second turbine engine.

Piston, I don't know. I prefer to have higher stress in the first minute of flight, for peace of mind in the remaining 99% of the flight knowing there is separate assembly of 50-year-old technology sucking, squeezing, and belching. May not be entirely borne out by statistics. It is like carrying a concealed hand gun through a tough area. May not increase your safety much, but it has a very calming effect.

airtaximan said...

Baron... why would anyone start a company that requires new planes for a model that yields only 1.5 pax per trip?

My choice would be to figure out a model that yields 3 paying pax per trip, and then use a plane that works well for that.

Whether the plane is new or not is irrelevant to any such business plan, IMO.

PS. we already have proof your idea of this 1.5 pax 200-600nm taxi service with ea50's does not work. Remember?

PPS. I would suggest you start with a fleet of one plane for your model

airtaximan said...

PPS... you really think the typical charter mission is 200-600 NM with 1.5 pax?

You may end up with some blended average numbers that could approximate what you are saying, but I am sorry to tell you, this is not a typical charter mission.

I am also sorry to tell you that most short charter trips (that could skew the numbers) are done on props. There's a good reason... a few actually. Same reason there are 10,000 part 135 prpo planes in the US.

The jets typically fly with more than 1 pax, and typically fly further. There are also a variety of jets, each designed for more or less pax, and more or less range. A typical mission would be very diffrent for a G4 compared to a HB400. There's no plane designed to do both of these missions optimally.

So, I would suggest, the range of 200NM with 1.5 pax would be best done on one AC type, while 1.5 pax on a 600NM trip would be another.

Also, the "average" load of 1.5 will not size the plane, the max will. So, if I fly one way with 5 pax and one way with none, for an average of 2.5, I amy need a differnt plane that if its all 2s and 3s.

I fear AVERAGE thinking went into the EA50 design and EAC business plan. Perhaps "very average".

julius said...


So ATM...

read your para.s I and III and you will have the feeling that your text is incomplete: You forgot to add that Dayjet failed and Pogo didn't start!

Thinking in "averages" the answer is: "Do not start!"

One has to look for details etc.
What means "200 (300)-600" nm average leg length?
Is it possible to get rid of a wet raincoat in the fpj without washing the other pax....?????

"Investing money" is one side of the coin - doing the job is the other side of the coin...

Oh, there are so many consultants - it must be posssible with a ROI of 10+ % ...


Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...

Baron... why would anyone start a company that requires new planes for a model that yields only 1.5 pax per trip?


You are in the industry, right? What is the median paying pax per segment in regional charter?

Baron95 said...

ATM said...PS. we already have proof your idea of this 1.5 pax 200-600nm taxi service with ea50's does not work. Remember?

Again. You always draw, quick but wrong conclusions.

What we *know* is that a start up, founded by a computer geek, who spends $50M developing a scheduling system, and chooses a plane from another start up company that is years late and incomplete does not work.

That says absolutely nothing, if say, Piedmond decides to go into regional charter with a fleet of 50 Phenom 100s. Absolutely nothing.

You have to be careful, with the conclusions you draw.

airtaximan said...

funny, I come to the wrong conclusion, with your statements.

Dayjet blew $300M trying your idea.
They made the same mistakes in their thinking as you are making.

The 1.5 px trip is a number that does not matter. Its like averaging my house and Madonna's house. You would think the market for homes in our neighborhood is $10M. You would be wrong.

Its even more critical is a moving target like this industry. If you err, you might want to be on the larger side, not the smaller from an aircraft equipment perspective. If not, you will need to price most of the market out, and the affordable solutin will be a smaller prop, or larger prop or larger jet.

The ea50 found the sour spot in the market.

There's a reason the smallers RJs are being mothballed...

Keep thinking... you will eventually get it, just like Ed did.

BTW, rumor has it, Dayjet Tech sold the optimization system to an operator, who has shown remarkable improvements in fleet efficiency. Remarkable.

Something tells me, as they were trying to operate the EA50 as a taxi service for really short trips, they realized they would get killed, and they saw SATSair eating their lunch with the SR22... even SATSAir closed, eventually.

So, I think a wise operator would NOT approach they "air taxi" business your way. In fact, there's a good reason neophytes (for the most part) believed the air taxi story.

Like I said, you are cought in the flaw of averages in your thinking. Easy to convince yourself with this thinking, but, it does not reflect the market, and certainly does not account for realities regarding equipment/load/pricing.

JetBird was THE Embraer Phenom fleet customer, and they shut down as well. This prior to even taking delivery of a plane.

Lastly, the P100 is a far cry from the ea50, and especially from the "promised EA50... price)...

I focus on your words regarding the successful design of the ea50... this is insulting to anyone in the industry who knows how much BS was involved at EAC, and how far off the mark the EA50 was from being successful - it was claimed to be a purpose designed jet for air taxi... BIG crock.

Shadow said...

AT, I can confirm your statement that an operator bought the DayJet optimization software and is reducing deadhead flights by a large amount since starting using it about a month ago. Can't say who the operator is, though. Sorry.

Baron95 said...

Hey ATM, relax, I would never, ever invest a single dime on the "long" side of US GA, charter, etc.

If there were a hedge fund on the "short side" of the industry, I'd send them my check tomorrow.

The industry is like inner city public schools. No matter how much money you throw at it, nothing good comes out on the other side.

Only investment I make in it is play silly what/ifs here.

Give it another 2 or 3 decades, when the international companies shake the Wichita 3, like they did the Detroit 3, and things might be better.

Baron95 said...

Looks like the Epic Seven reached a deal with China reported by AvWeb:

"China Aviation and the LT Builders Group together will pay $4.3 million for Epic's assets. The builders will retain the rights to sell the LT single-engine turboprops in the North American market, while the Chinese have rights to the rest of the world."

Win/Win (or lose/lose).

Baron95 said...

Meanwhile Kitplane says...The lead creditor in the proceeding is quoted as calling the agreement, “an ideal cross between a shotgun wedding and a Mexican standoff.”

Baron95 said...

And in case anyone here is interested in holding actual richly bound paper in an iPad era...

FOR SALE ($200.00 or Best Offer): Complete set of Encyclopaedia Britannica, 45 volumes. Excellent condition. No longer needed, Got married last month. Wife knows

gadfly said...

After the horse has left the barn:

"Clawback law puts teeth into tracking" . . . "Albuquerque Journal", Monday, April 12, 2010

"Too many incentives in New Mexico "are give and forget. We don't track. We don't report," Keller told the Journal in an interview."

". . . and $20 million in Eclipse Aviation before they closed."


ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Some interesting and optimistic news coming out of Sun 'N Fun this year.

First PiperSport delivered to customer

Piper has added 60 engineers to PiperJet program and passed PDR

Cessna is expected to make improvements in fab and assembly on SkyCatcher and start regular deliveries soon

Farnborough showed up at SNF with the Kestrel (a bigger Epic LT destined for certification) - watch this one

Aspen Avionics continues to kick ass and take names, announcing several new products (Class 3 PFD, Autopilot integration, and a sweet backup EFIS) - good on ya boys!

Flight Designs announced new version of the CT, new floats

HawkerBeech announced a 50th Anniversary Baron that is pretty cool

Last week or so Diamond announced certification of the DA-42 with their own Austro diesel engines as well as STC approval to swap out the Thielert diesels

I have already attended several airshows on the West Coast this year and attendance is good

SpaceShipTwo should begin glide tests soon and will be in powered test by Summer (I predict) - exciting times out in the Mojave.

Will be interesting to see what else is announced, but all-in-all a good kickoff to the season so far, I am somewhat optimistic.

Baron95 said...

Nice report CW.

Combine that with the improving economy, Dow above 11,000, Nasdaq above 2,500, S&P500 above 1,200 highest level since summer 2008, and there may be buyer pulse returning to the market.

WhyTech said...

"SpaceShipTwo should begin glide tests soon and will be in powered test by Summer (I predict) - exciting times out in the Mojave."

Help us understand why this should not be in the SWWC category (So What, Who Cares).

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Well WhyTech, if I have to explain it, I suspect you wouldn't get it.

With the cancellation of Constellation after 6 years and $10B, after gutting the manned space exploration program, the only cool stuff will be coming from the private sector and Scaled/Virgin Galactic/The SpaceShip Company are the 800 pound gorilla in the room.

I will be spending some time at Mojave later this year I predict - it is exciting if you are into this kind of thing.

If, however, you think that digital watches and Tang are the sum total of benefit our Space Program has had in your daily life, then I really can't help.

Baron95 said...

Plus, it does look very cool.

Floating Cloud said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Floating Cloud said...


Yes it would seem that Bush's moon project seems oddly nostalgic and not part of the 21st century. Private sector space exploration is helpful, but it can't be the end to end all. What's next for NASA in the Obamaworld --er O'universe?

April 14, 2010 7:34 PM

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

I have seen WhiteKnight2 fly, caught it at Edwards last year, very impressive. At half fuel and 2 crew it reportedly will accelerate going straight up, better than 1-to-1 thrust to weight. Has a clever speedbrake design that allows it to simulate the SS2 re-entry profile.

I am doing some work on the West Coast this year so I plan to trek to Mojave when SS2 begins powered flights, since it is unlikely I will make it to see a Shuttle launch (only 3 to go I believe).

This President's lack of an engaging, forward looking vision is striking - Constellation would have taken us back to the Moon and on to Mars within the next 8 or 9 years, instead, we will be paying Russia $50M per seat to launch in Soyuz capsules - from the world's sole Superpower to having to beg for a ride to our mom's place in GeoSynch orbit - who'da thunk it?

They have wasted more money delaying foreclosures in the mortgage rescue plan than the ENTIRE Constellation program would have cost, and Congress itself says all they did was delay foreclosures by 9 months, literally a complete fail.

But hey, tomorrow I once again poney up my portion of the 70+% of the tax burden that a very small portion of us actually pay - thanks for reminding me.......

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

"Well WhyTech, if I have to explain it, I suspect you wouldn't get it."

Oops! Touched a nerve! Sorry! Sounds like it would be difficult to explain. Would seem to need more than being "cool" to make sense.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

No nerves WhyTech, some folks do not understand the benefit the Space Program provides - I have had discussions with folks who ask the same question you do and my experience has been it leads nowhere.

Do you like GPS?
Satellite TV?
High Tech metals in your cars and planes?
Advanced structural analysis techniques making for ever safer cars and planes?
CD and DVD?
Water Purification Systems?
Scratch Resistant Lenses?
Portable powered coolers and warmers?
Smoke Detectors?
Impact resistant materials?
Fire resistant materials?
Digital health imaging equipment?
Laser angioplasty?
Ultrasound technology?
Magnetic bearings?
Interactive media and training?
Self locking fasteners?
Studless winter tires?
Composite brakes?
Cordless power tools?
Improved lightweight firefighter O2 packs?
Freeze dried food?
Digital watches?

All have resulted from research supporting Manned Space Flight.

Yes it is also cool, yes it is also one of the things that make the US the world's sole Superpower, but there have been countless benefits as well as a sense of pride and accomplishment.

But I recognize that for some people, even all that is not enough. Their loss not mine, at least not until some socialist luddite with a chip on his shoulder gets elected.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Anyone else curious about the increase in former Diamond Lead/Mgmt Level personnel showing up at places like Piper and Aspen?

Curioser and curioser.....

WhyTech said...

"All have resulted from research supporting Manned Space Flight."

At what cost? So you are saying that we would have none of this without the space program? I dont think so.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Then there is no reason to continue the discussion WT.

Those are all technologies that were developed in support of Manned Space Exploration.

I cannot say whether or not those technologies would have eventually been developed, it is unknowable, what is known though is that they do exist now and they are direct results of NASA activites and NASA funding.

julius said...


perhaps the Constellation project was as well managed as the 787 project...(apart from political influences)
What about the F35 (A400M): too late, too expensive...

And where are the managers or engineers (Boeing, NASA,...) coming from? Same schools..., same teachers...

The Private sector doesn't have politicians but investors.

Thus I am not convinced that every $ multi billion projects (with a lot a research) will be much better managed by the Private Sector than by governmental organisations.


P.S.: EAI tries to sell a fpj with Avio NG 1.7! What about Avio NG 1.6?

gadfly said...

WhyTech and ColdFish . . . for separate motives, for sure:

‘Having been on the early stages of the space stuff . . . and toward the last . . . the motives of developing new technology has little to do with the government involvement, although at “first glance” it seems such.

Sometimes we found ourselves in that favored position of government funding, etc., and many times we found ourselves completely on our own . . . without a “pot to . . . our possession” (as it were). But somehow, the motivation trumped all else, and we proceeded beyond the “call of politics”, and went on to develop many new things . . . and sometimes found the politicos attempting to “catch up” and offer some support.

You need to understand the “mind-set” of an inventor, with a true background in the skills required to pull-off their invention. An “inventor” is a driven person, almost to the point that he cannot stop his drive to produce a better rat trap, as it were. A true inventor (and I grew up in such a family, and am one, myself), is driven beyond the normal person who has a “great idea” that will make him rich, if “only” he could make someone else “understand” the great advantages, etc., etc., etc.. A true inventor, is driven by the desire to do something far better than before, and has the knowledge, the “know-how”, including the practical technology, to bring it to pass . . . yet often fails to understand the financial needs that drive the engine. When we formed our little company, back in 1975-‘76, we sought to correct that last missing thing . . . the profit thing , . . . the self-sustaining part. Well, with thirty-four years and four months under our belt, we have yet to prove that “last part”. (The underlying motive was to serve people as unto the Lord Jesus Christ, using our abilities as merely “tools” . . . and that, we leave for Him to decide . . . yet we have been rewarded with more than our “just desserts” over the past decades.)

Over the years, we’ve had any number of folks that had a “great idea”, without the slightest knowledge of the invention, the “physics”, nor the requirements to bring about their wonderful idea.

And of course, we’ve had any number of “inventors” at our door step, thinking that a “$2,000" idea could be produced . . . not knowing that the first injection mold would cost at least “$20,000".

Today, unfortunately, we have a bunch of political geniuses that have never in their lives made an honest nickel . . . even mowing the lawn of a neighbor, yet like the “Pope”, declare what should take place throughout the entire spectrum of Western civilization. Well, the Pope has better expertise maintaining his soprano boy’s choir . . . and the likes of the Harvard graduates, etc., continues on, attempting to tell the business world how to conduct “business”. And a few of us attempt to keep the doors open, after having to “let go” our entire crew , because of the liberal philosophies of our “good intentioned liberal politcos”, that never saw an “earmark” that they didn’t like. And yeh, the last Bush “caved” when he could have done some great things. The apple falls not far from the tree!

Come by the shop for a cup of coffee . . . or better yet, a “Spot of (ultra-conservative)Tea!”


Baron95 said...

julius said...
perhaps the Constellation project was as well managed as the 787 project...(apart from political influences)
What about the F35 (A400M): too late, too expensive...
Thus I am not convinced that every $ multi billion projects (with a lot a research) will be much better managed by the Private Sector than by governmental organisations.


Ever tried to fire a politician or bureaucrat that is under performing?

At least in the private sector, investors can act swiftly.


Unless, of course, like some here you believe that success is just a matter of executive luck.

In that case, it looks like Mulally just got lucky again... Ford becomes top-selling brand in Europe.

WhyTech said...

Somehow we moved seamlessly from Virgin Galactic/ White Knight II to the U. S. manned space program. While I cant accept solely on faith the value of the U.S. manned space program, the VG/WK II "program" appears from the outside looking in to be an expensive amusement park ride for wealthy ego trippers. Help me understand the value we are going to see from $200,00 per seat suborbital "space" flights to nowhere. On the surface, another Branson publicity stunt. I can acknowlwdge that there might be a few accidental/incidental technology offshoots, but I must ask "why would one want to do this?"

WhyTech said...

"Ever tried to fire a politician or bureaucrat that is under performing?"

Coming soon on a massive scale, and not a moment too soon!

Baron95 said...

As for the space program...

I know there was high cost and probably a lot of waste in the moon race, and other gvmt backed space programs.

But the benefits, including the ones CW pointed out, were real.

But I think the most important thing of all is that during the height of the space program there was a true and inspired collaboration between government and aerospace companies and science education and the media, etc. It brought tremendous benefits to the USA.

Nowadays what we see is disgusting. The politicians attacking GA as a waste, attacking Boeing and other defense contractors as fraudulent, ignoring basic science and engineering education in favor of "soft disciplines", the media casting disparaging suspicions on hard core industries like aerospace, oil, mining, finance, and the government bodies that work with or regulate them.

It is shameful. It is like a competition about how can make the other guy look the worst.

I don't know if it is space or something else, but if the US does not rebuild it's private industry, government, media partnerships it will be left way behind.

Other customers from Israel to Japan to China to France are doing it.

I'm not sure what the answer is, but we are tearing each other and our competitiors are uniting.

WhyTech said...

"I don't know if it is space or something else,"

Energy comes quickly to mind - and with benefits likely for every living creature for millenia to come if we get it right.

Baron95 said...

Hi WT, I think some will want to take the ride just to get to do something cool.

This is the same reason some people in barnstormer days paid a buck to go up on a biplane and do a barrel roll.

WKII is the barnstorm biplane of the 21st century.

It is not my thing - I'm not good at being a passive passenger. I'd rather pay $200K to go through say a fighter pilot training program or get instruction for a week on driving an F1 car.

But I can understand the appeal - it is like taking a roller coaster ride - just a bit more expensive (as in exclusive) and a bit higher.

WhyTech said...

"Energy comes quickly to mind - and with benefits likely for every living creature for millenia to come if we get it right."

How about a cheap, disposable "nano" atomic powerplant the size of a breadbox? Do that by 2030 and you will make a real difference in peoples's lives everywhere on the planet.

WhyTech said...

"get to do something cool"

Amazing what get done in the name of "cool!"

gadfly said...

At Christmas, some of the “kids” gave me a set of Victor Borge DVD’s. He mentioned that he could learn a foreign language, by playing “tapes” through a pillow speaker . . . but the only problem was that he could only understand the foreign language in his sleep.

Well, my problem, ever since I began listening to the news, etc., over KFI (640 kilocycles) and KNX (1070 kilocycles . . . we only had “bicycles” back then . . . after a few crashes we had “Hertz”) . . . , beginning when I built my first “crystal set” when I was about nine years old . . . I’d wake up in the morning with a deep imprint of my “head-set” in the side of my face . . . but I had a full caption of the news since the previous night. Some of those oldies . . . “Innersanctum”, “The Shadow”, “Bulldog Drummond”, “G-Men in Action”, and a new one, “Dragnet”, etc.

Little has changed over the years . . . except these cheap “ear-buds” don’t cause near the pain . . . and sleeping with the woman of my life is much better than those early years, when my bed-mate was a Cockerel Spaniel.

All these years later, I wake up . . . and tell my wife the latest “news”, having heard it during the night on a simple little Sony thing-a-ma-jig, powered by a “AAA” single cell.

Maybe that’s the new technology . . . my “crystal set” didn’t require a “cell” (a “battery”, to those of you who may not know the difference between a “battery” and a “cell”*).

Now, that’s progress! Think of it . . . a long time ago, before most of you were born, or even a “glint” in your Daddy’s eye, . . . or maybe in your “Grandpa’s” eye (who’s keeping track) I listened all night to the news . . . and woke up in the morning with the imprint of a set of head phones in the side of my face. But not today!

Today, I wake up with a pain in one of my ears, sleeping next to the girl I still love, . . . praying for my nineteen grand-children, my four kids, and their four spouses . . . get up, go downstairs to make the coffee, feed the dog, add water to the ponds out back, and get ready to go to work in another hour or so. Now you know what you might look forward to, when you reach the ripe old age of 72.

Question: Will you be as “happy” as I? . . . Or more important, will you know the meaning of “Joy”? . . .by the time you catch up? ‘Venture, I won’t be around about then, but I’ll be experiencing true “Joy”.


(*A “cell” is a single voltage source . . . a battery is two or more such sources. For instance, our submarine had four batteries, each battery contained 126 “cells”, and each cell produced “2 volts”. Each cell weighed about 1,650 pounds, . . . four times 126 lead acid cells equals about 415 tons of lead-acid battery. Now put all that info into your speculation about these new “hi-brids”, etc.

Your normal car probably has a “12 volt battery”, which contains six cells. Your “flash-light” may have two “cells”, which combined makes one battery. Nobody will accept your knowledge, but at least now you have an understanding of the difference between a “cell” and a “battery” . . . maybe. A battery is two or more cells . . . got it? And next time, maybe we’ll discuss how I know that when I saw one of our Imed “IV” pumps on a sitcom (NCIS), it was obvious that the scene was a “staged” scene, because the outlets on the wall had the ground-lead on the bottom (like in a typical house), instead of at the top, which is proper and required in all hospital and government wiring. Now, you’ve had some education without asking . . . and for “free”.)

WhyTech said...

"How about a cheap, disposable "nano" atomic powerplant "

I think we should put Mullaly to work on this. WIth his luck, he'd likely get there by 2020.

gadfly said...

Baron . . . Me thinks you are a smart man. The problem is that sometime back you declared yourself the "devil's advocate", or something of that sort. The problem, since, is that the Devil is a liar from the beginning . . . as we know from Scripture. Now, for us to take you seriously, and frankly, I for one would like to take you "at your word", somehow, we need to know your seperatation from your former alliance, if it is a "former" alliance.

No offence meant . . . you seem to have some good intelligence, and there are no doubt many who wish to take you seriously . . . and I am among those. But constantly taking an "opposite point of view" simply for the point contoversy is not constructive . . . What say you?


gadfly said...

WhyTech . . . Somehow, your “nano” scale nuclear power plant is not that far off . . . and possibly not all that difficult. Except for one major thing . . . politics! Now, understand, we’re not talking about nuclear “fusion”, but a simple form of nuclear “fission” . . . easily within the realm and control of common man.

But seldom is new technology driven by what is possible, or practical, but the idiotic things that go “bump in the night” . . . or is it the Knights that go "bump" in the thing . . . whichever . . . the prejudices of the great unwashed who choose to remain ignorant.

It’s like when the “Hindenburg” burned and crashed (at the time, I was still a “bun in the oven) . . . and hydrogen was declared dangerous, since then until today . . . while we each drive around with ten to twenty gallons of gasoline under the back seat . . . without much concern.

Intelligence and understanding take a back seat . . . while emotions and stupidity drive the system. And it won’t change any time soon. People believe what they “choose” to believe, and aren’t about to change . . . it’s a thing of pride.


WhyTech said...

"Somehow, your “nano” scale nuclear power plant is not that far off . . . and possibly not all that difficult"

Here are the goals:

1 megawatt
10 year life
10 cubic feet
$1000 acquisition cost
$1000 disposal cost
mass production by 2030

Dont let the naysayers wear you down! And remember, think outside the box!

airtaximan said...

"an expensive amusement park ride for wealthy ego trippers"

now that sounds like a good tag line for a former revolutionary transportation company we all know and love gone bad...

airtaximan said...

what is known though is that they do exist now and they are direct results of NASA activites and NASA funding.

So is the ea50

Floating Cloud said...

Cwt says:

"Anyone else curious about the increase in former Diamond Lead/Mgmt Level personnel showing up at places like Piper and Aspen?

Curioser and curioser....."

Yes, plus why are ex-eclipsers bobbing up at these same places at the same time? very curious...

Oh, and today I used velcro for the upteenth time to make a sewn mount for a museum display of textiles -- from 15th C. French tapestries to every day wear of a Maya family living in Chiapas today.

Thank you NASA exploration!

Floating Cloud

gadfly said...

The “Velcro” story is nice to think that it came out of the space program, but according to the records a Frenchman noticed that certain “burrs” collected on the fur of his pet dog, and upon examinations he came to think about the physics involved, and thus came up with the idea of “Velcro”.

In similar manner, when asked by a couple neurosurgeons to improve the tools for micro-sutures, used in the attachment of one millimeter diameter arteries and veins (called "anastomosis"), I remember being taught in “fifth grade” about the California Indians, using the jaws of large ants, and insects, to close wounds. I was told that such an idea was not possible for vascular surgery. I was shown a stack of papers a few inches thick of US and USSR methods, shown to be totally impractical and virtually impossible.

That was on a Thursday . . . but on the following Tuesday, the same neurosurgeon that said it was impossible was the third witness on the “non-disclosure” statement on the drawing and full explanation.

But government had no part in any of the development from that point on . . . but today it is on the market, internationally, the first viable change in vascular surgery since around 1915.

(The product was "machined" by a precision machine called a CNC Mitsubishi "Wirecut-EDM", which we were able to acquire because of the new tax laws brought into existence by Ronald Reagan, the first such machine in New Mexico,(even before Sandia and Los Alamos) and would have been almost impossible under "Carter".

The clips ("jaws") were so small that a dozen could easily lay flat on the head of a common pin . . . from thin pure silver sheet. (No actual "ants" were harmed in the process.)

Someone may someday “remember” some connection to government funding, but for the record . . . there was none. It was all private personal funding . . . out of our personal pockets, and at a time when we had nothing to spare, and went deep into debt. (In time, we got some private help, which we paid back in full.)

And again, for the record, had the problem and solution been attempted in the present “Obama” care, environment, there is no way that it could have gone forward . . . and micro-vascular surgery would still be doing it the old way, with 1915 technology . . . the taxation and battle against private investment, etc., add far too much to the battles of developing new technology.

Of course, had the project not been attempted, the population of the world would, today, be less . . . and there are those in power that think that such would be a benefit to "Mother Earth", or at least to their own bank accounts.


Baron95 said...

Gadfly, it is obvious that most people that post here are smart and accomplished individuals.

As for me, sometimes I want to be serious, like when it comes to the future and security of our country, sometimes I like to explore the contrarian view in a light way.

As for the Devil, I know very little about him or her - basically vague memories from religious school and Hollywood renderings.

I'm more vigilant about the evil incarnations in man - those are plenty.

So - the comments in these thread are all sincere and genuine.

At least at the "blog" level.

gadfly said...

Baron . . . I respect your views. When I want to know the facts on a subject, I attempt to go to the best authority on a subject. In the case of the devil, I choose to avoid the "hearsay" of religious schools, old paintings, and fantasy and go to the source of accurate "tried and tested" information, the Bible.


WhyTech said...

"Somehow, your “nano” scale nuclear power plant is not that far off . . . and possibly not all that difficult"

Here are the goals: **REVISED**

1 megawatt
10 year life
10 cubic feet
$1 million acquisition cost
$1 million disposal cost
mass production by 2030

At current electric utility rates in New England, such a device would produce power valued at $14 million, so quite an improvement in energy costs.

Phineas A. Ferb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
RonRoe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

Piper CEO is still claiming that first deliveries of the PiperJet will be in 2013 (3 years from now), and that they are hiring 60-70 engineers to complete the design.

So lets see... in the past 3 years they have been working on this, they have yet to complete the design, build, let alone fly a conforming prototype. Yet, in the next 3 years we are to believe that they'll complete the design, build, certify and start serial deliveries of the PiperJet?

I'm not saying that it can't happen, but their track record on this project has not been impressive.

Still, I'm glad some money is still being spent on SEJ projects.

gadfly said...


Point well understood!

Yes, I’m aware of the position of “devil’s advocate”. But if a person always takes the opposite point of view, merely to argue all points, that person’s testimony eventually becomes null and void, and he’ll not be believed nor trusted when he attempts to give a correct answer. Aesop told of the boy who cried “wolf”, once too many times.

For a more complete understanding of a “good” use, read C.S. Lewis’ “Screwtape Letters”. Another excellent work is “Hellbent for Election”, by Phyllis Speshock (probably long out of print) . . . but almost humorous, while dealing with serious subjects.

And for the prime example of the devil, taking his own position on the matter, read the first two chapters of the oldest book in the Bible, the book of "Job" . . . and observe how God effectively used him.


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

Well, RonRoe,

Since I am not a Roman Catholic, although I'm fully aware of the use of a devil's advocate in their attempt to make "saints", etc., I purposely skipped over this sixteenth century system (1587, under Pope Sixtus V, to be more precise) . . . and went to things of which I am more in agreement. Or I, too, would be playing the part of the "advocatus diaboli".

Frankly, I don't like the "title", nor the "role", and will continue to clearly state the fact if I am arguing against something, merely to demonstrate the "opposite point of view".

In that respect, I go after my own designs, repeatedly, until I'm satisfied that I have explored all the objections of an idea . . . and it's kept me out of much trouble, over the years.

'Had Eclipse followed that rule from the "get-go", we might, today, have a viable bird being manufactured in our own back yard . . . with a long string of happy workers, suppliers, and customers. And, who knows . . . even Bill Richardson might have at least one decision to his credit, having done something "right" for a change.


gadfly said...

As a native of Southern California, I got to thinking about that “advocatus”. . . and remembered that we used to go out in the morning and pick up a couple or three of them “advocatus” things that would fall down off the tree . . . slice them open, pull out the big seed, and put the green and yellow stuff on a couple of hot pieces of toast . . . add some salt . . . and that was about the best breakfast, ever.


(‘Sorry, folks . . . it was all set up proper like . . . and with my sense of humor, I jus’ couldn’t let it pass.)

(Back in those ancient times, the "easterner's". . . them's folks from Chicago and other places on the east coast . . . couldn't figure out what they was about, and called them "Alligator Pears" . . . that was a "Florida thing", I guess . . . they could grow them big, but with no flavor 'tal . . . and tried to get the Chicago crowd hooked on 'em. But the California variety has the right flavor, no question.)

gadfly said...

Hey, folks! God has a sense of humor. If you don't believe it, you haven't looked in the mirror lately . . . and I must ask if you actually "shaved" this morning!.

Some of the stuff discussed here is dead serious from a business and/or political point of view. None of it has much to do beyond that. But there are distinct overtones . . . or is it "undertones" . . . I forget!

With apologies from the "gadfly", sometimes I can hardly contain myself with the wide open opportunities of sarcasm and/or humor available in this ever-continuing-dialog. Hopefully, most will consider it a friendly opportunity to bounce ideas off each other.

By now, any regular reader of this "blog" knows something about the "gadfly" . . . and some of the early exchange with the famous "goat" (Oh yes, I think he's still around . . . Have you ever raised a "Billy Goat"? . . . you cannot miss them, believe me).

If you need to speak with the "gadfly" on more serious subjects, Phil will be glad, I'm sure, to get us in touch.

That said, Albuquerque was supposed to get some rain today . . . as of this minute, heavy clouds hang over the "Sandias", with a base at under 10,000 feet . . . but the rest of the sky is as clear blue as the pigment in the tube of cerulean water color pigment. Which reminds me, that the family wants me to get back into painting pictures for the "tribe". 'Maybe tomorrow.

Shucks . . . come to think of it, even one of the many "unfinished/untested" little birds could be up there flying, today . . . who knows?! I'll keep a lookout . . . rumor has it that some are around, but I can't remember the last time one went overhead.


airsafetyman said...

"Yet, in the next 3 years we are to believe that they'll complete the design, build, certify and start serial deliveries of the PiperJet?"

Never, ever, happen. Dassault, for the 7X program, built three initial conforming test airplanes. After the testing was completed and the airplane certified Dassault fitted them all out with executive interiors and sold them to customers. Not only is Piper's design skills stuck in the 1970s, they are trying to do it with a pick-up crew of newly-hired engineers, having run off all the skilled engineers as well as skilled worker bees needed for assembly. Piper hasn't even figured out how to manage the asymmetric thrust in the pitch mode from the tail-mounted engine. It's kind of like designing a single-engine airplane and mounting the sole engine on one wing, with a "we'll figure it out later" mentality.

Floating Cloud said...


Perhaps a little urban NASA Myth --really Honeywell VELCO will do it for the one eyed Piper? Placement of engine is then optional.

B95, you are the BEST devil's advocate and guacamole that ever walked cross these great blog pages.

And just where is Bill e. Goat these days? Good point, Sir Gadfly.

Floating Cloud

compleat_outsider said...

Simply Iconic!

Thats the title of the article in the latest EAA Sport Aviation on the Icon A5, the Light Sport (LSA) amphibian aircraft thats "reviving general aviation with a new paradigm", There is no mention of Vern as a participant, but there is a "host of prestigious design awards"," more high end sports car than cockpit", and "more than 371 orders(minimum deposit $5,000)".

They are quite honest on performance. "It's not about the usual metrics of speed, range, payload, altitude, and complex cockpits". In fact "Utility be damned."

It's all about the feeling.

The article is online at the EAA website, but I think it is for members only.

Floating Cloud said...

Complete Outsider:

Keep going. I always managed, especially when I first participated on this blog, to end up at the very end of a thread and then no one would see it. There was a discussion once about that sports jetski flying contraption thing. (Think you could find it by a search on the blog.) It's a joke --like the title of the article.

People on this blog will listen to you! And you know SO much more about airplanes than I ever will!

Floating Cloud

Mariano said...

Sorry to enter this way into this blog. While carrying out a search on the internet to write a historical paper on Adriano Ducati’s life story and his contribution to the development of plasma propulsion I happened to find on this blog a few posts by Gadfly regarding Adriano. I do not know who Mr. Gadfly is, but he seems to have a wistful remembrance of his acquaintance with Adriano Ducati, and a vivid memory of that period. I would immensely enjoy to get in touch with Gadfly and find out more about those events. A preliminary version of my paper can be found at
but I intend to expand this text as I gather more information on the subject. Could Gadfly or anybody else please help me?

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Alan McCoy said...

Great statistics of all the air-craft manufacturers and their products.

Hazardous Cargo

Abirami Subrahmaniyum said...

hey Mr.Gadfly, great that you have collected preliminary parameters of various aircraft.i have a small doubt which you have addressed in the starting of the post about the DASH-8 aircraft . its a turboprop type and has a wing shorter than the fuselage , looks funny but involves a lot of aerodynamics and structural aspects . please brief me , about the relationship between a wing span and length of fuselage of aircraft .

Anonymous said...

I have seen WhiteKnight2 fly, caught it at Edwards last year, very impressive. At half fuel and 2 crew it reportedly will accelerate going straight up, better than 1-to-1 thrust to weight. Has a clever speedbrake design that allows it to simulate the SS2 re-entry profile.

I am doing some work on the West Coast this year so I plan to trek to Mojave when SS2 begins powered flights, since it is unlikely I will make it to see a Shuttle launch (only 3 to go I believe).

This President's lack of an engaging, forward looking vision is striking - Constellation would have taken us back to the Moon and on to Mars within the next 8 or 9 years, instead, we will be paying Russia $50M per seat to launch in Soyuz capsules - from the world's sole Superpower to having to beg for a ride to our mom's place in GeoSynch orbit - who'da thunk it?

They have wasted more money delaying foreclosures in the mortgage rescue plan than the ENTIRE Constellation program would have cost, and Congress itself says all they did was delay foreclosures by 9 months, literally a complete fail.

But hey, tomorrow I once again poney up my portion of the 70+% of the tax burden that a very small portion of us actually pay - thanks for reminding me.......