Sunday, July 18, 2010

Still some gloomy weather...

Not to bring a dark cloud to our generally cheerful and enlightened conversation, but I read some troubling news regarding potential developments at one of the largest General Aviation manufacturers this past week. The Machinist union leadership had discussions with HawkerBeech, and afterwards issued a rather alarming press release, to the effect that,
"Union officials said Wednesday that HawkerBeechcraft is considering moving work out of Wichita that could shrink its hourly work force 50 to 75 percent over the next two years.".

Ouch. One wonders how that would affect overall production from HawkerBeechcraft. And perhaps on a slightly less dark note, one might also wonder how much of that might be posturing as a prelude to contract negotiations. Donno.

Molly McMillin had an article covering that announcement in the July 15, 2010 Wichita Eagle; Union: Hawker may make massive cuts.

I suppose HawkerBeechcraft was in the awkward position of having to decide who to give the bad news to first, the media or the employees. They did the right thing by discussing it with the union- I suppose the union was obligated to inform the public after it told it's members, and the company issued a public statement following that.

"The company issued a statement in response to Rooney's letter to union members:

"Last September the company initiated a series of meetings to update the union leadership about serious challenges it faces during these unprecedented economic times," the statement said. "These conversations have included a spectrum of possibilities for the company's future footprint and the likely impact on its workforce in all its locations..

(Hmm, a too-common example, Salina, Ks).

"The company values this partnership and believes that there is a great opportunity available to us to work together to influence a positive outcome".

(Ugh- that last line is a press release* reminiscent of the original Eclipse P.R.'s with Vernian subterfuge and spectacular disconsonance).

Alas, sadly "us" will shortly be 130 smaller.

(*S-a-y, didn't Andrew Broom leave Eclipse to go to HawkerBeech? Yup, but he's since continued to move on- and nicely up; Andrew Broom, AOPA vice president of communications).

The rather discouraging news from HawkerBeechcraft was preceded by a couple of weeks by some odd news from Spirit AeroSystems. (Perhaps a new name for some- it's basically what was the commercial side of Boeing-Wichita, plus what was NorthAmerican/Rockwell/McDonnell/Douglas/Boeing-Tulsa. (Maybe somebody can clarify the Tulsa operation; the Wichita operation for Spirit is about 80% of what used to be Boeing Wichita- Boeing still has a couple thousand employees doing Military work in Wichita- including potentially significant KC-X tanker work).

At the end of June, the IAM voted to ratify**- sort of- a 10-year contract with Spirit Aerosystems- Jennifer Michels' June 28 story in Aviation Week:
Spirit AeroSystems Machinists Ratify Pact.

(**Actually, the majority- 57% -voted to reject the contract, but it seems it was set up as a strike vote rather than a ratification vote, and two-thirds majority were needed to authorize a strike. Seems weird that it wasn't set up that way- I can think of numerous instances in other industries where work continued with the expired contract terms in place during continuing negotiations).

Not to be outdone in the cheery press release competition, afterwards the IAM declared:
"On June 24, the IAM referred to the new contract, which covers about 6,000 workers, as a historic accord, providing “unprecedented levels of job security” as well as pay increases linked to company performance and pension improvements. The new contract “stems the tide of outsourcing and job offshoring,” according to the Local 839 Bargaining Committee".

(Buzz is there was a 150 share signing bonus, currently $20/share).

More details from Molly McMillin's June 24 piece in the Wichita Eagle
Spirit offers Machinists 10-year contract.

Spirit Aerosystems management is surely pleased with the stability and price=planning possible with the long-term labor contract, and so was Wall Street.

Interestingly, the Canadian firm Onex owns HawkerBeechcraft (in partnership with Goldman-Sachs), and owns58% of Spirit Aerosystems , and " through its portfolio of companies, is the second largest employer in Canada, after the Federal Government, with 238,000 employees".

I keep thinking things have bottomed out, but it seems every couple months have to lower the elevation on the valley floor. Perhaps there is a bit of encouraging news though, the 2010Q1 GAMA statistics show that although units delivered are down compared to 2009Q1 (390 vs 459), billings are up over 2010 by 7 percent. Hopefully that is translating into jobs somewhere.


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Phil Bell said...

What I did over my summer vacation...
Never mind that- we're back on track for weekly updates.
I hope everyone is having a nice summer too.
according to the news, there's some stir about whether unemployment benefits will be extended.
Let's hope things turn around soon and that will become a moot point.
Here's best wishes that folks will be back to work soon, either within aviation, as that is most people's preference I believe; or otherwise at some suitable alternative.

julius said...


me think,you had some nice summer vacation without a need for more distraction - that's good!

This proposed AD is just the mandatory replacement of the original AVIO (plus a minor upgrade of AVIO NG 1.3).
So this is something the wedge and others promised in 2007 or 2008 (including the other upgrades).
I do not know how many fpjs had been upgraded. Some owners will also ask for the FIKI upgrade once the fpj is in the shop.
Naturally there must be some differential training(AVIO NG 1.5 and FIKI).
As the FAA (and/or EAI) propose(s) a move to AVIO NG 1.5 (instead of 1.3) there seems to be no future for AVIO NG 1.3. Hmmm....

What are the times in the shop and the maintenace/training capacities?

This proposal puts a mandatory end to a major part of the fpj (certification process) and for me puts another question mark to the SCR!

Anyhow - it is just a proposal!

Phil, your GAMA-link seems to prove that those who have a lot of money did lose much money(only some shareholder value).
Less C172s but more G550s!
The devil always shmmmm... on the biggest scads


P.S.: There had been some comments on the duties of a TC-holders and the ways a TC-holder might get some money for this task....

airsafetyman said...

"As the FAA (and/or EAI) propose(s) a move to AVIO NG 1.5 (instead of 1.3) there seems to be no future for AVIO NG 1.3. Hmmm...."

The AD offers three choices: an inexpensive tweaking of AVIO 1.3 or the costly AVIO NG 1.5. It does not mandate that the customer give $250,000 for the 1.5 in order to keep flying the airplane.

The third choice would be for the customer to offer his own fix for the radio and transponder problems, in a manner acceptable to the Administrator, which it seems any good avionics shop could do.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

The news from HBC is disappointing but not surprising. Nearly all American aircraft OEMs have physical and support infrastructures which are enormous and which only make sense so long as there are a whole lot of planes being sold, and/or a whole lot of flying going on.

The current economic situation, exascerbated by endless class-warfare from the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania and the Orwellian Pigs in Congress (we are all equal, some of us are more equal) who think that it is of course fine for them to routinely travel by 757 when carrying a small entourage (Nancy pelosi), while demanding that CEO's of billion dollar operations scrap their corporate flight departments and fly coach.

HBC's problems stem from, IMO, lack of capitalization by ONEX and Goldman. Couple that with the absurd labor costs, increasing tax and benefit burdens (Federal and State levels), and costs of maintaining its massive physical footprint and the concern shown is understandable.

In fact, management at HBC should be commended IMO for looking ahead at what sacrifices and changes may be required to survive a hostile business environment, but I am not sure that survival is possible for them.

Also, the collapse of aircraft sales over the past 4 years is not only astonishing but undeniable, not just for HBC but also for Cessna.

HBC (then Raytheon Aircraft) delivered 79 aircraft in Q1 of '07 (their worst quarter for deliveries every year is Q1) - Cessna delivered 214. For both companies this is total production (includes all civilian product lines).

In Q1 of '08, HBC delivered 72, Cessna delivered 226.

In Q1 of '09 HBC delivered 54, Cessna delivered 135.

In Q1 of '10 HBC delivered 32, a drop of 60% from '07.

In Q1 of '10 Cessna delivered 80 aircraft, a drop of 62%.

Obviously, with a 60% reduction in deliveries there needs to be appropriate adjustments in staffing levels.

Overall utilization and operation appear to be on a downward spiral as well (down about 20% since the peak in 2000). With a corresponding decrease in spares sales and maintenance expenditures - it is a 'perfect storm' for a company with the footprint of HBC.

There are patterns indicating we may be headed towards a real drop in stock market (think Dow 7500-8500), and if this occurs I think HBC will fail.

If the current economic and political climate continue, I think HBC will fail.

I think HBC has at best a 50-50 shot if conditions improve in the next 9-12 months (but I think the likelihood of that is rather small).

There are consequences to the brother-love mentality that the moochers of the world and their fellow travellers in the unions have demanded, and which spineless management has, for far too long IMO, caved in to.

Wichita has, and will continue to suffer these consequences more than any other single place in the U.S. At 7.8% It is presently almost 1.5% higher than the rest of KS, with nearly 25,000 out of work in a city of only 300,000.

It will be a sad day if/when HBC closes the doors and turns out the lights. I personally doubt that management exists anywhere in the U.S. these days that will do what is necessary to save this once proud and iconic brand.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

To clarify, the 2nd to last paragraph above is referring to the unemployment rate.

airsafetyman said...

Onex is one of these dreary "private equity investment" outfits that seek to take over dead companies, put lipstick on the corpse, and sell it to a greater fool. Think American Capital Strategies (ACAS) and Piper. ACAS was going great guns - until they weren't. They cratered just after opening their super-expensive Euro offices and ACAS's accountants issued a statement that they (ACAS) might be going out of business. That was the desperate situation ACAS was in when they unloaded Piper onto ANOTHER "private equity investment" firm, the new one based in Malaysia. Long-suffering Piper employees got to meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

There is no indication at all that Onex are the second largest employer in Canada. Of who? Where?

Anyone who has ever had to buy an eye watering overpriced part from Beech for their antique King Air series know that having a few union dudes running around the shop floor is the absolute LEAST of their problems.

ColdWetMackarelofReality said...

Why do you suppose those parts cost so much?

Who made them?

Who stocks them?

Who answers the phone when you call?

Who puts it in a box?

Who moves the box from position A to position B?

Who arranges shipment from HBC to you?

The unions are hip deep in each and every step ASM.

Obviously it is not because HBC is seeking 'obscene' profits, and it is not because the 5 or 6 guys at the top are making good coin.

I know that Onex has been successful at Spirit and HBC in getting some concessions from labor but when you are paying some wet-behind-the-ears kid who just finished sheet metal technician school $20/hr to hold a bucking bar there is obviously still some room for improvement.

When you lose an hour a day to sweeping and cleaning up (that could be done in less 10 minutes) there is still some room for improvement.

When you can't fire a guy until he is caught masturbating in his car, for the fourth time (true story), there is still some room for improvement.

When you have to wait an hour for a union mechanic to remove a part that you could have removed in 2 minutes, there is still room for improvement.

These are just a sampling of the real world challenges that HBC, and in fact most of the other GA OEM's face.

THAT is a major reason why King Air parts cost so much. To be sure there are many contributions from poor management decisions (anyone remember SAP? - the running gag was it stood for Stops All Production) and chief among them is allowing labor to impose the ridiculousness listed above.

airsafetyman said...

I disagree entirely. Beech has not designed a commercially successful airplane since the Queen Air. All successful airplanes since then have been derivatives of existing designs or bought from the Brits and the Japanese and the Swiss. Speaking of which, how long can you flog the HS-125 off on customers? Or the antebellum King Air series? Do you have any idea how much money Linden Blue peed away on the Starship? The Italians could make a similar design work, but Beech couldn't. And you blame the mess on a young union fellow on the floor trying to feed a family on $40,000 a year. Get real.

gadfly said...

‘Interesting discussion, here! One side seems to think some young guy has a “right” to earn $40k, from someone else’s hard won enterprise, and there are those of us who would count it a privilege to earn that sort of money.

There was a time when I, too, wanted to have the lion’s share . . . and set out to achieve that goal. And about that time, we had some of the worst financial conditions imaginable . . . and a raiser of peanuts for president. For the first five years, I paid others the equivalent of the “$40K”, mentioned above . . . actually much more, considering inflation, over the years. For the first five years, I “lost” double that amount, working 80 hours per week, and a wife working full time as an RN . . . raising four kids and building our own house . . . neither of us hardly knowing the difference between night and day. In time, we moved into the black, and beyond. The employees, too, bought their homes, raised their kids, put them through college, etc., . . . but not because of a union, but because we had a common goal.

Hard work wasn’t considered a “right”, but a “privilege”. And we were certainly “privileged”. But sleep was sweet . . . having been earned . . . something those with their “rights” never experience.

Those days are over. The politics of the past ten or fifteen years have changed all that . . . and when things seemed like they couldn’t get much worse, took a deep plunge because those with power were considered “too big to fail”, and have even wiped out our savings, in the past two years.

So now I’m making it on less than half of the young union worker above . . . but I don’t want the government to bail me out, nor do I think someone else “owes me a living”. And there is no way our business will ever hire another employee . . . what government would we trust?

Funny thing, here! When we had lower taxes, we thrived and we paid huge taxes each year. Today, with higher taxes, we don’t pay any . . . there’s nothing being produced on which to pay taxes. This little story is multiplied across the entire nation . . . many times over.

But “dyed-in-the-wool” ideas are not easily changed . . . and those that feel they have a “right” to a certain comfortable lifestyle or income are soon in for a rude awakening.

Take it or leave it . . . that’s where we are (after being in business for over thirty-four years) . . . and the way I see it.


airtaximan said...

I recently had a visit from a new client, who is an accomplished economist.

He is not republican nor democrat.

He constructed a chart for me, that reflected a few things.

1- the population of folks between 45-65

2- the economic performance of the economy for the last 100 years

There's an amazing correlation

Easy explanation, too - these folks have most of the discretionary spending power, except for the super-rich, whose discretionary spending remains relatively constant.

These folks have the discretionary spending power, later on (as GAd points out, they live on less) and earlier on, they... well, make less and live on less.

There were some other interesting points made as well... but the bottom line is, the economic performance (growth) is really subject to this discretionary spending. How could it not be? The other spending is for food, shelter, etc. Its not really "discretionary, and remains relatively constant.

There ARE certain realities that exacerbate the highs and lows of the trends that correlates to the economic performance... but they, as he points out, really are mostly due to the periods of time when the numbers of these folks rise and fall.

Everything else, is well, voodoo (my words, not his)... a tug here, a tax there, a subsidy here, a regulation there....

In the end, as GAd points out, he is no longer paying taxes, no longer consuming, and not really subject to the "voodoo"...

Interesting theory.

gadfly said...

More later . . . but let's be clear. I still pay taxes . . . but not our business. Think that one over. And next time, find an "economist" who has had to make payroll for a few decades.


airsafetyman said...


Have you ever bucked rivets or done any sheet metal work? Done right it is an art form. Do you have any idea the damage that can be done to a sheet-metal assembly if it is not done right? One of the things Beech had going for them, maybe the only thing, was the perception that their airplanes were well made, especially compared to their rivals across town.

Similar to how Boeing can build a beautiful, well-built, highly profitable 777 airplane using union engineers and union workers but comes completely unglued when they try to outsource the workers to third world cheap labor. Ever wonder why?

I've recently been to a machine shop in "socialist" Germany (Ooooooh, bad). Home to universal health care (Oooooooh, bad). And home to very high quality college education available at a small cost for students(Oooooooh, bad). The shop was going strong cranking out aircraft engines and paying good, livable salaries to well-educated, highly skilled employees and paying taxes.

Maybe you would bypass the German- overhauled engine and opt for a cheap engine overhaul from a third-world country? Everyone I know would not.

airtaximan said...

I guess I touched a nerve...

The "economist" has helped many major companies and organizations meet payroll...

Impressive guy, you would definately like him.

You might want to lok into the trends... they overlap remarkably consistently

PS. if you are living on half the $40k worker, and you are still paying the same taxes you did when you were earning much more... perhaps you should find an accountant???

KnotMPH said...
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Baron95 said...

CW said...In Q1 of '10 HBC delivered 32, a drop of 60% from '07.

In Q1/07 Embraer delivered 5 biz jets. In Q1/10 Embraer delivered 20 biz jets. An increase of 300%. How many of those do you think were share taken from HBC?

Subaru and Hyundai increased shipments and share during the auto downturn, just like Embraer did in the GA downturn.

Wichita = Detroit. HBC = Chrysler.

Sao Jose dos Campos = Seoul. Embraer = Hyundai.

Apple vs Nokia in smartphones.

The story is the same.

A good product trumps a recession. And a bad product lineup makes any recession worse.

Compounding that is the extortionist labor union tactics, enabled by non-right-to work state laws.

Fear not. South Carolina, Mexico and China, in due time will right the wrong.

Every extra dollar spent on artificially inflated union salaries, Cadillac health insurance plans (requiring special exemption in the health care reform legislation), outdated pension setups, etc, is one less dollar available for product development or debt pay down.

There is no long term solution for paying higher than market wages. Companies *will* fail. It is just a matter of time.

Only public employees can continue to have extortionist unions, because we let them.

Baron95 said...

ATM, I'm not sure if the economist is the same guy, but the theory has recently been well developed. It is *ALL* about disposable income.

To illustrate - lets examine the populist view proposed by most dems, that it is OK to tax the rich (defined as those with incomes above $250K for a married couple or $125K for a single per year).

What would be the impact on plane, car, boat purchases if you increase marginal tax rates on the "rich" 5%? Must be pretty negligible, right?

Lets see.

Family Income $250K - If you live in NYC or California (10% state income tax marginal rates), plus 33% marginal federal tax rate, plus FICA around 7%. Means your marginal tax rate is 50%. So bumping it to 55% is no big deal right?

Well. At $250K family income, after taxes, and non-discretionary expenses (housing, food, clothing, college savings/loans, etc), you may have $25K tops (being generous) in discretionary income to buy cars, boats, ga-planes.

But if I increase your marginal tax rate by 5% points (with all the deduction phase outs) - that is 5% of 250K which is $12.5K (give or take).

So bumping the marginal tax rate by 5% points, has the net effect of reducing your disposable income by 50%.

You will never see this analysis in any mainstream media. (yes I know, I took shortcuts in the math - this is just to illustrate).

Even a tiny income tax rate increase on the rich, has a huge and disproportional impact on disposable income.

Baron95 said...

Knot MPH - you are almost right. It is all about measuring output per unit of labor cost.

It does not matter that Wichita workers are very productive and can produce $250K for $40K in labor costs.

If someone else can produce at the same quality for the same $250K output for $30K in labor costs (all else being equal), over time all business will shift to the low cost/equal-quality producer. *Unless* there are artificial barriers (e.g. US gvmt only buys from local producers).

And don't fool yourself. If China figures out a way to sell competitive cars for $5K at Walmart or GA competitive GA planes for $50K, they will take market share, just like they did in clothing and consumer electronics.

Consumers don't care that C162s are assembled in China or that GE Turboprops are soon to be assembled in Eastern Europe, just like you don't even know (without looking) where your Nike shoes or iphone were manufactured.

airsafetyman said...

"Even a tiny income tax rate increase on the rich, has a huge and disproportional impact on disposable income."

Which may or may not be true but is totally irrelevant to the sale of business jets as only a minuscule, unimportant fraction are purchased with after-tax disposable income. That's why they are called "business" jets.

KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...

Taximan . . . you is a funny fellow.

You asked: “Have you ever bucked rivets or done any sheet metal work? . . .” And at first I toyed with maybe giving you a partial list of a few of the more interesting projects over the past few years . . . but let’s say the answer is “Yes”, and let it go at that.

Let’s hope that you “buck rivets” better than you read my comment about paying taxes. (I do pay taxes, but not the same amount as when we had a full crew . . . etc.)

You are correct when you say, “Done right it is an art form.”


gadfly said...


If you are bucking rivets and find that sort of thing “fun”, and are interested in sheet metal work, I would encourage you to go after it. Find someone who’s good at it, show your interest, and maybe they’ll take you under wing to mentor you.

As long as I can remember, it was a rare machinist/tool maker that had the skill and desire to work with sheet metal. Almost always, that sort of thing fell back on me to do . . . and I almost always enjoyed it. To take a sheet of aluminum and form it into a “fairing”, or to make an enclosure, or a wing rib (complete with flanges, and all critical features, in a single piece), is usually a maximum challenge, but a pleasure in accomplishment. To bend a critical piece, and have it come out at the correct angles and size, the first time (bending twice is never allowed, for fatigue reasons) . . . not only is it “fun”, but suddenly you’ll be swamped with more projects than you can imagine. Most machinists are downright afraid of sheet metal.

Whenever I found someone with the desire to learn, and a certain “feel” for the work, I could train them to build things they would not have thought possible. And we turned out some highly skilled workers in our little operation.

My first experiences with sheet metal were on my ‘41 Chevy . . . I didn’t yet know how to weld with oxy-acetylene, but forced myself to take it on. And the first time I attempted to weld up the 22 tiny holes on my ‘54 Olds hood (that held the letters) . . . what a mess on that first hole. But by the time I welded up that last hole, I had it down pat. When I went to A&P school, I found welding and riveting “no problem”, and forming sheet metal for aircraft was fun. Later, I found myself sometimes loaded with the precision stuff . . . aluminum, copper, 4130 steel, and ‘just about every metal and alloy on the list . . . including silver and platinum.

Get someone to show you how to sharpen a drill, with a “butterfly tip” (reverse tip with a centering point), and you can “pop” through precision holes, with no chatter, and no burr on the back side, in any thickness sheet metal, down to “shim stock”.

You do well with sheet metal and you should never lack for work. Oh, and learn how to weld it . . . MIG, TIG, “stick”, etc., . . . and yes, Oxy-Acetylene . . . do that well, and everything else is easy.

Once past that, you can move into designing and building forming and blanking dies, etc.


julius said...


you surely had an eye on the auto bodies and the fuselages, wings, cockpit sections from the fifties to nowadays...
The Beech 90 or 200 and a normal car: Not comparable. When I saw a picture of the first ultra-longrange Glufstream jet I asked myself: What a "funny" vertical stabilizer - cheapest work!
"Even" the 737NG cockpit area (outside) doesn't look very impressive. It's just functional and not a piece of "art". If your car would look like that....

Working with sheet metal means working in three dimensions and one might have to construct and build a tool.
Only one shot - nothing one should do after a long night or after eight hours of work...


uglytruth said...
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uglytruth said...

Would you want your loved one on this flight? Just another bad idea.

gadfly said...

Julius . . . we're not talking about the design, but the abilities of the one who makes the thing out of sheet metal. A person who can roll and fold sheetmetal was called a "tin smith" in the old days. A person who could form precision 3D shapes was usually a silversmith or a coppersmith. Paul Revere was a silversmith and coppersmith. In the early twentieth century, the luxury cars such as the Duesenberg had such men that formed the fenders and bodies from aluminum with that same skill.


(And "Uglytruth", the pilots were correct about the upper skin delaminating on the forward wing slat . . . although important, not really the big deal made out by the "press".)

gadfly said...

To see a "real" eclipse, take a look at the selection for today:

With Adobe "Photoshop", I toned down the brightness, cropped it to 1920 x 1200 and made it the background on the monitor. 'Looks great!

airtaximan said...

GAd, I'm not the guy asking if you've bucked rivets... KNOT is...

I'm the guy asking why you are still paying taxes earning $20k per year!!!

I know what you do, I've been around here for 3 years...

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

Taximan . . . you're half right, and I repeated an earlier mistake as well. It was actually "Safetyman", and not Knot (how's that for a pun?). I'll need to read more carefully, myself.


(In a way, the original question was funny, but maybe led to some good thoughts.)

uglytruth said...

If you were on that flight & saw that..... what would you have done? Prayed? Shown a flight attendant? Texted you last will? Damanded the plane land? Waited for a much bigger problem to develop? Used a lifeline? Prepaired your parachute? What did I miss? Ever seen an aluminum one like that? Was it caused by iceing or?

airtaximan said...

anyone who knows you, knows you buck rivets and trends...

BBBBaaaaddd joke

gadfly said...

Well . . . thinking back, I once watched a long fastener (bolt) walk it's way up about six inches and then back down . . . repeating the transition every minute or so,behind the #3 engine on an old DC-4 . . . thought to myself, "That's interesting!", considered the effects of harmonics . . . and continued looking out at the coastline into Burbank or LAX. Another time, on a Convair 240(?), I watched the right engine miss-fire every few seconds, putting out a six or eight foot flame, on the way up to SFO . . . enjoyed the fireworks in the middle of the night The co-pilot had turned on the spot light, 'figured he would do his best to keep the beast airborne . . . and went back to sleep. That was the first leg that would continue in a DC6b, a day later, for twenty seven hours over the Pacific to Tokyo. Now, landing to re-fuel on Wake Island, that was much more interesting.

Sometimes, it's best to just relax and enjoy the ride. Or sit up a bit and don't put your full weight on the seat.


(And there was that time in a DC-8 when we hit some CAT over Kansas, and we jumped up and down about fifty feet in less that two seconds . . . that was fun, too!)

gadfly said...

For a few moments, let’s consider what makes a person “nervous” about flying in an aircraft . . . or doing any of a number of things. Usually, it’s based on the relationship of what we know to be true, and things of which we are not sure.

Personally, I am “claustrophobic” . . . but I am completely at ease living in a submarine and under water for a month at a time. The reason . . . I understand the physics of steel, pressure hulls, amount of oxygen required for each minute of life, have a trust in such things . . . and can sleep like a baby during events that would drive most folks crazy. Of course, we were told in submarine school that to qualify we were found to be “abnormal”. But get me into a crowd . . . and I cannot get out of there fast enough. You see, people are not predictable . . . and sometimes do bad things without warning.

Also, I’m afraid of heights . . . although I’ve spent much time on a ladder, putting siding on our two-story home . . . but dreading every moment of it.

But flying . . . I understand the structure, the aerodynamics, the control system . . . and have grown up with such . . . and learned about engines almost before I could walk. I trust that sort of thing . . . so flying in a J-3 Cub . . . or a Learjet at 49,000 feet . . . what a great and relaxing experience. But I will not set foot in the “tram” in Albuquerque . . . the longest tram in the world. It hangs by cables, and I do not trust cables and things without wings, or hot air balloons . . . in New Mexico, we get plenty of “hot air”.

Most folks have no knowledge “what holds up an airplane” . . . they’re totally ignorant of Bernoulli’s principle, etc. They understand nothing of thrust and lift . . . roll and yaw and pitch . . . so they sit on the edge of their seat. They know nothing of why a radial engine must always have an odd number of cylinders in each row . . . or what all those spinning blades do, in the engines hanging under the wings. So the airlines serve their refreshments, and offer entertainment to fill the gap between ignorance and knowledge . . . or rather, divert attention totally. If they could, airlines would give each passenger a strong sedative the moment they came through the forward door.

Funny thing, here! When I worked for United Airlines at ORD, the last period of my time was in “air freight”. (Over by Mannheim Road on the south side of that huge complex.) Each perishable item had a “code” . . . one for fresh flowers, another for strawberries from California, another for bull sperm, etc., . . . and the easiest (although not the most pleasant) was “P13". The biggest were usually on their way to “Arlington” . . . the smallest, and the most difficult ones were in cardboard boxes, with a wood framework . . . “little ones” being transported to some family burial site. Those were the most difficult. But none of those “passengers” ever complained, nor required anything but the minimum of personal service . . . they were the easiest passengers. They had no fear of flying.

For someone like myself, maybe I know “too much” about things with wings made of aluminum, and the electronic systems that are meant to make them fly right to ever be comfortable in an Eclipse jet. The danger of knowing too much is that some things will never set right. On the other hand, being ignorant will never allow a “passenger” to ever feel at ease. So, what to do?!

If you cannot fully educate the customer, at least demonstrate by your consistent business that you are totally honest, and have a record of success.

No company gets it right all the time, but the good ones admit their mistakes, and do everything to correct those mistakes at the earliest opportunity. But “lie” just one time . . . and never again expect to be trusted.


(‘Offered to exercise your brains . . . and maybe consider something new.)

Baron95 said...

uglytruth said...
If you were on that flight & saw that..... what would you have done?

Quietly leave my seat, reach the chief flight attendant/purser, identify myself as a pilot, inform him/her discretely about it, telling them where to look, and giving it a succinct description for him/her to pass along to the flight crew (might write it down). Take some pictures to post on youtube (seems to be the "in" thing to do).

Go about my business. This looks like just some non-structural tearing of the slat fairing.

No need to make it look worse than it was.

Baron95 said...

Knot asked...If the $20 an hour guy was bucking 500 rivets per hour would that wage be too high?

If someone else is willing to put 500 rivets per hour with the same quality for $15/hr - yes he is overpaid. It is not complicated.

If someone else is willing to put 600 rivets/hour with the same quality for $20/hr - yes he is overpaid. It is not complicated.

Lets say the A&P union in your state (say a non-right to work state like Michigan), says that all A&Ps must be paid $250/hr for annual inspections, under threat of strike.

What would you do, when your plane came due for an annual?

a) Pay $250/hr?
b) Fly your plane to a neighboring state and do it for $50/hr?

RonRoe said...
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gadfly said...

That incident of flying into CAT (“Clear Air Turbulence”) over Kansas . . . that was about 1964, probably around Christmas. When we arrived at “LAX”, my wife was pushing a stroller, with our firstborn son. She looked like a Swedish teenager, although she’d been an RN and far beyond all that for a few years. She was also about eight months pregnant with our second son. Coming out of the “Ladies Room” at LAX, a nice black lady attendant took a look at her and exclaimed, “My, my . . . Here’s a baby, pushing a baby, and carryin’ a baby!”

As an employee, I could fly, provided there was space, simply by paying the “tax” . . . $20 for round trip to LAX and side trip to SFO, to visit my uncle who worked for UAL, and Boeing before that . . . I still have the aluminum casting model Boeing 247 . . . a genuine keepsake. So, we had seats in “First Class” on a DC-8 . . . still my favorite aircraft. My wife and I, with our first-born son, and “a bun in the oven”, were enjoying life, as few “missionaries in training” could ever dream. And what a wonderful vacation from an Illinois winter.

The aircraft was not full . . . and we had set our “coke cans” on the floor next to our seats. Suddenly, and without warning to anyone, the plane suddenly did the “elevator thing”, and the two cans of coke went from deck to overhead, in an instant. The entire event was over in an instant . . . and how much we actually went up and/or down, I have no idea . . . but it was a most impressive demonstration of how little we can truly control the flight path of an aircraft . . . even in the clear skies above Kansas. Who would have thought that such a “dip” or “hill” could exist over those flat plains. No one aboard was hurt . . . all were safely in their seats . . . and I gained even more respect for the excellent design/engineering/manufacture of that wonderful DC-8.

Back then, for sure, “bucking rivets” was truly an “art form” that many folks out in California performed with care.


(An echo from the past!)

RonRoe said...
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gadfly said...

RR . . . you're right to a degree. The man with the rivet gun gets to put the "smiley face" on the part.

The question on one of the exams "back when" was, "How do you make it flush?" The answer was, "Pull the chain!" (Although I don't recall that one on any of the FAA exams for my "A&P".)

Did you know that Lockheed and the others employed the "little people" to work inside wings and tail sections during the war (WWII)? They could get into tight places and "buck the rivets", and did much more for the war effort than just appear in the "Wizard of Oz".

The so-called "little homes" don't exist in La Jolla, near San Diego, but the people are real.

Isn't it interesting that so much technology grew in a short time when things had to get done immediately? Even "FDR" couldn't get the government involved fast enough to drag it out.


KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...

“Another opinion was offered that the accident might have been caused by flutter . . . On that day, opinions were submitted from a variety of positions . . . Mitsubishi was not directly involved in the accident investigation . . . We three Mitsubishi people were able to get a look at the remains of Lieutenant Shimokawa’s airplane after the meeting . . . For a while, we gazed at the ruthlessly deformed airframe in silence . . . there was a gaping hole where the skin had pulled away, leaving the flush heads of the rivets protruding from the spar chord. These heads were quite small and did not seem to offer much resistance against pulling. We decided one improvement would be to increase the size of the countersinks in the spar chord so as to allow for a larger rivet head. While examining the wrinkles on the left wing, we found from the way they had formed that a twisting force had acted on the wing which pushed up on the leading edge and down on the trailing edge. etc., etc.”

Rivets . . . and of what significance? The date was April 1941 . . . the man speaking is Jiro Horikoshi . . . the designer of the best fighter in the world, at that moment in history. History has born that out, although many then, and even now, don’t want to acknowledge it. (Comments are from his book and his care over the success of his second aircraft design.) Today, we think nothing of the fact that we owe so much to this man, and his famous A6M aircraft, including 7075 aluminum.

Back then, he was given an almost impossible challenge, with too much required with too little in power and allowed MTOW, yet, for the moment in history, he was successful. We paid dearly by ignoring the warnings of General Claire Chennault of the “AVG” in China. Chennault’s warning memo was found “stuffed in a drawer” in Washington, after the war.

But notice the importance of rivets, and installing them properly. At that moment, “flush rivets” were a new thing, and finding that “sweet spot” of head size, and upset tail size were still in their infancy. Not all rivets are created equal . . . by a wide margin.

Mr. Horikoshi was a rather humble man, devoted first to aviation and aircraft design. He died 13 January 1982, at the age of 78, in Tokyo. His book, “Eagles of Mitsubishi” is well worth reading. University of Washington Press, 1981. ISBN 0-295-95826-X. Translated from the Japanese, original publication 1970.


KnotMPH said...
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Floating Cloud said...


Was that delamination on one of those horrid AA S80s that B95 so hates (and rightly so) and that I flew back in from Dallas to ABQ?

At the time, a very sweet young man sitting next to me next bumped his head and then later spilled his soda all over the place including on me, as he explained to me he was flying to ABQ from Florida to join the coast guard. To relieve his embarssement, I said, don't you just hate these S80s? They are SO uncomfortabel! WE both decided on the spot we hated that airplane too.. Anyway, the young man was very excited about the Sandia mountains, because he never had seen one or the desert. Gave him a quick synopsis of the geology and native cultures of the valley of New Mexico. ("You mean real Indians live here?") Hinted that he may want to visit Colorado to see the really big mountains. Gave him all sorts of support for serving our country and then he went on his way. He was a gift from God, sent to me on the day my Father passed away on my last leg of my trip from Mexico. An S80 of all things, but I knew what it was, thanks to you all!

Yeah, I would have been very concerned about seeing that sort of damage to a wing as a regular passenger who usually ends up over the wing in a an exit window. Call me crazy..

What ever happened to the delamination problem to the Eclipse tail. (Can't remember which one? 500?) That was scary too. WAS it EVER resolved? Or just got lost in space?


RonRoe said...
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RonRoe said...
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airsafetyman said...

I love this discussion of x pay for y rivets per hour as if the guys doing it are robots. What if you have a repair situation going on for a assembly mistake that was not found until later? Just getting to the area may require considerable contortions. Then you may have one shot at the repair with maximum oversize rivets and fasteners without really, really, really expensive repairs and extensive delays. You need the sheet-metal people to be able to look at the proposed fix beforehand and tell whether or not it will work and to get the engineer down on the floor if they have questions or know a better way to do it. I don't think people capable of doing that should be paid anything per hour; They should be on a monthly salary.

airsafetyman said...

From the local Vero Beach fish-wrapper: "After a year on the job, Piper Aircraft Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gould suddenly handed in his resignation Tuesday and left, company officials said."

Shortly after buying Piper the new owners brought in a new CFO with more management than accounting creds. The new dude (can't remember his name) may have been slotted for the top post at that time.

KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...
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gadfly said...

"How long is a piece of string?"

Easy answer . . . too short!

All this discussion ends with the person who is accountable. Get that one right, and all of the other pieces fall into place.


(In case I didn't make that clear, the word of the day is "accountability" . . . apply that to every level of politics, and business and you come close to understanding why we are, today, in deep poop!)

gadfly said...

Whoops! . . . I failed to mention that the principle applies to every person in the food chain . . . no exceptions!


(That's why we were established as a republic, and not a democracy . . . folks tend to want benefits without being accountable. Think about it . . . it'll come to you in time. You betcha!)

gadfly said...

Anyone interested in “old” aeronautical history? Back when I was at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, preparing to be a bush pilot, I came across a book in that vast library up in Crowell Hall (as in “Quaker Oats”). . . “Once to Every Pilot” by Captain Frank Hawks. The fly-leaf simply says, in “his” own handwriting, “Sincerely Frank Hawks Dec 1936". On the card inside the front cover is the warning that “. . . overdue fine is 2 c a day for each day or fraction thereof.”

When our oldest son went to the same school, many years later, I asked him to “look up that book” and see if his “Dad” (me) could purchase same. Well, the book was still on the shelf, and had been loaned out to almost no-one since. And was “sold” to my son 1982.

So what’s the big deal? . . . Frank Hawks was the fastest pilot in the world at the time . . . and had stories to tell of all the “greats” at the time, up until his death in 1938. Here in my hands, cloth bound, are eighteen chapters . . . up to 1936 . . . Here’s the list: Eddie Allen Lands on Clouds . . . Hawks Keeps on A’Gliding . . . Jimmie Mattern’s Heart Stops . . . Ups-a-Daisy with Wiley Post . . . Al Williams in a Flat Spin . . . Frank Hawks Flying Blind . . . Now You Fly it! . . . Hawks and Brookley Bump in the Air . . . Casey Jones Almost Loses Tunney . . . Records Fall: Buenos Aires to U.S. . . . Rickenbacker Lives to Tell . . . Hawks and a Lot of Water . . . Hawks’ Thirteen Chinese Generals . . . Ceiling Zero and No Gas Left . . . Tigers, Crocodiles, and No Airport! . . . Dead Reckoning . . . Almost a Blighty! . . . Jimmie Haizlip Make the Border.

Someone once said, “Don’t send it by mail, send it by Frank Hawks”.

You young folks are privileged to live and fly because of things done by earlier men.

Here, just now, I flip through these pages, looking at photos and stories of men that would soon-after change world history . . . Frank Hawks would not know, for instance, what Jimmie Doolittle (right here after page sixteen) would accomplish for our nation in early 1942 . . . Frank had only a couple years to live when he signed this book. Here’s a picture of his fast little “mystery ship”, on its back, which put Hawks in the hospital for four months. Other pictures . . . Jimmie Haizlip . . . Tex Rankin . . . Casey Jones . . . Lt. Col. George A. Vaughn, Jr., . . . Major Al Williams . . . Captain Eddie Rickenbacker . . . Eddie Allen . . . etc., etc., . . . everyone that flies “anything”, does well to read and understand the past.

Here in my hand, and soon to be read again, are 144 pages, plus many photographs of the past . . . a cloth-bound book worth its weight in gold . . . well, I just weighed it, out of curiosity . . . 782.6 grams, precisely.

Inside the back cover, I notice a penciled note that says something about it costing “$1.50" . . . back in 1936 . . . second printing.

Shucks, I was still a glint in my Daddy’s eye, about then. And now we’ve been to the moon and back . . . and even that’s old stuff.


(Some day, after everyone has "saved the planet" and cannot afford enough "Jet A" to get off the ground, find a good book and read about the "good old days", before everyone got all their benefits.)

(According to the blurred video, sent from a "Blackberry", my oldest grandson graduated, today, from Submarine School, and is now headed to Bangor, Washington, to continue a second generation of submarine service.)

(Want a good book? . . . Read "We Thought We Heard the Angels Sing", when Rickenbacker, an old man in WWII, and crew, went down in the Pacific.)

Floating Cloud said...

Less than a week ago ASM said,

"That was the desperate situation ACAS was in when they unloaded Piper onto ANOTHER "private equity investment" firm, the new one based in Malaysia. Long-suffering Piper employees got to meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
(Song reference totally cool.)

Today ASM says:
"After a year on the job, Piper Aircraft Inc.’s Chief Executive Officer Kevin Gould suddenly handed in his resignation Tuesday and left, company officials said."

What's the point? Not sure, but you guys may KNOT be totally off base here.

Rosie, and all the rest of the developing world are ready to work for whatever it takes +/-.


airsafetyman said...

"What's the point? Not sure, but you guys may KNOT be totally off base here."

I'm not sure either, but I have never heard of a CEO just sayin' "See ya", getting in his car and leaving! You would think he would go through the motions at Oshkosh then leave "to pursue other opportunities" or such AFTER the Malaysian/Brunei gomers had found someone to replace him.

Jim Bass was the disaster ACAS installed when they took over Piper. After the Malaysians bought out Piper Bass left and they appointed Gould as president. Gould had come to Piper after his Adams Aircraft cratered. He always seemed to have a 'deer in the headlights' air about him. Guess the headlights were on a train.

Baron95 said...

Hey Knot - you just added a bunch of "variables" in your last post - but I can't even understand your point.

My point is very simple. Unreasonable unions add * a whole bunch * of uncompetitive variables: Work rules, seniority rules, rigid hourly rates, hiring and firing impediments, mandatory union dues, exclusionary rules (can't work if you don't belong to the union), etc.

Any. And I do mean Any business working under this system will be less agile and less competitive than a similar business, with similar capabilities operating without such impediments.

Be it union free Hyundai and Mercedes plants in the US South vs Michigan UAW plants or Cessna 162 contract manufacturing in China vs Wichita union shops.

It is just how it is. When competition gets introduced, the decline in the private sector union shop is just a matter of time.

airsafetyman said...

"Be it union free Hyundai and Mercedes plants in the US South vs Michigan UAW plants or Cessna 162 contract manufacturing in China vs Wichita union shops."

Well, Ford is doing very well, union and all. Boeing was doing very well, union and all, until the idiot Harvard MBA in charge decided to outsource everything. He should get down on his knees and thank God there are union engineers and worker-bees in Seattle to bail him out.

As far as Cessna goes, they are trying to flog a Chinese-made "trainer" that can't even be spun?
There are a bunch of problems with that one; unknown Chinese quality being only one problem, although a big one.

KnotMPH said...
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KnotMPH said...
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gadfly said...

Knot . . . you asked the excellent question, “Will the world ever become as honorable and pure and historically accurate as the one you represent?”

You asked the question of a certain person . . . and we should leave his identity out of the mix for the moment.

In answer to your question, the answer is “No!” . . . but then I’d have to back that up with a Bible thumping lesson which would offend some/most . . . and I’m not quite ready to take that on.

Oh, I’m more than ready to take on all comers . . . but this is not my website.

Back to the more “mild” version . . . whether “union” or “non-union”, Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative . . . at the kindergarten level, we always come back to personal responsibility . . . in other words, being accountable, to our “peers”.

There is a basic flaw in human behavior . . . that leads to things that I wish I could openly discuss, yet are outside the discussion at hand.

But back to your question . . . the answer remains . . . No! . . . Not until the entire system is reversed.


(Does it apply to general aviation? . . . Yes, it does, at every level! But when that takes place, GA will be a distant memory!)

RonRoe said...
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KnotMPH said...
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Floating Cloud said...

The duel was fought by Alexander Shot and Don Knott. The shot that Shot shot did not shoot Knott. Nor the shot of Don Knott did not shoot Shot. So it was that Alexander Shot was not killed by the shot of Don Knott and Shot was not killed for Knott.

"Hey you guys!"
- Electric Company

I could of come up with some Latin but we were way below that.

airsafetyman said...

I find it amazing that some "industrialists" want to pay the absolute cheapest wages they can with no benefits to employees whose jobs they haven't figured out how to send overseas yet. Then they want to go back home to nice neighborhoods where the schools are good, there is no crime because the police are well-funded and trained, the parks and city grounds are well taken care of, the communities small businesses are thriving. Do they really not see that they are destroying their own community? Are they really that stupid? That greedy?

gadfly said...

Maybe put in other words, so no-one is “put down” . . . a company having high moral standards from the least to the greatest, toward the customer and the product . . . the quality usually shows. Such a company, although not guaranteed success, is never-the-less in better position to succeed over the long haul.


(sic stat . . . so it stands . . . a little Latin touch! Ouch!)

KnotMPH said...
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RonRoe said...
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airsafetyman said...

"So it was that Alexander Shot was not killed by the shot of Don Knott and Shot was not killed for Knott."

Was Shot killed for naught?

KnotMPH said...
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KnotMPH said...
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KnotMPH said...
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RonRoe said...


Busted! You're absolutely right, sir. These out-of-context quotes from a different blog prove that I don't deserve to criticize your posts. My apologies if I hurt your feelings with my words. I'm deleting my replies to you, and I'll refrain from replying in the future to avoid any more offense.



Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...
Well, Ford is doing very well, union and all.


Are you serious? Ford was losing $1B each and every month. It only became marginally profitable, once the Bankruptcy of GM and Chrysler enabled Ford to renegotiate the contract with the principle of "parity with the non-union auto worker jobs" at Toyota, Honda, etc.

That combined with a extremely rapid movement of most of the labor intensive jobs to Mexico or robots.

UAW membership is 1/3 what it was a couple of decades ago and going down.

That is competition. *ALL* 3 UAW auto manufacturers were effectively bankrupt and not-viable. 2 restructured via Obama bankruptcy, one got the same deal with the threat of going into it if it didn't get it.

As for Boeing, right now, it is insulated from union free competition by 2 factors.

1 - On defense side, there is a buy American monopoly.

2 - On commercial side, the only other competitor is heavily unionized.

The test for Boeing and Airbus will be in 2050 or so, when a Chinese OEM starts cranking up large airliners from non-union shops.

When that happens, I'll guarantee you that the IAM and Airbus unions will be plunging like the UAW.

It happened is clothing, then furniture, then electronics, it is now happening in auto manufacturing, just beginning to happen in GA, in a few decades it will happen in aerospace.


The market value of a riveter is around $1-$2/hr and rising slowly. Will probably settle around $3-$4.

airtaximan said...


I think Unions had their time, before regulations were enacted to protect the worker from a lot of bad behavior.

Face it, without regulations, management would continue sweat shops or even slavery, if they could.... for the exact reason Baron so dislikes unions. Nothing personal, Baron...

Without regulations, it would be a race to the bottom, with workers getting paid the least (no minimum wage regs) and workng the most (no work week regs), plus a lot of other OSHA etc... regs.

Unions basically drove this "enlightened" environment which protects labor through regulation.

In order to be at the maximum level of competitiveness, one could argue no minimum wage, no mandatory benefits, no OSHA regs, no labor regs at be done with it...

Somoene here is undoubtedly going to argue that providing "some" level of benefits, ets, is optimal for workers and competitiveness, but we have the historical examples to prove, left unchecked, this would not be the case. It would be disasterous, as management would take as much advantage as possible...

Hence unions and then regulations.

They are both a fact of life, and the more regs protect the worker, the less unions will have a role. Both ultimately can be a limiter of competitive advanatge when labor is involved (especially)... but that only explains why there are regs and unions.

Part of an "uplifted" society. We have to share the wealth (and fruits of labor), in order to keep the peace.

airtaximan said...

I would argue, the Chinese are ALL union, so to speak. Extremely heavily regulated... It is not a free market system, and in this respect, they are under one massive union contract.


You cannot have it both ways and argue for free market, then say hey, we're losing to the Chinese...

If anyone can keep a massive population under strict regulation regarding wages, working conditions, etc... they can win against a free population.

This is not the unions fault, you can blame it on the free market vs. a centrally controlled market.

Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...

Then they want to go back home to nice neighborhoods where the schools are good, there is no crime because the police are well-funded and trained, the parks and city grounds are well taken care of, the communities small businesses are thriving. Do they really not see that they are destroying their own community? Are they really that stupid? That greedy?


Lets see...

Since the early 80s, when Regan and Thatcher declared war on unions and the private sector union membership started to decline precipitously and jobs started to be shipped overseas, and union free manufacturing started....what have we seen?

Crime: Declined, and declined, and declined.

Living standards: increased and increased and increased.

Environment, productivity, life expectancy, education, crime stats, every single possible measure of quality of life is way, way, way up while private workforce union representation dropped to the historical low of 7% now. (p.s. there is one soft measure, lack of free time with both parents working full time that has decreased in the US)

So the correlation is EXTREME.

What is the evidence that less union and lower manufacturing wages will cause any decline in quality of life in the US?

10% or less of the population of the US are remotely involved in manufacturing. 100% of the US population are involved in consuming, buying, using manufacturing goods. It is pretty clear that lowering cost of manufactured goods is a net good thing to the US population.

airtaximan said...

This is one really thin argument.

incendents of polio wnt down as well, while incidents of cancer and autism rose - care to correlate?

As computerization and telecommunication became more sophisticated, globalization took root, PLUS gov't regulation protected the worker more (making union protection obsolete) markets rose, standard of living rose, and we all got wealthier.

Was it due to increased competition due to the failing of unions? No way...

One could assign all the good to the decrease in unionization, but I guess you could blame it on the diminished use of fax machines...

Crazy stuff...

Baron95 said...

Hi ATM, I have absolute nothing against unions or sensible regulations. Really. Nothing.

I have a fundamental *aversion* to non-right-to-work state laws, that say workers can not work for an employer in an industry unless they belong to a union.

And I have a fundamental aversion to laws that insulate unions from competition.

Fix these two things and all is well.

Example: Public Education. Put *ALL* education funding in the hands of parents in the form of vouchers, and I have no problem with the NEA negotiating any contract work rules or salaries they want.


When the government creates a monopoly, forces me to pay an unlimited amount of taxes to fund work rules and benefit packages that are unparalleled for public teachers and insulates them from competition, that is a recipe for unimaginable abuse. That is creating a super-protected class of workers.

Again, if there is open competition, I have no problem whatsoever with unions.

Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...

This is one really thin argument.


Exactly - just to illustrate that claiming that decline in union membership and lowered wages would cause an increase in crime, and other ills. There is absolutely no evidence of that.

As for the union impact in productivity and competitiveness, and it is very easy to see.

*NONE* of the union free auto manufacturers in the US (Toyota, Honda, Mercedes, BMW, Hyundai, Subaru, etc, etc, etc) was near bankruptcy or required a bailout.

*ALL* of the UAW auto manufacturers in the US were near death and had to be bailed out, restructured (2 in fact, one by threat of following suit).


Please explain that.

airtaximan said...

"That is creating a super-protected class of workers"

Yes, I really think there's a problem with teachers getting rich, becasue they are protected.

?? How did this kill the US auto industry?

airsafetyman said...

"1 - On defense side, there is a buy American monopoly."

Like the US Coast Guard buying Dassault Falcon 20s or French Helicopters. Even the Falcon replacement is foreign. Or the Harrier for the US Marines? Could have sworn that was English. Or Beech paying the Swiss a license for the Texan II, or the Japanese for the Navy bizjet used as a navigation trainer. Or for the BAe Hawk? Or for the Or the matter of US standard issue sidearms being Italian Beretta 9 mm pistols?

Floating Cloud said...


Yes, I am afraid the duel between Shott and Knott was all for naught.


airsafetyman said...

Ought for naught? Who would have thought?

airtaximan said...

"*ALL* of the UAW auto manufacturers in the US were near death and had to be bailed out, restructured (2 in fact, one by threat of following suit)."

And so was the Banking Industry...
And so was the Housing Industry...
And so was the Insurance Industry...

The airline industry in shambles, the private jet industry in shambles...

Most industries are in trouble...

Unions? I think not...

KnotMPH said...
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Floating Cloud said...

While we're at it, I'd like to put the major blame squarely on Phil Bell.

Weeks and weeks go by without even a smidgion of input or mediation from Phil. (Is he even reading this stuff?) Shane actually used to participate IN THE CONVERSATION, remember?

And so dear, Phil whilst you have been pursuing greater amd many worthy things, this blog has quite frankly been going down the tubes for quite a while now. If it were not for a few, including Sir Gadfly, B95, ASM, ATM, RR (whose only been a gentleman in my book)and Knot, among a few others, (including the tidbits from the cloudster) this BLOG would be dead!

It's a global world with major problems but this group I believe, has SO much to offer with some true leadership here. HELLO!!!!

Floating Cloud

airsafetyman said...

The lead ins are great, if a little too long and involved for a volunteer job, but somebody needs to moderate the blog.

airsafetyman said...

On the other hand, maybe the blog should have more class than Eclipse - and just die quietly?

RonRoe said...

Thank you, dear Lady Floating Cloud. This blog would be much poorer without your contributions.

KnotMPH said...
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KnotMPH said...
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airtaximan said...

Peter Reed?

gadfly said...

Not that most of you care, but the “gadfly” has of late been condensing about 110 years of family photos. “Back then”, the photos were what is known as “analog” . . . various shades of grey precisely encapsulated in clear celluloid, or something similar, with “silver salts”. And I have changed all that into “digital” data, using high-tech scanners, and/or Canon cameras . . . and enhanced the “old” with Adobe or Corel software. In some cases, I have even “burned” the images into wood, using a CO2 laser . . . the results are both amazing, and bring the past into a warmth, that seems like it all took place “last week”.

In digital form, I’m attempting to condense the data to under 200 gigabytes. It’s amazing that my memory far exceeds all this . . . but that’s for another time. (A single glance . . . a couple seconds in time . . . and an image is retained, complete with color and sound for a lifetime . . . but I waste many minutes re-capturing the same thing, five decades later, minus the sound and sensual impressions . . . but, again, that remains for another discussion.)

Could you possibly put into a digital format your first experience, having had the flight instructor exit the plane and tell you, “OK . . . you take it up, and land it!” How do you put all that into digital format . . . everything is going well, you get off the ground, you climb to altitude, you turn left . . . and then downwind, and then “base”, make the turn (without stalling out), and are now lining up for the final approach . . . you drop the flaps (barn doors) . . . ten, twenty . . . and then forty degrees . . . and that runway seems to move away rather than closer . . . something seems to be holding the little Cessna 150 up in the air, it won’t come down . . . and finally, you Do come down . . . and then the anticipation of touching down . . . hopefully not ten feet off the ground . . . OK, a slight drop of a couple feet as you pull the controls back into your gut . . . and you can now apply the brakes, turn, and taxi up to the end of the field . . . Cheated death again!

We live in a balance between digital and analog. “Back then”, moral issues were digital, black or white . . . while most of life was analog, especially the technical stuff (try tuning a “LORAN” receiver, on a sub, attempting to precisely locate your position in some faraway place, with analog frequency generators . . . today, a cheap GPS does it all, in the blink of an eye). Today, the moral issues all seem to be “analog” . . . various shades of grey, while the technical things are all based on “bits” and “bytes” . . . “On” or “Off”. And yet, it’s always been this way . . . going back throughout history. Some things have always been “black or white”, and the rest has always been “shades of grey”.

As I’ve sometimes said, “Selah” . . . or in plain terms, “Munch on it!”


(Way back “when”, that’s what Bill E. Goat would have done . . . maybe!)

gadfly said...

Evidently, Phil is away somewhere, and left his house vacant for others to use . . . so let’s use it for some profitable thought. (We promise to keep it in pristine condition . . . he might not even know that we used it while he was off somewhere. We’ll keep it quiet . . . ‘just us chickens, as it were.)

Thinking back, I guess it was about thirty-five years ago, I had a teenage Sunday School Class here in Albuquerque . . . I like “teaching”, to help others use their brains, and come to intelligent understanding of whatever is on their mind. We had the usual mix . . . some “jocks”, some so-called “savy” chicks, and some kids that were the geeks . . . or maybe a step lower in the social ladder. Well, we got into the basics . . . and made the attempt to understand what we were studying. Among those “geeks”, I’d get the most profound questions, etc., and we’d meet with those problems or questions “head on”. The “jocks” and “savy chicks” didn’t find all that “entertaining” enough, so I didn’t last long as the teacher. But those “geeks” seemed to take on an understanding of their faith, and understanding of the Bible, far beyond the others.

Did the geeks, etc., go on to fame and fortune? . . . No they did not. But what little I know over the years is that their lives were stable . . . one girl “did her best”, managing a local “Blake’s Lota burger”. For her, she is a gem. And I know something of her home background . . . most of us would have “given up” years ago, but this lady, and she is that, has gone on.

For many of us who have had various levels of success in the business world, and even in aviation, the danger is to count success on a false or flawed standard. After all, what do any of us know as to what goes on in the hearts and minds of man (“man” being a generic term . . . no offense to the superior gender, and there is no question as to whom that applies . . . Right, guys?).

For those of you who have never been to Albuquerque, right now, as I speak (or write), rain is coming down on the shop in torrents . . . this is the weather that is desired. I love it!

Back to the subject . . . many times, even on this “blogsite”, folks have attempted to prove their opinion correct by putting down their opponent. Please don’t do that! As a teacher, and observer of various things . . . going back to my own Mother’s early childhood . . . when she was only a couple years old . . . Don’t do that! You know not what damage you do to people.

Argue all you wish, but not by putting down the character . . . the very person with whom you argue . . . unlike some of us, they may not know how much they are loved by their Creator, who paid so much for them. Attack the message, but not the messanger.


(This is a plea, to all . . . and I make no apologies for bringing my own Bible beliefs into the mix.)

(Concerning the rain, just now . . . there is no way to describe the amount of rain that is presently decending on Albuquerque, in the "northeast heights", just now . . . but it's wonderful.)

gadfly said...

For whatever it's worth, I don't think anyone was forced to come to this website. We've learned much (at least, I have), and discovered the opinions and frailties of human nature, and discovered, more often than not, how our simple comments are miss-understood, whether by accident or on purpose. As a "student" of the English language, and "Rhetoric" . . . I've learned much.

This exercise in communication has been an excellent enterprise . . . the things learned directly, or indirectly, with the technology of aviation, and manufacturing.

Whether Phil is present, or on a distant trip . . . we've had the opportunity to share our thoughts. For this, we are thankful. I, for one, am not about to establish a "blogsite", nor am I about to get into this "facebook" thing, or even go back to my highschool thing . . . there is just so much energy a person has to contribute in this life. For the moment, this opportunity of comments on the "Eclipse", et. al., seems adequate.


(And before I forget . . . a message to "Floating Cloud" . . . a long and dear friend, Carol Ann Hill, recently returned from a National Geographic exploration into some remote areas of the Grand Canyon, and should be featured on one of their up-coming specials. Carol and my wife are close . . . sharing their "birthday lunches" each year.

This lady, near seventy, hikes down into the "canyon", with little more than the minimum, . . . slowly but steady, and requires little to complete the trip. While the young folks "struggle", Carol simply does whatever is required.

But the important thing is that she's an expert on what she observes and studies. I've read her technical papers, and to date, have found no mistakes, nor false premises.

Don't miss it . . . Carol is one smart lady, but an extremely humble person . . . the author of many books and studies of the Grand Canyon, and especially of the formation of caves, etc. One of our sons has gone down into caves that are not reported to the public, with Carol . . . Well, it's a long story, too long for here. But you'll find much by Carol Ann Hill on the internet, etc. Carol, and her husband, Alan Hill, the inventor of the CO2 high powered laser, the one that can shoot down an incoming missile, etc. . . . live up on the north side of Tijeras Canyon, NM. Alan also built and sold a "Plasma loud speaker system, with a flat response from near zero to over 100KHz . . . about the time I first did some work for him. The system was beyond a weapon that would completely incompasitate an enemy, and render the victim completely helpless. But to play a piece by Mozart? . . . or Wagner . . . beyond belief, as in a vast music hall.

The volume was so great that all of Albuquerque would have heard the sound, if played from the Sandia Crest.

Those were the days my friend f. . . we thought they'd never end . . . !)

gadfly said...

Those were the days my friend. . . we thought they'd never end . . . but then, we'd not yet heard of "Obama" and declared "citizens"(?) who hated our nation with such contempt.


gadfly said...

No one should express surprise of Obama's intention. He stated it clearly during the pre-election campaign. And, today, we are watching him carry out his plan, almost to the letter.

For those of us who at one time had viable businesses, we are not surprised . . . it's all coming together, precisesly as we were "fore warned".


(The question at the moment, is how are we going to survive in the present, and into the future. We cannot say that we were not "fore warned" . . . we were, and history provided a foundation to secure the prediction. For those that "haven't a clue', there is little to be said.)

BassMaster said...

In a AIN article piper CEO mentions flying the piper jet and expecting nose up with full throttle from 100kts. Shouldn't the opposite be expected?

Floating Cloud said...

Yes, ATM.

There are those who (I believe) and the one in particular you mention, whom may have been responsible for many things and continue to live behind the golden gates to this day.

It's a shame Knot couldn't stick to his guns.... he called it.

T2 said...

Yes BassMaster I belive you are correct. From the Piper Flight Test Report dated 2-13-2009:

One flight characteristic to date that has proven to be a pleasant surprise is the minor amount of pitch change with thrust or power
changes. With the engine mounted high in the vertical tail, preliminary wind tunnel testing
conducted prior to first flight indicated the possibility of the nose pitching up or down with the application or reduction of thrust. Specifically, wind tunnel data suggested adding thrust could cause the nose to pitch down. Reducing thrust might cause the nose to pitch up. Flight testing has confirmed that the wind tunnel predictions were conservative. It appears that pitch trim changes as the result of power changes can be controlled by the pilot through the
aircraft’s normal electric pitch trim system. Further testing is required. But at this time there appears to be a less than anticipated need for any type of automatic pitch trim system to handle large changes in thrust– great news for keeping the airplane simple and easy to operate.


Baron95 said...

It is not just the magnitude of the pitch up/down moment that is the problem.

It is that it is opposite to the expected result from most other planes and can catch pilots.

Eg, you are on approach and reduce power a bit too much. On most planes, that causes the nose to drop and airspeed is maintained. The sight picture to the runway changes, and it looks like you are landing way short. Most pilots correctly will add power. Even if they don't, plane is trimmed to avoid a stall.

On PiperJet, same situation, you reduce power (already an airspeed impact), that causes the nose to go UP (opposite to conventional planes), further reducing airspeed. Sight picture changes and looks like you will be long. Tendency may be to further reduce power. Either way, plane is in a decreasing airspeed and trimmed for further decreases.

Even small amounts of this compounding effect can be devastating in a clean jet on approach.

Similarly, in a close to the runway go around, you add power and the plane pitches down into the ground - not good.

They better fix it, so it exhibits traditional flying traits.

Baron95 said...
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Baron95 said...

And in the some things never change category, there is a puff piece on Eclipse on ANN....

airsafetyman said...

"In a AIN article piper CEO mentions flying the piper jet and expecting nose up with full throttle from 100kts. Shouldn't the opposite be expected?"

I read the article. It was the newly hired VP from Beech in charge of marketing who hasn't been there long enough to find the washroom. I think this article is part BS and part damage control to take the spotlight off the fact that CEO Ken Gould got in this car last week and left - "See Ya!" If it was a long-time Piper test pilot saying this it would have some credibility.

airsafetyman said...

There doesn't seem to be any reason Piper couldn't redesign the airplane to have an "S" duct and lower the engine to the aft fuselage to put the thrust line at the midpoint of the fuselage.
Dassault did it with the Falcon 50, the Falcon 900, and the 7X. Lockheed did it with the L-1011 and Boeing with the 727. Even the Russian have done it on numerous models. What gives with Piper?

Baron95 said...

Well, there are actually many issues.

Keeping a long (relative) to engine diameter and power S-duct ice-free, can rob a lot of power from a small turbofan, in addition to decrease engine efficiency.

Diamond had to redesign their S-ducts at least 3 times to solve icing and airflow issues.

Hopefully, Piper will engineer this right and not start adding Cheyenne-like springs and bob-weights.

Regardless of what they do, probably every press-reviewer that flies the plane will bring up the issue, and rightly or wrongly it will stick in buyers' minds.

airsafetyman said...

Then use the Garrett (Honeywell) TFE-731 used on the Falcon 50 and BUY the "S" duct from Dassault. At some point Piper has got to stop screwing around. First it was a computer-positioned horizontal stabilizer to correct the problem and when that didn't work the "coanda" effect of diverting the exhaust gases was proposed to correct the problem. Now we have the VP of marketing saying there is no problem?

airtaximan said...
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airtaximan said...

poor Eclipse...

"delivered to owners an aircraft that was only about 85 percent complete..."

They admit this, now?...

"For a limited number of "early buyers" each Total Eclipse purchase also comes with a guaranteed buy-back provision. With this guarantee, EAI will agree to repurchase the aircraft for a guaranteed amount which can be applied towards a first year production slot when EA500 manufacturing resumes."

... read carefully... are you getting money? Are you getting a slot? Is it only when (read "if") they restart production, or is it really a guaranteed buy back? If this is the reason anyone will consider buying an EA50, make sure EA has some money to pay you your "guaranteed" buy back...

Finally, how much is the new plane going to cost?

It would be funny IF, they provided you with a buy back of $1.8M... the new planes are $2.8M, and the slot is priced at $500k... which you must pay up front for your new slot. What if they provided for 100 slots in YR-1 production, but never deliver more than 20 planes a year... what if they actualy never deliver more than 20 planes? Period...

Should have called this plane the "cookoo"...

Floating Cloud said...

Hmm... ATM I think you are on to something:

The coo-coo is the cuckoo bird, not the modern term which gave its name to mental disturbance, but the old one, the classical symbol of fickleness, false love, of infidelity. The word “cuckold” was derived from the female cockoo’s habit of depositing her eggs in the nest of smaller birds and leaving them there to be hatched by a bird of a totally different species.

gadfly said...

Well, for a couple days no-one has responded to “Floating Cloud’s” comments, which brings to mind Pixar’s masterpiece, “For the Birds”.

The “gadfly” has been waiting, and taking aggressive action to restore internet service through “Qwest”, which is a microcosm of the present and future health-care system that all of you may soon come to “enjoy”, etc. It took many hours to prove that, indeed, Qwest was the guilty party . . . with a piece of equipment out in our area of Albuquerque, and another day or so, to have the replacement part delivered and installed . . . and miracle of miracles . . . our internet service came back on line in about fifty hours. Now, had that been a truly private enterprise, service would have been restored within minutes, or hours (at the most). But it was a good exercise, to have a preview of “things to come” . . . all things continuing as our “president” continues to declare.

Comments of late express the view that there is little or no sense of . . . what’s the word?, “Accountability”! Accountability to God, . . . accountability to each other, accountability to the laws of the land . . . and I dare say, accountability to even a person’s own conscience. People like “Sir Fred Hoyle” would like to think there is no higher power, to whom we stand accountable (there’s that extremely uncomfortable word, again) . . . and when he (Hoyle) was shown that there was a “beginning” to everything, he called it “The Big Bang”, and the name “stuck”. He could not accept that there was a “first event”, implying a “plan”, so he gave it the name that now has come to declare an end to his philosophy. So, to give him credit, after his 86 years of life (he died in 2001), he’s famous for the facts that proved him wrong . . . and he even got to give it a name, “The Big Bang”.

How many folks get to name the very thing that proved them wrong? . . . I wonder!

Well, the “gadfly” is back up and “on line”, as it were . . . and didn’t want to leave anyone “hanging”.

‘For the birds,


('being off-line for 50 hours, I was forced to do some "house cleaning" . . . about 500 GB . . . sorting and clearing out "disk space" . . . it's a good feeling. Now, to remove duplicate files, etc., and maybe reduce a half "terabyte" down to a couple hundred "megabytes".)

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

for the birds

gadfly said...

What an honor for "Floating Cloud" to have found a picture of me, along with fifteen of our nineteen grandkids, taken in a candid pose.


(The other four hatched later.)

Phineas A. Ferb said...

I thought the big bird is the cuckoo.

julius said...


poor Eclipse

what's the idea behind M&M's offer to buy a fpj ($2.14M) and to sell back it to EAI for a "new" one - perhaps in some years for a "guaranteed" price?
Just to get a number of potential buyers of new fpj? Thus M&M have something for a potential investor?

Or just to get rid of the Dayjet fleet and get some cash...
There are very few birds which can fly with 15 chickens on its wings!

M&M will have to present some new ideas to potential investors to revive the production - they had about one year of time to develop a concept. But the current economy - as anticipated - will not support any startups!

... poor EAI


P.S.: I expected Cessna etc. to present some new products etc. - null, zero new staff.
Electronic circuit breakers, Klapmeier with Krestel, Honda...mybe some steps forward.

Floating Cloud said...


It is the TOTAL Cookoo.


airsafetyman said...

"P.S.: I expected Cessna etc. to present some new products etc. - null, zero.."

They couldn't get the Chinese translated in time.

Baron95 said...

Check out the photos of Jack Roush's Premier I crash as it happens. Incredible.

gadfly said...

As bad as it is, seeing the pilot walking away from a "cracked-in-two" aircraft is a good sign . . . even with the blood. And with the passenger in better shape.


airsafetyman said...

On the dismal news front an article in the Wichita fishwrapper is reporting that Beech second quarter 2010 sales were $639 million, down $177 million from the the second quarter a year ago. 54 airplanes were delivered in the second quarter of this year compared to 78 in the same period last year. The company recored a loss of $20 million compared with a profit of $39 million in the second quarter of 2009.

It will be interesting to see what Cessna and Piper report in the next few days.

Floating Cloud said...

Phil Bell says:

"Not to bring a dark cloud to our generally cheerful and enlightened conversation, but I read some troubling news regarding potential developments at one of the largest General Aviation manufacturers this past week. The Machinist union leadership had discussions with HawkerBeech, and afterwards issued a rather alarming press release, to the effect that,"Union officials said Wednesday that HawkerBeechcraft is considering moving work out of Wichita that could shrink its hourly work force 50 to 75 percent over the next two years."

Think Phil saw all this coming?

Still doom and gloom never got anyone anywhere!!!

This too shall pass. (God [Gad] I hope so!)

Baron95 said...

Well, that is HBC.

Embraer just reported great results and upped their guidance for the rest of the year.

Looks to me like HBC is paying the price from pushing 4-decade old designs into the market.

airsafetyman said...

Good for Embraer. They did not sit on their past successes but have kept innovating for the growing segments of the market. Beech, Cessna, and Piper should take note. Hope it is not too late - for all three.

airtaximan said...

good comment... tese guys seem to have a real handle on how to compete, and what their competencies are. They had a real hard time with the initial try at biz av, with the Legacy, basically an RJ exec conversin... They made some changes and got a pretty good understanding of GA, IMO.

Alos, its sometimes easier for a new entrant, clean sheet, well financed company going "down market" (if they dare) to grow new segments. Usually a very tough move, especially going "down market".

Kudos to EMB... great vision and great (new) products for GA.

None of this will help Baron, though... they are not even coming close to lowering the cost. Conventional configs, conventional technology, conventional pricing model...

julius said...



that's always the problem with the shareholders/owners: How much money for the company (for new products) and for the shareholders/owners!
The current owners should have known what was needed for for the company before buying it...

Now all the hopes for a better economy are postponed to 2011!


julius said...

Gama 2nd Quarter 2010 Report

is available!
HBC improved - but only for the oldies!

Embraer sold more Phenom 100 than Cessan Mustangs in the first half year!
Anyhow ... hmmm some light for the smaller birds ... one or more lights?


gadfly said...

With all the sadness, disappointing business news, and trauma going on in the world at the moment, it is worth reflecting on the death of a very important person, which almost went unnoticed last week. Larry LaPrise, the man who wrote "The Hokey Pokey", died peacefully at age 93.

The most traumatic part for his family was getting him into the coffin. They put his left leg in.

And then the trouble started.

Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gad:

You think that was bad...

Mitch Miller just died (bless his heart) and his entire family had to sing along while following the bouncing ball!

(Hey, anyone who dies at 99 is fair game.)

airsafetyman said...

Cessna builds NINE different models of "Citations". Is the market really that fragmented? Dassault billed over a billion dollars this past quarter with only four models. Cessna marketing has always been highly regarded but I think some bare spots are starting to show. The gimmick of having Mz Pelton take lessons in the Chinese Skycatcher seems bush league. As does landing the airplane on a golf course in Wichita during a recent tournament. Yawn. Anybody with the money to buy one is going to think : "You flushed half your workforce down the john and now you want me to buy this thing made in China?"

Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...
None of this will help Baron, though... they are not even coming close to lowering the cost. Conventional configs, conventional technology, conventional pricing model...

Quite the opposite. With the Phenom 100, Embraer put a $3.3M ceiling on the top of the personal jet and set the standard.

The standard is roughly 1,200 nm at 390kts at 800lbs payload with fully integrated cockpit and a checklist that fits on a single, shirt pocket-sized laminated sheet and a growing service network.

That being the Ceiling, Mustang-like jets need to fall below, Diamond-jet like jets need to fall further below that.

The P100 has a single flaw (AFAIK) - slow climb performance when it is hot. They need a -A with a bit more power from those mills. Hopefully they can fix that soon.

Your comment is like saying a $200K Ferrari 458 Italia does not help the $50K sports car buyer. Of course it does - it puts a ceiling on price/performance (limited production oddities like LF-A and Veyron excluded). So a Corvette needs to top at about $100K (ZR1), which means that a Mustang needs to top at at about $50K (Shelgy GT500).

Baron95 said...

A couple of things that are obvious from the GAMA report.

Sold=Delivered for simplicity.

Cirrus sold 11 SR20s and 63 SR22s, while Cessna sold only 7 Corvalis (err Columbia, err Lancair). That is a 10 to 1 whipping.

Phenom 100s outsold Mustangs by 75%.

Phenom 300s outsold CJ1+ by 4 to 0. Or 5 to 1 in first half.

I think the results speak for themselves.

There are winners and losers in this battle.

julius said...


me think, the major differtence is space (privy).
Ken and his wife know what to do before starting a 3.5 hours flight - but what about guests or kids?

I expect that if one spends more than $2.0M for an a/c then there should be a privy, even it shouldn't be used.

But I never saw any priority lists for the entry level jets!
Additional space costs a lot of money and performance!


P.S.: Although I only have one pax in my car most times, I perfer cars with 4 doors. It's more practical to put some stuff into the car and the doors need less space when fully opened.

airtaximan said...

"There are winners and losers in this battle."

Fun with numbers, as always...
you could have just as easilly said cessna kicked EMB butt by delivering x times the total number or value of GA jets EMB delivered.

You could also have said, EMB kicked CEssna's behind by delivering X billion of total jets (including airliners)...

Bottom line, Cessna's delivered fleet of Mustangs and CJ1 and 2 outweighs EMB fleet, and they have depleated their backlog, while EMB is just getting started on their backlog.

In 5 years from now, we'll see how many Phenoms are being delivered, how big this drop is from a high delivery rate, and during the next recession, we'll see how many layoffs they have, how much money they lose, etc.


airtaximan said...

I like your comments on floor and ceilings, and pricing...


its purely irrelevant, because you want a $1.x Million twin jet... their best offer is more than 2x...

Whether it has xyz features or perfomance, i a nice thing to note... but impractical for you to buy.

The whole "affordable" twin jet is no longer sub $1M or even sub $2M... so, its off the table for a huge portion of a very small market, IMO.

BTW, i am not poking at what you can or cannot afford - I am just going by what you want to see... and FWIW, I too would love to see a decent cabin, god performance package at $1.x M... its just not going to happen, any time soon.

airsafetyman said...

Cirrus sold 11 SR20s and 63 SR22s, while Cessna sold only 7 Corvalis (err Columbia, err Lancair). That is a 10 to 1 whipping.

Not really a fair comparison as Cessna did not really market the airplane but pushed their antiques instead. How in the world they can market the 172 and 182 with the Lycoming boat anchors up front is beyond me. And people buy them! But then some people bought Eclipses as well.

Floating Cloud said...

ASM said:

"Then use the Garrett (Honeywell) TFE-731 used on the Falcon 50 and BUY the "S" duct from Dassault. At some point Piper has got to stop screwing around. First it was a computer-positioned horizontal stabilizer to correct the problem and when that didn't work the "coanda" effect of diverting the exhaust gases was proposed to correct the problem. Now we have the VP of marketing saying there is no problem?"

Apparently, (according to my personal resources) furloughs for practically everyone this week are suposed to SOLVE everything over at Vero Beach. But for the record, I really hate to see this happen to anyone.


Oh, and message from Mary Rose to ASM:

What's the deal?! You didn't like my Chinese Cessna Cheyenne landing on the golf course in Witchita? I really worked HARD on that one. Even had my nails done at the local Vietnamese salon to be uber PC!!!
Hang on baby, more to come!

Mary Rose (still watching you guys.)

Baron95 said...

Yes, we can all pick and choose numbers. But I didn't have to work hard at picking mine. They jumped out of the page into my face.

The shift in piston market share from Mooney, Piper, Beech Cessna to Cirrus and Diamond is indisputable and massive. And has been so for many years. They came from nowhere and took over half the market.

The shift in Turboprop market share from Beech to Pilatus and Socata is about the same.

Now we are seeing the shift in light jets market share from Cessna/Beech to Embraer. If one more OEM starts hitting it (say Honda for example) it will be painful.

No matter what number one picks.

Black Tulip said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Baron95 said...

This is Detroit all over again.

The customers that were loyal to Beech, Cessna, Piper (like Chevy, Ford, Chrysler) are dying off.

Generations of new buyers with loads of cash are buying on the merits and SR22s are beating the Bonanzas and Phenoms are beating the Premier and at least tying with Citations.

Garmin beat up all the established GA avionics manufacturers into irrelevance.

The unions are not as intractable as the UAW but it is a factor also.

It is the same arrogance you see over and over again. "We are Cessna, we are big, no one can touch us, we know what customers want, blah, blah, blah"

Replace Cessna with King Avionics or GM or Beech. Same syndrome.

airsafetyman said...

"Apparently, (according to my personal resources) furloughs for practically everyone this week are suposed to SOLVE everything over at Vero Beach."


According to the Vero Beach mullet wrapper even the long-standing head of corporate-speak, Mark Miller, is suing the company for breach of contract (and claims he was given misrepresentations by the company to pass on the gullible (my word) press).

airsafetyman said...

I see where Cirrus is now putting a Continental TSIO-550K engine in the turbo SR-22 rather than the "normalizing" aftermarket turbo they were using. There was a discussion here with some bloggers about how great the normalizing system was. Well...........not. Apparently Cirrus decided to ask Continental and then followed their advice. Amazing!

airsafetyman said...

One reason Cessna may not be pushing the Corvalis is that both models have Continental engines. When they resumed production Cessna put Lycoming engines in the C-182 and U-206, leaving their customers with overweight, underpowered, nose-heavy anvils. But, hey, the bottom line looks better! The ethics toward customers class begins Monday!

airtaximan said...

"Garmin beat up all the established GA avionics manufacturers into irrelevance"

you are not wrong, BUT... it remains to be seen IF anyone canmake $$ on less expensive GA jets...

So, Garmin may have won the battle, but Collins is the choice of major OEMs for more expensive jets...

It is not easy to make $$ on a $3m and less aircraft, for major OEMs... and lower cost may not be the direction they are going, as the top end is insulated from recessions, more than the lower end...

Like I said before, lets see how the newbies do when the next recession hits... I suspect, they will be characterized the same way the older OEms are colored, by you, here, now...

Your commments are based upon easy perspectives... looking at old companies trying to keep their stafff required for higher production in better times, versus lower production companies, just starting out, in what is a new game for them.

Yes, companies come and go, wax and wane, flourish and recede.... big deal noting that...

A true revolutions, a la Ver raburn and Eclipse will withstand ALL of the bumps in the road, getting to 1000 jets a year... the market is just TOO BIG, demand is just TOO strong...

Oh wait, it was a lie....

Wahhh.... wahhh....


We'll see next recession, how well these new models do... I expect, it will be more of what you are seeing now, except for the very TOP end.

BTW, anyone see the $1.2B Bombardier order from Jet republic dissappear today?

Ohhh, ahhh... guess what? It was not replaced with a phenom order.... learn, learn, learn...

RonRoe said...


You know not whereof you speak about Cirrus.

First of all, the TSIO engine is not INSTEAD of the turbonormalized engine. It is an addition to the product line. Cirrus is still selling TN airplanes. So far, with a small sample size, sales of turbo SR22's are running about 50/50 between the two variations.

Why would Cirrus have two models that are so similar, causing confusion in the market place? Because TCM held a gun to their head and made them do this project. TCM is holding the gun because Cirrus owes them hundreds of thousands of dollars for engines that they've received and haven't paid for.

The TSIO model is inferior to the TN model. With it's lower compression ratio (7.5:1 vs. 8.5:1), it has a higher fuel burn for a given amount of horsepower. That energy that wasn't converted to horsepower comes out through the cylinders, which run 20 - 40 degrees F hotter than the TN model. Early top overhaul, anyone?

Besides the compression ratios, a look under the cowlings of the two models will show that the engineering on the TCM model is inferior to the powerplant engineered in Ada, Oklahoma by Tornado Alley.

What's in it for TCM? They make about $20k more per engine overhauling a TSIO-550 vs. the IO-550 used in the TN model. The money that was going to Tornado Alley for the turbos is now going to them. As usual, it's all about the money for TCM, customers be damned.

The Tornado Alley turbos were a step forward for aviation. The TCM setup is a step backward, to the bad old days when turbocharged engines had a reputation for being finicky, fragile beasts.

So, yes, Cirrus did listen to TCM, the same way you'd listen to anyone who had a tight grip on some part of your anatomy that you'd rather keep.

Floating Cloud said...
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Floating Cloud said...


Of course furloughs at Piper will not solve anything. They are merely band-aids to a much more serious problem. ABQ city workers as you know, are being furloughed thanks in part to companies such as Eclipse Aviation that made deals with the city that would never come to fruition.

I still have hope for the M&Ms and Piper too,(although I understand its very precarious on all fronts) but it would be better for everyone if they do succeed.

Floating Cloud,
(Trying to maintain somewhat of a silver lining.)

PS I LOVED the Embraer jet liner as a passenger on a recent Mexicana Airline flight. Even steerage was comfortable. So they get a thumbs up as long as children were not harmed in any way to make them.

airsafetyman said...

Several different mechanics is separate locations across the country, as well as an engineer friend at TCM have told me that the "normalized" engines on the Cirrus have a horrible rate of early cylinder removals. The lower compression with the TCM turbo model translates directly into longer cylinder life. The cylinders on the IO-550 are not stressed to be operated at such a high power setting continuously; the ones on the TSIO 550 are. Doesn't seem too difficult a concept to grasp. Besides Continental provided no warranty at all for the airplanes that were delivered with the aftermarket engine mods. The cost of paying for needless engine repairs is probably one good reason Cirrus went with the TSIO engines.

As for Cirrus still offering the "normalized" engines I could find no mention of it on the Cirrus web site. Maybe a "one-time good deal" for owners who want to blow off an engine manufacturer's recommendations and accept an airplane without engine warranty.

airsafetyman said...


the situation at Piper reminds me of the old "Perils of Pauline" silent movies where the heroine is strapped to the railroad tracks. The oncoming train is shunted off to another track just in time by the hero before he unties Pauline. Think this time, however, it is .........squish.

Floating Cloud said...


Tales of Pauline!!!

Here is what I call a French freak out session:

Non, Non, Non, mon cher, ce n'est pas possible!!!! Rien, (enough), Rien, (enough).

Oddly, Piper X Eclipse guy is the one who needs rescuing and not Pauline.

Good for Pauline, bad for Piper man. Train coming down the track.

This is bad and I wish no one to suffer, but there is that little thing called karma...Au secours!


RonRoe said...


Since TCM is not providing engine warranty on the TN engines, how would your TCM engineer friend know what the cylinder failure rate is?

Cirrus salesman are offering potential buyers both turbo models without recommending either one over the other.

Cirrus is providing the engine warranty on the TN models, so customers are not, as you said, buying planes without warranties. In fact, because TCM doesn't provide warranties, TCM has to discount the engines to Cirrus, which is another reason why TCM rammed the TSIO down Cirrus' throat.

If you have any real numbers as to higher cylinder failure rates on TN SR22's, I'd love to see them. There is strong anecdotal evidence that the TN cylinders have lifetimes comparable too, if not better than, the normally aspirated models. And, unlike many Bonanzas, it's looking like most Cirrus engines make it to their 2,000 hour TBO without a top overhaul.

It's very interesting that you take TCM's word at face value, since they've been caught lying to their customers again and again. Ask your engineer friend about the "self healing" spalled lifters.

As to the TSIO-550 cylinders being designed to operate at higher power settings than the IO-550 jugs, perhaps your engineer friend could give you some information about the differences, since I believe the two cylinders are very similar.

Thousands of hours of test cell runs on normally aspirated, turbo normalized, and turbo supercharged TCM engines have shown that controlling cylinder head temperatures and internal cylinder pressures are the keys to cylinder longevity. By controlling the angle of the crankshaft where the peak internal pressure occurs (thetaPP), you can control the stress on the both the cylinders and the bottom end. At the end of the day, it's not how hard you run your engine, it's how you run your engine hard.

airsafetyman said...

I don't know why you want to keep going over this. The TSIO engine used in the Cirrus develops 5 more hp at 200 less RPM than the fuel injected model. The cylinders on the TSIO are lower compression than on the straight IO model, hence longer life. The cylinders have different PART NUMBERS. Of course Continental knows what the failure rate is and where the problems are. Where do you think Cirrus gets the replacement cylinders and parts - the tooth fairy?

Cirrus can buy engines from whomever they please. Cirrus had two models flying with Lycoming engines for evaluation, but since Cirrus isn't owned by Textron, yet, they were free to stay with the best engines for their applications, and they did.

Any buyer would be very wise to go with the airplane that offers a warranty from the ENGINE MANUFACTURER. That way if Cirrus goes bankrupt or "reorganizes" the owner is protected as far as his engine is concerned. Teledyne is solid as a rock. Buying the "ad on" option would be like buying an Eclipse and letting Vern screw with the engines and then accepting the engine "warranty" from Eclipse and not Pratt and Whitney.

Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...

One reason Cessna may not be pushing the Corvalis

But they *ARE* pushing it. That is *the* model they run full page adds on all the aviation publications.

They are simply trying to sell it on the Cessna name and some "speed".

Cirrus, correctly, is selling the SR22 on safety, special editions, interior appointments, colors, etc. Sounds familiar?

Baron95 said...

airtaximan said...

So, Garmin may have won the battle, but Collins is the choice of major OEMs for more expensive jets...

For now.

Have you heard of the Garmin 3000 project?

Garmin is on the Phenom 300 - that is a $5M jet.

Also, even if Garmin is not wining (yet) on the midsize jets, you can bet it is putting pricing pressure on Collins and Honeywell. That means lower margins and over time less oxigen to invest in new technology.

Now, that is not to say that Garmin doesn't have its own problems. They are also being starved of O2 with all the navigation apps on smartphones and buit-in nav systems being more common in cars.

But that is not the story.

The story is how so stale GA is, that startup companies like Garmin and Cirrus can come in and take over huge amounts of share.

Baron95 said...

airsafetyman said...
The TSIO engine used in the Cirrus develops 5 more hp at 200 less RPM than the fuel injected model.

Yes. But at much higher MAP and cooled by a lot more fuel.

ASM, the TN engine is a good engine. It has proper cooling can be operated LOP with low temps.

TCM's engine is more of the same old. Limit compression, bump MAP, run richer to keep things cool.

I think it is *GREAT* that customers have choice.

In my mind the biggest advantage of the TCM turbo engine is that it has a better chance of running on 94UL closest to full power than the TN engine.

When 100LL goes away, it may be a better engine to have.

airtaximan said...

"The story is how so stale GA is, that startup companies like Garmin and Cirrus can come in and take over huge amounts of share."

Only difference in GA versus much of the rest of the economic world, is the cycle time and cost to develop new technologies, AN the fact they need to be soooo goood to begin with, in order to be man-rated.

Search engine after search engine came and went...

Computer maker after computer maker...

In just a few years, out with the old, in with the new...

Software house after software house...

So why pick on GA? Its normal for busines, and its not a matter of "stale"... its a matter of how long these amazing products remained in the marketplace.

My main point is, that the lower end, even the $5M jet, is unproven from a profitability stand point, specially over a recession. The BIG iron is proven profitable, and recessin resistant...

So, you like to bash the OEMs... OK... you like to use new companies just getting started as examples of growth and competitive numbers, versus older (3 years in production) Mustang for example... OK. Lets see how the Phenoms do during the next recession?

That's the point. How much did Cirrus production/delivery drop this time around? A lot... they almost went TU...

Its a rough business to make work, becasue of the nature of the development time and cost, and the ramp to production, and then the requirement to slow WAY down when the economy hits a bump...


RonRoe said...


Thank goodness there's at least one other person on the forum who understands how internal combustion engines really work.

airtaximan said...

... at least...

I can think of many here...

gadfly said...

"An engine burns or otherwise consumes fuel, and is differentiated from (a motor that derives power) without changing the composition of matter."

That definition would have been beyond my understanding at about the age of "five", when I asked my grandpa why he called his company, "Cushman Motor works", rather than "Cushman Engine Works". (His answer had to do with a compromise with the general understanding, without attempting to re-educate the public . . . since his business was to design, manufacture, and sell engines for farm and marine applications.)

But to continue the thought of understanding the internal combusion engine, we have two trains of thought: reciprocating and turbine.

The reciprocating engines have had over a century to refine by mostly empirical understanding/testing . . . and have come to a high degree of refinement. Almost nothing is new, only the refinement and fine tuning. Even the "Wankel" is a reciprocating engine (and not a true "rotary").

On the other hand, we have the "turbine", a "hybrid" of sorts . . . in the early days, it was (in effect) a "motor", using the force of released steam to turn a propeller, etc., . . . even the Titanic had a turbine. And then came the turbo-jet . . . was it BMW? or someone else, that combined an "engine" and "motor" in a single "turbo-jet", using the advantages of both, in a single true "rotary" engine/motor combination.

Now, you can tear these statements apart . . . and get the bus moving, again.


(It has been my experience that the person who "understands" the internal combustion engine is more artist than analytical scientist . . . a person who almost "feels" the flow of gases, etc., through the convoluted paths of intake and exhaust manifolds, and the myriad of paths of fuel/air mixture in and out of a cylinder, possibly traveling through a "Roots" or turbine blower, and the many possible paths through the exhaust system, finally exiting into the atmosphere, and can almost "sense" the temperature and pressure changes, throughout the entire system.)

gadfly said...

Yes . . . before you say it, I'm aware of Frank Whittle . . . and we can give him "due credit".

As a third generation inventor, myself, sometimes inventions get lost in a cloud of "who thought of what, first" . . . and I'm reminded of something said long ago, "What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9

But, we like to give credit to the "first to market", or to the one that first made something available in a practical form.


('Ever notice that when we think of some genius statement, we find a few dozen references to the same thing . . . on the internet? What a bummer!)

Baron95 said...

Gadfly wrote...
the person who "understands" the internal combustion engine is more artist than analytical scientist . . . a person who almost "feels" the flow of gases, etc., through the convoluted paths of intake and exhaust manifolds, and the myriad of paths of fuel/air mixture in and out of a cylinder, possibly traveling through a "Roots" or turbine blower, and the many possible paths through the exhaust system, finally exiting into the atmosphere, and can almost "sense" the temperature and pressure changes, throughout the entire system

That is probably the nicest thing I've read on this blog.

I think the pace of advancement on the ICE, particularly in highly variable load applications (like cars) is accelerating incredibly.

Circa 2016 or so, many, if not most car engines will combine turbines (mostly in the form of exhaust driven turbochargers), gas/diesel ICEs, and electric/regenerative assist.

The power density (power/weight) will take huge strides, and so will specific fuel consumption of the total package.

So exciting times ahead in this field.

julius said...

Someone is lucky with his fpjs:

Linear Air Says VLJ Air-taxi Model Can Work

In 2011 Linear intends to have more than 10 fpjs in the fleet...

BTW: There are two 2010-SDRs or fpj:
Vibration/load caused MLG error messages and a pfd didn't work after an update to AVIO NG 1.5....


P.S.: Did Ed W. a great job or was it just head count reduction plus portfolio reduction? Anyhow his successor is an "old" guy - just for four years - and has to keep GM on a positive track!

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...


Your last comments could go to my head . . . but I’ll attempt to resist the temptation.

Concerning the future of internal combustion engines, and all the hybrids, between piston/turbine/electric generator types/ ad nauseum (if there should be a future after the fiasco of the present set of conditions in “DC”, etc.), . . . What thoughts do you or others have about the possibilities of “fine grained” ceramics, for engine components?

There is the possibility of cylinders, pistons, rotors, manifolds . . . etc., etc., . . . molded and/or machined from ceramics. The ceramics of ancient Japan, etc., have progressed to the ultra-pure fine grained ceramics of Noritake, Okura, and even the high grades produced by “Coors” (yes, the “beer company”), and many others. “Schott Glass” of Germany has supplied us with the stove tops for almost every brand of stove on the market . . . a glass with extremely low expansion rates, lower than Pyrex, etc.

So, it would seem, we have an entirely new stable of horses from which to design a new breed of engines, that would far exceed the old herd.

You see, ceramics offers great stability over wide and high temperature ranges. Surface finishes can be achieved with “CBN” (cubic boron nitride) tooling, and/or diamond tools, after initial molding to “near finished” size and shape.

Even the possibility of a stacked “Dagwood Sandwich” construction, including (catch your breath, here) rectangular pistons/cylinders, offering any number of cylinders in a given sandwich. Sealing? . . . in the old days, a piston ring was actually machined from “cast iron” . . . if nothing else, the “Wankel” helped develop seals for pistons that were not “round”.

Wire-cut EDM opened up (for us) all these possibilities . . . machining to unheard of precision, stacks of parts, and allowed us to “prove” the concept on a grand scale, for (what?), twenty five or more years? The foundation is laid . . . maybe you young folks will catch the hints . . . and go on to the next generation, using all this new collection of machines and materials.

For instance . . . a combination of a rotary or “in-line” piston engine (or turbine, if you wish), and all components for driving a generator/alternator/ “whatever” (hydraulic?)/ automatic transmission?/ you choose) in a single in-line sandwich . . . sorry, yours won’t be the first . . . but “I’m a pussycat” when it comes to sharing ideas . . . there are so many directions possible from this single stack of ideas.

The basics have already been proved, and are in everyday use, producing parts for jet engines, etc., but in the actual application in powerplants, the ideas are waiting for the right set of folks to pull it off.


August 13, 2010 3:17 PM

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...
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Baron95 said...

Hi Gadfly,

Ceramic ICEs far exceed my level of technology currency. The best contribution I can provide is comments from deep discussion with a Ford advanced engine research engineer and friend in the late 80s.

They built a ceramics block engine, and the major problems were related to the machining costs - the material is too hard to machine, and the fact that it ran so hot. The engine was very hard to seal, because of the very high temps. Things expanded in different ways and created gaps and tightness all over. When put on an actual car, the thing melted the paint off the hood and engine compartment.

As a result, Ford turned 180 degrees away from Ceramics and moved to all aluminum blocks. And I mean all aluminum, with no iron sleeves on the cylinders and very, very thin walls, and water cooling channels into the block.

The results of that is the first mass market (non premium) all aluminum block in the 2011 Furd Mustang Shelby GT 500. I think that is currently the most advanced, mass produced engine block in the world. They used a plasma arc patented technology to deposit a very thin coat of steel alloy to the cylinders at 35,000 degrees F.

For you to have an idea of how advanced that is, Nissan licensed the technology for their GT-R supercar engine.

So I think that for the next two decades or so, the advances will be in harder aluminum alloys and coating processes, highly optimized cylinder wall and block integrity structures, forced induction and electric assit coupling, CVTs or 7-9speed dual clutch gear boxes, higher pressure multipulse/multispark injection.

I think at some point, maybe 10 years from now, engines will be operating much hotter and cooling will be the next frontier. This is purely a personal opinion, but the engine on my car gets so hot, that I can't close the garage door, or everything hits up inside after I park. The aluminum hood is painfully hot to the touch. I honestly don't know how they can make the paint stick. I have a feeling that there will be soem breakthrough in cooling fluids. Maybe the fuel will circulate through the engine as a coolant prior to being ignited, or something like liquid sodium or other exotic cooling fluids will need to be used.

The 2011 average mid-sized economy sedan, e.g. Hyundai Sonata is doing 0-60 in 6 secs. Premium sedans are in the 4-5 seconds. Sports cars are all in the 3-4 seconds. People are not going to give that up even with the new fuel economy rules.

So get ready for dream engines to come along.

Floating Cloud said...

Dream engines, bring it on! My first real car was a ten year old used 68 mustang and I "understood" that V8 engine on all sort of levels. Kept it going through the most brutal of Denver winters...

Sir Gadfly offers one of the most beautiful descriptions of about God.

B95 totally got it too. I got it to the bone.

New engines, coolants, hot, cold, new materials, bring it all on please!
Americans can do!

gadfly said...


Ohara Corp. of Japan is a manufacturer of ultra low expansion glass ceramics. Schott Glass of Germany is another. Machining of these glass ceramics is no longer a serious problem . . . for instance, “Macor” has been around a long time and is commonly machined using conventional tooling (I’ve machined it, although dust is to be taken seriously in the process).

New methods of grinding (CBN and Diamond) and “ultra-sonic” cutters are now in use that easily produce the shapes and surface finishes needed for cylinder/seals/bearing surfaces. Engine design can use the new ceramics in places that take the advantage of compressive qualities.

Although I was familiar with the early 1970's Chevy “Vega” that used a 17% silicon aluminum alloy, I was not familiar with the “Ford” at that time. The Vega engine proved a disaster.

Speaking of Plasma spraying, I worked as a proto-type machinist and senior research technician for Plasmadyne of Santa Ana, California, in the late 1960's . . . the company that introduced the first plasma powered metal spraying system, for commercial use. (Adriano Ducati was one of the two founders.) Although the plasma (an inert gas energized with an electric DC arc) could provide 40,000 to 60,000 degree F, the various powders would become almost instantly molten, and quickly cooled as they buried into the surface of the base metal. Virtually any material that could be molten, could be sprayed into another subsurface, and if done correctly, become bonded in an interlaced surface, and built up in layer thickness. Today, plasma spraying is used to coat the surfaces of jet engine “stator” ring segments, and is then “ground to final size and finish”.

There are now adhesives that can be used to seal parts with working temperatures up to 3,000 degrees F. And if properly designed, many surfaces do not require any seals at all. (Without going into detail, here, we've supplied tooling to accomplish this sort of sealing for GE jet engine stator ring sectors for the past twenty some years, although the material is "Rene'", a high nickel refractory alloy.)

The technology may already be available (for engines), but it still takes the right person that can apply the new technology without getting trapped in older methods and "conventional wisdom".


Baron95 said...

Indeed. The challenge of course is to do it economically. Techniques that work on a $20M GE-90 at 200/year volumes, don't always work on a $50K Ford at 3,000/year volumes, let alone a $30K Ford at 100,000/year volumes.

Take Titanium for example. A material with obvious weight/strength advantages. Yet, in over 50 years, we haven't been able to bring it from say the SR-71 to even a Porsche.

It looks like cars will bypass Titanium all together and got from steel to high-carbon steel to Aluminum (or AlLi) straight to carbon fiber.

airsafetyman said...

"Take Titanium for example. A material with obvious weight/strength advantages. Yet, in over 50 years, we haven't been able to bring it from say the SR-71 to even a Porsche."

The 2006 Corvette Z06 engine had titanium connecting rods and intake valves.

gadfly said...

Why consider ceramics? . . . For a few reasons! Ceramics have been around for almost as long as man has been manufacturing “anything”. Modern ceramics can withstand tremendous changes in temperature, and yet are composed of the most abundant materials around . . . aluminum, silicon, lithium, oxygen. “Technology” shares much with dinner plates, and toilets . . . both have achieved excellent repeatability in quality, etc., and there is little or no need to “re-cycle” the “used” product.

My prediction (should our nation survive the present mad attempts going on in the capitol), the future generations of engines will be some sort of “disposable engine”, produced with little more effort than casting a toilet or bathtub . . . with some refinements of second operation machining/grinding/lapping, etc.

Cooling, etc., may come in the form of “sodium”, or some other form . . . allowing engines to operate at much higher temperature. Ethanol won’t cut it, regardless of the subsidies and silly attempts of “congress” to change the laws of physics . . . but fuel will be much less a problem, with engines that can operate at much higher temperature.

Well, maybe someone in the audience will get the big picture . . . and think of things other than “round pistons” and cylinder rings. You see, much of the past was based on an engine that could be made of “cast iron” and machined on a lathe. We’re beyond that . . . so think in terms of what’s possible with today’s machines and methods, and don’t hold to the methods of . . . say, forty years ago. (Colleges, etc., are still training students to design and manufacture with the tools of WWII. And that is part of the problem . . . along with many political complications.)

For me, an aging body is overtaking my ability to plunge into the future . . . or I would be doing it myself. ‘Looking back, I’ve had some successes . . . and they are doing as well as could be expected, but each of those efforts requires far more energy, time, patience . . . and money than most folks would suspect. Clint Eastwood said something of value . . . ‘A man has to know his limitations’ . . . or something to that effect. And right now, I’m running on empty. But my brain ain’t dead, yet.


(Oh yeh . . . thinking back, some of the old and powerful radial engines had “sodium cooled” valves . . . and we were warned to never cut them open, or we would suffer serious burns, etc., as the sodium came in contact with moist air. We could “shake” those valves, and hear the sodium inside . . . and I’ve always been curious as to the shape of the inside cavity, etc.)

gadfly said...
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gadfly said...

Speaking of lithium . . . I have to tell the story. Many years ago, out at Plasmadyne, not far from “final approach” into John Wayne Airport, we had a small close-knit group of machinists in the “Model Shop”, working on everything from high-resolution optics (a movie camera that used 9 ½ inch wide film) to plasma generators in the 2.5 megawatt range . . . many “fun” things, and we tested everything we machined and fabricated in the shop. Among the group was a “straight-laced” Englishman . . . “John Smith” . . . and some others . . . and a tall lanky Protestant Irishman, Eddy Killops, from Belfast, with a casual sense of humor that kept us all amused. Oh the stories that could be told!

But one day, one of the engineers was known to be taking some “lithium” in an open container, from one building to another . . . right past the big sheet metal door next to the model shop. Eddy saw his opportunity . . . and waited (with a big “ball pein hammer”) until the engineer (nervous as a cat, with his precious cargo of lithium) came walking along the path, near the shop. Santa Ana appeared to be ready for “rain”. Ernie, the young engineer got near the sheet-metal door, and Eddy, the Irishman, hit it hard with the hammer.

Well, friends were not made that day . . . Ernie, the young engineer, had to go home and change his pants . . . and Eddy, the “Irishman”, showed not the slightest remorse . . . and the rest of us had a story to tell to our grand-kids.


(Those were the days, my friend . . . we thought they’d never end . . . )

gadfly said...

"Lithium" . . . "Sodium" . . . after over forty years, you know I can't remember for sure, what it was. Whichever it was, it wasn't something to be out in the open, on a day threatening rain . . . and it was enough to cause a young engineer to lose bladder control . . . or worse.

And thinking back, that sort of thing was the "safe" stuff, as we played with close to 2,000 amps and 1,300 volts, DC, . . . almost every day . . . and sometimes set the field of weeds on fire, when a DC rectifier would short out, and send sparks through the "chicken wire" enclosure . . . or the excitement if a technician would forget to turn on the cooling water, and we'd get a lesson on what a couple million watts of power could do to weeks of machined copper parts . . . in a few milliseconds.


(Did I really do all that stuff? . . . Yep, sure did, and then some!)

gadfly said...

One more thing:

We built some prototype plasma "lamps", re-circulating "Xenon" gas . . . to replace the search lights used on aircraft like the Lockheed P2V Neptune, etc. The search light could be trained on someone far across the Plasmadyne property . . . and the beam of light felt like sun-light on a very hot day, and immediately got the attention of anyone that was in the beam.

(This was before practical laser beams, which I didn't work on until years later, here in Albuquerque.)

Xenon gas came in a "one cubic foot" container, the size of a small thermos bottle, and was "most precious". We made little "blowers" that re-circulated the gas in a closed loop system, engergized it as a "plasma", to achieve almost unbelievable brightness.

Xenon gas, is the "rarest" of the free gases in the atmosphere, and is the gas in most strobe light cameras, today . . . like that little "Canon" digital, that many of us use, and think little of the built-in flash.

But to have the flash turned on as a continuous light source?! . . . that was, at the time, a rather remarkable achievement. Cooling of the optics was most critical.


Floating Cloud said...

Sir Gadfly:

Perhaps you or someone else can answer my question, but what IS that airplane that flies around ABQ in the late afternoon? It is huge compared to private airplanes, its not a jet because its flying low, twin props that look a mile wide from the ground, big tail, and it seems to go around the city perimeter almost as if its on a pleasure trip/ dare I say mission?

When I see it I feel like it may be something old, like a classic car. Is it from Kirkland Airforce base? Or am I having some sort of out of body a la Roswell alien land/sky experience?

FC (not high but a little scattered)

airsafetyman said...


Perhaps Gad will know for sure but it sounds like you may have seen a military Osprey aircraft. I think the designation is VT-22. It takes off and lands like a helicopter but the engines rotate 90 degrees to level in flight. There are some assigned to Kirtland AFB.

gadfly said...

'Not sure! Please provide a time, and I'll attempt to get outside our shop in town, to have a look.

A year or so, ago, I saw an old twin engine "biplane" fly over our house, east of the Sandia's, but I doubt that's what you're seeing.

According to your description, it might be a Lockheed P2V Neptune, developed in the early 1950's for anti-submarine warfare. They are "twin engine" (radial/propellor), have an extremely tall single vertical tail in the (then) typical Lockheed style shape . . . and today, are one of the popular fire-fighting aircraft for water and chemical drops, for forest fires. In New Mexico, they land at ABQ, to refill with water, then head out to the "fires".

Take a look at:

At one time, a P2V held the record for an "around the world" flight.


(The tail had a long "stinger" that held the "MAD" (magnetic anomaly detector) to find submarines, below the surface, and a powerful arc lamp in one wing tip, to light up any submarine on the surface. Our sub had a few war games with the P2V's . . . but seldom could they find us.)

gadfly said...

"AS" is probably more correct . . . with the Osprey, considering the "mile wide" twin rotors.

And they do fly estremely slow. They've been on the drawing board since ancient times, and only recently come into regular service.


gadfly said...

eclipso said...

Hi all!
Been a while since I've been on here. Miss the conversations. I have a good friend that informs me tha Eclipse is doing a LOT better than I would have thought. Gad, hoping to get that way in the fall. I will try to look you up for a coffee.


gadfly said...

"I have a good friend that informs me tha(t) Eclipse is doing a LOT better than I would have thought."

Wow! 'Talk about an opening for anything in any direction! That's a classic statement, for sure.

Yep . . . let's have that cup of coffee, for sure.


(Whatever happened to our "host"? . . . this reminds me of the second version of "The Man That Knew Too Much", with Jimmy Stewart and Doris Day . . . that ends with the scene with the guests all "flaked out" and the comment that they had to go get their son, or something like that. "Phil" will show up, maybe, sometime. [I still like the 1934 version with Peter Lorre, who gets shot behind the door]. Phil, 'hope you're not hiding behind a door.)

Floating Cloud said...

This airplane doesn't fly around every afternoon, which I didn’t mean to imply, but I have seen it on several occasions and wondered what it was. It does seem totally vintage, but it could be new too.

Perhaps my airplane sighting was a part Osprey and a part Neptune mix. It appeared that the propellers were on the front of each wing and not placed above each wing (like on a helicopter), but maybe it looked that way because of an optical illusion from the ground? The propellers were really long and they did seem to go very slowly like the Osprey. It had that 50s looking aluminum skin (body?) like the Neptune. The tail fits both types. Hmmm....

Yesterday, at 5:00 pm I saw it just as I was walking to my car leaving work at UNM. It was heading east going toward the Sandias as if it were going to land at the airport, but by the time(5-10 minutes) I got to 12th St exit off of 1-40 it had come around from the south headed north over the volcanoes in the west, which is why I thought it was going in a big circle.

That's about all I can tell you. Appreciate the two very good assessments of what kind of airplane it might be.

Note to self: Carry binoculars in car.

Also, if there is ANY good news about Eclipse do tell all!

gadfly said...

"Also, if there is ANY good news about Eclipse do tell all!"

OK! . . . Here's one that is a puzzle to me:

It lists the serial number as #000261. As I recall, there were 260 aircraft that Eclipse claimed to have been finished.

It was registered 15 September 2009.

Is this a significant finding? 'Just curious!


gadfly said...
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gadfly said...
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gadfly said...

It’s been awhile since the “gadfly” got himself into trouble, so as to not disappoint “some”, let’s do a little “catch-up”.

Not so long ago, a dear friend died . . . actually, two very close friends have died in the last few years. Many “acquaintances” have died (especially for someone like myself plowing into the “eighth decade of life) . . . not unusual, but the “two” are special. And in what way? The “one” was one with whom I could discuss anything of technical relevance . . . and since both he and I were inventors/designers, there always was the possibility of the “one” being more correct than the other. But the bottom line was to get a job done, without the slightest concern as to “who got the credit”. (That sort of thing never, once, came up.)

The other close friend that died was “black’, and I’m “white”, etc. We were known, even by his family as being “twin brothers” . . . and had a close friendship, in spiritual matters, especially in Bible study, and teaching. What a privilege when, at the funeral, one of his sons called me "uncle"!

Which brings me to a simple principle, found at the address of Proverbs 27:17 . . . and I’ll quote it right out of the King James Version, “As iron sharpens iron, So a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.”

That shouldn’t offend anyone . . . but expresses a basic principle of all humans: We do well to discuss things, knowing that no single person has all the answers, but we find help and support by sharing our answers, and our questions, with each other . . . not to tear down the “other”, but to mutually understand the created universe, and the laws, and principles, in which we find ourselves.

God didn’t leave us without answers, but many refuse to accept the obvious, and then blame God, or others, for their problems.

As you may guess, I miss my two friends . . . but we’ll “catch up” later. In the mean time, I would encourage you to “buy up the time”, and share with each other the things that you learn, the questions that you discover, without being “confrontational”. Life is far too short to make more enemies . . . they seem to grow faster than weeds. Ask questions, with the attitude of being a student . . . and who knows, maybe something “new” will cross your path. It’s actually “fun” and exciting. Take it from an old guy that learns something new, each and every day.


(‘Would that I had the freedom to share with you much more . . . the joy that has only one source.)

(Is the “gadfly” in trouble? . . . Probably! So what else is new?)

Baron95 said...

Hey Gadfly, maybe you can go help Steve - I'm going to lie and jump out of a plane slide - Slater out.

Lets Review the Facts:
1 - Overweight with man boobs - check
2 - Gay and HIV Positive - check
3 - Alcoholic with previous DWI conviction - check
4 - Previously fired by another airline, unable to hold a job for more than a few years - check

Yep - typical male US airline flight attendant. Lets not contrast that with say a Cathay flight attendant, shall we?

5 - Claims he got a bump in the head on the flight - but multiple passengers saw him come on board the flight with the bump (too much drinking?)

6 - Claims he had to break up a passenger fight - but no, not one passenger saw any of that.

7 - Was rude during the flight, cursed and stormed off during service leaving cart in the isle.

8 - After plane was parked at the gate and passengers were disembarking, curses to passengers face to face and via PA.

9 - Grabs 2 beers (theft).

10 - Deploys the emergency slide at 3,000 PSI, with crew on the ground working the plane - NBC aired security footage of ground crew having just passed under the slide location seconds before the deployment. (endangerment)

11 - Obviously places the plane out of service until the slide can be replaced/repacked. (destruction of property)

12 - Runs and trespasses over airport property to avoid arrest. (criminal trespass and police evasion).

Result of all of the above?

Becomes a here of fellow flight attendants, the flight attendant's union, CNN, the press, other idiots. Gets offered a TV Show host job.

Go figure.

Baron95 said...


airtaximan said...


What's your point?

Criminals are made into public figures?

He's not qualified to host a TV show?


Baron95 said...


The points are:
1 - The quality of US airline flight attendants (the visible face of the airline to most customers) is deplorable. A collection of (largely) deplorable, grumpy, old or unfit to deal with the public folks.

2 - A clearly unfit, grumpy cursing alcoholic flight attendant commits several crimes, endangers and delays passenger in a stereotypical homosexual hissy fit and becomes a hero to his fellow flight attendants and the media.

That is messed up.

As someone who spends an inordinate amount of time flying US airlines, it is truly sad and depressing to witness and endure.

I have had the pleasure of flying with truly exceptional flight attendants, but over the years, in US (and some other airlines like BA) it has been trending to the Steve Slater side of the coin.

If the US airline industry were to be opened up to international competition, like cars, TVs, etc, these abominations like Slater would surely not going to be flying.

What is the downside of allowing say Cathay Pacific to fly intra-US routes? Why limit US airline foreign ownership?

Answer: to protect the unions from competition and enable troubled souls like Slater to curse at passengers and pull slides beer can in hand.

airsafetyman said...

I think the flight attendants themselves are embarrassed by the level of service they provide and are ashamed of the companies they work for. It really would be better to just park the airplanes. Passengers would take foreign carriers for overseas flights and drive or take the train for domestic travel. TSA employees could stand around X-raying themselves all day for starters.

airtaximan said...

You've never seen Jerry Springer?

gadfly said...

What was it? . . . maybe about twenty years ago, my wife and I were in Chicago, something to do with a medical convention near the “Loop”, where one of my inventions was being introduced . . . the “Vascular Clip System” . . . and we ran into a group of stewardesses at the Chicago Art Institute, on the “Lake Front”.

These stewardesses (who would be insulted to be called anything else) were celebrating a fiftieth or sixtieth reunion, of sorts. My wife can always strike up a conversation with almost anyone, etc. (it’s a family joke) . . . but these stewardesses from the ancient days, when the most common aircraft was the “DC-3", the Boeing “240", and WWII was still on the horizon . . . were ladies of “true class”. (BAT was then the forerunner of UAL, etc.) Many of these stewardesses (like my wife) were already professional “RN’s” (Registered Nurses), and truly knew how to provide the passenger with a most enjoyable experience. It wasn’t just for the money, but for the simple pleasure of doing a good job, and looking forward to another day as a true hostess, in the air.

Once in awhile, we meet a person who is a “true professional”, who works for more than the money . . . and who finds work, not a burden, but a privilege.

The “oldest” of those stewardesses, living somewhere on the west coast (Southern California) found a “DC-3" in her front yard . . . in celebration to the early days of Commercial Aviation . . . Now, that type of work brings “vocation” into marriage with “avocation”. For some of us, we fully understand . . . while it would seem that most folks have a vocation that is “light years distant” from their (dreamed of) “avocation”.


(Any of you who travel to Chicago, don’t miss a visit to the Chicago Art Institute, the largest collection of “fine art” in the US of A. You’ll not be able to take it in, in a single day . . . ‘just come back another day, and take your time. And don’t hurry . . . you would miss so much!)

gadfly said...

So, on a day like today, when there is almost no work coming in through the door, etc., what does the gadfly do, to occupy his time? For one thing, he occupies his time in designing potential things, yet to be constructed . . . answers the phone and brings together the information for a new job . . . thinks of things that might benefit others on the internet, and listens to messages from the distant past, that are as relevant today, as the day they were given, from a man who died back in about 1988, and who had a major impact on my own life:

That's what a "gadfly" does . . . and would like more than anything else, to share with everyone else what makes life worth the living.

There is not the slightest pressure for anyone to download and listen to the "MP3" message above, but for me, it made my day.


(For folks that don't yet know "who's in charge", there remains much discouragement, for the future. And for many, the future does not look good.)

gadfly said...

"Boeing 240" ... I know better, as every day I look at a scale model of the Boeing "247", given to me by my Uncle Dayton, when he was still working for Boeing, before he took a position with "United", as an aeronautical engineer. The solid aluminum cast model sits next to a solid cast aluminum Lockheed "P-80", purchased at an "air show" in Burbank, sometime in the mid 1940's, and were my toys "growing up".


(Some folks say that I never did "grow up" . . . it's just too much fun staying a kid. So, "what's the hurry?!" At least this way, my grand-kids and I have much in common. As long as I can get my arthritic body to get down on the floor, there is little to compare to the pleasure of looking a grand kid, eyeball-to-eyeball, at their level. Now getting back up . . . that's another story.)

gadfly said...

Not all, but most of those that come to this website have some interest in “flying” . . . and a few have a fascination with all that is included in flying “on the wings of the wind”. (You’ll find that term in Psalm 18 . . . but there are many expressions that relate to flying and aerodynamics in “the Word”.)

At “Costco”, I picked up another sixty pounds of sugar to help “fuel” the cloud of hummingbirds that fill our porch area . . . and I can feel the downdraft of these little hungry “porkers”, as they drain five large feeders, to maintain their little “engines”. I’m amazed that they can hover so long . . . and in a few weeks will make their yearly trip south, for hundreds, thousands of miles . . . even across the Gulf of Mexico.

Up on the “property”, we have a windmill . . . and as the wind comes up the canyon, water is pumped into a “stock tank”, with some tiny fish, some cattails, some water lilies, snails and water bugs. Often, especially in late winter, the scene is set for Dvorak’s “Symphony for the New World” . . . with the growing cold wind and evening “fire” of a New Mexico sunset . . . and there is little time to spare, to get into the house, near a warm wood stove.

Where ever we look, we depend upon aerodynamics . . . and sometimes when we don’t pay attention, someone dies . . . less than a half mile from the windmill, two folks died last winter, as their small aircraft came down, only a few hundred feet from the entrance into the property, in a snow storm. (The pilot decided “too late” that going to work at Los Alamos, in a snow storm that morning, was not a good idea.)

In this high country, we are fascinated by the flight of a hawk, or eagle . . . or even a crow, or especially the little humming birds. The wind comes up “Tijeras Canyon”, and forms an almost stationary thunderstorm, over the “scissors” (Tijeras) . . . and we observe the “lenticular clouds” that seem to be stationary over Sandia Crest (but if we watch carefully, we see that the air is moving at tremendous speeds, as the moisture travels into and out of the “dew point” at altitude, forming the bottom of the “lens” shaped clouds).

‘Don’t you all see a consistent plan and purpose in all this? . . . I do! And I never cease to be amazed at the precision, and the variety, of all the aerodynamics that keep us alive . . . and even allow us to “walk on the wings of the wind”.


(Take time, this week-end, to “look up” and study the things, the wonders that our God has provided.)

Floating Cloud said...

It would seem our host has gone AWAL. Link to aviationcritic@gmail address no longer working.

Makes me sad to think a little stormy weather would bring this blog down.

Maybe it was me, blaming non-mediation of host, but a small grey cloud shouldn't make one change whole flight plan all together, should it?!?

Phil, if you are out there, we used to be friends. What's up man?


airsafetyman said...


The blog is dying. Lots of good subjects to talk about - union contract issues at Beech and Cessna and the inept management at both, or the Intensive Care Unit that non-union Piper is in and the looooooong chanch they can get the PiperJet finished in time to save the company, but no one to keep the blog on tract.

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