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Looks like Eclipse is in trouble

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Eclipse Aviation last week confirmed that it was "evaluating every aspect of the company" and hoped to announce a plan for profitability by the end of the month. The "media alert" added that the "executive management team is working diligently to develop a plan to achieve operational excellence."
The alert followed an earlier announcement that the company would lay off 200 employees to adjust for lower-than-forecast production rates. The layoffs will involve mostly temporary staff. The production rate is believed to have slowed to 10 aircraft per month because key suppliers have held up shipments pending past-due invoices. Eclipse Chairman Roel Pieper late last month said the company would focus on solving vendor problems and achieving the manufacturing efficiencies to nearly double production rates (BA, Aug. 4/49).
But the company alert last week also sought to quell speculation that has surrounded the future of the company. Eclipse said "it has no intention to move its production facilities outside the U.S. in contrast to some current media speculation." Outside observers believe the company is nearing bankruptcy protection.

... and ...

In the wake of FAA's June 12, 2008 Emergency AD regarding possible defects in the throttle quadrant assembly [TQA] of the Eclipse 500 VLJ, FAA announced Wednesday that it is currently conducting a special certification review of the aircraft. FAA has assigned 15 senior staff members to review every aspect of the EA 500 flight test and development program.
The special certification review was welcomed by Eclipse Aviation's management, with Roel Pieper, Eclipse Aviation's new CEO saying "Without a doubt, this special review will uncover what we already know - that the Eclipse 500 marks the safest new airplane introduction into service in 20 years."
However, an Eclipse 500 was involved in a non-injury landing incident at Chicago-Midway on June 5, 2008 after both engines went to an uncommanded thrust setting following a wind-shear escape maneuver. That incident prompted the June 12, 2008 emergency TQA AD. A second aircraft was involved in an unrelated, non-injury landing accident on July 30, 2008 at West Chester-Brandywine Airport in Pennsylvania. Observers at the airport said the aircraft appeared to land fast and well down the runway from the touchdown zone. That incident is likely to result in a total write-off of the aircraft.
Sources close to the Eclipse 500 program said that FAA was eager to complete the review and publish the results by September 12, 2008, prior to a hearing regarding FAA's EA 500 certification process to be held by the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee on September 17, 2008. Committee Chairman James Oberstar (D-MN) requested that the Department of Transportation's inspector general audit the FAA certification process, in part due to allegations made by flight test pilots at FAA's Fort Worth Aircraft Certification Office. Indeed, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association filed an Official Grievance Notification with FAA on October 20, 2006 on behalf of its bargaining unit employees asserting that FAA did not allow Los Angeles and Ft. Worth "aircraft certification engineers and flight test pilots to properly complete their assigned certification/safety responsibilities".
In addition to receiving testimony from the DOT inspector general, Oberstar's committee is looking for former Eclipse employees to testify at the hearing. The witness list has not been published.

....

Airplane is a neat idea, but the avionics are currently half baked and it appears designing, certifying and building a new type from scratch is a tall order to fill. If the Williams engines had turned out to be a success the airplane would have surely been a game changer.
 

Tired Soul

Plowing at FL370
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Personally don't think they'll make it into '09....
Too much trouble, price hike..no funds...
 
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captainv

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http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/07/eclipse-ceo-shu.html

Is this really a surprise? In the end, they over-promised and under-delivered an updated, single-pilot Lear 23 with new avionics. The whole thing depended on completing a ridiculous number of aircraft per day to make the economics work.

Still, it's not the end. VLJs won't kill bizjets or the airlines. Air taxi might grow a little, but the revolution isn't coming. The price will come up dramatically, but i'd guess the airplane will still be an attractive alternative for short-range missions...
 

Galaxy

Watching FLOPS die slowly
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They were in trouble a long time ago.. This just has been long awaited spiral.
 

climbhappy

ex pat
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the demand for VLJs has been from 400to 5000 units over the next 10 years. with a dozen other makes, you have to wonder how this will pan out.

what amazes me is the cottage industry of selling delivery positions for 25 to 40 grand in profit.
 

Amish RakeFight

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Bad timing for the VLJ's in general. Unfortunate. I was thinking it might be a nice gig to have one day.
 
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