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To Make A Small Fortune in Aviation Start with a Big One

by John M. White |

There is an old adage in aviation circles: if you want to make a small fortune in aviation start with a big one.  Well, Eclipse Aviation is a good example.  Here is a company that launched a big-time effort to manufacture a VLJ (very light jet) and managed to get it to market faster than its competitors. Click on image to enlarge

But, as luck would have it, problems ensued with the aircraft after certification combined with the collapse of the financial markets so on November 25th Eclipse filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware.  The Chairman of Eclipse Aviation, Roel Pieper, has proposed that Eclipse sell itself to one of his companies for roughly $ 0.20 on the dollar.  This means that the suppliers, investors and customers are likely to get only $ 0.20 on the dollar of what they invested in this company.  Thus the old adage is true:  to make a small fortune in aviation start with a big one!

Aviation, and the people in aviation, however are a class act.  The employees of Eclipse have singled out two charities to support duing this time of the year, a local food bank and another that supplies winter coats for children.  It is easy to be cynical in these times, particularly with idots like Madoff ripping billions off of people, but it is great to see the REAL Americans step up to the plate yet again.

Good going Eclipse!  And good luck to your endeavor!

Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch!


Airspeed: Speed of an airplane. Deduct 25% when listening to a Navy pilot.

Bank: The folks who hold the lien on most pilots' cars.

Cone of Confusion: An area about the size of New Jersey, located near the final approach beacon at an airport.

Crab: The squadron Ops Officer.

Dead Reckoning: You reckon correctly, or you are.

Engine Failure: A condition which occurs when all fuel tanks mysteriously become filled with air.

Firewall: Section of the aircraft specially designed to let heat and smoke enter the cockpit.

Glide Distance: Half the distance from the airplane to the nearest emergency landing field.

Hydroplane: An airplane designed to land on a 20,000 foot long wet runway.

IFR: A method of flying by needle and ripcord.

Lean Mixture: Nonalcoholic beer

Nanosecond: Time delay built into the stall warning system.

Parasitic Drag: A pilot who bums a ride and complains about the service.

Range: Usually about 30 miles beyond the point where all fuel tanks fill with air.

Rich Mixture: What you order at the other guy's promotion party.

Roger: Used when you're not sure what else to say.

Service Ceiling: Altitude at which cabin crews can serve drinks.

Spoilers: The Federal Aviation Administration.

 Stall - Technique used to explain to the bank why you car payment is late.

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