Letters: 10/04

Adam and Eclipse
I have already placed my bet in the light jet race with Eclipse as a deposit holder from day one. So, that in mind, I would like to comment on Rick Durden s article on the Adam 700. I resent the undeserved negative undertones toward the Eclipse and would like to comment as follows.

The only technological breakthrough on the Eclipse is friction stir welding, which drastically cuts production costs. This provides an inspectable, repairable, nearly composite smooth aluminum airframe. That technology has already been proven in other arenas and the equipment is installed and operating at Eclipse.

By stating that he thinks someone can make money at $2.5 million Rick is implying that Eclipse will not do so at $1.175 million. Orders in hand for around $2.3 billion at Eclipse backed by deposits make it hard for me to believe that the astute management at Eclipse is going to lose money.

The scaled down Williams engine on the Adam is little different from the PWC scaling down of the 615, which is well on its way to certification. How are the components of the Adam any more proven than the Eclipse?

If the Adam 700 was made on production tooling, where is the belly tank, will it be a glue on? Making changes to a production composite aircraft can be a major expense. As for the comfortable flight deck, I was told that a tall guy like me would find the Adam 700 cramped. I went to check for myself, but apparently I didnt measure up in my tennis shoes and ball cap as able to afford one, so I got them to give me a break and looked over the chain at the inside.

Lets face it, the only way the VLJs will change the world is for them to be priced close to a new Baron (a little over a million bucks). To do that, you need volume and mass production technology. At nearer $2 million, Adam runs up against used CJs, high-performance turbine singles, King Airs that are nearly as fast and a herd of used jets. Im still betting on Eclipse to change the face of air travel.

-David B. Baughman
Louisville, Kentucky


Garmin Fan
I have to strongly disagree with your selection of the Lowrance GPS as best of 2003. While all the hardware is in place to make the Lowrance a useful tool, the operating software is abysmal, in my view.

For example, when flying VFR, the number one most common function I use in my Garmin Pilot III is the direct button. In the Garmin, you press direct, then you can either choose the 10 nearest airports, the 10 most recent (which always includes my home airport so 50 percent of the time I have the destination even if it is not the nearest) or, in a pinch, you can enter the airport identifier directly.

Last year at OSH (and again this year using the downloadable simulator) I confirmed that the only way to select a direct destination thats not on the nearest list in the Lowrance 500/1000 is to use the rocker switch to move the cursor to the airport you want on the map!

After trying the 500 at OSH, I bought a Garmin GPS 196 at a significantly higher price. I have to wonder if those following your recommendation will not wish they had done the same thing.

-David Abrams
Via e-mail

We didnt say the Lowrance was the best GPS of 2003; we said it was the best value, given its low price. Not every buyer can afford a $900 GPS.


Broker Beef
I am writing in follow up to the article written by Clint Lowe in the June, 2004 Aviation Consumer. I am an aviation insurance broker (not Mr. Lowes) and have been for the last 15 years. I am compelled to make the following observations.

First, the articles title includes the word trap. I read nothingthat lead me to believe Lowes insurance company did anything other than truthfully honor the terms of their policy. Indeed, in his closing thoughts, Lowe concedes there were things he could have done before and during the claim process that could have been to his benefit. We all have 20/20 hindsight and I wasnt in Lowes shoes, but how was his circumstance a trap?

Second, if Lowes insurance broker questioned the viability of coverage since the company might view the claim as blatant carelessness, then he needs a new insurance broker. Over half the claims I see paid could be considered blatant carelessness.

Third, Lowes description of what computations the insurance companies consider when deciding whether to total an aircraft are noteworthy for every owner.

Fourth, Lowe lists some things which he apparently believes the insurance company should have covered, but didnt. He refers to these as gotchas. One involved the crankshaft which fell under an AD. It wasnt damaged due to the claim, but Lowe thought the company should have paid for the replacement; had this issue been discovered at annual, would Lowe have lobbied his insurance carrier to pay for it then?

From the tone of the article, I believe if Lowe was left in charge of deciding what the insurance companies should pay for, everyones rates would be going up.

Fifth, in discussing the cost to repaint the aircraft, Lowe report ed he received information from the shop on who would pay for the new paint, but did not follow up with the insurance adjuster. He conveys his disappointment with the insurance company for not paying for the entire paint job. Now, maybe they should have. But to hint that the adjuster was the bad guy when Lowe didnt bother to verify the situation directly with him is simply wrong.

I find most of the insurance underwriters and adjusters not only honest, but quite professional in their dealings with people. They dont search for ways to rip-off a customer.

But they do get audited from time to time and they must explain to their superiors why they paid what they paid; the yardstick they use is the insurance policy. To expect any insurance company to go beyond the terms of their policy, much less way beyond, is not a reasonable position.

-Andrew R. Facer
Facer Insurance Agency
Rantoul, Illinois