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Thread summary:

Jet makers hit hard due to unfair media coverage, aviation business feeling economic downturn, cost of flying private business jet versus commercial first class

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Old 03-04-2009, 11:31 AM
 
957 posts, read 861,029 times
Reputation: 195

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The modernized Marine 1 fleet was an obvious Republican boondoggle. $500 million per helicopter?! Granted I'm no expert but it might as well be $5 billion per helicopter; either one is nuts. I'd much rather the development costs be lost--that'll teach the companies padding the contracts a lesson for the next time. In the Bush days it was a free-for-all for gov't contractors. Those days are over, lest the rest of us starve to death.

Re planes on order by TARP patients, that's just the way it goes. When a company goes bankrupt, they should cancel their unnecessary orders. This is little different. These companies are losing money every day; they obviously need to cut back, and I don't believe it will hurt the companies if every employee flies commercial until they've paid the public back. If TARP companies deserve Gulfstreams at public expense, then every company does; after all, don't small companies deserve a chance to become large companies?

Another issue here is that our air-traffic control network has been neglected for 8 years. It's very strained now, from what I've read. It can't handle thousands more private jets without commercial traffic being delayed. We need to upgrade the system before we get a lot more private jets to manage.
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Old 03-04-2009, 12:23 PM
 
Location: Kansas
3,855 posts, read 11,461,611 times
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When you start from scratch on the develpment of an aircraft - be it a helicopter or a fighter jet - you can count on spending an extremely large sum of money. That's just the way it is. It would be the same whether a Democrat or a Republican president placed the order. I would bet a stack of bills that a large portion of the development costs were related to the communications and avionics (which I'm sure we can both agree that W wasn't smart enough to come up with on his own to even request it). And if a new engine had to be developed that's $1B right there. Defense contractors aren't chritable organizations. They have to make money to stay in business. But I can guarantee you that there's no padding going on. Costs are watched ever so closely. Being an outsider you wouldn't be able to see this. Most people see defense contractors as vampires who suck up tax dollars. It's just not true.

And I wouldn't exactly call it a free-for-all. Up until the last year I worked on the F-35 program. Granted they are over budget and behind schedule but the funding and the constraints and agressiveness on schedule has never been tighter on any other program in history. It was way too agressive from the word go. We - the engineers - knew we could never meet the government's constraints. No way...no how. Every time there was mention of possibly being behind or overbudged congress would threaten to shut it down. Eventually the company conveinced them that due to their newly proposed requirements we would be unable to stay the course and would require more development time and funds. We didn't get everything we asked for but they finally realized how hard the task was and understood that the original schedule was impossible.

And lets not forget about all the scandals in the defense industry that were busted in the early part of the Bush presidency. Ever since that happened it's been a pretty tight ship on our end. We had to take in-depth yearly ethics courses following that. Padding our pockets? LOL I'd hate to be a contractor caught doing that in the last 6 years.

The TARP companies are cutting back. Just ask all the people the laid off.....and the aircraft manufacturers and all the people that have been laid off in our industry. But again...even if we-the-tax-payers funded the purchase of business jets I wouldn't object in the least because I know for a fact that they are efficient means of transport for executives. If the use of business jets helps their company resolve their finacial issues they will have been worth while purchases. Additionaly there is the positive affect of giving the aviation industry business.

No doubt ATC is strained. Reference the RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima) where they have started stacking planes at every 1000 ft instead of 2000ft in the pattern due to the increased traffic. It's gotten to be as bad as tracking space junk....eventually you know two objects are going to collide...you just hope nobody gets hurt in the process.
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Old 03-04-2009, 04:19 PM
 
1,989 posts, read 3,842,181 times
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All over America people are cutting back.

Jane and Joe McMansion aren't ponying up to buy a new Escalade this year.
Frank and Irene Trailerpark aren't eating out at Pizza Hut on date night.
Thurston and Lovey are going to downsize and sell one of their Harry Winston necklaces.

Why should these CEOs and their companies be any different? If you're sucking financial wind, you cut back. What you don't NEED gets cut first. And unfortunately, all the businesses we all used to patronize-- Cadillac dealers, restaurants, jewelers and jet makers-- feel it.

No one is special. No one is exempt. That's why there was outrage. "Business as usual" doesn't cut it these days no matter who you are, where you work or how much you make.

It sucks. But it is what it is.
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Old 03-04-2009, 05:35 PM
 
Location: Georgia, on the Florida line, right above Tallahassee
10,473 posts, read 13,411,168 times
Reputation: 6344
Quote:
Originally Posted by drjones96 View Post
You're saying AF1 is not a waste of money but a modernized Marine 1 is a complete waste? The cost overrun was likely a direct result of the requirements being a moving target. I think it's a mistake. They're going to have to replace their current fleet of helicopters eventually....and when they do it'll cost them even more than this time around would have. They've already spent billions on the developement....and to cancel it now is as good as taking all those billions and throwing it all into a bonfire.
That's true. Inflation sucks.
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:19 PM
 
Location: Kansas
3,855 posts, read 11,461,611 times
Reputation: 1706
Quote:
Originally Posted by 70Ford View Post
That's true. Inflation sucks.
It's nearly as sorry as the government cancelling the Space Shuttle replacement. They spent SO much on it and when it came time to go/nogo.....they nogo. All that money and time spent in developement....and now they have no viable replacement. We'll be paying the Russians to hitch a ride to the ISS because our SUV broke down on the launch pad.
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:24 PM
 
957 posts, read 861,029 times
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That's great! The sooner the ISS is mothballed or scrapped the better. Big waste of money.
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Old 03-05-2009, 07:15 AM
 
Location: Kansas
3,855 posts, read 11,461,611 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Heiwos View Post
That's great! The sooner the ISS is mothballed or scrapped the better. Big waste of money.
I curious about what you call 'money well spent'. Should we spend nothing on aviation or space exploration?
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Old 03-05-2009, 11:47 AM
 
957 posts, read 861,029 times
Reputation: 195
It's clear that there are only two purposes of space exploration: satisfy curiosity, and make the rich richer in the form of gov't contracts. The ISS is almost all about the latter, and I get enough curiosity satisfaction from the Hubble Space Telescope. I support its successor, a more powerful telescope. I don't support any other publicly-funded space exploration, except from the ground on Earth. (For now--ask me again when more children are starving as the country implodes under the weight of its national debt.)

I don't support an ever-more-powerful US military, like the latest & greatest attack planes. I think the US military is already way too powerful; nowadays we're mostly beating up on other countries to steal from them. We spend more on our military than every other country in the world combined? Absolutely ridiculous, and it's only a matter of time before the children are starving en masse (a worse Great Depression) because of it.

I'm a liberal, and liberals are fiscal conservatives. Scrap most unnecessary programs to help pay down the national debt, I say.
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Old 03-05-2009, 02:33 PM
 
1,738 posts, read 3,883,003 times
Reputation: 4566
Quote:
Originally Posted by drjones96 View Post
When you start from scratch on the develpment of an aircraft - be it a helicopter or a fighter jet - you can count on spending an extremely large sum of money. That's just the way it is. It would be the same whether a Democrat or a Republican president placed the order. I would bet a stack of bills that a large portion of the development costs were related to the communications and avionics (which I'm sure we can both agree that W wasn't smart enough to come up with on his own to even request it). And if a new engine had to be developed that's $1B right there. Defense contractors aren't chritable organizations. They have to make money to stay in business. But I can guarantee you that there's no padding going on. Costs are watched ever so closely. Being an outsider you wouldn't be able to see this. Most people see defense contractors as vampires who suck up tax dollars. It's just not true.

And I wouldn't exactly call it a free-for-all. Up until the last year I worked on the F-35 program. Granted they are over budget and behind schedule but the funding and the constraints and agressiveness on schedule has never been tighter on any other program in history. It was way too agressive from the word go. We - the engineers - knew we could never meet the government's constraints. No way...no how. Every time there was mention of possibly being behind or overbudged congress would threaten to shut it down. Eventually the company conveinced them that due to their newly proposed requirements we would be unable to stay the course and would require more development time and funds. We didn't get everything we asked for but they finally realized how hard the task was and understood that the original schedule was impossible.

And lets not forget about all the scandals in the defense industry that were busted in the early part of the Bush presidency. Ever since that happened it's been a pretty tight ship on our end. We had to take in-depth yearly ethics courses following that. Padding our pockets? LOL I'd hate to be a contractor caught doing that in the last 6 years.

The TARP companies are cutting back. Just ask all the people the laid off.....and the aircraft manufacturers and all the people that have been laid off in our industry. But again...even if we-the-tax-payers funded the purchase of business jets I wouldn't object in the least because I know for a fact that they are efficient means of transport for executives. If the use of business jets helps their company resolve their finacial issues they will have been worth while purchases. Additionaly there is the positive affect of giving the aviation industry business.

No doubt ATC is strained. Reference the RVSM (Reduced Vertical Separation Minima) where they have started stacking planes at every 1000 ft instead of 2000ft in the pattern due to the increased traffic. It's gotten to be as bad as tracking space junk....eventually you know two objects are going to collide...you just hope nobody gets hurt in the process.

I'm sorry dr, I throw the BS flag. I know your background and give you the benefit of the doubt in your personal professionalism and ethics when conducting your job duties, have no reason to question it not knowing you from adam, but the industry you're involved in and its related products are anything but altar boys. It's a BLOATED industry my man. I know that hits your nerve, but I'm on the operator side of the house and the shenanigans between mother blue and the contractor world would blow people's mind.

Forget the F-35, that's too easy, and don't get me started on the KC-X and Boeing crying uncle like a little b%ch. Everything from platforms (F-22), avionics (Connect, Lynk16, AMP/AMI for all the old birds) and weapons (JASSM) is a freggin' accounting disaster. Industry is running loose like a dingbat off a lighted cave. You can guarantee me there's no padding going on as much as I can guarantee you that there's 300,000 dollar toilets all over DOD/industry acquisitions and contracting. We simply sit in different sides of the fence, I get told to do more with less, your boys get to overcharge the proverbial plasma TV for the orderly room while my jet is broke and the F-22 reboots in flight, and I'll keep it at that to keep this OPSEC friendly. Suffice to say I've flown with bros at Edwards from the test side of the house and the stories they tell me of the contractor peddling and whipsawing shenanigans keep the beers flowing all night.

Funny you mention RVSM. That's not new, but here's a twist for ya. Boeing tells me it'll cost me an arm and a leg to get my old butt jet RVSM capable. You think I like wasting tax payer's dollars by flying all over this thing at FL280 burning 60% more than I could at FL380? Who's putting the stops on that one. The AF? The operational squadrons? Hell no, it's Boeing and their price gouging. This is off-the-shelf technology mind you. Sorry but your argument doesn't hold water in my experience. So I tell Boeing to go pound sand, I can get the mod off the shelf. FAA and DOD say no way, you gotta let mother Boeing bless the mod, cause you guys at industry got the FAA on your pockets. Nothing gets done unless we overpay Boeing for what I can do with a freggin handheld garmin and a piper malibu autopilot. No padding my a##. You dang right they're not a charity, they gotta keep you folks paid above median salary, otherwise y'all couldn't afford the 3/2 on the cul-de-sac on a college education and all hell would break loose; be taking rivet pusher's hostage and s*it. Not a personal jab, just highlighting you're not in a position to argue aerospace contracting is legit when you're on the payroll.

As to business jets, I hear ya in theory, but like everything in life, if it flies, floats or f$cks, your better off renting. The FAA certification tape to get parts and maintenance done for GA kills the sector. Liability is the name of the game, and there's just no competing with the economies of scale of stuffing people like cattle on a southwest jet and having a 15 minute turn time. Even rich outfits rather do fractional setups like netjets, than cover the whole pie themselves. Until this sue happy society lets off on that front, liability will be the achiles heel of GA and Part 91 biz jets.

As to the space shuttle, yeah it be nice to have it around, but it's not on the upside of economic priorities. It's old and it's expensive as hell. It supports a lot of folks in the aerospace industry and it's a painful ding for the aerospace workers to see it go from an employability perspective; I understand people don't go into aero engineering to end up drawing printer toners on CATIA, but hey nobody did me any favors either when I was getting said education. Life's tough. If society tells the 25 year airplane mechanic to go be 'global' and become a nurse cause it's in demand today, the aerospace worker's gotta make due too.
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