With the strong backing of its new Chinese owners, Cirrus Aircraft on Wednesday announced that the long-gestating Vision SF50 single-engine jet program has received full funding through certification and into initial production, now anticipated to start in 2015.
“Today is simply a tremendous milestone for Cirrus,” said Dale Klapmeier, CEO and cofounder of Cirrus Aircraft. “We revolutionized general aviation with the introduction of the SR20 just over a decade ago. With more than 5,100 SR-series aircraft delivered to date, pilots, entrepreneurs, families and aviators of all kinds have embraced our dream. Today, that dream is renewed as we are on the cusp of an even bigger leap with the Cirrus Vision.”
In an effort to ramp up design and flight test capabilities that will be needed to bring the Vision personal jet into production, Cirrus Aircraft said it will accelerate hiring of engineers and other employees critical to the completion of the program. The Cirrus Vision development team will be based in Duluth. Vision jets will be assembled alongside the SR20, SR22 and SR22T in Cirrus Aircraft’s Minnesota and North Dakota production facilities. Garmin (avionics and flight deck), Williams International (turbofan engine) and Triumph Group (trailing link landing gear) are members of the Vision supplier team that Cirrus has named so far.
The first flight of the Vision concept aircraft was made in 2008. Detail design, systems verification and full flight envelope testing have been ongoing since then. The Vision jet will offer seating for up to five adults and two children. Through June 30, 2012, the list price for a “well-equipped” Cirrus Vision SF50 is $1.72 million. The list price climbs to $1.96 million effective July 1, 2012.
According to Klapmeier, the Vision jet could not move ahead on such a fast schedule without funding and support from CAIGA, the Chinese manufacturing consortium that purchased the Duluth, Minnesota, aircraft maker last year.
“We have come so far in just a brief time with our new owners as they share our vision for the future of aviation and personal transportation,” he said. “They have set the highest expectations for the Cirrus team. But more importantly, they are actively partnering with Cirrus while providing substantial resources for us to meet and exceed our shared goals as we build an entire family of Cirrus aircraft.”
For more on the Cirrus Jet, read Robert Goyer's article, "What Jet Pilots Don't Get About the Cirrus Jet."