In subfreezing temperatures and buffeting winds, a Cirrus Aircraft test pilot yesterday flew the first production conforming Vision SF50 jet, taking off from Duluth International Airport at around 5 p.m. for the one-hour shakedown test.
“The Vision Jet handled and performed very well and all systems functioned properly – just what you want in a first flight,” said Cirrus chief test pilot Mike Stevens.
Dubbed C0, the airplane is the first of three conforming flight test articles for the Vision SF50 certification program. It was assembled from production-ready drawings, tooling, and manufacturing processes at the Cirrus factory in Minnesota. An early prototype that flew in 2008 is not part of the test program.
“Today’s successful test flight marks another significant step toward our goal of elevating the personal flying experience with a clean sheet airplane design,” said Cirrus CEO Dale Klapmeier. “The engineers, technicians, designers and all Cirrus employees that have worked tirelessly on the Vision Jet program are justifiably proud today.”
The first flight included systems checks of controllability, maneuverability and flight envelope testing, as well as speed performance at an intermediate altitude, Cirrus reports.
With a list price of just under $2 million and seating up to five adults and two smaller passengers, the Vision Jet is intended to serve as an attractive step-up product for owners of high-performance piston airplanes such as the Cirrus SR22.
Since the SF50 program began, Cirrus has received orders for more than 500. Deliveries are planned to begin late next year.
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