Cirrus Jet Makes Progress

Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. [FLYING Archives]

Cirrus Aircraft’s recently appointed president and COO Pat Waddick briefed the media in a press conference at AirVenture about the progress of the much anticipated and drawn out SF50 Vision Jet program. More than 170 people are hard at work on the Cirrus Jet program in Duluth, Minnesota, and, after extensive testing of what Cirrus calls the verification vehicle or V1, work has now begun on the first conforming airplane (C0).

After evaluating the V1 prototype, Waddick said some “little tweaks” were made to the airframe, such as lengthening the nose and enlarging the tail section. The interior has been designed to accommodate up to five adults and two children. Targeted performance for the Cirrus Jet is a 300-knot cruise speed and 1,000 nm range, and up to a 1,200 nm range at an economy cruise of 210 knots.

Tooling for the jet is starting to arrive in Duluth, including robotic equipment that Waddick says will increase the accuracy of production. Cirrus hopes to fly C0 in February or March of 2014 and Waddick expects certification to take place 18 months after that initial flight. Two additional test airplanes will be produced: C1 for systems testing and C2 for function and reliability testing. Late 2015 is the current target for the delivery of the first of 545 Vision Jets for which Cirrus currently holds deposits. The price tag is $1.96 million in 2010 dollars.

While no details of potential future programs were released, Cirrus’ CEO and co-founder Dale Klapmeier said they are “not standing still,” indicating that there are plans for new models to be added to the product line once the Vision Jet is certified, a future vision made possible by the new Chinese ownership. “We have an ownership that has a very long range horizon and that makes it very exciting,” Klapmeier said.

Klapmeier also discussed the potential for a future facility in China. “The growth potential in China is astronomical,” he said. “We do see a day when we sell a lot of airplanes in China.”

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Pia Bergqvist joined FLYING in December 2010. A passionate aviator, Pia started flying in 1999 and quickly obtained her single- and multi-engine commercial, instrument and instructor ratings. After a decade of working in general aviation, Pia has accumulated almost 3,000 hours of flight time in nearly 40 different types of aircraft.

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