Cirrus to Build Big Knoxville Facility

Company will deliver jets and SR-models, conduct jet training at new center.

Cirrus Vision Center Knoxville Bill Haslam
Cirrus Vision Center Knoxville Bill Haslam
Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam

With the governor of Tennessee in attendance, along with numerous state, county and local officials, Cirrus Aircraft announced that it will establish a new campus called the Vision Center in Knoxville, Tennessee's McGhee Tyson Airport (KTYS) that will focus on all customer interactions, including training, aircraft deliveries and aircraft maintenance and repair. The center is slated to open by the middle of 2016, with the service center being the first part of the campus to open for business.

Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam joined Cirrus CEO and co-founder Dale Klapmeier in making the announcement that will initially bring 50 jobs to the Knoxville area, increasing to about 175 when the facility is fully up and running.

Some of those positions are currently located in Minnesota, and Cirrus said that there would be some displacement of workers at its Duluth facility, though the number of workers affected was not available.

Cirrus chose Knoxville for its strategic location, noting that the city is convenient to a high percentage of existing Cirrus owners, that it has generally good weather and a "welcoming community."

The facility will be the nexus for SF50 Vision Jet training and will house the level-D flight simulator, the first of which is already being built by simulation giant CAE. Todd Simmons, who heads customer relations for Cirrus, told Flying that flight training at the center will be very different from that conducted at large pro pilot centers; it will, he said, focus on the customer experience, so jet owners don't have to deal with late hours or crammed classrooms.

The campus will also serve as the delivery center for all Vision Jets and SR22 and SR20 pistons singles, as well as the place where customers go to pick out colors, fabrics and options for planes they order.

Cirrus currently hosts customers at its headquarters in Duluth, Minnesota. The company was emphatic that production of the aircraft will remain in Duluth and Grand Forks, North Dakota, where large structures are built.

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