Cirrus Details FIKI Approval; Outlines Marketing Strategies for 2009

Still facing reduced production (eight aircraft per week from 16), Cirrus had some good news in the form of FAA approval for flight into known icing (FIKI). In a press 'Webinar' on Monday, company management also outlined a series of marketing strategies for the coming year, including defining a series of option-package levels (S, GS and GTS); expanded application of the Perspective by Garmin avionics platform; an X-Edition program designed to enhance the aesthetics and afford buyers more input into the design of their aircraft; and a CMX all-inclusive maintenance program charged to the customer in 100-hour increments. The new TKS-based FIKI-approved system involves up to eight gallons of fluid (twice the amount of the existing system) enabling 2.5 hours of endurance at normal flow rates; a series of cautions and warnings through the Perspective integrated avionics; and icing forecasts now available through the airplane's XM weather system. In addition, the approval for flight into known icing is dependent on the pilot receiving appropriate training. Cirrus Chairman Alan Klapmeier forcefully delivered the message that the system is meant as an escape from inadvertent flight into icing-not a carte blanche for continuous operation in icing conditions (see Mac McClellan's Left Seat). Because the new FIKI-approved system is substantially different from existing systems (required warning annunciators, larger reservoirs, new pumps, more robust fluid flow, more panels added, etc.), current Cirrus aircraft-even those with TKS anti-icing systems-cannot be retrofitted for FIKI approval. Finally, the CMX maintenance program replaces free maintenance offered to 2008 buyers. The bad news is that there is a one-time registration fee for the program ranging from $2,900 to $3,900 depending on aircraft model; and a charge of $3,179 to $3,667 per 100 hours covered. The good news is that the program mirrors the maintenance service plans (MSPs) offered for business jets, which takes the guesswork out of maintenance budgeting and ultimately increases the resale value of the airplane. For more information on the options packages and the X-Edition styling details-and prices for all the new models and their options-go to cirrusdesign.com.