Cirrus Launches "the-jet"!

Up until now, Cirrus' single-engine jet was a purposeful mystery. Now the company provides some intruiging details. Read more.

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At a media-only event at its Duluth, Minnesota, factory, Cirrus Design recently launched its single-engine, personal jet program by showing off a mockup of the airplane, which it calls "the-jet." While the mockup revealed numerous details of the design, and while Cirrus was candid about all that it knew-and didn't know-about the program, there remain many unknowns, which will doubtless add the suspense that Cirrus seems so keen on building. As you can see from the photograph, the-jet is a single-engine turbofan with a large (in fact, very large) fuselage and a V-tail in back. The airplane can hold up to seven occupants, though it's optimized for five,with a second row of three-across seating with a center seat that slides far rearward, giving everybody plenty of leg and shoulder room. A pair of smaller seats in back brings the capacity up to seven. Cirrus also hinted at the projected performance of the-jet, with an expected cruise speed of "around 300 knots" and an NBAA IFR range of "around 1,000 nm." The engine, a Williams FJ33 high-bypass turbofan, is mounted atop the fuselage at a downward angle, with the thrust vectored upward to give the airplane a straight, uncomplicated thrustline. Cirrus selected the V-tail, it said, in order to keep it out of the way of the engine's thrust line in the simplest possible way. The relatively slow speed of the-jet is a result, the company said, of making the airplane a forgiving flyer at slow speeds. The projected stall speed with full flaps is 61 knots, the traditional limit for single-engine airplanes. The wing is just 38 feet in span, so it will fit in most hangars designed for single-engine airplanes, but it's fat, to allow it carry a lot of fuel. Cirrus said it was still determining exactly how much that would be. One thing Alan Klapmeier did say was that the airplane would be built primarily out of carbon fiber, in order to keep weight down. The company's SR20 and SR22 piston singles are made predominantly from less expensive fiberglass materials. Cirrus pegged the cost of the-jet at between $750,000 and $1.3 million, a wide range, to be sure. And it was mum on when it might be available, saying it simply didn't know yet.