Cirrus Suspends Light Sport SRS Program

Light sport aircraft from established OEMs have had their share of issues lately. Cessna's SkyCatcher has experienced a pair of loss-of-control accidents, destroying two prototypes, but Cessna remains committed to the program. Cirrus, in contrast, is backing off from its light sport SRS, a "Cirrusized" version of a composite Polish design. The Duluth, Minnesota-based manufacturer announced at the Sun 'n Fun show this week that it was "temporarily" suspending development of its SRS "for an undetermined period of time" and offering position holders a variety of options on how to retrieve their $5,000 deposits. A letter from Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters cited limitations on the company's "total enterprise 'bandwidth' to keep every new program on schedule." He explained that the SRS program also involved developing a comprehensive training infrastructure-an effort that would have involved significant company resources to develop and expand. Finally, he cited the potential for LSA rule changes that could affect the market viability of the Cirrus SRS with its current mission profile. For those who had ante'd up deposits for SRSes, Cirrus is offering them a full refund, or a choice of three options: They can retain their position, for which Cirrus will double the value of their deposit if and when the SRS is certified. Or, they can apply their deposit toward a new or pre-owned Cirrus SR20, SR22 or Turbo and receive five times the value of their deposit toward the price of the larger airplane. Finally, should an SRS depositor refer another buyer to Cirrus, the company will pay twice the deposit amount as a referral bonus. At the other end of the performance scale for Cirrus, development and flight testing on the single-engine Vision jet continues on pace.