Cirrus ‘full speed ahead’ on jet

On opening day of Aero, the giant general aviation show in Germany, Cirrus Aircraft revealed that its Cirrus Vision SF50 personal jet program has been fully funded through certification and initial production by the company’s new owner, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co Ltd (CAIGA).

The company anticipates first customer delivery will take place in 2015 for the jet, which was first introduced in 2008.

Touted as the first aircraft to fill the gap between high performance pistons and traditional turboprop twins and light business jets, the Vision was one of the first casualties of the economic downturn, with development put on the back burner while the company concentrated on survival and finding a new owner. Once CAIGA completed its purchase of Cirrus, the jet program underwent a complete review by the new owners. Today’s announcement was hinted at in an April 12 email sent out to the GA industry proclaiming “April 18 is the day. Cirrus will be the story” when the company “announces the next leap forward.”

“Today is simply a tremendous milestone for Cirrus,” said Dale Klapmeier, CEO and co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft. “We revolutionized general aviation with the introduction of the SR20 just over a decade ago. With more than 5,100 SR-series aircraft delivered to date, pilots, entrepreneurs, families and aviators of all kinds have embraced our dream. Today, that dream is renewed as we are on the cusp of an even bigger leap with the Cirrus Vision.”

Klapmeier added that the company’s new owners “share our vision for the future of aviation and personal transportation. They have set the highest expectations for the Cirrus team. But more importantly, they are actively partnering with Cirrus while providing substantial resources for us to meet and exceed our shared goals as we build an entire family of Cirrus aircraft.”

The first flight of the Vision concept aircraft was in 2008. Detail design, systems verification and full flight envelope testing have been ongoing since that time. The new investment, however, “significantly increases the pace and momentum of the program and allows the company to bring the jet to the market,” company officials said.

In an effort to ramp up to certification and production, Cirrus Aircraft will accelerate hiring of engineers, designers and other related technical disciplines critical to the completion of the program, officials added.

The Cirrus Vision development team, working with global design and vendor partners, is based at Cirrus Aircraft company headquarters in Duluth, Minn., and Vision jets will be assembled right alongside the SR20, SR22 and SR22T in the same Minnesota and North Dakota Cirrus Aircraft production facilities.

Through June 30, the list price for a “well-equipped” Cirrus Vision SF50 is $1.72 million with list price moving to $1.96 million July 1, according to company officials.

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