When some people learn they can’t have children, they opt to adopt instead. In a sense, that’s what Cirrus Design has done to enter the Light Sport Aircraft market.
The Duluth-based aircraft manufacturer plans to enter the LSA market by making modifications to the FK14 Polaris. The design comes from FK Lightplanes in Germany and has flown for decades as a microlight in Europe.
“We need to make flying easier and one way to do that is to offer lower-cost airplanes,” Cirrus Chairman and CEO Alan Klapmeier said on opening day of this year’s AirVenture in Oshkosh.
With a wave of his hand, he signaled to Cirrus employees who were wearing T-shirts with the word SECURITY emblazoned on them to pull back a green parachute that covered the design.
There were many ooohs and aaahs from the crowd as the yellow and white low-wing design with the bubble canopy was unveiled. The aircraft will be known as the Cirrus SRS.
The announcement of its entry into the LSA market comes on the heels of Cirrus Design’s introduction of its jet.
Klapmeier explained that Cirrus simply did not have the time, or resources, to produce a clean sheet design of an LSA in a timely fashion, so the company opted to take another design and, in his words, “Cirrus-ize it.”
“We have to figure out how to make it go slower,” Klapmeier said with a shrug. “This is the first time we’ve had to figure out how to make something go slower.”
One suggestion is to add a step to make the aircraft easier to climb into. “We’re counting on that step to create lots of drag,” he joked.
The aircraft is a two-place side by side design. A 100 hp Rotax 912S powers the LSA, which already includes a whole-airframe parachute system as standard equipment.
Klapmeier noted that the FK currently meets European standards for microlights, but does not qualify under the standards for Light Sport Aircraft. Changes will be made to bring the aircraft into compliance. The SRS, which will be manufactured in Europe, is expected to cost around $100,000 and will be ready for delivery within a year.
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