In a ceremony held May 6 at McGhee Tyson Airport in Knoxville, Tennessee, Cirrus Aircraft Co-Founder and CEO Dale Klapmeier joined Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam in announcing the expansion of Cirrus Aircraft to Knoxville with its new Cirrus Customer Experience Center, called the “Vision Center.”
The Vision Center will become the flagship location for all Cirrus Aircraft pilot, owner and customer activities, including sales, delivery, training, maintenance, support, personalization, FBOs and more, according to Cirrus officials.
Customer activities at the new Vision Center will encompass all Cirrus Aircraft airplanes, products and services, including the Vision SF50 single-engine personal jet, scheduled for certification in late 2015.
“The Vision Center is the next step in our goal to reimagine general aviation and flying at Cirrus Aircraft,” he said. “We call that aviation experience ‘The Cirrus Life’ and with the Vision Center in Knoxville, we are bringing together transformational new airplanes with a reinvented ownership experience, all led by the forward thinking leadership team that is unique to Cirrus Aircraft.”
The selection of Knoxville for the home of the Vision Center is the result of a detailed site evaluation process that initially included more than 15 states and 30 airport locations. McGhee Tyson Airport rose to the top with the combination of a convenient location to the existing Cirrus owner base in North America, airport and area amenities, favorable weather and a welcoming community for Cirrus Aircraft employees and their families, according to Cirrus officials.
Todd Simmons, Cirrus Aircraft Chief Customer Officer, will lead the Cirrus Aircraft team at the new home for all Cirrus Aircraft customer activities and operations.
The Vision Center will be the location for factory direct type rating training for the Vision SF50, which will include a Level D, full-motion flight simulator currently under development at CAE. The full flight simulator, along with several other fixed training devices, will be the cornerstone of Vision SF50 type rating and annual recurrent training, Cirrus officials said.
Other Vision Center partners will be announced closer to facility completion, currently slated for mid 2016.
In addition to factory direct training, the Vision Center will allow customers to experience the Cirrus Aircraft brand in multiple ways. A factory service center will provide support for the new Vision SF50 and more than 6,000 SR-series aircraft currently in the field. A design center will allow customers to personalize both new and current Cirrus aircraft.
Research and development (R&D), as well as manufacturing operations for Cirrus Aircraft, will remain in Duluth, Minnesota. The Vision SF50, SR20, SR22 and SR22T will continue to be produced at company facilities in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth.