Delta Connection Academy Flight School Picks Cirrus

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Delta Connection Academy will buy 50 Cirrus SR20 aircraft in a fleet modernization program that it says will better equip its graduates to enter the modern world of airline operations. At a news conference at AOPA Expo on Thursday, Delta Connection CEO Capt. Gary Beck said the company researched the market for three years before settling on Cirrus. The company will do its ab initio training on the Cirrus so that students are exposed to the technology from the start. "The SR20 G2 incorporates the latest advancements in flight technology to provide our students a realistic, airline-style flight training environment," he said. The school is a busy one and will put the Cirruses through their paces. "We do 100-hour inspections an average of every nine days," Beck said.

Cirrus VP of Sales John Bingham said the company is on pace to build more than 700 planes this year for the third year in a row. It will finish the 3,000th aircraft on Nov. 16. That plane, a turbonormalized SR22 in a new silver paint scheme will be purchased by CEO Alan Klapmeier. Bingham said the company now sells more than 27 percent of its aircraft in other counties. "Truly, Cirrus is becoming an international brand," he said. The foreign country that's doing best for Cirrus at the moment is Brazil, but it continues to develop markets in potentially lucrative areas like India and China.