...Cirrus Confirms "Personal Jet"

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Cirrus Design CEO Alan Klapmeier spoke a little about the personal jet his company intends to build. Although coy about timelines, design and price, Klapmeier left little doubt that the jet, if not a physical reality yet, is a conceptual given and it's also clear that he can't wait. "It's going to be so cool," Klapmeier told AVweb. He did confirm that it will be a single-engine aircraft, with a parachute, and he was adamant that it not be referred to as a VLJ. "It is not a VLJ," he stressed. Rather, it's aimed at the market between his company's advanced piston singles and the larger, generally twin-engine, VLJs. Like Diamond, Klapmeier said Cirrus sees tremendous market potential for personal jets but it won't announce its creation formally until the design is complete. New Piper is also intending to build a small jet but spokesman Chuck Suma said it's not imminent. "I don't think it's a matter of whether we'll build a jet," he said. "It's more a question of when." He said the market needs to shake out some before Piper jumps in. Suma is also suggesting Piper will stick with mostly conventional metal construction on the jet and on any other new products. "Composites have promise," he said, but can cause weight problems. He said it's most likely that "composites and metals will marry together" on new Pipers as more is learned about composite behavior. The company made its eleventh announcement regarding installation of an Avidyne glass suite in one of its models. The Seneca twin is next for glass, leaving only the Seminole as guardian of steam gauge technology at New Piper. Expect it to get glass, oh, say, around Sun 'n Fun.