Cirrus Plans Jet Deliveries By Q2 2016
Cirrus Aircraft says it has stretched its delivery schedule for the SF50 Vision jet to sometime in the first half of 2016 as it deals with the complexities of certifying the first aircraft of its type. Program Manager Matt Bergwall said coordinating with suppliers and the FAA to tick the boxes on the long list of FAA requirements is a challenge at times but much progress has been made. He said major items, like the pressurization system, have been approved and work continues on the others. Natural ice testing began this week, also. The company had hoped to have certification by the end of 2015. The biggest item on that list is the whole-plane parachute and, as might be expected, given its novel design, there are some technical issues to solve. "These are solvable problems. We're there," said Bergwall. "We're feeling confident that this will be a jet with a parachute."
No one has ever put a parachute on an airplane this big (6,000 pounds) or this fast (300 knots) before and the unconventional design of the aircraft demands some unconventional engineering for the chute, particularly the extraction system. Because of the dorsal mounted engine, the parachute has to be stowed in the nose. When the handle is pulled, it has to clear the engine and tail before the straps tighten to begin the two-stage deployment of the canopy. Bergwall said the strap deployment is being modified to ensure the system safely clears. "It's a solvable problem," Bergwall said. He said the 600 position holders for the jet are disappointed but understand the situation. "They tell us how excited they are and how they want us to get it right," he said. Testing of the chute itself, including the ultimate load test, is complete. "Now we just have to get it on the airplane," he said.