Cirrus Updates Jet Progress

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The Vision jet is the highest priority at Cirrus Aircraft, CEO Brent Wouters said in a webcast on Wednesday, but as of now, there is no timeline for its completion. "When will it be done? We don't know," Wouters said. "It's a function of cash flow ... We will get the program done as soon as humanly possible." The company will accelerate its efforts this year to raise external capital for the project, he said, but in the interim, progress will continue, funded by internal cash flow. For now, that means a focus on nailing down the design elements, with higher-cost parts of the project pushed forward in the timeline. The price, effective this month, is $1.72 million, Wouters said. So far the company has 428 position holders, and orders continue to come in at a pace of one or two per week. Buyers who fly a SR22 while waiting for the jet can benefit from learning the avionics package, sales director Gary Black said, and then Cirrus will take the SR22 as a trade-in when their jet is ready.

Various company officials reported on recent milestones in the jet development program. The jet will be certified to FL280, said engineer Dave Rathbun. A new hybrid ice-protection system, with pneumatic boots made of long-lasting urethane, is in development. A single-piece carbon shell has been designed for the cabin pressure vessel. Also, the user interface of the panel has been evolving, with an emphasis on fewer controls that are simple, logical and intuitive. About two-thirds of the supply chain has been finalized. Baggage areas are being designed with ergonomics in mind, and the cabin will be roomy and easy to move around in. The jet itself is expected to fit in a standard 40-foot hangar. There will be an optional onboard lavatory. The test program has accumulated about 236 flight hours, with positive results from stability and control checks and a full stall matrix. A series of flight demonstrations are set for airports in the Western U.S. over the next few weeks; click here for the schedule. The full text of Wednesday's update will be posted on the Cirrus jet Web site after Feb. 15. Black said training programs for the jet will be the focus of the second-quarter update, and he added that he expects the Vision will be "the jet trainer of the future."