Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier says the company will give "the jet" a real name before it hits the market and the moniker was simply an in-house convenience that stuck when the company went public. But Klapmeier also took pains to assure a news conference at EBACE 2008 that the jet itself is "real" and he's anxious for the prototype to fly. "Obviously I want it to fly as soon as possible but that has to be left up to the test pilots," he said. So, while he's said before that he'd like to fly the aircraft to EAA AirVenture at the end of July, he told the EBACE press conference that he's not predicting a date because he doesn't want to pressure the test pilots. "They'll decide when it's ready," he said. Klapmeier showed photos of the prototype now under construction in Duluth and they indicate an aircraft that may be ready to fly sooner rather than later.
The Williams FJ44 engine was installed within the last week, Klapmeier said the L-3 panel is in and powered up. It appears that most of the control surfaces are in place and the aircraft is resting on its gear. Cirrus has taken more than 400 refundable $100,000 deposits on the aircraft.
Last year's fire season in the West was among the worst on record and was a tragedy on many levels but it painted the sky in spectacular shades. It was a poignant background for a beautiful aircraft at Redmond Airport in Oregon.