So, How 'bout those Single Engine Jets? I thought it would be fun to see how the Cirrus program is coming along. Things have been a bit "disruptive" lately, with some management changes, but I think it is a promising program.
There's a great short article in Flying Magazine, March 2009, by Robert Goyer, Cirrus Vision Jet Gets Lighter. While tempted to place it "between" the Eclipse EA400 and EA500, marketing-wise, it is interesting to note that at 6000 MTOW (or 5,999, depending), and 1900 lbs thrust, spec-wise, it is much closer to the EA500. Performance wise, it is not quite so impressive compared to the EA500 though, with a full-fuel usable load of 400 lbs, and a max speed of 320 knots (odd that Cirrus compares it to the SR-22 Turbo: "Cirrus is designing the Vision SF50 jet to be a step-up aircraft for a pilot currently flying a high-performance single, like the Cirrus TURBO, or a twin engine piston rather than being a down-sized business jet. The Vision will carry more payload, farther and faster than the Cirrus TURBO while maintaining the same outstanding handling characteristics". Certianly the SR22 turbo is a very fine airplane, but still, using that comparison in one's own marketing information seems a bit overly modest. (Especially if there is a 300-400 percent price difference...)
"The New Cirrus Jet"
(Philip Greenspun's Blog; June 17, 2009- (It's not so new to readers here). Seems like I frequently come across Philg's postings when I'm searching for something or other on the web regarding airplanes. He's a good writer and observer- an interesting read indeed.
"I sat in a mock-up of the new Cirrus Jet today alongside Alan Klapmeier, the company’s co-founder". "If the Cirrus Vision jet can be delivered at anywhere near the originally promised price ($1 million 2006 dollars) it will certainly be a revolution in family jet" (!?! Guess KoolAid had to make up for lost sales in New Mexico somehow).
(About six weeks later, Alan Klapmeier was out, and his bid to take over the program rejected. Sounds like an outstandingly talented and pssionate aviation enthusiast. But I wonder if that poppycock about $1M had something to do with it...I think we've seen enough of that kind of bunk for a while. Still, he did a great job growing Cirrus from 1984-1999. Too bad Eclipse didn't study Cirrus. Or Cessna).
S-T-E-P Right Up!!
(This is from the Cirrus web site, Nov 16, 2009):
"Our expectations for the base cost will start around $1 Million US dollars...We are presently accepting deposits* for delivery positions and we will eventually ramp up to a delivery rate of one jet per business day. We expect the annual order rate will closely match the delivery rate, so the wait will never be shorter than it is now."
Private Plane Manufacturer Cirrus Aircraft Offers Vision Jet
(International Business Times, September 10, 2009):
"Customers who reserve their aircraft between now and December 31, 2009, with a non-refundable $100,000 deposit, the maximum purchase price for a Vision Jet will be $1.55 million. The price will then increase beginning in January 2010".
Cirrus Hiking the Price of Vision Jet
(AIN, Chad Trautvetter, October 1, 2009):
"Cirrus Aircraft last month raised the price of the single-engine Vision Jet, a personal VLJ, to $1.39 million for existing position holders and to $1.55 million for new orders placed before December 31. The price increases to $1.72 million for orders placed after January 1."
(? $1.0M, $1.39M, $1.55M, $1.72M, in "2009 dollars", think maybe $2.0M in 2012?)
"Cirrus Jet in Capital Crunch, But Progressing
(AVweb, Mary Grady, November 5, 2009):
"Undertaking the development of a light jet is a project "not for the faint of heart," Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters said at AOPA's Aviation Summit on Thursday..."
(Nor for the light of wallet...at least not when they start... although they do tend to get that way).
A memo from Brent Wouters, Cirrus President & CEO to Cirrus Aircraft Employees.
(Cirrus, November 10, 2009):
"Cirrus CEO notes significant progress in last 12 months, seasonal adjustsments still to be made and increasing optimism heading into 2010 in message to all employees".
(Nice that he's trying to keep everyone informed- I suspect the rumor mill there had a jump on the story before it was official though).
Cirrus Reduces Staffing Levels
(NorthlandNewsCenter, November 11, 2009):
"Company officials say more than 50 people are being furloughed...Cirrus officials says the move is in regard to an anticipated decline in economic demand during the first quarter of next year...Officials say the curtailments will not impede progress on Cirrus' jet program."
Cirrus Vision Overview
Nice slide show for "jet position holders". (That sounds a little more dignified than the Eclipse "position holders" nomenclature).
(Despite earlier metion of the L3 SmartDeck avionics package, the overview says V1 prototype updated to Garmin Perspective, which makes sense, since their piston lineup also uses Garmin).
But it looks as if there were some hard feelings over that:
L-3 seeks $21.7 M from Cirrus in SmartDeck Lawsuit.
(AINonline, Stephen Pope, July 1, 2009):
"L-3 says Cirrus then agreed to go ahead with the purchase of 75 SmartDeck systems, but in December asked that L-3 not ship the systems because of a slowdown in aircraft orders. In February L-3 sent Cirrus a bill for $18.7 million to cover SmartDeck development costs. Cirrus allegedly replied that it owed L-3 only $3.5 million–the stated purchase price for the 75 systems. Since then, “Cirrus has failed to pay any amount due to L-3 and has not responded to any communications from L-3,” the avionics maker said in its lawsuit, which is requesting an additional $2.99 million to recover money allegedly owed for stand-alone systems."
And, with the Cirrus cancellation, so far no announced OEM is using the L3 SmartDeck avionics package (New Flat Glass "L3 introduces SmartDeck with Huge Displays"
(Flying Magazine, November 2007, J. Mac McClellan).
Well, I guess in 2007 12.1 inches was "huge".
Still pretty nice, but I think the Garmin G3000 is 14.1 inches).
(Consistent with apparently no firm users for the SmartDeck, the L3 website, all the "news" articles are from 2007...)
As some have pointed out, the now-cancelled Grob SPn was using the Honeywell Apex avionics suite.
Grob went bankrupt, but it looks like somebody has bought them (yeah!), as their website seems to still be up, with some recent minor news).
Interestingly, as others have noted, Avidyne has a nice upgrade package for the piston powered SR-22 Cirrus aircraft).
Looks like Cirrus was going to use the old Northwest Airlines facility at MSP for the Vision Jet, until things slowed down.