Cirrus has introduced its fifth-generation SR22 series of piston singles, which boast an increase in gross weight from 1,543kg (3,400lb) to 1,633kg and a rise in seating capacity from four to five people.
The company hopes the improvements will boost the aircraft's appeal not only within its traditional owner-flyer market, but also in the thriving US air taxi community where the SR22 is being adopted in increasing numbers.
"We have already sold more than 50 SR22s to Part 135 [commercial] operators," says Cirrus executive vice-president for sales and marketing Todd Simmons. "The 'Generation' model, with its increase in gross weight and an extra seat should help to increase our share of this sector as it suits companies and travellers who are seeking low cost, versatile private aircraft travel," he adds.
Cirrus says with all five seats filled, the aircraft offers a range of 1,295km (700nm), "and it is capable of full fuel with four seats filled".
The airframer, based in Duluth at Minnesota, has performed a "spinner to tail" analysis of the aircraft and redesigned or re-engineered as necessary to accommodate the increased airframe load.
The carbon fibre spar has been strengthened, as has the landing gear and flap system. Pilots can now extend flaps to the first position while flying at 150kt (278km/h).
Cirrus has increased the size of the canopy for the aircraft's parachute system and has fitted a new rocket extraction system that propels the parachute upon activation.
The system underwent "substantial testing", says Cirrus, including a new series of test drops.