Cirrus stretches SJ-50 Vision fuselage

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Cirrus Design has stretched the fuselage of its SJ-50 Vision to 9.14m (30ft) to enhance low-speed performance of the single-engine personal jet. "The nose is slightly sharper and a little bit longer," says Cirrus chief executive Alan Klapmeier. The company did not provide details on the length of the aircraft before the changes.

"We've smoothed the wing-to-fuselage joint, changed the cross-section slightly and improved the wing root fairing." Ventral fins on the second prototype have been enlarged and the V-tail has been moved further aft. The SJ-50 has logged more than 100 flight hours since July. "The target stall speed of 61kt [113km/h]," Klapmeier says, "will probably end up being 65kt because we have increased the gross weight." That weight increase will provide more utility with 860kg [1,900lb] of fuel and 180kg of payload". Cirrus said the changes were based on its flight testing experience as well as wind tunnel trials.

cirrus sj-50 vision jeff decker 
 © Jeff Decker

The right cabin door has been removed to save weight and eliminate nuisance faults. "This is engineers strapping me to the table and forcing me to give up the right-side door," Klampmeier explains. "But they couldn't get me to give up on grass runways."

Klapmeier says the first production model will fly in March 2010. The Williams International FJ33-4A-19-powered jet is a funding priority for the Duluth, Minnesota-based company, which has cut production and slipped from a four- to a three-day working week due to a fall in demand for its SR20 and SR22 piston singles. The company has also slowed development of the SRS light sport aircraft due to softening in the LSA market.