Graham Warwick/WASHINGTON DC

Cirrus Design hopes to begin deliveries of its SR20 light aircraft early in the second half of 1998, about six months behind schedule. The company flew the first production prototype on 28 January and is aiming for certification by mid-year.

The exact certification schedule will be established after Cirrus has completed initial flight tests of the first prototype, says president Alan Klapmeier. The company, meanwhile, is to proceed with production of the all-composite aircraft in an effort to begin deliveries as soon as certification is received. Cirrus holds orders for more than 130 SR20s, Klapmeier says.

Cirrus wants to ramp up production of the SR20 rapidly, he adds, with the target of delivering around 350 aircraft in the first full year of production. The Duluth, Minnesota-based company is raising funds for the production increase, but has money in hand to cover the certification effort, according to Klapmeier.

Two proof-of-concept SR20s have been built, one of which is being used to develop the recovery-parachute system. The first production prototype is the aerodynamic-test aircraft and will be followed "in about six weeks" by an avionics-test prototype. Cirrus is likely to add a third production aircraft to the programme to help meet the certification schedule, Klapmeier says.

Source: Flight International