Details of single-engined very light jet emerge as third-generation piston-single enters production

Cirrus Design has introduced its third generation of piston-single light aircraft with the launch of the SR22-G3 at Sun 'n' Fun. Four versions of the G3 are ready to take off, 23kg (50lb) lighter than the current SR22, with 42 litres (11USgal) more fuel capacity and a new wing design.

"There's a lot about the new wing, it really does a lot for the aircraft," says senior vice-president for engineering Pat Waddick. The lighter wing is based on a new carbonfibre spar, providing the extra fuel capacity (and trimming the unusable fuel by 2.4 litres) along with a superior strength-to-weight ratio. Turbonormalised versions of the G3 can cruise at 25,000ft (7,600m).

The new aircraft has a taller stance and greater ground clearance, along with improved handling, says president and chief operating officer David Coleal. "All the things we've learned over the last six, seven years are very evident in this product," he says, but not as evident as the new gold paint scheme. "We actually had to get FAA approval to change the colour," says chairman and chief executive Alan Klapmeier.

Cirrus S-22 G3 
© Cirrus Design   
The G3's new gold paint schene had to be approaved by the US Federal Aviation Administration

The next-generation models are already taking priority, Coleal says. "We ramped down the G2 production and ramped up the G3 production, so it's 16 a week starting this week." The SR22-G3 was also unveiled to European customers at last week's Aero 2007 in Friedrichshafen, Germany.

Cirrus, meanwhile, is continuing to trickle out details of what it calls "the jet". The first to actually see the single-engined very light jet will be customers with deposits, when a mock-up is unveiled on 2 June at the company's Duluth, Minnesota plant. Klapmeier does not yet know how much they will pay for the all-composite aircraft. "You hope the price would be less than $400,000, but odds are that it will be higher than that," he says. Klapmeier says he expects many or most Cirrus owners to upgrade to the jet once it is available.

Cirrus has already set a ceiling of 25,000ft for the jet, and announced it will be powered by the Williams FJ33. "It appears that as we do more windtunnel testing and computation fluid-dynamics analysis, our assumptions are working out," Klapmeier says.

"It will be the lowest, slowest, shortest-range jet you can buy, and it will go higher, faster and farther than the SR22," he says. "I've been up front in a jet just a few times, and I look at it and say: 'I don't want to have to be this good. I'm not that smart'."

Source: Flight International