Cirrus Aircraft's ambition to be first to market with a certificated single-engined personal jet took a major leap forward on 20 December, when its third and final production-conforming Vision SF50 test aircraft made its maiden flight.
The aircraft, C2, flew for 20min in the skies above the airframer's Duluth, Minnesota headquarters.
"This flight marks another milestone for Cirrus and for general aviation,” says company co-founder and chief executive Dale Klapmeier, “We are full steam ahead with our plans to revolutionise personal transportation again."
Cirrus – developer of the SR series of high-performance piston singles – flew the first Williams International FJ33-powered SF50 in March. This aircraft, CO, has since notched up around 250 flying hours performing "a wide range of aerodynamic performance and handling tests", Cirrus says. CO will eventually be used to test the SF50's emergency parachute system, which is also fitted as standard on the SR family and deploys in the case of loss of control.
C1 first flew last month, with its primary focus being flight into known icing certification. "C2 now enters the programme with the goals of performing reliability and optional equipment testing, as well as serving as a catalyst for flight standards and training evaluations," Cirrus adds.
The first production aircraft, P1, will join the flight test programme in the second half of 2015, leading to certification and service entry of the first of 500-plus SF50s on order in the fourth quarter.
Cirrus plans to deliver around three of the $1.96 million, Garmin G3000 flightdeck-equipped aircraft next year, ramping up to about 90 in 2016 and 125 in 2017.