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Cirrus holds steady on SF50 orders

Cirrus Aircraft plans to spend the remainder of 2010 validating design concepts on V1, the technology demonstrator for its SF50 Vision personal jet. It expects to fly the first conforming aircraft, C0, by the end of 2011.

In a firming-up of the programme schedule, chief executive Brent Wouters says he expects certification to be completed roughly 18 months later.

V1 has accumulated more than 270 flight hours. Runs of its Williams FJ33-4A-19 engine total 440h since its first flight on 3 July 2008. Recent tests have focused on natural icing trials, which have led Cirrus to add a pneumatic de-icing boot with a urethane material on the leading edges of the wings and ruddervators, as well a bleed air system for the electrically heated engine inlet for ice shedding.

Cirrus continues to take deposits for new delivery positions at a rate of one to two a week and is offering non-refundable delivery positions for $1.72 million, up from $1.55 million and the original $1.39 million deposit price tag.

 © Cirrus

But with the backlog now on more solid footing as the state of the economy improves, sales director Gary Black says he is content with the backlog as it stands today. He adds that Cirrus is "not in a big hurry" to build orders significantly beyond the 431 collected.

In the past six months net orders increased by just three units, but there are 106 new position holders.

Wouters says 2008 and 2009 were largely about survival, while 2010's focus remains on achieving financial objectives that will help secure development financing on the SF50.

He adds that the company has spent about $64 million to date on the programme, with roughly two-thirds coming from free cashflow and the balance from customer deposits.

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