Cirrus Aircraft is hoping to secure European certification for its SF50 Vision Jet before the end of the second quarter, so it can begin delivering the first single-engined personal jets to local owners and operators.
The US airframer says the European market currently accounts for around 15% of its 600-strong Vision Jet orderbook, and expects that tally to increase as acceptance of the clean-sheet, six-seat aircraft gathers pace across the region.
"The European market is very promising," says Pat Waddick, Cirrus's president, innovation and operations. While many of the position holders are current and former owners of the company's SR20/22-series of piston-singles, he is confident the Vision Jet's appeal will widen once the type has entered service.
"This aircraft brings high performance into a price point that is far lower than comparable light-twins and single-engined turboprops," says Waddick. "There's nothing else like it on the market," he adds.
Cirrus – owned by CAIGA – is in the process of building a service centre network across Europe to support the local Vision Jet fleet. The continent is already home to 30 SR-authorised service centres, which will expand their capabilities to include the Vision Jet. Additional service sites will be added to the portfolio, says Waddick.
The $2 million Vision Jet secured US certification in October 2016, becoming the first single-engined jet to obtain Part 23 validation. The type entered service last December, and Cirrus has delivered six examples to date. "We are gradually ramping up production, and plan to deliver between 25 and 50 aircraft this year and between 75 and 125 in 2018," Waddick says.
Around 20 Vision Jets are in various stages of manufacture at Cirrus's composite parts and final assembly facilities in Grand Forks, North Dakota and Duluth, Minnesota, respectively, says Waddick. "Around 600 owners are waiting patiently for their jets, and we are working as hard as we can to clear the backlog," he adds.
The Williams International FJ33-5A-powered Vision Jet is equipped with a Garmin G3000-based Cirrus Perspective Touch flightdeck and an emergency parachute system. It has a maximum take-off weight of 2,730kg (6,000lb), a range of around 1,000nm (1,850km), a cruise speed of 300kt (555km/h) and a stall speed of 67kt.