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VIDEO: Cirrus Vision SF50 takes to the skies

Cirrus Aircraft looks set to be the first airframer to bring a personal jet to market, following the successful first flight of its Vision SF50 on 24 March.

Certification aircraft, C-Zero (C0), took-off from Cirrus' base in Duluth, Minnesota, at around 5pm local time for a one-hour sortie.

"The Vision Jet handled and performed very well and all systems functioned properly," says the airframer. The evaluation covered the Vision's "controllability, manoeuverability and speed performance at an intermediate altitude", it continues.

C0 is the first of three conforming flight test aircraft. C-One and C-Two are scheduled to enter service this year and will be used for systems verification and parachute testing, respectively. An earlier configuration technology demonstrator, dubbed V1, has accumulated around 800 flying hours and 1,000 engine runs since it was built in 2008.

"The purpose of V1 has been to verify and validate the Vision jet design," says Cirrus executive vice-president of sales and marketing Todd Simmons.

"C0 is the summation of everything we have learned from V1. For example, we have slightly changed the size and shape of the ruddervators, stabilisers, tail arm and the wing root junction. We have also made slight changes to [the] aerodynamic shape of the fuselage, [the] engine mount and its position on the aircraft, along with the interior. To the casual observer, C0 will not look any different to V1," he adds.

Cirrus' Chinese owner CAIGA has committed $100 million to bring the seven-seat Vision to market, which is on track for 2015.

The $1.96 million, carbonfibre Vision is equipped with a Garmin G3000 flightdeck and an emergency parachute system. Powered by a Williams International FJ33 turbofan, the aircraft has a range of 1,200nm (2,220km), a stall speed of 61kt (110km/h) and a cruise speed of 300kt.

Cirrus has secured 550 orders for the Vision to date, each with a $100,000 deposit.

Cirrus plans to offer a dedicated training programme to enable customers to secure their Vision type rating.

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