Cirrus Design has taken the wraps off its first jet, and the manufacturer of the popular SR22 piston-single light aircraft is bracing for a major sales boost.
Seating up to seven people, "the-jet" has its single Williams FJ33-4 turbofan mounted above the fuselage and exhausting between the V-tail, in a similar arrangement to the Global Hawk unmanned aircraft.
"We're not going to be a smaller business jet. We're trying to be a bigger SR22," said CEO and co-founder Alan Klapmeier at the 28 June event.
The debut at the company’s Duluth, Minnesota headquarters featured the third and last mock-up of the-jet. The next step is to create a verification prototype that Cirrus is calling "the-one", which will be flown to verify the projected performance.
"We don't know a lot of the answers yet, so we don't have a lot of the specs yet," said Klapemeier, adding: "We expect the high cruise speed will be 300kt. We're going to give up high end to get a very comfortable low end."
As for price, Klapmeier says: "Our goal is to have it be about $1 million". The final price is uncertain, he cautions, since the certification date is unknown along with many other factors.
The fuel capacity will be "well over 1,000lb", depending on the number of passengers, and range will be more than 1,000nm with only one pilot aboard and less than that when carrying seven people."
The-jet will feature a ballistic recovery parachute chute like other Cirrus aircraft. Sliding seats bring versatility to the cabin interior.
Standard configuration is two seats in the cockpit and three at the rear of cabin, with the centre seat able to slide to the rear bulkhead. Both front seats slide back, stopping directly in front of the left or right access door.
The total seating rises to seven with two flip-up seats in the back.
"This is all about flexibility. It's about simplicity. It has to be easy. I always say it has to be easy for me," says Klapmeier.
The first to see the-jet mockup were the several hundred positon-holders on Wednesday who paid $100,000 to reserve an aircraft, sight unseen.
Sergio Beneditt,i a Brazilian Cirrus dealer, says he secured five positions before the debut and acquired two more after being shown photos. In the absence of performance specs, he says the advance orders are based on Cirrus's reputation. "For sure, it is faith."
Klapmeier says the-jet is important to the future of the company. "As a clue, every once in a while people would look at our logo and say 'you know, that looks more like a jet than an SR22'. Well, yeah, you're right. There's no propeller on it for a reason."