Cirrus Vision SF50

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Vision SF50
Cirrus Vision SF50(N280CJ) (4632096346).jpg
Role Very light jet
Manufacturer Cirrus Aircraft
First flight First prototype: 3 July 2008
Conforming prototype: 24 March 2014
Status Under development
Number built 2 prototypes[1] [2]
Unit cost
US$1.96M (2013)[3]

The Cirrus Vision SF50 is a single-engine, low-wing, seven-seat, very light jet aircraft under development by Cirrus Aircraft. The aircraft was initially developed under the project name "The Jet", but Cirrus announced the marketing name of "Vision SJ50" on July 9, 2008. In March the aircraft was redesignated the "Vision SF50".[4][5][6][7]

The prototype aircraft was first shown publicly at the annual Cirrus Migration on June 26, 2008,[1] and first flown on July 3, 2008.[8][9] The SF50 is intended to be a step up aircraft for pilots who have flown the Cirrus SR20 and SR22 and other high-performance light aircraft.[6]

Design and development[edit]

A mock-up of the Cirrus Vision SF50

The Vision SF50 will be equipped with a CAPS parachute and will be made of a composite material.[6]

2006[edit]

Cirrus began taking US$100,000 deposits for the aircraft in 2006. Initially, as a public relations exercise, the company gave deposit holders a drawing of the aircraft in the form of a jigsaw puzzle, one piece at a time. On 28 June 2007, the entire puzzle was completed, and the aircraft's configuration was unveiled.[10]

In December 2006, Cirrus announced that its product will be the "slowest, lowest, and cheapest jet available."[11] The SF50 will be powered by a single Williams FJ33-4A-19 engine, producing 1,900 pounds-force (8,500 N) of thrust and is expected to cruise at about 300 knots (560 km/h). The SF50 will seat seven people, with the cockpit, second row and the third row each seating two. There will be a seat that can slide between the second and third row or be removed entirely. The parachute will be located in the nose.[6]

2007[edit]

On December 27, 2007 Cirrus Design secured a lease for former Northwest Airlines hangar at Duluth International Airport, indicating that it will use the 189,000-square-foot (17,600 m2) building for construction of the new jet.[12]

2008[edit]

On 22 May 2008, at EBACE 2008, Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier confirmed that the company currently has 400 refundable deposits of US$100,000 for the aircraft.[4][13]

On 3 December 2008, CEO Alan Klapmeier and Vice President for Advanced Development Mike Van Staggen provided an update on the aircraft's development. Klapmeier confirmed that the SF50 is not intended for corporate or air-taxi use, but is being developed for personal-use and that market will determine the design. Klapmeier confirmed that the prototype has flown 120 hours and that expectations have been met. Completed test flying includes proving the whole center of gravity envelope, in-flight engine shut-down and restart. He confirmed that stall testing is still being conducted.[14]

The aircraft's aerodynamic design has been modified based on the test flights completed and the use of computer models with the aim of increasing performance. Changes include altering the engine thrust angle, which has made a large improvement. On the final production aircraft the right side door has been eliminated to save weight. The door will be replaced by an emergency egress hatch. The production aircraft will also have a more pointed nose, larger belly section, redesigned wing-root fairing, reduced tail sweep and a larger or even dual ventral fin.[14]

Klapmeier confirmed that the aircraft's maximum payload will be 1,200 pounds. With full fuel it will carry 400 pounds of people and cargo. Klapmeier indicated that the trade-off between range and payload was based on customer consultations, which indicated that owners will often fly longer trips solo. Target range will be 1,100 nmi (2,037 km) at a maximum cruise speed of 300 kn (556 km/h).[14] He also indicated that an Federal Aviation Administration type certificate application will be ready in mid-December 2008 but, due to high fees on this class of aircraft in Europe, European Aviation Safety Agency certification will not be sought immediately. Klapmeier indicated that the fees EASA charges to certify an aircraft are unreasonable. The FAA does not charge any fees to certify an aircraft. Klapmeier stated: "We're not filing because we're not paying."[14][15]

Cirrus announced that pilot training requirements will be specified in the type certificate, in a similar manner to the Eclipse 500, making training a legal requirement.[14]

In December 2008 the price for the SF50 was estimated to be US$1 million (base)[14] and US$1.25 Million (equipped)[15] when production commences.

2009[edit]

The L-3 SmartDeck was used as the avionics package during the development phase of the SF50 but was replaced with the Garmin G1000 for the production version. As a result of this change L-3 Avionic Systems announced in June 2009 that they are suing Cirrus for US$18M.[16][17][18][19]

On 26 June 2009 it was reported by AVweb that Cirrus Design co-founder and former CEO Alan Klapmeier intended to buy the SF50 project from Cirrus Design and its major shareholder Arcapita and produce the aircraft himself under a new company. The new venture received financial advice from Merrill Lynch. Klapmeier indicated that his reason for wanting to take over the project was to increase the speed of development. Current Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters responded by saying that the company intends to proceed with the SF50 program itself, but would listen to Klapmeier's proposal.[20][21][22]

On 27 July 2009 Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters and co-founder Dale Klapmeier stated at a press conference that they would find a way to produce the SF50, either at Cirrus or through selling it to Alan Klapmeier. They both indicated that the key factor was raising enough capital to proceed with the project, complete certification and commence production.[23]

On 31 July 2009 Alan Klapmeier announced that his offer to buy the SF50 program had not succeeded, with the key issue the program selling price, as well as other points and that the negotiations were at an end. Wouters responded saying further talks were possible, but that Cirrus would continue to develop the SF50 in house.[24][25]

In July 2009 the company announced that the test program had completed 200 hours of flight time. The aircraft incorporated some design changes, including an X tail, simpler and lighter flaps and changes to the handling so that the aircraft pitches up on power application instead of down. The company confirmed at that time that they had about 400 orders for the aircraft, although some deposit refunds have been issued. First deliveries were anticipated in 2012, subject to capital funding.[23]

On 2 September 2009 Cirrus announced that the maximum price for purchasers who have already paid a deposit was US$1.39M. This will provide customers with an aircraft equipped to a similar standard as the current SR22 GTS model. For new customers who paid a US$100,000 deposit before the end of 2009 the price was US$1.55M. Beginning on 1 January 2010 the price will be US$1.72M, with a US$50,000 deposit, all in 2009 dollars.[26][27]

In November 2009 the company announced that development of the SF50 had slowed due to inability to raise the capital needed in the post-test flying phase. Cirrus CEO Brent Wouters indicated that the lack of financing would move deliveries into 2012 or later.[28]

2010[edit]

In January 2010 Cirrus confirmed that the project does not have a timeline for certification or deliveries. CEO Brent Wouters stated: "It's a function of cash flow ... We will get the program done as soon as humanly possible." As of January 2010 the company had 428 position holders, with orders increasing at about one to two per week. The test aircraft had accumulated 236 hours.[29] Also in January 2010 some parameters for the jet's design were confirmed. The aircraft will be certified for FL280. It will have a hybrid ice protection system consisting of urethane pneumatic boots. The cabin pressurization will be contained within a single-piece carbon shell. The aircraft will have an optional lavatory and will fit in a standard US-style 40 ft (12 m) Tee hangar.[29]

In June 2010 the company announced that it expected to start building a conforming prototype by the end of 2010 and having it flying by the end of 2011. Certification at that time was forecast for the middle of 2013. The company is also proceeding with the full-aircraft parachute design, a component that company CEO Wouters described as "high-risk".[30]

As of June 2010 Cirrus reported that they had 431 orders for the aircraft, which was priced at US$1.72M at that time. Deposits made after 1 January 2010 were made non-refundable.[30]

2012[edit]

The company announced in April 2012 that the SF50 project had received sufficient investment from Cirrus's new owners, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), and, as a result, the project would proceed. In July 2012 company CEO Dale Klapmeier confirmed that Cirrus's new Chinese owners are dedicated to the SF-50 and that the prototype had flown 600 hours in almost 600 flights. The company was proceeding to build the composite construction tooling required to create a conforming prototype for the commencement of type certification flight testing. The conforming prototype is expected to have its first flight in late 2013.[31][32]

2013[edit]

By February 2013 the company was hiring staff for the production of the aircraft. The new price at this point was US$1.96M.[3]

In April 2013 Meng Xiangkai, Chairman of CAIGA, the owner of Cirrus, announced that the newest prototype version of the SF50 would be rolled out during 2013 and that certification flight testing would commence in 2014.[33][34]

In October 2013 Cirrus announced that with the new Chinese investment that three prototypes were under construction for certification flight testing during 2014. First customer deliveries were scheduled for 2015 against a paid deposit order book of 500 aircraft.[35][36]

2014[edit]

By February 2014 a total of 800 hours of test flying had been completed and on 24 March 2014 the first conforming prototype flew.[37][2]

Operators[edit]

In July 2008, SATSair, an air taxi company 25% owned by Cirrus, ordered five Cirrus Vision SF50s, intending to add them to its fleet of Cirrus SR22 piston aircraft.[38][39] SATSair subsequently ceased operations on 24 October 2009, prior to taking delivery of any SF50s.[40]

Specifications (Vision SF50)[edit]

Data from Company website,[41] Aviation Week & Space Technology

General characteristics

  • Crew: one (pilot)
  • Capacity: six passengers
  • Length: 30.9 ft (9.4 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 4 in (11.68 m)
  • Height: 10.5 ft (3.2 m)
  • Powerplant: 1 × Williams FJ-33-5A turbofan, 1,900 lbf (8.5 kN) thrust

Performance

  • Cruise speed: 300 kn (345 mph; 556 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 61 kn (70 mph; 113 km/h)
  • Range: 540 nmi; 621 mi (1,000 km)
  • Service ceiling: 28,000 ft (8,500 m)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Niles, Russ (June 2008). "Cirrus Rolls Out 'The Jet'". Retrieved 2008-06-27. 
  2. ^ a b Grady, Mary (24 March 2014). "Cirrus Flies Final Version Of Vision Jet". AVweb. Retrieved 25 March 2014. 
  3. ^ a b Pew, Glenn (15 February 2013). "Cirrus Hiring For Jet Production". AVweb. Retrieved 21 February 2013. 
  4. ^ a b Russ Niles (2008-05-22). "Cirrus Updates Jet Program, Shows Pictures". Retrieved 2008-04-23. 
  5. ^ Paul Passi (2008-07-09). "Cirrus jet renamed". duluthnewstribune.com. Retrieved 2008-07-10. [dead link]
  6. ^ a b c d "Cirrus Vision SJ50". Cirrus Design. 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-18. 
  7. ^ "Cirrus Vision SF50". Cirrus Design. undated. Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  8. ^ Aero-news.net (July 2008). "N280CJ Sees Light Under ALL Its Wheels". Retrieved 2008-07-03. 
  9. ^ Pew, Glenn (July 2008). "Cirrus' The-Jet Flies, July 3". Retrieved 2008-07-04. 
  10. ^ Niles, Russ (April 2007). "Cirrus 'the-jet' Image Emerges". Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  11. ^ Aero News Network (April 2007). "Cirrus Set To Unveil 'The-Jet' Mockup". Retrieved 4 February 2011. 
  12. ^ Saini, Meredith (December 2007). "Cirrus Secures Jet Plant Space". Retrieved 2007-12-31. 
  13. ^ Alton K. Marsh (2008-07-30). "Cirrus Vision SJ50 quietly greets public". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  14. ^ a b c d e f Grady, Mary (December 2008). "Cirrus Vision Jet Update". Retrieved 2008-12-04. 
  15. ^ a b Charter X (December 2008). "Cirrus Snubs EASA Over Vision Jet Certification Fees". Retrieved 2008-12-11. 
  16. ^ Russ Niles (2007-09-27). "L-3 SmartDeck Chosen for Cirrus Jet Prototype". Retrieved 2007-09-28. 
  17. ^ Jim Campbell (2009-01-09). "Cirrus Vision To Get Garmin Treatment". Retrieved 2009-01-30. 
  18. ^ Cirrus Design (2009-03-31). "Cirrus Aircraft and Garmin Partner for Vision SF50 Avionics". Retrieved 2009-04-02. 
  19. ^ AVweb Editorial Staff (June 2009). "AVwebFlash Complete Issue: Volume 15, Number 24b". Retrieved 2009-06-18. 
  20. ^ Niles, Russ (June 2009). "Klapmeier Makes Play For Cirrus Jet". Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  21. ^ Niles, Russ (July 2009). "Klapmeier Lays Out Jet Plans". Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  22. ^ Niles, Russ (June 2009). "The Future Of Cirrus's Jet". Retrieved 2009-06-27. 
  23. ^ a b Grady, Mary (July 2009). "Cirrus On The Vision Jet: "We Will Get It Done"". Retrieved 2009-07-28. 
  24. ^ Niles, Russ (July 2009). "Klapmeier Jet Deal Collapses". Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  25. ^ Niles, Russ (July 2009). "Cirrus Says More Jet Talks Possible". Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  26. ^ Grady, Mary (September 2009). "Cirrus Sets $1.39 Million Intro Price For Vision Jet". Retrieved 2009-09-06. 
  27. ^ Cirrus Aircraft (September 2009). "Cirrus Announces 2009 Pricing for Revolutionary Vision SF50 Personal Jet". Retrieved 2009-09-06. [dead link]
  28. ^ Grady, Maty (November 2009). "Cirrus Jet In Capital Crunch, But Progressing". Retrieved 2009-11-06. 
  29. ^ a b Grady, Mary (January 2010). "Cirrus Updates Jet Progress". Retrieved 2010-01-28. 
  30. ^ a b Grady, Mary (June 2010). "Cirrus Moving Forward With Vision Jet". Retrieved 3 June 2010. 
  31. ^ Grady, Mary (17 April 2012). "Report: Cirrus Ready To Move Ahead With Jet". AVweb. Retrieved 18 April 2012. 
  32. ^ Niles, Russ (22 July 2012). "One Year Later: Cirrus Upbeat Under Chinese Ownership". AVweb. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  33. ^ "Cirrus Owner Eyes 2013 Jet Rollout". Avweb. Retrieved 2013-04-23. 
  34. ^ Pew, Glenn (27 June 2013). "Cirrus Readies For Vision Jet Production". AVweb. Retrieved 1 July 2013. 
  35. ^ Bertorelli, Paul (10 October 2013). "Cirrus SF50 VisionJet: Fast Track to Production". Avweb. Retrieved 11 October 2013. 
  36. ^ Aviation Week & Space Technology: 69. 14 October 2013. 
  37. ^ "Cirrus poised to fly first Vision SF50 - 1/29/2014". Flight Global. 2014-01-29. Retrieved 2014-02-04. 
  38. ^ George C. Larson (2007-07-31). "SATSair Will Order Cirrus Vision SJ50". Retrieved 2008-08-06. 
  39. ^ Grady, Mary (August 2008). "Cirrus SJ50 Vision Jet Chosen For SATSair Air-Taxi Operations". Retrieved 2008-08-07. 
  40. ^ Niles, Russ (October 2009). "SATSAir Shuts Down". Retrieved 2010-00-13. 
  41. ^ Cirrus Aircraft (2011). "Cirrus Vision SF50". Retrieved 25 November 2011. 

External links[edit]