In an effort to stay focused on its core business, Cirrus co-counder Alan Klapmeir is a man on a mission. He is attempting to raise some $ 120 million to accelerate the development of the Vision SJ50 single engine very light jet aircraft. Touring investor groups with a model of the new aircraft under their arms a team from Cirrus made the rounds seeking funding for this new project.
The group does not want to take any energy away from Cirrus Aircraft production in Duluth, MN where the manufacturer has realized increased sales despite the downturn in general aviation activity. However, the intent to fund the jet from profits of the Cirrus SR20/SR20 aircraft have not materialized, requiring a new approach to funding continued development of the jet. The Vision program is progressing, and the testbed aircraft has logged some 150 hours to date, but it is going slower than originally expected. Some modifications have been required, including a change to the tail to improve aircraft stability. Cirrus has already built about 4,500 aircraft, so this project is not outside the abilities of Cirrus to complete. However, separating the two programs and gaining additional funding for the Vision program makes a lot of sense given current economic conditions. Whatever happened to the promise of all of these very light jet aircraft programs? Some are still moving along, but it appears that the economic times are not helpful for the advancement of this segment of general aviation. Perhaps if we could get Nancy Pelosi to ride in one from Washington to San Francisco instead of that giant Gulfstream she rides in might tame down the rhetoric in Washington agains general aviation and the risk of general aviation aircraft use by terrorists. Until next time keep your wings straight and level Hersch! JetAviator7 It's only the beginning but the implications are terrific. — Gerald Sayer, first flight in the Gloster-Whittle E28 jet, 1941.