In May 2019, Cirrus Aircraft announced a new facility at McKinney National Airport (KTKI) McKinney, Texas.
“Cirrus Services continues to transform the way we deliver factory-direct service and support,” said Todd Simmons, President, Customer Experience at Cirrus Aircraft. “We recognize the importance of developing a world-class, comprehensive owner and operating experience, and our new location in McKinney, Texas is the latest step in providing factory-direct support to our customers in the south-central area of the United States.”
“Our goal is to expand the premium experience our customers expect from our flagship Vision Center Campus in Knoxville, and we have found that opportunity at McKinney National Airport,” said Ravi Dharnidharka, Senior Vice President, Cirrus Services at Cirrus Aircraft.
Cirrus Aircraft is a recognized global leader in personal aviation and the maker of the best-selling piston aircraft series and the new visionary 5-seat SF50 Jet. Cirrus was awarded the 2017 Robert J. Collier Trophy for designing, certifying and placing into service the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet and implementing a whole airframe parachute system for the aircraft.
Founded in 1984, the company has redefined performance, comfort and safety in aviation with innovations like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System® (CAPS®), which is the first FAA-certified whole-airframe parachute safety system included as standard equipment on Cirrus aircraft. To date, worldwide flight time on Cirrus planes has passed 10.5 million hours, and 172 people have returned home safely to their families because CAPS is included as a standard feature on all Cirrus aircraft.
The company has four locations in the United States, including Duluth, Minnesota, Grand Forks, North Dakota, Knoxville, Tennessee and now McKinney, Texas.
In February 2019, The Robb Report published “The Vision Jet was the Most-Delivered Business Jet in 2018.” M.D. Seaton stated, the single-engine Cirrus edged out Bombardier’s Challenger 350 and Cessna Citation Latitude – based on deliveries. The article is a good read but these jets are not in the same customer market.
Seaton shared the General Aviation Management Association’s annual report stats, which reveal business jet deliveries are up over the prior year about 3.8% in 2018. And, the very light jet (VLJ) category helped to push the increase.
Seaton noted; Cirrus has announced the replacement of its first version jet with an upgraded second-generation model. The G2 Vision Jet has a higher flight ceiling of 31,000 feet, more range, payload, and greater speed than the original, and the flight deck is now equipped with auto throttle along with other enhancements.
In 2018, Cirrus Aircraft delivered 63 Vision Personal Jets. That’s a 186% increase over the previous year. Total customer shipments stand at 88. Production is ramping up, but it will take years for supply to get ahead of demand.
The Cirrus Personal Jet was certified for customer delivers in October 2016.
Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet Shipments
Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet
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On January 8, 2019, from Duluth MN and in Knoxville TN, Cirrus Aircraft announced the next generation Vision Jet with bigger headlines – Higher, Faster and Farther.
Woe to the pilot naysayers that said, Cirrus would never get a single engine jet certified. But in 2016, the Vision Jet did receive FAA certification. Then for years, we’ve heard skeptics claim operating altitude would always be limited below 29,000 feet because Cirrus didn’t have Reduced Vertical Separation Minimum (RVSM) capability and other necessities for flight into higher altitudes. Wrong.
Higher, Faster and Farther
Cirrus has received certification for an expanded flight envelope to Flight Level 310 (31,000 feet), which raises the performance capabilities of the Vision Jet. Access to RVSM increases the Jet’s range to more than 1,200 nautical miles. Second, the Generation 2 added the flexibility to carry an additional 150 pounds, which significantly improves upon its typical 800 NM missions. And third, the G2 Jet pushes cruise speed even further above 300 knots. Cirrus worked with Williams International to slightly increase the FJ33-5A engine thrust.
The ability to carry more came from a decrease in airframe weight. Most of the pickup came from replacing the heavy dual lead acid batteries with lighter True Blue Power lithium ion batteries, which also deliver improved cold start capabilities.
The Generation 2 Vision Jet has advanced avionics typically only found on high-end business jets and commercial transport aircraft. The G2 jet has Perspective Touch+ by Garmin advanced flight deck, which includes new hardware, faster processing speeds and even better screen resolution. The jet was already equipped with FADEC but Autothrottle is now available. Cirrus says, “this game-changing technology integrates with the autopilot and can automatically adjust the aircraft’s speed for each phase of flight, reducing workload and giving the pilot more time to focus on other tasks.”
The Vision flight deck includes 3D synthetic vision, SurfaceWatch, integrated crew alerts, datalink weather, active weather radar, ADS-B, satellite communications, system synoptics and more.
Cabin Experience is First Class
Cirrus has stepped up the personal travel experience with a focus on comfort and productivity. The improvements add to the spaciousness and panoramic views that are already a hallmark of the Vision Jet design.
New executive seating adds “two luxurious, artisan-crafted second row seats and an all-new center console with stow-away tables for a more productive in-flight experience. Each cabin seat is modular and can be quickly repositioned or removed by the pilot offering the flexibility of more than 25 possible seating configurations. Passengers have access to USB and 110V power outlets. An expansive flush mounted overhead monitor can be extended down to deliver best-in-class display or entertainment from your favorite device.
The Generation 2 Personal Jet has windows with UV and IR protection. The UV window protection installation started around serial number twenty (20). It’s a safety feature GA pilots and passengers should have had years ago. UV light is known to damage collagen fibers, destroys vitamin A in skin and can accelerate the aging process of skin. The new windows also keep interior temperatures more comfortable.
You can also find the UV window protection on the Cirrus G6 piston-engine airplanes. Look for a slight oil sheen appearance to the windows – that’s the UV protection.
Newly-developed noise reduction architecture further enhances the passenger environment. The G2 jet cabin is about 10 decibels quieter. Cirrus Aircraft understands the continuous spark and the grind of creativity.
Pat Waddick, president, Innovation & Operations, said,
“Much like the last twenty years of re-imagining the SR Series with constant improvements to performance, safety and comfort, the G2 Vision Jet is the culmination of that same spirit of innovation . . . .”
Everyone expects no less from the Cirrus Aircraft Team going forward, except the naysayers.
The Generation 2 Vision Jet deliveries began in January 2019 (after serial number 94). The G2 planes start at $2.38 million with a fully loaded model ramping out at $2.75 million.
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For many general aviation pilots, stepping up to burn jet fuel is a dream. It has taken 10-years to certify the Cirrus Vision
SF50 Jet. A handful of the planes were delivered to customers last year, and about 600 position holders are waiting in line to receive their aircraft. Production ramp-up is progressing but it will take years for supply to catch-up to demand.
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Pat Waddick, Cirrus Aircraft’s president of innovation and operations recently said the company has more than 600 jet customers waiting for their airplanes to be delivered. This is great news for the General Aviation industry and American manufacturing. This sales number has been mentioned in aviation articles, but the discussion quickly moves on to another topic.
Cirrus jets are priced at about $2 million apiece which makes these sales a $1,200,000,000 book of business! Each customer has paid $100K upfront. That’s $60M in deposit payments! Has there ever been a light aircraft pre-sales book of business comparable to this in the history of GA?
Who are these Vision Jet customers? Why did they write that $100,000 deposit check years ago? What compelled a decision even before the jet was certified? Many of the position holders want to remain
anonymous. But we do know ~75% of them are Cirrus piston pilots. And, the book of business is global. About eighty of the 600 early position jets are scheduled for Latin America alone.
Most light aircraft manufacturers’ shipments are flat or seeing a slowdown. But not Cirrus. Innovation is winning sales and transforming GA. We need to see more of that.
Naysayers complain the view isn’t changing. But as they say, in a dog-sled pull – the view only changes for the leader.
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If you’re a piston pilot like me, you may have not seen Cirrus Vision Jets for sale on Controller or Trade-A-Plane. I tend to just click on piston engine listings. But if you select “Jet Aircraft” you’ll now see Vision Jets. Cirrus has pre-sold 600 jet deliveries. As of this week, twenty (20) of those delivery positions are for sale on Controller.
Lone Mountain Aircraft and Aerista (formerly TAS Aircraft Sales) are market makers for pre-sold positions in Cirrus Vision SF50 Jets. Both companies are part of Cirrus Aircraft’s pre-owned sales network.
Mark Rodgers founded Lone Mountain Aircraft in 2008. I caught up with him this week to discuss sales of pre-owned Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet positions. Mark said, the resale prices are based on four components:
Consumer Price Index (CPI)
Contract price: On Controller you’ll see 2018 jet positions listed for $1,390,000, which includes a $100,000 deposit. If an existing agreement is resold, the position holder would be refunded the deposit by the buyer. Initial contracts were signed with early position holders prior to the jet being certified. Some were signed ten years ago. Continue reading “What’s the price of a new Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet?”→
For these comparisons, the 2016 Conklin and de Decker operating cost report for jets and turboprops was used. The Cirrus Vision SF50 Personal Jet has the lowest variable operating cost among any jet on the market ($595 per hour). And, here’s what some pilots are calling a competitor list of competing products: Continue reading “What is the Cirrus Vision Jet’s competitor operating cost?”→
At $595.30 per hour, the Cirrus Vision SF50 Personal Jet has the lowest variable operating cost among any jet on the market. That expense number is from the 2016 Conklin and de Decker operating costs for jets and turboprops. For the second year, AOPA Pilot has offered the exclusive report to its members. You can view the full report on AOPA’s website.
At the Cirrus Austin Texas Get Together (CATGT) I spoke with Justin Dillion, a Cirrus Vision Jet pilot. He’s the Senior Regional Sales Director for the Western United States. Justin was familiar with the Conklin and de Decker operating cost report. But he said, true operating cost for the Cirrus Vision Jet is slightly higher at about $650 per hour. It’s still the lowest operating cost among any jet on the market.
At FL280, the Vision Jet burns about 65 gallons per hour and has a TAS above 300 knots.
Justin proceeded to tell me about the Cirrus Vision Jet concierge maintenance program. It’s complete coverage nose to tail. Even normal wear and tear items like tires and brakes are included. You choose the concierge package from 1 – 3 years. Then all you pay for is fuel. Yep, gotta have that – just gas and go. Contact your local Cirrus Sales Representative for details or keep in touch here. I may write about the Vision Jet concierge program in a future post. Continue reading “What’s the Cirrus Vision SF50 Jet operating cost?”→