In the Works: Cirrus The-Jet

 - April 30, 2007, 6:40 AM

Early adopters who plunked down $100,000 for a position on the Cirrus jet assembly line got to participate in a clever Cirrus marketing campaign that is drip-feeding tantalizing details about the jet.

After receiving two initial packages with The-Jet clues, the future owners of Cirrus’ single-engine jet received a handsome framed piece of gray metal with a 10- by 8-inch box outlined in the center of the metal. Underneath the box are the words “The-Jet by Cirrus.” What to do with this frame became clear when the future owner opened the rest of the package, which included six magnetic puzzle pieces that fit into part of the outlined box in the frame.

A note in the package from John Bingham, Cirrus executive vice president for sales and marketing, explained that the company was asking position holders “for your assistance in assembling the very first aircraft,” which means putting together 36 pieces of the puzzle to see what The-Jet looks like. Two more packages followed, and to date position-holders have received 18 pieces, revealing The-Jet’s nose, windshields, most of the right wing and the outer portion of the left wing, which clearly shows that the Cirrus jet has winglets.

Cirrus has kept under wraps any specific information about The-Jet. The airplane will have a parachute and reportedly will be powered by a Williams International FJ33-4.

Cirrus initially offered positions in The-Jet to existing Cirrus owners, but that was recently changed so that anyone can pay $100,000 toward the new jet. Deposits are refundable until 60 days before the customer’s jet starts down the assembly line, and buyers can transfer their deposit by paying a $15,000 fee.

Cirrus revealed orders for 140 jets at the Sun ’n’ Fun show and plans to unveil the design at the June 28 Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association meeting.