Cirrus Flies its Single-engine jet

 - July 29, 2008, 9:06 AM

Duluth, Minn.-based Cirrus Design flew its jet, now called the Vision SJ50, for the first time on July 3. The Williams FJ33-4A-19-powered prototype, under the control of test pilot Tim Berg, lifted off from Duluth International Airport and flew for 45 minutes before landing back at the airport.

The company expected to bring the flying prototype to last month’s EAA AirVenture show in Oshkosh, Wis.

Cirrus said the jet prototype, which has L-3 SmartDeck avionics and a nose-mounted BRS whole-aircraft parachute, “performed flawlessly” during its maiden flight. “This first flight is a historically significant moment for Cirrus and the opening of a new chapter for all of aviation,” noted Cirrus advanced development group vice president Steve Serfling. “More than 125 dedicated engineers and technicians…have worked tirelessly to ensure that this milestone was met in a safe and efficient manner. With this successful flight, we initiate the next program phase that will support the more rigorous certification program.”

Although Cirrus has not yet announced a final price for the airplane, it claims it has orders for more than 460 copies, each backed by a refundable $100,000 deposit. Certification of the Cirrus jet is scheduled for late 2010.