ABACE Convention News

Cirrus Steps Up Flight Tests for Vision SF50 Jet

 - April 11, 2014, 3:00 PM
Cirrus started test flying with the first production conforming version of its Vision SF50in March and hopes the new very light jet will enter service in the second half of 2015.

Cirrus Aircraft’s first production conforming Vision SF50 very light jet, dubbed “C-Zero” (C0), achieved its maiden flight last month from Duluth International Airport, where the company has its headquarters. V1–a nonconforming SF50 prototype of the all-composite, single-engine jet–has been flying July 3, 2008. C0, the first of three conforming flight-test aircraft, was assembled from production-ready drawings, tooling and manufacturing processes, according to Cirrus.

“The Vision Jet handled and performed very well and all systems functioned properly,” said Cirrus Aircraft director of engineering flight test and chief test pilot Mike Stevens, who flew C0 for its initial one-hour flight on March 24. The first flight included systems checks of controllability, maneuverability and flight envelope testing and speed performance at an intermediate altitude.

Cirrus, which is owned by the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. subsidiary of the state-owned Avic group (Booth 713), said the seven-seat jet is expected to enter service in the second half of next year, following certification by the U.S. FAA. European certification is anticipated by the end of next year. According to Cirrus executive vice president of sales, marketing and support Todd Simmons, the company has nearly 550 position holders for the very light jet on its books.

The second conforming aircraft is due to join the flight test fleet by the end of June with a third to follow during the second half of 2014. The V1 aircraft will continue to participate in flight-testing.