Cirrus Jet: Some Parts Might Be Made in China

 - July 30, 2013, 8:10 AM
Cirrus SF50 Vision (Photo: Jim Upton)

Cirrus Aircraft is not ruling out making some parts for its new $1.96 million (2010) SF50 single-engine jet in China as a strategy for combating costs.

Company co-founder and chairman Dale Klapmeier told a press briefing at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., on Monday that Cirrus and its new owner, the China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA), “are going to figure out how to build the best airplane at the lowest cost–parts made here, parts made there, things shipped back and forth. All of that is something we are going to explore to make sure we are building the lowest cost, highest quality airplanes that we can and driving the possibility that someday we will make planes over there [in China]. We want to see that market grow to such tremendous potential that we can’t supply it all from here. That is the day we are looking forward to.”

Cirrus unveiled more details of its jet program here Monday including revised performance numbers and details related to airframe changes compared with the non-conforming prototype the company has flown more than 600 hours since 2008.

Beginning next year, Cirrus plans to build and fly three conforming production test aircraft that will carry the company through certification and customer deliveries beginning in 2015.

The redesigned jet has a slightly longer nose and higher loft than the model currently flying. Range is estimated at 1,000 nm at 300 knots; 1,200 at 210. The five plus two occupant layout is retained but options such as weather radar, a “relief station” and upgraded leathers have been added.

Cirrus already is beginning to gear up for production by adding factory robotics and a fuselage lay-up mold for the all-composite aircraft. The company has received more than 500 deposits for the jet.

Last year Cirrus delivered 253 of its piston single engine SR20 and S22 series aircraft and logged some success with fleet sales to U.S. and foreign militaries and flight schools. This year Cirrus unveiled the fifth generation of the SR22, featuring increased payload of 200 pounds, a larger and stronger ballistic parachute to support the load, increased flap extension speed to 150 knots, a redesigned rear seat capable of carrying a fifth passenger and upgraded avionics.