Piper Aircraft and Cirrus Design are neck and neck on progress with their respective single-engine very light jet prototypes, and the two competing airplanes could fly within days of each other in July. Workers at Cirrus are finishing V1 (the “V” stands for “verification”), an aerodynamically conforming–but not entirely systems conforming–Cirrus Jet prototype.
AAI Acquisition will close on the purchase of bankrupt Adam Aircraft Industries on April 15, having made the only bid for the assets of the composite aircraft developer. AAI Acquisition was formed by Russian company Industrial Investors, a private equity asset management company based in Moscow and London, along with a group of former Adam Aircraft employees.
General aviation manufacturers enjoyed another record-breaking year last year, with billings totaling $21.9 billion, up 16.5 percent from the previous year, and worldwide shipments reaching 4,272 airplanes, up 5.4 percent. For the first time ever, shipments of jets exceeded the 1,000-per-year milestone, climbing to 1,138 last year.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) today announced 2007 year-end shipment figures for the general aviation industry. Last year, the industry reached record billings of $21.9 billion, eclipsing the previous year’s figure by 16.5 percent. Worldwide general aviation shipments totaled 4,272 aircraft, the most in more than a quarter century and a 5.4-percent jump over the 4,053 airplanes delivered in 2006.
Cirrus Design late last year struck a deal with the Duluth, Minn. Economic Development Authority to move its single-engine jet research and development activity to a former Northwest Airlines maintenance hangar adjacent to its headquarters at Duluth Airport. The authority on December 27 passed a resolution of intent to lease the 189,000-sq-ft facility to Cirrus for 25 years, with an option for 25 more.
The Avidyne Entegra avionics system–particularly the revolutionary left-side primary flight display (PFD)–is new territory for most piston pilots. Recently TSO’d, it’s a $26,500 option on the 310-hp Cirrus SR22. The large (10.4-inch diagonal) display shows airspeed and altitude on vertical tapes usually found in the front office of a jet.
Whether or not Cirrus Design of Duluth, Minn., ever decides to build a single-engine personal jet depends heavily on what emerges on the small-turbofan development front. Cirrus director of marketing Ian Bentley told AIN, “Throughout aviation history, starting with the Wright brothers, airframe development has relied on the emergence of new engines.”
Cirrus Design, the Duluth, Minn. manufacturer of SR20 and SR22 piston singles, does have a jet in its future plans, but don’t expect to hear much about it before the end of this year. When (and if) you do, it may well be that the design will wind up with a single engine.
Cirrus Design Corporation announced last week that its fleet of more than 3,500 SR20 and SR22 composite, single-engine piston airplanes has passed two million flight hours–or the equivalent in distance of two trips to the sun and back.
The General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA) released its third-quarter shipment and billings report today, and the news is good for the business aviation industry. Compared with the same quarter last year, total shipments rose 1.7 percent, to 2,909 aircraft, while industry billings climbed to $15.1 billion, an increase of 14.1 percent.