NBAA Convention News

Cirrus booth is a tease for ‘The-jet’

 - November 14, 2006, 6:35 AM

Drop by the Cirrus booth (No. 2957) and check out the shadow of the Cirrus SR22 on display there. It’s a subtle hint of a shape to come: a new very light jet from Cirrus.

The lightplane maker announced a couple of months ago that it plans to produce a jet eventually. But vice chairman and cofounder Dale Klapmeier told NBAA Convention News, “We’re not saying when it will be produced, or what the performance will be.” What they are telling is that “The-jet by Cirrus” (the name for now) will be powered by a Williams FJ33-19 jet engine with 1,900 pounds of thrust. Cirrus made the announcement of the engine choice at a press conference at its booth yesterday.

Klapmeier promised, “We’re building a piston airplane that will go faster, go farther, carry more, fly higher than our current airplane, but it just isn’t going to have a piston engine.” He said that chairman, CEO and cofounder (and his brother) Alan Klapmeier had a different way of describing The-jet. “He says it will be the slowest, lowest, shortest-range jet, but faster than a piston.” But, Klapmeier said, “I don’t concede the ‘slowest jet’ part.” He added, “Our philosophy is different from other companies.’ We’re building an airplane that our customers want.”

Cirrus is taking $100,000 nonrefundable deposits for the new jet, he said, but they also aren’t telling how many deposits they have. Klapmeier claimed that he lost the office pool because more orders were taken in one week than he bet on for a whole year.

“One thing we will say about it is that it will be really cool,” he told NBAA Convention News. “We don’t know yet what the eventual name will be, but for now it’s The-jet by Cirrus.” He noted that the SR20 started out being called Single Reciprocating Series 20.

Cirrus announced the jet at the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association meeting in June, when more than 400 owners gathered in Duluth. “We had an auction to raise money for the Tuskegee Airman Red Tail Project, and auctioned off four The-jet T-shirts.” That brought in $6,000, and the total raised for the project was $100,000.