The most highly anticipated aircraft in Cirrus Design Corporation’s history, “the-jet,” made its inaugural flight on July 3. The 45-minute flight was conducted from the company’s headquarters at Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minn. The aircraft performed flawlessly. Designed with the Cirrus signature full-airframe parachute system, the aircraft looked beautiful in its red and white paint (the model and mock-up have been displayed in gold and white), and its roof-mounted Williams FJ33-4A-19 put a 1,900-pound blast through the “V” of the distinctive tail.
Just one week after its initial flight, the single-engine personal jet received its official name, “Cirrus Vision SJ50.”
“The name ‘Cirrus Vision SJ50’ represents a natural extension of Cirrus’ vision to build the ultimate personal transportation machine,” said Cirrus CEO Alan Klapmeier. “With the Cirrus Vision, we’re providing an entirely new transportation option for personal and business travel. It’s a smarter, simpler and more efficient way to travel and holds the unique promise of redefining general aviation.”
Backed by more than 400 (refundable) deposits of $100,000, the Cirrus Vision should begin deliveries in 2011. The aircraft blends the best of both the high-performance single-engine class and the VLJ category. With seven seats (including two stowaway seats), the machine is designed to provide capacity and economy, and to be the logical step-up from the SR20 and SR22 piston singles. Visit www.cirrusdesign.com.
At May’s EBACE (European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition) in Geneva, Switzerland, Cessna received three-quarters of a billion dollars in orders, led by 70 signings for Citations of various sizes. Fourteen new Caravans and four single-engine, piston aircraft also found new homes. Cessna’s biggest single client was Austria-based JetAlliance, a charter jet company that placed 24 orders; Dexter, a Russian air-taxi operator, purchased 20 C-510 Citation Mustangs. Cessna’s main propeller-powered aircraft customer was Air Alliance GmbH, accounting for a C-172, a C-182 and six Grand Caravans.
Roger Whyte, senior vice president of sales and marketing, said, “Our sales and marketing team in Geneva, as well as the support staff in the United States, worked hard to close these deals and make this one of our most successful appearances at EBACE.” Acknowledging that it’s good to have whatever the customer wants, he added, “It’s key to note that these orders encompassed our entire Citation line and involved our piston and turboprop models, as well. Our broad product range allows us to match aircraft to any mission our customers have.” Learn more at www.cessna.com.
Sierra’s Super II Passes Noise Test
Now nearing the end of its FAA flight-testing, the Sierra Super II from Sierra Industries finished FAR 36 and EASA/ICAO noise testing on May 19, completing all required noise certification and “high-risk” flight tests, including single-engine takeoff, climb rate and landing. In previous tests, the aircraft documented a cruise speed of 404 KTAS; the Super II’s certified maximum speed will be 416 KTAS.
The Super II STC features twin Williams FJ44-3 engines rated at 2,820 pounds to boost fuel efficiency by as much as 27%, cut climb time to FL430 to under 25 minutes, extend range to nearly 1,800 nm and increase maximum fuel payload. In addition to increased climb rates, the Sierra is achieving reductions in takeoff roll of more than 20% (elevation 5,000 feet, ISA 20 degrees F). Dual-channel FADEC control promises additional passenger comfort and reduced pilot workload.
The Super II development program is leveraged by Sierra’s FAA- and EASA-approved Eagle II and Stallion modifications, which also utilize Williams FJ44 advanced turbofan engines. Sierra’s next reengining program involves the 2,820-pound-thrust Williams FJ44-3A and the Cessna S550 Citation S/II; FAA approval is expected shortly after finalizing the Super II STC. Visit www.sijet.com.
Big D-Jet Order From Chartright
Chartright Air Group, known as a manager and charter provider of business jets (from Astra to Global 5000 and MD-87), has purchased 10 Diamond D-Jets for delivery beginning in the third quarter of 2010. Adam Keller, president of Chartright Air Group, said, “The D-Jet will allow Chartright to expand services to offering market segments that haven’t previously experienced the time and security benefits of this method of flying.” He continued, “Chartright believes that once exposed to the efficiency of private jet travel, individuals are likely to draw upon Chartright’s diverse fleet of larger jet aircraft to satisfy a broader range of missions.”
Diamond Aircraft President Peter Maurer said, “The D-Jet is intended to provide the most desirable and attainable jet to a broad range of pilot and nonpilot air travelers, combining the executive cabin-class seating comfort of much more expensive business jets with the lowest possible acquisition and operating cost.”
A typical round-trip charter between Toronto, Canada, and Philadelphia, Pa., could cost $10,000 to $15,000. According to Chartright’s calculations, that same trip might cost just $4,000 in the D-Jet; in either case, total time would be less than two hours each way, including check-in, security and customs. For more information, visit www.chartright.com and www.diamondaircraft.com.
JetAviva’s 75th VLJ Acceptance
JetAviva’s Jet Acceptance Service has now performed predelivery flight tests, 800-point technical inspections and thorough cosmetic inspections on some 75 very light jets (VLJs), including the Cessna Mustang (Citation 510) and the Eclipse 500. Operating the world’s largest fleet of managed VLJs, JetAviva has a staff of type-specific technical experts for each VLJ, providing clients (from individual pilots to large-fleet customers
like Linear Air) with a Jet Acceptance Service that allows pilots to focus on their flight operations, and fleet operators to focus on generating revenue rather than the technical details of bringing airplanes into the fleet. The company offers jet acquisition and sales services that are backed by experience with more than 100 VLJ sales transactions and 75 technical acceptances. Learn more at www.jetaviva.com.
AirShares Elite Acquires iFly
AirShares Elite’s fleet of Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbos will soon be flown by customers of iFly, who previously had access to a fleet of Cessna (formerly Columbia) 350s. Founded in 1999, the new parent company aims to capture more of the Southwest’s market for professionally managed, fast pistons equipped with glass cockpits. The G3s are being added to the West Coast fleet, enhancing altitude performance across the board.
AirShares Elite CEO David Lee noted, “AirShares is the largest national shared-ownership program, and iFly runs the biggest program in the Los Angeles/San Diego market. Together, we’ll offer our customers an even greater range of flying experiences—more planes in more locations, with a larger, more experienced and more capable organization. The new organization will be a plus for all of our owners.”
The combined resources of the new, larger AirShares include four Cirrus SR22-G3 Turbos, with more on order, and 54 normally aspirated Cirrus aircraft. AirShares is working with each iFly member on a Cessna-to-Cirrus training program. iFly’s fleet of (normally aspirated) 350s will be sold and replaced by the all-Cirrus fleet. For more information, visit www.airshareselite.com.
Aerocentro Honored By Twin Commander
At Twin Commander’s annual Service Center Symposium, Aerocentro de Servicios, C.A., of Caracas, Venezuela, one of Twin Commander’s 22 worldwide factory-authorized service centers, received the 2007 “Service Center of the Year” award for its “outstanding support and leadership of the Twin Commander Aircraft fleet.” Factory officials, service center managers, maintenance chiefs and technicians met at Roche Harbor Resort on San Juan Island, Wash., to evaluate new product needs, parts inventory and pricing, and to address technical and service issues affecting the worldwide Twin Commander fleet.
This year’s symposium drew representatives from service centers in Australia, Venezuela and Mexico, plus a full contingent from U.S.-based service centers. The effort paid off, according to Twin Commander President Jim Matheson.
“Supporting our owners and operators with parts, service and technical information is our only business,” Matheson explained, “so it’s crucial that the entire Twin Commander family, especially our authorized service centers, communicate and work cooperatively. We’re able to achieve those objectives largely through efforts like the Service Center Symposium.”
Aerocentro General Manager Luis Nunez accepted the award. The next symposium will be held immediately prior to the 2008 Twin Commander University, which will take place in May 2009 in Scottsdale, Ariz. Learn more at www.twincommander.com.
|The TBM 850 may have a
composite fuselage in its future
ECJ Is A “Go”! Eclipse 500 Goes To Russia
It’s no longer the ECJ (Eclipse Concept Jet); it’s the “Eclipse 400,” and Eclipse Aviation officially launched the aircraft at its 10th anniversary celebration. The four-place (1+3 or 2+2) Eclipse 400 is first being offered to customers of the six-place, twin-engine Eclipse 500, who can receive a $125,000 discount until 2008 EAA AirVenture begins, when order books will be opened to the general public with a $1.35 million price tag. The V-tail Eclipse 400 features many parts and systems identical to those on the 500. Powered by a Pratt & Whitney 615F, the Eclipse 400 cruises at 330 knots at 41,000 feet, where a fuel burn of less than one pound per nautical mile is expected. Deliveries of the Eclipse 400 are expected in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Eclipse has received U.S. permission to export the Eclipse 500 and components to Russia. Additionally, the 500 has become more valuable here: As of June 2008, the aircraft will cost $2.15 million. Advancing manufacturing costs and slower-than-anticipated production ramp-up are the reasons. The company wrote, “The Eclipse 500 is still priced below today’s current entry-level jets while delivering fuel burns that are half that of similar VLJs, the industry’s lowest overall direct operating costs and total aircraft integration levels unmatched by comparable aircraft.” Get additional information by visiting www.eclipseaviation.com.
EADS Socata Composite Fuselage Program
EADS Socata has officially launched its FusComp (Fuselage Composites) program, a manufacturing study of a composite fuselage prototype to test the vacuum liquid-resin infusion (LRI) process and new materials. The design of this proof-of-concept program is based on the TBM 850 “very fast turboprop” (VFT), the company’s flagship pressurized business turboprop.
Other technical partners in the program include Sicomin, Aerovac Systems France, ENIT Tarbes engineering college, Tarbes University Technology Institute and the Jean Dupuy high school in Tarbes, France.
Vacuum LRI is based on the molding of high-performance composite parts by infusing liquid resin on the fibers (glass, carbon or aramid) instead of prepreg fabrics molded in autoclaves. Its main advantages are the use of cheaper material, a more flexible industrial process technology and quicker manufacturing times.
The FusComp task force will involve up to 50 people, including partners, teachers and students. The four-year, 9.2-million-euro venture includes a two-year definition project and a parallel second team’s definition and development of the new industrial process. First parts are expected in 2009, and a prototype fuselage should be ready in 2011. Visit www.socata.eads.net.
New Cabins At Mountain Air
Mountain Air, a private fly-in community in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, is now offering a collection of rustic cabin homes. Offered in three- and four-bedroom plans, the “Cabins at Waterfall” feature stacked stone fireplaces, covered outdoor decks and a chef’s kitchen with stainless-steel appliances. The neighborhood is adjacent to Mountain Air’s Creekside Park, which features a hiking trail along a mountain stream, trout pond, picnic shelter and outdoor furniture constructed by a local artisan. To learn more, read “On A Heading For Home” from Pilot Journal July/August 2008. The opening photo spread (on pages 70–71 in the print edition), provided by Mountain Air, shows the community’s dramatic 2,875-foot runway, at an elevation of 4,910 feet. For more, visit www.mountainaircc.com.