Work on Cirrus Aircraft's Vision SF50 is approaching the finishing line, with certification and service entry of the only in-development US Part 23 single-engined personal jet set for the second and third quarters of this year, respectively.
At the Aero Friedrichshafen show, the US builder of the SR family of piston singles said the popularity of the jet has “grown tremendously” since the flight test programme has progressed. "We now have an order backlog of over 600 aircraft," says Cirrus vice-president of marketing, Ben Kowalski. "Production is sold out for the next four years."
The four V-tail aircraft in the flight test programme have notched up around 1,700h since the first example took to the air in March 2014. The first production aircraft, P1, is poised to begin function and reliability testing.
"Emergency parachute system testing is also at a very mature stage," Kowalski says.
The US Federal Aviation Administration recently proposed Cirrus certificate the airworthiness of the $2 million SF50 without demonstrating whether its whole aircraft parachute recovery system (CAPS), works in flight.
The FAA considers the CAPS for the Williams International FJ33-5A-powered aircraft as a “supplementary” system, and is asking for public feedback on this proposed special condition by 2 May.
Cirrus says it is continuing to work closely with the FAA and plans to bring the SF50 to market with “a safe and fully functioning” CAPS, whatever the outcome of the consultation.
"This is a new and novel feature in a brand new aircraft, so the FAA is looking at how it can create regulation around that," says Kowalski. “It’s standard procedure and shouldn’t delay the aircraft’s validation,” he continues.
"Our customers are confident we will do all that is necessary to develop a safe and reliable system. After all, our engineers have developed and implemented parachute testing on our SR20 and SR22 series – which both feature the CAPS as standard – for many years,” Kowalski says.
Since the SR-series entered service in 1999, Cirrus has delivered more than 6,300 units, and CAPS has helped save the lives of more than 100 people.
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