Cirrus Vision SJ50 Jet Debuts At Oshkosh

The long awaited Cirrus Vision SJ50 Jet made its much anticipated public debut at this year’s EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. The aircraft jetted in with a high-speed pass before landing on Runway 27 and being towed to a small stage in AeroShell Square, where it was put on display for potential clients to see.

The single-engine prototype was flown by test pilot Kent Vandergrift who did a fantastic job of displaying the aircraft’s capabilities and striking good looks. Once the aircraft had done the work of drawing in the crowds, Cirrus co-founders Alan and Dale Klapmeier congratulated their team and settled down to talk about the aircraft. Alan Klapmeier noted that their goal had been to create an airplane that would appeal to the public and that they themselves would enjoy flying. He is quoted as saying that the jet “gives you more performance but still is closer to the personal aircraft that we are used to flying.” It was never meant to be a business jet or a VLJ – it is a simple and easy-to-use fan-powered high-performance aircraft. Alan noted that the aircraft “takes Cirrus to the next level”. Test pilot Vandergrift also stuck around to give his opinion on the aircraft’s flight performance. Vandergrift said it “is a great airplane to fly. She scoots. She is a slick airplane and climbs like a banshee.” And the aircraft certainly did look easy to fly. According to Vandergrift the aircraft has flown about 25 hours at up to 200 knots since its first test flight on July 3. After the AirVenture air show, the aircraft will be pushed to 300 knots.

The sleek SJ50 prototype is not pressurized and the non-production door which has been fitted to the aircraft is especially easy to jettison in an emergency situation. There is also a stall-spin chute for similar safety reasons. The aircraft emits very little noise and its sleek design is certainly very eye-catching. So far the air taxi provider SATSAir, which was purchased by Cirrus in 2005, has placed the first order for the aircraft for five SJ50s which will be added to their existing fleet of Cirrus SR22s. The company is hoping that they will be able to make customer deliveries by 2011.