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Wed, Jul 02, 2008

ANN Exclusive: Cirrus Jet Test Program Ready For Takeoff

Slow and Methodical, Cirrus' 'Advanced Development Group' Is READY

ANN's Jim Campbell and Aero-TV Videographer Nathan Cremisino have been camped out (literally) at Cirrus HQ, for days, with extensive inside access to the Cirrus Jet test program. Over the last few days, N280CJ has been running up and down DLH's Rwy 27, testing systems, initial aerodynamics and getting a feel for the jet's overall characteristics. And yes, it looks good... damned good.

The process has gone about as far as it can go without an actual liftoff  -- with visible rotation of the nose wheel and good tracking down the centerline of the runway despite significant crosswinds of at least 45 degrees and 11-16 knots.

The process has been painstaking. This is Cirrus' first Jet aircraft and the team dedicated to its development has had a no-nonsense and conservative attitude for the months we've been working with them.

But the buzz is everywhere... "When will it fly?"

And the answer never changes... "When it's ready."

The question is whispered again and again throughout the city of Duluth, but we can tell you that first flight is very close, the jet is performing very well, that the hiccups (so far) have been minor and easily countered, and that the team is confident that they have an airplane that can change the GA world. No one at ANN (which has had "inside" access for years, to this program), doubts that for a second.

Regardless, ANN and Aero-TV are on site, close at hand,and keeping an eye on this bit of history... we'll keep you updated as soon as we can and look forward to offering you extensive inside access to the Jet, its amazing development team and how this intriguing GA development program came together.

First unveiled in mock-up form just a tad over a year ago, "The-Jet" sports a v-tail empennage arrangement, to make room for the single FJ33 Williams turbofan carried atop the raked fuselage in a smoothly integrated fairing. The lines of the fuselage carry forward to a bulbous roofline over the cockpit, which offers seating for a pilot and four adult passengers -- one in the right seat, and three behind.
 
Seating is configurable for as many as seven passengers, including smaller seats for children, in a configuration Cirrus calls "five-plus." As with all Cirrus production aircraft, the plane also sports a whole-airplane parachute.

Cirrus has admittedly lowly -- some would say "realistic" -- performance expectations for its first-ever turbofan-powered aircraft. Billed proudly by Cirrus as the "slowest, lowest, and cheapest jet available," "The-Jet" is expected to fly at close to 300 knots at FL250.

More news to follow... 'real soon now.'

FMI: www.the-jet.com, www.cirrusdesign.com

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