Small personal jets - or very light jets (VLJ) - enter the aviation market: Cirrus announced it has achieved a significant milestone in its Vision SF50 personal jet program with the successful first flight of certification aircraft 'C-Zero' (C0). The SF50 is a seven seat, pressurized, single engine jet and the newest airplane in Cirrus' line of composite high performance personal aircraft.
This newest airplane in the development program underwent rigorous ground tests before taking off from the Duluth International Airport at approximately 5PM CDT on Monday, March 24th, 2014. Their Aircraft Director of Engineering Flight Test and Chief Test Pilot Mike Stevens flew C0 on a one-hour sortie and reported, "The Vision Jet handled and performed very well and all systems functioned properly, just what you want in a first flight. Congratulations to the entire team on today's accomplishment."
"The first flight of C0 is the latest milestone of many 'firsts' for general aviation at Cirrus," said Dale Klapmeier, CEO and Co-founder, Cirrus Aircraft. "Today's successful test flight marks another significant step toward our goal of elevating the personal flying experience with a clean sheet airplane design. The engineers, technicians, designers and all Cirrus employees that have worked tirelessly on the Vision Jet program are justifiably proud today. In the last 12 months we have made such great progress in all areas of the program and we anticipate fulfilling the first of our 500-plus customer reservations late next year."
This flight included systems checks of controllability, maneuverability and flight envelope testing and speed performance at an intermediate altitude. This initial flight paves the way for future flight performance and systems testing.
C zero is the first of three conforming flight test aircraft for the Vision SF50 program. A conforming vehicle means the airplane is substantially built and inspected to formal aircraft type design. C0 was assembled from production-ready drawings, tooling, and manufacturing processes.
According to company information, the Vision SF50 is a revolutionary personal jet designed to fill the significant gap between high performance piston singles and light jets. Simple to fly and easy to own and operate, the Vision is designed to be a straightforward transition for pilots of high-performance aircraft, such as the Cirrus SR22T.
This VLJ features a high-end cruise speed of 300 KTAS, advanced avionics, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™) and an all-carbon fiber structure. With a list price of $1.96 million and seating up to five adults and two smaller passengers in an expansive cabin, Vision Jet sets a new standard in luxury and flexibility for pilots and passengers.