Cirrus Vision Jet
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Max. Cruise Speed:
2,500 fpm (est.)
Cirrus Vision Jet
It was in 2006 when Cirrus Aircraft Corp. announced the concept of their latest aircraft. It would be a small jet aircraft that would be a move up for owners of propeller driven Cirrus aircraft. Powered by a single 1,800 lb. thrust turbofan engine, its cabin would seat five. Two more could be accommodated with the installation of aft child seats. Maximum takeoff weight would be 6,000 lbs., with a maximum cruise speed of 300 kts. and maximum altitude of 28,000 feet. Price would be under US$2 million. The aircraft would eventually be named the Cirrus Vision Jet.
The company said that the Cirrus Vision Jet would be the “lowest, slowest, and least expensive” jet available. Although its performance would be modest, it would have “a high level of safety, comfort, and equipment”. Deposits of US$100,000 were taken with first deliveries anticipated by 2010.
It was July 3, 2008 when the Cirrus Vision Jet first flew. Testing was progressing when the full effects of the Great Recession ground it to a halt. In 2012 China Aviation Industry General Aviation (CAIGA) purchased Cirrus and resumed development of the Cirrus Vision Jet.
Additional delays were experienced due to initial production issues and difficulty in adopting the CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System) to deploy from the front of the Cirrus Vision Jet. The system allows the entire aircraft and its occupants to be slowly lowered to the ground in case of an emergency. It was May 2017 when the U.S. FAA and European EASA granted production certification to the Cirrus Vision Jet.
To keep costs low and provide for ease of manufacture, the Cirrus Vision Jet uses standard assembly methods to its composite fuselage. Garmin provides the avionics.
The Cirrus Vision Jet wing is designed for optimum performance at speeds below 250 knots indicated airspeed (KIAS). This makes the aircraft especially manageable during take off and landing, but results in a bumpier ride in turbulence. The cabin is pressurized for an 8,000 ft. altitude at 6.4 psi. There is a 23.5 cubic ft. rear baggage compartment. Access to the main battery is by a removable floor panel.
Flying the Cirrus Vision Jet will feel familiar to those acquainted with other Cirrus aircraft, but with a few surprises. Most aircraft systems are easily accessible for pre flight inspection. One exception is checking the engine oil level that requires a step stool to access a small door in the top nacelle. It is unlighted, so a light source is required at night.
Cirrus Vision Jet
Getting into the Cirrus Vision Jet is easy with the front seats sliding well rearward. This also makes rudder pedal adjustment unnecessary. Visibility around the front of the aircraft is impressive, with a short nose letting the pilot see directly ahead of the aircraft.
Two large displays above and three touch screens below are easy to see and use, with minimal glare. Flight controls are by sidestick. Automated checklists are provided for aircraft functions through its entire operating range. While initializing avionics, aircraft safety systems automatically self-test.
A button on the instrument panel's left side is used for engine start and stop. Main generator and alternator are actuated manually after engine start. Engine bleed air must be manually switched on for cabin pressurization.
Once the engine is going, its noise is loud enough that headsets are necessary for communication between aircraft occupants.
Steering the Cirrus Vision Jet is by differential braking. Because of its single jet engine located in the tail of the aircraft, prop wash can not be used to aid steering.
Once the Cirrus Vision Jet was lined up for takeoff, the throttle was pushed to its forward stop. The engine has full authority digital engine control (FADEC). The engine roared, but acceleration was slower than what we have come to expect in a modern jet aircraft. A firm pull on the sidestick provided for rotation at about 2,000 feet down the runway.
Flaps were retracted at 115 KIAS and the throttle was moved to the maximum continuous thrust position. At an altitude of 28,000 feet and a weight of 5,575 lbs., the Cirrus Vision Jet used 68 gallons of fuel per hour at a speed of 307 knots. At 270 knots, fuel burn was 49 gallons per hour.
During level flight, it was observed that a decrease in thrust produced a significant pitch up and an increase in thrust a significant pitch down. This is due to the position of the engine. While increasing and decreasing speed, a considerable amount of effort on the sidestick, pulling up and pushing down, was necessary to maintain level flight. The electric pitch trim was simply too slow. When landing, and particularly if a go around is necessary, it is imperative to be aware of the aircraft's strong nose down movement when thrust is applied.
The Cirrus Vision Jet performs very well while trying to induce a stall. Handling is very gentle as the stall is approached. A stick pusher activates to lower the nose of the aircraft well before a critical angle of attack is reached.
Cirrus currently holds over 600 orders for their Cirrus Vision jet. Their Duluth, Minnesota factory expects that 125 aircraft will be produced by the end of 2018. Some 15 Cirrus Vision Jet aircraft have been produced to date.