Demand rises slightly for new Cirrus jet
Look up on any given day in Duluth and you might catch a glimpse of Cirrus' new Vision Jet. The jet, still in development, is going though a battery of extensive tests that require it to take to the skies most days at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet.
Look up on any given day in Duluth and you might catch a glimpse of Cirrus' new Vision Jet.
The jet, still in development, is going though a battery of extensive tests that require it to take to the skies most days at altitudes of up to 28,000 feet.
You'll know it by its distinctive V-shaped tail and the red-over-white color scheme. It's a sleek, unique-looking aircraft that's designed for personal and regional business travel, seating five to seven people.
"It's out flight testing, ice testing, testing the airplane's systems," said Todd Simmons, vice president of marketing for Duluth-based Cirrus.
During a web conference last week, Cirrus officials gave buyers, prospective buyers and anyone else interested an update on the plane's development. The extensive testing and trials will continue for some time before it goes into production in late 2012. The jet's future pilots also will go through intensive flight training before they can fly the plane, a program that will include mentors.
The timeline -- with delivery of the first jets in 2013 -- is still on schedule, officials say.
As of Wednesday, Cirrus has 431 orders for the jets, which cost $1.72 million, up from $1.39 million last year. Considering that in late January there were 428 orders, that doesn't seem like much of an increase.
Confusing matters further, Gary Black, Cirrus' director of jet sales, said 106 new orders for the jet have come in during the last six months.
The explanation is found in the number of customers backing out -- 20 to 25 this year (on top of 50 last year). But those spots have been resold and then some, for the slight net increase, explained Simmons. The number doesn't include Vision Jets reserved for fleets and demonstrations, which boosts the total even more.
"We're making good progress, even in difficult times in this industry," Simmons said. "The order book remains strong."
Black says Cirrus continues to get one to two new orders a week, all backed with the required $100,000 deposit.
Jet orders taken after Jan. 1 come with a big catch. The buyers don't get their deposits back if they back out. Those who placed their orders before Jan. 1, however, can still get their deposits back.
More than 50 people have shifted their deposits toward the purchase of Cirrus SR-22 or SR-20 piston engine planes, which cost from $440,000 to $650,000. But that offer expires June 30.