Would-be owners of Cirrus Design Corp.'s new jet gathered in Duluth for an update on the aircraft's development and an announcement of its new name.
Until now, Cirrus has referred to the new single-engine aircraft it's developing simply as "the-jet," but now it will be called the Vision SJ50.
"We needed to find a nomenclature that was in keeping with our SR line," said Cirrus spokeswoman Kate Dougherty, referring to the company's other two aircraft, the SR20 and SR22. The SJ refers to single-engine jet and 50 was chosen to signify the airplane's seating capacity for five full-sized adults.
As for the choice of Vision for the jet's name, Dougherty said Cirrus wanted a name that started with the letter V to mirror the shape of the airplane's signature tail. She said the name made sense on another level, as well.
"We continue to talk about this aircraft reflecting our vision for the future of general aviation," Dougherty said.
So far, more than 460 people have each plunked down a $100,000 deposit to order an SJ50. Cirrus projects the jets will sell for about $1 million apiece.
A number of those who have placed orders for the Vision attended a meeting tonight to learn more about the aircraft's development. Many of the position holders already own Cirrus airplanes and are in town for the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association's sixth annual Migration celebration. The event which runs from Thursday through Saturday is expected to attract 400 to 450 people and 150 Cirrus airplanes.
Migration attendees may be treated to a sight of the SJ50 in test flight. A prototype of the plane took to the air for the first time last week and made its second flight this morning.
Peter Coad, a software developer from Los Gatos, Calif., who already flies a Cirrus and is first in line to buy the Vision, came to Duluth early to watch the airplane make its first flight. Coad eagerly awaits the day when he will receive the keys to his own jet and said Cirrus' cockpit design of the aircraft is a big reason why he's so attracted to it.
"I own a Cirrus airplane because it's so fun to fly. It's a visual feast to look out from the cockpit when you're in the air," he said. "From everything I've seen so far, the view will be even better from the new jet."
Judging from his comments, chances are, Coad would approve of Cirrus' choice of names for its new jet.
PETER PASSI covers business and development. He can be reached weekdays at (218) 279-5526 or by e-mail at email@example.com.