AOPA Expo is host to numerous variants of the single-engine jet. While several of them have been seen at other events, Expo is the public debut for the much-anticipated Minnesota entry — Cirrus' The-Jet. The V-tail jet was unveiled to media and Cirrus owners back in July, but the Expo exhibit hall is the general pilot population's first chance to study the unusual airplane. As a result, the mockup has seen a steady stream of traffic. Most unusual for a jet is the concept of two entry doors, easing access to the wide cabin. Other unusual features include a flexible seating configuration. The pilot and copilot seats travel far aft, allowing the crew to slip into the seats from the doorway and then slide forward. Meanwhile, the two or three passengers then have plenty of legroom. Behind the passenger seats is a large luggage area. However, if you have more people — up to seven — the center passenger seat can be slid to the aft bulkhead and two additional passenger seats can be unfolded. Cirrus hasn't released many performance details yet but expect the jet to have a maximum altitude of 25,000 feet. The single Williams International engine is nestled on the top of the aft fuselage with thrust expelled through between the two tail surfaces. Cirrus announced last week at the National Business Aviation Association convention in Atlanta that the panel will feature the SmartDeck integrated cockpit from L-3 Communications. For more details on the unusual tail configuration, see " Waypoints: The return of the V-tail."
October 6, 2007