Cirrus Aircraft leadership assured the general aviation community that the company is progressing on the Vision single-engine jet despite recent announcements that they are interested in outside funding for the project—including from Cirrus co-founder Alan Klapmeier.
Klapmeier last month announced that he was seeking funding to take control of the jet program, separating it from Arcapita-owned Cirrus. Klapmeier believes that with him in control and with additional funding he can garner through his relationships and successes with Cirrus, he can bring the jet to market sooner than it will be if left as part of Cirrus. Klapmeier's brother and co-founder Dale Klapmeier told a crowd of reporters at EAA AirVenture that the company would entertain any such offering only from Alan because of his ongoing relationship with the company and knowing that he would continue to position the Vision as a step-up airplane for the SR-line of piston airplanes. Cirrus CEO Brent Wouter said that under any such arrangement, Cirrus would continue to own a stake in the jet company.
Wouter stressed that any initiative by Alan to separate and accelerate the jet program would be welcome, but even without it Cirrus is committed to the jet and work is progressing. The prototype has completed 200 flight hours and is undergoing modifications as a result. Dale noted that the flap system is being redesigned to be simpler and lighter. The tail section now forms an X rather than the distinctive “V” it was introduced with.
Although the program is moving forward, the company will be challenged to make the planned 2012 first deliveries without external capital, such as might be supplied by Alan.
In other Cirrus news, the company announced that customers have even more ability to customize their SR20 or SR22 through the Xi program. With the Xi option, customers can order custom paint, graphics, logos, interior appointments, and other accessories to make their airplanes unique. The first airplane ordered through the Xi program is on display at the Cirrus exhibit at AirVenture.