Cirrus Aircraft plans to fly the next iteration of its single-engine SF50 Vision jet in February 2014, according to Todd Simmons, executive vice president of sales and marketing, “although our goal for this first conforming aircraft is to beat that date.”
Cirrus Aircraft announced yesterday that it has secured funding to complete the composite single-engine Vision SF50 jet from company owner China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (Caiga). Development of the single-engine Vision jet slowed during the recession. When Caiga purchased Cirrus for an estimated $210 million last June, the company said that development of the Vision jet would continue.
Cirrus has restructured more than $13 million worth of loan and lease obligations related to its Grand Forks, N.D. production facility with that city’s Growth Fund. Cirrus employs approximately 90 people in Grand Forks who make composite component parts for its SR-series piston aircraft, which are then shipped to the company’s assembly line in Duluth, Minn.
Kestrel Aircraft is abandoning plans to set up the headquarters and new production plant for its K-350 single-engine turboprop in Brunswick Landing, Maine. On January 16, the company announced a $118 million deal to locate in Richard I. Bong Airport in Superior, Wis., and begin construction in June. The agreement is being financed by a variety of grants, low-interest loans, and tax credits from the City of Superior, Douglas County and the state of Wisconsin.
Assembling Sources of Capital
Kestrel Aircraft CEO Alan Klapmeier pushed the recall button on January 16 and cashed in to the tune of potentially $118 million. The company is abandoning its plans to set up production of its single-engine turboprop K-350 in Maine in favor of Superior, Wis.
Cirrus restructured more than $13 million worth of loan and lease obligations related to its Grand Forks, N.D. production facility with that city’s growth fund. Cirrus employs approximately 90 people in Grand Forks who make composite component parts for its SR piston aircraft that are then shipped to the company’s assembly line in Duluth, Minn. Since 1996, Grand Forks has issued various bonds and loans in support of these activities, including construction of more than 160,000 sq ft of facilities.
Shortly after Piper Aircraft posted billboards in Wichita advertising for engineers, the company suspended further development of the single-engine PiperJet Altaire, “following a review to align the company’s business goals with the light jet market outlook, investment strategies and overall economic forecasts.”
Fractional provider Flight Options expanded its sales force by naming Adam Tibbitts as regional sales director for the Rocky Mountain division, a newly created position. He brings more than a decade of aviation sales experience to his new role, most recently serving as the Pacific Northwest sales director for a competing fractional aircraft provider.
Kestrel Aircraft selected Honeywell’s TPE331-14GR to power its all-composite single-engine turboprop. The Brunswick, Maine-based company was founded by Alan Klapmeier, co-founder of Cirrus Aircraft, to bring the former Farnborough Aircraft F1 Kestrel turboprop to market. The F1 prototype, which Kestrel now owns, is powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-67A flat-rated to 1,000 shp, and it first flew on July 29, 2006.
Cirrus chairman Dale Klapmeier said his company’s recent majority acquisition by China’s state-owned Avic will provide the necessary capital to restart the moribund SF50 single-engine jet program. He said the company needs time to re-ramp and re-staff the effort and that a new timetable for the jet is at least three to four months out.