Cirrus Aircraft’s first entry into the light business jet market is closing in on its type certificate.
The Duluth, Minn.-based company expects to submit to the Federal Aviation Administration for type certification of the Vision Jet SF50 in June, Matt Bergwall, Cirrus’ product manager for the Vision Jet, said Wednesday.
Bergwall’s comments come a day after Cirrus announced first flight of the first production Vision Jet.
The five-seat jet, with an option for two more smaller seats rated to 90 pounds each, so far has garnered 600 orders, Bergwall said. The Vision Jet’s base price is $1.96 million.
“It’s serving a pretty good gap in the marketplace,” Bergwall said of the all-composite jet powered by a single Williams International turbofan engine.
“There really isn’t a good step-up aircraft from high-performance pistons. It defines a new category.”
That new category, Bergwall said, is something along the lines of a hybrid personal jet and business jet.
It likely won’t take away any potential jet orders from Wichita-based Textron Aviation’s Cessna entry level Citation jet, the Mustang.
Rolland Vincent, managing director of business jet forecasting firm JetNet iQ, said he thinks the Vision Jet largely appeals to owners of Cirrus’ SR20 and SR22 line of piston airplanes.
“Most of the demand seems to come from the existing customer base,” Vincent said. “They’ve got nice step-up demand.”
Bergwall said Cirrus has seen strong demand for the Vision Jet from its existing SR airplane owners. He said Cirrus has delivered more than 6,300 SR airplanes.
The Vision Jet has been designed to “make for an easy step-up” for current Cirrus owners, “something that’s familiar … easy to operate,” Bergwall added.
Vincent said while the Vision Jet is considered an entry-level jet, it’s unlike the Mustang because of a single engine instead of two and “the cabins are considerably different.”
But, Vincent added, Cirrus “could be seeding the garden for Textron one day” by creating a new crop of jet owners, who could eventually turn to Citation’s if Cirrus doesn’t at some point create a bigger step-up jet for them.
“What they’re doing is they’re creating demand” for larger jets,” he said.