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Cirrus Aircraft Celebrates Delivery of 500 Vision Jets

The aircraft manufacturer has released a limited-edition jet to mark the occasion.

By Irenie Forshaw

Cirrus Aircraft has marked the delivery of its 500th Vision Jet with the release of a limited-edition model. Crafted by the personal aviation brand’s Xi Design team, the series will comprise just five unique Vision Jets embellished with one-off branding.

Future owners will be able to choose from five exterior color options to complement the striking blue-and-black paint. “Approaching the 500 Vision Jet, one of the first things you’ll notice is the Obsidian gloss black wing,” explains Alex Alequin, design director at Cirrus Aircraft.

“This color travels up the fuselage into the engine. It’s one of my favorite details because it’s so dramatic. We feature signature colors on the exterior of the 500 starting with the Vision Blue. That color has been part of the Vision Jet story since day one.”

The bespoke interiors feature top-quality fabrics, hand-stitched by Cirrus’s professional sewing team. Crew seats are upholstered in heathered gray Alcantara while the plush leather headrests are embroidered with the 500th edition emblem. The diamond-patterned leather between the seats adds a further touch of luxury.

[See also: Iconic Jets of the Past and Future]

Limited edition Vision Jet Cirrus
500th Limited Edition Vision Jet in Obsidian Black, Vision Blue, and Meteorite / ©Cirrus Aircraft

“With the delivery of the 500th Vision Jet, Cirrus Aircraft celebrates the marketplace success of a category-defining aircraft,” commented Zean Nielsen, chief executive officer of Cirrus Aircraft.

The aircraft manufacturer has certainly come a long way since Dale and Alan Klapmeier set up their business in a barn at the family’s dairy farm in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Their first project was the VK-30, a single-engine pusher-propeller homebuilt aircraft, which took its first flight in 1988.

The VK-30’s success enabled the company to expand to a bigger R&D facility in Duluth and by the late 90s, Cirrus had delivered the SR-20 – a single-piston composite airplane with side-yoke flight controllers.

By this time, the team had their sights on building an accessible jet. Mike Van Staagen was sent to Cirrus’s garage in Duluth to start brainstorming ideas and, several models later, the ambitious young designer realized the cockpit could be significantly longer and wider if they swapped twin engines for a single turbo engine.

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“That was what really brought the whole cabin into reality,” Van Staagen explains. “The accidental discovery of what a single engine could offer.”

Cirrus Vision Jet limited edition
The crew seats are upholstered in heathered gray Alcantara with plush leather headrests embroidered with the 500th edition emblem / ©Cirrus

What makes the Vision Jet so unique? Initially released in 2016, the SF50 was fitted with a revolutionary whole-plane parachute – the industry’s first general aviation parachute system produced in an FAA-certified aircraft. This took countless hours of high-risk testing to ensure absolute confidence in the safety of the jet.

In 2019, Cirrus introduced the Generation 2 Vision Jet, increasing the maximum altitude to 31,000 feet and adding the Auto Throttle feature. The following year, another layer of safety was added with the introduction of the Safe Return Autoland System.

If, for any reason, the pilot is incapacitated the new technology allows passengers to land the aircraft with the touch of a button. Once activated, the cutting-edge system uses a global terrain database to identify nearby terrain and figure out the best path to safety. It also utilizes satellite data to navigate around potentially hazardous weather and information on remaining fuel levels to select a suitable airport and smoothly land the plane on an available runway.

More recent innovations include the addition of Garmin’s Auto Radar in 2023 to provide increased situational awareness and connectivity during flights. The new system enables pilots to choose the desired radar range which then automatically scans the area and displays a real-time depiction of the weather.

As for eco credentials, the groundbreaking single engine and V-tail design make the Vision Jet highly fuel-efficient. Owners of the SF50 also have the option to power their aircraft using Sustainable Aviation Fuel to further minimize the aircraft’s environmental impact.

“The Vision Jet is the only jet that features advanced innovations like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System ® (CAPS®), Safe Return Autoland, Wi-Fi, Cirrus IQ and Auto Radar along with a suite of other safety, comfort and convenience features,” said Nielsen. “Cirrus Aircraft makes aviation more accessible with the G2+ Vision Jet’s best-in-class performance and low operating cost.”

In 2023, as Cirrus Aircraft marked its 500 delivery milestone, the Vision Jet became the planet’s best-selling jet in general aviation for the fifth year in a row. If these achievements are anything to go by, a bright future lies ahead.

[See also: The Private Jet Interiors Competing with First Class Cabins]

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