Finally, a private jet that's perfect for the millionaire family man. The Cirrus Vision SF50 combines all the practicality of an SUV with the luxury of a private jet. It's perfect for family vacations: the Williams FJ33 jet engine has plenty of oomph to take you to far-off destinations, the Garmin avionics will tell you where you're going and how to get there, and the included SiriusXM satellite radio will keep everyone entertained the whole journey through. The Vision is smaller than a normal private jet — much smaller. With only a 38-foot wingspan and weighing only 3,700 pounds empty, the jet is much smaller than even the smallest of Gulfstream's lineup, which has a 55-foot wingspan and weighs a total of 14,400 pounds empty.
The tiny Cirrus Vision SF50 has been quietly under development, and is now set for market entry in 2015 as the pioneer of the ‘personal’ jet category. It’s an intriguing concept, and promises several ‘firsts’ in the private jet market. Here are five USPs and why this tiny jet is set to pack a big punch this year:
1. The world’s first single-engine ‘personal’ jet.
With a wingspan of 11.7 metres, and weighing in empty at under 1,700 kg, the Cirrus Vision SF50 recently made its final production model flight test on 20 December. It is now all systems go and is expecting certification in the final quarter of 2015.
2. The lowest priced private jet at under $2 million.
This out-eclipses another Cirrus aircraft, the Eclipse 550, currently the lowest priced private jet in the market at $2.9 million. It has over 550 orders to date, with the first 3 orders set to be delivered at the end of this year.
3. The private jet that controls like an SUV.
It’s not a lot bigger than an SUV, and its controls and cabin also look as much like a car as a plane. But with its Garmin G3000 flight deck and distinctive V-shape tail, it promises to be both easy to control, and easy on the eye. With a range of 2,037km and a top speed of 556 km/h, its performance will be just slightly under the VLJs.
4. It has its own parachute.
The SF50 also boasts a safety system similar to space programmes. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) allows the whole aircraft to float safely to ground in an emergency (but technically speaking this isn’t actually a USP as the same CAPS system has already proved to be life-saving in existing Cirrus aircraft).
5. It seats 7 people – more than a VLJ.
For a tiny jet, the cabin design is cleverly spacious, allowing seating for seven passengers (5 adults and 2 children). It’s primary market will likely be owner pilots but it will also compete for air-taxi business with aircraft such as Cessna’s Citation Mustang or Embraer’s Phenom 100.