Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet Finally FAA Certified

More than nine years ago, the second article I ever wrote on AviationBull was about the Cirrus Jet. As reported by AvWeb, the dream of a single engine Very Light Jet (VLJ) is finally becoming a reality. The FAA awarded Cirrus type certification for their SF50 Vision Jet; first deliveries should happen in December.

This is a really big deal for general aviation. Yes, I know that an Average Joe (like me) won't be able to afford to buy one of these. Yes, we still need more affordable ways to enjoy and employ aviation. However, this jet will do a lot for aviation in general.

The SR22 has been a raging success. While many other manufacturers had been (successfully) selling designs that haven't really changed since the 1950s, Cirrus entered the GA market with something new and compelling. They've taken that market by storm and outsold all their competition. They understand the market, it's pilots, and it's owners. I got to do some flying with a Cirrus instructor from New York. He told me about how he used to instruct and fly as a safety pilot for all kinds of business people and celebrities. These individuals use GA for personal pleasure flying and for business. Sure, they might have bought a Bonanza or a Mooney if Cirrus weren't around. However, Cirrus is here, and these people are paying as much as $1,000,000 (with options) for SR22s.

Cirrus has sold more than 6000 SR-series aircraft. Their owners love the airplane, but eventually they must start thinking about "moving up." I've speculated that several other aircraft might satisfy those kinds of desires. The Kestrel seems like a natural choice to me. The Evolution is another possibility...offering a pretty decent leap in performance and sophistication. The Cobalt Co50 Valkyrie is another option that would give many of these benefits without having to learn turbine engine operations. All of this speculation has been based on a comparison to a baseline: the Cirrus' SF50.

Brand loyalty is big in our society. Apple vs. Google. Tesla. Amazon Prime. When we find a company that seems to espouse our personal beliefs we tend to stick with them. I think this principle will hold with the thousands of SR22 owners looking for a next airplane. They're going to want the SF50. Cirrus still has more than 500 orders for the SF50 on the books. They're going to be busy filling those orders and I expect that many more will follow. Their ability to build, train, and support this aircraft is going to be a model for selling jets to GA pilots. The performance and safety record of the SF50 is going to set precedent for the GA industry. The ability to buy and operate a personal jet aircraft is going to be attractive to all kinds of Above Average Joes out there. The demand they represent will mean more money spent on airplanes and infrastructure, more demand for flight instructors, more demand for flight training aircraft...it'll help all of General Aviation.

I still hope some of those SF50 alternatives snag some former SR22 owners. The more competition we get the better. However, I think the SF50 is going to be outstanding. Congratulations to Cirrus on finally reaching your goal. I wish you lots of sales to safe, happy customers.