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Boeing Is Planning To Build What Will Be The Ultimate City Connector



From Airline Ratings

boeing797_617By Geoffrey Thomas

Boeing is planning to build what will be a revolutionary new aircraft that will make it economically viable to literally connect hundreds of new non-stop routes between smaller cities.

At last week’s Paris Air Show, Boeing’s VP and general manager of airplane development, Mike Delaney gave a tantalizing glimpse of what air travel will become by late 2024.

The new aircraft that could be called the Boeing 797 but is now known at Boeing as the New Midsize Airplane will come in two models and seat between 220 and 270 passengers. It will fit between the single-aisle 180-230 seat Boeing 737 and the much larger and ultra-long range 250-350 seat 787.

What started out as a replacement for the Boeing 757, which seats between 239 and 280 and flies 4000nm (7300km),  has evolved into an aircraft with far greater capability and appeal.

Making the twin-engine 797 so special is the fact it is designed from the outset to serve medium-haul routes of up to 9,300kms and will cut fuel costs by 25 to 30 percent compared to the 787- itself the world leader in fuel economy.

Boeing says that there are 30,000 city pairs that are not connected and could be served economically with the 797.

In a twist, the 797 will be almost identical in size to two planes -the 7J7 and DC-11 - that were touted by Boeing and its legacy company McDonnell Douglas in the 80s and 90s.

In both cases, neither could close the business case because the market was not ready and in the case of McDonnell Douglas management balked at the investment. But that has all changed.

The challenge for airlines today is that Boeing offers the 180-230 seat 737 that can only fly economically for about six hours while the next smallest plane in the Boeing range is the 787 which been designed for much longer distances and thus carries a great deal of extra structural weight.

There is a similar - although smaller - gap in the Airbus range of planes.

The 797 will fit neatly in between and give airlines great opportunities to open new routes.

For the passenger, the 797 will be a giant step forward in comfort with a 2-3-2 configuration in economy, 1-2-2 in premium economy and 1-1-1 in business class.

The plane will be an all composite construction and feature a new generation of engine that promises unparalleled fuel economy and quietness. Boeing is well advanced in closing the business case and has discussed the aircraft with 57 airlines and the reaction has been enthusiastic.

Mr Delaney said that Boeing hopes to launch the plane late next year with first flight and certification in 2024 with delivery to airlines early in 2025. The 797 will have oval-shaped fuselage and be something like a 767 above the floor and a 737 below.

The company is willing to compromise on cargo space to reduce the profile, and thus drag,  of the aircraft.

It reasons correctly that cargo is not as big of a consideration on the largely secondary routes it will operate.

And Mr Delaney said “Boeing already knows what the production system will look and the assembly sequence and is already building parts for the aircraft in the computer.”

“We are trying to build the first few hundred in the computer – that’s the power of the digital world.”

This is all key to working out the exact cost to build and then closing the business case. And the chances of a go-ahead?

“I am very optimistic that we will close the business case,” said Mr Delaney.


And...... Then there is a differing view

How Airbus Can Kill The Boeing 797

From Leeham News and Comment

Airbus can kill the business case for the prospective Boeing 797, the New Midrange Aircraft also known as the Middle of the Market Airplane.

All it has to do is move first, instead of waiting for Boeing to launch the 797, something considered likely next year.

If Airbus launched what is commonly called the A322, a larger, longer-range version of the A321neo, the new version would become a true replacement for the Boeing 757, meet economics of the smaller 797, which has a working title of the 797-6, at a much lower capital cost.

Studies underway for some time

Airbus has been working on plans to enhance the A321neo (the A321neo-plus) and go even farther (the A321neo plus-plus) for nearly two years.

In an interview with LNC at the March 2016 ISTAT meeting, Airbus COO Customers John Leahy declined to comment whether aircraft tweaks will add some improvements to the current A321neo (which at the time hadn’t even flown) to further lower the fuel burn. He also demurred on speculating what an “A321neo-Plus-Plus” response to a 737-10 or Boeing MOM airplane might look like.

(Since then, as the 737-10 design settled in to a mere stretch of the 737-9, Airbus sniffs that it doesn’t have to do anything to respond to the latest 737.)

“Let’s wait and see what they do [about the NMA},” Leahy said a year ago. “I rather liken the situation we’re in with the 350 and 787. We watched what they did and then we had the luxury of sitting down and saying, ‘what should we do to add value?’

“Let them do whatever they need to do in the Middle of the Market,” Leahy said.

Iffy business case, so far

The business case for the 797 so far remains iffy. LNC believes Boeing “has” to do the airplane, because of the weakness of the 737-9 and 737-10, and the clear trend toward essentially abandoning the 787-8. This creates a huge product gap for Boeing.

But designing and building the 797-6 and 797-7 at a cost that will permit sales in the $70m-$80m range is problematic at best.

(The 797-6 is roughly the same size as the Boeing 767-200 and the -7 is about the size of the 767-300.)

Much of the business case appears to rest on tying aftermarket service contracts for maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) with 797 sales, LNC’s market sources tell us. Wells Fargo aerospace analyst Sam Pearlstein reported the same in a research note last month.

Furthermore, the market demand remains a question. Boeing now claims there is demand for about 5,000 airplanes in the MOM sector. If so, this could comfortably support Airbus and Boeing aircraft.

But others—LNC included—believe the market, while significant, is quite a bit smaller than 5,000.

Entry-into-Service

The most commonly discussed entry-into-service for the 797 is 2024-2025, though LNC has heard it could slip to 2026. The EIS depends entirely on engine availability.

The engine needs to have 45,000-50,000 lbs thrust. CFM and GE Aviation would jointly produce one, said Safran in its recent earnings call. Safran is 50% owner of CFM, with GE owning the other 50%.

Rolls-Royce also said publicly it will compete with an entirely new engine.

Pratt & Whitney would offer a larger version of its GTF.

Since CFM and RR are pursuing entirely new engines, while PW would up-scale its GTF, PW may be in a position to provide Airbus with a powerplant for the A322 before CFM and RR could offer a new engine for the 797.

Getting the jump

Might Airbus be able to offer an A322 with an EIS two or more years ahead of the 797?

If so, launching the A322 sooner than later (and at a much lower cost will put Airbus in a position to capture the lower end of the MOM Sector. This will undermine the case for the 797-6—and this reduce the business case for the 797-7.

And this is how Airbus might kill the 797 before it gets off the ground.

Two more views:

CNN Money

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Irkut MC-21-300 Performs First Flight

From AIN Online

Inkut MC-21-300

By Gregory Polek and Vladimir Karnozov

The Irkut MC-21-300 narrowbody flew for the first time on May 28, carrying not only “Heros of Russia” crew commander Oleg Kononenko and copilot Roman Taskayev, but also the aspirations of Russia’s aviation industry to regain a measure of prestige not felt since Soviet times. Lasting only 30 minutes, the flight from the Irkutsk Aviation Plant airfield in Siberia took the 163- to 211-seat airliner to an altitude of 3,280 feet and a speed of 162 knots. The flight plan included aerodynamic stability and controllability checks as well as engine control tests, and the crew performed a simulated landing approach, followed by a pass over the runway and climbing and turning maneuvers.  

“This is not just a first flight of a new aircraft, but rather an advance of the product that will determine the shape of the Russian civilian aviation industry for the next 50 years,” said Yury Slyusar, president of Irkut parent company United Aircraft Corporation.

First flight came only two weeks after United Aircraft subsidiary Irkut announced first taxi tests at its Irkutsk airfield and nearly a year after the airplane’s rollout in the Siberian city last June 8. At the time, officials eyed Russian certification in 2018, although earlier plans to fly the airplane by the end of last year were dashed. During the rollout ceremony Russian prime minister Dmitry Medvedev referenced plans for first flight “within a year,” and UAC officials acknowledged that the previously quoted target might prove too optimistic. A UAC spokesman told AIN February 2017 appeared more realistic, but since then virtually all went quiet at Irkut, until this month’s taxi tests.

Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW1400G geared turbofans, the MC-21 features the widest fuselage of any narrowbody on the market, promising cabin comfort for full-service airlines and cost advantages for low-fare carriers, according to UAC and Irkut. The MC-21’s list price of $91 million suggests a 15 percent lower acquisition cost than that of the current A320.

Irkut claims that either the PW1400G or a Russian engine alternative—namely, the Aviadvigatel PD-14 now undergoing a second round of testing aboard an Ilyushin Il-76 flying testbed—will produce a 12- to 15 percent operating cost advantage over the current Airbus A320. Apart from the engines, the MC-21’s most radical advance centers on its carbon fiber wings, which take the airplane’s composite content to 30 percent. AeroComposit in Ulyanovsk, Russia, builds the wings using an out-of-autoclave resin transfer infusion process never before tried on a commercial aircraft. Both Airbus and Boeing use a more expensive process that requires an autoclave to cure their composite wings on the A350 and 787, respectively. Both of the MC-21’s chief competitors—the Boeing 737 Max and Airbus A320—use metal wings.

While UAC’s definitive plans call for that innovation to extend to the smaller, 150-seat MC-21-200, Slyusar suggested it has seriously revisited prospects for a larger version airplane in the form of the MC-21-400. At the time of the rollout, Slyusar said discussions on the larger variant could start in 2017, but that any decision would depend on what competition ultimately exists in the segment of the market the MC-21 would occupy, or the so-called “Middle of the Market (MOM).”

“We should take into consideration the plans of our colleagues; that’s why we [plan to] make a decision rationally,” he said.

In terms of production capacity, Irkut claims it could build as many as 72 aircraft a year in its newly refurbished and modernized final assembly hall in Irkutsk. While the company’s need—or ability—to deliver six airplanes per month won’t likely materialize for several years, the production plan satisfies the company’s projected demand for 1,060 MC-21s over the next two decades. Slyusar, meanwhile, expressed satisfaction with the early level of commercial interest in the product: so far the MC-21 has drawn firm orders for 175 airplanes.

Although Irkut and UAC claim they have received payments on all supply contracts signed so far, some of the intended customers say they will firm their “preliminary orders” after the first flight, or when the airplane demonstrates advertised performance during fight trials.

Sergei Chemezov, general manager of state corportation Rostec, expressed optimism about the export potential of the new jetliner, most notably in the developing markets of Southeast Asia, Latin America, India and the Middle East. Rostec has long projected a presence in those regions selling weapons and now wants to expand its footprint through civilian projects. “We are ready to render complete support to United Aircraft promoting the MC-21 to these markets,” said Chemezov.

Aeroflot expects to receive its first MC-21 from Rostec-controlled lessor AviaCapitalService in 2019. Other lessors and financial institutions committed to the project include Ilyushin Finance, VEB and Savings Bank of Russia, while only two Russian airlines signed direct contracts with the manufacturer: Nordwind for five jets and IrAero’s for 10. Holding a commitment for six MC-21-300s, Egypt’s Cairo Aviation stands as the only confirmed non-Russian customer for the airplane. Malaysia’s Crecom Burj Resources placed a tentative order for 25 airplanes at Farnborough 2010 that has yet to become firm. Other carriers that have indicated interest include Russia’s Red Wings, Azerbaijan Airlines and Air Tanzania.

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Boeing Halts 737 Max Flights on Cusp of Debut After Engine Fault

From MSN Money

737max_517By Julie Johnsson and Richard Clough

Boeing Co. is temporarily suspending flights of its new 737 Max jetliner because of a potential manufacturing flaw in the engines, marring the commercial debut for the fastest-selling plane in company history.

The jetmaker and its engine supplier, a venture of General Electric Co. and Safran SA, are rushing to understand the problem ahead of the aircraft’s first delivery, which remains scheduled for later this month. Boeing said a possible quality defect in the Leap engine’s low-pressure turbine discs was discovered during inspections and hadn’t affected flight testing of the upgraded 737.

The grounding added to concerns about the strain on suppliers as the U.S. manufacturer and European rival Airbus SE unveil new aircraft models while ramping up single-aisle production to record levels. Boeing is counting on a smooth start for the 737 Max, the newest version of a plane that is the company’s largest source of profit, as it seeks to boost cash flow.

“Investors are acutely focused on 737 Max ramp risk -- and the impact on cash,” Robert Stallard, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners, said in a note to clients.

Boeing fell 1.2 percent to $183.18 at the close in New York, the second-biggest decline on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, after adjusting for the beginning of trading without the right to a dividend. GE dropped 0.8 percent to $28.70.

First Delivery

The Max has accumulated 3,714 orders before its commercial debut but is still racing to catch up to Airbus’s A320neo. The latest 737 model is slated to be handed over this month to Indonesia’s Malindo Air and Norwegian Air Shuttle ASA. Other major customers with deliveries this year include Southwest Airlines Co. and American Airlines Group Inc.

The decision to halt flights was made “out of an abundance of caution,” said Boeing spokesman Doug Alder, adding that the plane completed flight testing months ahead of schedule.  “The step is consistent with our priority focus on safety.”

Rick Kennedy, a spokesman for GE Aviation, said about 30 CFM International engines will be inspected at sites in the U.S. and France. In the meantime, production will continue using discs from other CFM suppliers, he said. The issue doesn’t affect other versions of the Leap engine used on planes from Airbus and Commercial Aircraft Corp. of China Ltd., Kennedy said.

“This doesn’t look like a serious concern,” Cai von Rumohr, an analyst with Cowen & Co., said in a note to clients. The engine problem is “not a design shortfall but what appears to be an easily fixable sub-tier supplier component issue.”

Both CFM and rival Pratt & Whitney, which together make the bulk of engines for narrow-body commercial jets, have encountered faults as they’ve churned out turbines over the past year.

Pratt Delays

Airbus has fallen behind in deliveries of its A320neo family of aircraft as Pratt’s cutting-edge geared turbofan engine encounters durability issues and production snarls. Executives of Air Lease Corp., a Los Angeles-based aircraft lessor, warned during an earnings call last week that a CFM-powered model was also encountering delays.

CFM faces a steep production increase for the Leap, as Boeing and Airbus plot to increase narrow-body production by 33 percent through the decade’s end. After delivering 77 of the engines last year, 28 fewer than it had predicted, CFM has targeted producing about 500 Leap this year and about 2,000 in 2020.

“It’s important that this gets straightened out pronto,” Nicholas Heymann, an analyst at William Blair & Co., said of the engine issue. Bladed discs, located in the hot section of a turbofan engine, pull energy from the hot gases of the combustor to produce thrust. The components must be able to withstand extreme stresses and high temperatures inside the engine.

The Leap 1-B engines, created for Boeing’s Max, were repeatedly inspected during more than 2,000 hours in the air for the Max 8’s flight test program, which concluded during the first quarter, Alder said. The engine endured another 3,000 simulated flight cycles during testing that ended last month so the plane would be certified for long ocean flights.

Airline Impact

The impact on airline customers eager to show off the brand-new planes wasn’t immediately apparent. Boeing has several unaffected engines available that it could swap to avoid lengthy delays on initial deliveries, Alder said.

Malindo Air, an affiliate of Lion Mentari Airlines, had expected to take the 737 Max early next week, advertising that commercial service would begin May 19.

For Norwegian, also awaiting its first Max this month, the inspections “will result in a few days’ delay” but aren’t expected to disrupt the carrier’s new trans-Atlantic flights starting next month, spokesman Anders Lindstrom said in an email. The carrier had expected to take five more of the single-aisle planes in June.

Southwest and American said they hadn’t been notified of any changes to their Max delivery schedules. Southwest is the second-biggest customer for the Max after Lion Air, with 200 on order, while American has ordered 100 of the planes.

On-time delivery of Southwest’s Max planes is critical because the Dallas-based airline is counting on them to fill a gap when it retires its oldest aircraft on Oct. 1. Southwest is set to take delivery of its first Max in July, the airline’s chief financial officer said in January. American is scheduled to receive four Max aircraft this year, the first in the third quarter.

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Boom CEO sees market for 1,000 supersonic passenger jets by 2035

From Air Transport World

boom_517

By Aaron Karp

Denver-based Boom Technology founder and CEO Blake Scholl believes the company’s first supersonic passenger aircraft can enter commercial service as soon as 2023 and there is a market for as many as 1,000 supersonic airliners to be delivered by 2035.

Speaking at the IATA Wings of Change conference in Miami, Scholl said $33 million in funding secured last month—bringing Boom’s total financing to $41 million—removes monetary obstacles for the company, enabling it to build and flight test the “Baby Boom” prototype that will be a precursor to the full-size Boom aircraft. The full-size aircraft will be able to seat up to 55 passengers in an all-business class configuration, according to Scholl.

The Baby Boom’s first flight is targeted for 2018, and the full-size Boom aircraft’s first flight is targeted for 2020 with a 2023 FAA certification goal. The Baby Boom, which is being built now, will be a third of the size of the planned full-size Boom aircraft.

“Finally, the funding is not the problem,” Scholl said. “$41 million is not enough to get all the way through certification, but enough to build the first Baby Boom airplane and prove that it works.”

Unlike the supersonic Concorde, which was so costly for airlines to operate that fares were largely unaffordable and led to its commercial demise, the Boom aircraft will be cost-efficient and affordable for passengers, Scholl said. “You could charge the same fares you’re charging in business class today and get the same margins or better,” he said.

The full-size Boom aircraft will be priced at $200 million each, Scholl said. Maintenance costs on the airframe will be “very similar” to other carbon fiber aircraft, such as the Boeing 787, according to Scholl. He conceded that engine maintenance costs will be higher, although he emphasized that the engine will be a modified version of today’s turbofan jet engines and not an exotic new design.

“None of this stuff is in a lab somewhere,” he said. “All of the technology being put into the Boom is flying on other aircraft today and the FAA knows how to approve it.”

Scholl said the Boom aircraft would be viable on 500 daily routes globally and is generating interest from airlines.

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic has taken options for the first 10 full-size Boom aircraft, and Scholl indicated additional agreements with airlines could be announced by the end of this year. “We get a lot of excitement from airlines all over the planet,” he said. “Getting there in half the time is a real differentiator for airlines.”

Flying at a speed of Mach 2.2 over water (overland supersonic flying is currently prohibited by regulation in the US), the Boom aircraft could fly between New York and London in 3 hr. and 15 min.; between Miami and Santiago de Chile in 3 hr. and 48 min.; between San Francisco and Tokyo in 5 hr. and 30 min.; and between Los Angeles and Sydney in 6 hr. and 45 min. The transpacific flights would require a refueling stop since the aircraft’s nonstop range will be limited to 4,500 nautical miles.

Although Scholl said it would be “irrational” for Airbus and Boeing to launch a commercial supersonic aircraft program now, he believes the established aircraft manufacturers will ultimately get into the game. “Will Boeing and Airbus do this? Eventually they’ll have to,” Scholl said. “But I think a startup is uniquely positioned to do this initially.”

The overall market for a new supersonic passenger aircraft is “not quite” as large as the market for the 787, but it is “close,” Scholl said. He acknowledged that Boom will not be able to serve this 1,000-aircraft market by itself in the decade or so after the first Boom aircraft enters service. “Scaling production is going to be a challenge,” he said. “We’ll likely start with a lower-rate production capability and then ramp that over time.”

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160-Knot VTOL Flying Car Flown Says Company

From AvWeb

Flying Car_417

By Russ Niles

Lilium Aviation, of Munich, says it has flown a prototype of its all-electric VTOL tilt-engine aircraft that the company says will fly 160 knots in horizontal thrust configuration with a range of 180 miles. A video provided by the company of the first flight shows the aircraft, with what looks like a spacious automotive-style cabin, autonomously taking off vertically, turning tightly and transitioning to aerodynamic flight before landing vertically. There has been no independent confirmation that the video is an accurate rendition of the flight but if it’s all real then it appears some breakthroughs have been made by the company, which is reportedly backed by Skype co-founder Niklas Zennstrom. “We have solved some of the toughest engineering challenges in aviation to get to this point,” the company said in a statement. 

They call it a “jet” but it’s powered by 36 electric-powered ducted fans, 24 on rotating “flaps” on the wings and six on each of the tubular canards ahead of the cabin. According to some reports, the motors have a total of 430 horsepower and the main technological breakthrough is in the batteries. The company will have a chance to celebrate, and explain, its milestone at the Uber Elevate Summit in Dallas this week. CEO Daniel Wiegand will be a panelist at the eVTOL Developer Concept and Technologies discussion at the meeting.

 

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Startup Envisions Transoceanic Cargo Drones

From AvWeb

Natilus Drone

By Mary Grady

Natilus, a small company with just three employees, based in Richmond, California, is working to launch a transoceanic cargo business with airliner-size drones. They are currently building a 30-foot-long prototype that they plan to test this summer, according to their press kit. They then plan to produce a full-scale, 200-foot-long turboprop drone, built of carbon-fiber composite, by 2020. The design is fairly simple, since there is no need for a cockpit, or landing gear, or pressurization. The drone is designed to land and take off from the water, and motor up to a dock for loading. CEO Aleksey Matyushev said the vehicle would cost about one-tenth as much as a crewed freight aircraft, and transoceanic trips would cost about half as much as standard air freight.

Matyushev says he plans to launch an 80-foot-long production-ready vehicle with 40,000-pound cargo capacity for a launch customer in 2019, to fly a route between Los Angeles and Hawaii. The next step will be a 140-foot-long vehicle with 200,000 pounds cargo capacity, to fly between the U.S. and China by 2020. Since the drone won’t be flying in U.S. airspace, no FAA approval is required, he said, which simplifies the production process. The drone will land in international waters, about 12 miles offshore, and taxi into port under the control of a remote human pilot at speeds of about 30 knots.

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FAA Clears Hondajet For Icing, RVSM Flights

From Aviation Voice

Honda Jet 1/29/17One year after awarding Honda Aircraft an airworthiness certification, the US Federal Aviation Administration has cleared the Hondajet to fly into known icing (FIKI) conditions and use reduced vertical separation minima (RVSM).

The approval, dated 22 December, removes the only two operating restrictions imposed by the FAA on Hondajets delivered to customers.

The second revision to the Hondajet’s type certificate data sheet lifts means the five-seat business jet is allowed to fly in cloudy or rainy airspace, as well as take advantage of airspace controlled using RVSM procedures.

The FAA approval covers all Hondajets after the first 10 serial numbers, which were assigned to flight test duties.

Honda Aircraft designed the Hondajet to with an electromechanical decing expulsion system on the horizontal stabilisers and a bleed-air anti-icing system on the leading edges of the aircraft’s laminar flow wings.

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Spike Aero To Fly Subsonic Prototype of SSBJ This Year

From AIN Online

Spike Aero SSBJ

By Chad Trautvetter

Spike Aerospace expects to fly a subsonic prototype of its 18-passenger supersonic business jet (SSBJ) this summer, the Boston-based company announced today. The scale prototype of its S-512 Quiet Supersonic Jet will demonstrate low-speed aerodynamic flight characteristics. It plans to follow this with a series of larger prototypes and a supersonic demonstrator by the end of next year.

“We made a lot of progress in 2016 in engineering and with the addition of a number of engineers and partners,” said Spike Aerospace president and CEO Vik Kachoria. “Our plans for 2017 are even more exciting as we continue development of the Spike S-512. I’m looking forward to our first flight later this year.”

Spike Aerospace expects to certify its low-boom, Mach 1.6 SSBJ by 2023. Meanwhile, the company recently added several advisors with experience selling business jets in the U.S., Canada, Europe and the Middle East. Target price of the S-512 is somewhere between $60 million and $80 million.

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Cirrus Delivers First Vision Jet

From AIN Online

Vision Jet

By Mark Phelps

Cirrus celebrated the delivery of its first Vision Jet on Monday, simultaneously taking the wraps off its new 68,000-sq-ft “finishing center” in Duluth, Minnesota. Accompanied by his wife and six children, customer Joe Whisenhunt, a commercial real-estate developer from Arkansas, pocketed the keys to the single-engine personal jet in a ceremony attended by close to 800 Cirrus employees and local dignitaries. Cirrus Aircraft CEO Dale Klapmeier said, “Most of you have seen Joe around. This is Cirrus number 11 for Joe.”

Whisenhunt said the jet, in Corso Red Vitesse design, “will extend our range and help us reach more regions for our business. It will cut a lot of our trips in half.” Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) and Rep. Rick Nolan (D-Minn.) attended the ceremony. Both celebrated the recent release of the revision of FAA’s Part 23, streamlining the pathway to innovation for companies such as Cirrus, they said.The lawmakers were part of the congressional effort to press for Part 23 reform. Cirrus reported a current backlog of some 600 Vision jets.

Whisenhut’s daughter recently soloed in a piston-powered Cirrus SR22, and intends to earn her private pilot certificate, instrument rating and possibly a Vision Jet type rating. Her father said during the ceremony, “Duluth is where my heart is.”

In 18 months, employment at Cirrus in Duluth has increased from 600 to almost 800. Plans call for adding 70 more in the coming months. Cirrus’s Grand Forks, North Dakota manufacturing facility has 200 workers and is growing. The new “Vision Center” customer service facility in Knoxville, Tennessee, will expand its workforce from the current 35 workers to nearly 100 over 2017, according to Cirrus.

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