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Cirrus to rollout long-awaited personal jet by 2015


Cirrus Aircraft says its plan to develop a new seven-passenger personal jet is back on track after being stalled by the recession, Minnesota Public Radio reports.

The parent company of the Duluth-based aircraft maker, China Aviation Industry General Aircraft, invested nearly $100 million about a year ago to revive the Vision Jet project.

The money has allowed Cirrus to go on a hiring spree and add 60 people to its workforce. Another 60 hires are still pending as it accelerates the project.

Dale Klapmeier, CEO of Cirrus, says they already have more than 500 orders for the new aircraft that will sell for nearly $2 million.

Cirrus is set to deliver the long-awaited Vision SF50 in 2015.

"The customer interest has remained extremely strong for this airplane, this is going to be an airplane that will fit truly a new niche in the market," Klapmeier told MPR.

Klapmeier expects flight testing, as required by the Federal Aviation Administration, to begin in the first quarter of next year.

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Cirrus says it has the cash to wrap up certification and start production of its new jet, the Vision SF50, pictured above. Workers will assemble the aircraft at plants in Duluth and Grand Forks.

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Cirrus' new light Vision Jet doesn't roll off of the production line until 2015 and has a price tag approaching $2 million. More than 500 people have already claimed dibs on a jet from the Duluth-based company.