Cirrus Aircraft Biography & Facts
The Cirrus Design Corporation, doing business as Cirrus Aircraft (and previously branded as Cirrus Design), is an aircraft manufacturer that was founded in 1984 by Alan and Dale Klapmeier to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft. The company is owned by a subsidiary of the Chinese government-owned AVIC, and is headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota, United States, with additional operational locations in Grand Forks, North Dakota, Knoxville, Tennessee, and McKinney, Texas. Cirrus markets several versions of its three certificated single-engine light aircraft models: the SR20 (certified in 1998), SR22 (certified in 2000), and SR22T (certified in 2010). As of January 2021, the company had delivered 8,000 SR-aircraft in over 20 years of production, and has been the world's largest producer of piston-powered aircraft since 2013.Sales of the SR-series grew rapidly during the 2000s, until the economic crisis of 2008. Cirrus was planning to market a light-sport aircraft called the SR Sport, but suspended the project in 2009, due to financial challenges and a lack of market demand. This has since been cancelled. After a return to company growth in the 2010s, Cirrus certified and began deliveries of the Vision SF50 very light jet in 2016. Upon its delivery, the aircraft became the first civilian single-engined jet to enter the market, and is often referred to as a "personal jet".The company produces all of its aircraft with composite materials and is known for pioneering new technologies in the light general aviation aircraft manufacturing industry, including glass cockpits and full-airframe ballistic parachutes.In 2001, Cirrus sold a majority of the company to Bahrain-based Arcapita Group. Ten years later, the manufacturer was acquired by China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA), which is a division of the Aviation Industry Corporation of China (AVIC).
Cirrus Aircraft has several operational facilities throughout the United States.
The company's first headquarters was located in Baraboo, Wisconsin. Since 1994, its headquarters and main manufacturing facilities have been in Duluth, Minnesota. An additional manufacturing facility, which opened in 1997 and produces the composite components for the planes, is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota. The Grand Forks facility was owned by the city of Grand Forks and leased to the company for many years up until November 2020, when Cirrus purchased it for US$1.9M.On 27 December 2007 the company secured a lease for the former Northwest Airlines hangar at Duluth International Airport. The 189,000-square-foot (17,600 m2) building was to be used for construction of its new Cirrus Jet. Cirrus canceled the lease in 2009 during the height of the Great Recession.In February 2015, the City of Duluth had agreed to put up US$6M and had asked the state contribute the remaining US$4M to build a US$10M factory on the Duluth Airport dedicated to the production of SF50 Vision jets. The city would then try to recoup its costs for the facility from lease payments by Cirrus over time. The space opened on 19 December 2016.On 6 May 2015 Cirrus announced that it will establish a new facility campus called the "Vision Center" in Knoxville, Tennessee on the city's McGhee Tyson Airport. The facility will focus on all customer interactions including training, maintenance & repair, personalization, and deliveries for the Vision Jet and SR-series. The center opened on 12 January 2017. All manufacturing operations were said to remain in Duluth and Grand Forks.In May 2019, the company announced that it will open its first factory-direct satellite service facility outside of Knoxville, at McKinney National Airport near Dallas, Texas, where it will expand its flight training, maintenance, and aircraft management operations.In February 2020, Cirrus announced plans to establish a new engineering and design center in Phoenix, Arizona.
Co-founder Alan Klapmeier served as president from 1984 until January 2006, and chief executive officer (CEO) from 1984 until February 2009.
On 19 January 2006, Cirrus made public that chief operating officer (COO) David Coleal had been named president.On 18 December 2008, the company announced that COO Brent Wouters would be appointed president and CEO effective 1 February 2009. David Coleal was no longer with the company and Alan Klapmeier continued as chairman of the board, with co-founder Dale Klapmeier as vice-chairman.On 1 August 2009, Cirrus Aircraft CEO Brent Wouters announced that Alan Klapmeier's contract as chairman would not be renewed when it expired at the end of that month. Alan left Cirrus on 21 August 2009 and Dale became interim chairman the following month.On 19 September 2011, the company announced that Dale Klapmeier has been named CEO and that Brent Wouters, previously president and CEO, is no longer with the company.On 12 March 2013, early Cirrus employee Patrick Waddick, who originally became hired as an intern in 1988 to sweep floors for the company, was named president, adding this to his COO position.On 6 May 2015, Cirrus reported that chief customer officer (CCO) Todd Simmons will lead the new Vision Center in Knoxville, Tennessee, where all customer activities and operations for the company will take place.On 19 December 2018, it was announced that Dale Klapmeier will step down as CEO sometime in the first half of 2019, and transition into a senior advisory role for the company. During that time, Cirrus will conduct an internal and external search for a new CEO.On 4 June 2019, Cirrus announced that former Tesla Inc. executive Zean Nielsen has been selected as its next CEO.
In 1984, Cirrus Aircraft's founders, brothers Alan and Dale Klapmeier, along with spouses Jeff and Sally Viken, started developing the Cirrus VK-30 as a homebuilt aircraft in the basement of the Klapmeiers' parents' barn in rural Baraboo, Wisconsin. After a few years in the design phase, the brothers borrowed money to move the project to their own factory on the Baraboo–Wisconsin Dells Airport, where they began flight testing. The VK-30 was introduced at the 1987 EAA Oshkosh Convention and first flew on 11 February 1988. Kit deliveries commenced shortly thereafter.
Cirrus Aircraft designed the ST-50 under contract to Israeli aircraft manufacturer IsrAviation. The aircraft was configured like the Cirrus VK-30, but was powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135 turboprop engine, in place of the piston engine used in the VK-30. The prototype was first flown on December 7, 1994, by Norman E. Howell. That same year, the Klapmeier brothers moved company headquarters from southern Wisconsin to a much larger facility at the Duluth International Airport in Duluth, Minnesota, bringing 35 employees with them and hiring another 15 at once.In August 1996, Cirrus announced plans to build a plant at the Grand Forks International Airport in Grand Forks, North Dakota.By the middle of the decade the compa.... Discover the Cirrus Aircraft popular books. Find the top 100 most popular Cirrus Aircraft books.