Updated: 03/25/2014 10:09 PM
Created: 03/25/2014 9:33 PM WDIO.com
By: Travis Dill
Cirrus Aircraft is pushing the throttle with their new jet named the Vision. After years of development the plane took it's first test flight on Monday.
Cirrus has been an aviation leader since creating a plane with carbon fiber instead of aluminum, but those have all been propeller planes. The Vision will add a jet to the company's fleet.
Test Pilot Mike Steven is excited about the milestone.
“It turns out it's a lot easier to fly than the prop airplanes, which are already fairly easy to fly. It's smooth, it's quiet, it's a jet, it's cool,” Stevens said.
He says the Vision will be unique in the personal aircraft industry.
“You can fly higher, you can fly faster, you can fly farther and carry more stuff,” Steven said.
He said the first flight was smooth, but the single hour of fly-time took years of work and dedication from engineers like Paul Brey, Senior Vice President of Product Development for Cirrus.
“There's people here that have a decade of their life tied up in this. A plane doesn't happen quickly. I doesn't happen overnight, especially a good one, and this is going to be a good one,” Brey said.
He leads the team developing the Vision, and he is proud Cirrus could bring more jobs to Duluth with the project.
“When the economy went bad in 2008 we slimmed down to actually about 14 people on the project, and now we've staffed up to about 250,” Brey said.
Hundreds more work at Cirrus on the company's other models, but every employee was able to sign the wing of the Vision test plane. CEO Dale Klapmeier said they will take pride in the accomplishment, but he also wants to thank Duluth for supporting aviation.
“That goes to the whole community. Everybody in this community should be proud of what's being accomplished from this community, and from the people here. That's who's getting this airplane in the air,” Klapmeier said.
He said the Vision should be ready for customers late next year, but Cirrus will have to build two more test planes for Federal Aviation Administration testing.
Duluth history will remember the first personal jet took off from Duluth International Airport, and the Vision will keep aviation soaring here in the Northland.
“Duluth is an aviation hub in this country, and I think we'll always be that,” Klapmeier said.
The list price for the Vision is nearly $2 million, and Cirrus leaders say over 500 customers have already reserved one.
Chisholm-Based 114th Officially Welcomed Home
After returning from a 9-month deployment in Afghanistan, the Chisholm-based 114th Transportation Company got a proper homecoming from the community Saturday.
Burger King Construction Site Falls Victim to High Winds
The new Burger King site off Highway 53 in Duluth was a victim of high wind speeds Saturday. Crews said they were working on it around 10 a.m. when it collapsed. Wind speeds were gusting up to 40 miles per hour.
Scout for Food Event Makes Donating Easy
Local boy scouts helped grocery shoppers during the Scout for Food event Saturday. The goal of the event is to make it easy for people to donate to the annual Share Food Drive.
Chicken Kiev Linked to Minnesota Outbreak Recalled
Federal authorities say a Chicago company has recalled nearly 29,000 pounds of chicken Kiev products linked to a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota. The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the raw, frozen chicken entrees from the Aspen Foods division of Koch Meats were sold as Antioch Farms brand A La Kiev raw stuffed chicken breast.
Wisconsin Sex Offenders Must Stay Home on Halloween
Police are teaming up with parole agents across Wisconsin to make sure sex offenders stay home on Halloween night.