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.
Gordon Fire Hall: Rising from the Ashes
The Gordon Fire Hall has been rebuilt, after a fire destroyed the building and six trucks. And the community celebrated Friday, one year after that fire.
Virginia's LSS Facility Fined, Worker Banned from Direct Care After Neglect Investigation
A Lutheran Social Services facility in Virginia has been ordered to pay a fine -- and a worker has been disqualified from direct care work -- after an investigation by the Minnesota Department of Human services found there was neglect of a vulnerable adult.
Level III Sex Offender Relocates to Downtown Duluth
The Duluth Police Department says that a Level III sex offender has relocated to the downtown area.
Ironwood Man Convicted of Child Enticement
An Ironwood man has pleaded no contest to a felony child enticement charge after allegedly traveling to a northern Wisconsin community to meet what he thought was a 15-year-old girl.
Jeff Musial and Sid the Sloth 'Hang Out' in Duluth
"The Animal Guy" Jeff Musial and his baby, two-toed sloth Sid stopped by our Eyewitness News studio today before a community outreach program at St. Scholastica tonight.