Today’s mail brought http://www.avweb.com/sponsors/belvoir/avcons/ Aviation Consumer’s “2001 Pilot’s Buying Guide”, and in it, an article titled “Gear of the Year”. It’s an interesting article - it names about 10 products as outstanding products.
Top of the list is Cirrus. I’ve typed out the first few paragraphs of the article here; I recommend the publication as one of the few I read cover-to-cover (another being IFR magazine).
Gear of the Year
Our annual you-can-take-this-to-the-bank roundup of the best products and services in the world of general aviation.
Far be it for us to become too bubbly about the ongoing recovery in general aviation. Yet even seen through the eyes of the professional skeptic, the current GA economy can genuinely be described as “encouraging.”
New aircraft sales are up; used air-plane sales remain brisk, with some models in short supply and the parade of new products - especially avionics Â– grows ever more impressive.
Yup, there’s a lot of stuff out there being hawked to the pilot market, most of it good, some of it not. Since our bread and butter is product review, we set aside a few pages each year for a summary of the best products and services we’ve reviewed or encountered during the previous 12 months.
Not beholden to a single penny of advertising revenue, we like to think we can give you the straight scoop about the so-called latest and greatest in the world of light aircraft GA. When products don’t measure up, we say as much. When they do or deliver exceptional value and quality, ditto.
Here then is our annual Gear of the Year review of the best stuff out there.
Company and Product of the Year
Cirrus Design and the SR20
Taking a different tack, our top honors this year go to both a company and a product; Cirrus Design Corporation and the SR20.
Given the remarkable sales success of the SR20, this may seem like old news. After all, the aviation press has planted the equivalent of a wet kiss on the SR20.
Even the august New York Times has taken note, publishing a breathless and seldom-seen profile of a small GA company that makes the Cirrus sound like the second coming.
It is not, of course. On paper, the SR20 isn’t much faster than current offerings, carries about the same payload and its engine burns regular avgas, not high-energy plasma. So why the big deal?
Because the SR20 subtly advances the state of general aviation technology across several fronts, with incremental improvements that have, thus far at least, proven practical and affordable.
It looks different, too, sleek and sexy, not boxy and stodgy. In short, the SR20 shows what’s possible, in the process demonstrating that the market can and will respond to airplane makers whose claims are realistic, not verging on a rewrite of the laws of aerodynamics.
So much for the airplane. The challenge before Cirrus Design as a company is to survive its own success. As the dotcom shakeout is brutally demonstrating, euphoria is not a sound business plan.
Cirrus has the contemporary equivalent of a flood of orders and now faces the daunting task of converting market interest into stable and predictable production. In other words, it needs to become a real company.
So far, so good. Production is slowly ramping up and thus far, the company seems to be delivering on its promises with no unpleasant surprises for buyers, other than a long wait if you’re ordering an SR20 now. (True, there have been some minor problems with the SR20’s Continental engine.)
It’s too soon to say if Cirrus Design has invented the airplane company of the future but at this juncture, we think they’re on the right track. For that reason, we’ve picked Cirrus Design as the company of the year and SR20 as the general aviation product of the year.
Contact Cirrus at 218-727-2737 or www.cirrusdesign.com