I visited Cirrus yesterday, just in time to see my SR22 take its very first test flight. I would like to say that I planned it that way, but it was just dumb luck! Kate gave me a marvelous tour of the factory. This is unquestionably the cleanest manufacturing floor that I have ever seen. Although they would not allow me to take any pictures of the facility (other than of my own plane), I was really impressed with the way that they have fixtured to increase manufacturing flow. I was also blown away by the high performance takeoff that the test pilot performed. He flew 10 feet off of the runway for about 2000 feet and then just pulled back on the stick. I could not believe the rate of climb…thought that I was looking at one of the F16s that also use the field:)…I know that the plane was light because most of the interior had not yet been installed, but this really caught me off guard!
I did find out a few tidbits of information. First, Cirrus will be moving all of the composite layup operations back to Fargo. Since that facility is not wrestling with the continual opening and closing of the big hangar doors, they are better able to control the humidity during the layup process. Apparently they really wrestled with some problems during the past summer in Duluth.
I also received some prelim info on the cost of the Avidyne upgrade. If you take an empty panel and then add the Avidyne at a later date, the cost will be an additional $5500. If you take the ICDS2000 and then swap later, it will be about $15000. Personally, after communication with Arnav, and some thoughts on how I intend to use the plane, I have decided to stay with the ARNAV with the engine monitoring. I think that Jim Fallows hit the nail on the head…if you wait for what’s coming, you will never get anything since there is always something new on the verge of being released. Besides, I have spent the last 8 years looking at a few green lines on my KLN88, so either way I still see a huge improvement in situational awareness.
All in all, I felt a bit like I made a pilgrimage. Now all I have to do is wait until November 28 when N925PW will be flown into York, PA…FINALLY:)