Cirrus Aircraft kicked off 2017 by unveiling the new, sixth-generation model of its SR single-engine piston plane series.
 
Known as the 2017 G6, the Duluth-based aircraft manufacturer’s five-seat plane is being upgraded with new features, such as a revamped flight deck system and brighter wingtip lights to improve visibility.
 
Cirrus calls its G6 line “the smartest, safest, most advanced Cirrus ever.”
 
Swiss navigation company Garmin teamed up with Cirrus once again on its new flight deck system, which pilots use to keep on route and avoid passing planes. Cirrus said the new Perspective+ flight deck has a ten times faster processing speed than its previous avionics systems and can animate surrounding weather patterns, monitor the weight of the plane, and can be connected to a smartphone, tablet or laptop.
 
The G6 is said to also provide improved “ramp presence” compared to previous models. The wingtips have been outfitted with high performance LED lights that are twice the brightness of its old lighting system. Cirrus said its new Spectra wingtip system will provide better visibility during landings and will make Cirrus planes more visible in the sky.
 
“While the new features brought by G6 are both innovative and compelling,” said Todd Simmons, president of customer service at Cirrus, “they are equally intentional and customer-centric when it comes to real steps forward in capability, performance, style, and safety improvements.”
 
For at least 13 years, the SR series aircrafts by Cirrus have been the top-selling four-to-five seat, single-engine piston planes in the world. A significant selling point for its planes is the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System, a unique safety device that, according to Cirrus, has saved 142 lives, including the life of former Walmart CEO William Simon.
 
The price of a 2017 G6 model plane starts at about $390,000 and can exceed $800,000 depending on the type of plane and package.
 
In December, Cirrus handed off the first set of keys to a customer for its Vision Jet, a landmark in the aviation field. Said to be the world’s first-ever single-engine personal jet, the Vision aircraft received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration late last year.
 
The company’s other 2016 activities included the opening of a new Factory Service Center in Knoxville, Tennessee and the expansion of its Duluth footprint with a 68,000-square-foot finishing facility.
 
In 2015, Cirrus CEO and co-founder Dale Klapmeier was inducted into TCB’s Minnesota Business Hall of Fame. During his acceptance speech, he explained why headquartering his business in Duluth was the ideal choice for Cirrus.

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