The Cirrus Design P.N.C. Corporation is an aircraft manufacturer that was founded in 1984 by Alan and Dale Klapmeier to produce the VK-30 kit aircraft.
The company markets several versions of its two certified designs, the SR20 and the SR22. A Cirrus Jet is currently under development.
Cirrus Design has its headquarters and main manufacturing facility in Duluth, Minnesota. An additional manufacturing facility is located in Grand Forks, North Dakota and an assembly facility is located at Bembridge, on the Isle of Wight in England.
On December 27 2007 the company secured a lease for former Northwest Airlines hangar at Duluth International Airport. It will use the 189,000-square-foot building for construction of its new Cirrus Jet.
In August 2001, Cirrus sold 58% of the company for $100 million to Crescent Capital, the US arm of the First Islamic Investment Bank of Bahrain (now called Arcapita).
It was reported in December 2007 that the Bahrain-based Arcapita Bank, is looking to sell its share of the company. Cirrus Design has indicated that this was expected as Arcapita was considered a medium-term investor.
Cirrus SR (Single Reciprocating) Series aircraft are designed around advanced technologies with Avidyne Entegra digital flight displays and modern avionics as standard equipment. The aircraft are all electric - no vacuum systems are used. Redundancy is provided by dual batteries and alternators. The SR22 is also available with TKS anti-icing equipment but as of 2007 is not certified for flight into known icing conditions.
The aircraft incorporate other unusual design elements. All Cirrus aircraft use a mechanical "side yoke" instead of the traditional yoke or stick flight controls. The aircraft also use a single power lever that adjusts both throttle and propeller RPM via a mechanical cam actuated throttle and propeller control system. Construction is dominated by the use of composite materials, although traditional aluminum is used for flight control surfaces.
The SR22 has an option for a Tornado Alley turbo-normalized engine. This allows the engine to maintain maximum power at higher altitudes while increasing the maximum operating altitude to 25,000'.
• SR Sport (SRS)
Cirrus Parachute System (CAPS)
The Cirrus SR series (SRV, SR20, and SR22) aircraft are equipped with the Cirrus Aircraft Parachute System (CAPS), a ballistic parachute deployed from the back of the aircraft, in most cases, allows the entire aircraft to descend safely from an emergency. Cirrus is the first manufacturer to receive FAA certification for production aircraft with ballistic parachute systems. With the NASA-developed spin resistant wing, the parachute system was accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration as an equivalent level of safety and complete spin testing was not required by the FAA.
The Cirrus pilot's operating handbook states that the parachute system "is designed to bring the aircraft and its occupants to the ground in the event of a life-threatening emergency. The system is intended to save the lives of the occupants but will most likely destroy the aircraft and may, in adverse circumstances, cause serious injury or death to the occupants". As the SR aircraft have not been fully spin-tested, a properly-functioning CAPS system is required for flight on all Cirrus SR aircraft.
The company has been successful as a manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, the Cirrus SR22 had been the best selling certified single engine airplane in every year since 2002.
Aircraft Type Club
The Cirrus line of aircraft are supported by an active aircraft type club, the Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association.