Cirrus Aircraft plans Duluth innovation centre


Cirrus Aircraft, maker of the G2+ Vision Jet, is to boost product development at its new Duluth Innovation Center, after acquiring the facility of the former Northwest Airlines Corp at Duluth International Airport in Minnesota.

“The Innovation Center is designed to become the epicenter for personal aviation engineering and to attract top talent from around the world,” said Zean Nielsen, CEO Cirrus Aircraft. To make that happen Cirrus is making a significant, but undisclosed, investment in the 189,000 sqft building on the 39-acre site. Recruiting and retaining talented staff – whether pilots, airframe and powerplant technicians or other key roles – is becoming a more pronounced industry-wide challenge.

“We want talent to think of Cirrus Aircraft, Duluth, and now the new Innovation Center as a special place where the latest and greatest general aviation technologies come to life,” he said. “Doubling down with a massive facility such as this underscores our relentless pursuit of continuous innovation that makes owning and operating a Cirrus safe, convenient and easy.”

The single-engine, Cirrus G2+ Vision Jet is one of a handful of aircraft to be fitted with the Safe Return Autoland by Garmin system. Activated by a red button mounted on the cabin ceiling, the Safe Return Autoland is designed to be used by passengers in case the pilot or pilots become incapacitated during the flight. The system automatically navigates the aircraft to a nearby runway landing the aircraft without further human intervention.

Both the Vision Jet and the SR series of propellor aircraft are fitted with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). Representing the first FAA-certified whole-airframe parachute safety system included as standard on an aircraft, its deployment is said to have returned 235 people safely home to their families.

Cirrus delivered 211 aircraft in the first six half of this year, compared with 195 in the same period of 2021. The company said it expects to exceed last year’s total sale of 528 aircraft.

More than 375 Vision Jets are in service worldwide, many used for business missions, according to the company. A double-award winner, in 2017 the Vision Jet was awarded the Robert J. Collier Trophy for developing the world’s first single-engine business and personal jet and for implementing CAPS on the aircraft. Three years later Garmin won the Robert J. Collier Trophy for its Safe Return Autoland on the Vision Jet.

Meanwhile, read more about Safe Return Autoland system here.

Above: A view of the future – an artist’s impression of Cirrus’s new Duluth Innovation Center.

Below: Cabin with a view – the G2+ Vision Jet can seat up to six passengers for single-pilot ops.