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Cirrus Vision SF50 costs USD 2 million, compared to USD 5 million for comparable private jets.

How is Cirrus able to offer a jet at such a substantially lower price? What compromises are customers making when buying this plane versus a competing one (Eclipse Canada, Cessna Citation M2 and Embraer Phenom 100 as per https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2017/07/06/price-cutting-private-jet-shakes-up-aircraft-market/102607220/).

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  • $\begingroup$ I'm not sure those are competing. The Vision is significantly smaller and single engine. I'm not even sure the Phenom is single pilot. (Edit: it is) $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jul 6 '17 at 21:43
  • $\begingroup$ Most of the "comparable jets" are at least 10,000 lb MTOW. The SF50 is much smaller, at 6,000 lb MTOW. Half the size, half the price, roughly. The Eclipse 550/Canada would be a better comparison, it's a similar weight but it flies faster and further. $\endgroup$ – fooot Jul 6 '17 at 21:44
  • $\begingroup$ Why does the video say "But Girl Scout membership has been declining since 2008" at 0:45? Was the video hacked? $\endgroup$ – CrossRoads May 3 '18 at 16:14
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I read an article on the SF-50 recently published in AOPA Pilot and, to be honest the Cirrus Jet is not even in the same league as the other aircraft mentioned. People think 'oh it's a jet for $2 mil - I want one' but remain fairly ignorant of exactly what that means compared with other jet aircraft.

The primary differences in performance between the Cirrus and other light jet aircraft is that it's much slower and suffers from 'short legs'. Depending on payload, the Vision has about at 600 NM range at its max cruising speed of 300 KTAS, burning a stiff 84 gallons/hr. It sounds enticing to an SR-22T owner looking to upgrade, but consider that high end turboprops like the TBM-9XX are leaving you in the dust by at least 20 knots and using 40% less fuel to do so. Ranges of approx 1200 NM are possible, depending on payload, but at an economy cruise of 240 KTAS, making it faster than the owner's old SR-22T but slower that nearly all turbobprops and probably more expensive to operate. The Vision is also not RVSM certified, limiting operations to 28,000 ft. As a yardstick for comparison, an Embraeer Phenom 100 with a similar sized cabin, at roughly twice the cost of a Vision is capable of over 400 KTAS (Mach 0.70) at FL410 with an 1100 NM range with alternate and IFR fuel reserves.

Ther are other items that aren't immediately visible but play an important factor in the cost difference, chiefly cabin environment. The Vision's pressurization isn't on par with similar jets, probably being limited to a 5-6 psi cabin differential, yielding around an 8,000 ft cabin altitude at 28000 ft. The Cirrus is spacious compared with an SR-22 but it's nothing impressive when it comes to light jets and it's not even in the same league as larger jets. Many of the systems do not have the creature comforts of the big boys e.g. The Cirrus still uses a castering nosewheel as opposed to NWS equippped on most jets, etc.

The Cirrus represents a solid, if somewhat expensive, upgrade from the SR-2X aircraft. Just don't expect it to be a personal 747; it's not and you do get what you pay for.

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  • $\begingroup$ Why would they choose not to certify it for rvsm? Is the single engine not capable of going much higher than FL280 anyway? $\endgroup$ – TomMcW Jul 7 '17 at 18:58
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Most of its competition has 2 jet engines. Jet engines are very expensive. The Vision only has one engine!

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  • $\begingroup$ The cost of the engine is estimated at around \$44,000, I doubt that the "bells and whistles" add up to \$954,000+... Just like the SR-22 at \$650k+ doesn't have a \$325,000 engine, I doubt that the cost of the SF50 is 50% allocated to the engine itself... $\endgroup$ – Ron Beyer Jul 7 '17 at 2:32
  • $\begingroup$ If that is true that blows my mind. When I worked for a small regional airline years ago, the PW engines on the small jets were $5M+ each. But that price point is estimated assuming economies of scale, but even so, that is amazing. $\endgroup$ – Devil07 Jul 7 '17 at 2:43
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    $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer its just hard to believe that it can be that cheap. The overhaul price for a cessna caravan turbo prop is close to $250,000. I find it hard to believe that a modern turbofan jet new, can cost less than the overhaul price of a cessna caravan overhaul. $\endgroup$ – Devil07 Jul 7 '17 at 2:50
  • $\begingroup$ @RonBeyer that article was published in 2008, and is coming from a guy who was not talking about existing engines: Merrill's engine for the Cloudster [has] a specific fuel consumption of around 0.30 pound per hour per pound of thrust—an extraordinarily low number, [...] 50 percent better than the current VLJ mainstay engines. [...] Merrill estimates the cost of a production engine at $44,000. Might be worth finding a newer source. $\endgroup$ – egid Jul 7 '17 at 5:47
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    $\begingroup$ There is no way Cirrus is going to bet the farm on a $44K unproven hypothetical engine. They instead chose the FJ44 engine by Willimans which power everything from the Cessna CJ (entire line), Premier, PC-24 and more. It's easy to say you can make it cheaper, but no one has yet! $\endgroup$ – Richard May 3 '18 at 16:01
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The SF50 was designed to meet a gap in performance between high end turbo props and the 4 to 5 $M Jet.

So its not supposed to be as fast, or as high, or fly as far as the Phenom 100.

The comparison to the TBM seems a little biased. We highlight a range scenario where the SF50 is heavy and at max fuel burn and then attempt to compare it to an aircraft with a lighter load lower power setting with the statement "depending on payload, but an economy cruise...".

If we were to compare apples to apples and go max power and max gross on both aircraft, im sure that economy cruise would go right out of the window. Thus putting the SF50 squarely where Cirrus intended it to be in the first place. Not as fast or high as the more expensive options, but not as slow and low as some others.

As for the difference in cost, there are several factors that come along with production of not just another engine, but the nacelle and material to structurally mount the thing, design and engineering labor to make that work, additional labor cost t mount it, test it and any maintenance or warrant programs that may be associated with it, flight testing single engine aerodynamics and flight characteristics, certification, and lets not forget the obligatory profit that has to be attached as well. After all, no one makes airplanes for charity do they?

As has been stated already, Does that make up for the total difference in cost? Most likely not. But my response is just a shadow of the reasons why other jets would carry a higher cost.

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