If anyone expected Alan Klapmeier — who co-founded Duluth-based Cirrus Aircraft before he left and founded Kestrel Aircraft Co. – to criticize Cirrus’ new Vision jet, they would be wrong.
Klapmeier on Thursday pretty much gave his stamp of approval to the jet which just got the big bucks it needed to move forward and into production.
“There really is a market for that jet plane,” he said of Cirrus’ light personal jet being developed. “So the potential is very, very good.”
His comments came during his talk at the annual Superior Business Improvement District meeting. He was asked what impact the Cirrus jet (to be built in Duluth) would have on the Kestrel (to be built in Superior). Like the jet, the Kestrel also is in development.
None, Klapmeier said, because they are different categories of planes.
He likened the Kestrel plane to a luxury SUV and the Cirrus jet to a sports sedan.
With a $3 million price tag, the single engine Kestrel turboprop will seat eight passengers and a pilot and be an alternative to a business jet. But the Kestrel will operate much more efficiently than a business jet, Klapmeier said.
“And cost is important,” he said.
The $1.72 million-soon-to-be- $1.96 million Cirrus single engine Vision Jet will seat five adults and two kids. It’ll have plenty of luxurious and hi tech features and fill a gap between high performing propeller planes and light business jets.