Although David Coleal, Cirrus' president and chief operating officer, is proud of the newest airplane, he acknowledged that its birth was difficult.
The aircraft was in the planning stages for 16 months.It required more than 60,000 hours of engineering, 600 new parts and the creation of 450 new specialized fabrication tools.Cirrus
underestimated the complexity of getting the G3 into production.
"We've shifted our launch date several times," Coleal
said, noting that Cirrus
originally planned to unveil the G3 last year.
"Most companies can't move like that," said Coleal
, who considers the nimble feat a testament to workers' phenomenal commitment.He
staff has worked a lot of overtime in recent weeks to make sure the company didn't miss a beat.
"When something needs to get done, we all do what it takes," said Matt Wheeler matter-of-factly, as he
worked on the underside of a G3's fiberglass wing Monday morning.Coleal
appreciates the can-do spirit workers bring to their jobs.
"We're fortunate to have such a dedicated group of people who really put their heart and soul into the job," he
The new wing line was installed in the old line's former space.It features conveniently placed ovens used to cure the fiberglass wings.Previously, workers had to roll the wings on carts to distant ovens -- an arrangement that resulted in "a very convoluted work flow," according to Coleal
The combined plant improvements cost "several million dollars" Coleal
said, and have enabled Cirrus
to boost its production to 16 airplanes per week.
said that considering the complexity of launching the G3, some decline in first-quarter production was to be expected.
On the bright side, Coleal
said the first quarter is traditionally the weakest of the year for Cirrus
aims to help the spar supplier develop a certified system for screening a product in-house before it is delivered to Cirrus
called this a "dock-to-stock" system.Coleal
said carbon has proven to be a complex material to work with, but he
expects to see many more carbon components as Cirrus
works to develop a personal jet.For that reason, he
called the development of the G3 "a great segue."
"Everything we've learned about processing this material will help us as we continue to use carbon where it makes sense," he