Boeing Field is constantly operating from both runways at the same time. The light aircraft traffic on the short runway can co-exist with whatever is underway on the main, long runway. However, despite the clear ATC instructions, there are occasional when things don’t quite go to plan. We had a Cirrus and a Grand caravan on approach to the parallel runways. I am not certain who was at fault, but from my angle, it appeared that the Cirrus was drifting off towards the wrong runway. It corrected its path but not before the pilot of the Grand Caravan decided that things were not looking good and went around. It didn’t take them long to get back around the pattern and the second approach was incident free. I don’t know whether the controllers ended up talking to either crew or not.
Sexy Sue, the Douglas A-26 Invader, had returned to Renton one evening and I had gone around to the ramp side of the field to see her taxi in. While I was watching the crew shut her down, a few arrivals were coming in over my shoulder. One of them was a Cirrus Vision. The lighting was behind it but I was still getting a shot. Being so close to it on approach was an interesting angle.
Even better, the aircraft was heading my way after landing. It taxied down to where the Invader was still parked, wiggled around it in the space available and then continued on around the corner and off to its parking spot. It is a small jet so can taxi around much like any piston light aircraft but it seems funny to see a jet in such a confined spot. I do think the Vision is a cool looking plane, even if it is a bit like a tadpole!
I have a soft spot for Cirrus SF50 jets. They are not the most elegant of aircraft but they are quite effective and seem to be selling well. There are quite a few based on the PNW and more seem to visit on a regular basis. This example was coming in to Paine Field on a sunny Sunday afternoon. Since it is a small jet, I can stick with the prime when shooting it there which can make for some nice sharp shots. I would be interested to know what they are like to operate and whether they provide a good performance boost to their owners.
My first encounter with this Cirrus SF50 Vision was in this post. It was scheduled for departure while I was on some calls and I hoped it would time its departure conveniently for me. I was lucky and it headed out just after I finished a call and before I headed back to the eastside. The skies were not friendly for getting a shot but it was still nice to see it in action and the flat light avoided any harsh shadows and deep contrast.
About a decade ago, the very light jet was the hot idea. Everyone seemed to have a design and they were bringing tons of investment in to make the planes and sell them in quantities and at prices that had previously been unthinkable. As it turned out, there was a good reason why it had been unthinkable and the projects either never made it to production or made a few before bankruptcy followed (sometimes more than once). Eclipse did better than most in making jets before they folded, later re-emerging in a slimmed down form.
Cirrus is one company that stuck with it and didn’t go bust. It did benefit from a lot of Chinese investment and the fact it had a successful piston lineup to generate some income didn’t hurt. Their approach was the SF50 Vision, a single engine jet. It was a slightly unusual design but not a bad one and it has finally made it to certification and production. This example is a regular at Boeing Field so maybe it lives there?
Most public airports have a variety of types scattered around. The heyday of US light aircraft manufacturing was decades ago and resulted in the production of Cessna, Pipers, Beeches et al in large number. These aircraft are still around but are now aging so the types parked up will often be showing their age. There are light aircraft still being produced today but the numbers are significantly lower. Moreover, they are not cheap so you don’t see so many new planes around. One of the higher end types is the Cirrus. With a nicely equipped example setting you back about half a million dollars, it isn’t a surprise that they are not abundant.
San Carlos, on the other hand, is positively swimming in the things. The peninsula is home to quite a lot of high net worth individuals so this is an area where people are more likely to be able to have a nice shiny Cirrus. Also, there is a distributor on the airfield (no coincidence there!) so the local buyers are likely to choose something they can see at home.
There are some SR20 models in use for training but more seem to be the higher end SR22 models. They are a nice looking plane and one that I would certainly be happy to have a go with. The combination of equipment, control layout and performance would be nice to try and to compare with types I have flown in the past. One day…