Cirrus VK-30 (home-built)
Archive Photos 1
[99 Cirrus (Thomas G. Hastings) VK-30 (N52TH, s/n 143) at the Aviation Expo 2000, Van Nuys Airport, Van Nuys, CA (Photo by John Shupek)]
[99 Cirrus (Thomas G. Hastings) VK-30 (N52TH, s/n 143) at the 1999 Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo, CA (35mm photo by John Shupek)]
[99 Cirrus (Thomas G. Hastings) VK-30 (N52TH, s/n 143) at the 2005 Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo, CA (Photo by John Shupek)]
[99 Cirrus (Thomas G. Hastings) VK-30 (N52TH, s/n 143) at the 2006 Camarillo Air Show, Camarillo, CA (Photo by John Shupek)]
The Cirrus VK-30 is a single-engine pusher-propeller homebuilt aircraft originally sold as a kit by Cirrus Design (now called Cirrus Aircraft), and was the company's first model.
As a kit aircraft, the VK-30 is a relatively obscure design with few completed aircraft flying. Its most important legacy is that the work done on developing and marketing the aircraft convinced the designers, the Klapmeier brothers, that the best way to proceed in the future was with a more conventional layout and with a certified production aircraft. Thus the lessons of the VK-30 were directly responsible for the design of the Cirrus SR20 and SR22, which have been the best-selling general aviation airplanes in the world every year since 2003. The VK-30 also served as a significant inspiration for the creation of the company's latest aircraft, the Cirrus Vision Jet, which in 2018 won the Collier Trophy for becoming the first single-engine personal jet with a whole-plane parachute recovery system.
Design and Development 2
The VK-30 design was conceived in the early 1980s as a kit plane project by three college students, Alan Klapmeier and Jeff Viken from Ripon College in Wisconsin, and Alan's brother, Dale Klapmeier, who was attending the University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point. Jeff Viken's wife, Sally, designed the VK-30's flap system. Together, in the Klapmeiers' parents' barn in rural Sauk County, Wisconsin, they formed Cirrus Design as the company to produce the VK-30 (VK standing for Viken-Klapmeier).
The aircraft has an all-composite construction and was designed to achieve natural laminar flow over the fuselage as well as the wing and tail surfaces to provide for very low drag—using a NASA NLF(1)-0414F airfoil. The prototype incorporated some parts from production aircraft, including the nose gear from a Piper Cherokee and the main landing gear from a Lake LA-4. The VK-30 was designed to be a five-seat aircraft from the start, which made it considerably larger than most other amateur-built aircraft of its day. It incorporated a mid-engine design, driving a three-bladed pusher propeller behind the tail through an extension shaft. The powerplant was a Continental IO-550-G developing 300 hp (224 kW).
The VK-30 was introduced at the 1987 EAA Oshkosh Convention and first flew on 11 February 1988. Kit deliveries commenced shortly thereafter.
Cirrus discontinued production of the VK-30 towards the end of 1993.
In 1996 the company announced plans to develop a stronger replacement wing for about 28 VK30s supplied to past customers.
Operational History 2
Cirrus delivered about 40 kits, and built four additional factory prototypes. The company estimated that there were 13 customer VK-30s completed. As of 11 February 2018, four were still registered with the Federal Aviation Administration in the US, although at one time a total of 12 had been registered.
The VK-30 was the predecessor of the Cirrus ST50, which had an almost-identical configuration to the VK-30, but included a larger ventral fin on the tail of the aircraft, a slightly larger fuselage, and was powered by a Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6-135 turboprop engine in place of the piston engine used in the VK-30. Cirrus designed and initially developed the aircraft under contract to an Israeli aircraft manufacturer named Isravation, and first flew it in Duluth, Minnesota in 1994. Isravation attempted to certify and market the ST50 in the proceeding years but it never entered production by the company.
VK-30 Specifications 2
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