Bluewater 6000 Custom Series
— By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— October 2003
Out of the Ordinary
When I went to meet Steve and Jolie Klapmeier, I flew into Chicago’s Midway airport, after which I boarded a Cirrus Design four-seat aircraft for the run up to Duluth. What made this special was that Alan Klapmeier, Steve’s cousin, owns Cirrus.
“When my brother Dale and I started the company back in 1984, we would take resin from Bluewater to make our planes,” Alan says, smiling. “Imagine today, ferrying drums of borrowed resin aboard that flying bucket of bolts we had in order to begin making our own aircraft.”
They’ve come a long way since then, now employing 750 people and tripling their sales force to 24 managers covering 12 regions around the country, including Hawaii and Alaska, and the Bahamas.
Cirrus has two models. The top-of-the line SR22 offers a 310-hp engine with a maximum range of about 1,000 NM on 81 gallons of fuel. The SR20 has a 200-hp engine and maximum range of about 831 NM on 56 gallons of fuel.
The SR22 I flew in (above) was equipped with all the latest in avionics and featured a “glass” helm that instead of conventional round dials features easy-to-interpret video screens. Both models are outfitted with CAPS, Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. If the engine should fail, the system deploys a parachute from within the top of the fuselage via a solid-fuel rocket that will lower the aircraft safely to the ground.
Cirrus Design, based in Duluth, with an additional plant in Grand Forks, North Dakota, is one of the most popular general aviation companies in the States today, second only to Cessna in the production of single-engine, piston-powered planes. And in true Klapmeier fashion, the company’s strength and forward momentum is based on a strong sense of family and dedication to the work force.
Buy a Bluewater Yacht from Steve and Jolie and a plane to get to it from cousin Alan. It’s all in the family. —K.K.
Cirrus Design Phone: (218) 727-2737. www.cirrusdesign.com.
This article originally appeared in the September 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.