The drive to single engine is to cut purchase costs. Turbine engines cost a million dollars or more. As to smaller engines, this is a Williams FJ-33-5A, a tiny engine. I do not know this variant's thrust, but the family has a maximum thrust of 1,900 lb (In development for the competing D-jet) little cost savings buying a smaller engine as the expensive parts are all the same engine to engine.
Once you choose to go to one engine, it must be on the aircraft centerline. To put it low would have added weight (cost) and required much more complex air ducting (cost). It is not a very optimal position, but I cannot figure out anything better that wouldn't have added $100k or more to the aircraft cost. A 2nd engine a million (Cirrus has put in other costs vs. the competitors, hence why there isn't a million difference in price point). The most efficient inlet to a jet engine is a sort round inlet. Due to interactions with the aircraft, the inlet is a bit squashed. But this is far more efficient than two inlets feeding a single engine (look at all the surface area that is drag for the air into the engine and drag outside). It is well done to achieve the price point.
Take a look at photos in flight (from this link). The plane flies a bit 'tail up' which dramatically improves the cruise performance. All the photos I've seen in the database that show the engine are nose up, which makes the engine look... too much of a downward angle. But in cruise, it looks right.http://jalopnik.com/the-cirrus-vision-s ... 1719194739
SF50 is certified, now to deliver, 2nd link shows 6 already delivered:http://www.flyingmag.com/cirrus-vision- ... tificationhttp://www.ainonline.com/aviation-news/ ... production
<i>"The $1.96 million Williams-powered jet will reach buyers at a rate of about one a week. The Duluth, Minnesota, company has about 600 orders for the jet, many of them from pilots moving up from SR-series piston airplanes, production of which has been held to 300 airplanes a year."</i>
Seriously, all your questions come down to cutting costs and packaging the aircraft parachute. Please recall weight had to be kept down to use an aircraft parachute which will lower insurance costs; the whole airframe can be rescued by the main chute. So engine packaging had to be compromised for parachute packaging. There is also quite a bit of compromise to get the extreamly low 62kts landing speed (which cuts insurance costs and allows a novice pilot to fly the SF50 safely after a two week type certification course).
With 600 orders, obviously I'm just not affluent enough to be in the market.
With 75% of orders to current cirrus customers, this is actually a really smart business plan. They have affluent customers who like their current piston products but want to upgrade. Cirrus, by going one engine, has achieved a discretionary price point for the current cirrus single engine prop owners to upgrade to. Since the SF50 follows many current Cirrus design philosophies, current owners have a very easy upgrade (as intended). Cirrus apparently knows their current customer wishes and delivered. Please put those sales in perspective, it is more than any one competitor (late edit to clarify): Hondajet, Cessna Mustang, and Embraer Phenom 100.
Really the only downside of a single jet is the requirement to overhaul the engine twice as often. But wait, each overhaul costs the same as a smaller engine on a twin, so the per takeoff maintenance burden is the same with a much lower entry price point.
Here is the neat thing, when they are ready to take on the Hondajet, Embaer Phenom 100, and Cessna M2, they will build a twin jet at the $4.5 million price point a twin competes at. (The Eclipse lacks some features that I consider essential, but by doing so maintains below $3 million). For now, they compete for less than $2 million and have that market to themselves. With so much pressure in the business jet market, how would you have stood out with the added costs of a twin, a minimum of $1 million more? They'll be an established player in jets before they have to take on the established competition; a really wise business move. Also, by the time they have a twin out, they'll be able to persuade some fraction of the current SF50 owners to uphttp://www.barrons.com/articles/the-2 ... 50883grade
ensuring sufficient launch orders.
There major competitor, Diamond, had a single engine D-jet in development at the exact same price point. Now that plane has better engine placement. However, something is really wrong in the specifications on Wikipedia. Someone tell me how the D-jet with less MTOW weight, a heavier and thirstier engine, less fuel, only 5% more cruise speed, yet has 20% more range. I'm not getting that math... In particular since twin engine inlets cut engine efficiency more than a single (even if non-optimal) inlet.
Cirrus has done a great job identifying their market niches. Heck, over 5,000 SR22's have been delivered with over a thousand SR20s too.
You should read a bit about the parachute. Now that the training has been improved, the aircraft parachutes have dramatically cut the accident rate for Cirrus products (it did take a decade to refine the SR22 training though). There was an obvious gap in the market for a single engine owner pilot flown jet. Cirrus has delivered.
2nd late edit:
Wow, I didn't realize this thing would be flying in and out of 2,200ft runways (easy!) That will appeal to many current Cirrus aircraft buyers. I wonder if aspirations to fly the SF50 might help Sirrus prop sales...
<i>"Still, the SF50 promises to be a good short-field performer, taking off in as few as 2,036 feet and landing in 1,721 feet."</i>http://www.barrons.com/articles/the-2-m ... 1473450883