Dale Klapmeier, Cirrus Aircraft’s Chief Executive and co-founder, has announced that he will be stepping down from his current role within the first half of 2019. Dale founded Cirrus in 1984 alongside his brother Alan, establishing the business in the basement of their parent’s dairy barn in rural Wisconsin. Their first production was a homebuilt kitplane, the VK-30, which had its initial flight in 1988 but it soon ceased delivery after a few years. However, their subsequent single-engine SR series proved to be an international hit, incorporating a whole-plane parachute recovery system – the Klapmeiers were the first manufacturers to install this safety feature as standard. Their first certified aircraft, the SR-20, came to market in 1999.
“Re-imagining personal transportation has been our lifelong mission at Cirrus Aircraft,” noted Klapmeier. “We’ve changed the face of aviation over the past 30 years – from delivering more than 7,000 of the world’s best-selling high-performance piston aircraft, to fundamentally rethinking how we travel with the introduction of the world’s first single-engine Personal JetTM – the Vision® Jet, to transforming our business into a lifestyle company that defines our path ahead.”
Dale has fulfilled leadership responsibilities at Cirrus for many years, including a stint as vice chairman, but stepped into the CEO role in 2011. China Aviation Industry General Aircraft (CAIGA) acquired the company that year.
“Transitioning out of day-to-day operations will give me the opportunity to focus on long-term strategic opportunities,” continued Klapmeier. “I could not be more confident in the team and I am excited for what lies ahead for the entire Cirrus family. For Cirrus Aircraft employees, partners and owners around the world, the best is yet to come.”