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By Staff Reports
Minnesota Flyer 

Cirrus Aircraft co-founders inducted into National Aviation Hall of Fame


Dale and Alan Klapmeier were inducted into the National Aviation Hall of Fame on October 4, 2014 at a ceremony in Dayton, Ohio. The brothers were honored for their contributions to the industry and join a prestigious group of aviation pioneers in the National Hall of Fame including Orville and Wilbur Wright, Amelia Earhart, Neil Armstrong and Chuck Yeager.

“This is a great honor and I am humbled to be part of this group of pioneers,” remarked Dale Klapmeier, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft. “The real credit goes to the entire Cirrus family who has been with us through the years. It goes to our teams in Duluth, Minnesota and Grand Forks, North Dakota as well as our team members spread around the world. This honor is also shared with our nearly 6,000 current owners and customers who have supported us with their faith and trust.”

Dale and Alan were passionate about aviation from an early age. Their high school and college years in Wisconsin were filled with flight training, restoring and designing aircraft. In 1979, while still in college, Alan began the design for what became the Cirrus VK-30. This five-seat, composite piston-pusher prop aircraft went on to become the first kit aircraft featured on the cover of Aviation Week & Space Technology in January 1990.

In 1994, the brothers relocated the team to Duluth, Minnesota, and aimed their sights on revolutionizing general aviation by delivering an aircraft that set the new bar in safety, comfort, ease of use and performance. Their goal was achieved when they delivered the composite, four-seat single engine piston SR20 in 1999. The SR20 went on to gather accolades across the industry and led Cirrus to continue expanding their product line, introducing the higher performance SR22 in 2001 and SR22T in 2010.

Dale and Alan’s relentless pursuit of safety advancements at Cirrus Aircraft changed general aviation forever. Their insistence on delivering every aircraft with a full-airplane parachute system, known as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), has saved 95 lives to date. In addition to the parachute, they constantly pushed the industry to develop more capable solutions for light aircraft, leading the way by quickly incorporating glass-panel technology, synthetic vision, envelope protection and more into their aircraft. Their focus on safety and innovation led them to become a world leader in general aviation.

“Thank you to the pioneers who have been honored before us,” concluded Dale. “It was their passion and drive that has allowed us to do what we do.”

The National Aviation Hall of Fame was established in 1962 with the vision that America’s air and space pioneers should be properly honored and their legacies preserved. In addition, it serves to foster America’s future aerospace leaders and innovators as well as guide the industry to be of service to their fellow man.


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