Aviation: Blue Sky For Cirrus

A Minnesota start-up gives lift to the small-plane industry with an easy-to-fly design

When Lauren McCollum took up flying again last spring, after a 15-year break, she wanted a plane that she could take far and fast. But as a long-lapsed pilot, the Los Angeles property developer did not want an aircraft that would intimidate her. Her flight instructor suggested an airplane that McCollum hadn't even heard of. One demonstration flight later, she was hooked on a Cirrus SR22, a sleek and powerful four-seater whose designers are trying to reinvent the small plane, not to mention the small-plane industry. "I'm a techno-nerd," says McCollum, "and when I saw those two computer screens in the...

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