Cirrus Vice President Bill King says - like everyone - he was watching what had happened in New York City.
"Of course the last thing on our mind was that it could have been one of ours," says King. "When the call came in from the appropriate authorities advising us that it was one of our, we were stunned - absolutely stunned."
New York Yankee pitcher Cory Lidle and a flight instructor died when Lidle's Duluth-built airplane slammed into the side of a high rise apartment building.
One day after the crash, company officials weren't talking about damage control or protecting sales. Bill King was talking about the victims.
"Our thoughts immediately turn to the families," says King. "I mean ... this is a catastrophic, life changing day in their lives. And you're just stunned by that. Especially if you're a parent, as the pilot and the flight instructor were. You start to realize immediately the impact that this has."
The New York crash was clearly the single thing on everyone's minds at Cirrus Design. Company Co-founder Dale Klapmeier was up late into the night, monitoring news on the crash. Vice- President Bill King was fielding national media calls.
King says an accident like this affects Cirrus employees from the executive offices to the airplane production lines on the floor below.
"Everybody slows down," King says. "If your job is to put a nut in some type of a fixture, you put that nut in slowly. If you tighten something down you tighten it down slowly and deliberately. You tend to just be all the more cautious. It's just who we area as a culture. A day like today. We all stand back and start taking even just a heightened sense of concern and caution."
King's day is one of constant interruptions. A CBS crew wants to ride a Cirrus airplane. Company Co-founders Alan and Dale Klapmeier are in and out of King's office, usually with a cell phone to the ear.
King finds himself defending the safety of an airplane designed for safety.
The National Transportation Safety Board lists 56 accidents involving Cirrus airplanes since the first model, the SR-20, went into production six years ago. Twenty involved fatalities. The truth, King says, is Cirrus airplanes don't crash any more than other general aviation airplanes.
"Analyze it against the number of miles flown, you'll get one rate," King says. "If you analyze it against 100,000 hours flown you'll get a different rate. And they'll be right about industry average. And there's no reason why it should be."
Actually, coming in average is a frustration for the company.
"I will tell you that we find that offensively, and terribly frustrating, because we have dedicated our lives to the safety of flight," King says.
Others confirm the airplane's safety record.
Minnesota Public Radio News contacted eight Cirrus aircraft owners. All eight vouch for the plane's safety features.
By the numbers, Cirrus is no better or worse than others, according to Mac McClellan, editor of Flying Magazine.
"Cirrus accident record(s), appear to be very typical for the category of airplane," McClellan says. "Whether you look at a model from Cessna, or Mooney, or Piper, or Beechcraft, the Cirrus doesn't stand out as being either safer or less safe; having a higher serious accident rate."
Some critics points to Cirrus pilots, who may be less experienced at the controls of an airplane. The Cirrus is designed easy to fly, sometimes compared to driving a car. But it's certainly no more difficult than others, according to McClellan.
"There's nothing, special, unique, more challenging or anything about the Cirrus that would make it any more difficult for a new pilot to fly than a comparable airplane," says McClellan.
And, he says, there's nothing that makes a Cirrus airplane potentially any safer than another, beyond the full aircraft parachute that can be launched above the airplane should the engine fail.
"There's absolutely nothing about it that is either harder to fly, or more challenging, and conversely there's nothing about it other than this couple of unique circumstances where the parachute might help, there's nothing about it that's potentially safer either," McClellan says.
Cirrus says the company provides pilots extensive training opportunities both in house, and through hundreds of certified flight instructors nationwide.
A National Transportation Safety Board spokesman says the board has not seen any pattern of inadequate training among Cirrus pilots during its investigations.
The long term fallout for Cirrus is impossible to measure. It could depend largely on results of the crash investigation. But there could be repercussions for the small airplane industry.
Some are saying the small airplanes shouldn't be allowed in congested corridors, or over high population areas like New York City. Katie Pribyl, Communications Director of the General Aviation Manufacturers Association in Washington D.C. says knee-jerk restrictions would be a mistake.
"You know the fact is this was an accident; a very unfortunate accident," Pribyl says. "And we would see it as highly irresponsible to call for restrictions on small aircraft before we know exactly what had happened, and really, in our mind, highly irresponsible, because it needlessly stokes public fears."
And a bad bit of publicity in year, she says, that may be safest yet for general aviation.
Pribyl says small airplane fatalities are running about 20 percent lower this year than at this time a year ago. She gives credit to government regulators; better pilot training; and safer airplanes, from manufacturers like Cirrus Design.