Motoring / Jets

Cirrus Aircraft: The Aircraft Features Powering Safer Flights

Cirrus Aircraft’s industry-leading safety systems like the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System is a first-of-its-kind in the jet industry.

Mar 10, 2022 | By Joseph Low
Vision Jet
Image: Cirrus Aircraft

The innate desire to protect your life in the event of an accident has led to incredible safety developments within every industry. From the seat belt to the heart defibrillator, safety systems are proven to save lives each day and continue to improve in efficacy and availability.

The aviation industry is historically meticulous when certifying and adapting new technology or safety features as they undergo rigorous government agency certification before deeming them safe and effective. However, a few innovations have risen to the test and positively impacted the industry forever.

Safe by Design

Cirrus Airfram Parachute System
Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. Image: Cirrus Aircraft

Personal aviation manufacturer, Cirrus Aircraft, continues to awe pilots and passengers with industry-leading safety systems such as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), which is a first-of-its-kind whole airframe parachute system designed to save lives in the event the pilot becomes incapacitated or during an emergency situation. 

From the early planning stages of its first production aircraft, the SR20, Cirrus Aircraft held safety as its top priority. The founders incorporated a whole airframe parachute system that would be able to save the pilot and passengers in the event of an emergency. The aircraft parachute system, coined “CAPS,” has since become standard equipment on every aircraft the company has ever produced, including the market share leading SR Series of high-performance piston aircraft and SF50 Vision Jet. CAPS has returned over 220 people home safely following activations over 20+ years. 

“Cirrus Aircraft creates a safer pilot, training and flying experiences thanks to CAPS, the industry’s first general aviation parachute system produced in an FAA-certified aircraft, along with a breadth of hazard avoidance and stability systems,” said Zean Nielsen, CEO of Cirrus Aircraft.

In addition to CAPS, the aircraft airframe, seats and landing gear are designed to absorb the impact energy in the event of a forced landing. With advanced touchscreen avionics, electronic stability protection (ESP), digital weather information, FIKI anti-ice system and more, Cirrus aircraft offer unmatched safety features to protect the pilot and passengers.

To date, Cirrus Aircraft continues to be the only company to include a whole airframe parachute as standard equipment on all certified aircraft models. The Cirrus Vision Jet features not only CAPS, but also the Garmin-powered Safe Return Emergency Autoland on every Personal Jet. The Safe Return technology allows the passengers in the Vision Jet to safely land the plane with the touch of a button in the event of an emergency.

Redefining Jet Ownership

Vision Jet Safe Return Activation
Vision Jet Safe Return Activation. Image: Cirrus Aircraft

Cirrus Aircraft redefined the jet ownership experience to make it more similar to owning and operating a car. The company worked to transform personal aviation and in 2016, the company delivered the first Vision Jet.

“With the Vision Jet we set out to redefine an entirely new aviation experience. We wanted to make buying, owning and operating an airplane as easy as operating a car — and to make the aircraft feel like an extension of your car – one that is designed around safety, but also that’s comfortable, connected and more capable. It’s an evolution and one we think about constantly,” adds Nielsen. 

The Vision Jet became the world’s first single-engine Personal Jet. Upon creating an entirely new category of jet, Cirrus Aircraft also worked with its partner Garmin to incorporate Safe Return Emergency Autoland as an added layer of pilot and passenger protection. At the touch of a button, Safe Return gains control of the aircraft and transforms the Vision Jet into an autonomous vehicle. With Safe Return engaged, the Vision Jet communicates with air traffic control, navigates terrain and weather, and pinpoints the nearest suitable airport for landing to bring the aircraft safely to a complete stop.

Pilots learn to manage these safety features and benefits with thorough Cirrus Approach training, CAPS training and the FAA required Vision Jet type-rating in the case of a Vision Jet.

Advancing Pilot Training

When you embark on a flight, pilot and passenger safety are top considerations to protect your wellbeing and ensure an enjoyable adventure. Pilots undergo extensive training in both aeronautical knowledge and practicing in the air to ensure they are competent before earning a license. 

Aspiring professional pilots that train in the Cirrus TRAC SR Series, the company’s training aircraft, stand to experience technologically-advanced features and capabilities that complement the TRAC SR’s stable flight characteristics. The integrated Garmin Perspective+ flight deck includes two large primary flight displays, a Flight Management System (FMS) keypad controller, an Electronic Stability Protection (ESP) system as well as integrated engine indication and crew alerting, warning systems which are features found on today’s advanced airliners.

Nielsen says that the company currently works with world-class airlines and professional aviation training academies like United, Lufthansa and Emirates to recruit and train pilots with its TRAC aircraft offering student pilots with a similar flight deck to airline aircraft. 

Safety is at the heart of Cirrus Aircraft. The company believes in continuous training to improve skills, maximise performance and utility, stay current and keep everyone safe. 

Safer Skies Ahead

Vision Jet CAPS
Image: Cirrus Aircraft

Today, aspiring and current pilots worldwide are captivated by Cirrus Aircraft’s dedication to continually innovate the personal aviation industry, its aircraft and how it keeps people safe. The company received the Robert J. Collier Trophy, the most prestigious aviation award, honouring CAPs in the Vision Jet as a testament to developing advanced aviation safety features. Later, Garmin also received the Collier trophy for Emergency Autoland, meaning that the Vision Jet is the only general aviation aircraft with two separate Collier award-winning safety technologies on the same aircraft.

As more people turn to personal aviation as means of transportation and business expansion, it is incredible to see ongoing, leading-edge technology transpire from Cirrus Aircraft’s philosophy of safety, comfort, ease of use and performance. We are eager to learn what the company has planned next in its journey to transform the industry and the way people safely experience the world.

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