The Cirrus Approach

Over the past years, Cirrus has been acknowledged as the major innovator in general aviation aircraft. Nowhere is this more true than in cockpit and avionics design.

Cirrus has a long list of avionics firsts. Sometimes others talk about it first, but Cirrus is usually first in delivering innovation to our customers:

  • First use of Garmin GNS 430
  • Dual Garmin GPS on all aircraft
  • Large screen MFD (multi-function display)
  • PFD (Primary Flight Display) introduction
  • PFD as standard equipment
  • Weather in the cockpit: XM
  • Terrain awareness available on all aircraft
  • Large 12-inch displays
  • “Blue-button” Spatial Disorientation assistance
  • Synthetic Vision
  • Enhanced (infra-red) Vision
  • EVS: Passive flight protection
  • Auto-descent for hypoxic pilots
  • Worldwide phone, messaging and data communications (including weather)

This has not happened by accident. Cirrus does not select “off the shelf” avionics that may merely cater to a trend, or offer some perceived competitive edge. Cirrus people think about how the whole airplane, engine, and avionics work together for the benefit of our customers.

At Cirrus, we have developed our own ideas around avionics and we team with avionics suppliers to turn those ideas into reality, new ideas that add real value to pilots.

These Cirrus-driven avionics innovations constantly evolve as new technologies emerge. For example, Cirrus rejected the first generation Garmin G1000 cockpit. Garmin, to its credit, listened, acted and worked closely with Cirrus to produce Cirrus Perspective, in our view still the finest general aviation cockpit available today.

The Cirrus view is often the pilot’s view, “What would you want to happen if ..?”

An example would be the Cirrus thinking about “graceful degradation” of capability.

In our view, virtually no single equipment failure should demand an immediate transition from autopilot and full glass cockpit to hand-flying using backup “steam gauge” instruments.

Common sense? Some aircraft have cockpits with only one AHRS (Attitude and Heading Reference System – the electronic ” gyro”) engineered so that just that one AHRS failure will disable the whole glass cockpit and autopilot; all at once.

Some years ago Cirrus rejected “needle, ball, and airspeed” as backup to a full set of instruments. Instead, Cirrus has always offered an autopilot that can use a different source for its information than the pilot uses. In case of flight instrument failure you always had that autopilot available. As Cirrus pioneered the glass cockpit the first level of backup remained the autopilot. It requires at least two (and often more) independent system failures before you have to hand-fly on backup instruments. And these are large gauges – just like instrument pilots have always used in traditional cockpits.

How good is Cirrus Perspective (by Garmin)?“ When I visited Cirrus’ base of operations in Duluth, Minn., I was floored when I saw fighter-jet technology featured in the jointly designed Cirrus/Garmin flat-panel system called Cirrus Perspective.”

…… Jeff Berlin, Plane & Pilot Magazine “My impression? Simple: Pilots are going to love this system.”

…… Robert Goyer, Flying “In a nutshell, the [Cirrus] Perspective SR22 is probably the first truly no-compromise automated and integrated light aircraft built with available technology.”

…… Paul Bertorelli, AvWeb “Is this the Ultimate Panel?”

…… AOPA Pilot, July 2008 For Cirrus, being FAA certifiable isn’t always good enough.

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