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April 11th, 2013

CIRRUS: Redesigning Aircraft Safety

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CIRRUS:  Redesigning Aircraft Safety

Cirrus was founded with the idea of creating an aircraft that never existed before an aircraft with features and innovations that take the flying experience to an entirely different level. This spirit of unceasing innovation continues at Cirrus today and the result is the new Generation 5 SR22 and SR22T.

Generation 5 embodies everything that makes a Cirrus a Cirrus…and then some. Innovation. Sophistication. Luxury. And of course, unparalleled safety. It is truly the most Cirrus ever.

The new SR-Series lineup for 2013, is dominated by a dramatic increase in load carrying capability for these best-selling aircraft. Increasing the certified gross weight to 3600 lbs. (1,633 kg) for both SR22 and SR22T, this new utility and flexibility allows an extra person, substantial extra baggage or cargo all while carrying more fuel in both of these 5-seat aircraft.

The changes for 2013 make the SR22 and SR22T the highest in-class useful load aircraft available today. A standard SR22 not only achieves true “four-seat airplane that can carry four people and full fuel,” but SR22 and SR22T models now have five seats total and can carry all five FAA-standard passengers non-stop and in comfort over 700 nautical miles.

Generation 5 is the name given to the airframe change required to achieve the step-change improvement for the 2013 SR22/SR22T. The entire aircraft design was analyzed from spinner-to-tail and many parts and systems reengineered and redesigned to accommodate the increased airframe load, aerodynamic improvements, improved flight performance and the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System™ (CAPS.) Substantial testing, including a new series of CAPS parachute test drops, was conducted for validation. Significant changes for 2013 have been made to the CAPS system including an increased canopy size, a new rocket extraction system that propels the parachute upon activation, an advanced technology electrical rocket igniter and lighter and stronger construction materials. Other airframe upgrades included strengthening the carbon fiber, single part wing spar, the landing gear and a new flap system allowing extension to the first position at 150 knots.

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™), standard equipment on every Cirrus aircraft, is indicative of the visionary commitment to general aviation safety. The parachute system is designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment. CAPS™ revolutionized general aviation safety by providing an additional measure of safety to occupants, similar in theory to the role of airbags in automobiles. No other certified general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world provides this safety feature as standard equipment.

In the event of an in-flight emergency, pulling the red CAPS™ handle on the ceiling inside the cockpit deploys a solid-fuel rocket out a hatch that covers the concealed compartment where the parachute is stored. As the rocket carries the parachute rearward from the back of the airplane, the embedded CAPS™ airplane harness straps release from the fuselage. Within seconds, the 65′ diameter canopy will unfurl, controlling the aircraft rate of descent. The final landing is absorbed by the specialized landing gear, a roll cage and Cirrus Energy Absorbing Technology (CEAT™) seats.

 

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