First pro­duc­tion Cir­rus Vi­sion Jet flies

Pilot - - PILOT NOTES -

The first pro­duc­tion Cir­rus SF50 Vi­sion Jet flew from the man­u­fac­turer’s Du­luth, Min­nesota, fa­cil­ity on 5 May, as the Fed­eral Avi­a­tion Ad­min­is­tra­tion cer­ti­fi­ca­tion pro­gramme en­ters its fi­nal phase, nine years af­ter the project was started. The three pre­vi­ous pro­duc­tion-con­form­ing air­craft have com­pleted over 1,000 hours of flight test­ing since the first flew in March 2014.

Cir­rus holds or­ders for more than 550 Vi­sions, some eighty per cent of which are from those who own, or have owned its pis­ton-en­gine Sr-se­ries, and most from the US, with around fif­teen per cent from Euro­pean buy­ers. The com­pany ex­pects to pro­duce fifty air­craft in the first year af­ter cer­ti­fi­ca­tion, in­creas­ing to 100 per year there­after

Mean­while, Cir­rus has been car­ry­ing out tests of what it says is the Vi­sion’s most de­mand­ing fea­ture: its bal­lis­tic para­chute re­cov­ery sys­tem. “This was the part of the pro­gramme that prob­a­bly of­fered us the big­gest chal­lenge,” says Vi­sion Prod­uct Man­ager Matthew Berg­wall. “There were re­ally no rules to fol­low. Along with de­sign and de­ploy­ment chal­lenges, we also had to look at the touch­down phase, de­sign­ing seats to ab­sorb the loads cre­ated by for­ward and ver­ti­cal ve­loc­ity com­po­nents. We ended up look­ing at he­li­copter reg­u­la­tions for the ’chute land­ing.”

The Vi­sion’s air­frame para­chute is three-times as large as the pis­ton-en­gined SR22 and SR20 Cir­rus Air­frame Para­chute Sys­tems (CAPS), and de­ploys from the nose in­stead of tail unit. The de­ploy­ment se­quence starts with the pi­lot ac­ti­vat­ing the ’chute via two in­de­pen­dent ac­tions (the SR20 and SR22 have a sin­gle me­chan­i­cal ‘pull han­dle’ in the cabin head­liner). The au­topi­lot will then at­tempt to put the air­craft in the 67-160kt per­mis­si­ble speed range for de­ploy­ment. A car-type airbag fires first, car­ry­ing the para­chute pack­age up and over the Vi­sion’s dor­sal en­gine and V-tail, then a rocket fires to in­flate the canopy. Cir­rus has car­ried out an ul­ti­mate load test on the para­chute, prov­ing that it can carry the air­craft’s max­i­mum weight of 6,000lb plus 3,000lb.

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