Cirrus brings Garmin cockpit to the SR22-G3

 - July 8, 2008, 8:34 AM

Cirrus Design’s partnership with Garmin on a “high-end” cockpit upgrade for the SR22-G3 called Cirrus Perspective is turning out to be a hit with buyers, nearly all of whom are jumping at the chance to bring the optional avionics to their new airplanes.

The centerpiece of the Cirrus cockpit is Garmin’s G1000 synthetic-vision technology, coupled with the popular GFC700 autopilot and a control panel that has been designed specially for the Cirrus piston-single. The Perspective cockpit became available to buyers last month, adding an extra $48,000 to the SR22-G3’s purchase price.

Cirrus chairman and CEO Alan Klapmeier said he is confident most SR22 buyers will opt for the Garmin cockpit for the next few months at least, but noted that the standard Avidyne Entegra avionics systems will continue to be offered. “I anticipate near 100-percent uptake for the Cirrus Perspective cockpit early on,” he said, “but economics will dictate that some will choose the Avidyne system” after the initial wave of deliveries of Perspective-equipped airplanes.

Klapmeier admitted he has never been a big fan of the G1000 avionics system, but he noted “this isn’t G1000, it’s Perspective.” He said Cirrus and Garmin worked together for more than two years to incorporate changes he wanted in the system.
The result of the partnership is a cockpit featuring large, 12-inch displays, dual AHRS and new autopilot logic and features. One of the notable additions is a blue button on the autopilot control panel marked LVL. Pushing this button immediately brings the airplane into a straight and level attitude, allowing a confused pilot to assess his situational awareness, Klapmeier said.

Garmin’s synthetic-vision system adds a 3-D view of the world to the displays, along with traffic targets that grow larger as they get closer and highway-in-the-sky navigation cues in the form of “flying rectangles.”

“This system doesn’t tell you anything you didn’t know before,” Klapmeier said. “It’s just easier to interpret all the information.” SVS, he noted, “is the natural way of looking at the world. Years from now people are going to ask why it wasn’t always this way.”

The Cirrus version of the Garmin avionics system includes a new control panel positioned below the displays near the power lever. It incorporates heading, altitude-select and course knobs along with autopilot controls and a keyboard.

The benefit of having dual solid-state AHRS, Klapmeier noted, is that it allows the system to self-align and restart while in flight, preventing any single component failure that would force the pilot to have to revert to hand flying the airplane at a critical time.

Other features of the Cirrus Perspective system include dual integrated radios that provide ILS and WAAS LPV approach capability; 16-watt, 8.33-kHz channel spacing VHF com radios; GTX 32 mode-C transponder; a go-around button on the throttle that automatically disconnects the autopilot and activates the missed approach segment; class-B terrain awareness and warning system; and Garmin’s SafeTaxi, FliteCharts and ChartView software. Cirrus Perspective models also include a new environmental control system, yaw damper, seats and paint schemes.

Klapmeier said SR20 models will continue to be offered only with the Avidyne Entegra system. No decisions have been made about the avionics for Cirrus’ single-engine personal jet, due to make its first flight soon. The prototype has the SmartDeck suite from L-3 Avionics Systems, but Klapmeier said Cirrus is also evaluating the Garmin and Avidyne alternatives. He also said no decision has been made about the avionics for the Cirrus SRS, a light sport airplane based on the Polaris Fk14 built in Germany, although he said “low cost and high capability” are attributes Cirrus will seek for the model.