Cirrus Aircraft is adding Garmin’s Autoland capability to its G2 Vision Jet, with certification of the autonomous emergency landing system expected in early 2020. The Cirrus Safe Return Emergency Autoland system will be a standard feature on the Vision Jet once it is certified.
Safe Return is intended solely for emergency use, primarily when a pilot becomes incapacitated, and not for pilots to use for ordinary landings. The system is activated by the push of a button mounted in the cabin overhead and easily reachable by rear-seat passengers.
Once activated, Safe Return takes over control of the airplane and changes the images on the avionics displays to simpler graphics that explain to passengers exactly what is happening. Safe Return analyzes weather and terrain and looks for the nearest suitable airport and navigates toward the airport.
Meanwhile, the system switches the transponder to the 7700 emergency code and broadcasts, using text-to-speech technology, on 121.5 MHz and local airport frequencies to let authorities and other pilots know that an emergency is underway, where the airplane will be landing, and that it needs the runway made available. The broadcasts also serve to notify emergency responders that medical help for the pilot may be required.
Safe Return is a capability available to aircraft manufacturers that equip their airplanes with Garmin’s G3000 (Perspective+ in the Vision Jet) avionics and Garmin’s autothrottle. Cirrus added the autothrottle with the upgraded G2 version earlier this year.
The automatic system also evaluates winds to select the correct runway, makes sure there is enough fuel, reduces speed as the airplane nears the airport (flying a holding pattern if necessary), lowers flaps and landing gear, lands on the runway centerline, and stops the airplane on the runway.
If Safe Return is accidentally engaged, the pilot can disengage it by simply pressing the autopilot disconnect button on the yoke.
Piper Aircraft is also offering Autoland on the new M600 SLS.