Cirrus Aircraft has obtained U.S. FAA approval for the installation of the Garmin Autoland-based Safe Return system on the Vision Jet. This marks the first jet aircraft to receive the nod for the Garmin Autoland technology, which has previously been approved for turboprop models—the Piper M600 and Daher TBM 940.
Designed as a layer of safety should the pilot become incapacitated, Safe Return will assume control of the single-jet aircraft at the push of a button, navigate to the nearest suitable airport, communicate with air traffic control, land, and bring the aircraft to a stop. The activation button is in the cabin for passenger access but pilots have the ability to disengage the system should a passenger inadvertently activate it.
The system works via the Cirrus Perspective+ by Garmin flight deck, using aircraft data to calculate a flight plan, avoid terrain and weather, initiate an approach, and complete a fully autonomous landing. The flight deck further provides visual and aural updates to passengers on location, remaining fuel, arrival airport, and estimated time of arrival.
“With Safe Return, we are making personal aviation more accessible, elevating the passenger experience and taking the next step towards autonomous flight,” said Cirrus CEO Zean Nielsen.
“Garmin and Cirrus share a passion for designing and engineering products without compromise,” added Phil Straub, Garmin executive v-p and managing director of aviation. "[Safe Return is] a technology that will undoubtedly have lasting impacts on the safety of our aviation industry and the lives of our customers.”
In addition to Safe Return, the Vision Jet features the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System. Cirrus obtained certification for the Vision Jet in 2016 and delivered its 200th copy earlier this year.