They say when the plane starts to fly like it shouldn’t, up in the air, every atheist begins to believe in God. Flying might be the safest means of transportation, but that isn’t enough information for a nervous flyer to breathe easy. Then there are those who imagine all kinds of one in a billion situations. One of them is where everyone in the plane is somehow incapacitated and the only person left alive has to somehow fly and then land the plane. Thankfully, the Cirrus Vision Jet has accounted for these possibilities.
A personal jet designed to be flown by the owner, the aircraft’s fuselage is made out of carbon fibre which is lighter, stronger and can withstand cabin pressure changes for a seriously long time. Fitted with a “piggyback” engine, the Vision Jet’s V-tail design is penned that way to reduce cabin noise. However, the biggest draw is the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System which has already saved over 100 lives in the SR20 and SR22 aircraft. The Parachute System is designed to protect occupants in the event of an emergency by lowering the aircraft to the ground after deployment.
In the event of an in-flight emergency, pulling a red 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 canopy will unfurl, controlling the aircraft’s rate of descent. The final landing is absorbed by the specialized landing gear, a roll cage and Cirrus Energy Absorbing Technology seats. No other certified general aviation aircraft manufacturer in the world provides this safety feature as standard equipment.
Cirrus has gone a step further and added a new layer the Vision Jet’s safety features. Called the Safe Return emergency autoland system, it allows passengers to land the Vision Jet with the simple touch of a button in an emergency situation. Developed in partnership with Garmin, once activated, the system avoids inclement weather, terrain, takes control of the autothrottle, follows a gentle and steady descent towards the nearest airport and then lands and brings the aircraft to a halt, all by itself.