A few weeks ago I spoke with Ian Bently of Cirrus Design to find out what their plans were for incorporation of some emerging technology. Natually their focus is on production rate, quality, etc. However, Ian did give me an indication of where things are going in a few areas once they have the resources. No promises, etc. It is quite possible that I’ve misinterpreted something Ian said, so please keep that in mind in case something here doesn’t seem right.
FADEC: They hope to get a sample FADEC engine
within a few weeks for testing. Naturally,
they’d like to make that option available ASAP.
FADEC not only offers the user simpler
engine management and higher efficiency, but
the hope is that it will reduce warrenty
claims by reducing the ability of the pilot
to damage the engine.
TCAS: Most likely system they would offer is
the BF Goodrich Skywatch, which list around
$20,000 (don’t know how much Cirrus with charge though).
Good for users – helps avoid mid-airs. Good
for Cirrus – they can make more money. BF
Goodrich has offered intergration help in the
form of an engineer to work out just how to
install the unit, antenna placement, cabling,
etc. Could display on any of the four screens
in the SR22 (Sandel, Arnav, or either 430). I don’t recall which was the most likely.
Uplinked Wx: major turmoil in this business,
so Cirrus will wait six months and re-examine.
There are a number of competing old and new
systems and Cirrus will wait for the smoke
to clear. Arnav has an existing ground-based system. However they also have a contract with
the FAA to build a new, incompatible system.
Wouldn’t want to use the old system as it will
become obsolete. The new system isn’t here
yet (sounds like the Osborne effect).
There is also the space-based Echoflight and
Globalstar. Ian thinks the space-based systems
are more viable long-term. In any case, it
isn’t something Cirrus can or should do much
about until things settle out.
Fuel computer: linked to FADEC, naturally falls
out of having FADEC.
Engine monitor: should have been done six
months ago. With FADEC, the engine monitor
will be new anyway. (So are they going to
wait for FADEC to get better engine monitoring?
I guess so.)
EGPWS: I don’t recall what Ian said.
This is to the best of my recollection and notes from my conversation with Ian.