My experience two weeks ago today, regarding smoke in the cockpit has provoked some thinking on my part regarding electrical failure on the SR20. (Incidentially, the smoke came from a bad transistor in the autopilot, and Cirrus and my local FBO have done a commendable job of servicing the problem.)
With all the focus we have on what happens if the alternator(s) fail, I can tell you first hand that if smoke is coming from the avionics stack, battery output is the last thing you’re interested in. Additionally, if this were to happen when you’re in the clouds, immediately going through the procedures to isolate the problem isn’t a viable option.
So, with the master off, here’s what we’re facing: No HSI (C-Configuration); no Gps’s; no autopilot; no radios (nav or comm) no tachometer; no manifold pressure; no trim. Have attitude indicator; have turn&bank; have wet compass. Not an especially easy trip out of the clouds, especially if there’s a low ceiling and a precision approach is needed.
With the benefit of forethought (actually afterthought in my case), here’s my thinking. 1)Understand how to fly the plane with only full, detent, and no throttle options. 2) If #1 can’t be done, run a strip of masking or transparent tape along side the throttle “slit” and mark critical throttle settings. 3) When in the clouds, carry along, have close by, and have turned on a handheld GPS and handheld nav/com. 4)Be within range of VFR conditions (or at least non-precision approach conditions), and know roughly how to get to them; a no-electric ILS approach would be a challenge. 5)With an instructor or safety pilot, practice no-electric partial panel under the hood.
I love my Cirrus, and believe it or not, my confidence in the plane continues to grow. At the same time, we need to recognize that with the new technology comes a need to learn new procedures to deal with loosing it.