Cirrus Aircraft is introducing Safe Return, an emergency autoland system that enables passengers to land the Vision Jet with just the touch of a button. Once activated when available, Safe Return assumes control of the aircraft and transforms the Vision Jet into an autonomous vehicle that navigates to the nearest suitable airport for landing, communicates with air traffic control, lands and brings the aircraft safely to a complete stop. The Vision Jet, with both Safe Return and the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), provides a comprehensive safety solution unique to G2 Vision Jet operators.
“Our mission is to make personal aviation more accessible by continuing to improve passenger comfort and safety,” says Cirrus CEO Zean Nielsen. “Safe Return delivers the next step towards autonomous flight, bringing a new level of confidence to the overall flying experience by providing the ultimate level of safety and control to passengers. Together, with the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), we have set a new standard for safety in personal air travel.”
Once pressed, the autonomous system analyses terrain and datalink weather to determine the optimal airport for landing, and simultaneously begins communication with air traffic control. Powered by the Perspective Touch+ by Garmin flight deck, Safe Return utilises all available aircraft data streams, including available fuel, to safely navigate the Vision Jet to the identified airport and transition on to final approach for the appropriate runway based on ground winds. Autothrottle, launched earlier this year on the new G2 Vision Jet, and the automatic flight control system manage the aircraft's speed, altitude and path, while the system automatically lowers the flaps and landing gear on final approach. Safe Return culminates in the aircraft making a fully autonomous landing on the intended runway and coming to a complete stop, allowing passengers to exit the aircraft.
Using text and speech technology, the system communicates the aircraft's intentions over the appropriate ATC frequency, the 121.5 emergency voice frequency and also switches to the universal emergency transponder code. ATC is automatically updated at regular intervals of the aircraft's location, emergency situation and intended airport landing location. These communications begin the process of activating emergency services at the airport of intended landing to assist the passenger and pilot upon arrival. Safe Return can be easily disengaged by the pilot with a simple press of the Autopilot disconnect button on the yoke if a passenger inadvertently activates the system.
In 2016, Cirrus Aircraft achieved FAA certification of the world's first single-engine personal jet, the Vision Jet. The Personal Jet features panoramic windows, reclining seats, comfortable legroom for five adults and two children and the only turbine aircraft with a whole airframe parachute system as standard equipment. Earlier this year, Cirrus Aircraft unveiled and began delivery of the G2 Vision Jet, offering enhanced performance, comfort and safety with increased cruise altitude, speed and range, and a newly-upgraded Perspective Touch+ by Garmin flight deck. The company expects to begin delivery of Vision Jets equipped with Safe Return in early 2020.