This plane was very similar to my 2007 Cirrus with one major difference. The avionics on this plane were greatly enhanced and it was really the precursor to the flight systems that they were going to include on the new Cirrus Jet which I had on order. I figured I’d get a jump on the avionics before I took delivery of the Jet.
All of the Cirrus planes that I owned had amazing avionics. To be honest, they were better than what you’d find on most commercial jets at the time. Over the years they continued to improve them, and when I got this plane it was really amazing what it included.
As a pilot, it’s all about situational awareness. You need to know exactly where you are, all the time. When I first started flying, it was done by balancing maps on your knees. In this plane, it was all on the big screens in front of you. This plane had all of the goodies and it all showed up on the touch screens. It had real-time weather maps, so you could see where you were in relation to the weather in your area. It had moving maps, so you could see where you were in relation to cities, towns, airports, mountains, etc. It had a forward looking infrared camera, so at night you could see down the runway in case there was an obstruction in front of you (like maybe a deer or coyote). It had terrain avoidance, in case you were getting too close to mountains or the ground.
Best of all, it had what they called “Synthetic Vision”. On the main screen, it would draw a picture of the terrain in front of you. If you were flying near mountains, it would draw them on the screen and if you were too low in relationship to the mountain height, it would paint them yellow if you were close and red if you were below the mountain. As you approached an airport runway, it drew the runway on the screen and would even show you the runway chevrons markings on the screen as you approached it. The avionics were truly amazing!
Unfortunately, Cirrus ran into financial problems with the development of the Jet. They eventually sold that division of the company. In 2013, I finally cancelled my deposit on the Jet, because it wasn’t clear if it would ever come out.