Posted by: Orlando Web Services | February 21, 2011

Learning the Cirrus Glass Panel

In aviation today two worlds are merging (or colliding) depending on your learning curve. There is the old school aviation stick and rudder world and there is the high tech world of satellite navigation systems once used exclusively by commercial aviation. These worlds come together gracefully in our Cirrus SR20 G2 via the Avidyne Entegra Release 6 glass flight deck.

What’s Under the Glass?

The Avidyne Entegra is an integrated aircraft instrumentation system, produced by Avidyne Corporation, consisting of a primary flight display (PFD), and multi-function display (MFD). Cirrus became the first customer of the Entegra system and began offering it on the SR20 and SR22 aircraft in 2003 as the first integrated flight deck for light general aviation (GA).

Primary Flight Display

Primary Flight Display (PFD)

Multi Function Display (MFD)

Multi Function Display (MFD)

MFD with the 430W Garmin WAAS GPS

MFD with the DUAL Garmin 430W's and DFC90 Autopilot

One of the advantages of these glass flight deck systems is upgradeability. Avidyne has demonstrated this with a continuous stream of hardware and software upgrades, including added Flight Director, V-Speed & Heading on ADI, additional datalink weather products on the MFD, and support for the USB memory-stick data loader in our version of the software.

What else is onboard?

Dual-redundant GPS WAAS-certified Garmin GNS 430W Comm-Navigators – Both of the 430’s feature a WAAS-certified GPS, 2280-channel capacity comm and 200-channel ILS/VOR with localizer and glideslope. Traditionally it would take a host of components to provide the capabilities of this one smart box. High-speed 5 Hz processing makes navigation calculations and map redraw rates five times faster than earlier GNS series navigators.

DFC90 Autopilot – The DFC90 has all the vertical and lateral modes you would expect in a turbine-class autopilot system, including Flight Director (FD), Altitude Hold (ALT), Airspeed Hold (IAS), Vertical Speed Hold (VS), Heading (HDG), and Navigation (NAV, APPR, LOC/GS, GPSS), and is designed to operate with the same user interface that Entegra-equipped Cirrus owners are already familiar with in the STEC55X system.

TAWS – A terrain awareness and warning system (TAWS) aims to prevent “Controlled Flight Into Terrain” (CFIT) accidents. The Cirrus has an eTAWS. eTAWS is a TAWS-B terrain warning system with greater predictive precision information based on your flight path, and if terrain is ahead, gives you early warning aural alerts.

Active Traffic Information – Always know where “the other guy” is located with Active Traffic Information that alerts you of all aircraft with an active transponder within your proximity.

Lightning Detection – Enhance weather awareness with instantaneous lightning information for all types of convective activity.

ChartView – Electronic charts published by Jeppesen.

CAPS – Cirrus Airframe Parachute System

Airbag Seatbelts – Just in case there’s a head on with an oak tree.

When’s the flying part?

The best way to eat an elephant is one bit at a time. I think that’s enough for you to digest without going into further details concerning programming flight plans and so on.

Since we can plug-in the Cirrus in on the ground, we can initiate ground training at no cost to the “student” before the prop ever turns. So the first bite is becoming familiar with the avionics systems on the ground, which is the safest place to learn them!

I think another session on two is in order before we take to the air in this bird. It’s a whole new world from the Cessna 172 that I got my ticket in, but it’s very exciting to learn the new systems in a plane that is not 35 years old.

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