Tuesday, April 21, 2009
A New Cirrus With A New Boss
Flight Into Known Icing is added to the SR22
|Working under the code name “Project Kiwi,” Duluth, Minn.–based Cirrus Design has been laboring over the last 20 months in relative secrecy to certify its first FAA-approved Flight Into Known Icing (FIKI) system on its flagship aircraft, the SR22. |
What’s New With The New FIKI Airplane?
The Perspective cockpit significantly increases cockpit integration and makes information easy to find and use.
Cirrus’ dive into the world of ice protection began years ago when it first introduced its noncertified TKS (or glycol-based) anti-icing system on the SR22. By virtue of certification requirements, Cirrus had to make a number of substantial technical changes to its design to achieve the proverbial nod from the FAA.
Going from nose to tail, elements of the ice-protection system can be seen sprinkled along the airframe. It starts up front on the propeller where a glycol slinger provides a path for the protective fluid to coat the leading edges of the three-bladed Hartzell propeller.
The new system is powered by two independent glycol pumps to pump fluid throughout the system, as opposed to one pump on the old system. On the old ice-protection system, dubbed “inadvertent ice protection,” the pilot windscreen was protected by glycol spray from the propeller. On the new system, two dedicated nozzles are a few inches in front of the windscreen, providing copious amounts of fluid to protect the windscreen when activated.
Inside the cockpit, the pilot now has a four-position switch to control the system: off, normal, high and max. On normal, the system provides up to 150 minutes of protection; on high mode, 75 minutes of protection; and max mode provides for 35 minutes of protection. Pilots are instructed to use visual cues to determine which flow rate should be used to protect the airframe. Essentially, if you turn the system on to normal while in icing conditions, and you still see ice on the wings, go to high. If high doesn’t remove the ice, go to max. If max doesn’t work, turn around and land.
Because the FIKI approval is only valid on Cirrus aircraft equipped with the Garmin Perspective, Cirrus worked with Garmin to provide the pilot with more information relating to the system’s operation through the MFD, located on the right side of the cockpit. Fluid level in each of the two glycol tanks, time remaining in each of the aforementioned modes, ice-protection range, and a number of alerts and alarms related to the anti-icing system are available on the MFD.
In front of the pilot doors, Cirrus installed new ice lights, which are as innovative as one can get for ice lights. As the tail is clearly visible from the cockpit, Cirrus’ engineers cleverly worked on a specially designed “prismatic” lens that would focus light not only on the leading edge of the wing, but also on the leading edge of the horizontal stabilizer for those choice ice encounters at night.
As part of Cirrus’ G3 airframe upgrade, which came in early 2008, the glycol tank and filler were moved from behind the baggage area to the wings. The new, larger glycol tanks that come with the certified version can now hold up to eight gallons of glycol fluid, whereas the old system could fit significantly less.
Page 3 of 5