Words of Advice:

"Never Feel Sorry For Anyone Who Owns an Airplane."-- Tina Marie

If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It.
" -- Unknown

"There seems to be almost no problem that Congress cannot, by diligent efforts and careful legislative drafting, make ten times worse." -- Me

"What the hell is an `Aluminum Falcon'?" -- Emperor Palpatine

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, March 28, 2016

Cirrus Jet and FAA Gobbledygook

The FAA is proposing a special rule that doesn't require Cirrus to flight-test the operation of the parachute system of its new SF-50 jet:
The applicant (Cirrus) does not have to prove or demonstrate that the system works in flight.
Maybe I'm not fully functioning this morning. But what I gather is this: Cirrus is making a single-engine jet. A big selling point of the airplane, for Cirrus, is that if shit goes sideways, the pilot only has to trigger the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System and float down onto whatever is below (open fields, power lines, day-care centers, etc.). They don't have to demonstrate that it really works because in the SF50, the parachute is only a marketing tool, not a required system.

The FAA doesn't think it's worth testing because the parachute gizmo, in the SF50, isn't a standalone system, like it is in Cirrus's prop jobs. The parachute system in the jet interfaces with the flight control system and so they think it's not worth pulling the pin for a live flight test.

I suspect what really happened is that Cirrus, and their congressional reps, whined about a test probably ending up destroying a two-million dollar airplane. To which I say: "So what? That's life in the big leagues." Destroying multi-million dollar bits of equipment to prove that they're safe is par for the course.

Comments to the proposed rule are open through May 2nd.


CenterPuke88 said...

The fun bit I read was that the system doesn't have to be proven not to adversely inpact the operation of the aircraft if it malfunctions (deploys in flight, perhaps?). I understand the rational behind the argument Cirrus is making, fiscally...however, if they don't test this bitch, it'll be a possible marketing disaster for them.

BadTux said...

Reading more, it appears that Cirrus may test it anyhow, they just won't do the same kind or amount of testing that was done on the prop planes. Given that this thing's been a money pit for Cirrus for a decade, I don't know how much their Chinese overlords will let them spend on testing beyond what's absolutely necessary to prove that it works in a best case scenario. I don't know what it is about light aircraft companies and jets. It's been well proven that a small jet is a money pit and a company killer yet they keep doing it (yeah, talkin' bout you, Eclipse). I guess the notion is that you're not a real aircraft company if you don't have a jet. SIGH.

And the most hilarious thing? There are turboprops with better operational costs, longer range, and higher cruising speed than this thing. But I guess saying "I own a turboprop!" isn't as cool as saying "I own a jet!"....