File ID 23010975 | © Luis Viegas | Dreamstime.com
The Safe Return Emergency Autoland System, developed by Garmin with input by Piper and Cirrus, allows passengers to hit a large red button that allows the plane to land safely if the pilot has been incapacitated. When this button is pressed, the plane will find the nearest airport, calculate a safe flight path, communicates with air traffic control, alerts emergency services, and safely lands the plane.
While this isn’t the first feature of this kind, it’s definitely the most reliable and capable. Other Autoland systems require oversight by a trained pilot, only meant to assist if one of two pilots are incapacitated.
The most incredible part of Cirrus’ system is that it’s able to give the power over to even the most unexperienced passengers. The red button is easily accessible from the front seats and Safe Return is hardwired into the controls, using autopilot functions and the jet’s engine management system to allow the aircraft to land smoothly.
When the button is pressed, the system selects an airport with the best combination of runway length and takes weather conditions into consideration. It then steers the airplane on a descent and alerts air traffic control to the emergency. It deploys landing gear, uses precision GPS and radar information, adjusts the flaps to maintain lift, and lands the aircraft.
During the landing, the system will use the instrument panel monitors to provide passengers with the instructions for landing preparation. If the button is hit by accident, the pilot can cancel is out by taking over the controls.
To learn more about this amazing new technology or if you’re interested in flight lessons or private plane rental, please call or visit Elevate Aviation. We’re proud to be the official Cirrus flight training center in Salt Lake City, Utah.