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Tue, Jul 13, 2004

The Cirrus Flock Celebrates Second Annual Migration (M2)

by Scott C. Dennstaedt

Lights, camera, action!

Like migratory birds, Cirrus owners flocked back to the birth place of their airplanes this past weekend. Cirrus Design in Duluth hosted this Second Annual Migration sponsored by the Cirrus Owner and Pilots Association (COPA). Even though the visibility was one-eighth of a mile early Sunday morning, the weather was spectacular in Duluth for this terrific gathering on Friday and Saturday.

Nearly 200 members and 100 Cirrus aircraft flew in for the event that began on Friday. "This event was not driven by the factory. It was planned and orchestrated by the owners," said Myron Garfinkle organizer extraordinaire for the First Annual Migration. Myron also lead the organizational efforts of this year's Migration, dubbed M2.

"This says a lot about COPA's dedication."

COPA has come a long way since its inception in 2001 and has nearly doubled since the last annual gathering. Cirrus owners have been under the insurance microscope after a string of fatal accidents. Safety is paramount in this organization. This is just one of many events that COPA has sponsored to bring together the collective wisdom of the owner's group. COPA's nationwide critical decision making courses and pilot proficiency programs are also a testament of their commitment to safety.

As a result, M2 was not just a large social affair. The weekend was filled with educational seminars. I had the pleasure of presenting a short seminar on aviation weather. I was in the distinguished company of Walter Atkinson and George Braly (below) from the Advanced Pilot Seminars who provided their spiel on engine management as well as Doug Ritter's ditching and water survival discussion and demonstrations. Additionally, many other vendors including Garmin, Goodyear, S-Tec, WxWorx, Air Gator, Control Vision, L3 Communications and Hartzel were there to present information on their products and services.

On Saturday evening, Alan Klapmeier (below), announced that the airframe life limit of the SR22 was extended from 4,350 flight hours to 12,000 hours. This falls in line with the airframe life limit for the SR20.

However, the big question this weekend was not the airframe life limit; it was the promise of panel-mounted XM satellite weather. Unfortunately, many Cirrus owners went home without knowing much more than what was written in the recent Avidyne press release a few weeks ago.

It was no secret that Avidyne and Cirrus have been working on this alternate panel-mounted product after the original ORBCOMM satellite multicast datalink failed to emerge as a viable solution. While most Cirrus owners were thrilled to hear this, many were only interested only in hearing the answer to two short questions - When and how much?

Neither Avidyne nor Cirrus could comment on a date or a price for this certified solution. Based on Avidyne's presentation, we do know that the system has not reached the point of FAA certification as of yet and Avidyne and Cirrus are still working to understand how to best install the new hardware in the Cirrus.

Additionally, Avidyne mentioned that features such as Nexrad looping, panning, TAFs, echo tops and winds aloft won't be part of any initial release.

On a lighter note, Cirrus also announced that Scott Prinz took delivery of the 1000th SR22 this weekend. Scott initially sold his SR22 to buy a Columbia 350 and now is back with Cirrus in his new SR22 G2. There is definitely some kind of love-hate relationship story behind all of this.

On the social side, Rod Machado (above) entertained this group of pilots and their spouses with a spectacular dinner event on Saturday night at Grandma's Sports Garden Bar and Grill located in Canal Park. A great time was had by all.

I am already looking forward to the next hot topic at M3 - WAAS maybe?

E-I-C Note: Scott Dennstaedt is an ANN columnist who provides nationwide Cirrus standardized flight instruction. He is also the founder of Chesapeake Aviation Training, a low cost provider of portable cockpit weather solutions.,



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