For over a week, ANN and Aero-TV personnel have been in Duluth, MN, helping to document the major announcement that you are seeing and hearing now. Cirrus Aircraft is introducing its new "X" series of aircraft, a feature rich series of upgrades to the decade long revolution started by Alan and Dale Klapmeier.
Chief among these upgrades is an eye opener... Cirrus' "KIP" Known Ice Protection... an FAA certified FIKI system based on well-tested TKS technologies and an extensive series of modifications that allow high-end Cirrus SR22s equipped with the Perspective flight deck to deal with a number of known icing conditions (accompanied by an in-process FAA exemption on stall speed that should be complete shortly).
The KIP program, called project "KIWI" by the folks who were in on the secret development project, has been years in the making and required extensive engineering, serious rework of the airframe and construction protocols, and lots of flight testing... some of which was fairly intense. There are a number of features inherent in this massive upgrade... extended TKS panels for the wing, vertical stabilizer, horizontal stabilizers (including the very end of the leading edge of the elevator counterbalance), as well as dual rate redundant TKS de-icing fluid pumps, a windshield TKS application system, prop slinger, an ingenious wing/tail icing detection light, heated stall detection vane, larger/dual TKS reservoirs, Perspective software upgrades that monitor the entire works, and so much more...
And while they did all this, they went on a weight reduction program that cleansed nearly 50 pounds from the airframe... making this airframe even more capable, lighter and ready for just about anything. And by the way, a KIP equipped SR22 can be had for less than $600K... which is a shocker... until you realize just how committed Cirrus is to make the case for aviation around the world with products that just make 'plane sense.'
Mind you, FIKI capability doesn't mean you can fly into anything without hesitation... but it does add extended capabilities and added safety to those who work their airplanes in the IFR environment year-round and at ice-inducing altitudes -- and we're pleased to see none other than Cirrus' Alan Klapmeier emphasize that KIP and FIKI do have limits... and that most of those limits will be the province of the pilot to decide.
It's an amazing upgrade and while watching this project come together over the last few years -- and shooting and flying the bird over the last week, we remain convinced that the GA industry, economic issues notwithstanding, remains a substantial and compelling business and travel tool for pilots, travelers, and business people the world over.
Come join ANN and Aero-TV, who have had exclusive access to this program -- both for our reporting requirements, as well as to serve as the video and news production team that Cirrus selected to document and display their latest technology to the world... it's been quite the ride... and it ain't over yet. MORE news to come...
Aero-TV Checks Out Cirrus' COOLEST Announcement yet: Known Ice Protection!
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