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FAA approves Garmin’s ESP, automatic descent for Cirrus

Cirrus has become the first piston aircraft manufacturer to win FAA approval for two Garmin safety enhancements: ESP (electronic stability and protection) and automatic descent.

ESP is designed to prevent pilots from losing control of their aircraft while hand flying. ESP recognizes when pilots exceed pitch, bank, and airspeed limits and nudges the controls to bring the airplane back from the edges of the flight envelope.

“Just as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System brought the equivalent benefit of automotive airbags to general aviation, Perspective ESP now provides the protection in personal aircraft that traction and stability control offers in nearly all cars today,” said Jon Dauplaise, Cirrus vice president for domestic sales.

The hypoxia recognition and automatic descent feature is designed to determine when a pilot flying at high altitude becomes unresponsive and commands a descent on autopilot to a safe altitude.

“A Cirrus can now safely fly itself unassisted to lower altitudes in the rare case that the pilot is non-responsive for a period of time at altitudes where oxygen is required,” Dauplaise said.

The safety features are software upgrades for some Cirrus aircraft with Garmin Perspective avionics suites built around the G1000.

Dave Hirschman
Dave Hirschman
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.

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