The history of Cirrus in a 3-minute read

Cirrus Aircraft knows how to take safety and innovation to soaring heights. With a 50% global market share and 600 planes built every year, the Cirrus SR22 became the world’s bestselling general aviation aircraft. That was over 20 years ago! Cirrus Aircraft continues to ascend, winning the 2018 Collier Trophy for the “greatest achievement in aeronautics…in America.” But how did a kit plane evolve to become a serious market player in the world of aeronautics?

In 1984, brothers Dale and Alan Klapmeier and their family of keen aviators produced their first Cirrus aircraft, the VK-30. This kit plane was made in the barn of their Wisconsin home and first flew in 1988, with their single-piston engine composite airplane following soon after.

By the 1990s, a parachute weighing 75 pounds was incorporated into every Cirrus aircraft. This extraordinary innovation might cost more in fuel and precious cargo space, but it has saved 200 lives so far, so it’s no wonder that the design became the first of its kind to be certified with the FAA. As of 2022, the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) is the only ballistic parachute used as standard equipment by an aviation company.

If a ballistic parachute isn’t impressive enough, in 2019 Cirrus announced the emergency autoland system (developed by Garmin) called “Safe Return” on the Vision SF50 aircraft, where the plane will land itself safely at the push of a button. With enough innovative safety features to blow your mind and a remarkable track record, Cirrus leaves us with little doubt that magnificent things can, in fact, be born in a barn.

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