Mad About Cirrus
Cirrus Aircraft recently revealed the brand new SR22T Australis at the Australian International Airshow. Designed specifically for Australian conditions, Cirrus is hoping the Australis will be popular with local aviators. Aviator spoke to Cirrus Aircraft’s Product Line Manager Ivy McIver to get an insight into the latest in the SR22’s blue chip line and discovered a woman madly in love with aviation.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A PROFESSIONAL PILOT?
The idea of flight intrigued me from the time I was a child. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a fighter pilot when I grew up – flying a jet onto an aircraft carrier sounded like an awesome career. I never did grow up. I graduated from MIT with a degree in Information technology, then managed to parlay a software career and a love for flying into an aircraft sales career, which then led me to my current position of Cirrus SR Product Line Manager. During my nine-plus years at Cirrus, I have amassed over 3,200 hours and counting flying Cirrus aircraft.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR FLYING CAREER.
I earned my private pilot licence after college. I worked as a software developer during the week and spent most of my weekends (and money) at the airport. I earned my private pilot licence and instrument rating in quick succession and considered pursuing an airline career. I decided to stay in the software industry and moved into a sales role, but still flew recreationally on the weekends. In the mid-2000’s, I jumped at the opportunity to quit my software sales job and move into aircraft sales with Cirrus. I packed all of my belongings into storage, and moved to Utah to sell Cirrus Aircraft. Though my family and friends thought I was crazy at the time, it turns out to be one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have been with Cirrus for over nine years, and recently moved into the marketing department to oversee our product roadmap.
WHAT IS IT ABOUT FLYING THAT GIVES YOU THE MOST JOY?
Breaking the bonds of earth and that moment when the wheels (or floats) break free from the surface and the aircraft is flying – that moment still makes me giddy on every flight without fail. The view out the window. The feeling of flight. The solitude of the cockpit. The feeling of oneness with the machine that can take you places not accessible by any other mode of transport. There is nothing like flying over a glacier in Alaska and looking at the epic landscape thinking: no one else has ever seen this sight in exactly this way, and no one else ever will.
TELL US ABOUT YOUR JOB AT CIRRUS AIRCRAFT. WHAT DO YOU DO?
I am currently the SR Product Line Manager. I oversee the product roadmap for the SR line, as well as the corporate website, media relations, and a variety of copywriting tasks. In this position, I work with sales, engineering, production, flight training, and customer support to develop the future of our aircraft. I am able to fly prototype aircraft as well as the newest aircraft rolling off the production line, and being the media contact, I also get to do some formation flying as well.
WHAT GIVES YOU THE MOST JOB SATISFACTION?
I love walking through the production facility and seeing the planes in their raw state, knowing that when that aircraft rolls off the production line and is wheeled into the delivery bay for the customer, it will be a product that truly changes that new owner’s life. I hear so many stories from new owners about how much more time they are able to spend with their families, how many more trips they take, and how much more their families enjoy flying with them. The feedback I hear most often is: I fly the plane much more than I thought I would. I get text messages from owners with photos of the view from the cockpit, describing their trip, and thanking Cirrus for selling them an airplane. There are very few products out there that have a client base who actively thanks the company for selling them a product. But the MOST satisfying this about my job is meeting someone who has pulled CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System), and knowing that in an emergency situation, Cirrus played a part bringing that person home to their family.
TELL US ABOUT THE SR22T AUSTRALIS.
The Australis is built on the SR22 platform, and was designed and configured to specifically fit the needs of the Australian pilot community. All of our aircraft go through a rigorous flight test program and production flight test series prior to getting their certificate of airworthiness. There were no surprises with the Australis in that regard.
APART FROM AESTHETICS, WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SR22T AND SR22T AUSTRALIS? PLEASE EXPLAIN ANY DIFFERENCES IN HANDLING AND PERFORMANCE BETWEEN THE TWO.
The handling and performance are the same for an SR22 and an SR22 Australis. It is the same engine and same airframe. What makes the Australis stand out is the package of features that we have put together specifically for the Australian market, a package that is unavailable in that specific configuration outside of the Australis. We configured the aircraft thoughtfully with air conditioning, UV-protected windows and sunshades, and no ice protection to maximise speed, utility and comfort. We also included a two-year subscription to AvPlan, dedicated flight planning software specific to Australia.
CIRRUS STATES: “THE AUSTRALIS IS TAILORED SPECIFICALLY TO THE CLIMATE, CONDITIONS AND REMOTE AREA FLIGHT OPERATIONS THAT PILOTS IN AUSTRALIA REGULARLY EXPERIENCE”. HOW DID CIRRUS TEST FOR THESE CONDITIONS?
Both the airframe and the paint have been tested to extremely high temperatures in harsh desert conditions. We have aircraft operating in the hottest climates on earth, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE. We tested the UV windows in a variety of hot climates and did side-by-side tests with aircraft equipped with non-UV windows where we showed a 30 per cent decrease in cabin heat with the UV windows.
FROM A PILOT’S PERSPECTIVE, WHY IS THE AUSTRALIS IDEAL FOR BUSINESS PURPOSES?
The aircraft is spacious, comfortable, has a range of over 1000 nautical miles, and is a joy for both pilot and passengers. The rear seat is spacious enough for a passenger to pull out their laptop and work while being flown between meetings. The aircraft is also speedy and can travel from Gold Coast to Melbourne in four hours and Gold Coast to Sydney in two hours.
The seats have been upgraded to premium seats which are more comfortable for the long journeys required by Australian geography, the UV windows in combination with the air conditioning make the cabin climate comfortable and safe from the harsh UV rays of the intense Australian sun. The Australis enables those travelling for business to take advantage of the convenience that general aviation offers, reaching multiple destinations in a single day and accessing smaller airports not served by commercial aviation. The aircraft also incorporates the latest safety features including electronic stability envelope protection, digital autopilot, and the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS). Lastly, there are passenger convenience features like four USB ports to power electronic devices like iPads and cell phones, AUX jacks to listen to your own music or podcasts, and cup holders to stash your favorite beverage.
FROM A PILOT’S PERSPECTIVE, WHY IS THE AUSTRALIS IDEAL FOR PRIVATE PURPOSES?
The benefits of the Australis are much the same for both personal and business flights. The aircraft provides a comfortable and modern cabin with many passenger conveniences. The technologically advanced, all-digital cockpit provides safety and capability to fly in a variety of weather conditions, and the speed reduces travel time by almost two-thirds.
TELL US ABOUT THE AVIONICS IN THE AUSTRALIS.
The Australis features an all-digital cockpit powered by Cirrus Perspective by Garmin, with two 12-inch screens, a digital autopilot, and digital 4-in-1 standby gauges. The panel features Synthetic Vision, giving the pilot an on-screen representation of the surrounding terrain and traffic.
WHAT DO YOU ABSOLUTELY LOVE ABOUT THE AUSTRALIS?
The Australis combines luxury and utility to provide the Australian pilot with the ultimate aircraft. The exterior is eye-catching and every detail, from the stars on the tail to the map of Australia on the cowl, was meticulously planned. The interior is clean and refined, offering a premium flight experience. The plane is fast! With no ice protection, the speed is noticeably increased over a similarly configured SR22 with ice protection. I love that the plane has everything an Australian pilot needs to go on a trip – from the survival gear and the rugged tie-down system to the AvPlan subscription and UV-protected windows. Cirrus did a great job building the plane around the needs of the pilot.
Name: Ivy McIver
Occupation: Product Line Manager
Resides in: Duluth, Minnesota
Home airport: Duluth International Airport (KDLH)
Total Hours flown: over 3,600
Hours flown in SR22: over 3,200