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THE FUNDAMENTAL requirement for the sustainment of any successful product is that of continuous improvement. In the case of Cirrus, the bespoke SR-22 Kalahari was developed to suit the “touch and feel of African environmental demands. A formal flight test report on the standard Cirrus SR22 was published in World Airnews, June 2013.

If you have an aircraft that is aerodynamically operating at optimum performance, innovative thinking would no doubt call for alternative ways to improve the flying experience by customising the design for reduced pilot workload and improved efficacy. This was most probably the thinking of Cirrus designers in creating, much as the wine makers do, the Special Edition Kalahari.


“How do we upgrade the design to cater for more specific operational environments?” was obviously the thinking of the Cirrus top brass.

The first thoughts on African aviation operating criteria would be wide open expanses on the one hand and also quite intense VFR/IFR traffic operations, not to mention the “hot and high”: operational conditions. A third focus area would be weight saving.

Walking out to the Cirrus Kalahari at Lanseria for a “photo op”, except for a “catchy” new African flavoured livery, there was no perceptible change to the standard Cirrus configuration; what had, however, changed was the customising of the aircraft to blend into African environmental conditions.

In “marketing speak”, the Kalahari Special Edition was designed by the Xi Design team for flight under African conditions and was apparently inspired by the colours of the Kalahari Desert to launch the first edition in Tangerine, a colour that captured the hues of the vast and majestic landscapes of Africa. Cirrus also announced at AirVenture 2015 two specialised aircraft products geared to customers in Africa, Australia and Brazil - each customized especially for their markets.

That Cirrus sales around the world have done well, is an understatement. ZS-ACA, from Cirrus Aviation Lanseria, was the 100th Cirrus in South Africa and one of the 6 300 in worldwide service.

So what were the essential attributes and highlights of the continuous improvement? What are those technologies that give vent to the design objectives of improved operations within the African environment?


In addition to the palette of colours available, the exterior graphics were also inspired by the iconic zebra stripes, the qualities and passenger comfort.

Importantly, these features should enhance the pleasure of flight for the low time GA pilot or the high time airline professional.


The requirement for VFR/IFR day and night was met by the integrated Cirrus Perspective through the Garmin Cockpit which provides a host of technological solutions to decrease pilot workload and improve situational awareness.

The equipment includes: Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) on 12-inch screens; GMA 350 all-digital audio panel and keyboard controller which was complemented by dual WAAS GPS/Comm /Nav radios; FliteCharts and SafeTaxi, Garmin GFC700 autopilot with electronic stability and protection and a dual attitude heading reference system (AHRS).

Based on the option of utilising the higher altitudes available from the excess power available, an oxygen system was fitted to enable the flexibility of operating up to 17 500 feet to take advantage of flying over the weather in some cases, terrain, or maximising the effect of winds on the groundspeed. The 77 cu ft capacity provides sufficient oxygen for all occupants for normal flight duration.................................. For the FULL ARTICLE please subscribe to our digital edition.

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