There are two accepted approaches for engineering general aviation aircraft. One is
analysis based (similar to the approach taken by transport category aircraft companies)
using industry accepted analysis and modeling practices. The other, possibly more traditional in general aviation, is
test-oriented: designing an airplane from experience and standard practices,
appropriately over-building, and using tests to see that it meets FAA requirements.
Cirrus embraces the analytical approach where we understand the structural characteristics
of materials and components and then build a computer model. We begin by predicting, using
analysis, the characteristics of larger structures. Tests then check the computer models
to validate what we believe we already know. While an expensive approach requiring more
people, IT infrastructure and time, we believe this is the best approach.
This analytical approach has been refined at Cirrus to the extent that, when the SR22-G3 wing was tested to
destruction, we remarkably achieved results nearly identical to our models. This
occurred at several points along the wing more or less simultaneously and illustrates how
well we understand our design. This is the objective: optimized structure, minimal unnecessary
weight and predictable results. We don’t break test equipment because we know what the answers
are going to be.
Compare a Cirrus’ empty weight (with comparable equipment) and gross weight to similar airplanes.
Given that Cirrus airplanes all include CAPS (parachute system) in that base weight we think
you’ll be impressed.