I like the idea of the taxi cab. When visiting large or unfamiliar cities, the taxi cab is my point-to-point machine of choice. They are quick and convenient. And besides that, they’ve provided some of the most exhilarating rides I have taken - taxis in Abuja, Nigeria, and in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, come to mind specifically. You haven’t lived until you’ve ridden in a taxi in Abuja, and on a trip to Philly a few years ago, like a true NASCAR racer, our taxi driver locked in behind an ambulance with flashing lights and sirens, drafting to get us downtown from the airport like he was on the track at the Pocono 500.
When most people think of business aviation, they visualize a nice eight to twelve passenger business jet with a luxurious interior of leather and fine wood. They think of galleys stocked with prepared gourmet meals and good wine. And, that is part of the industry, to be sure; but, it’s not all of the industry.
What about the 212 mph taxi cab?
Cirrus Design and their new generation aircraft – the SR-22 – has created a new market in business travel. Research on the Air Charter Guide shows over 40 charter operators across the United States operating Cirrus aircraft in charter service.
Why does the single-engine aircraft work in air taxi service today when it did not work prior to Cirrus? Perception and Reality.
Perception: Single-engine aircraft are (were) not safe because they only have one engine. What happens if the engine quits?
Reality: Cirrus overcame the perception with the reality of an on board parachute system as a last resort means to deal with engine failures and other emergencies. It has been tested, and it works.
Perception: Charter service on single-engine aircraft is unreliable since the planes can fly only in clear weather during daylight hours.
Reality: Prior to Cirrus, the single engine piston engine powered aircraft was only certified to fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR – clear weather) and in the day time. With advances in technology and redundancy in electrical systems, Cirrus was able to certify the aircraft with the FAA to fly charter flights in Instrument Flight Rules (IFR – in the clouds) conditions, and to fly at night. This allowed a reliability of scheduling the air taxi ride in advance, with less worry about what the weather was going to be like on the day of the trip. This was the major game changer!
The innovation of single-engine air taxi in both aircraft design and service offering is part of the new productive and efficient way to do business travel. It may not be as glamorous and comfy as the business jet, but it is very cost-efficient.
So, welcome to the age of the 212 mph taxi ride! It may not be as flashy as the jet, but it beats waiting for gate announcements. Besides, it is a whole lot more fun and in no way scary like the taxi rides in Philly or Abuja.