The US government has grounded the Cirrus VisionJet — the cheapest private jet in the world — because of defective sensors that are 'potentially fatal'

Hollis Johnson/Business InsiderThe Cirrus Vision Jet.
  • The FAA has grounded the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet.
  • The agency issued an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) on Thursday that orders the immediate replacement of the plane’s angle of attack (AOA) sensors before it can fly again.
  • The grounding is in response to three incidents between November 2018 and this month in which the Vision Jet’s anti-stall protection system and electronic stability system engaged “when not appropriate.”
  • The Cirrus Vision Jet is a revolutionary single-engine, carbon composite private jet that entered production in late 2016.
  • At around $US2 million, the Vision Jet is the most affordable new private jet on the market.
  • Visit BusinessInsider.com for more stories.

The US Federal Aviation Administration has grounded the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. The agency issued an emergency airworthiness directive (EAD) on Thursday that orders the immediate replacement of the plane’s angle of attack (AOA) sensors before it can fly again.

There are a total of 99 Vision Jets in the US fleet.

According to the FAA, the grounding is in response to three incidents between November 2018 and this month in which the Vision Jet’s anti-stall protection system and electronic stability system engaged “when not appropriate.”

Read more: Boeing can’t deliver the 737 Max to customers, and now the planes are clogging up its storage lots.

The agency noted that in each incident, the plane attempted to automatically pitch the nose of the plane downward while alerting the pilot of an impending stall. Fortunately, the pilots in each incident were able to stop the automatic commands by following emergency procedure. Each of the pilots was able to land safely.

Cirrus Vision Jet 15Hollis Johnson/Business Insider

Cirrus, which reported the incidents to the FAA, was not immediately available for comment.

The control issue has been attributed to a production defect in the jet’s AOA sensor. As a result, the sensor can give faulty readings that may result in, “unintended automatic flight control activations; the flight crew having difficulty controlling the aeroplane; excessive nose-down attitude; and/or possible impact with terrain,” the FAA said.

As a result, the AOA sensors on all Vision Jet must be replaced with an improved non-defective unit before it can fly again.

Cirrus Vision Jet Air to Air   Two JetCirrus Aircraft

“The noted condition presents an immediate danger to pilots and passengers of Cirrus Design Corporation Model SF50 aeroplanes because an uncommanded pitch down may be difficult to recover from in some flight regimes with potentially fatal consequences,” the FAA said in the directive.

In a statement to Business Insider, an FAA spokesperson said:

“The FAA has issued an Emergency Airworthiness Directive that requires immediate corrective action before further flight on the Cirrus 50 business jet. The agency acted after receiving reports of a problem with the Cirrus 50 Electronic Stability & Protection System (ESP) caused by faulty angle-of-attack (AOA) sensors. There are 99 aircraft in the U.S. fleet. No accidents resulting from this problem have occurred. Cirrus has developed an FAA-approved corrective action and revised emergency procedures in the aeroplane flight manual. This problem involves different AOA sensors from those used on the Boeing 737 MAX. The Cirrus ESP system is unrelated to the 737 MAX Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System. The ESP assists the pilots but does not take control and can be overridden with control inputs.”

The Cirrus Vision Jet is a revolutionary single-engine, carbon composite private jet that entered production in late 2016. At around $US2 million, the Vision Jet is the most affordable new private jet on the market and has been praised for its performance and ease of use.

Business Insider Emails & Alerts

Site highlights each day to your inbox.

Follow Business Insider Australia on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.