Altitude Hold

We are supposed to pick up SR20 #240 on 1/09/02. Altitude preselect was not available as a factory installed item. I did contact a Cirrus Service Center in Lancaster, PA (LNS) and they said it can be installed for $3,000. It seems like a good idea to me. Anybody have comments one way or the other?

To me, anytime I can get an auto-pilto to do more for me, it makes me a better pilot . I understand this will help you a bunch in IFR and the approaches. GPSS is also a big plus.

Art, I had planned to get the altitude hold, but decided to wait until I had some hours on my SR20. After some experience, I’ve decided to put my resources elsewhere.

With the 55X, the rate of climb/descent capability assures that you won’t have a pitch problem, which would normally be an advantage of altitude hold. (On my old S-Tec system 30, I had to manually climb then set hold. Not much of a problem, but it did require watching pitch.)

Believe it or not, what I find works very well is to set the rate of climb or descent, then keep one finger on the “Alt” button (easy if you rest your hand on the throttle) to remind you to capture the altitude. Additionally, Sporty’s sells an airspeed bug (2416A) that works great as an altitude bug. I use that as a reminder.

This all is a possible, lower cost alternative to the $3,000 option.

Good luck!


My Altitude Preselect doesn’t work. It intermittently senses the wrong altitude, and will climb right through the settings. The problem is now increasing in frequency, so I can finally take it to a shop with some hope of a fix. Of course, I can’t take it to the Cirrus Service Center (Top Gun) because they don’t do avionics. Having an Altitude Select you don’t trust is worse than not having one at all. Also, the display is very bright and disruptive to night vision. Of course, it is so incoveniently located (you have to move your head to see it under the hood) that the brightness isn’t so disruptive.

As you can see, I’m a real fan.


Art, I have the '22 and I love the altitude preselect. Mine works flawlessly (knock wood) and it definitely reduces workload. Like anything else that we discuss so often on this board, you can do without it and it really a matter of $. Now that I have become accustomed to it, I would pay the $3K for if the opportunity presented itself.

I have flown at night and never noticed the brightness being a problem. On the other hand, every night flight, I lower the brightness on the 2 Garmins, the Sandel and the ARNAV.

As for location, it is at the top of the panel and slightly blocked by the glareshield. I think the pilot’s height and seat position make a difference here. (Ideally a pilot will long legs and a short torso would have no problems.) While slightly inconvenient, the location is not a major problem. If you could put it lower on in the center stack, it would be preferable. Good luck.

Curt, take it to LAC avionics at the san jose jet center. They have been doing the warranty work for Cirrus for about 2 years. We can not say enough about them. Ask for Jerry…Good luck,Ed