Anecdotal Evidence

I am a newly minted instrument pilot and researching my first plane purchase. On paper (specs, avionics, value, looks, etc.) Cirrus is clearly the way to go for my mission profile. My question, even if it is only anecdotal evidence, is how does a Cirrus (3 Bld) compare to other aircraft as it relates to cabin noise levels? Is a SR22 cabin quieter than say a new 182 or a supersoundproofed Bonanza?

I will be at AOPA Expo in October and will discuss this with the Cirrus factory Reps, but I would like to know, from Cirrus pilots, how the cabin noise compares to other aircraft.


I’ve never taken a sound pressure level reading in the Cirrus but my subjective feeling is that it is slightly noiser than a recent model Bonanza or Saratoga. That’s without a headset.
If you use an ANR headset (and I strongly recommend you do in ANY light aircraft) then the differences between aircraft seem minimal to me. They are all reasonably quiet. I do not have any noise fatigue or persistent tinnitus (ringing in the ears) even after a 5 hour flight using an ANR headset.

I suspect that the anecdotal evidence you’ll get from Cirrus owners is that their aircraft run fasterand jump higher (OK, fellow middle agers, I’m dating myself) than anything else on the block, and that cabin noise is somewhat subjective (and hard to compare.) You could fly around with an SPL meter, but that may not tell you what your experience would be.

At the end of the day, all cabins are too loud for me to bear without headsets, and a couple of decent ANR headsets don’t cost much relative to the airplane (and you can listen to tunes while you fly.)

One issue that you should consider is that faster airplanes have more wind noise, so there’s somewhat of an apples-to-oranges comparison between a Cirrus and a Cessna.

I’m curious as to how much you weight the cabin noise level relative to other factors. The 182 is probably a better weight hauler. Not sure what’s better in a Bonanza unless you can get them with deicing (and even the turbo Bonanza doesn’t seem to go much faster than an SR22 at cannula altitudes) and the insurance on retracts is pretty harsh.

I agree with Jerry. I own an SR20 and an SR22. As a CFII, I fly all the brands. To protect your hearing, you should use an ANR headset at all times. Try the different headsets until you fine the one most comfortable for you on a 3 to 4 hour flight. Personally, I like Lightspeed; others swear by Bose. As for the airplane . . . compare price, comfort, safety, efficiency and performance. I think you will choose a Cirrus.

Thanks for the input. I wear Lightspeed 25XL’s now and have most of my time in Cessnas. I have been in supersoundproofed Bonanzas and find them much quieter than the Cessnas. I do find the higher noise levels fatiguing, so all else equal, I would want the quietest aircraft possible.

My SR22 I believe is slightly less noisy than my prior Skylane. This is only due to the fact that it was a 1982 airplane and the old girl had some creaks etc. I believe a new Skylane and a new SR22 will have no sign. difference in noise level. With the new ANR headsets, I do not believe noise levels in any modern airplane will be a major factor. You will be subjected to aircraft noise for a less time period in the SR22 because its cruise speed and climb rate are better than most planes and the comfort and avionics make the trip more pleasurable.
Don Kusenberger

I suspect that my 182P was slightly quieter than my SR22 (you might expect this with an IO550 out in front instead of the O470), but with my Bose ANR headsets it is just not an issue. I have been in the plane many times for 5 hours at a stretch and have never felt the fatigue from the ambient noise, or the pinch of the headsets…this was never the case with my David Clark HD10-40s.

Because of all of the ANR headset technology available today, I can honestly say that the ambient noise in the cockpit is probably the last thing that I would consider when comparing planes.

Good Luck!

Actually, I think you will find that a new 182 carries the same or less than an SR22 comparing full fuel useful loads. My plane is 606 with full fuel but is on the heavy side as SR22s go. The last 182S I flew was 607 and another 597. A lot of SR22s are in the 640 to 650 range with full fuel. Note that older Cessnas haul more than the new ones. Older 172’s often have 200 lbs greater useful load and the tanks are smaller. Hence a much greater full fuel weight.

The 182 is better at short field use. It is also more comfortable in the summer on the ground due to a high wing and windows that open. The SR22 is faster, more comfortable in flight, generally better avionics, more nimble and just a much nicer plane overall.

As for sound, I find the SR22 louder than the Columbia 300. Aviation Consumer says both are louder than the Mooney Ovation II. However you slice it, fast planes are loud. Even a 172 user needs ear protection. My Bose X’s are awesome although my wife prefers the Lightspeed QFR Crosscountry.