I came from a situation similar to yours. Four years ago, I traded my B55 Colemill Baron for a 2003 SR22 and couldn’t be happier. Prior to that, I also owned a B58 Baron, a Cessna 304A, a Seneca II and three singles. Without a doubt, the SR22 is the best plane I’ve ever owned and, just like Jerry, the smartest decision I’ve ever made as a plane owner. I’m based in the Chicago area, not far from you and most of my trips are alone on business. Occasionally, we will fly with two or three and our Golden Retriever to Marco Island in SW Florida. The SR22 is perfect for all of my trips.
The speeds listed in the other posts are right on. I usually cruise between 7000-9000’ and always LOP, except for take off and climb. I tried to fly several of my other planes LOP and they just weren’t happy. I’m convinced that I did serious damage to my P210 engine after installing GAMI injectors and flying it LOP (I don’t care what George Braly says). The reason is that those engines weren’t tuned and inducted and designed to fly LOP from the start like the IO-550 is. When I first started flying my SR22, I was skeptical and a bit worried about flying LOP (because of the P210 engine debacle). Nearly 4 years and 1000 hours later, I can tell you that the SR22 is very happy flying LOP and the speeds are very good. Every time anyone asks me about speeds and range, they are amazed. Dennis is right - the real savings comes from how much better you treat your engine when flying LOP. It’s just better for it.
At 9,000’, depending upon time of year and weight, I’ll cruise anywhere from 168-172 KTAS, burning 13.5-14.0 GPH (vs 31 GPH for my B55 Baron). Run it at full power and you burn another 5 GPH and gain 10 KTAS…not a good trade off, in my view, so I always run it LOP. With 81 gallons on board, that usually gives me anywhere from 5:45 - 6:00 hours of cruise time to tanks dry. Since I follow Dick Collins rule of always landing with at least an hour of fuel in the tanks, that gives me 4:45 or so of flight time - far longer than my bladder or back will stand. I like to plan about 3:00+ hour legs, which works great for IFR planning. My airplane has been very reliable. I usually fly 200-250 hours per year and have only had to cancel a few flights, usually for flat tires, etc. I get the oil changed every 50 hours and the fuel injectors cleaned every 100 hours and that seems to keep the plane happy (not cleaning the injectors every 100 hours will affect your ability to run LOP). I do maintenance upon demand at the oil changes or when something fails (rarely). Annual costs are very manageable but can vary, depending upon what shop you use. After nearly 1500 hours TT on the engine, it only burns a quart of oil every 20 hours or so and all of the compressions are still in the 70’s. I’m really thrilled with my SR22.
The SR22 handles light a fighter…lots of fun to fly. It is very stable in IFR conditions and flying approaches. Once you get used to the side stick, you’ll never want to fly anything else. It was much harder transitioning from steam gauges to glass and learning the avionics systems and how to fly it smoothly with the autopilot, which is superb. It took me about 70 hours to get really comfortable shooting coupled approaches and learning where everything was in IMC. But it’s been smooth sailing ever since. While I wasn’t that impressed with the factory school that my insurance company made me attend in Duluth, I would recommend getting a knowledgeable CSIP and doing a lot of training in the airplane before flying it IFR. The avionics are world class and extremely capable, but will trip you up if you aren’t proficient with them.
Do yourself a favor and attend a CPPP for training. It will do wonders for you and help you to really understand the airplane. Plus it’s usually a fun weekend. I had the great fortune of drawing John Fiscus as my CSIP at my last CPPP. He is, without question, a great instructor and one of the best Cirrus pilots around. I learned more from him in a weekend than I did in a year of flying the airplane. John is one of the owners of The Flight Academy. Consider doing your transition training with them. They have motion based simulator training capability and will train you to fly the SR22 safely and to proficiency.
I’m not at all reluctant to fly at night, now that I know that I’ve got the chute if things go south. I subscribe to Rick’s mantra about the CAPS System (chute)…Pull Early And Pull Often. In all of my other aircraft (even the twins), I was a bit antsy at night. Now that fear is gone.
My SR22 has (non-FIKI) TKS and it works OK. The SR22 just doesn’t like nor tolerate a lot of ice the way that my B58 Baron did. I believe that it’s the thin design of the wing and horizontal stabilizer. The TKS does a good job of giving you time to get out of the ice but you do have to activate the system before you get into it.
Don’t wait to make the switch. You won’t regret it. And make sure that you join COPA! It is the best investment you can make, behind your Cirrus. Hope we see you posting here soon!
Safe flying - John