There are others on budgets like myself. In fact I am partnered with 3 other people. We chose the “B” model. With the B model you do get a slaved HSI and the second radio is a GNC420. It’s the same as the 430 except it does not have a NAV radio. In retrospect I would have like to have two 430’s for redundancy. I had never flown an airplane with an autopilot, let alone altitude hold, prior to the SR20. I’m now in the process of getting my IFR ticket and the autopilot is great in helping to reduce workload. I think having an autopilot with altitude hold is a great safety feature as well.
I agree - I also chose the “B” model, in order to get two IFR-approved nav devices (i.e. GPS/VOR/ILS and GPS), so that if #1 fails, I can at least shoot a GPS approach legally using #2.
The altitude hold on the a/p with the “B” model is a nice bonus.
I would suggest getting dual alternators with the “B” model – I don’t think that’s standard, at least it wasn’t when I picked up my plane. But I lost an alternator within the first 60 hours or so, so I was real glad that we paid for the 2nd alternator.
The main problem with the “B” model (other than lack of some extra bells and whistles) is that there’s only one ILS receiver. So if something goes wrong with the 430 or the HSI, then you’re limited to non-precision approaches. Not that big a deal most of the time, but Murphy says that the one time the 430 fails will be when there’s a 300 ft ceiling…