Cirrus pros, help me make some critical decisions.

Alright, I’ll make this short and to the point without rambling.

I’m a student pilot about to take my checkride next week, no worries chance failing. My father is a pilot with ~10,000 hours and I have more hours sitting right seat with him in a CJ2 then I can count. I’ve spent a ton of time around airplanes, just finally decided to actually go get my ticket. Have trained almost exclusively in a steam paneled DA40.

Looking for an aircraft. At first, the newer 182’s came to mind. Not fast, but glass cockpit (which I’m more comfortable with flying with the collins in the CJ2 anyhow), great history and track record, and not a tricky aircraft to fly (somewhat noseheavy, but that’s more of an embarrassing/firewall issue on landing than a fatality issue)

Then a friend had a cirrus for sale. It’s a 2008 non-turbo with the garmin perspective. I was already familiar with the g1000 variants due to looking at the 182 for a while. The cirrus is a seriously slick aircraft. I don’t care about ‘ramp appeal’ or anything stupid like that. I just think that the cirrus’s performance numbers are pretty impressive.

Anyhow, I guess the question for you guys, and I realize the answer may be SOMEWHAT bias, is what I need to do with this fear of the ‘safety’ history of the SR22. I’m not going to exaggerate and say that the SR22 is dangerous, I don’t think it is, I just think it needs a hell of a lot of the proper training, and it’s hard to deny that it’s been involved in more accidents than you would have expected. And people can say “inexperienced pilots are hopping in cirruses and killing themselves”, which I think is true for ANY aircraft, honestly.

Am I stupid for even considering an SR22 as a ~100 hour pilot? Do I need to get a 182, build 500 hours, and then come back and look at the SR22’s? And if I go the SR22 route, is there extensive training in deluth? etc. I’m an EXTREME safety fanatic, and want to do this correctly.

  • Jeff G


This question has been discussed extensively in the past - especially on the Member’s side. There have been a number of pilots who actually train for their private certificates in Cirrus aircraft so it certainly is doable.

There is no question that a major contributor to accidents is time in type (again you can find the statistics on the Members Forum). In fact that is more of a predictor of accidents than total time. So even if you get 500 hours in a 182, your risk will go up when you transition into a Cirrus until you accumulate about 200+ hours in type.

The key, as you note, is training. Should you decide to get a Cirrus make sure you find an excellent instructor who is very experienced in the Cirrus and fly with him until both you and he are comfortable. That training - especially with careful airspeed control on landing will keep you safe. When you look at the accident stats most are due to pure pilot error and, in some cases, downright pilot stupidity. Those accidents are clearly preventable by good pilot technique and judgment.

Quite frankly, 500 hours in a 182 - especially a steam gauge one will not make you any better when you transition to the Cirrus. In fact you will have to then learn the avionics, adapt to a different sight picture on landing, and become more precise in your flying since the Cirrus, like all low drag machines, is less forgiving.

You can get training in Duluth, but very high quality Cirrus qualified instructors are around and available throughout the country. Remember, good training is expensive, but it’s worth it.

Well Jeff . . . I wouldn’t go that far, but for those of us experienced in aviation, I would personally suggest that you just ask your father for the keys to the CJ2. There’s nothing like a free ride.


I’m not a SR22 pilot, but fly a very similar plane[H]. I can tell you from being a COPA member these last 3+ years, that there is no inherent danger in flying the SR22 vs. the 182 [I moved up to my plane from only 144 hours in a 182 & less than 200 hours TT] In over 80% of the cases, just like in any GA plane, it is the pilot, not the plane. I’d join COPA & read all I can, especially about how to fly the pattern & land the plane to make sure you get the numbers down. But IMO, no different than any other GA plane accident wise. Don’t waste your time going from a 182 to the SR22 if you’ve got a friend with a good deal on the SR22.

BUT, do find a good Cirrus instructor with lots of time in type to train you in the plane. That will make a lot of difference. Don’t hire the guy that has a ton of hours in a 172/182 G1000 as it won’t be the same.


Jerry, a bona fide COPA wise man, has already covered the main points in his response. Consider my response as being from the other end of the AQ (airman’s quotient) spectrum. Here are your key issues:

  1. Flying a Cirrus is no different than flying a 182 other than the fact that the speedy and comfortable Cirrus encourages mission creep. As a Cirrus pilot you may find yourself making longer and more challenging flights (as PIC) sooner than in a 182. There lies the root of the additional risk. Especially for a low-time pilot. Avoid thinking you’ve suddenly become James Bond and you’ll be just fine.
  2. Much of the stick-and-rudder difference between (say) a 182 and a Cirrus can be addressed by going in for good training. COPA members have, over the years, validated a class of excellent trainers. Use one of them. You will pay these folks more than your neighborhood CFI. But let me underline Jerry’s point: this is not the place to skimp.
  3. While I too find the concept of “ramp appeal” silly, for me the sheer pleasure of being a Cirrus user is undeniable. The 182 I used to fly before I got my SR-20 (in 2003) was a wonderful plane. But it was no sensual experience. It was a competent truck, a weatherbeaten one at that. Even after eight years of our time together, my plane provides the proverbial tingle when I look at it, when I step into it, and yes, when I fly it. It’s just a smartly-designed plane. Even festooned with the latest geegaws, the 182 remains an old maid. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that…)
  4. This is a wonderful time to purchase a used Cirrus. If your budget allows - and need to factor in the considerable maintenance and insurance costs - spring on the chance.
    In summary - you are not stupid to consider a used SR22 as a neophyte pilot. (That is, after factoring out the baseline stupidity of airplane ownership.)

And Sanjay, when Jeffery joins COPA as a member, he can search for past stories from Newbies. Search for member posts tagged with the Newbies tag to see a variety of experiences, all with less than 100 hours when they began flying their Cirrus aircraft. Here’s a link to such a search, but the results on the Guest side will be fewer and less interesting.


Thank you all for the wonderful responses.

It looks like what I’m taking from this conversation is that I need to be a COPA member. haha

Also, it looks like with the proper training, I wouldn’t be ‘getting in over my head’ so to speak. Im sure it’s harder to fly than a 182 (I mean, it doesn’t get much easier than the cessna high wing series) but I’m gathering it’s still fully manageable and safe at the level that I am at.

Expensive training is absolutely no factor, especially when it comes to safety, and when you’re talking about an aircraft that isn’t exactly pocket change. The more appropriate question is WHERE for the training, and I think you all have helped me with that. I didn’t know if it was a “if you want the best, go to deluth, if you want ok, go to a cirrus certified” but it seems like there are plenty of reputable experienced training that occurs outside of MN.

As for the borrow the keys to the CJ2, not sure if you were referring to actually being PIC of a CJ2 or just right seat, but… I’m not about to go get a type cert for a CJ2, and we don’t live in the same state. :slight_smile: We did for a while, which is exactly why it took me this long to get my PPL!

Jeff, Give me a call at 702-809-9515 if you want some thoughts on your question. I think I can help. A conversation is the best way to address this issue. Hugh Gommel


10 years ago I was in a very similar position (minus your aviation heritage). I was just completing my PP in a DA20 Katana, and was looking to buy an airplane to learn IFR and transition upwards.

Personally I ruled out the Cessna high-wings after watching the John King training video where he showed the preflight. I think only John could have kept a straight face through his sampling the fuel from all thirteen fuel drains!

Having learned in plastic I intended to continue in plastic. My first choice was the DA40 as I thought it would be the easiest transition, but in May of 2001 Diamond reluctantly admitted to me they weren’t actually in production yet.

I looked for a Lancair (then Columbia, now Cessna Corvallis) but they too were not in production despite much marketing hype. Only Cirrus was shipping. Through (COPA’s predecessor) I found a member who had 2 positions and was selling one, and 30 days later I climbed into SR22 serial #44 in Duluth with 110 hours and only 5 hours on my newly inked private pilot license. 3000 hours later, I have traded in 3 times for the latest and greatest and haven’t looked back.

The key was getting lots of good training and very slowly opening your mission profile. I went straight into a 14-day IFR intensive, followed that by getting a glider license (since I forgot how to fly VFR during the IFR course!), and then my commercial single and multi-engine ratings, all in 18 months. I didn’t fly my family until I had 250 hours in type. The need for on-going training isn’t a Cirrus thing, of course, it goes for whatever aircraft you end up with. Happy hunting!

Jeff - I trained in sr20’s, picked up an SR22 at around 100 hours, and have about 350 now. I also just upgraded the NA to a Turbo. The NA was a lot of fun to fly and now it’s great to have the capabilities of the Turbo.

If you are focused on training you should do fine. The plane is not difficult to fly. Feel free to email me or call me if you want to discuss. Rgds, Dan

Again, thanks for all the help you guys.

Training is my #1 priority. I can’t have fun unless I feel safe. Getting an IFR ticket is also going to be the first thing I do when I get my private all wrapped up next week. However, the instructor I finished up my training with, I wasn’t impressed so much, so I’d rather find a cirrus instructor to help me towards my IFR.

I’d love to take the 14 day course but I don’t think my current work schedule will allow me to get away for that long in one span. I’m in one of those situations where I have gobs of vacation, and never enough time to use it. :slight_smile:


I split my instrument training (with The Flight Academy) in two week-long blocks for similar reasons. Since the instructor came to my location, the only consideration other than clearing the calendar was paying travel expenses for two trips instead of one. If time-chunking is really an issue, I don’t see why a split into three even shorter modules won’t work. The first module could conceivably also include Cirrus familiarization. But perhaps an instructor is better equipped to discuss curriculum with you.


I bought my SR20 new in 2008 with ZERO hours (and no CFI, pilot, or hangar). Now, at 800 I have zero regrets. Lots of good training was key, especially with landing speeds.

Saigal, 2 - 1 week sessions would be much easier than 1 two week session.

Now, just to understand, is that for IFR training AND cirrus training, or just cirrus training?

I’m not Sanjay nor Curt, but I too picked up my plane with less than 100 hours and did a 14-day IFR course. Even trained for it! The stamina required was something I enjoyed as it fit my learning style. YMMV.
My training was 5 days & 29 hours of transition as a 65-hour PPL then 40+ hours in 14 days for my IFR ticket.

Let me emphasize your word proper to describe the training you seek After spending several years managing the CPPP flight instructors, my recommendation is for any Cirrus pilot to audition an instructor in 3 areas in order of priority: compatible teaching style to your learning situation, extensive Cirrus knowledge, and practical aviation knowledge for the missions you will fly.


Welcome Jeff,

Good questions all. While I wouldn’t consider myself a “pro”, I do have 1800+ hrs. in a 182. Then 600+ hrs. in a G1 22.

I am sure that you will get numerous comments here, as you would expect. Let me point you to a few that come to mind:

  • if you are seriously considering a Cirrus, much of what you are asking is already covered over in the member section. Just go to “search” and see what is available after you join. Let me say that the group is “more than” just owners and cirrus pilots, it is a large world wide group of passionate flyers who come from all walks of life and experiences. We would love to have you participate. You might be surprised at how many members don’t fly a Cirrus or own one. The group is dynamic.
  • One thing I did in 2002 was join and read up before our group purchased one of the first PFD G1’s. Learned a lot of important tips that often are found in type groups. Still learning every day.
  • It will be said over and over…what is your mission. The 182 is better at some things the 22 isn’t, and visa versa. Back country, low and slow, carry what you put in it. All good things. This group will point you in a right direction, even if it isn’t a 22.
  • No reason to fear the safety record. Just ask for the stats…get a hold of a copy of the Cirrus Pilot magazine that covers safety issues. It is available on line in the members section.
    Being safety conscious, I would recommend getting in touch with the Flight Academy or Matt McDaniel (Progressive Aviation) and talk with them about post purchase training. Both come VERY HIGHLY recommended! And there are others I haven’t mentioned included in that group, that either post or are available from the CPPP list.

Jeff, I don’t think you are stupid to consider a Cirrus. I hope we can answer some of your questions and help you make the right decision…that’s right for you.

I’m certainly not a Cirrus pro yet, but I did purchase a 2008 G3 SR-20 GTS a few months ago and I’ve never regretted it. Yes, it’s a lot of plane and keeping ahead was a challenge in the beginning, but the plane flies fantastically well and the comfort is first rate.

Oh, and might I add it’s my first plane and I’m still a student pilot (up to x-country work).

Now officially a member. Time to go search the hell out of the member area. Thanks for all the help guys!

Wonderful. Now search for the posts with tag Newbies and see what others have experienced.