Cirrus ride

I am looking at purchasing a Cirrus in the next 6 to 12 months, most likely used based on my budget. But, I have never flown in a Cirrus, but have loved the look, the displays and avionics. Before I really start to dig into the buying process, I would like to get into a plane and fly it where I am based for work. I am an F/A-18 pilot, based up in China Lake, California and I hold a Multi Comm Inst rating, but have not been in light civil in a very long time. I am just starting the research and poking around, so I am not sure on how to go about getting an hour or so up here. I do want to fly here, in that it is a bit of altitude and it gets crazy hot, so I want to make sure the SR-20 has the power to operate out here in the summer. Please respond to me, and we can trade info and move forward from there. Sometime in the next few weeks would be best before it cools down to the high 90s, yeah, here comes the fall. I will pay as I can for the help, so it can help me make a decision in the future. Thank you.


I wish I still had a Cirrus! It would be fun to fly with you.

But I will opine having owned 3 SR22s. The 20 is used in Scottsdale as a trainer (my son earned his PPL in one), and though only 1,500 MSL we do get very high temps. It’s a pretty anemic airplane with any PAX aboard, though no doubt OK in the flatlands. But why? In the used market SR22s are available at most every price point, and all feature the same performance basically. Through the years steady improvements have been made in the panel, FIKI, etc. but they’re all going to outperform a 20. The cost advantage of the 20 is lost to the significant number of excellent used 22s at great prices.


To be able to overfly the White House, spin by B mountain and look for a knife fight in the Panamint would bring me there in a heartbeat. Unfortunately, my bird is stuck in annual and will be there for another month.

Given your surroundings I would say that you would do best in a SR22T/TN. A SR22 would work but a pop-up roll ahead over Whitney would be a struggle. Definitely need A/C. Good luck on your search.


P.S. The good news is you don’t have to worry about your ejection seat going off when overflying Goldstone. [H]

True. You just need to worry about a spontaneous parachute deployment on the ground when it rains once a year.

Aw $&@%, not Another Bug driver!?! We have enough keeping Bagger in check!

You’re going to love it!


I am moving to San Diego soon and would be happy to trade you a ride in my SR22TN for one in the FA-18!

In all seriousness, if you are still looking for a ride by late September, let me know. I don’t think you are all that far from San Diego.


Hi Jason,

A few concerns that I would have with the 22s are that it seems the motors dont make it all the way to the expected overhaul numbers and they are about 40-50 grand more, which will be a huge stretch to make happen. I am okay with a 2001-2003 steam gauge SR22, because I can update that as needed, as well as the MFD if / when it fails. What have you seen with your 22s over the years? I am all ears on this one to make sure that I get a plane that I can keep for years, update a little as time and technology goes on, but I am not worried about if I want to go up to Mammoth or Lake Tahoe for the weekend.

What is wrong with some bug drivers? We do a fairly good job of staying out of your way, thank you very much. Given the speed of the Cirrus, I believe that I could at least do a very slow fight with anyone here, but somehow I think Ill win in the end. [;)] It has also been raining for the past 3 days, and the world is still revolving, so something is still right in the world.

Matt my sample experience included one NA first generation and two turbo-normalized Cirri. The NAs just seem to soldier on, with engine life a factor of how thoughtfully they’re flown. The turbo airplanes are MX hogs in comparison which makes sense as they run so much harder.

I would think Jaime Steele can help you find a steam gauge early 22 with newish top end that would be a real bargain. As fast and economical as a brand new NA airplane. These airplanes seem to have aged beautifully. There are not any known airframe issues with age, paint comes in buckets and all the gremlins have been sorted for years now. while I don’t bash the 20, it is marginally powered, whereas the 22 NA is nicely overpowered. You get to enjoy that with every flight! Nurse it to life in the morning and fly LOP thoughtfully and your experience is likely to mirror many here who see service well beyond TBO.


In all seriousness. When I worked at Navair I commuted back n forth from the Bay Area in my 20. But I did that because I had to. It’s not something I would suggest for a nugget starting out in a 20. So 22NA or even a supercharged variant, and worst case a TN and best case a T.


I can’t help with a test flight, but as someone coming from a twin-engined twin-tailed machine - get the SR-22.

Of course it all comes down to what mission you have in mind. What payload for what range and over what terrain? If you join the paid side you will find endless discussions of the merit (or lack thereof) of the SR-20. Until you can get some time in both aircraft, I would suggest comparing the performance sections of the POH at your altitude and summer temps.

Having been out your way in June with 110F temps, there is no way I would have been able to have the wife and daughter along for a trip to and from the Grand Canyon.

Get the 22, you’ll be glad you did …

Yup, get the 22. Make sure it’s a G3 or later with the larger fuel tanks.