Cirrus SR22 verus Beechcraft Bonanza

I am finishing up my PPL training and looking to buy a first plane either Cirrus SR22 or Beechcraft Bonanza V35TC. I like both planes but wanted to find out which is better plane used for the money, reliability and cost of maintenance, parts and so forth. I’d even consider a Cirrus SR20 versus a Beechcraft Debonair for less money. Looking to buy used to save money since new aircraft are way out of my budget.


Welcome to COPA. Feel free to join up for the low, low price of $65. Even if you don’t buy a Cirrus you will have access to the entire site and I promise you will get your $65 worth is less than a day.

For me, there is no comparison. The Cirrus is an outstanding airplane. It is a blast to fly and even the SR20 has some decent speed. What do you think your mission will be for the first few years? If an instrument rating and flying in icing conditions is not a factor for a few years you may be very happy with an SR20 to build up the hours. I have a 20 and am currently entertaining the idea of a lateral move to a newer one before I “need” a 22 in 3 or 4 years. Of course, I live in Wisconsin. No mountain flying here. I fly IFR but stay away from icing. The 20 suites me fine. You should be able to find a very nice Cirrus in your budget.

What are you flying now? Have you flown either one of your choices yet? Where do you live?

I live in Northern California and need a plane that can fly mountains up high over the Sierras as well for instrument and commercial training so leaning toward the SR22T or V35TC. I’m single and plan on 1-2 pax plus small bags maybe couple of folding bicycles. Flying a Cessna 172SP but not a big fan of Cessnas other than for training.

The SR22 will be get you over those mountains with no problems carrying 3 people and gear (unless you’re my size…then it’s only two (too much french toast!)). There are a lot of things to research so you get the most for your money. The Cirrus has some things you might not be used to (The Chute). Many of the COPANs can help walk you through that. To be fair, so does the Bonanza (retractable gear).

The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) is a game changer. Imagine yourself crossing those mountains and the fan stops spinning. Try to land on a mountain slope or pull the chute and float down and save yourself and passengers. Yeah, the plane will be badly damaged but you will most likely walk away and fly another day.

Good luck! If you join, more pilots with MUCH more experience than I will see your posts and give a more balanced opinion because some have owned both.

Where is NorCal? I’m here have a 22T. Would be happy to introduce you to it. It’s pretty much the best thing out there for short missions, Mtn flying, safety.

Meant where in NorCal. I’m in Napa.

Where is NorCal?

I was wondering the same thing.

Good luck, both ties are too expensive, but really capable.

On this site- get ready- we prefer the Cirrus, for fuel efficiency, carrying capacity, range and the parachute.

It generally has a more modern avionics setup. For IR training, Cirrus avionics are unbeatable in GA- though they can be matched with retrofits, and retrofits never pay for themselves, meaning the next buyer gets something cheaper than he could have put it in himself.

Both planes fly nicely, both have ramp appeal, the Cirrus has more room up front, and more headroom.

The Bo will hold it’s value better, but that’s a historical statement, and may change.

Beech replacement parts were famously overpriced, but Cirrus has made that a two horse race.

The type group websites both offer good support. COPA is a much much better site.

This is not a biased statement. Just the facts, ma’am.

Take a ride with David. You’ll never look back.

I live in Mountain View and fly out of KPAO so pretty close by. I see used SR22 for under 200k and Bonanzas for under 150k. Need to fly in a Cirrus to get a better feel for the side stick versus yoke.

How are maintenance costs and insurance for a low time pilot?


You can certainly ask questions piecemeal - what about this, what about that - but you will more efficiently get what you need by:

  1. Joining COPA and digging through the dozens of threads that document concerns precisely like yours, or
  2. Talking to a current Cirrus driver, possibly taking a ride (as has been already offered), and then joining COPA to dig through the dozens of threads that document concerns precisely like yours.
    Now, I’m not gaining personally by suggesting that you join COPA. It just seems a waste of (your) time to ask one question at a time when what you really want is the gestalt of owning a Cirrus as a low-time pilot and (I’m inferring) first-time owner. You can get that by either spending a day digging through the gigabytes of data on the members side and (optionally, since there’s more respondant bias with one person) spending an hour with someone fitting your profile.

There’s much more to the ownership experience (any plane) than the feel of the side-yoke. I’d hazard that it’ll take you 30 seconds to be comfortable with it. Conversely, there are a dozen other issues that may cause you endless heartache that you may not anticipate. The risks you don’t know you don’t know, etc.

I purchased my -20 from the factory 10 years ago as a relatively low-time pilot. I have flown out of Palo Alto since 2003, going as far east as Oshkosh and Houston, and up and down the West Coast. If you’d like to chat, email me at sanjay underscore saigal at Marissa’s company and we’ll set up a time.

I am going to guess the 10 year parachute repack may be a bit cheaper than 10 years of retractable gear servicing, but it may be close. The rest is keeping a turbo-charged airplane flying.

I have owned 3 Bonanzas - two 35s and a 36. Never had a turbocharged Bonanza, however.

For identical hull values, you’ll probably pay more for insurance on a Bo because of the retractable gear. If the gear is rigged just right, it is pretty maintenance free; if it is not it can nickle and dime you to death.

As for the turbo, you’ll like the TN better than the Continental turbo because, IIRC, the 'TC does not have an intercoller and it is tougher to keep temperatures in line.

The Cirrus is roomier and particularly so in the back seats.

The two doors is a bigger deal that it looks like at first glance. Finally, at least for me, the CAPS was not very important initially, but the more I learn the more I realize how much of a game changer it is.


Show me someone who thinks power windows are not needed in a car or truck, and I’ll show you someone who has a car or truck with hand-crank windows. Chute in an airplane – same thing.

I had an A35 Bonanza for 17 years and 1800 hours. The plane had 6000 airframe hours on it when I bought it. I had the entire gear system rebushed twice, the scissors two more times, the gear motor overhauled twice, a used gear transmission swap, and the cowl flap hinges rebushed twice. These are all of the things that a Cirrus does not have. Not to mention two vacuum pump failures, easy to fix but a PIA. All told, approx $10,000 because I scrounged on parts and did owner-assisted work. Replacing the gear transmission due to a broken hand crank gear, took 16 hours of labor. When bushings get worn, the wheels shimmy and the cowl flaps shake.

ADs can occur on any plane, but I would say that I had a greater rate of major ADs on the Bonanza than the Cirrus. Two tail ADs and a propellor AD summed to an additional $10,000 on the Bonanza.

The same plane had the nose gear fail on landing last year and the insurance company wanted to total the plane, but the owner begged to keep it and prevailed. The plane is back in the air again, N8751A.

Having said all that, I was happy with my ownership cost of the Bonanza Athough the radio stack was primitive, the handling was so sweet that I would have kept the plane forever. The wife wanted a Cirrus in 2006 and I have never looked back.

Hi all,

Thank you for the warm welcome and great feedback on Cirrus. I think for me, the next step is to get a ride along in an SR22 to have a feel for the plane. I should have my PPL in next couple months. The advantage of SR22 besides what has been said thus far is no need to spend hours to obtain a complex endorsement required for retract planes like Bonanza, I can do the checkout with a Cirrus instructor for high performance. Budget wise, would like to find a plane under 200k to avoid breaking the bank. New Cirrus are super expensive and if I won the lottery sure would be fun but have to find a used plane I can afford for my instrument and flying pleasure.

Great! Take anyone of the offers and go for a ride. Buy a lunch and get a wealth of information!

Have you considered buying the plane and finishing up your PPL in the Cirrus? It may be cost prohibitive with regards to insurance…but I don’t know.

I don’t know if this is a current member’s plane. I just picked it at random. Being new to flying these might be things you have not thought about. Hopefully those here on COPA, that know more than me, will add to and correct my observations.

Not Turbo…But do you have to have it? I don’t know.

The price looks good. here are some things to note: The 6 pack with the Avidyne MFD is a great platform. Works well for me. The Avidyne has Cmax for charts as well as XM weather but does not say if it has Emax engine monitoring. Not a big deal, just something to know.

The Garmin 430’s are not WAAS but at a beginning level that may be a non issue for you. Once you start hard IFR training you might want to upgrade to the Garmin 650’s. but that will cost over $15K. It looks like it has a Sandel (though it doesn’t say). I like mine.

It does not say when the chute was repacked which leads me to suspect that it needs it. Which causes me slight pause because it was due last year. That will be about $11K.

3 blade prop…Nice ramp appeal!

Of course, I am not a mechanic and this plane could fail a pre-buy miserably…or pass with flying colors!

Good luck! and Join! $65 Bucks. That’s less than an hours rent.

Getting a complex endorsement is quick and easy. One or two training flights will do it. Not landing with the gear up is an ongoign exercise however.

The later model BR35s have a high gear extension speed which is nice coming into the pattern since the gear acts as a big speed brake. The SR22 will require more attention to energy management. The SR22 will be better in turbulence. This is particularly true for any backseat passengers where the Dutch roll of the BE35 will make them uncomfortable. Owners call it the Bonanza waggle.

Weight and balance goes dramatically in favor of the SR22. You can have a Bonanza within CG and go out as fuel burns. With the exception of the G2 turbos, it is difficult to load a Cirrus out of CG. Don’t underestimate this. Just like having two doors, more shoulder room and a smoother ride, all of these things are what make everyday flying with passengers more fun. My best friend sometimes moves luggage to the back seat to stay in CG on his Bonanza.

The side yoke makes for a low panel and better visibility.

No vacuum pump!!! Instead dual alternators, dual batteries on dual electrical busses. PFD planes have dual AI’s.

For either plane you will want an instrument rating. Get it NOW.

If I remember correctly Bonanza has only one door. One door is embarrassing [:)] One door is OK only if you fly alone.

One door is a reason I wanted to break up with my beloved PA28-161 Warrior II. Just wouldn’t be sporting of me to be climbing over my passenger on the way out! [:P]

I love having two doors now, though I still find myself walking to the passenger side on occasion!

Whilst this is true I would suggest you do not try and save money on training. If I can make one suggestion: spend the money you would have spend on a complex endorsement on a good transition training with a good Cirrus instructor. You will never regret it!