Cirrus Transition Twice?

Hey Guys! I haven’t flow for 3-4 years but I completed my Cirrus SR20 transition in 2010 and got my instrument rating done in a Cirrus. Most recently I finally saved enough to get back into flying and went to a well known flight school to complete my Biennual Flight Review and get checked out so I can rent their planes and was told I need to do the 5-10 hour transition again since “a lot has changed since I got checked out”.

I went up with an instructor at School A which is supposedly a Cirrus Platinum School and during my first 1.1 hour flight I picked up everything very easily and the guy told me I was a lot better than he expected. Then during the next 1.5 hour flight after doing maneuvers I found out I have more Cirrus time than the instructor when it didn’t seem like he knew what to have me demonstrate next. So I left there after the second flight still not knowing where I stand or where this is headed or how much it’s going to cost me.

After being frustrated for 2 weeks about having already spent $1000 and not knowing how much more it would cost me, I went to my old instructor at a cirrus flight school further away and he set me up with an instructor who was able to give me a nice solid 1 hour of ground and 1.2 hour flight and signed me off for my Biennual Flight Review and checked me out to rent his planes. This time I felt like everyone was on the same page and knew what they were doing.

My question to everyone is, What is required by Cirrus for someone coming back after 4 years to fly? Is it just the Perspective Differences Course, or is it the entire transition again? Thanks Guys, Happy Flying!

Welcome back to flying Corbin! Like you I returned to flying after four years off in early 2015.

As to what is required by Cirrus, there is really nothing required as they don’t have the ability to dictate the training- it really comes down to what the flight school and their insurer require to rent the plane.

However, a lot has changed in the last five years, particularly with respect to the development of standardized training materials By Cirrus and COPA. Even though I had 900 hours in the Cirri platform when I came back, I chose to do the full transition syllabus, VFR and IFR with a CSIP as well as completing the Landing Clinic with a CSIP. I think I flew 23 hours in the plane or something like that. Finally, I attended two CPPP’s in the first twelve months back as well.

A lot of training, yes. But it seems the more I train, the more I learn what I don’t know. And I don’t know a lot!

Im not saying you need to do the same amount of training to be proficient- if you’re a VFR only pilot and arent flying on windy days or over terrain, you could do a lot less.

But the more I train the more I learn. And in four years, I forgot a lot.

You have asked a very interesting question. Bill is correct that Cirrus actually requires nothing to fly their airplane but they highly recommend a check out procedure well mapped out over the last 5 years administered by CSIPs. It is based on the FOM and POH of the aircraft you are flying (SR20, SR22, SR22T etc.). Often your insurance comoaby will dictate the level of check out actually needed.

Since you have flow a Cirrus before and are well familiar, I would guess that a full and complete transition course is not necessary for you. Maybe the flight school insurance requirements demand that. Without knowing who is involved I can only guess.

Accident statistics have shown that doing Cirrus training with an instructor who is a CSIP is far safer than any other instructors; particularly CFIs with low time in type in any Cirrus aircraft. When you choose your instructor for your Cirrus training, of any type, I would highly recommend you keep those points in mind.

Great information Bill, I fully agree that more training is safer. I like how you point out that the more you learn the more you realize you forgot. I had a few of those moments recently myself! Thanks for getting back to me. Happy Flying!

Hey Brian, I agree with you about flying with CSIP would be the way to go! Thanks for the knowledge and getting back to me. Have a great day!

Corbin, your question might be answered at least three different ways:

  • as my personal opinion based on my personal experience
  • by the owner of the plane you intend to operate
  • by the insurance underwriter for the plane you intend to own
    In my personal experience, I know that differences in avionics affect my scan (where is that info I need?) and my response in stressful situations (how do I do what I want?). Consequently, I am expecting to spend a bunch of hours, perhaps 10 or more, becoming familiar with operating the avionics flluidly. Similar concerns if I were to go from my NA experience to a turbo engine. I want to be proficient and capable.

When you mentioned a flight school, they get to set policies and procedures for checkouts. As a safety guy, I’m worried to observe that more than half of the fatal accidents in our worst year were in used, flying club or rental aircraft. Then in the past 24 months, low-time instructors were involved in 7 of 14 fatal accidents. That caused me to encourage more training by more experienced Cirrus instructors for pilots in those aircraft. Some of the flight school insurance underwriters have forced those operators to require more training. But the decision belongs to the flight school.

Finally, if you own your own aircraft, then the insurance underwriter may set an expectation for preparing you to operate the plane safely. Unfortunately, some underwriters are more interested in getting premium dollars than avoiding losses, so the requirements may be less than your personal preferences.

Hope you find an instructor that gives you the opportunity to learn what you need to fly safely. That will be most crucial to answering your questions.



Feel free to ask any other questions.

The answer that you and you’re csip are most comfortable with is the right answer. As excellent as the cirrus training is, it’s still just a guide

If you came to me we would start from scratch. I don’t say that because I think you’ve forgotten everything or just because I want to bill you more, rather it’s been a few years. You never know where you’re going to find a little rust. Often times that rust is hidden under something someone is knowledgeable about ano it takes time and effort to discover

Will it take 5-10 hours For someone in your position? Maybe. Is 1.0 ground and 1.2 flight enough? Probably not.

I can only speak for myself, but my goal in situations like this is to get someone back to the point where they are confident enough to load up their family and go anywhere. I can’t determine that in less than 2-3 hours, and you probably can’t determine that about yourself in that time either. In my own training I’ve had several experiences where things go great for the first hour or two, then things break down and problems start to appear. It’s the concept that anyone can fake anything for an hour, and its true for all of us.

I think this is very good advice. After my first hour back after a four year lay-off I realized I needed to start over and do the entire VFR-IFR Cirrus Syllabus with a CSIP. And truth be told, it took a fair amount of flying afterwards with additional recurrent training to really feel proficient with the avionics. ?

Hi Corbin,

Welcome back to flying. Cheers! It’s a priviledge and honor to fly. Glad your back in the fold. Hope you stay. Meeting COPA members, flying together, and training together is just great. Life saving. Best people around I have learned. COPA is amazing. You already had Rick respond (safety genius), CSIPs, plus regular flyers (like me). I always love it when a CSIP spends the time to respond. I read all of Rick’s posts like safety nets.

The above captioned is what I surmised from your post. These kind folks responded with technical and experience to provide the information about transition training. What I read was something different. Your frustrated. The frustrations are manifested by accusing a Cirrus Platinum school for their training. “How much is it going to cost me?” I suggest a different tactic.

Cirrus gave that school Platinum status. That is a big deal. Cirrus does not do that passively. They have removed Platinum from schools. They have removed their name from other schools. Big names. These folks want you safe. Cirrus wants you safe. Rick wants you safe. We all want you safe. I do. Please give the school due credence and reverence. Do you know some folks volunteer in these schools? They certainly aren’t huge money makers. Attend a CPPP or ADM and many people there volunteer and they are the best in the industry. I have learned to trust these folks and the schools they train in. I suggest the same for you. I think the scariest pilot is the one who thinks he’s more knowledgeable, more experienced, and less likely to learn from these fine folks. They said it would take 5 to 10 hours depending on how you do. That is the answer to your question.

Elephant in the room.

Cash. Try owning a plane, paying for maintenance, negotiating issues when AOG. Renting your plane out to others also has challenges. Flying is expensive. It takes patience and calmness. If I’m frustrated about anything aviation related, I don’t fly. Budget the 10 hours and if you get done sooner then great. I buy my instructors meals. Take them to dinner. If I find that they need something, I’ll go out of my way to help them get that. There are instructors here at COPA that has already experienced that. I recommend you try that and see what happens. If anything, you won’t be frustrated.

Relax. Budget the training. Add more training. Fly safe.

Cheers and welcome,



You just won the best advice of the day award.

A good CSIP isn’t cheap. Through a training center or a ‘flight school’ rates seem to hover around $70 an hour as they often need to be competitive with the local market for advanced training, That still isn’t cheap especially if you’re looking at 10+ hours. An independent CSIP is often much more, I know I am.

How does someone work the system to their advantage? If someone calls me up and invites my wife and I to dinner, I’m usually pretty willing to have a steak and beer on someone else’s dime. For the price of a meal you get 2-3 hours of my time but more so you just bought a lot of good will. If I have a student I like, especially one I know really can’t afford my rates, I’ll cut them a break. I’ve given free lessons when I’m just sitting around anyways. A few free hours of ground to someone that came to me with a burger and a question, sure!

If you show up in a brand new cirrus, that deal doesn’t really exist. But if you want to learn to fly safely, in a safe airplane, and I know it’s a stretch of your budget to do so, I’ll work with someone that shows me They care and value their education.

The idea of getting back into flying rental aircraft in 2017 doesn’t mean what it use to even as recently as 2011, if you also stipulate that you want to fly a Cirrus.

Renting a 172. or 182 or Piper or even Bonanza are pretty much as it was.

Renting a Cirrus is like going to the rent-a-car desk and saying, “I want to rent a Porsche 918, please.” (list price $845,000) The operator and his insurer have a lot more at stake in your business.

Most major market Cirrus rental operators will require renter’s insurance, a Cirrus transition certificate, a Cirrus ifr transition certificate will also likely be required if you ever earned your instrument ticket whether you will be flying ifr or not. If you have both certs for Avidyne and the operator only has Perspective planes… you’ll likely be required to get both certificates for the perspective. I had 2600 hours in cirrus aircraft and had to get all four before i could rent.

Also be prepared to see the $150/hr rental price of an avidyne equipped sr20 back in 2011 now be $295/hr for the perspective bird. Sr22 prices are around $450/hr. And, there will be ongoing recurrent training requirements to complete. Csip’s now range from $80 to $125/hr plus the cost of the plane.

I’m not saying it is not worth it to be able to wing around in the best plane with the best amenities available. Your per hour cost will be cheaper renting than owning one of these unless you are flying more than at least 150 hours a year.

It is just that you better get comfy with the kind of money you will be spending on this hobby from the start.