I flew both the Colombia 300 and SR20 pre-production models. I’m one of those low time pilots who can’t differentiate all that much about the performance of the two (other than the amazng differences of the spam cans I normally fly!). I liked them both.
However, some facts:
I did the back seat test. How would my wife or teenagers like sitting in the back on a flight of any duration longer than a quick hop over Barneget Bay (NJ)? If one is anywhere near 6 ft, you will have a strained neck after 30 mins on a calm day (the sloped angle of the fuselage causes you to naturally bend your neck inward from the window). On a bumpy day, the plane must turn into a 2 seater for anyone who is not vertically challenged.
Although I’m not yet in that “over 50 crowd”, the old lumbar needs a bit more support these days. Somehow Cirrus has gotten it just right and the Colombia seats not. I needed a “back pillow” for the support in the 300.
Tight Fit of Colombia doors? Fact, it started to rain as we sat on the runway during the demo flight of the 300. I know there is an “airtight” seal for the Colombia doors. All I know is I could have used a bucket to catch the rain entering onto my lap. Now maybe a “pre-production porblem” , but doesn’t support the superior workmanship spin given to the Colombia.
Sales Culture: Black & white. I was looking at the SR20 right after the crash of Scott Andersen in the prototype. Ian Bentley and Bruce Gunther of Cirrus couldn’t have been more honest or forthcoming about the issues involved. I told them I had just flown the 300. Not a peep of criticism of the 300 or the fact they had just lost a plane. On the contrary, I had signed with an early, less expensive price for the 300. Their sales staff “hid” the fact of the massive price increase until after the demo ride and discussion as a passing comment just before I left (as if that wouldn’t be important to a perspective buyer??). I was incredulous. If this is how they treat customers who already signed up, what was to come?
I’m “marrying” an organization when I spend so much for a plane. I felt the Cirrus folks were genuine and honest with their product and customer relationship (I still believe that even after having to wait a long time for my plane). I’m getting the plane I want for the price they promised, despite Cirrus probably losing money on the early SR20 contracts.
From the backseat to my wallet, the Cirrus products and personnel are tops in my book.