Comfort: SR22 vs Lancair IV-P

I am wondering if any Cirrus pilots have ever sat in a Lancair IV-P before. I have never flown in either plane but the Cirrus is obviously known at priding itself on creature comforts. The Lancair is simply a cross country drag racer, but as we all know less time in the air is comparable to comfort as well. I’m just wondering from a cabin standpoint how you feel the Lancair holds up agains the Cirrus, and if the increased speed outweighs the decreased legroom, especially for people in the rear seat. I know it depends on my mission profile, so lets evaluate the following-

Which would you rather fly in for:

1 Hour

3 hours

4 hours+

Check the fatal accident rates in the Lancair IV-P. Comfort will no longer be a remote consideration.

I think the data on safety is still up for debate. Plus you might be able to install a BRS if the tail could be modified such that it wouldn’t damage the pressure vessel.

The 4P’s safety data is not open for debate, it ain’t pretty. It is a handful of an airplane to fly with the glide performance of a brick. Very experienced pilots have perished in it, including Steve Appleton who was an air show pilot with lots of experience in many aircraft. And modifying it to put a BRS in the tail outside the pressure vessel is a huge engineering task - that if even can be done will take a ton of money and effort. Don’t compare apple and grapefruit. They are way different aircraft. To answer your question on interior, since it is experimental every one probably has a different interior. There is no standard so it will be as comfortable as the builder decided to make it.

What Roger said.
Plus the chute is not just the chute. The honeycomb layer in the seat take up a lot of height, the studies and implementation of the safety cell, etc.

Well no matter how well equipped you design your plane, it will always have the same interior room. You could put leather seats in an F-16 but that doesn’t mean it would be comfortable to ride in every day. There is a “peak comfort level” in any plane, and I suspect the Cirrus begins where the Lancair ends. I have no doubt I would rather fly a Cirrus over a Lancair for 100nm since the flight duration between the two would be negligible. But I’m looking to go from New York to Key West then I might be inclined to tolerate some level of discomfort just to get there sooner.

Do you find that you are perfectly content taking twice as long for cross country trips in a cirrus? Are you ever craving something faster? Or are the luxury refinements enough to just let you relax and enjoy the ride, unconcerned with additional stops.

How’s this for discomfort?


Speed is, well, addictive. But the question is how long and how often you do these kinds of trips? I personally don’t do it enough to do the trade off (Speed vs comfort). However, if I did I still wouldn’t step into that airframe. BTW, I fly experimental’s so it is not a certificated vs experimental thing. I would own an Evolution.


Before buying my Cirrus SR-22 some 11 years ago, I was looking for a replacement for my Mooney 252 and its meager payload. But, I didn’t want to give up the speed (~160 KT at low altitude), so the SEL choices weren’t all that many. Unlike some pilots, I was willing to entertain the possibility of building/buying an Experimental. So, I found a builder in the Phoenix, AZ area who had a Lancair IV-P that he had build himself and was willing take me for a ride. I flew over to meet him in my Mooney.

The plane was drop-dead gorgeous. And, it had sexy looking winglets. At that point, it was the first time I had seen a side-stick. That was cool. IIRC, the leather front seats were fixed in position and somewhat recumbent. They were very comfortable. Despite the owner/builder being a CFI, he preferred that I sit in the right-seat which was certainly OK with me. He said that I could fly once we got in the air but that he’d do the takeoff and landing - OK by me. Soon, we were climbing out of the KPHX area, and I was flying the plane. Although the plane felt nicely responsive, the stick pressures were quite high. Still, I thought that it would be a great cruiser. After doing some easy turns, I asked the owner (remember he’s a CFI) about the aircraft’s stall characteristics. Dead seriously, he looked at me and said “we don’t stall this airplane”! Then, he shared that stalls tended to quickly turn into spins in the IV-P… After that simple statement, he mentioned that there was a IV-P owner that stalled while flying up in the teens. It took the guy 10K’ to recover from the ensuing spin! I didn’t even ask how owners getting a Flight Review demonstrated that they could still recover from a stall…

Back at the airport, the owner landed the Lancair … flying final faster than anything I had ever flown at the time. But, there was plenty of runway, no wind gusts, and he was a pretty smooth stick.

Although I still lust after more speed occasionally and the Lancair certainly had it, I don’t want to fly something with stall characteristics like a IV-P. The seats were comfortable though…



Unless you need the room (i.e., 4 seats), have you looked at something like the Lancair Legacy? It’s a 2-seater that goes ~240 KTAS using the same TCM IO-550 we have in our 22s. I looked at it years ago and IIRC my reading indicated that the stall speed was much lower than the Lancair IV and the stall characteristics were more conventional (i.e, recoverable). Of course, since it’s experimental, the seats are as comfortable as you build them to be.


PS - I know they fly fast! I watched them on the course at Reno this year - incredible.

PPS - Of course, I DO like the parachute in my Cirrus despite not having had to use it. [:)]

So would I if I had a surplus $800K! [:D] Flying behind a turboprop … whew!


FWIW, my IV-P experience was virtually identical to Craig’s. I flew mine at Reno one year when LanceAir had a booth at Tailhook and I signed up for a ride. We had a Boeing Flight Test engineer in the back seat. I recognized that this airplane was designed for one thing, and one thing alone: Go really fast, up high. It was the factory demo and they told me the same thing: Don’t stall it, fly fast approaches. When we were done and heading back to the hotel, I noted the Boeing guy had become awfully quiet and was looking a little pale. It’d been a very smooth flight with no abrupt maneuvers nor any turbulence. When I asked him what he thought (away from the sales guy) all he would do is give a brief, but emphatic shake of his head. That told me everything I needed to know.

Be safe and have fun,

You might tolerate the discomfort, but would the person you flew with come back with you?


I have a lot of experience around the Lancair family. Having built a Lancair 320, and owned a IV, and a IVPT in the past, I have real hands on experience on both the SR22, and the IV/IVPT.

The lancair IV will hands down out perform the Cirrus in every way, and is a wonderful hand flying aircraft. If your only mission is to fly to point A-B this this might up for the running. Other than being a good looking and fast plane, this is not a plane for everyone. It demands a skilled pilot, and not forgiving at ALL!! I come over the numbers @ 100Kts, and full flaps, so not the best for short field landings.

Long, and Short I would buy a Cirrus SR-22.

If you have more detailed questions, please give me a call, I would love to talk about the lancair.

Guy Foreman


I don’t have a lot of time in the 4 but I do have a lot of time in the Legacy. While the legacy might give you a little bit of forgiveness it doesn’t give you a whole lot - like guy said the only saving grace is it gets you there fast. At least in the legacies case it’s a 300 mile an hour aircraft on a normally aspirated 550. There are guys out on the West Coast who have thrown turbo normalizer’s on them to get some better numbers - but neither legacy or the 4 are amateur Aircraft

Thank you for your responses everyone, especially those with hands on experience in a Lancair. My main goal is transportation from Connecticut, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri, Nevada, and California. I will be structuring my travel mostly in that order (for instance I will never attempt CT to CA). I’m worried I might become a bit travel weary spending so much time in the air, but reading your responses makes me feel I will become even more weary from the stress and skill required to do it in a Lancair, even if it cuts down on time spent commuting. 100kts on final is extreme and something I am certainly not ready for yet. Since either plane will spend a considerable amount of time airborne, my exposure to risk will be increased regardless of which option I pick. Increased risk = increased failure. I think I would really like to have the BRS and FIKI for those occasions that call for it. It looks like worst case scenario I’m only adding 2 hours per leg in the air, which isnt that much of a sacrifice to get on the ground sooner. The biggest downside is not being able to pick any destination without an arduous trip.

It’s worth a conversation. Send me a PM and let’s have a phone conversation. I’ll be landing in 4 hours

“It looks like worst case scenario I’m only adding 2 hours per leg in the air, which isnt that much of a sacrifice to get on the ground sooner.”

You’re looking at it wrong. Think of it as adding more flight time and experience![H]

Be safe and have fun,

What’s the difference between ivp and propjet? My hangar neighbor has a propjet.

I considered a IV-P until I sat in one. I am 6’5" and my knees were against the panel with the seat all the way back. I also had no headroom. Granted I’m taller than average, but the space was extremely limited. With the front seat all the way back, there was almost no leg room for the rear seats. Average people might fit comfortably in the front, but not in back. The windows were also tiny. Not sure how much variety there is in the interior layout since it is kitbuilt.

I’ve got no problem fitting in the Cirrus and can fit four adults (at least space, not necessarily weight). I’ve flown 4+ hours in the Cirrus no problem. I couldn’t stand 5 minutes in the IV-P.