Couple of Cirrus Questions prospective buyer

Well I am finally ready to start looking at purchasing an airplane or working to start a fractional ownership corporation to own a Cirrus SR22 Turbo. I like everything about the plane but I see a couple of things that I wonder about.

  1. The pilot usually sits on the left side of the aircraft and ends up flying with their left hand? I would think it would be better to have people us their right hand to control the stick?
  2. I talked to one pilot that said I should buy a Cessna because “they fly themselves”. He described a Cirrus as being “slippery”. I realize that every plane is differant and that a Cessna has a an overhead wing, but what does that mean in term of flight dynamics?
  3. I am not clear on how to figure what my useful load will be. Our typical flight is going to be 260 miles to my in-laws house. How much fuel would we typically keep on board the aircraft for such a flight, how much will the fuel weigh?
  4. I do not have my pilots license yet but plan to use the Cirrus Access program to obtain one. Has anyone gone through this program?
    Thanks so much for putting up with my newb questions

Norm Walker

River Falls WI

Norm:’ Your answers:

  1. You will learn that all pilots fly typical airplanes form the left side and whether they have a side syick or a yoke the left hand does the pulling. The right hand works the throttle. It comes natural as you start pilot training. So none of this is unique to a Cirrus.

  2. The Cirrus is designed more like a sports car with teh Cessna being like a truck. Just like cars, all plane fly differently. The Cirrus is a bit more slippery but I find that makes for a better ride and a faster plane.

  3. Useful load is the airplane’s maximum gross weight minus the empty weight. The difference is used for people, cargo and fuel. Fuel weighs 6 pound a gallon. The turbo burns 17 gph or 102 pounds per hour. A 260 mile trip would take an average of 1.5 hours. You need reserves so you a would not want to make that trip with less that 42 gallons or 252 pounds. Always better to carry as much fuel as you can. Carrying 50 gallons still leaves 600 pounds of people and luggage.

  4. The entire experience with the Cirrus Access Program is dependent on the actual instructor you use. They do vary.

Brian thank you for your excellent responses. I knew that someone could easily and concisely answer my questions. I am looking forward to becoming an active member here on COPA in the near future.

Norm Walker

A Turbo burns in rough numbers 30 Gals per hour (GPH) on take off and just under 18 GPH in cruise. A lot of this depends on the terrain and airspace around you but a safe set of numbers would be 30 GPH for 10 minutes, 18 GPH for 1.5 (rounding up, probably a little less). 33 gals for that plus a reserve of one hour (another 18 gals) = 51 gals on board at take off. At 6 pounds per gallon, it is 306 pounds of fuel. That is kind of a conservative worst case set of fuel numbers, perhaps a tad less if you want and as experience dictates. Probably realistic, best to plan a little fat on fuel.

First of all, I basically agree with Brian T.'s answers. I learned in the Cirrus and now the left hand stick is so natural that I have to go up with an instructor once in a while so that I even feel safe flying from the right seat. Slippery is a good thing; it means higher speeds for less fuel. You can use the Access program or work out your own with any good local instructor. It’s not hard to fly. And the Cessnas don’t have the parachute. That buys a lot of peace of mind.

You didn’t specify, but I think you’re looking at new. Used Cirri are cheap right now. Check for some asking prices. And new ones depreciate a lot more the first year. Also, I personally would much rather own 100% of a used Cirrus than a fraction of a new one. Once you’ve farted in the seats (as Joe Rainey was fond of saying) there’s not much difference. In fact, a well-operated and maintained used one with a couple of hundred hours will have the bugs worked out of it. You have the peace of mind of knowing that no one has touched the plane since you last hangared it. And you get to take it whenever you want, on a moment’s notice.

Also take a look at the difference in purchase price, depreciation, and operating cost for a normally-aspirated SR22 (or even an SR20) vs. the turbo. My “bread and butter” trip is almost exactly the same as yours, around 260 miles. I have to leave about 15 minutes earlier to get there at the same time as a turbo would. There are plenty of turbo fans on this forum who will tell you how great the turbo is though. I just like to see a new buyer match the plane to the mission. And as a new pilot, high altitude flying is a bit more involved than staying down out of the oxygen mask or cannula altitudes. Besides depreciation, the turbo will cost a few thousand more per year (fuel, insurance, maintenance ) to do the same thing a little quicker and let you fly higher.

I’m sure you’ll get lots more responses. Good luck with your decision.


A slippery plane is one that has trimmed its drag and you can kind of see it on on the ramp - those sleek planes vs the kind of clunky exterior shapes. That is very good for airspeed and efficiency, for the same horsepower you go faster. It raises some challenges for the pilot to master because the airplane is tough to slow down and when the pitch changes downward it will speed up easily. Airspeed control on final approach is very important in all airplanes to give good and consistent landings. A slippery plane is a little harder to master stabilized approaches because it tends speed up easily. It is not hard to master, but you will spend more time in a Cirrus trying to master speed control on final than you would in a draggy plane like a Cessna 172.

In general slippery is a good thing in an airplane, provided the pilot has mastery of the airplane. That is something you need to master in any airplane, but when your learning to fly it is just one more thing to keep in an overwhelmed student (or low time) pilots mind. Its just another thing to learn, you can do it. All higher performance planes have this trait, to go fast takes drag reduction. But do get good instruction.

Well I am looking at doing my flight traing with Twin Cities Aviation. They were one of the first Cirrus approved service centers and they also offer flight training in a SR22 or SR20. I think this will be my best bet to learn to fly a Cirrus right off the bat then start fly other aircraft as I get the hang of a SR22.

I have been looking at brand new but will consider looking at used if I can find the right aircraft. There are some really good deals out there on used aircraft.

The so called Worpe 9 may be the best value out there for a used Cirrus. A totally reconditioned G3 with turbo normalizing and Avidyne Release 9 avionics. Done by New Dimension Aircraft in conjunction with Tornado Alley and Avidyne.

A couple notes. You’re likely to see closer to 35 GPH than 30 on takeoff in a Turbo, but many if not most of us transition to a LOP climb at 17.6 GPH less than 2 minutes after takeoff, rather than 10. I do the big pull at 2000 AGL.

Norm, Twin Cities has two SR22s and an SR20 to rent. That seems like a great way to go at first.

Ya exactly what I was thinking Mellman I might as well rent for the first year until I decide exactly what I am looking for.