I met Tom Bergeron today at PAO (N145CD, I think) and we went for a flight over to the Altamonte Pass. My two sons (7 and 5) occupied the back seats. I’ve read the traffic on the forum for a few months but there’s nothing like flying something yourself. I love this plane!
The visibility is outstanding. Of course, the low wing design lets me see into turns but the SR20 wing is further aft than in the Cherokee, so I can readily see what’s below and in front of me. The performance is superb for such a simple pilot workload; I saw 158Kts GS at 3,000 feet without fussing with retractable gear, cowl flaps, or pitch control.
The large moving map is a real boon for situational awareness. I know the complex airspace around Palo Alto because it’s my home airport, but if I were traveling VFR in, say, the LA basin, it would be very reassuring to glance at the big screen instead of putting my nose deep in the cockpit while trying to make sense of the yoke mounted Garmin 195 I use in the rental Skyhawk.
The climb out is flatter than I’m used to, especially when accelerating to Vy. Likewise the approach is quicker and shallower (no more high approaches saved by aggressive Cessna flap deployment!).
Strangely, I found myself unable to make a turn without climbing. I guess I’m not used to seeing so much of the ground in front of me in the turn. Whatever the cause, Tom said I’ll get the hang of it once I adjust to the different view.
The sidestick felt strange for the first 2 minutes or so and then it felt fine. I enjoyed the crisp roll response and the small pitch inputs required on landing (no need to haul the yoke into the stomach and bleed speed with the nose pointed skyward as with the Skyhawk). I bet landings are, in general, less forgiving than with the 172 but I’m sure I could nail it with some practice. All in all, I’m thoroughly impressed. My boys loved the trip. My wife, who stayed on the ground, due to the lack of a fifth seat, found the SR20 interior much more passenger friendly than the Wichita product.
If my wife signs off, I’ll send the check in on Monday and get in line.