Diamond DA40 or Cirrus SR20

I’m looking at a 2005 Sirrus SR20 vs. 2006 Diamond DA40? Anyone out there owned both and positive/negative feedback??

Pretty similar aircraft missions, but as far as major differences, the Cirrus is more comfortable for long trips, Diamond has better visibility, but can be a liability on a hot sunny day since that bubble canopy doesn’t offer any sun protection. The flight controls of the DA40 are more responsive, I prefer a stick to a side yoke, but some would rather not have a stick between their legs… The DA40 is statistically much safer and a better hot and high performer. The Cirrus will have higher maintenance costs and higher fuel burn for similar performance. The Diamond is easier to land, the Cirrus has CAPs but that has not translated into a better safety record. The stall characteristics of the DA40 are more docile, the DA40 is extremely spin resistant. The 2006 DA40 with a GW increase will have better range payload flexibility. The DA40 is easier to load the back luggage compartment and rear seats due to the rear door. Those are the major differences that I have seen. Otherwise both are nice entry level aircraft that can be true cross country IFR machines with the right pilot.

Just for background I have 200 hours in a DA40 and 100 in an SR22. 0 in a SR20.

I think your choice depends on how your gonna use the plane.

The SR20 will be more comfortable on long cross countries

has longer legs when cabin payload allows more fuel on board.

The cabin should stay cooler or at least have less solar gain.

The DA40 will perform better in high DA situations.

The DA40 has unmatched visibility and is very fun to hand fly

trimming out a 40 is effortless

cabin in the front of the 40 is a little more cramped and the seats need a cushion for long trips IMO

SLOW SPEED FLIGHT IN THE 40 is fun and very uneventful.

For or me, I’d buy the DA40 again in a heart beat if I wanted a plane in this class. I might change my mind if I flew a 20 but I will never forget the panoramic views in the 40.

Now, I wouldn’t give up my SR22 for one though. No comparison. The 22 is a beast.

On edit to the above…my wife HATED the stick and was always afraid of hitting it at the wrong time. She also accidentally activated the flaps one flight in cruse. That was exciting.

Chuck, may we work on a more nuanced statement?

The Cirrus safety record in the past three years differs significantly than the overall safety record during the fleet history. As of today, we’ve seen 3 fatal accidents and 10 CAPS saves in the past 12 months – and just one fatal accident involving one presumed fatality in 2014!

And for all accidents in the NTSB database:

My plea is to give credit for this recent change, rather than repeat an accurate but misleading statement about the Cirrus safety record.


“…the Cirrus has CAPs but that has not translated into a better safety record.”

“My plea is to give credit for this recent change, rather than repeat an accurate but misleading statement about the Cirrus safety record.”

With regards to the original post, how does the safety record of the SR20 compare to the DA40 in the last three years?

DA-40 is a toy compared any SR. Look carefully at Vno (relative to cruise speed), you will flirt with it all the time, my wife hated the center stick and although it has amazing view the cockpit is HOT. No sun visors The air vents were just annoying and noisy. Safe wing but also look at wing loading relative to tangos.

I am 6’4", and just do not fit in a DA40. It is not a plane for tall pilots. I understand this was improved somewhat in later models.

Sorry Mike, I don’t understand “tangos.” Elaborate? I know the SR’s wing loading is higher than the DA40, which should in principle give a better ride in turbulence for the Cirrus.

Let’s be really clear – the Diamond fleet has an enviable and amazing safety record. Very few accidents and fewer fatals. The last two fatal accidents in DA40 aircraft were in 2013 and 2011.

However, there are less than 800 DA40 aircraft registered in the FAA database (about the same number of SR20 and about 1/5 of the SR22).

And we have no idea of the utilization of their fleet. When I just checked FlightAware for SR22, SR20 vs DA40 in the system, I found 49 and 9 vs 2!!!

So, my plea was more about ways to describe the Cirrus safety record, not a comparison.


I’ve flown both, but bought the SR-20. I enjoyed flying the DA-40, the control forces are light and responsive, visibility is excellent, and it appears as though maintenance is cheaper for the Diamond. But there were a lot of cheesy things about the DA-40, from the need to adjust the pedals because the seats don’t adjust, to a general lack of fit and finish that makes it feel more like a glider or day sailer than a several hundred thousand dollar airplane or yacht. Passengers like the Cirrus, many are put off by the canopy and funky seating in the Diamond. The DA-40 is 5-8 knots slower than the SR-20 that has 20 more horsepower, and of course doesn’t have the parachute. I was also concerned how seriously the parent company in Austria would support the North American market; their Canadian subsidiary seems to always be on the verge of shutdown.

Yes correct, and I would submit that wing loading is more than just marketing or “principal” as you stated, it does matter (I am considering more than just pilot ie pax in my response based on original question).

My other basis supporting my claim is formed from the fact that many would prefer a “stable” platform especially in IMC. I found on numerous occasions I would have to pull power to get away (to allow some buffer in bumps) from Vno because you are so damn close in cruise especially in colder temps, and the chance that you need to do this in IMC is higher as it can be more rough. A detail but in rough stuff the AP would exaggerate trying to keep altitude. Something had to go amiss in the approval process or in the design phase and therefore I find this to be ridiculous and should be considered in side by side spec comparison especially around cruise TAS.

I do agree the DA 40 nice to rent have some fun, great trainer etc etc, but based on the original question - what to buy - ie need a platform to get places - it should not be compared to the SR20 just because it has a composite wing.

Also the seats just flat out are poor and people with back issues - your knees will be higher than your back - something my PT friends tell me exacerbate such issues.

I flew both and bought an SR20.

I didn’t like the fixed seats in the da40 and the monkeying with the rudder pedals every time because they get moved and the stick tied to them to form the control lock on the ground. What a hassle for every flight. I flew out of Palo Alto one spring afternoon at 62 OAT, and the sun overwhelmed the canopy. The da40 controls are lighter, the view over the cowling is better.

Max Trescott took me up in the da40 first, over to Livermore and back to Palo Alto. Then, the sr20. I knew 100ft off the ground as I did the right turnout taking off from 13 that the cirrus was for me. For me, the sidestick is a winner compared to a stick between my legs. I know if I’d started flying on a center stick, I might prefer it, but I learned in a Piper with a control wheel, and having my lap free with a side stick is awesome.

Plus, I valued the parachute. I fly over the Sierra foothills, and I know that even if I were the best pilot in earth, there are places where an engine out is almost certainly going to be fatal without a chute.

Now that I’ve owned the 20 for almost two years, yeah, the maintenance is ugly. The 50% increase in chute/rocket replacement since I bought the plane sucks.

I can’t compare hot and high performance, but what everyone says about the SR20 in the mountains is true. It is not a performance machine at high density altitudes. I have no issue with the SR20 fuel economy. I cruise LOP at 8.7 to 8.9 gph with a true airspeed of 137-141 kt.

Thank you everyone for the honest feedback!! I’m gonna demo an SR20 in a couple of weeks. Leaning that way, but concerned about the added costs now in comparison to the DA40?

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve owned some really expensive boats and get that plane ownership can be infinitely higher. Just don’t wanna make a really bad financial decision w/major engine repairs, other than an overhaul within reason.

Hopefully this makes sense w/out sounding cheap?

Make no mistake, both are expensive - and the 20 will be much more expensive then the DA40. Advice in 3500 hours of ownership and since I bought my plane at age 25 - pay cash, fly the shit out of it, and when you do sell, be glad you got it for what you did.

I totally agree with Alex. I bought my SR22, paid cash for it and never looked back. This is one of the most expensive hobbies I have ever gotten into and I have loved every minute of it. The feeling I have when I look outside and see it is a great day to fly, knowing my plane is in the hanger waiting for me, is as they say a “Master Card Moment”. Just do it and enjoy it as you never know what tomorrow will bring. Brian

Second what Alex said. Pay cash and don’t look back. I don’t really track what I spend every year, except at the top line, since it’s unjustifiable in any arena other than “fun” and “personal flexibility”. Make no mistake, I could sell my plane and fly my family and me first class commercially and still spend less than what I spend to keep my SR22 going in a year. SR20 or DA40, pick the one you like and don’t obsess over the rounding of the costs. They’re both expensive. Pick the one you want and enjoy.



I just posted my “first” experience on a new SR20 yesterday so let us know what’s yours after your intro flight. Thanks.

I love my 2003 g1 sr 20. Had it for about a year. Bought it cheap but put some money (annual, chute, interior, exterior, mech) into it immediately to make it airworthy and meet our needs. It’s been very reliable since we worked out all of the initial squawks. Annual ran about 5k and other issues that popped up over the year (starter, small oil leaks, p/s issues) came up to about $1500. I find it very comfortable doing trips back and forth to the Bahamas. Very economical. Paid cash and all expenses since have been well worth the enjoyment. Haven’t regretted my decision once.

I purchased my first sr22 g2 a few months ago. I love it love it love it. I almost bought a 340, but when I looked at what my mission really was going to be, It was a da40 or a 22. I don’t like the sperm looking shape of the da40, it looks more like an ultralight and inside was not as spacious like the 22, a big deal for my wife.

I most like the ground speed I am getting with the 22. I have done more ifr x country trips since I had it compared to the archer I once had.

I don’t keep track of the expenses, you only live once, life is short. While I am healthy, I will enjoy this hobby for as long as I can.

How much more expensive is the upkeep of a 20 vs a 22 vs a DA40? I can factor in about 4-5 gallons an hour more in fuel, but other than that, what’s what? The estimates I have seen range between $130-$180 per hour flown.

If we compare that to a Diamond, are we really just talking about chute cost? My best estimate is that having that chute sitting in the tail is about $100 a month year in and year out. Considering what just happened in MD, I would say that’s incredibly worth the cost. I mean really- deployed at pattern altitude after a mid-air collision and the occupants were treated and released from the ER.

Don’t count on that chute, but if you fly 5 times a month and someone offered you a chute for $20 a flight, my guess is you’d take it every time- especially if your family was flying with you. I would also bet your family would pay for it just to up the chances dad comes home that night.

2 cents