In reply to:
So I was talking to a guy about buying his 2000 SR-20, and he proceeded to tell me it had had a ‘few’ $5,000 annuals and 4 alternators had gone bad. In fairness, 1 was rebuilt. Is this common?
I found it hard to believe so much has failed in such a relatively short amount of time. The plane is a bit above mid time.
Any airplane can have this happen, in fact every airplane is going to have some amount of it. But that said, a lot of factors can be in play here. For the record, my 2001 SR22 has had one MCU fail and one alt 2 fail in 600 hours of operation. All in the the last 12 months out of warranty and they all together cost a bit over 4,000 to have them fixed. Otherwise no problems and never a scrubbed flight. That means I am spending about a grand a year on average on fixing stuff that breaks - not counting tires and other wear items. Unfortunately it was all in year 4 of operation [:(]
But I do a fair amount of my own maintenance (legally - I am a good mechanic but not an A&P so I have A&P friends supervise - for example I replaced the alt 2) and don’t take it to a Cirrus SC for little things (including annual). I do take it to a SC for some more specific to Cirrus things (like the MCU replacement). My first 2 annuals under warranty (aka - I bought no parts) at a SC and they were still 3000 bucks. My last two were 1000 and 1500 respectively and the higher priced one included rebuilding the mags. Difference, I have a trusted mechanic that I prefer and his hourly rate is half the SC and he is way more experienced. Any certified mechanic can work on a Cirrus.
My point is, planes are expensive and they break like any other mechanical contraption. But how involved you are and decisions you make can make a huge difference in costs and you can still be safe and legal. Of course the inverse is that bad decisions can be costly down the road if you put off maintenance or don’t do it correctly - and of course you need to stay safe so having some knowledge of what your doing is vital. Its not for the inexperienced or the weak… choose wisely grasshopper [;)] Good luck with your decision.