Duke vs. SR22

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Hi Jerry…enjoyed reading your reports comparing a SR22 to your Duke. I have flown Barons for 1500 hours with the last 500 hours in a P-Baron with fuel burns and speeds similar to your Duke, but I have a deposit on my P-Baron and will conclude the sale next week if the pre-buy goes well. I “test flew” a SR22 and enjoyed the aircraft and thinking of buying one.

Do you still have your SR22? My question, compared to your Duke, and considering the “last resort” Chute Option, are there any trips you did not take in the SR22 w/TKS, Storm Scope (XM weather?) in the last years you have owned the SR 22 that you would have taken in the Duke? (e.g., low ceiling/visibility takeoffs…flight over hostile terrain…mountains, Canadian forests in IMC where “single out forced landings” do not allow sufficient VFR ceilings to set up a dead stick landing you can walk away from and pulling the chute may be the only option left if an engine failure occurs? Knowing I would be going from a K-ice aircraft to a non K-ice aircraft w/TKS to help me escape an inadvertent icing encounter, do you have any experience in how the SR22 handles ice?..speed loss?..the TKS ability to shed ice?..does the “sling ring” of the prop help to de-ice the windshield? How have you adjusted your “Duke IFR minimums” to flying the capable SR22?

I actually have position orders on the Diamond Twinstar (attracted to the turbo diesel but don’t think that will happen when Diamond thinks it will because of “diesel service support issues, etc”) in addition to a “fantasy deposit” on the Eclipse jet…“fantasy” because the delivery of a VLJ has so many unseen obstacles that could prevent a 2007 delivery…if a delivery ever occurs!

Thanks in advance for any reply you are willing to share your experiences with another “twin driver” Jerry.



Yes I still have my SR22. I got it in July, 2001 and now have about 650 hours on it. Prior to the SR22 I had a Duke for 12 years and a BE55 Baron for the 10 years before that. Therefore the transition back to a single was a major change for me.

My plane has a Stormscope but does NOT have TKS (it wasn’t available when I bought it). Currently I do not have XM weather but am investigating adding it. My plane has the ARNAV display so I would have to add the ARNAV product for a permanent installation and I’m not sure I want to go that route.

The question of what flights would I make in a twin that I wouldn’t make in the Cirrus is interesting. For a start, I’m based in Chicago and with the twin I would accept routings over Lake Michigan without a question. I now go around the lake.

The Duke was certified for flight in known icing but my personal rule has always been that unless I have a sure fire way of escaping ice I avoid it in any light aircraft. While the Duke did allow more options to avoid ice the problem with ice in this part of the world are mainly with departure and approaches rather than enroute since there are so many altitudes available.

Thunderstorms are pretty much a non issue. I find the Stormscope to be at least as valuable as the radar I had on the Duke. I probably give thunderstorms a wider berth that I did with onboard radar but that’s a good thing.

Interestingly, in the almost four years I’ve had the plane I’ve cancelled 4 flights due to weather. I would not have made those flights in the Duke either. In each instance I was able to make the trip the next day. I have NEVER had an unscheduled cancellation due to maintenance. With the Duke equipment problems were all too common (not to mention expensive).

I do fly to Jackson, WY two to three times a year and must admit that I still feel safer with two fans than one over the rough terrain although the BRS system gives me a certain feeling of extra comfort. I have pretty much given up IMC over the mountains, especially if there is any chance of ice. I also have cut way back on my night flying although that is primarily because I’m 61, my night vision isn’t as good as it used to be and by dark I’m usually tired and don’t feel like flying. I had already cut back when I still had the Duke.

Regarding how the SR22 handles ice I can only tell you that I’ve only experienced light icing and other than a drop in IAS have not had any problem. Remember though that I do not loiter in ice and if ice starts to form I immediately take action to get out of it. The worst ice I’ve ever had was in the Duke, an airplane certified for known icing. I was coming back home to DPA and was descended into clouds were the tops were 5000 feet. I was vectored all over and picked up lots and lice of the white stuff. The boots were recycled every 2-3 minutes and the plane still was getting more and more sluggish. Eventually I landed (without flaps at much higher speed than usual). After shutting down and getting out ice was projecting from virtually every non booted or heated part of the airframe. The point is that certified or not it is important to avoid ice in any light GA aircraft. That was a flight I would NOT have made in the Cirrus and shouldn’t have made in the Duke.

My IFR departure minimums in the Cirrus are basically double the landing minimums for the airport in question (e.g. 400/1 if there is an ILS to 200/1/2. In the Duke I would go with 200/1/2. These are not hard and fast especially if the low ceiling/visibility is not over a widespread area. I have no hesitation flying an approach to minimums in the Cirrus.

I must admit that I do miss the pressurization and air conditioning that I had in the Duke but when I look at the bills I can deal with it!

Overall trading the Duke for the Cirrus was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my flying career. With the Duke I only flew on trips. It was too expensive to just go out for an hour or two for fun. There was no hundred dollar hamburger - flying for a burger could easily cost three hundred dollars or more. With the Cirrus I can just fly whenever I have the urge and am not working. At 13 gph (or less if I’m just sightseeing) I don’t have to feel guilty about having fun.

Hope that answers some of your questions.


Welcome to the public portion of COPA. Though not a twin driver previous to our 22, I did fly a 182 Skylane for 25 years. Based in RAP, I can appreciate with you the terrain and changing weather that us westerners encounter. What a beautiful place: Sheridan. I love that town!

4 of us have been flying our 22 since 3-03. It was one of the first PFD planes released. We now have about 750 hours and have loved every minute! Our baby had every option at the time of delivery: PFD,TKS, Stormscope, Traffic. Now it has an old body style compared to the new G2’s.

Being a close “neighbor”, if I can answer any questions or help in any way, please call or ‘e’ me. 605-721-3861

I lurked on the public site for months, then decided to check out the members section. Can’t tell you how much is available (I can say fire-hose worth), but if you are contemplating a Cirrus, you will get an education from The Most Dedicated Owners Group out there.

Fly safely and again - welcome.

David Schwietert

Hi Jerry:

Great post. You should put it on the member section. I am not sure how many people read this side. G

Jerry, thanks so much for your prompt reply! I too miss the days of “fun flying”…which were the flying days prior to the last 1,500 hours in twins. In the P-Baron the cost of operation required me to use the plane for a business purpose vs. taking a fun flight. Sounds like I could take the SR22 up “just for fun” without thinking about the costs, as I would like to share the joy of flying with friends and fly slow on 10 gph or less…who needs to fly fast when you are not flying to a destination!

Only 4 cancelled flights in 650 hours of flying because of weather is remarkable as I know you get a lot a IFR weather in the Mid-West. Interesting and helpful to know that you would have cancelled these same four flight in the Duke as well, which supports the capability of the SR22. Sometimes the best piece of equipment in my P-Baron is the credit card in my wallet to rent a hotel for the night! An emergency room Dr. friend of mine told me that he can fix a lot of things, but “dead” is pretty hard thing to fix! Heck, even the airlines cancel flights because of weather and the space shuttle often waits for the proper weather conditions…obviously every aircraft (and pilot) has limitations. I frequently fly over lake Michigan when enroute from Sheridan, WY to Muskegon, MI, but with the SR22 I will fly around the lake like I used to in my T-210. I love the idea of the “chute” as a last “ditch” survival tactic, but I don’t think the SR22 would float any better because of the chute. Since I live at the base of the Big Horn mountains and often fly to Jackson Hole, I too have appreciated “two props turning” over that dramatic terrain. But Jackson really is a “general aviation VFR airport” in my opinion…SE performance over those mountains on any light twin, especially with just a little ice, is simply an oxymoron. Glad to hear that you have experienced such great reliability with the SR22 in your 650 hours…that says a lot about the product. By the way, I seldom fly at night in the Baron anymore for the same reason…just too “mentally tired” to be able to cope with an emergency…would prefer to had a good dinner along with glass of wine and talk about the “flight tomorrow”! I am considering a G2 w/TKS/XM/SS…as I like to “see” what is in those clouds and would enjoy the “comfort” of knowing there is a little bit of “juice” to handle an inadvertent icing encounter while I immediately take action to get out of the icing layer. I treat ice the same way you do…at the first signs of ice, I climb (if possible)…just a few thousand feet can make all the difference. Ice forming is like a “fire starting in the cockpit”, the pilot needs to do something about it NOW and not rely on K-Ice equipment (sometimes the boots don’t work when you push the button…in 500 hours of IMC flight it has only happened to me once, but it can happen…or the prop heat doesn’t work on a blade…or the windshield ice…or…or…)…I also like to have a “non-ice equipment out” because there just isn’t enough power available in a twin engine turbocharged airplane to deal with ice in my opinion. IMC flight over the mountains simply means the pilot will be dealing with ice unless he can top the clouds…but I try to never fly over any weather that I am not willing to “fly through” just in case I have a power loss and cannot maintain altitude…another reason I like about the “final solution” of the “chute” over hostile terrain…or in case of the incapacitation of this 53 year old pilot. I know, like you, that will miss the pressurization and A/C of the
P-Baron. I need to do more research on the after factory A/C available on the SR22 and hope to find someone in COPA who has some experience with the installation and how well the unit handles the heat load. I hear it takes about 220 hours of labor to install the STC’d unit.

Thanks again for both your previous posts about your trip comparisons from DPA-AGC-PDK-DPA flying both the Duke and your SR22 as it really helped me to hear a fellow twin pilot put the numbers into perspective, and for your response to my recent inquiry Jerry. Safe flying!


I would like to respectfully suggest you consider joining COPA in order to be able to participate in the Member’s Forum. The amount of information there relating to the care, feeding and operation of the SR20/22 is incredible. If you’re even considering a purchase you owe it to yourself to join.

In reply to:

Can’t tell you how much is available (I can say fire-hose worth), but if you are contemplating a Cirrus, you will get an education from The Most Dedicated Owners Group out there.

Fire-hose? Did anyone say Fire-hose?

Tom, don’t listen to David – next thing you know, you’ll be one of the poor, the unsuspecting…!

David… If Tom joins, you’re his MENTOR! [;)]

  • Mike.