I fly VFR for fun (airplane/glider), so it is not my job, and not solely to go from point #A to point #B. I like sightseeing, I like soaring to some extent under certain conditions, I like to go fast between places of interests and then go slow over spectacular areas (for example, there is no point flying slow over ugly areas)

Unfortunately flying fast costs a lot and burns a lot. Sometimes I am wondering why I would deserve to burn 100 gallons of gas in one week-end trip while our children might not even been allowed to burn that much in a year just to commute. Flying fast today still requires dinosaur engines on dinosaur airframes though it’s been demonstrated than newer gas engines cannot really be much more efficient than the older ones. New composite airframes like that of the Pipistrel Panthera promise better efficiency (if indeed they are able to achieve 200KTS on 200HP and 10GPH). Though the Cirrus is composite it’s missing the essential to me: a retractable gear… Don’t tell me it is expensive or complicated, or that pilots forget to lower them. It’s a better way to spend the extra $140K or so the GTS package is asking for. So it seems I might resort to fly slower between places of interests, perhaps I can cope with that since I have always coped with that (except when flying the Concorde years ago :slight_smile: So let’s forget about speed. I primarily wanted to try to fly the SR slowly during my first flight and see how it worked.

It is 95F at KLVK and the 2014 SR20 has returned from a previous flight. Really nice interior, with A/C. Just the 10-inch displays though I am wondering if the 12-inch would have been worst, way too much stuff shown out there or blinking, kind of a technological OD. OK, I was never sold on the G1000, taking a class (I think they sell books or CDs for $600+ to master that stuff) had always appear as a nonsense to me, are you making my life simpler or not? I can’t imagine how wealthy Apple would be if it had imposed mandatory classes for any customer to learn using an iPad (I know, Microsoft has been doing that for decades with their Word, Excel, etc., but my benchmark is Apple). My CFI and I are relatively light load (maybe 350#) and we have “tab” fuel. My CFI complains the right fuel tank indicator is pessimistic since it is showing more like half (I am thinking: what, this is a new airplane, how come nobody has figured to make a fuel gauge accurate?). At least the display of the fuel levels looks very nice. What’s blinking is a mismatch between the two AHRS data I believe (would a single AHRS have been better, at least it would not distract me?). We go thru the checklist. OK the checklist is shown on the right display, great I think, except we have to dismiss the checklist to display engine data (kind of defeat the purpose of displaying the checklist?), I suppose the engine data could be shown on the left. With seemingly 100s of buttons there there must be one for that. Actually I already discover -seeing my CFI joggling the panels- there are more than one way to do the same thing. It “hurts” me so bad. Can you imagine three different buttons/menus to turn your wipers on in your car? OK, let me lower my expectations, the G1000 is ten year old so it probably qualifies as a dinosaur, remember your phone back in 2004?

I also notice the side yoke (sorry I call it a yoke in lack of better name) is missing a trim piece until I realize there must have been no trim piece at the first place (you know that cloth/leather soft piece like the one at the base of your old manual car gear stick so you cannot see the connection “inside”, or drop food there). So the entire cockpit looks really nice but seeing the “mechanics” of the yoke spring assembly seems cosmetically odd to me. Anyway my CFI tells me this is the only plane that has neutral controls (spring driven) and I have read a lot about that and still believe the idea to be interesting.

When starting the engine I realize the engine in this plane is a dinosaur, too, if the sight of the mixture control had not been enough. Sorry maybe I have flown too many Rotax powered fuel-injected LSAs. Actually only my CFI is able to start the engine. Earlier there was a 152 on a ramp who spent 10 mins trying to start its engine and that reminded me my good old student days in hot Los Angeles. Well I am kind of getting more nostalgia I have asked for right now. The CFI cycles the mixture and the power lever several times in an apparent unpredictable choreography (but I am sure he knows what he is doing). At least the electrical system is extremely beefed up so no weakness in the starter. The engine fires at the 4th attempt. Granted it is hot outside. But why should I care? I don’t care when I start my car whether it’s hot or not. The good news is that we have A/C, another first to me in a GA plane. Like I had read somewhere on the net it is indeed marginally efficient but blowing 80F air when it’s 95F outside still feels good. OMG, this things sucks like 30+ amps at 28V so my CFI tells me not to linger at low RPM. But wait a minute, isn’t it the whole point of A/C to be cooled when are you mostly on the ground playing with your gizmos? That said, I am glad we have two alternators, two batteries, two everything… except for two AHRS (either they should agree or the one that disagrees should disengage itself and email the A&P instead of showing me a blinking indicator during the entire flight). Finally we are taxing, it feels good, NR headsets on, it’s comfy. I am starting to think I have too much glass in front of me and not enough around, I mean I am missing wide transparent canopies. We taxi and take off. It seems my CFI trusts me, I am at the control but he has to coach me on the correct power levels. Instead of “judging” by the RPM it seems everything works by percentage in the Cirrus and, incredibly enough, one can set 19% instead of 20% easily and that seems to matter, at least to my CFI when he says 20 it is not 19. It is nice there is no lever for the constant-speed prop, so why is there still one for the mixture (I know why, I am just saying if you -Cirrus- remove levers do it all the way and make your engine choice accordingly or ask your engine manufacturer for improvements).

So this is my first contact with the side yoke. The take off is uneventful. The downwind pattern leg is a little bumpy and I ham learning to adapt to this infamous yoke, most of my inputs are overcompensating, it is hard to just no gain or lose 100s of feet quickly. My CFI tells me the autopilot works fantastically in this plane but it is going to be off since I decided I wanted to fly the plane and not the other way around. But wait, we have been flying for less than one minute and I am trying to climb around Vx (like 80KTS) but my CFI is asking me to lower the nose and get air flowing because some CHT/EGT readings are getting off the charts. I was not expecting that. One more reminder the engine is a dinosaur. We are light (28 gals+350#=500# so 400# below gross, density altitude must be like 3 to 4000 ft at worst and I can’t even climb at Vx on a new 2014 plane because it already overheats? I believe more and more I have been spoiled with those Rotax engines. Consequently we climb gently and not at full power (good for GPH) and get to the training area at 3500 ft MSL.

I am quickly learning how to trim to relieve pressures on the side yoke. I am curious about power off or on stalls so we try a couple. Behaves fine. As well as steep turns. It is still hard to adapt to the yoke feeling, or lack of it. It feels like when I make an input I am “forcing” it to do something it does not want to because it feels there is a “force” out there. Steep or shallow turns seem to give the same feedback. I am not fighting against the airflow I am fighting against the springs. I am wondering how the landing is going to be. Otherwise the practice work goes well, when looking outside the left window I wish I could the window was larger though. On the way back I ask my CFI to go full power, hey, I want to see if I could do 155KTS as claimed in the book. My CFI kind of accepts reluctantly, I am wondering if I am going to overheat something again or if he is just trying to save fuel. The SR does manage to reach 155KTAS pretty quickly without me noticing much since, again, any yoke input fights the springs and not the airflows.

My CFI dials in the tower faster than it would take me to figure which best of the two or three different ways I should pick to do that. The traffic warning system (TIS, not ADSB-in) is working very well though it should not talk to me about stuff that’s too irrelevant to me (actually I am wondering it is triggering solely by distance/altitude or by approaching speeds but you guys must know). My CFI just asks me to maintain 75-80 all the way to the fence and that seems not too hard. The micro adjustments I am used to do on any other aircraft on base and final to align correctly and stuff don’t apply here. Or they do. But it feels again I am constantly fighting with the springs and I am so tired of it that my thumb is on the trim button, constantly as well, to relieve pressure as much as I can. Surprisingly the first landing is the best, the three others are good, according to my CFI. From that first experience I would say the Cirrus is not hard to land, perhaps having learned to manage energy while landing gliders might have helped except that here I surely had to make power adjustments along the way as I was not familiar with the plane.

The good news is that my CFI let me fly the entire flight so he could keep his hand on the parachute handle. Just kidding. The bad news, for me, is that I am far from being convinced. Perhaps if I try a SR22 I would be blown away by the exhilarating power (though unlikely as much as the four Concorde afterburners, right?) We will see. My principal take on this discovery flight is that I probably don’t like the side yoke. I came out with my left wrist very tired: I should add that to my gym routine. Anytime I flew the plane other than in neutral or well trimmed position (or, in other words, I was not flying) I felt constant fighting with the springs and more alarmingly I felt disconnected from the airflows. I am starting to believe those who say that you can enter unusually attitudes without feeling it. Any plane I have flown before I could really tell when the controls would get mushy approaching a stall or the difference between a 15 or 30 degree bank. It does seem this plane is best flown by itself, I mean its autopilot, reportedly outstanding, it better be. It does seem this is a place to go from point #A to point #B, after all there are so many buttons that most of the fun must be to play with them all flight long.


  • Great presentation, beautiful (for a non-retractable)

  • Very impressive modern interior (I like the position of the rocker buttons facing up or the place of everything)

  • Parachute recovery system (peace of mind if you get mid-air’ed by some loser without a transponder, or if I “lose” control myself). Sorry to call them losers but anyone flying without a transponder or ADSB-out (after 2020) are as dangerous to others as drunk drivers

  • Lots of nice options like A/C (though I would rather spend 10s or 100s of additional $K on a more modern engine, lighter frame or RG)

  • Appear solid and behave accordingly in flight (the weight can really be felt)

  • Appear a good commute plane


  • The side-yoke is a mistake and makes all the fun of flying go away. My CFI pointed out I can now have an iPad on my lap. What? I have two big displays in front of me and I need an iPad? Something is really wrong with the G1000 to suggest I need an iPad but we already talked about the G1000)

  • Why is this running on a 50-year technology engine? A more fuel injected and efficient engine compatible with future fuels should have been introduced years ago (like Diamond is doing)

  • Why has the airframe seen no evolution in 20 years (a RG option should have been considered, look at Europe, they even make “LSAs” with RG that can do 150KTS on 100HP, albeit for two people)

  • To no fault of Cirrus, the Garmin G1000 is obsolete. The user interface is terrible. Remove me most buttons. Allow me to learn the system in a couple sunday afternoon playing with it like I do with my iPad, etc. The G3X Touch appears a step in the right direction (but last time I used a Garmin “touch” product it did not feel like “soft touch” like an iPhone)

Thanks for your feedback. I probably will schedule myself in a SR22 to “see the difference”.

Wow. The Cirrus is not for you.

I love the side yoke. The reason you will need an ipad is for electronic charts. You need two sets if you are to use the charts on the MFD. If you are not IFR rated (or you use paper charts) then you wont need one.

You’re right on the engine. It’s all economics of scale.

There just is no reason at present to add retractable gear to the Cirrus. The added weight of the gear and system would significantly reduce the useful load. You cannot compare LSA’s with the Cirrus. Apples and oranges

The 22 is the same plane with a bigger engine. I suggest that there are many other planes that will fit your mission profile. The Cirrus does not. The Flight Design C4 LSA may be exactly what you are looking for. GREAT plane!

Huge performance difference, especially the Turbo. In my SR22 TN I got 200 KTAS on 17 GPH in a very comfortable airplane.

Very unusual to hear from someone who doesn’t like the side stick. In addition to completely freeing up your lap, it has safety advantages, since many fatalities in yoke-equipped airplanes are due to the pilot suffering impact or impalement injuries from the traditional yoke.

Re RG, at most you’d see 15 knots of increased TAS. Not worth it.

I have to agree with you regarding the user interface on the Perspective avionics.

Thanks for your detailed post. Let us know how your SR22 ride goes.

As it is my stuff in the tank - Tab fuel in the 2014 SR20 is 13 gallons per side - 1/2 tank on a SR20 is 14 gallons per side. Maybe the CFI misstated - A gallon on a SR20 fuel tank is a very small vertical distance.

Most important for a liquid fuel that tends to find level - was the aircraft level?

What I find is that pilot perception of fuel level - is rather subjective -

What did the other side read?

Just a nit to pick: the C4 will not be an LSA, it will be–if Flight Design can bring it to market–a certified 180 hp 4-seater. I agree with you Tony that the C4, at least as it is currently envisioned, may be a better choice for Jeff.

I too wish Apple or some of its engineers who designed the iPhone/iPad user interface would produce a glass panel system for General Aviation. Who knows, it might be as simple and intuitive as…Avidyne! [;)]

If I were Cirrus I would not give SR20 demo flights on 95 degree days! [:P]

Jeff I think your critique is a bit unfair. The G1000 panel has become an industry standard and thousands of pilots have mastered it. But this mastery takes some learning and practice time, and you would find that investment well rewarded in practical use. Of course it’s a bit bewildering to the first time user, but that’s not as important as it’s functionality and reliability to the user who adopts it. I applaud Cirrus for making such an advanced option available to so many, and if you ask users you will find that pilots with adequate experience with the system are by and large quite satisfied. You say you want to be able to learn the system by playing with it on a couple of Sunday afternoons, and you can. But expecting it to fall to hand easily at first encounter may be asking too much.

I don’t love the feel of the Cirrus yoke, and agree that the spring feel is unnatural. For a minute. But this is misleading too, as you really only feel the odd spring action on the ground as the yoke keeps springing back to position. In flight air flow is still a much bigger contributor to control feel - much more powerful than the springs. I would prefer separate trim controls to the single “Chinese cap”, but Cirrus pilots quickly become familiar and rarely cite dissatisfaction with the yoke. A central yoke is better, and a pedestal mount best, but the Cirrus design rewards with additional comfort thanks to the space it frees up. And the Cirrus is a cruiser!

Cirrus has prospered because so very many pilots love flying them! Take the leap of faith necessary to learn why and you will probably count yourself among them.

Interesting and productive write-up. I can’t add much to the above comments, except to say that the G1000 (via Perspective) is actually incredibly simple, intuitive and user-friendly when mastered. “Everything is obvious”, as they (in other words, no one except me) say. I find the R9 much more “un-intuitive”. That said, an Apple Panel would be amazing. Perhaps the G3000 is approaching such an ideal.

The OP seemed to have an issue that there were three ways to do everything; how could that be negative? Explore all three, and choose the one that’s best for you! What could be more user-friendly?

One word may solve all your objections “Experimental”

That category overcomes most if not all your concerns. And I strongly believe that in the hands of the proper builder you’d have an aircraft better than any certified Single.

Engine - Avionics - Ballastic Chute …

Being from central oregon I see so many superior quality aricraft being built. Everything to fit and finish appears to be at least as good if not better than certified, IMO.

One could say, you are otherwise searching for the elusive. Good luck, I look forward to your review of the two two.

Cheers and thanks for the detailed post.

Why doesn’t rotax offer a reliable 300 hp engine? The answer is they tried and couldn’t remotely beat an IO-550, as much as I’m not a fan of continental as a company, it is a darn reliable and efficient engine. I agree someone could build a better engine that starts nicer, but development costs impede this. Continental actually offers an engine without a mixture knob, but it costs 15k more and is less efficient. Did you know an IO-550 has a better brake specific fuel consumption than a Toyota Prius?

The trim takes a while to get used to, but it become second nature and is a non issue.

Why is there a side yoke? Do you takeoff, land and maneuver with two hands with a conventional yoke? I don’t, my right hand is at the throttle.

Yes the SR20 has cooling problems. The SR22 does not, in the same size cowling. We found and STC’d a different prop for the SR20 that mitigates this.

AC on the 22 works fine on the ground. Can’t speak for the 20

Retractable gear would only gain 10 knots but would add substantially more cost and weight.

Name a better certified avionics platform. Many don’t consider touch screens an improvement.

The SR20 is meant to be a training plane like a 172, and a 22 is a traveling machine like a Bonanza. Per knot they burn about the same fuel and cost about the same to run. The acquisition is a little more on the 22, but there is a reason Cirrus builds 5 22’s or more for every 20.

Thanks, I misspoke.

Tony Sobczak:
Thanks, I misspoke.

If so, nobody heard you. Methinks you miswrote.

via COPAme
Asus Nexus 7

Thanks all for your feedback. I understand the reasons behind the engine or the avionics choices and I am not solely blaming Cirrus for that. My take is that the industry seems to be lacking visionary people, or good competition. After all an entire generation was “lost” dealing with crappy PCs (and they were happy with that because they did not know there could be something better) until the iPhone, iPad, etc.

Sure the G1000 is best because there is nothing better but there ought to be something better today, it’s overdue by 5 years. Sure you can learn to master it but you should not have to learn to master it. It’s been proved than simpler is better and one way of doing thing is better (I am not sure if an occasional pilot can get confused with it under hypoxia), though one could argue it’s philosophical. By the way the screen resolution is awful…

Sure the Continental IO-360 is reliable but nobody should have to deal with mixture controls, carb heat, hot start issues, etc, anymore. And AVGAS is on life support.

I am just unconvinced about the side yoke, a Cirrus creation, it just does not feel “right” to me. Perhaps I need to fly it more. I want to be able to fly slow as I said and it’s been insinuated that flying it slow is “dangerous”. Is it really? If so, is it because of the lack of feel? I would not even mind a joystick or fly-by-wire but I would expect simulated forces of airflows (I am wondering if the AF 447 pilots would have continued to stall the plane for minutes if they had really felt the stall - since they did not trust their instruments)? Similarly, if I lose my airspeed indication landing a Cirrus, can I trust the yoke to tell me I am on the verge of stalling, probably not?


Have you considered a deposit on the TF-X?

Amen brother and Hallelujah! I agree.

“I love the side yoke.”

“Very unusual to hear from someone who doesn’t like the side stick. In addition to completely freeing up your lap, it has safety advantages, since many fatalities in yoke-equipped airplanes are due to the pilot suffering impact or impalement injuries from the traditional yoke”

The objection is not to the side yoke but to the springs. Side stick/yoke good, springs bad.

In about a month I am getting my first Cirrus, switching from flying with a center stick to flying with a spring-loaded side yoke. While it sounds good to have more room in my lap for my iPad, the advantages of a spring trim system are a mystery. I like the side yoke but can anyone explain why the springs are good?

I always hated it. But it is what it is, the rest of the plane is pretty awesome. But to clarify terminology, I do believe it is a side yoke, because like a center yoke the control forces are back and forth and side to side just like a center yoke. A side stick or a center stick rotates about its base. I am a stick kind of guy, but not many planes out there that are practical that have one.

just to add a contrast, I absolutely love the cirrus side yoke… Thought I would hate it, 1st flight I thought “this is kinda cool” second flight (my first time flying in the left seat in the cirrus) I was in love. I LOVE the up down right left trim tab all in 1 button and would SUCK if it were 2 buttons. Ive never thought that the side yoke hurt my wrist, then again im 25 and in what id like to think is good shape.

Thanks for the encouraging comment.

My question is not about the side yoke, I like that too. I just don’t get the springs.

The industry isn’t lacking visionaries. It is lacking any kind of meaningful sales volume and freedom from blatant over regulation. You wouldn’t believe the amount of bureaucracy required for a simple .xx software upgrade of the G1000/Perspective.

As for the engines, yes, they suck. But the volume isn’t there to develop cool new stuff thats as efficient and reliable (and certified) as the current ones. I once asked the guys at Austro Engine what they would do if Mercedes stopped making the car engine that is the basis for their diesel. They just said: Oh, we have a contract with them that they will let the production run for one more day just for us. That’ll last us decades.

That said, currently there’s a lot going on in the engine area.

[B] Funny!

Also, I’ve read no better illustration of the production volume differences between the automotive and general aviation worlds. Nearly four orders of magnitude!

For this reason alone–even before considering the regulatory obstacles–it’s not hard to understand why there is so comparatively little innovation in airframes and engines. We often forget that most aviation manufacturing companies were or are family-run enterprises, in business as much for love (of aviation) as for money. When management turns over or they are acquired by a much more bottom-line-oriented firm, look out!

I love the side yoke. Not crazy about the spring cartridge.

My last 600 hours were in a Bonanza. I now have just over 40 hours in the SR22 over the last couple months.

You’re not qualified to judge the G1000. After an hour and no study? Say it’s too complicated for YOU, sure, but judging the quality of the system is beyond your ability.

I shot an LP approach this morning that didn’t allow low enough, and went missed. Flew the missed hold, and came back the other way - it had an LPV that got to 250 AGL. RW came into view at 260’. After 40 hours behind the Perspective, I was more comfortable shooting those approaches to minimums than 600 hours in the Bonanza with Aspens and a 530W.

Of course, I did transition training and spent about 10 hours on the King G1000 course. And I LOVED the training and learning.

The best pilots seem to enjoy the challenges of getting better, improving, learning -challenging themselves. It’s one of the few things I don’t grow bored with.

With your attitude, I would suggest an old Diamond with a six pack, or even better, a Cub with a stick. If your into scenic flights, it won’t get any better.