First Flight Impressions

Yesterday, Bruce Gunter and the Cirrus SR20 dropped out of the clouds at Chester County A/P (40N) in Pennsylvania.

If you haven’t had your demo flight yet, you know the anticipation. It was the first time I’ve seen the SR20 and first time I ever flew in any low wing light plane. I recently purchased a 1972 Cardinal to keep us flying till we get the Cirrus.


The low wing was totally non factor. Visibility, in every direction was absolutely fabulous. You don’t even notice the wing unless you intentionally look at it.

We had delays raising Phila Control for IFR clearance through the clouds so we were running the pattern and I can tell you that SR20’s high speed in low level flight gives you the feeling of an Indy driver.

It took about five minutes to get used to the spring-loaded, left-hand contol yoke, on-the-floor throttle, etc, and I’m not a skilled pilot. Bruce said the SR20 would make a lousy training plane because it’s so stable you get away with very sloppy flying that won’t work with any other plane. From my short experience, I agree. As an example, the ball is almost always centered with no effort.

Landing was surprisingly easy, as Walt had predicted on this forum. In fact, the three landings we made were my smoothest ever. All three times, the wheels touched with hadly any feel of a bump or a sound. For crow-hopping Joe, that was amazing. I’m sure Bruce had something to do with these successes but it wasn’t noticeable. Thanks Bruce!!!

This plane is an exceptionally stable ship. Imagine slow flight at 70 kts with no mushy feel on the controls. Then Bruce demoed power-off and power-on stall recovery with no use of rudders. He told me what to expect,“The horn will sound, the plane will give a little shudder, then the plane will drop.” Each time SR20 went through the predicted sequence as described. However,the drop was very minimal. Each time Bruce just used the aelerons to fly out of the stall with or without adding or removing power. In other words, he did everything wrong as you might imagine but with the SR20, there was no problem. The special wing design blocks the turbulant air from spreading out to the outer wing area where the aelerons are. The full stall across the entire wing just never happened.

The power on stall in take off configuration was the most impressive of all. Bruce just fooled with it like playing a violin. In other words, in and out of stall at the edge. Of course Bruce said you could recover doing all the standard moves too drop the nose use rudder, etc.

The avionics was all over my head, so I can’t comment on that. Being a green horn, I was just enjoying the moment. For me, timing the plane to hold heading and altitude nds free is still a challenge. Bruce did demo the autopilot which seemed really simple…and of course, I love simple.

All in all, as a satisfied Cardinal owner, I was very impressed by my fist SR20 experience. What’s not to like? One last point about visibility, it was superb in every configuration, taking off, landing, climbing, cruise and taxi. Windows are huge, and you don’t even see the front of the plane.

Negatives? I would say that the climb rate on take off seemed shallow compared to my Cardinal. Sorry if this is a rambling report. In sum, what a great day!

Again, many thanks Bruce. Crank up that factory!