Wow! If you didn’t catch that, WOW!
As you probably have figured out, I had a great ride with Dick. It was my first ride in a fully conforming model. I have previously flown I 202CD on of the pre-production prototypes, and I could not tell the difference. Of course it’s been well over 2 years.
The plane flew terrifically and the visibility, roominess and comfort were all great. We flew mostly between 3,000 and 4,500 MSL in close to standard atmospheric conditions. We leveled off at what the Airspeed indicator said was 158 KTS TAS @ just over 10 GPH. (IAS was in the upper 140’s. I assume the TAS idicator on the instrument is fairly accurate.) In a long comfortable descent, we hit 170 TAS.
Slow flight, well fairly slow, was no big deal. It flew very solidly, but we never came close to stall speeds. I would have liked to try a stall, but dick said it was against company policy with passengers in the back. (My wife thanks CD for that!)
My wife and son flew in the back and both really enjoyed the plane. My wife remarked that the ventilation was great, visibility was excellent and overall comfort was better than the right side of my 172!. My son said it was’ “Tight,” which if you have a teenage son you know that is about as good as it gets!
Other impressions: I found the controls to be much more sensitive than the 172. I think part of it is the age of the 172 and part the limited throws of the controls. Anyway, I tried t fly the trim as I did in 202CD but that wasn’t much smoother. I’m sure I will get better as my ham fists get used to the plane. If any of you Cirrus ‘veterans’ have any tips, I’m all ears.
I was equally impressed with the fit an trim and solid feelings. I wasn’t great on the differential braking, but I wasn’t lost either. I should get used to it with a little practice. Controllability on the ground was very good and I had very little trouble on take-off or descent keeping it fairly centered. Now If I flatten out the flare, I’ll be in great shape (thanks Dick.)!
Ease of entry and exit is about as good as any plane I’ve been in. I usually ‘tumble’ out of the front seats of most low wing planes, but I was more graceful today, & I didn’t need to do it on the Cirrus. Neither my wife or son had any trouble getting in or out of the back seat. Deb (she’s the wife) did hit her knee on the back of the center console when she turned around to get the seatbelts (bet she won’t do that again). There was plenty of room, , so I think she just spun around quickly without looking.
The GNS 430’s are great (I’d love a 530!). The ARNAV is OK. It has the checklists, but they are not available until you put the Master and Avionics Master switches on. I think I’ll stick with the printed variety. Visibility of the big screen was OK, but not great in direct bright sun. Given a choice, I’d probably rather have twin 530’s. I think the cost of database updates would be less and I don’t think there would be any loss of situational awareness. Either way, it’s a much better package than in most GA planes built today, and there is no contest over anything built prior to the last few years.
Suggestions: I’d still like Rosen sun visors, and hooks for the headsets would also be a great idea. They’d keep the headsets conveniently out of the way. Still looking for a holder for approach plates, but I didn’t ask Dick about them.