Flying 50hr/year. Worth switching to Cirrus?

I had one flight in SR20 and liked it for space, two doors and avionics. So I started reading about Cirrus but I got the impression that SR20/22 are really demanding aircraft and too dangerous to casual VFR pilots who do not fly hundreds of hours a year.

Am I right or did I just scare myself for no reason? Is it worth/safe to start flying SR20 or should I stay in Piper/Cessna land with my 50 hours/year of flying?

Paul, you are only as safe as how you handle risks.

If you fly less and have lower proficiency, then you need to maintain more conservative limits on the risks you take. Yes, a Cirrus is a high-performance aircraft with demanding characteristics and sophisticated avionics, even the SR20 model in my opinion. Attempting to fly into complex airspace with low ceilings and visibility would expose any pilot to significant risks. So, don’t plan on doing that without help. You could fly with an instructor or safety pilot when challenged. You could set higher minimums for visibility and ceilings. You could commit to recurrent training before needing to fly.

From reading accident reports (you’ll understand that I do that a lot around here), problems arise more often from the pilots who fail to know what they don’t know. You already know that you will be flying fewer hours than most pilots, so you know something about what you don’t know.


Paul: Great question. Get the proper training from a Cirrus instructor and set personal minimums that you’ll know you can confidently fly within. And, expand those limits with a qualified instructor in a controlled environment. My 2 cents.

And what Rick said … :wink:

So where do I start? As a newbie I find Copa website less than clear.

Are there cirrus training centers? What should I look for? Are there any instructor certifications specific to cirrus aircraft?

I have seen the term “Cirrus transition training”. What is it? Is it an official Cirrus-approved training or just some fancy marketing term?

Paul: I’m on my iPhone. Check back over the weekend, as your questions will suely generate a lot of helpful posts. Apologies - but I can’t see where you are located at the moment. If no one else posts links for you, I’ll check back this weekend when I’m at a laptop and try to steer you to some resources that should help. There are Cirrus Certified Instructor Pilots. There are also transition training programs that you can utilize.

the problem you’re going to face is not just with staying current but that 50 hours will very soon become 100 hours.
With these aircraft if you’re not doing a minimum of 100 hours a year, you should really be nowhere near them. I’m not usually in the business of discouraging business but the aircraft requires an incredible amount of attention and it’s not something that the casual pilot should just plow ahead into.


What’s so different about them comparing to Bonanza or any other high performance single?

If it was a bonanza my advice would be the exact same. There’s even more stuff to manage

I agree with Alex. If you aren’t flying 100 hours a year, get in a club or partnership on a 172 or 182. The extra speed of a Cirrus won’t matter on 50 hours and it will be cheaper and you will be safer because it’s much easier to fly and won’t bite you nearly as easy.

I can safely rule out SR22s from my future since I do not plan on getting instrument rating and flying 100s of hours.

I am still wondering if SR20 is so much different from other airplanes. 200hp isn’t significantly more than usual 180hp we see in spam cans. Approach speed is also pretty close. Cruise speed is higher but not by much. Diamond DA40 has comparable cruise speed and an additional prop control. I did not find G1000 + KAP140 combo in DA40 too challenging but I do not know much about Avidyne + Garmin 430 combo in SR20. Is it confusing for VFR pilot?

From what I know the comparably longer takeoff roll could be a problem with SR20. Rusty and less careful pilot could easily take off into a fence. Are there any other specific issues with SR20 that could be dangerous to low-time pilots?

The 20 and 22 (since they use the same airframe wing combo) unless you are flying a G2 or G1, are flying on high performance laminar flow wings. That means, they require VERY precise speed control (on landing in particular) and no lax stick and rudder skills.

Rules: Get Slow - you die. Get fast - good chance you die.

Here are (2) too fast moments. One has you running off the runway if you are above the calculated Vref speed for yr landing weight.

Here’s what happens when you get too slow, high alpha and max out the AoA and are not 100% on yr stick and rudder game.

I’m not trying to scare you - but this is reality. Don’t get near these aircraft unless you can 100% commit the financial resources to staying current and required PROPER training (this is not yr $40/hr 23 year old 172 driver) and only then - keeping your currency far above the 100 hours a year.

Attached is a training magazine and safety review from COPA. Its good reading.

Well, I couldn’t disagree more. First, because I would be out of flying Cirrii. Second, so would 90 percent of European Cirrus pilots. And third, the secret/problem/risk is not in a simple number.

Keep in mind there are a lot of countries where flying 100 hours per year is really expensive. The. cult of hours is overrated, IMHO.


I’m going to very cordially demurr from the opinions expressed by my very good friend Alexander and with Paul. It’s not necessarily the hours you fly per year, but how you fly your hours. As has oft been said, you can fly the same hour, over and over, or make every hour count. Is 50 on the low side? Yes. As someone who has had in the distant past years like that, it made me be very, very thorough from preflight to post-flight, but I also flew more with a CFII, too.

The Cirrus has a number of cockpit system interfaces that seem complex, and so I would suggest that when you get your SR20 (notice I didn’t say “if” [:D]) you also get a number of CBT items to help you stay refreshed about your aircraft’s systems and operation. I also agree with my friend Rick and simply recognize that at 50 hours your personal minimums would be well served to be higher and that you get with a good Cirrus Standardized Instructor Program (CSIP) pilot on the very regular basis.

COPA is in no way directly a part of Cirrus Aircraft. They are the ones who designate Cirrus Authorized Service Centers and designate CSIP’s. They maintain those lists on their website. We are working to have our own databases someday. But, let me urge you to join COPA as part of your due diligence, not only will it be the best $65/year you will ever spend on aviation, you will get to interact with a very wide variety of Cirrus pilots and meet some who may even be based right at your home field.

Finally, allow me to make a brief suggestion: Aspire to double your flight hours. Make 100 hours a year a goal. If you fall short, don’t beat yourself up, simply say “next year I will fly more hours than this year.” Believe me when I tell you that these planes make you smile when you fly them. And you will enjoy smiling!

Be safe, have fun,

Paul: This links to the locator on Cirrus Aircraft’s website. Plug in your location and it generates a list of Cirrus training centers. It can also generate a list of Cirrus instructor pilots in your area.

Let us know what you decide. Hope to see you as a COPA member.

Thomas I’ll concede to that point. However I’ve taught a lot of 50 hour per year european pilots. Let’s agree that 50 hours in the Cherokee is not synonymous nor do it happen to cross paths every once in a while with 50 hours in a SR. it requires a whole different level of dedication

Thank you for the link.

I already joined COPA, yesterday :slight_smile: I may have been too fast I guess.

Anyway I was quite surprised by opinions on SR20. I did not think that it is such a dangerous airplane. On the other hand I am curious what makes this airplane so much more dangerous than lets say DA40 or Cherokee?

Dangerous no, but they have nothing in common with the DA 40 or Cherokee. Fact that they are airplanes, the similarities pretty much end there. Continue this on the member side. Welcome to Copa.

What’s so different about them comparing to Bonanza or any other high performance single?

I agree, I have about 700 hrs in my 2 and about 50 in other high performance planes, and the Cirrus is far simpler to operate, and easy to land,

The biggest problems, in my opinon, are weather related and mixing business and flying, Of course familiarity and frequency are very important, with only 50 hrs a yr, a rental or partnership would be the way to go


I already joined COPA, yesterday

congratulations, best 65 bucks you can invest in flying,you will learn a bit, i ams sure, welcome