Flying the Bird Home

I am still in the dreaming stage about buying a new SR20, but as part of that dream, I have to figure that I would fly the plane from Duluth to So. California.(Compton). What can someone tell me about the flight and procedure? Have any of you done it, by yourself, or did you bring a partner? Does Cirrus provide or offer a copilot, or even ferry it for you? It looks to me as if you have to fly almost due south and through NM to get around the Rockies. Looks like about 1,500 miles and about 10 hours of flying time with a number of stops. Any tales to tell?


Check out my story-link below-about my checkout and flight to LA (Van Nuys) from Duluth. I’m sure you could hire a pilot to accompany you, but then again, you might just want to do the trip alone once you’re comfortable and safe in the aircraft. I always enjoy flying with friends, but I quite enjoy flying solo too. And besides, your first solo long cross country in your new plane would be a bit of a rite of passage, don’t you think? Regardless, the southern route is probably best, especially during the winter months.



Lots of folks have done this flight. As you suggest, one route is to do an end run around the Rockies via New Mexico. Another is to follow Interstate 80 across Wyoming to Salt Lake City, and thence either to Reno or Las Vegas. Either way the terrain is remarkably flat and the pilot’s scalp remains comfortably loose.

Cirrus will deliver the plane to you (for a fee), or you can pay to have a CFI accompany you home. One of the best folks you could choose for this purpose is Luke Lysen of Flight Academy, who specializes in Cirrus instruction. We used Luke to help us bring our SR20 back to Santa Barbara, and can recommend him without reservation.


For SR22s Continental recommends that the plane be flown at max power during the break in period. The max altitude at which max power can be achieved in the 22 is 8,000 ft. If this is the same for the SR20 then you need to fly down towards the El Paso area, across to Tucson and then work your way west depending where you are going in SOCAL.

If you can find someone with a flight planning program like Flitestar the program can work out the route for you.

If at all possible do the flight yourself with a instructor
or copilot you comfortable with. There’s nothing like
bringing your new baby home her maiden flight. Besides
don’t you want to be at the controls when you touch down for the first time at your home airport. It will be a ever lasting
memory. Best of luck…

You don’t have to go all the way to El Paso; you can get by Santa Fe at around 8000 if you like tumbleweeds in your wheels while crossing Glorieta Mesa (for three minutes) or you can climb to 8500 and get a nice view. I don’t think the engine would mind too much and the flight would be quite a bit shorter.

I picked up my first Cirrus with an instructor because it was also my first real Cross Country XC, but it wasn’t really necessary. The second Cirrus I picked up with a non-pilot friend and we had a blast.

In reply to:

Besides don’t you want to be at the controls when you touch down for the first time at your home airport. It will be a ever lasting memory.

The nice thing about coming home with an instructor is you get two nice memories – your first landing at home, and later your first solo landing at home.