I am sure Cirrus enthusiast are tired of hearing this! Help

I am a private pilot with just over 100 hours. I currently fly a Diamond DA40 XLS. I love the plane but the feed back I constantly get (my wife) and even me is it is terribly uncomfortable and cramped. I have the opportunity to get checked out in a 2004 SR20 from a local FBO and it seems everywhere I read or anyone I spoke to states this is not a good idea for a low time non insturment rated pilot. I do believe the aircraft is only as safe as it’s PIC. I did take a discovery flight of sorts and the comfort for me and my passenger was 10 times what I am used to. I would love toi get checked out in this plane if everyone would just stop trying to scare me away from it. My typical mission ranges from local dinner flights to short cross countries 200 to 300 NM. I am very conservative when it comes to weather etc. I would appreciate any feedback to ease my anxiety. It seems the performance on the DA 40 XLS is comparable to the SR20.


Add your statement to obtaining transition training from a Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot (CSIP) and I think you’ll find it very manageable. Don’t short cut the training with a very qualified CSIP though. My 18 year old son obtained his private in a Cessna, but immediately transitioned to the Cirrus SR22 and obtained his instrument ticket in it a few weeks back. In comparing the two, he felt the transition was pretty easy. He does understand the speed difference and margin of error is quite different. Again proper training will ingrain the right techniques. I also encourage you to join COPA and you will see there are many examples of pilots like yourself and some who bought the Cirrus to start the initial training.


You obviously understand that any aircraft is only as safe as the PIC. That’s the hard truth of GA safety. The SR20 is not particularly difficult to fly and as long as you stay well clear of IMC you certainly don’t need an instrument rating, although getting one will make you a more proficient pilot.

The key is to understand your limitations and get top quality training until you are comfortable in the airplane. If the plane belongs to an FBO they may insist you use one of their instructors for checkout. I would be very careful about that unless the instructor has lots of time in the Cirrus and is totally familiar with it. A major issue with instructors who are NOT totally comfortable with the airplane is recommending too much speed on final. Another important instructional issue is proper use of CAPS.

As Randy said there are many COPA members who used the SR20 or 22 for initial private pilot training and are doing fine.

If you really want to fly a Cirrus, join COPA because there is an incredible amount of information and help available in the Member’s Section.


I have been flying an sr20 now for 6 years. I purchased it right after I received my
pilots license at 43 hrs. It was a great improvement from the rental that I used. My flying mission is quite like yours and I find it very comfortable on cross country flights. Like any aircraft that you fly it
is very important to stay proficient. I’m not sure why one would try to scare you away from the other than the fact of fear of the unknown. You can’t always know what one’s agenda is. Every plane fly’s a bit different and once you get to know and understand those differences your
comfort level will increase. I also recommend joining COPA for the collective knowledge that is available from the membership. Good luck.


I am a similar profile. 80 hours but in a 172. Took several years off from flying and got back into it with an SR20. Loved flying SR20. You will need to commit to solid transition training and frequently flying the plane. Unfortunately I haven’t been up in several months…but love to fly the Cirrus!
My plan is to purchase an SR22 hopefully sooner than later!

To my thinking, the SR20 is a perfect fit for your mission needs… Unless you live in the Rockies and need a bit more power to get over the higher humps.[Y]

Adopt the “mindset” that you are transitioning to a Malibu or PA46 or something similar. Not quite the same and a little overkill, but adds a safe perspective. Train, train, fly safe. Too many figure it’s like going from a 172 to 182 and that’s under kill that may bite.
My $.02

I purchased an SR20 and took delivery – with a CFI along – 30 days before I had my Private Pilot certificate (training in a Warrior). I spent 10 hours with an instructor to transition to the SR20. Now, I have 2,200 Cirrus hours. Recognize that in some ways the SR20 is a safer aircraft than the DA40 you are flying, primarily the chute.

Echoing Dr. Seckler’s comments, you should strongly resist any suggestion or impulse to add a few knots on landing to (supposedly) increase the margin for safety. The more you increase your short final speed over the POH values, the less safe you become. You should strive to touch down at stall speed, or very close to it. It is a significant, important safety issue.

Jim, welcome to COPA.

One place to get more stories from COPA members who transitioned to a Cirrus early in their flight careers is to search for the Newbies tag. Lots more on the member side. Click on the tag and see what comes up! [;)]

Before I had my private pilot license, I considered an SR22 and COPA members helped me through my similar anxiety. Very generous group. That was in 2001. I bought an SR22 without ever sitting in one (those were days when there were few demos and long production backlogs) and picked it up with 65 hours total time. Now I have a few more hours. Flying a Cirrus changed my life – and lifestyle! [;)]


Jim, as a self-proclaimed Cirrus safety zealot, let me address the scare tactics.

IMHO, you are only as safe as the instructor who signs you off. So, choose your instructor carefully.

Low time-in=type pilots show up in accident reports a lot, much more often than those with higher time-in-type. In our fleet, about half of the pilots in Cirrus fatal accidents have less than 250 hours time-in-type, which is consistent with the book “The Killing Zone: How and Why Pilots Die” that promotes the caution about gaining experience thoughtfully and carefully. Doesn’t matter how many total hours they have, but it does matter what experience they have in a new airplane!

As to the idea that you should not fly a Cirrus as a low-time non-instrument rated pilot, consider that several university aviation programs, the Air Force Academy, and several Cirrus flight training centers all provide ab initio training for zero-time pilots. Very few accidents. Very successful pilot training programs. Why not you?!?

Not consistent with the conventional wisdom that you should train in a trainer and then sequence through more sophisticated airplanes. Better seems to be to train in the aircraft that you plane to fly your missions with instructors that give you the confidence to handle real-world aeronautical decisions. One approach takes years, the other takes discipline. I strongly prefer instructors who instill discipline.

One data point: The Flight Academy has trained over 100 Cirrus pilots in SR20, SR22, SR22 turbo, and SR22T airplanes from zero time!

Feel free to call them or me at 619-920-2120 for more anxiety reduction! [;)]


Thanks to all for your feedback. The key seems uniform. Be sure to get checked out by a qualified instructor that understands thoroughly what it takes to fly this aircraft. I will do MY due diligence before I proceed. I was amazed at how comfortable and capable this aircraft is. I am not knocking the Diamond as it is a great, safe plane but I am only good for an hour before I am terribly uncomfortable. I will join COPA and will keep everyone in the loop on my progress


Agree with all of above. Check out Critical Decision Making program (CDMA ) on COPA site and perhaps bring instructor along if one is nearby. It’s FREE and the instructor will probably learn something. Also CPPP program . Just 2 of the many benefits for joining COPA.

irregardless Read “The Killing Zine” and avoid the mistakes listed.my best recommendation for any new pilot.

Jim … I also acquired my private certificate in a DA40. I had approximately 150 hours when I purchased a SR22 TN Perspective and I found the transition relatively easy. The avionics are very similar and the Cirrus is easier to fly in some respects. I encourage to move forward, but make sure to get top notch instruction.


I know what your going through. I also had a DA40 for awhile which was great for around the patch but very uncomfortable on long cross country flights. My wife hated it for the following reasons. Seats did not recline, stick between her legs, Very hot cabin, No room to relax and read her book. She did sit in the back which was a lot better but in the summer time she would not fly at all because of the heat. I sold the plane and bought an SR22 which has been great!! When the wife is happy life is soo much better!!! I would go for the SR20 it shouldn’t be that much of a transition and I would recommend going through the transition training course. Good Luck!!

Thank you everyone for your words of encouragement. I am taking a flight Sunday morning to check it out. Sat in it today and I felt like I was in a 5 series BMW compare to the Toyota Corolla interior in the Diamond I fly. I also received new that this FBO is adding another 20 but the steam guage version which is still not a bad ride. I am attending the COPA critical decision making event @ Heavens Landing 9/1 and look forward to learning more.

That steam gauge plane will be the most reliable of them. Fly it

See you at the CDM- should be fun.

I like a 20, or a 22. If I had more money, I’d like a TN plane, too.

I think it can be learned safely. All the old salts advise against it, but loads of Cirrus pilots have learned in this slick, high performance plane. The old salts still hate it, but I bet 1000 pilots trained primary or IR in the SR 2X series.

I bet 500 of them never would have bothered if Cirrus hadn’t come along.

It’s an easy swap from a Diamond, but it’s more dangerous.

Everything is more dangerous than a Diamond.

Good luck!


I came from a 172 with about 450 hours, and now have about 750 hours in a 2003 SR20. I love it but would trade up in a heart-beat to a 22 if I turned over a rock that happened to have a 100 K under it. Maybe even an eclipse if had a mil or two. However since both events are unlikely, N8148M will most likely be the first and last plane I ever own. I still love it, even though I have turbo envy from the like of Joe, Curt, et. al. Learn as much as you can from COPA. Good Luck!

How is it going? Did you enjoy the CDM? Have you taken transition training? Inquiring minds want to know!

get the cirrus and make your wife happy. As long as you stay conservatve you’ll be just fine