Initial Training in Cirrus SR20?

Is initial training in a Cirrus SR20 recommended or discouraged?

I’ve read that the SR20 is so fast that it may not be a good choice for a low or no-time student pilot.

Despite reading this (in a post by a seemingly happy SR20 owner), I’ve sat in a Cirrus (on the ground at a Parade of Planes event), and I like it’s forward-visibility, the control stick placement, and the instrumentation. I’ve also sat in, and flown, a Cessna 172 but didn’t like its visibility, yoke or instrumentation. I’ve also flown a Diamond DA40 and liked it.

I’m moving to another city soon, and the local flight school there doesn’t have a DA40 in its fleet, but does have an SR20 and a Cessna. My logged flight time is spread over a couple of years, so I’m almost as far away from being ready for a checkride as when I began. That’s why I classify myself as someone who will be doing “initial” training.

Your thoughts would be appreciated, and I’d especially like to hear from anyone who began flight training in a Cirrus.

Where will you be moving to? You want to be sure your instructor is very serious about Cirrus training. There are good and not so good ones out there. I think you can learn to fly in the SR but you should know it is more plane and it will take longer to get to your PPL…compare it to learning to drive a car in a 4 cylinder chevy or a corvette. I learned in a 172, great training platform, but i knew I wanted a Cirrus and bought mine right after i got my PPL. I am now deep into instrument training in my own plane. I like that,alot! You need to also look at cost factors. The rental on the Cessna vs the Cirrus…you will get some great qualified feedback here. Good luck to you!

I’ll be moving to Boston, and am looking (online) at East Coast Aero Club. It has two or three Cirrus, three Boston-area locations, and many instructors, so I have reason to believe that it’s serious about Cirrus training.

The Cirrus blog had a post not long ago about a 0-time customer who bought a Turbo Cirrus and did his 0-to-PPL training in it, in just three months. On the other hand, East Coast Aero Club classifies its Cirrus SR20 and SR22 as “high performance” aircraft, as compared to its Cessna 172s and Piper Warriors which it classifies as “trainers.”

I’m getting into flying late: I’m almost 65 years old already. So for me, training isn’t as much a means-to-an-end as an activity that I want to be pleasurable for its own sake (somewhat like folks who take ski lessons whenever they ski - not so much to learn how to ski on their own, but for the more enjoyable ski experience they have while taking lessons).

If I thought there were lots of 0-to-PPL pilots who trained in a Cirrus, I’d be encouraged to do so, despite the cost difference. I’m wondering whether the 0-to-PPL fellow featured in the Cirrus blog was something of a rarity.


You’ve asked a question that has been extensively covered in previous COPA threads. The search capability on COPA is sub-optimal, so try using different search terms and don’t give up too easily. Tip: to search for posts containing the words SR-20 and initial and training, use the search term SR-20 AND initial AND training. (Also try SR20, etc.)

After wading through the possibly hundreds of posts on this topic, you will learn that:

  1. COPAns have divergent opinions on this issue, highly infected by primacy bias. Almost everyone who learned on a Cirrus will insist that it’s a fine route. And most (but not quite as large a preponderance of) folks who learned on a more traditional platform, say, a 172, will insist that learning on a Cirrus is a waste of money, and possibly narrows your expectations unhealthily. Few, if any, will agree that learning on an SR-20 is dangerous.
  2. You’ll need to filter out noise about whether an SR-20 or an SR-22 is better suited to initial training.
    My suggestion is not to overthink the question. Just go out and learn on whatever is affordable and available. As soon as you can. Much better than “kicking around on a piece of ground in your home town waiting for someone or something to show you the way”.

Furthermore, this thread is in the non-member public Guest forum. There is considerably more available accessible through the Member forum.

One thing we’ve done is tag posts by similar “newbies” with the Newbies tag. Here on the Guest forum, this is the only thread. However, in the Cirrus - Flying and General forum, there are at least 50 threads to review.


One prominent Cirrus training center, The Flight Academy, reports that they have had at least 83 clients learn to fly in Cirrus aircraft, or as you put it 0-to-PPL pilots, many of whom also got their instrument ratings at the same time. To learn more, I suggest you talk with them about their experience with people in your situation. Even if you end up training with a different instructor or training center, their insights will undoubtedly help you.


I have 2 students that I trained up in Boston - 1 of those from zero to private. I’d suggest you get together with him to gauge his experience. You can email me and I’ll connect you both.

I thought my question must have been asked many times, so before I posted my question, I did a search (using Google-like inquiries), but came up dry. So I was glad to read your post, telling me that most of what’s online is in the Member forum (rather than this Guest forum).

When I used your recommended search technique, I had several useful hits . . . almost all of them, responses that were posted in this very thread.

Rick’s link to The Flight Academy lead me (eventually, after following a few links) to a published article in Cirrus Pilot that addressed my questions directly, with the pros of doing initial training in a Cirrus and the cons.

Thanks for all the responses. I appreciate the help.

Hi Lon,

I went “0-to-PPL” with Alex in his 20 a year ago and have since moved to Boston. For me it was a pretty easy call, as I had some right seat time in another friend’s 22 and knew that it was the plane I wanted (and still want) to end up in. Only downside is that now I’m spoiled, and the couple of times I’ve been up in a 172 I feel like I’m driving a slow & clunky bus.

Happy to chat with you about my experience if helpful, and also interested to compare notes on East Coast Aero at some point – hoping to start my instrument training this spring & considering doing it with them out of OWD and/or BED. Shoot me an email anytime.


Good point Jason:

One is defenitely spoiled in a sleek, responsive Cirrus. Hard to go back to the 172 after that experience. Hard to believe but true that a new 172XP was selling for just slightly less than a naked SR 20 in 2007.

I am really disappointed in myself that I cannot come up with an apropriate Pink Floyd quote at this point.

Better yet, back in 1998 a 172S (Skyhawk SP) with their NAV II avionics package and a single moving map GPS would set you back a cool $250,000. That’s $70,000 MORE than the contract price for a “B” model SR20 at the time…

As a 61 yo, 2 friends and I dove into the cold abyss and bought a 07 sr-20. None of us had a PPL at that time but knew it would be cheaper to pay ourselves. I had a mission in mind- kids in college 135 miles and 225 miles away - I had about 30 hr in college 1968 but 0 since and started about a year back to re-learn. It takes time especially if in the middle of a busy carerr that pays for the plane, it takes longer and don’t compare your self to your friend that got his PPL in 50 hrs. I have accepted the fact that it will take me more hours because of career demands but who care- it is irelevant because its about you and being safe.

It take time to committ and study and though it is a techically very sophisticated plane, just get a great instructor and never never forget the pattern and final speeds. Use the GArmin simulators on the web to learn your radios, and learn them early. I bought the aerosim cirrus simulator and learned the MFD, PFD, AutoP, transponder and Garmins and it was a well spent $450 becuase I could learn it on my computer before hand.

Technically advanced and challenging yes

Hand down worth it