New to SR20 and having a bear landing

I’m VFR with about 130 hours. I joined a club that has an SR20 and a couple of SR22’s.

I have been having a tough time transitioning to the SR20 from the Piper Cherokee Warrior I rented at MDW. I love the aircraft but I’m having a tough time with the landings.

Part of the problem has been a lack of time in the air, wife and I just had our first baby. I’m getting back into it but I’ve got about 15 hours in the plane and sill don’t feel that comfortable with the landings.

Looking over some of the posts, it seems like others have had similar experiences reaching a comfort level with the landings.

Any suggestions?

I have a 22 but landing is basically the same, power management is key.

The best way to improve landings is to do a bunch of them. In the 22 I practice patternwork at least once a month. I work on flying 100k downwind, 90k base, 80 final and 75 over the numbers. I also work on 17 MP on Downwind, 15 on base and 12 on final. This sets up a nice landing attitude in no wind conditions.

Since you are in a club take someone else along who has time in landing a 20 and let them give you pointers.

Good Luck


My own technique is to accept the fact that you don’t “land” the plane. You bring it to the end of the runway and level off at landing speed at 2 feet adjusting pitch attitude unitl the plane lands itself. Also, you must let the plane roll down the runway on main gear not letting the nose down until it won’t stay up by itself.

Can you describe what you mean by “a tough time” in a little more detail? What seems to be going wrong with your landings? With a little more insight into the problems you’re experiencing, we may be able to provide better suggestions.


i have a ‘20 and will reiterate what these guys said. the plane will float if you come in too fast. conversly, too slow and it’ll drop on you. my advice is that if you have 4000’ of runway land with 1/2 flaps, come over the numbers between 70 and 78 kts. fly the plane to 5’ then just fly it down the runway trying to hold level. the plane will land itself…

Have a CFI in the right seat, and do a series of low approaches to gain familiarity with the plane in ground effect. ANY power left on past the numbers will make you float for a long time.

I had a similar experience after getting my plane. A local CFII helped out with another technique. Come in to land and try to just fly down the runway a few feet off the ground. Once you can do that it’s just a matter of letting the plane land once you are in that attitude.

A lot of the comments posted here are excellent. I can add a couple of points:

You need to practice with a CFI who is very comfortable in a Cirrus, not one who has had a few hours and says he is.

If the sight picutre of the landing or the “difference in landing feel between a Cessna and a Cirrus” is an issue, try this:

On a day when you have time, or the tower’s gives you permission to do so, pull onto the runway and sit there. Look at the sight picture. Get comfortable with it. Now, imagine the glare shield up about one inch. This is what it will look like at touchdown and slightly before.

If you bounce, you are landing too fast (you need lift to have a bounce) and or you are landing nosewheel first. Either way, this is a big no-no!

To your comment that you have no idea when the wheels will hit, neither do I! If you are at the right attitude, the right altitude, and not way to fast, the plane will land when it is good and ready, and it will be a very good landing.[:)]

Good luck

If you join COPA, you can download the latest newsletter. There is a short article by Bob Price on landing speeds for both the SR20 and SR22. The point of the article is that landing speeds in the POH are for max gross weight. Any weight below max gross requires a reduction in landing speed.

If you are alone in the plane with half fuel and use the max gross landing speeds, you are going to float for a long time and use up a lot of runway. You do not have to float to have nice soft landings.

The article does not give speeds for short field landings, but the same principle applies. The short field speed at any given weight will be about 3 knots less than the normal landing speed. At the short field speeds the landings will be a bit firmer than the normal landings but they help reduce the ground roll significantly.

Just thought I’d mention a converse issue - when I now fly Pipers I have to really remember to pull back far enough on the yoke to avoid landing flat - after the small wrist movements involved in flying the cirrus (no comments please :slight_smile: the fuller arm movements of a yoke in the flare needs remembering.


Thanks for responding Roger, Mason’s post goes to some of my issues but he flies the SR-22.

Specifically, I was looking for some guidance on power settings and airspeeds in the traffic pattern for the SR-20. Mason’s setting on the SR-22 sound reasonable for the SR-20 too.

Also, I’m having a tough time judging when the wheels are going to contact the runway. The flare (or lack of flare) just before touchdown is really different, any suggestions there.

Appreciate the input.

In reply to:

Specifically, I was looking for some guidance on power settings and airspeeds in the traffic pattern for the SR-20. Mason’s setting on the SR-22 sound reasonable for the SR-20 too.

Sorry, but aren’t the instructors who are checking you out to fly the plane going over that info with you?

And regarding those speeds, I’m sure some '20 fliers on this board can specify, but I understand that the '20’s speeds in the pattern are 5 knots slower on each leg. I fly the 22, so I’m not exactly sure. Ultimately though, this is not where you should be learning pattern speeds if you’ve gone through a checkout.

What is most of your time in up to now?


Any good CFI can help you with some pattern work. They do not even need experience in a Cirrus. Go out fly and try out different speeds and MP. Most of these single engine planes are very similar the numbers will not be that different.

As you fly the pattern take notes and once once you find what works put a sticky note on the dash to remind you when you practice alone. With only 15 hours in the plane I would expect you to be able to land the plane safely on a runway of greater than 3,500 feet. But I would say precision comes with time and lots of landings. I logged 27 touch and goes in my Cirrus during my factory training but needed another 25 or so to really feel good about my landings.

Have fun and fly!!


I can’t give you any numbers for the SR20.

Regarding landing the SRXX in general, airspeed control is important. I want to see 80 over the fence. That is basically the last point at which I am looking at airspeed. Take off the remaining power over the numbers.

Regarding your question: “Also, I’m having a tough time judging when the wheels are going to contact the runway. The flare (or lack of flare) just before touchdown is really different, any suggestions there.”

My suggestion is make sure you are close enough to the runway before you start to add nose up elevator. Concentrate on continuing to fly at about 2’ AGL. You keep raising the nose gradually to maintain that altitude. The attitude of the aircraft is going to very gradually become more nose up.

Others have commented on the fact that because of the shape of the cowling that the appearance from the cockpit is that the nose is more flat. In fact, the view from the side of the runway is probably similar to most other aircraft.

The exact time of the touchdown really does not matter. After the mains touch keep adding up elevator to maintain a nose up attitude. When the elevator stops flying the nose will eventually come down. By then most of your speed should be gone.

If you focus on “flying” instead of “landing” the process will go just fine. With the airspeed right at the beginning and with the power at idle flying just over the runway will work out fine. Early on I would get the attitude in about the right place and then stop the movement of the elevator. I think the thought was “this looks about right, don’t change anything”. This is not the way to do it. There needs to be a continuous but gradual increase in up elevator throughout the process. The movement, however, is small. Think of additional pressure on the stick and not movement.

The sight picture of the nose is telling you how much to add and how quickly.

Too much and it will balloon and you will eventually land hard. Too little and you will land hard.

After a while you will find, occasionally, a circumstance where the only indication of touchdown is the rolling sound of the mains. No bump, no chirp, just the commencement of a rolling of the wheels. I can’t claim that very often, but it does happen.

In reply to:

I was looking for some guidance on power settings and airspeeds in the traffic pattern

On downwind you want to be under 120 knots so that you can get the first stage of flap out. I usually wait till I’m on final to take 100% flaps, so on base you can be anywhere between 80 and 100 knots. On final you want to be at 80 knots, over the fence you should be around 75 at max weight, and slower for lower weights. After that you shouldn’t be looking at the airspeed indicator.

Power settings are whatever you need to achieve these speeds and the correct glidepath! There are no magic numbers for power settings. If you’re doing circuits then I suggest on downwind pull the lever back until you feel some resistance - I can’t tell you what MP that is, but if it gets you around 100-110 knots then it’s right. When ready to turn base, pull the lever back some more (quite a bit), lower 50% flap and trim the nose down. Then adjust the power to get the airspeed and descent rate you want.

Flying circuits is all about adapting to the wind, traffic and a myriad other variables. There is no formula for power settings that will achieve the desired result every time.

In reply to:

Also, I’m having a tough time judging when the wheels are going to contact the runway

The single most important thing is that once you start the flare, look at the far end of the runway. Even if you can’t judge precisely how high you are, you WILL be able to judge your descent rate, and as long as you descend towards the runway at a slow, steady rate, sooner or later the wheels will touch and you’ll be down. If you look at the runway in front of you, then you will usually land too hard, or balloon - because not only can’t you judge your height, but you can’t judge your descent rate.

I had a similar problem when first learning to land a 20 ( I now have a 22 with 275+ hours). All of the suggestions contained here are good. One thing that I found helped me was to do about 10 landings that are full stops. If you do touch and go’s, subconsciously part of your attention is directed to the upcoming takeoff. After I did this, I found that my confidence and proficiency levels went up considerably.

John Kinsey

I have about 1400 hours in Cessna 172s which are notorious for “floating” if too much power is carried over the numbers, plus they tend to be a handful in strong crosswinds.

We all know that the reason planes “float” over the runway is that they’re still generating lift and still want to fly. So one way to stop the float is to remove some lift. Well, if you want to remove some lift, why not remove the source of a big part of that lift, namely the flaps.

I was taught this by an old time pilot some years back. He asked me why I carried my flaps all the way to the ground on those occasions when I was fast (to compensate for gusty conditions) or in severe crosswinds (when flaps made the problem worse). I thought he meant that I should be doing a “no flap” landing. What he suggested was that I remove the flaps once I’m in ground effect.

Now, this technique might add to the workload of a relatively new pilot, so it might not be for everybody, but I find it to be very effective on those days when I want to come in fast over the numbers, (like wintertime in the Florida Keys, when winds can be 15-20kts with gusts to 35kts) or any time I want to minimize lift. Contrary to what many who haven’t tried it tend to think, the plane doesn’t “plummet to earth” or anything of that nature. I just loses some lift and settles gently to the ground.

In the SR20, I might go from 100% flaps to 50% flaps as soon as I’m in ground effect, thereby dumping some lift AND being perfectly configured in case the need arises for a go-around. This technique would allow you to be a little fast over the numbers if you prefer (adding 5 kts for the kids, as they say), and still get your plane down quickly.

I don’t know of any flight schools who teach this technique, but I would estimate that I’ve used it over 200 times and it has been very effective.

I’ll find out for sure soon. SR 20 #1372 (Tail number N21ZE) is due Oct 20th! Latest pic is attached…

Lost of good posts here. Prepare for a very jumbled reply! hope this helps.

Marty 836C SR20

I have an SR20, and 170 hours. 50 hours ago, I was pretty much where you are now. I was transitioning from a 172 and really having a tough time. I was coming in too hot and too flat and my confidence was weak. My sight picture was all screwed up as well.

The first part of my solution was to read everything I could find on COPA about landing the Cirrus. Everyone raved about how easy it was! I felt a bit of an idiot, because it wasn’t easy for me, and there where times I thought I had bitten off more than my low hours could chew.

I took my CFI 4 times over the course of a week up in the pattern to practice. I worked on adding variables one at a time. Day 1, no wind, huge KDET 15-33 runway. Day 2, 5 kts, huge KDET 15-33 runway, Day 3, no wind, much smaller 7D2 runway, etc

Bit by bit I got more confident, as you will as well. Sat afternoon I did 20 touch and go’s at KDET with a 14G18 left crosswind. I practiced full flaps, 1/2 flaps, no flaps, left traffic, right traffic and did 6 or 7 simulated engine outs. I was happy with all landings; my main area of fine tuning I am working on now is training myself not to bring the nosewheel down right away.

The quick and dirty advice I can give you is as follows:

(1) Don’t come in hot

(2) Let the plane land itself

From here I will cut and paste a more detailed email I wrote to another fellow who is soon to go through the same transition:

Slow and Forgiving to Fast and Slippery

You really have a lot of time going around the pattern in a Cessna. In the 20, things happen a lot faster. Also, the 20 reacts a LOT more quickly to stick movement than the Cessna. All of this combined will make for a nervous final, especially since you are used to final at 50 kts and now you will be using 80 kts. (UND teaches 80, but POH says 75 and COPA says 75 to 72 depending on weight, but that is another story). I spend a lot of time on landings.

Actual landing technique. There is a lot on the COPA site about this. If not a member, become one. Use “search” and read read read.

Basically rather than pull power over the numbers, flare high and let the plane settle, you “drive the plane down to the ground” with manifold pressure at 12 inches or so. Once close to the ground (this will feel uncomfortable) you “round out” rather than doing a cessna-like flare. As the plane begins to settle you gradually reduce power to idle (many prefer to come in with no power after the fence, but this is how UND teaches it). You will be pulling the stick back but with nowhere near the force you use in a Cessna. If you do you risk bouncing the nose. The 20 is much more sensitive here, and you cannot count on the 172 technique of “just re-land it”. Any bouncing of say more than 2 bounces means GO AROUND.

Bouncing is caused primarily by pulling too aggessively in flare and by coming in too hot. The UND folks will teach 80 kts over the numbers. This is highly ridiculed in COPA. Basically the opinion is that UND is trying to protect beginners from doing a tail-strike (expensive to fix), by coming in hot and flat. While your final will be more traditional glideslope than Cessna high, I believe that UND’s hot and flat approach makes the transition more difficult. Why? It teaches you to float and put the plane down before it is ready to stop flying…and this can cause bouncing. In the end, you will teach yourself to come over the numbers at 1.3 x VS0…which can be as high as 75 and as low as 68 (in my plane) depending on weight. You should hear the stall horn as you land. If you don’t hear it at least once every 3 landings you are coming in too hot.

Once you get the hang of it, you will find that landings in the 20 are almost zen. Especially when you still have the memory of the transition as a background. Rather than landing the plane, you are allowing the plane to land itself. Unfortunately I believe the only way to learn this is by practice practice practice. Rinse and repeat until comforable.

Other issues:

Cross wind taxing. Issue in the 172, non-issue in the 20.
Cross wind take-offs. Issue in the 172, non-issue in the 20.
Cross wind landings. Big issue in the 172, minor issue in the 20. Basically I have done 15 kts direct right crosswind with only minor adjustments. Hardly worth mentioning.
Right ruddle on take-off. Hardly necessary in 172. Very necessary in the 20.

I remember reading another post on switching to 50% flaps while in ground effect (course, you might have written that one as well).

I look forward to trying that as I refine my skills. Of course I’d try it first on a no-variable day, but it sounds like an interesting technique.

Do you find much change in pitch attitude in ground effect when you change flaps from 100% to 50%?

Marty 836C

In reply to:

Well, if you want to remove some lift, why not remove the source of a big part of that lift, namely the flaps.

I don’t think that’s a good idea. (CFI hat on.) You’re masking the problem - too much speed. Why not correct the actual problem rather than try to work around it? If you set yourself up for using this technique to compensate for too much speed you are not going to be able to master the speed required for short field operations.

I say fix the problem. Learn what speed to use on final (which is dependent on weight) and how to attain and maintain that speed with accuracy.

For the SR22, I use 77 knots minus 1 knot for every 100 pounds under max gross weight.

Carrying too much speed is, by a huge margin, the biggest error I see pilots making when I watch landings. A stabilized approach at the right speed solves many of the problems (float, bounce, nosewheel plant, etc.) before they can even take place.