Newly Minted Pilot - Looking for advice on SR20 or 22

Hi All:

Newly minted pilot here with 100 hours +, HP endorsement. I’ll begin working on my IFR shortly as was looking for a plane. Enjoy the flying tremendously and have scheduled plans for Tail wheel endorsement and Acro. However I need to get a traveling plane that fits at least 4. I trained in a Cessna 172 and 182, both easy to fly and control, particularly in stalls. My instructors have tremendous experience (20,000 hours) and I’ve heard mixed reviews on the cirrus planes. Technologically they are very appealing, particularly visibility and internal styling. The stick seems a bit odd given I’ve been flying conventional control type planes. Also I’ve heard they are impossible to get out of a spin which is why you have CAPS, but mixed reviews on that as well. I have heard they are difficult to trim in cruise and need AP. I tend to like hand flying them. Also, I understand controls are spring loaded and you lose the feel for the plane in slow flight. I’ll be flying one next week, but would appreciate any comments, good or bad, on the ease of flight of the cirrus planes.

Finally, is there a real marked difference between the 20 and the 22 if the mission is trips in the 300NM range? Some of the 2001 and 2002 Cirrus look like particularly good deals right now. Any issues with them given they were the initial production runs?

Thanks everyone for the help.


Welcome! Many questions, I’ll try to tackle a few. First, whenever people are judging the Cirrus, it helps to get their background. In other words: Have they ever flown one? In that regard, you are doing the exact right thing by going to fly one. I hope it is with someone who knows the airplane well, preferably a Cirrus Standardized Instructor (CSIP).

As a travel airplane, Cirrii are hard to beat. If you want 4 people in it, you’ll likely need the more powerful SR22. The early generations tend to have more useful load than the later ones, with the exception of the latest G5, of course. Only the very latest versions offer 5 seats.

As you will learn when you fly a Cirrus with an experienced Cirrus instructor, the aircraft is easy to fly and control, particularly in stalls. The latter more so than in a C172 due to the wing cuffs.Spins are prohibited in the Cirrus, as they are in many other aircraft, including (some versions of) the ones you mention. The approved way to recover from an inadvertent spin in a Cirrus is to pull the parachute. But the reasoning you give is backwards. Cirrus wanted to have a parachute for a ton of reasons, the primary being recovery from mid-airs. So basically they asked the FAA if they could save the money normally going into spin testing and develop the chute instead. They would then prove that - with regard to spin recovery - the chute would provide an equivalent level of safety (ELOS) compared to spin testing and conventional spin recovery. The FAA bought into that concept. It is not true that spin testing was done first, the Cirrus failed it and then they built in the chute. The chute was designed into the plane from the beginning. FWIW, the EASA required limited spin testing from Cirrus, which the plane passed without problems. However, CAPS has proven to be a great safety asset in all kinds of emergencies.

Learning the stick (which is really a yoke turned 45 degrees to one side) takes about 60 … seconds. Trimming is done via a coolie hat on the stick, which seems to come natural to “the PC joystick games” generation, but sometimes appears difficult for some guys that didn’t grow up with MS Flight Simulator. Once you get into traveling with your travel airplane, you’ll find you use the AP more and more. But the Cirrus is a joy to handfly. While the controls are indeed spring-loaded, I find it quite easy to feel slow flight.

Have fun trying the Cirrus!

Thank you Thomas, appreciate the reply. Yes, acro, spin, and tail wheel would be in a Decathlon or Citabria. Didn’t mean to imply otherwise. I’ve also read a fair amount on the testing for the CAPS so yes, didn’t mean to imply it was only for a spin situation. Got it on the yoke, yes I’m a joystick guy with a Sim, so hopefully there is some familiarity, although I never use my left hand on the joy stick in a Sim [:)].

How about insurance and maintenance for a low time pilot in a cirrus given the average accident record? I’ve gotten a price up here in NY ($4675), higher than a comparable 182. I’ve also read they are not as good in short fields and definitely not good in soft fields as the wheels are really tight against the fairings and any debris can get lodged in. But that’s probably pilot talk as well. Thanks again.


If you decide to get serious about buying, I’d highly recommend spending the 65 bucks for COPA membership. You’ll find a treasure trove of information. Also, COPA works with an insurance provider that is worth talking to. I forget which. Finally, regarding both prepurchase inspection and maintenance, many people let themselves be helped by and assure us they easily save their yearly fee in maintenance cost.

They are low wing aircraft and as such not as short field capable as the Cessnas, but very comparable to Pipers. I just recently took an SR22 Turbo into and out of a 1400 feet runway, but you need to be light and have to know what you are doing. Same for soft fields. Mud can be a problem. Bush planes they are not. But they are more capable than many think (at the cost of replacing brakes and wheel pants more often than the exclusively-8000-feet-plus-runways user).


Welcome to COPA! When it comes to information supplied by pilots, Sturgeon’s Law represents insanely giddy optimism. The problem of separating signal from noise is worsened by newness - you may not even know what questions to ask, much less how to evaluate the answers. I don’t say it from any sort of position of superiority. As a consultant and academic, I feel this way on practically every new project.

You’re doing absolutely the right thing by inquiring on COPA. However, a universal of first time airplane ownership, especially Cirrus ownership, is a re-calibration of the value of a $100 bill. If you are seriously looking into owning a Cirrus, spring for a COPA membership and dive into the ocean of experiential information (although accompanied by heaps of opinion) available on the member forums. Even if you end up not going with the Cirrus, you’ll find the education invaluable.

That said, if you’d like to hear directly from a fairly price-sensitive 10+ year SR-20 owner (and previous to that, a 172 + 182 partnership member), email me at my last name at and we’ll set up a time to chat on the phone. I’m on Pacific Time.

Thanks Thomas and Sanjay. OK signing up, thanks for the advice!


Welcome Roland!

I bought my 2002 SR20 about a year ago, moving up from a Piper Warrior. My next plane will be an SR22.

Once you fly the Cirrus you will see why we love them.

As others have said, try to go up with a CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot)

There are some issues that you should be aware of.

  1. The ARNAV MFD is no longer supported so try to find a plane with an Avidyne MFD

  2. The Chute needs to be repacked every ten years. a 2001/2002 should have been repacked by now. I would be suspect of a plane more than 10 years old that has not had this done.

  3. I would look for two Garmin 430’s (preferably WAAS but not a deal breaker if the price is right). Some early models had one 430 and one 420.

  4. An SR22 would be better for hauling 4 people that the SR20

  5. Go in with both eyes open. Airplane ownership can offer some financial surprises so be sure you are prepared for that. I would suggest visiting a Cirrus Authorized Service Center in your area and talk to the lead mechanic about some costs.

There is tons of information here. Take a look and come back and ask more questions.

I have flown the Cessna 172/182, Piper Cherokee Series,a Mooney and a few others. I can honestly say that the Cirrus is my favorite. Fast, easy to fly and if the fan stops spinning I have a Chute that can get me safely to the ground.

Have a fun flight!

No inherent issues with the early planes, in fact they offer an amazing bang for your buck. Just as fast and fun as a new one, and great useful load. Just be wary that some “amazing” deals might be priced that way for a reason. Get a good pre-buy inspection. The SR20 has no real advantage over the 22 except possibly insurance rates and slightly lower costs, but once you build more time in type, insurance is very reasonable. As others have said, the side yoke is a non issue. It feels natural almost immediately. If you think about it, with a conventional yoke, most flying is done with the left hand anyway since your other hand is on the throttle and pushing buttons ect… The SR22 can get off the ground in as little as 800ft, and land in 1200 or so with a skilled pilot at the controls, but short fields is something to be crept up on. Grass is ok, provided it is consistently solid. I wouldn’t just land at a random grass strip without knowing its condition. Re the spin thing, while the airplane may recover from spins, they usually take place close to the ground where there isn’t adequate room to recover anyways, so the chute is the best option regardless. Another non-issue. Re the trim, it will take some getting used to, but once you get the feel down, it is much easier than fumbling with wheels. They don’t need an Autopilot. I’ve hand flown 6 hr legs without issue. The Cirrus is an absolutely wonderful traveling machine. You almost always beat the airlines, door to door. Hope this helps

Congrats on the PPL. I’ve had mine for 2 years. I learned on and rented Piper Warrior & Archer. I bought a 2006 SR20 almost a year ago, and I love it, with one reservation.

The side stick is beyond awesome. As soon as you try it, you’ll wonder why all planes don’t have one. There’s no yoke in your way hitting your knees or knee board. The side stick is an even bigger bonus for your passenger. It’s out of THEIR way.

The parachute is a peace of one thing for me. While training in the foothills of the Sierras, and when I looked down, it was clear that Chuck Yeager himself was gonna bite the big one if the engine stopped. If there’s nothing but trees and rocks, gliding to a safe landing just isn’t an option. The parachute is for safety; ignore all of the hearsay and misinformation about spins.

Now, on to the downer. It’s been mentioned twice already. But, be aware of the costs. If you join COPA (please do it’s worth the $65 to help make an informed buying choice, even if you ultimately decide not to buy), have a look at the threads on the cost of replacing the parachute. The cost just went up 40% over what it was (and I had been budgeting for) when I bought mine. I have the Avidyne MFD and PFD. Have a look at those threads. The cost to repair either of them (fixed cost, no matter the problem) just went to beyond stupid. Have a look at the thread to replace the memory battery in the Garmin GPS/NAV devices (that’s not Cirrus specific). The model you buy might have airbags. There’s mandatory service required on the igniter.

The Cirrus is a nice plane. It’s a GREAT plane if you have plenty of money. If you’re on a budget, go in with your eyes open.

Cost data since new on a 2004 SR22 G2 flying an average of 200hrs per year is about $38,000 actual out of pocket costs annually excluding financing. Two big items coming include an overhaul and the chute repack.


The easiest way is to decide for yourself. Since you are in NY, you are local. Give me a call and we will take a ride. Four Oh Eight Three Four Eight Seven Zero Five Eight

Thanks everyone for all the posts. All very helpful and to narrow down some choices. I’ve essentially run the expenses at about 100-150 hours, definitely know about the chute repack. I’ve also read several people have problems with the Avydine and the 430’s. The thought is to get one of the older ones and slap a G500 on it. I’ve seen a few which sold very quickly and I have a hard time believing older Cirrus planes will get a lot cheaper over time. 182’s from the 80’s are still selling for 100k. Will keep eyes wide open on costs though. In our business we always say it takes twice as long and costs twice as much, and no financial plan ever survives the first year.

Alexander, thanks for the offer. I flew over KBDR two days ago coming back from lunch at Montauk to Westchester. Should have dropped off a six pack. I have a flight scheduled out of Westchester on Tuesday, but if I’m in CT I’ll swing by and take a hop.

Thank you all.

In 9 years, we have not had a problem with the Avidyne units or the 430’s other than replacing the internal batteries for the Garmin units. I just recently put in Garmin GTN650s and DFC90 autopilot though and hope for similar success. Some folks early on had Avidyne unit failures but have not heard much in the last 4 years or more. MCU failure and subsequent replacement was probably the most costly single item.

I’m local to HPN. Save yr money and I’ll intro u.

Oh really? I fly out of Panorama. Where are you out of? I was going to fly with Performance at Million Air on Thursday.


Million Air - was based there all last week for a client. I’m returning from Osh today. Should be back late afternoon if you want to hook up. Text me on the number provided


Thomas and others have given you the straight scoop. The Cirri are wonderful planes, perfect for fast, comfortable, efficient long distance travel yet very friendly for joy-of-flying jaunts too.

Yes, for 4 occupants you will want a '22.

You mentioned familiarity with high-wing planes and some concerns about handling off-pavement operations in the Cirrus. The Cirrus will do fine on turf (think Augusta National fairway, perhaps not East Drainage Muni) but maybe not as well if mud, rough turf, dirt or gravel are involved–small tires and kinda tough on the wheelpants.

If a significant amount of off-pavement and/or short field work is in your future, you might consider one of these. They cruise with an SR20, climb with an SR22, takeoff and land in 400 ft or less, and carry 700-800+ lb cabin payload with full fuel. They can be equipped with a BRS airframe parachute. If the Peterson-modified 182 piques your curiosity, even if you aren’t interested in buying one, you can learn more here; I recommend starting with this post.

Thanks Kevin. yes I’ve seen the Katmai’s, pretty incredible little plane. Not quite what I need. Just want to make sure that the Cirri can land on groomed grass.

On a different note, anyone know what the cost of an overhaul for a SR22 would be at this point? $40k? Just looking at options.

Well that is like asking how high is high. different shops will do differing types of overhauls. for instance a victor black engine will cost a lot more then let’s say one from power Masters. The independent variable on each of these is if the accessories are included in the overhaul which in many cases they may not be. So 40,000 is a good starting number, don’t be surprised to see higher or lower.

And also you need to move this line of questioning to the member side because you will get a lot more answers.