Just arrived home from Sun n’ Fun after several days of walking and visiting. Getting in and out is always a big thrill and a definate “E” ticket (Disney speak).
Visited the Cirrus, the Lancair, the Garmin and Arnav booths. The Cirrus booth was absolutely packed with people and I understand we have some new position holders. Selling a Cirrus is such hard work…
Cirrus’ focus was on production and they did a good job of showing how this was coming along with large posters and a well done vidoe tape. They had two planes on display. A millenium graphics “C” model and an “A” model.
They looked great. For those who have not seen a Cirrus yet, these are large, impressive planes. They really stand out.
Spent a few minutes talking with Bruce Gunter (salesman for the East Coast for Cirrus) and Alan Klapmeyer(sp?) (President of Cirrus Design). We spoke about different options, current production figures, and what’s next. Alan is a very impressive businessman who has a vision of what he wants that is as clear as spring water. I am very happy I chose a Cirrus. This company is going places and is led by visonaries with good business sense.
However, I came away with more questions than answers, particularly with how I want my plane configured.
Originally, I thought I wanted the very best “c” model but I am not sure that this is a good value. I think I am going to get a “b” or “A” model with an altitude hold autopilot. The reason for this is that I cannot see having dual 430’s in the cockpit. Dual 430’s coupled with the ARNAV provides too much information for any human to effectivley use. I would like to hear from those who have bought dual 430’s good reasons for having them. I know you get ILS redundancy but what else?
I also thought I wanted an SR22 but I think I will wait for the retractable gear diesal (using a Renault engine or a Continental). Maybe I’ll take my high value SR 20 now and then wait for the 4 seat jet. Okay, a few years away but still, the SR22 is only going 20 knots faster (for how much more $'s ?) and I really want to clip along at 350 mph at 35,000 feet.
Okay- back to the Sun 'n fun
Went by the Lancair booth. The Columbia 300 is a beautiful aircraft and has nice performance figures. However, I think Lancair’s long range problem is that they are still not sure if they want to be a kit manufacturer or a production aircraft company. The message they were giving was not clear to me and I imagine thay are confusing a lot of potential customers.
The Lancair’s all glass cockpit is really impressive and I hope that future Cirrus’ will accomidate this futuristic and pilot friendly gadgetry. But I am happy with my choice of a Cirrus after having seen the Columbia 300 and met the Lancair folks. For those of us who are position holders and actual owners, we made the right choice.
Also visited Garmin and Arnav. The Garmin 430 is a beast (get out the operating manual). So much so that the Garmin guy couldn’t explain how to do some things. (okay, we asked tough questions). However, the first time I have programed a route into this thing and get the dreaded “we have an ammeded rotue for you, are you ready to copy?”, I think I am going to cry.
I don’t think I want two of these nasty little creatures in my cockpit.
Visited Arnav with the idea I would not like the system. However, I do. It performs a different function from the 430’s and the huge screen is very helpful. The WX Stormscope overlay is available now and the Nexrad weather uplink is available for half the country now. Maybe Cirrus needs to complete a few things before it is ready for us. The rest of the USA should have weather available in the next 6 months.
I think the Arnav is a good system that does not replace the 430. However, I don’t think the 430 or the new 530 really replace the Arnav. They truly are different systems.
Hope some of this “news” is interesting and helpful.
If the current owners (the “test” pilots with the right stuff) would chime in to tell us how they are using their avionics, it would be helpful for us followers.