Real World Comparison: SR22 V. SR20

A recent post and conversation with Dennis Haber has got me thinking. (Yes, Deb will tell you that this is a dangerous activity for me and anyone unfortunate enough to be close to me.[;)])
I would like to compare a hypothetical 350 NM trip in both planes to look at time and fuel usage. To try to keep this simple and apples to apples, here are the parameters:

  1. Sea level take-off. Climb as you normally would to 9,000’
  2. The trip ends at 9,000’ over the 350 NM destination - This eliminates worrying about approaches etc.
  3. Begin fuel use from “Brakes off”
  4. No wind
  5. Be conservative, use your real performance numbers.
  6. ATC is not a factor. No limitations, no vectors, no deviations and no need to maintain lower altitudes.
  7. If you need to consider temperatures, airport OAT is 80F)
  8. I f you need to consider weight, you will be flying with yourself, your spouse or friend, normal flight gear, luggage for a day or two, and as much fuel as you can carry. (In my SR22, this is a couple hundred pounds under gross.)
    This is not a contest to see who can fly fastest, farthest or cheapest, so please try to be roughly accurate and conservative. No need to exaggerate. Please round, as none of us are that precise in our lying and leaning.
    It would be great to see SR20s operated at ROP and LOP and the same for SR22s. I will offer my numbers for my SR22 operated LOP:
    Cruise TAS: 165 ( I usually get about 165 - 172, but will be conservative in all assumptions)
    Cruise Fuel Flow: 13 GPH (again, actual is between 12.3 and 13 in most of my normal flight regimes)
    Climb Rate: 1,000’ FPM average
    Climb Fuel Flow: 26 GPH average (book starts out as 27 and decreases with altitude, but I like to be 1 GPH high until I pass about 6.000’, then maintain book numbers)
    Climb TAS: 110 Average


Time to altitude: 9.5 minutes
Distance covered: 17.4 NM (SAY 17)
Fuel Used: 4.1 Gallons
Cruise Distance: 333NM (350 - 17)
Cruise time: 2.02 hrs
Cruise fuel used: 26.2 Gallons

Total Time: 2:12 (hours:minutes)
Total Fuel: 30.3
Avg. Fuel Consumption: 13.8 GPH


I fly from LVN to OJC (Minneapolis to KC) quite often, which is a 350nm trip. Including all the ATC vectors for the approach and getting around MCI (KC Int’l), and wind, the trip takes between 1:50 to 2:10 pretty consistently. Fuel burns have been between 26 gal and 34 gal, depending on ROP/LOP switchover (as soon as I do my initial decent, I stay ROP the rest of the way. Sometimes they bring me down much sooner.) I’d say our numbers match up pretty well. I like to leave power on the decent and go down at 500 fpm to make as much use of the decent to pick up speed as possible. I normally cruise climb at 500 fpm and do 140 to 120 kts IAS.


When I was a teenager, the guys would compare their . . . to see who’s was bigger. Is that what your doing? OK, yours is bigger faster$100,000 more expensive, cost substantially more to insure, and gets there 20 min faster, and, by the way, vibrates, and throws oil all over the belly.

So . . . . my original comments were directed to someone inquiring about the pros and cons of buying a used SR20. The comments were not intended to create a competition.
BTW. an SR20 descends from 9000 ft at the same speed as your SR22
and . . . I almost fogot. The SR20’s shorter wings fit into a harger more easily.