Risky business: Purchase of grounded SR20 G1

Through a friend I got aware of an opportunity from someone that stored his Cirrus SR20 (G1, 2004) after the forced closing of its homebase. First 2 years it was stored at a CAMO which preserved the plane (engine runs, etc). The last two years, no so much… Its low in hours (<800), and no damage history.

Needless to say this is risky business, but at the right price i’m willing to consider it nonetheless. Trying to make a right estimate of potential cash burn after purchase. Im thinking: chute (10k), mandatory SB’s: (12k), inspections and other maintenance (15k). Prop? Based on private use & condition running principles, the engine could be put back to life and flown for somewhat years based on its current few hours. However, the TBO of 12yrs will be stretched nonetheless. How realistic is this?

What other major issues am I missing here and could this be worth the obvious risks? Without a doubt i’m planning a PPI, but not being able to fly the plane brings issues that cant be determined at any point. Plane is EASA registered and maintained. Any advice is much appreciated!

Anything is possible with enough money. I would plan on the engine needing replacement and price it accordingly. You might get lucky on this but that is more likely than not.

You didn’t say the location. In a dry desert area corrosion in the engine and on the Airframe will be less likely (still some). In a coastal environment, it is guaranteed.

If the price is right, you could come out with a nice plane after it.

Personally I have no problem going beyond hours or years on a TBO. But that assumes the engine is in good condition.

Good luck.

The TBO is, dependent on country of register, usually just a recommendation, indeed a number of EASA registers allow you to fly aircraft beyond TBO if they aren’t used for commercial purposes. If I recall correctly, Germany allows both propeller and engine to be flown beyond TBO, however the UK register only allows the engine to be flown past TBO, so if it’s G registered, then the propeller will likely have to be overhauled.

Best advice has already been posted. Plan/Budget on the notion that you will have to do a complete overhaul of the engine. If the math still adds up its definitely a great buy…

I just wanted to point out that the parachute is not $10k… more like $16k-$18k, depending where it is being done. Taxes and what not.

Especially true when converting from the manual to the electric firing mechanism.

If there is an ADS-B requirement for EASA, you’ll have that expense coming up, too

Another $4k to $10k+ assuming you have non-WAAS 430’s and need a WAAS source.

Maybe you could get w Jamie, work out a Steel version wherein you provide the donor craft?


Lot of red flags here. The surprise expenses of buying even a “good” used airplane can be huge. I would make them an incredibly low, insultingly low, offer. …I bet it’s the only one they get.

Tim has it right. You will have lots of expenses. Some planned for and some not. Some real big. It has to be a good deal AFTER you are done for it to be worth the effort. Great deals “with history” rarely are great deals.

A mechanic might be able to buy it and using sweat equity turn it into a deal. But if you have to pay all along the way, well the price has to reflect that risk.

Thanks all for your replies. I think im on the same page with regard to a ‘low-of-the-low’ offer. Does anybody know where I can find a decent overview of registries and regulations with regard to TBO’s? Tried to do some searching, but its hard to find…

i don’t know of a single comprehensive list of TBO‘s in every country. The rules will apply for the country of registry. Where would you register it? Where is it currently registered?

I can tell you if it is on the US registry TBO is not mandatory for non commercial part 91 operations. In other countries local rules would apply, but it can always be registered in another country.

Beyond that you need to provide more information for us to help you.

A huge issue will be the computer and sensor connectors.

These connectors use tin plated pins. Overtime they will oxidize and cause all kinds of issues - loss of gps, engine CHT and EGT, rpm, manifold pressure, fuel flow. Additionally the spark plug wire springs will corrode. The roll trim motor and pitch trim motor will need to be replaced - the commutator will have oxidized.

When you finally fire up that engine, you will be getting all kinds of erroneous readings. Most likely several spark plugs will not be firing. Most likely you will lose the gps during the flight. The autopilot will probably not work. Or if it does, it won’t work correctly.

If you are an expert, you can go through each of these connectors and fix them one by one. It can take months. This is not something a typical mechanic knows how to troubleshoot. Normally they will just say the SIU (sensor interface unit) is bad, or the MFD is bad - and just swap it out for several thousand dollars. And the problem will return and the mechanic will do the same thing. Without any troubleshooting knowledge, this can be an extraordinarily expensive plane.

This plane might be best left to an expert.

This would hardly be the first 13 year or older plane brought back to airworthiness.

I can understand motors and bearing surfaces corroding, but why would connectors corrode more than an airplane being flown? Just curious. Does vibration with use protect them?

Yes. The heating/cooling cycle and vibration of flying seems to keep the connector oxidation down.

I have seen this happen many times in my plane. If it sits for a month, some connector will act up at the beginning of the flight. With in 30 minutes, it will start to work. Since I typically fly every 2 weeks, everything just works perfectly. If a plane sits for years, those connectors will be a huge problem. There are not the best quality connectors… [:D]

Another problem for this buyer will be the MCU. After 10 years, those 3 solenoids (battery1, starter, ground power) will need to be replaced. Swapping the MCU will run around $3k.

Cirrus uses connectors that are not the best in my opinion, I’m in the electronics business and I cringe every time I look at the electronics.

Another issue is they use lightweight PCB’s, these tend to crack with thermal cycles, additionally the ones I have looked at are not epoxy encapsulated or have PCB coatings to prevent corrosion.

Airplane electronics would fail in construction and AG equipment very quickly.

Hi Casper,

Looking for the same Spanish sr20 at the moment.

Cirrus Europe quoted 2 yrs ago already for that plane, told me parts value only.

Engine, prop, chute, pfd, airworthiness all together round 80.000 eur.

I walked away as probably already many buyers did.