should i buy a cirrus?

i am a 100 hour vfr pilot with only c172 experience. i am looking to purchase an airplane very soon - i have flown the sr22, a trinidad tb-20, and will fly a saratoga this week. i will be starting my instrument training immediately after purchase of the airplane. i’m looking for pros and cons for purchasing any one of the aircraft mentioned above. i will be flying for both business and pleasure. i love the cirrus for speed, comfort, and design attributes (mfd, garmins, stall, etc), but i have heard some negative things. for example, i was told by a cfii that he thought the cirrus was so “slippery” that it is very difficult to hand fly in true imc. i have also heard about the wheels cracking. i’m not too worried about insurance - i know it will be astronomical in cost, but i was assured i’d get written. any comments would be most welcome. thanks!

You might want to check out my article People Who Fly In Glass Houses that appeared recently in IFR Magazine.

Savage: Congratulations on your PPL and having the opportunity to look into buying any of the three aircraft you note.

I love the Cirrus SR22 and think it is a fantastic airplane. I 've had mine for about 2.5 years and about 450 hours. I find it easy to fly & not too slippery. On the other hand, if you don’t use good techniques you will be its passenger, not its pilot.

But my main advice is to approach this new aircraft with caution. There is a reason that you’re insurance will be very expensive. The insurance companies know something: That low time pilots with very low time-in-types, flying advanced aircraft have the worst accident records.

I am sure that you are a very capable pilot. I have never thought that I am above average in skill and am probably on the low end of that bell curve, but I had over 1,000 hours before I stepped up.

I would hazard a guess that anyone who gets into flying and has the amazing capability to afford a new $300K-$600K airplane is a person who has been very successful in life. Sometimes those attributes which make people successful in business, don’t make for the most cautious and conservative pilots. It is very easy to overestimate your skills and experiences, especially at 100 hours.

A very wise man once told me, a pilot begins his flying career with two buckets: one full and one empty. The full one is filled with luck and the empty one is for experience. The key is to fill your experience bucket before the luck bucket runs dry.

This is not to say that there are a few folks who virtually learned to fly in their SR22s. It just takes longer, costs a boatload in insurance and CFI fees, and in the long run probably saves you nothing.

I am not trying to discourage you, but no one who reads this wants to read about you on the NTSB database.

My honest recommendation is that you buy a used 182, fly it for a year, gain experience, sell it and then buy a SR22. The overall cost would be less than the cost and depreciation of buying a new SR22, you would gain much needed experience. And the best part is that when you do buy the Cirrus, it will be loaded with even more jaw dropping goodies.

My only comments about the planes is forget the Socata. The Saratoga is great if you want more room and flexibility in the cabin and for all other reasons, the SR22 is a better plane. Faster, cheaper, no retract maintenance or something to forget (ouch!) and the parachute. (Most pilots don’t care for it at first, but the passengers sure get a great deal of comfort.)

Good luck.

I was in the same situation when I got my PPL : about 100 hours in total and very much a beginner when I got my SR22.

Yes the SR22 is a fast plane and needs to be treated with respect. But I think it depends on how much instruction you are willing to pay for. I flew only with an instructor for the first month, and I guess 50% of my flying was with an instructor for the following couple of months. If I had not done that I think I would have put myself in serious danger. So my advice would be to only go for an SR22 if you are prepared to recognise that you need a lot more instruction to be safe in the plane. [Incidentally, with c380 hrs - c280 in an SR22 - I am still a beginner and so I still get a couple of lessons each month.]

But remember that you need not fly an SR22 at c170 kts. The answer is simple, slow down! I never went above 20" when flying solo for the first few months.


I’m from the UK and have over 150 hours chalked up over the past 3 years. I now have over 70 hours on the Piper Arrow III alone which I own a 1/6th part share in. Am planning to do my FAA IR as we are putting ‘G-UTSY’ on the ‘N’ reg.

I am now looking at sole ownership and have requested Cirrus sales brochures. So I have one question in relation to some of these responses…

Q - How much will a Cirrus SR20/SR22 depreciate over time, as if I obtain through finance…I don’t wish to go broke over it :slight_smile: It would be a dream to own one though…! Never bought new so not sure how the finance deals work…



I bought an SR22 just before finishing my private license. I completed the instrument rating before delivery and would suggest that you do the same if at all possible.

Hi Savage,

I had a PPL with 133 Skyhawk hours when I took delivery of my SR-22 (Dec 02), and did so with a very specific mind set and plan.
First of all, I realized that the SR-22 was substantial step beyond the C-172s that I trained in, and that my abilities were dwarfed by the aircraft’s capabilities.
Secondly, most of my first few month, and almost half of the 200 hours I have flown in the last 10 months were dual (Instrument and Commercial training). It’s never a bad thing to have a multi-thousand hour professional sitting next to you in an aircraft where things happen so quickly.
Thirdly, I committed myself to learning and training. I know I am still a pup in the aviation realm, but I am amazed by how much less I knew a year ago than now. Besides the instrument and commercial training done locally, I have scheduled John Fiscus (The Flight Academy) for Cirrus-specific recurrent training every ~4 months. These guys are experts on the aircraft, and avionics, and are a wealth of information. We have better avionics that many corporate / regional airline aircraft, and there is a lot to learn.

One phenomenal learning resource at your disposal is the COPA web site, and I urge you to join. It is the best $50 a pilot could spend. The real learning takes place in the member’s section, and you will find that the members are both very active and knowledgeable. I almost never miss a day, because you will learn something good on every visit.

I adore my SR-22, have never had a second of buyer’s remorse, and still get a shiver when I think that I almost bought a Skylane! If you choose to proceed, I encourage you to take a very serious approach to training. Remember, it’s the low hour guys like us that often end up in NTSB reports (in any airplane)!

Best wishes

Fly it. If you like it buy it. If you can’t afford it buy something used.

Join COPA. If you are in the new plane market, $50 is worth the information you will gain by taking part in members only discussion.

I bought the SR22 as a 120hr ink-wet private pilot. Its my view that you start learning cross-country flight only after you get your private. And it doesn’t matter much if you learn at 120 or 180 kts. I too went for my instrument rating right after getting the plane.

The key to safety is to move wisely through the Killing Zones:
-your first 300 hours total time
-your first 100 hours in a new type
-all the time until you have your instrument rating.

I really did not plan to use the airplane for utility until I had gotten through the above. Instead it was purely a training vehicle. I didn’t fly my family or non-pilot passengers during that time. I did spend all the time I could in instruction or flying with more experienced pilots. After the instrument rating I went on to the commercial, single and multi, and then glider. All to build skills, judgement, and experience.

I really don’t see the utility of training in less capable aircraft, if the Cirrus is where you will end up. It only gives you two trips through the low-time-in-type killing zone. The important thing is to never have your reach exceed your grasp, to match your missions to your experience.

To echo and summarize what a lot of other people have been saying:

  • the 22 is a wonderful airplane;
  • it is (IMHO) not fundamentally “hard to fly”
    !!! BUT !!!

Virtually all the fatal-accident history of this airplane involves relatively low-time pilots, usually without an instrument rating. The trouble they’ve encountered has obviously been disastrous for them and their families – and it has been damaging to all of us, because it has led to a steep escalation in insurance rates. (I don’t recall this for sure, but I believe it’s still true that no pilot with more than 500 hours TT, plus an instrument rating, has been involved in a fatal Cirrus crash. This is not counting the development-stage heartbreaking crash that killed the experienced test pilot Scott Anderson. And of course it’s no guarantee of future results.)
What other people are trying to tell you is that you’ll love a SR22, if and when you get one. But puh-leese either spend a lot of the next hundred or two hundred hours getting a lot of dual experience, plus IFR, or else, as some others have said, get a 172 or 182 as a “starter” [:)] craft.

Also, I echo others’ comments that $50 is very well invested in a COPA membership – and $30 in an enlightening, sobering book called The Killing Zone, which I found very useful.

I agree with everything in the above post. I find the Cirrus to be a wonderful plane and very easy to fly, but I am certain that I would not have thought so when I was a low time pilot.

I haven’t found that landing the plane is terribly challenging, as some have mentioned, but I suspect that it’s because I’ve landed more than a few in nearly 1500 hours. Your mileage may vary.

I’d agree that getting into an SR while still a low time pilot is not impossible, but likely expensive and potentially frustrating.

I’d get something a little closer to a 182 or Saratoga first and get a few hundred hours under my belt before I made the jump to an SR.

But when you finally do, YOU WILL LOVE IT!

I thought the insurance companies ‘stopped’ providing coverage at any price for low time pilots who want to step right into a ‘22’. We are all aware that the 5 fatal crashes in the 22’s were with low-time VFR and IFR pilots.
Last I heard, you now needed 500 hours and IFR to get coverage in a ‘22’ or a Saratoga. God, I hope this is still the case.
Rather see him buy a used ‘20’, fly the hell out of it for 250 hours and make the move in a year.

Hi there, I have 175 hours with 85 or so in my SR20, and I got my private pilot’s license this year in a c172.

I think you will find a 172 to SR22 transition difficult. That doesn’t mean you cannot do it; you can. But it will be expensive and a steep learning curve, at first.

You have four areas of transition to move through. As another poster recommended, it may be easier to take those 1 or 2 at a time in a different plane. If you attempt to do all of these at the same time in the Cirrus I guarantee that there will me moments where you think “man, I think I bit off more than I can chew.”

That said, I did it, got through it (although slightly less complex in a 20), and you can too if you desire.

FYI I consider the transition areas to be:

1–handling. From sluggish responsiveness to snappy, it makes a big difference.

2–speed. Over the numbers at 50 kts and over the numbers at 75 to 80 kts is a big big change. Its very comfortable now, but remembering my first many final approaches makes me wince.

3–avionics. the 22 and 20 have very very capable avionics, but to get the most out of them, you have to study them. I highly recommend downloading the Garmin 430 trainer from the Garmin website as well.

4–the landing. You land a Cessna, you let a Cirrus land. A search on landing and transition will bring up lots of discussion on this topic, especially from ex 172 folks like me.

Now that you have listened to me tell you not to do this for 5 minutes, I will also tell you that I am very glad that I did, and should you decide to take this route, I believe you will be very happy.

What I would have done differently, is I would have spent a lot of training time in planes with 1 or 2 of those characteristics…so that my transition was not all at once. (I highly recommend a right seat CFI as you move through the transition, and on a reoccuring basis as you expand your envelope).

Perhaps a week of simulating the Cirrus landing in a Tiger with flaps at zero would be a good start. Other more experienced Cirrus pilots will have better recommendations.

Good luck! If you manage your transition well it will be thoroughly enjoyable, and you will love the IFR / travel capabilities of your new 22.

836C SR20

edit: grammar; and speling


One way to get a sense of the amount of depreciation is to look at the asking prices for used Cirri on http://www.aso.comAircraft Shopper Online.

My sense is that Cirri are holding their value much better than are other new single-engine aircraft, but others should feel free to contradict me!


PS: Out of curiosity, what are the advantages to putting G-UTSY on the US registry? (It looks to be a delightful aircraft.)

Buy it you Will Love it. I love mine and it has made me a kid again after giving up flying for over 25 years. This plane is a breeze to learn to fly.


I picked up my Centennial in Sept when I had 150 hrs TT.I had passed my PPL by going to a full time school in Florida in Jan this year flying a 172.Before going to Deluth, I rented a 22 from Wings Aloft in Seattle and spent 30 hrs with an instructor, and I spent perhaps another 30 hours with the Garmin 430 software on my PC. When I went to Deluth I had another 10 hrs with UND training in my plane and I hired Luke Lyson from the Flight Academy to fly home with me to B.C.I now have another 10 hours flying in BC with a local instructor.
Looking back, the PPL was simply a license to learn.I am amazed at how much more I know now and how my situational awareness in the 22 dwarfs the 172. The CAPS is a great comfort factor as is the autopilot,the Garmins, the TKS etc.I cannot imagine going back to a 172.
Having said all these positives, I know statistically I have less than 200 hrs TT and less than100 TIT and I am therefore at a MUCH higher risk when I fly the SR22 than when I do anything else. I treat every flight with a mix of caution, fear and elation. I still will not fly cross country over the mountains without a safety pilot just sitting there. I aim to enjoy the plane and life for a long, long time. My advice to anyone contemplating buying a SR22 with low hours is do it but get as much dual as you can afford. It’s money well spent.

just a thought, when flying your sr22 through busy airspace (ie bravo airspace) SLOW YOUR PLANE DOWN!!! There’s no need to do 180kts. Keep it at around 120kts. Sure it might take a little longer to get where you want to go, but things will happen much slower (frequency changes, etc). If you want to really get some good practice with cockpit management, fly from henderson to north las vegas and back a few times going through the bravo. it’s a great way to really get those skills up! :slight_smile:

It may be too soon to tell about the depreciation of Cirri relative to other aircraft. Those appearing on the used market are mostly–not all–2001 and earlier models that were acquired at a discount relative to the retail price at the time of delivery by customers who had signed contracts years before. Their used prices appear at first glance to be heavily discounted compared to new planes, but many sellers are likely breaking even or better.

Cirrus’ commitment to frequent product improvements, unique in the industry so far, means that depreciation will be difficult to evaluate against the cost of a current new plane. Planes now rolling off the line are quite different from–and also more expensive than–those delivered only a few months ago!

Nonetheless one can expect that as more Cirri are produced, proportionally more will also appear on the used market and their owners’ need to sell in a reasonable timeframe will establish a pattern of depreciation.


Tks for the reply, hey where did you get that pick from…she does looks cool doesn’t she :slight_smile:

There are pros/cons to putting on a ‘N’ reg…pros are mainly the less restrictions that the UK CAA impose on engine maintenance and other areas.

But have to say I like the call sign I currently have! Anyway a Cirrus would like much nicer on the Apron at Southend Airport in the UK :slight_smile:

Tks again.



I just did a search for “G-UTSY” on and found site.

I agree that a Cirrus would look quite delightful on the tarmac at Southend, and hope you can make that come to pass!