Side Stick Hand Flying

My SR-20 is due next March. I would like to know how good the sidestick functions compared to a yoke when going through IMC in turbulent conditions. I find that many times I need to grab the yoke with two hands to place the nose where I want it. Some turbulence could actually sprain your wrist or tire your wrist while fighting the air currents. What experience have some of the Cirrus pilots encountered?

I find it much easier flying the side stick than most yokes mostly because of the electric trim available. The airplane is SO responsive and the the stick is spring loaded to return to neutral control that the only real “work” is to trim the up and down or side forces which is easily done with your thumb on the trim “hat” on top of the yoke.
If you do not trim the plane properly, your wrist can become tired fighting control forces after a while.

My experience is similar. You don’t say what aircraft you are flying now that you have to grab the yoke with two hands to place the nose where you want it. I have never felt that two hands were ever required in the Cirrus.

I have no real experience with the SR20. In my SR22, the forces are actually light. I find my flying is better when I think “pressure” instead of “movement” of the side stick. In the SR22, and probably also in the SR20 the trim is very sensitive, particularly in pitch. Just a little tap on the hat switch is probably enough change in trim to get to neutral trim.

Once the trim is neutral very little force is required. Generally, if IMC I usually have the autopilot on and IMC and turbulence I usually am keeping a loose grip on the side stick just to keep monitoring the autopilot.

In either case, either hand flying or autopilot and monitoring the forces on the stick are light.

Once in trim, very little pressure is needed to correct any upset from turbulence.

The only time I’ve needed two hands on the sideyoke was when practicing out-of-trim emergencies. Pitch trim is easily overridden, but roll trim is quickly tiring. I found I needed to give my hand a rest as much as possible in order to be in shape to fly the landing.


Technically, folks, Cirri use a side yoke not a side stick (the Columbia 300 has a side stick). In my 100+ Cirrus hours, most in an SR22, this has never been an issue for me even in moderate turbulence. However, I have experienced the “dual hand grip” in my Cherokee several times!!

Chris SR22 N747SJ


I’m not sure what kind of canoe you’re flying, but the Cirrus has significantly higher wing loading than most canoes. Turbulence that presents a high workload in most light GA airplanes (and canoes - see below) requires a lot less stick work in the Cirrus.

When my auto pilot went out. I flew 4.5 hours part IMC by hand. It was very easy and it was left trim and I could not change. So when my left hand was a tired I would reach over with right hand and flew a while got real good real fast with this. It is easy, From Don