SR-22 vs DA40. Is it really apples to oranges?

Hi All,

I’ve read numerous threads on forums describing the DA40 being an unfair comparison against an SR22, but I don’t see why it’s so unfair. I’m a student pilot looking to purchase an aircraft for personal use, but also one to learn in as I do my IFR training. While doing my research I’ve found more similarities between the aircraft than differences. Currently I’ve done 15hrs in DA-40 aircraft.

I’m debating between a DA-40 G1000 with a few goodies, taking the price to around $200k, and an avidyne SR22 g2 with a few options and a fresh repack is around $200k as well, both aircraft with around the same # of hours. on purchase price alone the SR22 seems to be a much better value for the money. Obviously on a cirrus forum I’ll expect to get more pro-sr22 folks than against, but if anyone moved from a DA40 to an SR22, what was your experience like and do you regret it? additionally, as a very low time pilot am I crazy for thinking of an SR22 so early?

I understand that an SR22 is seen as a more dangerous aircraft than the DA40 both in NTSB stats as well as anecdotal info, but with the remaining hours of my PPL with a cirrus, and a full IFR training in an SR22, does that mostly mitigate the primary issue with SR22 accidents being inadequate training in type? my CFI is an ex-cirrus factory pilot.

My mission is <200nm away airports on the weekends with 3 total adults, once every 6 weeks-ish flights with 4 adults to Seattle (700nm), Tahoe and Vegas (350nm). maybe once or twice ever I plan to do a CA->NY cross country or flying from Miami to the Caribbean, and I’d be fine renting for those trips. I estimate around 100hrs/year flying.

In general it seems like either aircraft will work, with the DA40 being more economical and teh SR22 being more performant, at the expense of running costs. I estimated the SR22 will cost around $100/hr more to operate than the SR22, but would only run for about 2/3rds the number of hours due to the faster airspeed.



  • lower maintenance and annual inspection costs, no CAPS repack cost

  • slightly cheaper to purchase, but depending on options this is a wash

  • around 20% better fuel economy in economy cruise (16nmpg da40 vs 13nmpg sr22)

  • cheaper everything (insurance, maintenance, overhaul, annuals)

  • Excellent safety record

  • G1000 avionics

  • fuel load with 4 adults is limited

  • limited ceiling for safely clearing the Sierras
    SR-22 G2 non-turbo:


  • higher useful load

  • longer range

  • up to 50% faster cruise speed

  • CAPS system

  • potentially better resale value, though that is more of a guess

  • higher service ceiling, ice protection

  • More expensive everything (insurance, maintenance, overhaul, potentially hanger). i’m especially worried about higher annual costs.

  • lower fuel efficiency

  • significantly worse safety record

  • higher stall speeds, longer takeoff distance to clear 50’.

Seems the better comparison for the DA40 would be the SR20. I would list NO CAPS in the CON table for the DA as well. Believe it or not, this FORUM was also on my PRO list before I bought an SR22. I learn as much from these people here than anywhere else on flying our birds!

I rented a DA40 G1000 prior to buying a Cirrus. No regrets on my part. The DA40 is safer, but so is a 172. The SR22 is a high performance aircraft. And that comes with challenges the DA40 does not have.

In my opinion they are not in the same class. To me the DA40 is much easier to fly , particularly in landing environments. The SR22 is a little more of a challenge. But it brings faster speeds, bigger loads, longer flights, etc.

As for safety, if that is the real issue, don’t fly. There is no perfectly safe plane. The DA40 has sealed fuel tanks between the wing spars that should provide better crash integrity. If the Cirrus had a problem in that regard, the DA would be a compelling alternative. But that is not the case. The Cirrus is no better/worse than the vast majority of planes with wet wings. And we have the chute, which is not really a fair fight with any other GA aircraft. I would take that over reinforced fuel tanks in any forced landing situation.

The Cirrus is likely to be more expensive to maintain. But not by a huge amount. Retractable gear, turbocharging, de-icing and other add ons can run the numbers up as well In the Cirrus and other planes. The DA40 won’t have that.

hope this helps, and good luck in your decision.

Pretty good list.

Chuck Ivester is a fan of the DA 40- he’ll be along in a minute.

I didn’t like the bubble top- great vis, but Alabama is just too hot. Back seats were too small, and it didn’t go fast enough to suit me, useful load wasn’t the best.

But fun planes to fly, they handle great…and they are demonstrably safer than everything else out there.

The Cirrus is more heavily wing loaded- much better in turbulence, I thought. To me,the 22 is a much better cross country hauler, but my cross country experience in the DA 40 is limited to hot Alabama, we got kicked around a lot. Chuck may tell you different.

The chute is the chute- you already know about it, and you know it costs about $2000/year. If you can get a 22 for 200K with the chute already repacked, you won’t have to pay most of that 2,000/year for quite a few years.

I fly out of BHM in a 22, or in a little taildragger Glasair with a stall speed of 50 or so. There aren’t many good places to land in a pinch, and I REALLY look for them in the Glasair.

So the 22 is a comfort at night and in weather where I can’t see the ground, or when I can, and the ground is lousy for landing. I don’t flight plan the chute, but it is a comfort. That part grows on you with time, as you see some buddies crash.

Crashing is usually the pilot’s fault, but not always. Even when it is the pilot’s fault, the chute can lead to embarrassment, as opposed to probate.

What is your typical mission? Where do you go, with whom, and when? These answers will give you a hint.

I flew 20 hours in a DA-40 prior to purchasing my SR-20, and I think the two are more closely matched performance wise than the Diamond and SR-22. The SR-20 is only a little faster than the Diamond, but it is a lot more comfortable, with seats that recline and move, and a lot more personal space than you find in the cramped DA-40. Both are, like the C-172 and Piper Cherokee, basically 3 seats and full fuel, ideal for missions under 500nm and 10,000 and below.

An SR-22 is more like a C-182 or a Mooney in terms of its performance and long term, up high cruising capability. If that’s what you need, there really is no comparison with the Diamond, and your operating costs will reflect this.

Check out Phil’s comparison of the DA-40 and SR-20.

Thanks for the comments, Paul. With regards to safety, I agree the safest option is to just not fly - but obviously that’s not the route I’m looking for when posting such questions :). I am speaking about safety in a relative sense between the two air-frames. Anything I can do to increase safety is always going to be a top concern of mine.

Fundamentally I’m trying to decide whether it’s worth ~$100/hr extra for the SR22 performance, and whether I can be as safe a pilot with an SR-22 pilot with so few hours, relative to the DA-40. The extra cost isn’t breaking a threshold of affordability, but I’d prefer not to spend the money if I won’t get at least $100/hr benefit from it. I am looking for opinions from pilots decided one way or another on those questions, and if they feel as though they get the extra value out of the aircraft considering the added cost.

I think it’s a HUGE increase in performance and piece of mind (CAPS) and comfort…for $100/hr. And, I’m not at all convinced it would really even end up being that much more per hour…I’d be surprised.

I predict buyer’s remorse if you go with the DA-40 on that first long trip.

Maybe it’s just me, but…when I’m flying, the stats of the DA-40 would give me zero comfort…but that red handle…at night , over water, in IMC. I’m at the point now where I simply won’t fly a single engine piston without CAPS.

While CAPS was not very important to me when I bought my SR22, that has now changed. When I fly an airplane that doesn’t have CAPS (I also fly a Super Decathlon) I feel about the same way I do while driving a car without my seatbelt on.

Don’t underestimate the value of a “plan C”.

To remake Scott Holder’s point, COPA is a presence. I learned most of what I know about flying here, in the judgment and ADM department.

Other aviation web sites are not as good- mostly by a long shot. Beech Talk is not bad, and they won’t abuse you for asking questions. I found Cessna Pilots a little underpopulated compared to the number of planes flying, and many of the other sites are pretty harsh. Some are downright nasty, meanspirited.

COPA has skills, and some level of politeness. It took a while to get here, and it isn’t finished. But it’s a real boon- plenty of content, not so much ego.

A sign of this is the number of active COPAns who return, or are still here, long after they’ve sold their planes and moved up or down the aviation continuum. Chuck of DA 40 fame is among them.

You’ll see this by the time this thread is finished- nobody will call you stupid for asking this question, and you’ll get some considered, and considerate, answers.

COPA looks after its own pretty well.

Remarkably, this has resulted in significantly fewer accidents among regular participants- a reproducible, and real phenomenon.

So if safety is your goal, keep that in mind.

Even if you don’t buy a Cirrus, there’s a good bit to learn here. A steal for $65.

Good luck.

We ended up with a SR 22 G2 after trying the DA40, at 50# under gross, we could not make 10,000’ during the summer out of Bend OR. That was worse than the old DA 20 we used to fly. It did fly like a diamond, easy, excellent feild of view, etc, but now I would not go back.

This is a major deal - the whole reason to own an airplane. To go fast. To carry you and your passengers a long way, quickly.

And the SR22 delivers on that.

A SR22 can fly to the Bahamas in 7 hours from Texas. Arizona is 4.5 hours. California is 7 hours. Colorado is 3.5 hours. Virginia is 6 hours. North Carolina beach is 6 hours. These trips are actually faster than I can do it commercially (except California).

Be aware that wind can be significant going west bound. You can be fighting a headwind of 25k to 45k. So if you have a slow plane traveling at 135k, you might only be getting 90k. In a SR22, you would be doing 129k - which is brutally slow but 43% faster than the slow plane.

Why own a slow plane for cross country trips?

I’m not crazy about having a stick; much prefer a side yoke. I definitely wouldn’t want a stick in a trip plane.

It’s been a while since I flew one, but the bubble canopy seemed pretty warm as I remember too.

I’ve flown DA-40’s and it fit me like a glove! I’ve enjoyed every minute of it and it still holds a special place in my heart. There is something special about bubble canopies and center sticks that appeals to the fighter pilot in me.

Your DA Pro’s should include “passenger access is easier due to separate entry.”, “ground steering with the rudder is much better than SR” and “FBO’s don’t double their fees just because you’re in a ‘Cirrus’”. For some reason FBO’s love to charge Cirrus and Beechcraft drivers a little “extra”.

That said, I bought a SR-20 as it provides the BEST of both worlds. The insurance is on the par with DA, so is fuel consumption. As others have mentioned before, the wing on SR-20 makes for MUCH smoother ride than DA. While I don’t get bothered much by turbulent air, my passengers do appreciate smoother ride.

DA-40 vs. SR-22NA is indeed apples to oranges but DA-40 vs. SR-20 is apples to apples. Go ahead and do apples-to-apples comparison. I did and even though DA-40 has a special place in my heart, I went with SR-20.


I fly a DA-40 once in awhile and think its a great plane for short trips. Excellent visibility, nice handling and decent cruise and climb performance for only 180HP. It also has an excellent safety record, despite no CAPS.

That being said, there is no comparison to an SR22. The Cirrus is much faster, climbs better (although the DA-40 isn’t bad for the power), is roomier and more comfortable, and is more stable in turbulence (higher wing loading)… and it has CAPS.

I did over 200 hours in my DA40 and got my instrument in it. It’s a great plane and if all you did was 200nm trips it would be fine.

Ill make a few points.

First the performance number differences are bigger than you think because the Cirrus climbs at a higher airspeed, handles density altitude much better, climbs to your cruse altitude much faster than the DA40 So your up to cruse speed sooner and farther down the road. I can climb out on a hot day at full gross and have no issues. In my Diamind at full gross and over 90 degrees it felt sluggish to me.

I find the Cirrus easier to land than the diamond but that said, I moved from a Diamond to the cirrus. They complement each other. Get your airspeed right and there both easy

I find the seating position in the Cirrus much more comfortable for long legs. My butt would kill me after anything over two hours In the Diamond Even with an Oregon aero seat cushion. Not so in the Cirrus I’ve done a 5 hour leg with no issues.

I was range limited in my diamond all the time as I only had the 40 gallon tanks. The 50 gallon birds have some CG issues. I can now one hop most of my trips where in the diamond I would have to two hop it. That stop kills efficiency.

My Diamond was hot as hell, has noisy air vents. My cirrus has AC and even with it off it has much better ventilation and quiet.

the Diamond was an absolute blast to hand fly and sight seeing was awesome. Cirrus hand flys fine but not as fun to toss around

My insurance is twice as much in my cirrus but my hull value is 80k more.

my cirrus can fly as effecently as the Diamond if you pull the fuel flow back to match the diamond. I could fly 145 knots easy at just under 10 GPH. My diamond would fly 135 to 138 at 9ish gph. With the Cirrus I can speed up if I want, the Diamond can not. Diamond will fly LOP but not easily some do better than others.

My cirrus has cost more to maintain I’d guess about 1/3 more.

so in retrospect, I love my Cirrus. I wouldn’t go back to a DA40. I’d consider a DA42 but only a newer one as the older ones are a little slow. The DA40 is a great trainer and was a fun platform to get my IFR ticket the cirrus seems more stable for flying instruments and is a much better, more comfortable cross country machine.

hope that helps

In my ten years and 2000 hours of Cirrus ownership, I don’t think I ever encountered that. Can you cite an example?

Landed at LWM, got charged $30. That NEVER happened in a Cherokee.

Was your Cirrus registered under your name personally or was it registered under a corporate name (e.g. LLC, etc)?

Way off topic, but for anyone that aspires to do a round-the-world trip (go for it!) at a cost far less than the turbine options, I think the DA42 would be a great choice. Most importantly, it does not require avgas which outside the US and Europe is extremely hard to find. For those long overwater legs and time over remote land areas the second engine provides some comfort versus a piston single.

Not an corporate name, no. I also mixed up the airports [:$] (they’re 10 miles apart). It was at BVY, not LWM.