Sr22 realistic altitude performance

obviously this question will change with DA but what will the na 22 climb at on average at gross from 12k -15k

what is a realistic ceiling at gross For usual useable xc altitudes. Thanks !

The plane is only approved to 17.5K. Here is the POH for std temps at gross weight. Mine seems to meet or slightly beat these.

Perfect answer thanks. From this I would say 15 k is a reasonable flight planning max. My next question would be for pilots that like to fly on top- how often will this not be high enough in the rockys ?

Pretty often since the mountain tops are up to 14,500. MEA’s are often higher than 15K as well. All but the mildest weather is going to top out higher than 15K in the Rockies. I usually expect to be on top in the high teens to low twenties after frontal passage. During frontal passage tops are usually in the mid twenties or higher.


As a single data point: I routinely fly my 2005 SR22 at 16000 or 17000 depending on direction without any difficulty at all.

With a normally aspirated plane in the Rockies, you are going to have to choose your routes carefully and be flexible. If the wind is 50kts and the terrain at 13,000, you are going to have to go around the terrain to avoid the mountain waves ect. On a fairly calm VFR day, and NA SR22 is fine. When the weather gets bad, not so much.

That is a good point Ross. Downdrafts of 500+ fpm are not uncommon around the Rocks. If your downdraft exceeds your climb rate not too fun.

All i can give is my personal experience. First, i almost never cross the Rockies at the high points, most all of the ridges i cross are between 10 & 11,000’ max. Almost always flying at 16.5 or 17.5 for a smoother ride, and yes with higher winds you can expect some waves. The lower you fly the rougher they will be, and occasional downdrafts with them.

I can’t recommend anyone with limited mountain flying experience to cross with higher winds than 35 Kts or so…

The higher the better to cross, a NA22 will do it, it takes more time to climb there, with the time actualy crossing a high ridge in the 15-20 minute range. One can drop down lower after crossing, if you wish.

Great replies thanks to everyone. We live in Utah so have quite a bit of xc time in the mountains-(but not in bad weather) we aren’t going to be very hard core ifr just would like to know the capability because we are seeking at g2 for 200k max budget Which isn’t going to have turbo. We would like to get on top as much as possible on thinner ceiling days but not sure how the family is going to do with o2 - we also have a 6 month old so I don’t know how high we can realistically go. i asked the cirrus rep is the next g7 or whatever would be pressirized and he said maybe now that they have achieved that with the jet

The 22NA could in theory exceed 17.5k POH limit. The few times I’ve topped out there would still climb at 300fpm+

Not a reliable weather exit strategy, but pretty good for a non blown bird

Erik- trying to wrap my mind around your last post - You speak about Pressurized & a G7 on a $200K budget
That would likely send the SR22 price over 1 & 1/2 MM for a piston single.

Back to your current issue, if you wish to cross the Mtns thru most of CO & UT, especially with family, if you stay low you will find it bumpy, and the family won’t be happy. I personally have found the higher you fly, the better, but of course that takes O2.

There are many MDs on COPA that can answer this far better than I, but i would have them on O2 for the time you’re up higher and crossing the ridges, definitely wouldn’t chance high alt with a baby without it.

A good SR22 in that price range will fill your needs well, and you will learn when and where to fly to accomplish your needs and goals.

At no point did I mention I would achieve pressurization in a cirrus for 200k. Just wishing… I could always get a p210 for that but no chute

I had my NA up at 16,500 and 17,500 a few times. Yes, it will get there, but it feels like a leaf in the wind compared to the Turbo. Fairly mild updrafts and downdrafts and turbulence are hairy-feeling up there in the NA but the Turbo is just a beast and feels (and is) strong up there. That was my experience, anyway.

Great description. It feels a bit tenuous up there.

I have crossed the rockies a dozen times…and I ve been really lucky…my first time I was in 3 hours of moderate turbulence – fortunately, I was by myself…I ve encountered brief encounters with imc – always at freezing, which I try to avoid at all cost…generally, i find 14k’ on airways works very good through N Mexico and Arizona…into Nevada. But, 17k is fine as well – over the northern Rockies particularly…

It sounds like you’ve found a good way to navigate thru the Rockies, and a lot of that is picking good days. But at those altitudes, there is almost Always some winds to be aware of. Traveling thru NM, AZ & NV, one can mostly avoid the higher peaks and ridges, overflying valley floors in the 5-8,000’ range. 14K is usually high enough for a very smooth ride over those.

But the Northern Rockies, as you point out, are significantly higher and require more thought to negotiate. As said, at those altitudes there is always some air masses moving, usually West to East, and here are a few of my thoughts on this, worth what you pay for it, as i live exactly halfway between SLC & DEN. So whenever i travel East or West, there are some high ridges to cross. I use the term ‘Ridges’ as that’s what they are. Just East of SLC there is a Mtn Range that runs North & South, at about 12K, with some lower areas, that i try to cross over, near 10K.

Just West of DEN there is an even higher North/South Ridge with peaks around 14K, with passes over 12K. The only alternative to those passes, is to divert 100-150 NM so often the best solution is to go high and cross in the low spots, if you can call 12,000’ low. One such pass used by locals is called Rollins Pass (old timers call this Corona Pass) and can be found on VFR Charts, just West of KBJC. It is listed on those charts at 11,671’ and has 14K+ peaks on each side of it.

Here’s the point i’m trying to make… Lets say Winds Aloft show winds at 12K over BJC at a benign 15-20 Kts. As you approach the Pass, you have a venturi effect from air being squeezed thru that gap, thus for a few minutes, you’re going to see winds in the 30 Plus Range. That’s actually quite negotiable, but you will have associated turbulence, usually worse on the Lee side of the Ridge, but the point i’m making is what John has experienced, the higher you can overfly that pass, the smoother the air. I find 15K is a good minimum, in most circumstances, but prefer to overfly at 17.5K. Its simply a much nicer ride. Of course, local convection will mess those plans up as well.

I read many COPAns fly thru La Veta Pass, but that is 200 NM South on the NM Border, and can add 2 or more hours to a 45 minute flight. Best advice, if you’re not familiar, is to find a local Mtn Instructor for a couple of days, they can teach you lots of pitfalls to avoid, and take the anxiety out of Mtn Flying.

For myself, I learned to fly in the Rockies, at uncontrolled fields, so it seems normal. What bothers me much more, is the low elevations, with multiple and overlapping Class B & C Airspace, with rapid fire ATC, and lots of traffic. Building a sweat in those circumstances seems normal to me. [:$]

Hi Eric,
We just sold our 2003 22NA less than a month ago. Owned it for 20 months and between my partner and I we put 580 hours on it. Absolutely loved the plane. I personally saw every coast with the plane, including California twice, Phoenix twice, Florida, and New York.
To your question about bumps and altitude - I often flew it at 16,000 and 17,000 crossing the Rockies. Never bothered me. However, not much left in the power band by the time you reach 17k.
An NA is still a very capable plane even living in Utah.
However, let’s talk about your other concerns - wife, kids, turbulence, oxygen. And another thing you didn’t mention - noise level and keeping a headset and O2 on a six month old.
We sold our NA because of several reasons, none of which was because we didn’t like the plane. My partner and I both have three children. Mine are older and it is rare that they would all fly with my wife and I. My partner’s kids are much younger, including a one year old, so it will be more likely he will fly his whole family of five. We bought a new turbo charged G5 Even with the new plane, which I agree with other posters is FANTASTIC, he still has the limitation of keeping oxygen and noise protection on young children. His wife is a nurse and was rightfully concerned about the baby’s hearing early on. Nothing but a little age and understanding will get his youngest to a point where she will leave a headset on for an hour or more. Oxygen, not sure even how his seven year old will do with that.
Just my two cents.
Good luck with your purchase, you can get a lot of Cirrus for $200,000. Don’t buy a P210.

That table (figure 5-15) is interesting.

The warmer the air, the faster the aircraft climbs?

Come on over to Dallas and the B…


Well, yes but those warmer temps are at lower altitudes. Those are climb rates are ISA temps at increasing altitudes. I think you misinterpreted it.