sr22 v columbia 400

i was all set to order a sr22 when i read a report about the new lancair columbia 400. the obvious downsides i imagine for the columbia are lack of parachute/longer wait. has anyone got any views on which would be the best buy?

Financial conditions of Lancair have to be checked very carefully.

I’ve an SR20 but there is no doubt an SR22 is definitely a great buy. My plane fly great and Cirrus has been always very responsive on the warranty side. The parachute is a extra which is very important specially with the people not sure of your flying skills!!!

Best regards

Roger Fermon

Dear James,

For me, if I had the money, the comparison would be like

Pro Cirrus 22

  • CAPS, proven last resort
  • “Time tested”; more hours total fleet flown in ''22 versus columbia 300
  • Will run on alternative fuel to 100LL (no turbo)
  • lighter controls
  • Good company record
  • More room inside

Pro Columbia 400

  • Faster
  • old fashioned avionics as required in Europe available (DME, dual VOR’'s, ADF) while still having GPS and the fabulous Avidyne.
  • Longer range

Either way, you almost can’'t go wrong with your choice.

Other factors might be;

  • Cirrus TKS anti-ice available
  • PFD next year.

I imagine Cirrus as nr 1 seller next year, and Lancair nr 2 in 2005

For the actual flying, get a good instructor.

Just my 0,02 euro cents


NB I have a ''20 on order, no comparison, just best buy, maybe not best value

The more appropriate comparison is with the Columbia 300. The 400 is turbocharged and designed for really fast, high altitude, long-distance travel. In other respects I agree with the comments made by others here.

The Lancair 400 isnt certified yet. As of now, Lancair production’s is zip due to financial reasons. Eventhough, they apparently got financing there is still no guarantee they will be able to produce the airplane profitably ( I sure hope I’m wrong coz I do like their planes). Safe bet–Go for the SR22.


The Cirrus is the best choice based on availability, reliability and safety. Flown both the SR22 and the Columbia 400 and chose the Cirrus over the Columbia. For absolute performance the C-400 is unbeatable, no two ways about it. You can’t get one this year or even next year, but if raw speed is what you’re looking for and you don’t mind waiting 3-4 years, the Columbia 400 is a blast.

Live only an hour away from the Lancair factory and they really wanted a Cirrus pilot to come over to the dark side. At the time I put my deposit down on the SR22, Lancair was trying to get me a slot in the 4th quarter of 2002 to match my SR22 delivery date. Obviously they would not have been able to fulfill that contract, but either way, I went with the SR22.

It is good to have choices though. Either plane is better than all the other singles being produced today and we need Lancair to succeed if for no other reason than to push Cirrus to build better and better aircraft.

I test flew both aircraft before I settled on the SR22. The Columbia was uncomfortable for me. Although I’m not very tall (5 ft, 9 in), my head actually hit the cabin roof when I moved the seat forward. Also, I found it awkward when stepping into the cockpit (think it had to do with location of the spar). Finally, the ergonometrics of the stick on the SR22 was much more natural than the Columbia. In any event, I recommend you test fly both to see which suits you.


I have flown the Col 300 twice. Here are my thoughts:

Pro Lancair
Faster. The 300 wants to go 180 like the SR22 wants to go 160
stronger airframe ( just my impression)
higher quality components (again just an impression)
doors close a LOT easier
rear seatbelts more comfortable
higher maneuvering speed (150 kts)
Cirrus seems to be built to more of a price point and it shows in gauges that fail, low quality switches
engine gauges more readable
wing is single piece (no add ons)
wing, elevator easier to replace
if promised useful load increase happens then that will be another advantage
great de-ice and A/C technology planned but like many Lancair items yet to be delivered
I found fit and finish better
heating controls don’t break on first use

Pro CIrrus
company has its act together. This is a BIG deal. You can actually get the plane. Cirrus delivers what they say rather than focusing on unavailable technology (recent Entegra early announcement is an exception)
easier entry to rear
lighter handlig at speed
more finished i.e.:
a) seat being redesigned on Lancair to be more like Cirrus
b) overhead console being reworked on Lancair to try to improve headroom closer to Cirrus
better CG range on Cirrus
cool MFD, Sandel 3308
cup holders

I could go on and on but I am realizing that the above misses the point. The Lancair is more expensive and in some areas the extra money shows. with things done in a more expensive and better way. However, Lancair talks about stuff long before they have a prayer of delivering. Cirrus delivers. The SR22 is undergoing constant improvement. Right now, even with new financing for Lancair, I would place my money with Cirrus.

The 400 is really a different class of plane. You are talking an extra $100k for the ability to fly a lot faster IF you carry oxygen and go high.

James: You certainly couldn’t ask a question with potentially more one sided response. I am sure that if you ask the same question on the Lancair site, you’d get almost 100% the opposite answer.

I do believe that all the responses were very fair, well reasoned and somewhat biased. Not to say that I am impartial: I am not, and don’t accuse me of that! [;)] I am a big fan of the Cirrus and think, all things considered - money, value, wait, performance, etc. - it is the better choice.

There is just one issue that I have not seen discussed. That is the availability of 100 LL avgas. Popular opinion seems to agree that at some point over the next 2 -6 years, 100LL will go away. From all that I’ve heard, the new, replacement fuel will work, with only a minor, 5% +/-, power loss, in normally asperated engines, but will be a problem in turbo models.

Perhaps the one saving grace is that GAMInjectors is working on PRISM, which potentially will allow turbo engines to work on the new, replacement fuels. Just how retrofitable it will be, the cost of the retrofit, and how the fuel issue affects the value of the aircraft are three factors that you will have to make your own guesses and be willing to live with the consequences.

Either way, I think the Lancair and Cirrus are both great aircraft, miles ahead of the competition and you will not be disapointed whichever way you decide.

Marty SR22 N191KM

My opinion is jaded because I have a SR22, but my friend has a Columbia 300 and loves it. I think it is very beautiful as is the SR22. If speed is the goal, I would consider a Lancair IVP anyday. If safety is your goal, the SR22.

I read about a comment from Lance N. making fun of the Cirrus CAPS and I bet he hates all the good press that Cirrus is getting!

Because of the numbers alone, Cirrus will have more service centers, more STCs available, and more support from a thousand users. It may be similar to the PC vs. Mac debate. I have both and I was a Mac die-hard. But now I run Windows because of all the extra advantages of being mainstream, but I love the Mac.

There is room for both, and you’ll probably love either plane.


Two other things I noticed, The Columbia is HOT, especially in the southern climates. The current ventilation system is supposed to be reworked when production resumes. Along the same lines, its harder to taxi with the doors open. You must keep a good grip on the doors. I personally wouldn’t trust a non-flying passenger. Damage could result if someone let go of the door.

There are no sun visors in the Columbia. The windscreen seems to come down further, probably in the interest of aerodynamics, leaving no room.

Both of these are somewhat small, nit-picky items but items none -the-less.

Cirrus is giving very good deals on SR 22 deliveries between now and December 31 with a $13,000 savings. You could have your plane quickly.
Lancair is making NO planes right now and their financial future is suspect. The SR 22 has been a proven airpalne. At this moment, I do not think there is much of a choice.


If you’re keen on the turbocharged Columbia 400, keep in mind that there’s a substantial waiting list which probably extends to at least the second quarter of 2004 (see a discussion on the Lancair forum By contrast, you can get an SR22 before the end of 2002, and with a rebate no less! ( here for details.) So you might want to give the SR22 serious consideration…


The Columbia 400 will be a screamer at altitude, leaving even the Mooney Bravo handily in its wake, and serve as extraordinarily fast long-distance transportation if that is the pilot’s primary need or desire. However, it certainly will NOT be a “go out flying for fun today” airplane.

On my own subjective (and arbitrary) list, the SR20 and 260se are very good compromises for fulfilling both types of flying fun/utility. The SR22 and Columbia 300 are great designs as travelling machines and can just barely be shoehorned into the “weekend-or-after-work-fun-flying” category. They are quite fast and powerful birds–not exactly “pattern work” airplanes.

However, at some point for me personally additional speed hasn’t much value, as I like to “smell the roses along the way” in my own flying. A few months back I traded good-natured barbs with a Columbia 400 depositor. “If we both left Phoenix for San Diego at the same time,” he opined, “I would be at Anthony’s on the wharf with two scotches in me and dinner being served by the time you landed.” “True,” I replied, “at your 240 kt to my 150 [SR20 or 260se/stol], you’d get there about an hour sooner. But in the last analysis, what can I say about a pilot who’d rather drink for an hour than fly?”

I agree with most of your points except the remark about speed. I have no problem whatsoever getting at least book speeds from our -22. 180kts. is usually no problem at all, it goes right up to 180 as soon as I level off. The lower maneuvering speed definitely does make a difference, though. I have had a few descents that could have been accomplished a lot faster but there was a little too much turbulence, and then there was the wife and kids hanging on to anything they could find… They probably think the maneuvering speed is still too high.

Nice summary - I couldn’t disagree at all with what you have to say - not one item at all.


I read my post again and now realize I wasn’t clear regarding speed. N913CD will also do 180 and the Columbia I flew will do 190. However, I was commenting on the speed that almost seems hard to avoid in the planes. Without pushing the Columbia I saw 180. For me the Cirrus gives 160 under the same conditions meaning not pushing things, at a lower altitude (say 4,000), etc. Put another way, what speed do you hit with everything relaxed and where going slower means thinking about it and noticing a change in pitch attitude. The Lancair hits 180 without breathing hard i.e. partial throttle, lower noise. The Cirrus is being pushed. However, I have to really cut power to drop the Cirrus below 160. Just a subjective thing I noticed.

On a side note, N913CD is shown on the AirShares line in the latest AOPA Pilot magazine. Cirrus pilots can have fun by reading the specs on the Seneca V plane (on the cover) and comparing to the Cirrus. Let’s see… same speed, half the cost, fixed gear. greater range, lower maintenance (not a twin), and N913CD has a full fuel useful load of 606 (a heavy SR22) compared to 605 for the Seneca.

All of Lancair’s published #'s are in MPH; however I assume the airspeed you saw was indicating in knots?


Correct. I also looked at the ground speed in knots from the GPS. I have only flown the Columbia twice and it was several months ago. It was also before I had much time in the Cirrus. I do believe the Lancair is faster by a good 10 knots. However, it struck me more as a work in progress where the Cirrus seemed like a complete design.

I find the SR22 to be a very fine “jump in and smell the juniper berries” airplane, and not much different than the SR20–after all, you can fly nearly as slow as the SR20 and nobody says you have to push the handle forward all the time.

For me the SR22 is ideal, as it is a fun airplane to fly, has outstanding visibility for sightseeing, but will still haul serious butt when you need to get somewhere. With a couple hundred hours in each, I view the SR22 as a more capable SR20 (better climb performance, much more high/hot utility) with almost no downside relative to the 20 (except cost.)