Peter: You have one great choice! I don’t think you can loose either way.
As an owner, a very happy owner of the SR22, I am biassed, but here are my observations on your comments:
Columbia enthusasts claim the following advantages for their plane: a stronger fuselage, including sturdier crash protection;
I don’t know if that is real. Strength is not necessarily crash protection: well designed crushability is. Two SR22’s have suffered really botched landings (well, one off airport and one total botch IMHO) and in both cases the occupants walked away with no or very slight injuries. Witnesses to ythe worst of the two said that they did not thnk anyone would survive. That is anecdotal evidence, but it is history.
slightly higher speed and signifincantly lower fuel burn;
Slightly higher speeds yes, but I sincerely doubt the fuel burn. The two airframes use the same engine. At the same power setting, the engines will use the same fuel. Speed would depend upon aerodynamics and weight. The Columbia has achieved slightly better aerodynamics at the expens of a slight bit of comfort, visibility and entry and exit ease. Just a different philosophy.
larger fuel tanks; more flexibility for avionics, both now and in the future; built-in lightning protection; and possibility to upgrade to the TSIO-550-N1B.
Both planes are certified IFR so they both have lightning protection to meet FAA specs. I think you will get a little more flexibiltiy on avionics, but with the latest enhancements to the SR22 (Skywatch), I’m not sure how much more you can get that is really usefull (Radar altimiter, back-up AI?)
My questions to all of you out there (most of whom seem really to love your Cirri) – how should I digest all of this? What am I missing? Are there subjective factors about owning orflying the airplanes that I should be putting in the balance.
Here are my thoughts. As I said, both are great planes. The wait is a big factor, but more importantly, which plane would you rather have. The only real differences are minor looks, a few knots (maybe), comfort, usefull load and payload.
I think the SR22 is slightly more comfortable, the UL and Payload (Full Fuel) are better, at least on the real life numbers I’ve seen.
Look at the difference of 3, 5 or 8 knots would make on an average trip. I bet you will find it is practically nothing. I typically fly with 65% power and 50 degrees lean of peak, so, I admit that I am willing to fly a little slower.
Depending upon altitude, temps, etc., I see between 160-170 KTAS at less than 13 GPH and CHT’s rarely over 320. I could go 182 or 183 KTAS, (I actually do 1 or 2 knots better than book) but that would put me into the 17-19 GPH range. To me, it’s usually not worth the fuel and wear on the engine to save 5 to 7 minutes per hour of flight.
On the other hand, payload is very important to me. I’d recommend you find out what the actual empty weight of planes configured the way you want is and see for yourself.
My SR22 with Stormscope and engine pre-ehater is 2250. With a GW of 3400, that leaves me 1150 real pounds of payload. Full fuel of 486 (480 if you allow for taxi) gives you 670 lbs to put in the cockpit. (Does anyone really offload fuel for payload?)
As for range, I have flown from LOU (Louisville, KY) to ORL (Orlando, FL), a distance of 620 NM’s as the crow flies (and I wasn’t a crow that day) in 4.0 hours at 65% power with over 25 gallons remaining. I could have flown nearly another hour (165 Nm’s) with reserves, but an hour longer flight is more than my bladder can take. At a faster speed, I would have saved maybe 20 minutes and used most of that reserve.
Any help you could give me on this difficult choice would be very much appreciated. If you would like to reply to me directly, my email is PEternoah9@aol.com. Otherwise, I will look for your replies in the forum.
Now for the parachute. It does more for my passengers than it does for me. You’d be surprised how many folks have volunteered to fly with me knowing it has the parachute.
Bottom line, I love my SR22 and know that it would not be a bad choice for you. I have never regretted my decision. Good luck with your decision.
Thanks. Peter Simon
p.s.: One clear advantage of the Cirrus is this forum. Your discussions are terrific, and very informative.
Check out www.cirruspilots.org