Things to watch for: As most of you know I have flown ol’ N415WM for well over 300 hours. During that period, I have had some issues with the SR20 that anyone would expect given it is a brand-new product and I had the first customer delivered airplane. Surprisingly, there have not been as many problems as I thought there could have been, and, most importantly, those problems that did crop up have been dealt with promptly and without hesitation by Cirrus and the folks at Del Monte Aviation here in Monterey, CA.
With that as a backdrop, I want to let other owners know of some issues that I have encountered in hopes that sharing such information will lead us all to have and maintain a better product.
Aside from minor cosmetic issues that have been addressed there are two things that warrant mentioning here. The first is vacuum pump failures. I have had FIVE vacuum pumps fail. The last three have not even lasted 50 hours each. Now before anyone gets their underwear in a wad, I want you to know that this issue has been worked and continues to be worked by Cirrus and their engineers as well as with Airborne (pump manufacturer). Clearly, a solution has not been found. When the last pump failed, Del Monte Aviation noted some hoses that were kinked hoses and after some discussion with Cirrus a decision was made to replace not only the kinked hoses, but virtually everything in the vacuum system. The last pump still failed after only 43.6 Hobbs hours. Things being considered now are harmonics (related to my engine, prop (3 blade), and my specific avionics Â…'A' Package), heat on the pump, and filters. If anyone else has some ideas I'd bet Cirrus would like to hear them. Mind you, the Cirrus guys are pretty bright folks, but this problem seems a little baffling. The other problem just happened to me today. The right door hinge (the lower one) gave way (broke). Fortunately, it broke as we were shutting down. If such a failure were to happen in flight I dread to think of what would have happened. Clearly the door would have been lost, which could have in turn damaged flight controls in the process! Whew! If in taxing the loss of either hinge could produce major damage. Cirrus had already spotted the potential problem and has a service bulletin out the correct the problem, but when my annual was done the new parts weren't in so I left without the hinges being replaced. While my hinges will now be replaced for sure, it behooves each of you to check your hinges to make sure (if you haven't replaced them) that you inspect them carefully. Finally, I want to add that as one who was most vocal about not needing the standby vacuum pump as we had a rate-based auto pilot to turn to in the event of an emergency, I have to tell you that the backup system works extremely well. The only thing that tells you that the vacuum pump has failed is the red idiot light on the panel that comes on indicating you have had a vacuum failure, AND the amber light that indicates the standby vacuum pump is operating. Vacuum never drops and your instruments are rock solid. This is a great plane. As I come up on my one year anniversary I can honestly tell you this is the best value in general aviation despite some problems. You all fly safely out there!