Trim

I am an instrument student flying Elite Flight Center’s SR20. I seem to have a very hard time trimming it because I find the trim to be extremely sensitive. Is it just this airplane, or are they all hard to trim, and if they are hard to trim, is there a secret to it?

Thanks!
Robert

Robert, I think trimming is one of the most difficult things in the Cirrus. The coolie switch is extremely sensitive. The only trick is to use very - and I mean very - brief tapping inputs. Also be sure you hit the switch on the “cardinal headings” so that you’re applying only pitch or roll trim at any given time.
It’s frustrating but can be mastered with practice.
After I got my plane I wanted to teach my wife how to land it and the most difficult part was getting her to learn how to trim it. We went up for an hour and I would constantly get out of trim and give her the airplane to trim back to straight and level. She got the hang of it but it took time. Just practice.

I found mine impossible to trim. When I practice on MSFS2002, I simulate a Cirrus by only trimming 1/2 seconds increments. It then just like my plane, it can’t be flown hands off, so you get a lot of practice with your instrument scans. That is why in real life, if the autopilot doesn’t work, any long flight in IMC is a no go.

Robert,

The autopilot does a nice job at trimming the airplane!

I find the roll trim to be almost impossible to get exactly right. To compensate I get it ever so slightly trimmed to the left and then roll tiny pressures onto the stick with my hand. Conceptually, I don’t understand why the plane needs such a large travel in roll trim. It seems that the trim could be made more sensitive so that smaller adjustments would be possible.

Just two things to remember:

  1. Shortest Tap possible, pitch or roll, but not together.
  2. Wait and see what happens, don’t chase it by constantly adjusting.

They are slippery birds and small changes to Angle of Attack seem to take a while to work through.

Always seems to work for me, but let it settle down before changing anything! If you really can’t get the pitch right, then adjust the power VERY slightly, and repeat.

Ian

Robert,

Perhaps I’m the exception, but I find the airplane pretty straightforward to trim in both roll and pitch. Like Jerry, I just use tiny “blips” of pressure on the “coolie hat.” It is a bit of a change from rolling in gobs of trim on a Cessnas or a Piper… but you’ll get there.

Cheers,
Roger

I think just about everyone who flys the Cirrus would crank the trim rate down by a fair bit if it were adjustable. The electric trim on my old 182 (pitch only) is probably 5-10 times slower, and it’s great. It never takes more than a couple of seconds to change the trim to where you want it, and instead of microsecond ‘blipping’ of the switch, you simply hit it for a count of one or two or three.

Unless there is some sort of certification issue involved, (like perhaps ability to quickly re-trim from an autopilot-induced runaway situation) I can’t imagine why they would have intentionally designed it this way…and it would seem trivial to run the motors more slowly. Seems like a design goober to me.

Tim

First, you do get used to it a bit and it gets easier.
Second, for the very fine trim changes, I’ll often use what I call the “flick” method. I sort of flick my thumb across the tip of the hat swich in the direction that I need. This will give me a very slight trim in the desired direction.

I have found that is important to actually trim in the actual switch direction. In other words, it’s easy to put the switch in an “in between” position between say the forward and left positions. This results in not getting the right amount of trim or trim in an unintended direction. Hope that helps.

Derek

Simple Cirrus SR20 trimming trick #1:

To trim for straight-and-level flight, select wing leveler mode on the A/P. Select altitude hold on the A/P. Let go of the yoke. Count to 30 real slow or wait until the plane is in a level attitude at constant altitude. Disengage the A/P using the coolie hat switch. Plane will be in trim for straight-and-level flight.

Scott: Is this the '20 or '22? I think the SR20’s A/P does trim the plane well, but the SR22’s A/P does not trim the pitch (elevator) well. If fact, I try to warn the passengers that the plane may ‘bobble’ when the A/P is disconnected and I take a good hold on the yoke before releasing the button.

I think the difference is that the SR22 has a separate pitch servo for the A/P.

A long time ago someone at Cirrus discussed a two speed trim servo. This would ‘cure’ the problem, but be fairly expensive. It would be interesting to see if it something that could be STCd.

Marty

In reply to:


To trim for straight-and-level flight, select wing leveler mode on the A/P. Select altitude hold on the A/P. Let go of the yoke. Count to 30 real slow or wait until the plane is in a level attitude at constant altitude. Disengage the A/P using the coolie hat switch. Plane will be in trim for straight-and-level flight.


Tom Bergeron showed me that trick on my original demo flight two years ago, and it always seemed like cheating or something to me. OTOH, when I’ve been kindly offered stick time by Roger in his SR20 and by several SR22 owners the trim didn’t strike me as onerous at all. Maybe it was because I was already aware of the sensitivity. “Blip” is the operative word. Actually, I prefer it to the ponderously sloooooow electric trim in my Bo.

I was told by an old FAA salt that “trim speed is predicated on maneuvering speed.” I have no idea what that meant specifically, but I could not find any reference to it in the certification regs. Since maneuvering speed is almost the same in the SR22 as the Bo, it apparently means nothing.

In Reply To:

…and it always seemed like cheating or something to me…

Yeah, and so does using the autopilot for coupled approaches! If ya gotta trim manually, ya gotta shoot the apch manually! LOLOL

In reply to:


Yeah, and so does using the autopilot for coupled approaches! If ya gotta trim manually, ya gotta shoot the apch manually!


Like I said on the Member’s forum, I haven’t shot a coupled approach in 20+ years! Dumb, really. I just like shooting approaches. With all the geewhizzers in my new airplane (2 weeks) I will break down and occasionally shoot a coupled approach. Promise!

Gordon:

You’ll practically have to beat it with a stick to KEEP it from flying the approach for you!

Tim

Wow do I feel better!! Thanks for all of the advice.

I like the autopilot trick for straight and level, but to quickly trim for constant speed/rate climbs/decents I don’t think that it will work very well.

I love the SR20, and feel very safe and comfortable even in not so great IMC conditions, but don’t think it is the correct airplane to take my IR checkride in.

Thank you all!
Robert

In reply to:


I love the SR20, and feel very safe and comfortable even in not so great IMC conditions, but don’t think it is the correct airplane to take my IR checkride in.


Robert - I’m curious - why not? Do you plan on flying the SR20 often after obtaining your IR ticket?

In Reply To:
…but don’t think it is the correct airplane to take my IR checkride in.

Do you mind explaining why not? I took my IFR checkride in my SR20, with only approx. 20 hours time in type at the time. It was amazingly easier than the C172RG I had done all my IFR training in. The workload was MUCH less, and the situational awareness was MUCH greater. I did have to spend a lot of time explaining the avionics, the various airspeeds for operation, and the flying characteristics of the plane to the DPE, because she didn’t have a clue.

(That led to some funny moments during the test - better left to another post - about how the tables got turned and DPE got embarrased when the “student” caught her making a safety-of-flight mistake, called her on it, and proved it with the POH.)

Would u please elaborate why the SR20 is not the correct plane to take IR check ride in, Thank you , appreciate your response.

jt le vay