Dear Fellow Cirrus Pilots,
I had the privilege of enjoying the hospitality of CD and specifically Mr. Dick Loynachan and Mr. Gary Black (Dick’s successor since his announced retirement which, I never understand) on a factory tour on 11-02-01.
I am position holder #143 on an SR-22 having been position holder #550 for an SR-20 since 01-06-00 and having upgraded to the SR-22 ASAP, in other words being the silent and patient (husband???) type. I have test flown the SR20 twice, [Dick had a really tough time selling me, (a full 1 second to look)] and I knew that the extra ponies the SR22 possessed, soupped up the SR-20 much like the P-51 Mustang after the Merlin upgrade (Alan K. are you listening?). I read the literature, the specs, and I have been reading, re-reading (time permitting) all the posts on COPA but, being a converted skeptic from an eternal optimist, I had some reservation regarding the claims of the SR-22. Based on the experience however, I have to assure you (the like-minded engineering type) the plane will not only meet your expectations, it will EXCEED them…
We took off in MVFR 25KN G35 and I was absolutely amazed by the acceleration and, by the 1400+ climb rate, typical of winching gliders (I am an ex-glider pilot w/300+ winch starts). The aircraft was very stabile yet responsive and handled the moderate turbulence (normal for gliders) very well.
Not being proficient in the Garmin430 and ARNAV avionics, I handled the controls while Dick was navigating and talking to ATC. I performed some steep turns (reminiscent of the glider days), nailed a couple of landings adhering to DickÂ’s guidance and, in general felt like the proverbial kid in the candy store (DickÂ’s terminology). The aircraft is a genuine pleasure to fly and having the leading edge (please, notice I did not use the term bleeding edge) avionics makes it very easy to navigate.
Transitioning after the 172, 182, PA28, etc., this ship is certainly very slippery yet extremely simple to fly for the performance it offers once the avionics are mastered. The emphasis on avionics is key since IMHO flying nowadays is much more focused on the avionics than on the manual skills.
About the Factory. Met many people, looked at a number of facets of the factory floor and I was impressed by the quiet yet resolute determination of the people to do the right things and getting the job done… I met mechanics (purple shirts), assembly workers (gray shirts) and FAA approved inspectors (green shirts), and even my wife, a manufacturing neophyte commented on the fact that they were working all the time without much talking or any other superfluous activities. I was impressed by the people of CD and certainly, the Manager of Engineering ( sorry, I forgot his name even though I am predisposed to liking him) who elucidated some of the demonstrated actual limits of the SR-22 which proved to be 280% of the design limits, meaning that these were the actual limits at which the wing disintegrated. I do not want to turn this into an engineering discussion, but gentlemen and gentle ladies please, realize that +3.8 and Â–1.9 design limits and the fact that the wing was actually broken @280%of the design loads, translates into an incredible +10.64 and -5.32g. I have been flying and abusing aircrafts/gliders rated @ +6/-4g having a lot of fun, which flying the SR-22 is supposed to be all about and I do not recall pulling this load on any ship with the exception of doing a snap roll which is admittedly beyond the rating of this aircraft.
Delivery: I wanted to meet Allison (I am sure most of you met her) but, she was not available and I fault myself for not dialing in her on my ETA. I have talked to many of her very pleasant peers and I saw #141 on THE BOARD having a delivery date of Jan 28, 2002, which extrapolates # 143 to somewhere around mid February 2002.
Summary: My experience is overwhelmingly positive [(even though someone misspelled my name (Kulcsar, which should be very easy to spell for most Hungarians)] and I would strongly encourage every pilot to visit the facility in order to provide the feedback ensuring that CD is going to remain the trendsetter it has become today and destined to remain in the foreseeable future.
Laszlo and Tunde Kulcsar
2260 Highpoint Drive
Lindenhurst, IL 60046