I thought perhaps a few of you Cirrus folks might like to hear from a non position holders view of the Cirrus. I live in Connecticut and along with my partners Alan and Hugh,had an oppertunity to meet Cirrus owner Joe Lennon ( N527 MJ )on Friday Sept 8th. We Went to his home base in Mass. Let me start byh saying " Joe, thank you again, for the time and effort you took with us. Your plane is truly spectacular, your knowledge of the plane and its systems are most impressive."
I contacted Joe through this websight and asked him if he would be willing to let us paw ( and Drool) over his plane. I told him we would fly to his location and would like to take some photo’s of the plane. His response" Hell Ya, come on up, I’ll even throw in a demo ride." Let me tell you, we were at the airport two days later with cameras in tow. Of course as we are landing at the airport, you could hear him talking with ATC. He was 15 miles out, inbound for landing. Joe claimed the plane needed to get some air, Yea Right, you couldn’t stand being at the airport without sitting in your plane.
It wasnt but a couple minutes after we had landed he rolls up with the doors open and engine purring. What a sight! To say this plane is beautiful is an understatement. After parking, he jumps out ( ok, CAREFULLY steps out) of the plane and with a hugh smile ( he has a Cirrus, no wonder why he is smiling) he greets us with a very warm welcome. Right off the bat everyone is at ease and the questions begin: What about this, what about that, whats this, whats that, Etc, etc, etc. Joe answered them all and never skipped a beat. Folks were walking by, saw the plane and got into the conversation themselfs.
After a few ( Ok. Again. After a lot of photo’s) we stepped and buckled up.
The immediate impression is WOW. The shape and blend of this plane is awsome. It looks very solid and from the conversation with Joe, its very well built and shows it. Obviously, the factory pays attention to detail.
Joe’s plane has a beautiful leather interior, a three blade prop, “C” Package and a stormscope. Along with the lightspeed headsets, this looks likle something out of the future.
After getting into the seats ( I got the front Ha ha ) and starting the motor, which buy the way, had been shut down only 15 min earlier and starterd without hesitation. We taxied to the runway and off we went, with three 200+ guys and maybe 1/2 fuel? we were climbing at 1000 fpm. GUYS, At 900 fpm all you can see is sky, with all the options and the weight creep, its still a great performer.
We climed to 3000 feet and 20 miles out in what was no more than two or three minutes. Buy the way, at this point I have already been on the controls while Joe tries to explain all the FANTASTIC avionics this bird has. To quote " its like IFR for dummies". Just follow the line on the screen. How true, we did a few tight turns left and right then headed for the coast. The plane slips throught the air with little effort. I’ve read about the way the plane handles turbulence, and I will attest, we hit a bump which would have rocked our Arrow pretty hard, the Cirrus just laughed and kept on going.
The auto pilot and GPS features are something you wont understand untill you try them. Everything is designed for comfort and speed. I know this sounds like an advertisment for the company, but its true, simple as that. We have all seen a product hyped about its great features only to be disapointed with the results. You guys out there with positions and havve never been ion one are in for a SWEET surprise. This is the real thing. Its better than one can imagine.
We continued our flight and decided to fly a few instrument approches at alttitude. CAN YOU SAY AUTOMATIC. I have been instrument rated for 3 years and have been in some intense IFR conditions with our Arrow II , Man,I sure wish I had this plane then!! With course intercept, Glideslope coupling , its a dream machine.
THEN HE BROKE THE BAD NEWS
It was time to head back to the airport. NOOOOO, we beggfed and pleaded, however even this Cirrus driver has a boss to contend with ( his wife Marie) actually it was a soccer game for his son.
We entered the patter and after the first flap setting was made, we never felt the rest go down.
we never felt the gear either, Oh ya, no gear,0 (I forgot this plane can carry 4 people and do 160 kts with the wheels hanging down).
I got the chance to taxi the plane back to the tiedown using the castering wheel and toe brakes. Boy, thats different, and it didnt help having the two guys in the other seats laughing at me!
We shut her down and Joe explained how to exit the plane using the hand grip, Little did he know, I had no intention of getting out of this craft. I told him to go ahead to his game and we would take care of the plane while he was gone. He didnt buy it and besides, he’s a pretty big guy, so I grudgingly got out and helped push the plane away for the night. Joe had an appointment and we had taken quyite a bit of his time. What a pleasure this has been. A great person, super plane, and the FRONT seat. What more could opne ask for? Again, thanks Joe.
In conclusion, Its a real nice plane. It seems everyone we have come in contact with had very positive things to say. Sure, there are a few bugs to work out.( Vac Pumps, transpoders, along with a few others in sure). From this pilots view its a winner. And a value.
Notice I didnt say NON position holder, As of this writting, a check is on the way to Cirrus for our own piece of the future.
The On;ly question left unanswerd is:
LEN, AL ,HUGH