…is this a really awesome plane for a new private pilot or what else would be available in this price range??? Thanks for your responses.
“AOPA Pilot” back in March, 1999 did a cover story on “Sweet Smell of New: Aircraft for the Next Millenium.” (The Cirrus SR 20 was the cover plane, incidentally -yes, I save all 'zines with Cirrus stuff.)
The author put the SR 20 into a group labelled “Step-up Singles.” Other members of the group were the Lancair Columbia 300, Mooney Eagle, Commander 114B, Cessna Skylane, Socata Trinidad TB20, and a Columbian built Gavilan 358 (which was not yet certified in the US at the time.)
Price: the above cost more for the same model year as the Cirrus. To be in the same price range, you would need to look at older models.
It would be worthwhile to consult your CFI, who knows you and who will no doubt be familiar with one or more of the above a/c, as to whether he/she thinks it would be a good match for you, additional training expectations, etc. Also, try talking to the folks at Wings Aloft. I believe they have had a good deal of experience by now training newer pilots with the SR 20. I know that in the past we have had forum participants who were newer pilots and had just taken delivery of their SR 20.
Three years ago, I was told by a knowledgeable Cirrus rep that the main problem for a newer pilot transitioning to the SR 20 would be the same problem facing the pilot with a move to any faster a/c: being “behind the airplane.” This makes adequate training at the time of acquiring the a/c (any a/c) a must.
In order to gain a frame of reference, try getting checked out in different planes. I had luck at one time doing an internet search for different rental planes in driving distance of me. The more planes you’ve flown, the more you’ll probably like the Cirrus! (The many enhanced safety features also make it very appealing.)