What is the oldest year I should buy a used 22?

I am looking at buying a 22 because I believe it would be best for resale… But what are the technology “milestones” through the years that should be made part of the consideration? I was told by a dealer not to go older than 2008. Is that a consensus? Thank you for your feedback. Jack

No, I would not say that is a ‘consensus’, at all. I assume the dealer may have been referring to g3 planes with Garmin Perspective which would be 2008 or newer (this dealer must have a bunch of post 2008 listings :)). If that is important to you, then, yes. But if you are OK with non-Perspective planes, there are many great planes available pre-2008 vintage.

Ha! No consensus at all. . . Don’t by any Cirrus produced before 1999.

Wonder what that dealer had in stock, eh?

In reality, your mission and aptitude for flying may dictate your criteria for features and capabilities. Budget has been an overriding criteria for some. Some of us bought Cirrus airplanes early and have flown them a lot. Mine is a 2001 SR22 s/n 127 that now has over 3,500 hours. Others are even earlier. Great value, great lifestyle, IMHO.

Best wishes in your search.


I would think that the G1s and G2s would have the lowest depreciation because they cost less. In addition, the pre-2005 planes all have new parachutes. Maintenance costs are hard to predict, but can be high even on relatively new planes. The best reason to buy a newer plane is to get features you want that are only available on the newer planes. Fit and finish has gotten better over time as well. Overall, I think the older planes will cost less, and do essentially the same mission with the same performance. Lot’s of options out there.

Regarding maintenance, I am curious - do we have enough data to determine how maintenance costs have trended by vintage? ie, are the newer planes, at the same point in their life-cycle, more or less expensive to maintain than their older siblings? On the one hand, the newer planes have had the benefit of continual manufacturing improvements but, on the other, they have also seen more (and increasingly complex) options/features…

I have not actually seen data on this, but I know that most of my maintenance has been for parts that a pretty common to all of the planes. Engine things, nose gear donuts, brakes, tires, batteries, parachutes, flap relays. Minor work on wheel fairings. The most recent planes have changed a few of these items: Flap relays are now electronic, and donuts were supplanted by a different system. I am not sure what the impact on costs will be, however.

I had a lot more experience with my Bonanza. Frankly, maintenance costs were similar throughout my 8 years of ownership. There were certainly large bills from time to time, though. Most of the items that were expensive were the kinds of things that I listed above.


That is a great question. Planes of like options are close in reliability and costs. A few one liners:

  1. Older airplanes (G1) cost more to repack the chute due to body work. That averages less than 300 dollars per year so while something to consider is indeed small in the overall Cost Of Ownership (COO)

  2. The newer planes have more avionics stuff to pay for. More databases and more checks. More COO.

  3. Option maintenance is where the differences are. Turbos have more maintenance. Air conditioners need service. Etc… Nothing is free on an airplane. Not to buy and not to maintain. They may still be a worthwhile expense, depends on your mission. Don’t buy more plane than you need if Mx costs scare you. Mission is everything. But the plane that meets 80% of your mission. I talk to turbo owners that never go high - well then shy have a Turbo? TKS, if you want to fly in areas of ice than it might be needed. If you don’t the Mx and constant wetting the wings is a PITA and messy.

  4. The engines are relatively the same in costs. The same basic engine in the original SR20 is still the one they use today. Same for the 22. The Turbo “K” engine is a variant, but it is different. Same reliability, same costs. You spend far more of your maintenance dollars on the engine than the airframe.

In general the newer plans are loaded with options and that drives the cost. I do not see any measurable cost reduction because the planes are newer and if it is there it certainly is more than frittered away on option Mx and depreciation. In the case of depreciation it is orders of magnitude more than Mx.

A plane that is on the more level slope of depreciation will be your best cost based solution, but it may not have what you want. Choose carefully grasshopper.

I think 2003-2004 planes are the best value. The have anti-ice and full glass panel, but aren’t much more expensive than earlier birds. Not much changed til 2009 after that.

Question for all.

I think I will end up in this similar airframe window so interesting for me.

I am sure I read the electrical upgrade when they got rid of the analog guages was significant? I have done a quick search ( and been a bit lazy ! ) but can’t find anything definitive. Was the MCU upgraded at that time as well ? I am slightly leaning towards 2006 for that reason but would love some clarification.

Kind Regards



The removal of the gauges means it moved to a MCU 130 and a change from a SIU to a DAU (what displays instrument data on the MFD). In general that is a good thing. Hardly a reason to choose that year over one a year earlier. I sort of see things in varying implications. Yes, the 130 is more reliable, yes the DAU is better. But both do fail still and the DAU, like the SIU, is no longer made. And if the DAU or MFD go out on those models then you have no primary engine instrument gauges and you are grounded. There are some that have that data displayed on the PFD, but without a DAU you are still grounded. Don’t think it can’t happen, my MFD did fail and I could fly without the MFD because I had gauges.

The old round gauge equipped Cirrus have a gauge backup in either case because the round ones are primary. In terms of advantages what was giveth can be taken away in another category. Think about this, should Avidyne support ever evaporate on MFD’s (lets face it, someday those MFD’s will not be economically repairable - for now they are but they are computers after all) then you have to buy a gauge set that is STC’ed to be primary.

Good luck in your search.

If you want to know what consensus is, one dealer’s proclamation is not a reliable indicator. Instead, look at selling prices or – to a lesser extent – asking prices. Consensus is determined by the marketplace, not by that dealer.

Thanks for the response. Yes, you are 100% correct and, as I think about it, it couldn’t possibly be big enough to matter relative to the depreciation which, on a newer plane, can be an order of magnitude higher. Which is where I am struggling as a potential buyer - used prices (especially for the newer planes) have held in much better than I would have thought. I don’t know what to make of that. Are we in a new environment for an extended period (driven by low supply/production and good demand for the new features) or are we simply in a transition period (economy picks up while supply is delayed but owners in line for the Jet getting ready to put 22s on market at same time production begins to increase) and we get back to a ‘normal’ depreciation curve…who knows…either way, will be an interesting 12-18 months in the used market!

I think your observation is correct, just not sure what the cause is. I suspect one thing keeping the prices of newer ones up is that the older ones were over produced (IMO). There were around 700 a year being built in the 2005/2006 time frame. A production rate that I think was not sustainable by the market. There is just a limited number of aircraft buyers and I don’t think it can absorb that many aircraft without a price correction.

After the great recession production numbers plummeted. Today they have a record year selling less than half that rate. Lets face it the G3 Garmin equipped aircraft with FIKI is quite an aircraft. They are very well equipped planes and they have Garmin avionics, which are more sought after by the market. So that tosses the G1/2’s down in market value. Econ 101 says there will be buyers at some price.