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Cirrus SR20: Buyer’s Guide

Since its introduction in 1999 the four-seat Cirrus SR20 single-engine piston aircraft series has become a firm favourite among the General Aviation community with its mix of revolutionary safety features, power and comfort for four people to fly across any continent. The maximum VFR range (seats full) of the SR20 is up to 800 nautical miles.

Nigel Walker   |   18th January 2018
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Nigel Walker Nigel Walker

Nigel Walker was the Editor of GA Buyer Europe. His interest in aviation began in his youth and...
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The Cirrus  SR20 aircraft has been used to train pilots from many of the world’s premier airlines, including Lufthansa Airlines, Swiss Air, Austrian Airlines, Eurowings, All Nippon Airways (ANA), KLM as well as the German Air Force.

“You don’t need to be a top-level corporate jet owner to have an airplane,” suggests Thomas “Mike” Mickel, Dominion Aviation Services. “For an average businessman, this aircraft beats regional travel, and I never thought you could do that in a small aircraft before flying a Cirrus. I want our customers in these.”

“I picked out three different models, and in the end, I chose a new Cirrus SR20,” Stefano Cestarelli, who flies his SR20 for leisure around Europe adds. “There was no mistake in choosing this aircraft. Cirrus was the best decision I could have made.”

As of 2016, over 1,330 units of this piston airplane had been built and shipped to customers around the world by the Duluth, Minnesota-based OEM.

Since 1999, various versions of the SR20 have been brought to market by Cirrus, including:

  • Cirrus SR20: This was the original version produced from 1999, built utilizing a Continental IO-360 engine. The SR20 was one of the first aircraft to offer ‘advanced technology’ avionics – and this launched a whole new effort in flight instructor training and awareness for students.
  • Cirrus SR20 G2: An improved variant introduced in 2004, with the ‘G2’ representing ‘Generation Two’.
  • Cirrus SRV: The Cirrus SRV was a VFR-only version of the SR20 aimed at the flight training market. As such it omitted some standard equipment available on the SR20 such as  wheel fairings. The SRV was built between 2003 and 2010.
  • SR20 G3: Introduced in 2007, the "Generation Three" offered a lighter wing of greater area that included a carbon-fiber spar. As a result, the cruise speed of the aircraft increased slightly. It also offered an increased take-off weight of 3,050 pounds (from 3,000), improved aircraft handling, dual-redundant GPS-WAAS-certified Garmin GNS 430W comm-navigators (that include a VHF radio and a VOR/LOC/ILS receiver) and an S-Tec Autopilot, and more.
  • SR20 G6: The G6 model was introduced at the start of 2017 and incorporates a Lycoming IO-39 engine of 215hp, enhanced Garmin Perspective-Plus flight deck, LED wingtip lights and a useful load increase of 150lb.
  • Cirrus currently market the model for approximately $400,000 equipped with Cirrus Perspective+ Avionics.

Why buy a Cirrus SR20

The Cirrus SR20 has various attractive qualities that have attracted General Aviation buyers. “One of our people – who is an experienced pilot – flew one and was surprised by how quick, comfortable and stable it handled,” Tony Kioussis, Asset Insight reported to AvBuyer.

“In a great plane like a Cirrus, you can be a great pilot. I know for a fact I’ll be flying a Cirrus for the rest of my life,” offers Cirrus SR20 owner Dr Tim Buchmann.

Among its top attractions is its cutting edge safety. The first thing most people wanted to know when the Cirrus SR20 Series was first introduced was how the parachute recovery system worked and what benefit it could bring to the world of aviation.

 Pilots man and women taking selfie

Dr Tim Buchman and his wife in his Cirrus SR20

Known as the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS), it has been deployed 83 times with 69 successful deployments leading to 142 survivors and only one fatality (figures taken until 2016). This has proved to be the deal-clincher for some buyers, Dr Buchman among them. Flying regularly with his non-pilot wife, he explains, “Having the parachute as plan B in case I became incapable of flying the aircraft was a big deal for her.”

However, CAPS is not the only safety feature for the Cirrus owner as the Cirrus SR20 also comes with a modern 26G safety cockpit, angled firewall on the SR20 G2 models (introduced Autumn 2004) to encourage skidding rather than crunching on a nose-first landing, four-point seatbelts (with airbags starting in 2006), good visibility together with a highly redundant electrical supply.

All of the above, and more, means that from an insurance perspective, the SR20 is a safer risk: 1) due to the advance technology incorporating better situational awareness; and, 2) fixed gear.

“Cirrus aircraft are comfortable, safe and revolutionize flying,” notes Thomas “Mike” Mickel, another satisfied owner of a SR20.

In addition to the safety features, buyers are attracted to the fast and frugal characteristics of the model. With a cruise speed of between 150-155kts the Cirrus SR20 is no slouch in covering ground while using approximately 12 gallons per hour of fuel through its six-cylinder 200hp fuel-injected Continental piston engine, giving any pilot a good combination of speed and range to take them cross-continent.

And in the cockpit many SR20s have a wide choice of avionic equipment to choose from (which will ultimately alter the price point of the aircraft).

The SR20 currently sells for approximately $400,000 equipped with Cirrus Perspective+ Avionics.

 

Cirrus piston aircraft on display

Dr Tim Buchman’s SR20 at Oshkosh in 2014

 

There are some noted characteristics that pilots should be aware of when flying the Cirrus SR20, including the need to keep an eye on the fuel gauge. Pilots must rely on float-type fuel gauges that are not particularly stable or accurate.

As highlighted by Asset Insight, there are pilots that love the SR20 and other that dislike it, “the major (technical) discriminator appearing to be the side stick – which some pilots do not like”.

On approach to landing, 75kts is considered the most effective speed for the Cirrus SR20 single-engine piston aircraft, but pilots are advised to take care not to over-use the brakes. This will avoid any danger of the shrouds covering them = overheating and potentially catching fire.

How much is a Cirrus SR20?

As mentioned above, the price of a Cirrus SR20 will vary widely, depending on options (such as avionics) a buyer is looking for. As noted by Asset Insight’s Tony Kioussis, values for the older SR20 aircraft are beginning to stabilize, having steadily decreased over the past several years.

The following figures, compiled from the Aircraft Bluebook, are offered as a guide for the average aircraft, by model year.

 Image graph


Performance and Specs
 

Aircraft Configuration: Single piston engine with fixed landing gear

Maximum Seats: Four

Maximum Take-Off Weight: 3150lbs

Cruise Speed: 160kts

Range: 800nm

Climb Rate: 920fpm

Take-Off: (50ft clearance) 1,958ft

Landing: (50ft clearance) 2040ft

Wing span 35ft 7in

Length: 26ft 3in

Height: 9ft 3in

Cabin Volume: 136 cu/ft

Certified Flight Ceiling: 17,500ft

Find Cirrus SR20 aircraft for sale

Cirrus SR20 Reviews?

Tell us about your experiences of the SR20. If you fly or own a Cirrus SR20, please add your review here.

Read more Cirrus  Articles?

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How Cirrus is Fulfilling One Man’s Vision to Fly

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