A Kick In The Glass: A First Look at the Cirrus Design SR22-G2 (Part Four) | Aero-News Network
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Fri, May 14, 2004

A Kick In The Glass: A First Look at the Cirrus Design SR22-G2 (Part Four)

An Evolutionary Step Forward For A Revolutionary Airplane

The mechanical aspect of controlling the SR22 is pretty slick. Mechanical forces are modest, and there is surprisingly little mechanical breakaway for such a setup. The physical range of control input seems about right and stick positioning seems ergonomically correct. Right from the start, though, aerodynamic feedback allows you to read the bird like a dime novel. There is a fairly linear and perceptible force gradient in pitch that is a joy to work with, while roll pressures and responses allow for excellent response and some slightly surprising roll rates… a little more than we expected, but a lot of fun to play with-though the roll force onset is a bit less linear than pitch and somewhat "front-loaded."

The rudder pedals balance out well… pressures are moderate, control range is generous, and the overall effect is quite responsive. Cirrus tells us that a rudder-aileron interconnect is installed to provide a maximum of 5° down aileron with full rudder deflection. Right rudder input will cause right roll input and left rudder input will cause left roll input. With neutral aileron trim, aileron inputs will not cause rudder deflection. All in all, the effect is one that produces an airplane that rolls readily and coordinates easily-especially with the mechanically augmented yaw/roll coupling.

Stable As a Rock(et)

The SR22 boasts an excellent stability profile for a cross-country airplane. Pitch is typified by a very well defined static profile with an attendant dynamic pattern that damps out quickly after 10 degree, stick-free, displacements from cruise configuration. Short period excitations produce nearly deadbeat corrections. In other words, pitch stability seems much like riding a rail. Approach modes are nearly as well-behaved and demonstrate excellent speed stability throughout normal approach ranges.

Control pressures vary from somewhat light to the high side of moderate, but never quite heavy until you have to wrestle it around at the limits of the control envelope--then it gets a bit laborious. Lateral stability is well-defined, spiral properties are surprisingly mild-mannered, and the dutch roll properties damp out fairly quickly. As a result, this bird rides "the bumps" quite solidly and with little attitude displacement throughout a wide range of sloppy air. Roll pressures are usually modest and lighten up perceptibly (but in proper proportion) in slow flight mode. The rudder really melds well with this airframe…especially when it slows down… small boots of rudder produce excellent and agile response in approach ranges that will be just about perfect for modest corrections in holding to a localizer. I expected the mechanical coupling to be a hindrance in approach modes, but found it to be delightful in the 80-110 mph range… making easy work of wind corrections and the occasional brain fades that occur when fixating on the glideslope instead of the localizer (and then chasing it back to where it should be… and you KNOW who you are).

OK… Nitty-Gritty Time. How Fast Is The SR22-G2?

Answer: @#$%^& damned fast.
My experience has been that at the high end of the cruise formula, that 180 kt. cruise speeds have not been out of the question. The G2 mods seem to have opened the envelope another 3-5 knots… not an earth-shaking speed increase… but it's still better than what the book says the G2 can do (which most of the SR22s can do… but the SR20s seem to fall just a bit short on--we can't wait to see what the G2 mods do for THAT airframe). Cruising in the 5500 foot area, a good 15-20 degrees over ISA, and with about 78% power (according to the MFD) and about 20 GPH, the G2 demonstrated cruise speeds (TAS) in the neighborhood of 181-184 knots-verified by the PFD readout (and a quick check with some reciprocal flight-tracks just to be paranoid). That's a little better than book value… again.

Mind you, suck the power back a bit and you'll be surprised at the results. Start playing in the 55-65% power arena and you'll only lose 15 knots or so but burn some 6 GPH less… and your range will skyrocket. SR22 pilots (who have obviously gone to the bathroom BEFORE such flights) brag about 1000 nm legs and I can believe them-and still while cruising darned close to 200 mph. Ya gotta love that. We do… 

And About That Chute…

Cirrus has won both kudos and complaints for the inclusion of the BRS designed Cirrus Airplane Parachute System… a system that has now been used in the reported saving of 6 lives. Mind you, we could go on and on about the positives and negatives of emergency parachutes and I've seen quite a number of pundits crucify the concept. I, however, have an interesting and unusual viewpoint on the matter… as I was one of the test pilots that actually rode through a series of deployments in two different generations of General Aviation parachute recovery systems (BRS and Handbury), as well as having used one "in anger" in an ultralight that had the bad grace to jam an elevator… in the "mostly" negative position. Had the chute not been available, that might have been a pretty bad gig... and I had no desire to find out.

Yes, I'm BRS "Save" Number 56… so take my "objectivity" on the matter with a grain of salt. I tend to get very opinionated about things that save my life.

I like the concept and I like it for one reason… when everything has gone straight to hell, all the negative arguments mean bupkus. Even when you think you're about to die, there is STILL is a handle to pull to get one's keister out of trouble. It may save you, it may not... but it offers an "out" not available to non-chute equipped birds. The one common factor in all the BRS (GA) deployments so far is that the pilots used them when they thought they were about to buy the farm. That's a heckuvan incentive.

The way that they got to that point is, to my mind, meaningless when it comes to the fact that these folks were in imminent danger and knew it. Yes, some of the past (and future) deployments may not have needed to happen IF things had gone differently or pilots had prepared better… but the final conclusion is simple… when pilots get into trouble, having JUST ONE MORE WAY to get out of dodge can be a lifesaver. While the chute may not be the primary reason to consider the Cirrus, it's one GREAT contributing factor-especially when you look at how your family feels when they see what it can do.

Cirrus Design, Inc.
Performance

SR20-G2   

SR22-G2  

Takeoff

1,341 ft  

1,020 ft

Takeoff (50' object) 

1,958 ft    

1,575 ft

Max rate of climb

900 ft/min    

1,400 ft/min 

Cruise speed

156 KTAS     

180 KTAS*

Stall speed w/flaps

54 KIAS    

59 KIAS 

Maximum range

882 nm   

over 1000 nm 

Landing (Ground roll) 

1,014 ft    

1,140 ft 

Landing (50' object)

2,040 ft   

2,325 ft

Cirrus Design Inc., Specifications  

Powerplant 

Continental 
IO-360-ES

Continental
IO-550-N

Horsepower

200hp

310hp

Length

26'

26'

Height   

8' 6"     

8' 7"

Wingspan   

35.7'

38' 6"

Wing Area   

135 sq ft   

144.9 sq ft 

Cabin Length   

130"   

130"

Cabin Width   

49"     

49"

Cabin Height   

50"     

50"

Landing Gear   

Fixed Tricycle   

Fixed Tricycle

Max Gross Wt

3,000 lbs    

3,400 lbs

Std Empty Wt   

2,050 lbs  

 2,250 lbs

Maximum Useful Load   

930 lbs  

1,150 lbs

Fuel Capacity (Usable)   

56 gals/336 lbs   

81 gals/486 lbs



To be continued...

[Next On The Roster: ANN will be publishing flight test data and research from our flights in the recently certificated Lancair Columbia 400 as soon as we finish the SR22-G2 series… don't miss it!]

FMI: www.cirrusdesign.com

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