A Kick In The Glass: A First Look at the Cirrus Design SR22-G2 (Part One) | Aero-News Network
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Tue, May 11, 2004

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

An Evolutionary Step Forward For A Revolutionary Airplane

Some years ago, a well-known automotive magazine compared a highly-regarded GA single engine aircraft against a world-renowned luxury sports car. In terms of fit, finish and bang for the buck, it was not GA's greatest moment (you paid WHAT for that????).

The aircraft's automotive competition cleaned its clock in terms of inspected quality and perceived value -- for the amount of money invested. This was several years ago… when the GA world hadn't learned the hard lessons it has since learned from several decades of lean times… lessons that have not been lost on a number of the current leaders in the GA market -- most especially the folks  of Cirrus Design.

Since the early advent of the 200HP SR20 and the addition of the full-throated 310HP SR22, Cirrus design has remade an industry in its own image (while the industry has found itself in the unenviable position of having to follow where they led...). The first to adapt a number of high-tech safety features to their aircraft; much of the rest of the industry has found itself in the difficult position of having to play catch-up to be able to match the features first pioneered, for mass distribution, by Cirrus Design.

Cirrus was the first to truly mass-produce a four-place composite general aviation aircraft (in significant numbers), they were the first to offer a parachute recovery system (which is starting to finally get some attention) and they were the first to offer a production single engine piston airplane series with EFIS/electronic cockpits as standard equipment... and to my way of thinking they did something heretofore remarkable... they built an airplane that looked and performed as if it was actually worth the money charged for  it… Say what you will, but CD Prez Alan Klapmeier's GA revolution has come about in a way that is impacting our industry in a very positive way.

Evolution…. Rather Than Evolution (For the Moment)

The latest step in CD's master plan was a fairly small one… evolutionary rather than revolutionary… with a new fuselage design and some serious fine-tuning to produce a slightly faster but infinitely "slicker" variant that responded to the input they'd gotten from over 1000 highly vocal (and you know who you are...) CD owner/flyers. The new version, adapted first to the SR22 (and soon to the SR20), is called the G2, and we have to tell you that it's a worthy upgrade to an already fine little airplane that gives us an unrepentant case of airplane lust like nothing else outside of an F-16. Mind you… it's actually a LOT of LITTLE upgrades… but most of them are of the kind that results from little whispers of discontent from those who would otherwise love to be singing the praises of an otherwise outstanding product… and it's proof positive that CD has been listening to those folks… and responding.

The G2 is many things to a potential purchaser… but what it means to CD is LESS work and better products. The G2 fuselage is based on a new mold, and a more fine-tuned manufacturing process, that has (over the past few years) seen the cost to manufacture a CD bird come down dramatically… Especially in terms of the hours needed to craft the bird and the after-market support required to fix the inevitable glitches that can occur in the process of building a highly technical vehicle.

To the buyer, the G2 is a smoother alternative to what has come before it. While there are a number of new color schemes and some limited interior options (color wise) to be had, the big surprises lie under the slightly reshaped cowling… cooler, smoother, faster additions that allow the G2 to make all the hub-bub truly noteworthy to the person behind the stick. The most appreciable change is the new 6-point motor mount first seen on the limited edition Centennial versions that swiftly sold out last year. The new mount is a joy to fly and offers a far smoother ride than I thought a piston engine was capable of offering (without having to use the idle cutoff). The 310HP Continental IO-550 is supported by six engine isolators instead of the four found previously and paired with a new Hartzell Scimitar prop that not only improves on in-flight thrust but reportedly offers some additional cooling efficiency due to the means by which certain areas of the prop are set to drive airflow through the cowling inlets. The blade design also allows for a somewhat reduced noise signature. The cowling, itself, is a more efficient design that allows for better cooling and less drag, and features a redesigned oil access door. Other new cowling tricks include a two-piece redesign that makes for easier removal and inspection, as well as the use of a new high-intensity landing light in the lower cowling assembly.

A few other upgrades include some maintenance mods that offer better access to the wing spar, tail and CAPS parachute… but the other big news in the redesigned SR22-G2, are the new doors. The one consistent complaint I have heard (and to a certain extent, experienced) in the CD series are the doors. Door alignment was a critical problem in the older design and some mis-alignment made their closure (and opening) a hit or miss affair (in more ways than one). The new design appears to be a far more affable arrangement. Opening and closure is far simpler, and while we've heard a small amount of grumbling, the new design seems to be a more durable/usable arrangement.

Best In Glass?

Other upgrades include some recent updates offered by Avidyne to their ground-breaking Entegra EFIS system. Just one look at this panel and you need never have space-shuttle envy ever again. The critter just exudes high-tech sex appeal and suggests to one and all that anyone who can fly such a beast is, indeed, a lord of the sky (Yup... that's my story and I'm sticking to it). With over 700 systems flying in GA singles, industry veteran Avidyne is now reaping the benefits of the brain-trust this user base offers. While a number of software improvements are incremental and little more than bug-fixes; we're pretty pleased with the direction and attention upgrades are finally getting at Avidyne (which had a huge job on it's hands interpreting the user data once it started filtering in).

Recent developments include the ability of the system to conduct taxi operations during ADHRS alignment, to re-initialize in flight, the coveted ability to handshake with certain autopilot configurations (and display such selections quite readily on the PFD), and some truly inspired work on their latest Entegra EMax engine monitoring capabilities. The "Lean-Assist" mode is sheer genius and is going to pay enormous benefits over the years in terms of engine economics and reliability… no kidding. A long awaited weather datalink solution has evaded the Cirrus Avidyne team so far but we have faith that one will be made available in the coming year. Other upgrade programs in the works include synthetic vision, EGPWS, on-screen approach plates (Jepps), and energy state awareness.

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

Horespower

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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