After several flights, ground instruction and computer-based training on the Cirrus Approach website, I completed my transition training to the Entegra-equipped SR20. We wrapped it up this morning with a two-hour flight with Matt Gunderson, flight instructor extraordinaire and also a CSIP (Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilot).
It has been fun to get to know an airplane which in some ways is similar to my Bonanza, and in others quite different. The spacious cockpit of the Cirrus is very comfortable, and the avionics – even in this older G2 model I’ve been flying is superb – with the Avidyne PFD, MFD and the phenomenal DFC-90 autopilot. The GNS430 GPS/NAV/COMs are a step back from the IFDs in my Bonanza, and while I am no stranger to the Garmin GNS units, my muscle memory has deteriorated in the 18 months since I upgraded to Avidyne IFDs in the Bonanza.
The side stick – sorry, the control yoke, as the Cirrus POH calls is – was a concern for me, but it shouldn’t have been. It feels very natural. The stereotype is that Cirrus pilots fly on autopilot 99% of the time, but from what I have seen the airplane is quite pleasant to hand-fly. Not as pleasant as my Bonanza, but a lot more pleasant than the Arrow I was flying during the spring and summer for my CFI training. And the modern digital autopilot is a thing of beauty – more stable and much smarter than my old Century III in the Bonanza. Performance isn’t on par with my A36, which has 50% more power than the SR20, but 135 KTAS at 8 GPH (LOP) isn’t too shabby, and pretty darn efficient. You can go faster, but then the range goes down.
If you live in the Cedar Rapids, IA area and are interested in flying this Cirrus, Executive Aero Flight Club is always looking for new members.