Got to fly the Cirrus 22 beast Friday night.
Cirrus had reps at KMBO offering demo flights. I had taken up a person in my plane and met my wife back at the airport. As we were walking through their exhibit trailer, letting the sales rep know we were there "dreaming", another rep came up and asked if we had an hours worth of time, we could take a demo flight from KMBO to KMLU. Turning that option down was not an option
Saddled up in the left seat, the rep gave me a quick overview of the MFD and PFD. Strap in like a fighter pilot with a four point shoulder harness..
Plane also had two Garmin 430's for the radio stack. Rep did all the startup procedures to expidite the time, and after doing all he did via the checklist, he turned the controls over to me. Since I have a 430 in my Sundowner, using the radios was old hat.
Taxing was a little squirrely for me, as it took more braking action to turn rather then plain ole rudder due to the castering nosewheel. Thing turns on a 1/2 dime when needing to do a 360.
After trundling down the taxiway, turn on 35 at KMBO, right arm on the console armrest, push the throttle forward and off the runway lickety split with three people in the plane. EVERYTHING is at fingertip reach / control.
Stayed below KJAN airpspace and once we cleared it, climbed to 2500. At 70 percent power, maintained 185 knots indicated after trimming the plane. 18 gph rate per glass cockpit display.
Trim on the yoke is extremely sensitive. Having the yoke in the left hand was no different then a standard yoke. Flying a plane is flying a plane, you still pull the stick back with the left hand on take off, so other then location, was nothing to adjust to. Took me a whole 3 or 4 minutes to adjust.
EVERYTHING on this plane was ergonomically designed.
Trim on the other hand, was a huge adjustment. You have to "flick" the trim "joystick" as holding it just doesn't cut it. VERY, VERY sensitive.
Also the trim adjust ailerons, so it takes tons of practice to get the feel for not inadvertantly trimming the ailerons vs the elevator.
Once I got a feel for the trim, I held altitude within 20 feet and heading within 2 degrees. Air was pristine which always helps.
Glass cockpit, had every bells and whistle. Planes with Mode C in a 11 mile radius of me showed up nicely in the display.
IFR approaches become as simple as keep the plane on the line, as we did a DME arc into KMLU. Rep wanted to know if I wanted to put autopilot on and play with the MFD, which I declined. I can do that on the computer, I just wanted to hand fly the plane.
Landing in KMLU was ugly, but manageable. Giving me the "benefit of the doubt" it was a night landing on a 150 foot wide runway. I am used to 75 foot runway..
Plane on landing handles like my Sundowner, you have to fly it to the ground and hold your final approach speed to get a good landing. 80 knot final was no big deal. Only two flap settings, which was on the right side, at fingertip control.
Wings have deicing stuff for the "emergency" not certified for ice, but has 3 1/2 gallons to spew over the leading edges and also will deice the windshield.
Music piped in via XM radio, no different then a car. My wife in the back seat, loved the comfort, getting in and out, was very, very easy for the back passenger, in fact easier then for the front row seats.
Picked up the Cirrus service Rep in MLU. Take off was effortless with four passengers, and I maintained 1000 fpm climb effortlessly.
With a quartering tailwind and running 90 percent, we made it back to KMBO in 22 short minutes at a ground speed of 235 knots. Prepping for the approach and landing, since I fly by "time" rather then distance", I.E five minutes prior to arrival, I start briefing my landing and three minutes prior to arrival, start configuring the plane for landing, it was no big deal.
The amazing thing to me was that since I was covering about 4 miles per minute ground speed, I was 12 miles out. Anybody that flys by distance will be behind this airplane big time.
Landing in KMBO was as good as it gets having experienced MLU. Again, just carrying a touch of power on touch down will grease the landing. Rollout, since flaps were down, was squirrely, but more operator (me) getting used to it, then plane I'd suspect, though wasn't sure if flaps were retracted immediately after touchdown or not. My sundowner, first thing after wheels down is to retract flaps to get weight on the wheels BEFORE braking.
Great flying machine. At 1/2 million dollars for the machine I flew, would I buy one? Nope, can't afford it.
If someone gave me the keys to one, would I take it, nope can't afford it. Insurance for me with 700 hours and IA rated would be 5K a year. Didn't even talk about maintenance cost. Average fuel burn is about 18 gph at 75 percent.
Now, if somebody had money to burn and would give me one and I had the money to maintain it, absolutely would take it in a heart beat!
Soooo, the bottom line after what I experienced on Friday, is that it's not a crappy plane.
It is NOT for inexperience pilots,
It is NOT for student pilots,
It is for pilots who are ahead of their airplane.
I can see why getting behind this plane will put you in a boatload of trouble, but flying it, FOR ME, was no different then my Sundowner.
This was my first time in a glass cockpit airplane and to be honest, much easier to fly then I ever expected, as scanning isn't as critical. EVERYTHING is in eye sight, HSI, speed, everything.
A large training curve would be in order to navigate the menus and such, but the Cirrus rep said that could be done in one day. He said its a much larger training curve for the Garmin 430's then the MFD and PFD displayes.
I had to do the same steps to fly this beast, as I do my Sundowner
I had to do the same steps to land this beast as I do my Sundowner.
If you fly the plane from the moment you turn the master on to the time you flip the master off, theh Cirrus 22 is just as safe as any other proven hardware in my HUMBLE OPINION.
Great experience for me in my short time in aviation.