February 2010 Issue
Used Aircraft Guide: Cirrus SR20
The “baby” Cirrus comes in many different flavors, but all offer good speed, comfort, economy and, of course, a parachute.
Only 10 years ago, the idea of a certificated, "plastic" airplane had many old-timers shaking their heads in skepticism. It looks kind of interesting, but no "real" pilot would want of those things—it’s got a parachute, fergawd’s sake! Today, the Cirrus SR20—and especially its big brother, the SR22—have upended traditional ideas of what a personal airplane should look like, how it should be used and how it should be equipped. The SR20 could be thought of as the product that started changing how the industry thinks of a modern personal airplane. Those changes have been evolutionary, not revolutionary. For example, the early SR20s, in fact, retained the too-familiar vacuum-powered "steam gauge" flight instruments, albeit complemented by a large multifunction display. Today’s copies have eliminated the vacuum system and gone all-electric, with full glass panels; steam gauges are only there for backup. And even if the SR20 responds respectably for its horsepower, performance didn’t break new ground, either.
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