I’ve been looking around for some good Cirrus SR22 blogs to read others’ experiences. There’s some good ones out there. SR22Blog is good, but hasn’t been updated in a while. Philip Greenspun had a bunch of interesting stuff up at one point, but he’s changed his blog around and I can’t seem to find it now.
I decided that I would put some stuff up about what I was going thorough in my purchase. As of yesterday, I now own a 2008 Cirrus SR22 Turbo with the Garmin Perspective!
Some information about me. I currently have 289.4 total hours, most of that in a little Piper Archer III (PA28-181) with an Avidyne and dual Garmin 430 setup. I have my PPL, IR, and high performance and complex ratings. I have 6.9 hours in an SR22 non-turbo. My time in the SR22 has been some of the most comfortable I’ve been in an airplane.
Why am I buying an airplane? My fiancé lives in Santa Barbara and I live in San Francisco. Work takes me to many different places around the west coast. My Mom lives in Arizona and my Brother and lot’s of friends live in Seattle. I’m hoping to use my own plane for most of that travel.
Why the Cirrus? The way I look at it, when you’re going to spend between $200k and $500k on a single engine piston airplane your choices are basically a) Mooney, or b) Cirrus. Mooney is retract, specifically controlled constant speed prop, all metal, vernier controls, G1000. Cirrus is fixed gear, slaved constant speed prop (to the engine lever), composite, straight controls, G1000. Honestly I like both of these airplanes. I like the Cirrus a little better because a) fixed gear, and b) straight controls. I’ve heard too many stories about people coming in with gear up. Yes, I understand, checklists save the day here. I know. And still, after a long flight, hungry, low energy, have to go to the bathroom, just want to get on the ground, short final – it happens. As for the vernier controls, yes, finer grained movements. And yet, I just love the feel of pushing the throttle lever forward. And lastly, I do really like the fact that the prop is slaved to the throttle on the Cirrus. I’m sure there are many fine grained movements adjusting the throttle and prop pitch to optimize speed and fuel flow, and yet I love the simplicity of the Cirrus.
Some things I have learned while going through this purchase process:
- Start working on insurance early, and figure out who you need as a “named insured”. For me, I needed a) CFI/CSIP, b) SAMM, c) the county who owns the airport where I will be parking my plane. It’s a few day turn around for each of these, so make sure you know what to ask for up front.
- Use SAMM. They will charge you a (pretty small) annual fee to manage your aircraft maintenance, including the pre-buy inspection. I honestly don’t know how I would have gotten through this without them. Just figuring out which shop made sense to even do the pre-buy was something where I was immediately out of my element and they made clear they knew exactly what to do. I can’t say enough good things about Savvy.
- When you purchase, negotiate on a price, then do the pre-buy, then take the repair estimate and lower your price by that amount. Do NOT attempt to get the seller to cover things before you purchase. What you want to do is get the seller out of the process as soon as possible. You do not want to be negotiating up to the last minute on what should be fixed and what shouldn’t.
- Join COPA – it’s a great resource for Cirrus Pilots, lot’s of good forums
Ok, so I now own this airplane. When I was discussing with Mike Busch from Savvy about this process his advice was to take ownership of the airplane at the pre-buy location just after the pre-buy, but before the airplane is put back together again. This way you, as the new owner, can decide what needs to get fixed and what doesn’t (within the scope of the FAR of course). As he put it “Congratulations! You own an airplane – and it’s in pieces”.