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Canada’s first Cirrus

SR20 pirep by kenneth armstrong • photos by eric dumigan – first published summer 2002

Cirrus SR20 C-GDET in flight

Tim Harpell is the proud owner of the first Canadian-registered Cirrus. He runs a medical supply business in Oakville, Ontario, and uses his SR20 for business and pleasure. Two of his sons are pilots and the other two are working toward their licences, so the aircraft should enjoy high utilization.

In what may become the story of the most popular new aircraft in the history of general aviation, Cirrus Design is working diligently to increase production rates to try to catch up to the marketing team’s huge achievement of more than 1,100 sales. To date, the combined total of finished aircraft is approaching 600 SR20s and 22s.

Yet, the delay has proven acceptable to hundreds of aviators who have waited two years or more to obtain a quality, high-performance aircraft that boasts a rather low purchase price and measly direct operating costs.

With the arrival in Canada this year of the first privately owned SR20, and several more now in service, Canadian pilots will begin to experience first-hand the pleasures of this exceptional new technology airplane.

The SR20
After flying the SR20, it’s no surprise the aircraft is outselling anything that might be considered competition–especially when price is discussed. Let’s walk around it and then get into the air and you’ll soon understand.

The Cirrus’s appearance is superdeligorgeous. The Klapmeier brothers started with a large, comfortable cockpit environment and then designed an optimally efficient airframe around the occupants. Unlike the wheel pants of many airplanes, the Cirrus’s are actually designed to reduce drag. The shape of the fuselage and high aspect ratio wing with its numerous airfoils are dictated by the need to minimize skin friction drag and flow separation. I really like the design concepts for this series because the company has not bowed to frivolous cosmetics combined with smoke and mirrors to woo the market. Instead, it has taken the current state of the industry to a new high by combining the best of aerodynamic ideas.

Cirrus Airframe Parachute System and other innovations
Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) is an excellent example of the Klapmeier’s movement to utilize advanced engineering to benefit pilot/owners. Although a few may complain that the 80-odd-pound rocket-powered ballistic chute uses up valuable useful load, I feel most pilots will agree it is a payload price worth paying. What CAPS does is virtually ensure the cabin residents won’t end up in boot hill as a result of a structural failure which can innocently occur after a mid-air collision, control failure or any other catastrophe that could render any aircraft unflyable.

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To view the Cirrus SR20 photo gallery, click on the photo below:

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