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Canada’s first Cirrus page 4

SR20 pirep by kenneth armstrong • photos by eric dumigan

In the slow-speed realm, FAA certification standards require the stall characteristics to fit into the pussy cat category. A noticeable burble precedes all stalls and they have relatively little rolloff and pitchdown. The clean stall came at 65 knots indicated and the full flap stall at 55 knots. We experimented with various combinations of advanced stalls to confirm there were no surprises awaiting pilots. During one full flap stall with approach power, Gary asked me to correct any wing drop with aileron. After decades of teaching pilots to overcome this bad habit, it was a challenge to use the ailerons–and grossly at that–during the stall; however, the Cirrus placidly responded to these inputs with full controllability.

Next, I enjoyed the light, responsive controls as we played in the local practice area and then used the superb capabilities of the autopilot. Nothing to fault with these systems.

We returned to the airport for circuits to get a better overall picture of the aircraft during all of the manoeuvring associated with the bump and grind. Slowing down this slick aircraft is rather easy as half flap can be extended at 120 knots, and I tried out some moderate side slip angles that can be used to tame crosswinds or accelerate the rate of descent.

Final approach is flown at 85 knots and the threshold crossed at 75 knots in a level landing attitude. Gary suggested I maintain that attitude on three approaches but my instinct over-rode me each time and I rounded out into smooth touchdowns. However, I noticed the aft stop of the up elevator was reached in each case. I would prefer more pitch authority at low speed; however, in order to ensure that pilots will avoid deep stalls, the FAA has effectively limited the operator’s ability to create high angles of attack in the low speed range. The price of safety!

On a short field landing, the ground roll was easily kept to 1,000 feet with light braking, and our flight ended all too soon as the line-up of prospective purchasers were eagerly awaiting their opportunity to sample this delightful aircraft’s handling.

Is there a composite airplane in your future?
If you intensively compare the SR20 against the Diamond Star, the Columbia 300 and Cessna 172 or 182 you will find the “bang for the buck” is extremely high. That’s not just my opinion. Day-to-day sales outstrip almost all of the other manufacturers combined–so pilot/purchasers have obviously drawn the same conclusions. And the declining order backlog should make it possible for many pilots to own a new Cirrus much sooner. |

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Cirrus Design SR20

Base price (U.S. dollars)

$207,800 (2002)

Engine (Continental)




Gross weight, lbs.


Empty weight, lbs.


Useful load, lbs.

950 lbs.

Fuel capacity

56 US gals.

Wing span

35 ft., 7 in.

Wing area, sq. ft.


Wing loading, lb./sq. ft.


Power loading, lb./hp.


Length, ft.



9 ft., 2 in.

Cruise speed at 75%

160 kts.

Maximum range, nm


Rate of climb, fpm


Takeoff roll, ft.


Over 50-ft. obstacle


Landing distance, ft.


Over 50-ft. obstacle


Sources: Data presented are from the Cirrus Design web site ( © 2011. All Rights Reserved