Despite romantic notions of aviation as a luxury lifestyle choice rooted in adventure, few airplane manufacturers market their products to the nonflying public with that pitch. Maybe that’s why Cirrus, the manufacturer that has seen great success with this method, elicits such a love/hate response with longtime pilots.
Or maybe it’s the parachute. As the only company to make a whole airframe parachute standard on all its certificated airplanes, Cirrus firmly established itself as an outlier with a different product.
That strategy has worked. In yearly reports, the company routinely tops the charts of piston engine manufacturers. And as more of the popular SR20 and SR22 have gotten into the field, acceptance of the airplanes has grown.
The SR22 is designed to be safe, approachable, and luxurious. Safety comes with the whole-airframe parachute, advanced cockpit technology, and airbag seatbelts. Approachable comes with a fixed gear and lack of propeller control. Finally, no one in recent years has done better at offering luxury to piston engine buyers. The company even offers custom trim packages that add hundreds of thousands of dollars to already expensive airplanes.
The good news is that Cirrus owners keep upgrading, and that means a bevy of used, low-time, highly capable aircraft on the market at deep discounts. Pick up an older Cirrus and you’re still cruising in comfort at more than 160 knots. Your nonflying companion will appreciate the parachute, and you’ll arrive in one of the most modern designs available.
Retail value: $265,000
Powerplant Continental IO-550-N, 310 horsepower
Length: 26 feet
Height: 8 feet, 11 inches
Wingspan: 38 feet, 6 inches
Empty weight: 2,418 pounds
Useful load 982 pounds
Max takeoff weight: 3,400 pounds
Fuel capacity: 81 gallons
Cruise speed: 203 knots
Fuel burn: 17.5 gallons per hour