The Cirrus SR22 G5
by Hank Gibson, Gold Seal CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, CSIP, Master CFI, CFAI+
The Cirrus SR22 G5 is quite a flying machine. I got the chance to fly in one for about 9 days during the month of May. I was able to put it through it’s paces, see how it reacted, and overall got a good sense of the airplane.
Higher Gross, Higher Speeds
Everybody is talking about the gross weight increase for the SR22 G5. It is really handy when it comes to juggling people, bags, and fuel. But, what nobody is talking about is what that gross weight increase changed in regards to actually flying the airplane.
It changed several things. First, and most noticeably, is it change the takeoff speed and the length of takeoff roll. The takeoff speed has been upped from 70 KIAS to 80 KIAS. That alone increased the takeoff roll some, but the weight did too. As we all know, a heavier object takes a greater distance to accelerate than a lighter object (thank you college physics!). So, the combination of the increased weight and the higher takeoff speed leads to a longer takeoff roll.
The roll is quite noticeable too. I don’t weigh very much (115 lbs), so I make weight and balance pretty simple. With just me in a pre-G5 SR22, I could usually get off the ground in about 1,200 feet on a warm day, at the very maximum. Regularly, in the G5, we were taking about 1,800-2,000 feet on the roll (to be fair, the owner of the plane was 200 lbs and it was about 90 degrees outside and quite humid). The landing roll is also extended somewhat, but it’s not nearly as noticeable.
Why did they have to change the rotate speed? Well, when they redesigned the airplane, Vs went up to 74 KIAS. With 50% flaps, the stall speed will be below this, but the rotate speed still needed to be raised for a safety factor for the SR22 G5. Why not 75 KIAS? I don’t have an answer on this one, but probably to make it a nice round number.
Another very noticeable speed change is the parachute deployment speed on the SR22 G5. In previous generations, it was 133 KIAS. Cirrus put a bigger parachute on the airplane to support the higher weight, so therefore the speed at which you can pull the handle goes up too. Vo, maneuvering speed, also went up to mirror Vpd; both now sit at 140 KIAS on the G5 Cirrus.
A monumental change that I personally thought was a long time coming is the change in Vfe (flap extension speed). In earlier generation SR22s, you could put the first 50% flaps down at 119 KIAS. From personal experience, it takes a little talent to slow a Cirrus down to 119 KIAS when you are approaching an airport in a descent. In the G5 SR22, the flap speed was raised to 150 KIAS. Who needs speed brakes when you can drop your flaps at 150 KIAS? Pilots everywhere are rejoicing.
How does it fly, you ask? Well, it flies like any other SR22. We did stalls, steep turns, and slow flight in the airplane, along with emergencies and ground reference maneuvers. If I didn’t know I was in a SR22 G5, I wouldn’t know the difference. Still lands like a Cirrus too. None of the power settings or airspeeds in the pattern change at all. It’s still 100 KIAS on downwind, 90 KIAS on base, and 80 KIAS on final.
The Garmin Perspective hasn’t changed from earlier generations. It is still the top of the line, better than any G1000 setup I have seen out there.
Get You One
Looking to carry some more weight but not burn more fuel? Go look into the Cirrus SR22 G5 and you may not have any weight worries ever again.
How it Started
One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.
It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.
The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.
First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).
At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.
Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.
Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.
In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.
More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/
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