Cessna TTx vs. Cirrus SR22T G5
Detailed Comparison of the Cessna TTx and Cirrus SR22T G5
An in-depth buyer’s guide to help you decide which plane is right for you
Brandon J. Ray
I often get asked the question, “Which plane is your favorite: the TTx or the Cirrus?” My answer would be similar to your response if I asked you which of your kids is your favorite. There are unique aspects to each airplane. Although they might fulfill similar missions, they each have their own benefits which will draw people to one or the other depending on their preferences.
Most comparisons I’ve seen are written by salespeople or marketing departments representing a specific manufacturer. As expected, these comparisons are very biased and tend to skew information in a way that confuses potential buyers. For this article, we will be comparing a 2015 Cessna TTx with FIKI vs. a 2015 Cirrus SR22T G5 with FIKI.
Both airplanes are constructed primarily of composite materials. This allows for advanced aircraft design and laminar flow wings.
TTx – Utility category 4.4 G’s
SR22T – Normal category 3.8 G’s
TTx – 25,000 feet
SR22T – 25,000 feet
TTx – 77 cubic feet capacity
SR22T – 77 cubic feet capacity
FIKI (Flight Into Known Icing) System – TKS System Capacity / Duration
TTx – 10 Gal (2 hrs 43 min at normal flow)
SR22T – 8 Gal. (2 hrs 30 min at normal flow)
TTx – 25,200 hours
SR22T – 12,000 hours
TTx – 102 Gal.
SR22T – 92 Gal.
Engines & Performance
TTx – Continental TSIO-550-C/Takeoff power 310 horsepower at 2600 RPM.
SR22T – Continental TSIO-550-K/Takeoff power 315 horsepower at 2500 RPM.
For all practical purposes, these engines are the same. Each uses different methods of controlling the manifold pressure/RPM combination, but each has relatively similar performance. In the past, Cirrus used a turbo-normalizing system (SR22TN), but later switched to the Continental factory twin-turbocharger option similar to what Columbia/Cessna had been using.
In general, the TTx is approximately 5 to 15 knots faster than the SR22T. This varies based on operating parameters and installed equipment. For instance, FIKI, EVS, A/C on/off, etc. The overall economy (nautical miles per gallon) is going to be very close on both airplanes.
TTx – 1,400 ft/min
SR22T – 1,203 ft/min
TTx – 1,280 ft. ground roll / 1,900 ft. over 50 ft. obstacle
SR22T – 1,517 ft. ground roll / 2080 ft. over 50 ft. obstacle
Landing Ground Roll
TTx – 1,260 ft.
SR22T – 1,178 ft.
Stall Speed with Flaps
Both – 60 KCAS
Max Cruise Speed
TTx – 235 KTAS
SR22T – 213 KTAS
Vne (Varies with Altitude)
Negligible difference between the two aircraft.
Vno (Varies with Altitude)
TTx Vno approximately 5 knots higher at most altitudes.
TTx – Custom power settings are possible with various manifold pressure/RPM combinations with separate throttle and prop lever. The extra lever may intimidate new pilots, but the basic operation is not that complicated.
SR22T – Predetermined manifold pressure/RPM combinations are set by a single combined lever (“Power Lever”) which controls both the prop and throttle. The up-side is simplicity; the downside is lack of control for the specific RPM at a given manifold pressure. The mechanical rigging is set to result in 2500 RPM for most operations. (The older models were set at 2700 RPM for takeoff and 2500 RPM for cruise. On the latest models, Cirrus accomplished a “noise reduction” by reducing the maximum RPM to 2500 for all operations.) This single-lever system is great for pilots who are new to high performance airplanes, however I personally prefer to have control over the individual settings.
In the future, I would like to see a FADEC system in both airplanes (Full Authority Digital Electronic/Engine Control). This would control the manifold pressure, RPM, and fuel flow for the optimum values. I hope to see this feature within the next 5 years.
TTx – Side stick connected by push-pull rods.
SR22T – Side control yoke, push rods and cables.
Side Control vs. Traditional Yoke
Many people ask about adapting to the side stick control. I have found that most people enjoy the side stick control after their first flight. While the controls are slightly different between the SR22T and the TTx, I prefer either of them to a traditional yoke.
Flight Control Surfaces
TTx – Carbon fiber. Stronger and lighter than aluminum. Multiple attachment points for the control surfaces, trim tabs, and flaps. This was part of the design which emphasized having no single point of failure. It’s very robust and probably a little overkill for what is necessary, but that was the point.
SR22T – Aluminum. Easier to repair by most shops.
TTx – Requires a strap with a loop to be attached from the control stick to the rudder pedal. This is somewhat inconvenient, but easiest if you attach it before getting out of the plane. If the airplane is outside, it is important to put this on to avoid having the flight controls slapping around in the wind. I have seen minor puncture wounds from the rudder impacting the inner section of the horizontal stabilizer (very little clearance).
SR22T – Spring cartridge assembly within the controls prevents the wind from moving the controls. No control lock needed.
TTx – Precise Flight Speed Brakes (Max speed Vne). These help to reduce speed without needing to rapidly reduce power. For this reason, I consider speed brakes a benefit for the engine rather than for the airframe as a whole.
SR22T – No speed brakes. The newer increased flap limit speeds will help pilots avoid chopping the power when trying to reach flap speeds.
Flap Limit Speeds
TTx – 127 KIAS Takeoff flaps (12˚) / 117 KIAS Landing flaps (40˚)
SR22T – 150 KIAS 50% flaps (16˚) / 110 KIAS 100% flaps (32˚)
The Cirrus is much improved over older models which were limited to 119 & 104 respectively.
TTx – None
SR22T – Cirrus Airframe Parachute System is integral to the design and certification of the airplane. (Max Demonstrated Parachute Deployment Speed 140 KIAS)
I’m not counting on a parachute ever being added to the TTx. For now, I will defer on stirring up the debate on parachute vs. no parachute option. There are very strong opinions on both sides of the fence, but there is no question that the parachute has saved lives when used properly within the certified design parameters. It is not, however, a catch-all for human error and all emergencies.
It is interesting to note that the TTx features an impressive glide ratio of 13:1 vs. the Cirrus glide ratio of 8.8:1. What does this mean? In quick calculations, a TTx should be able to glide about 2 miles per 1,000 ft. AGL, whereas a Cirrus should be able to glide approximately 1.4 miles per 1,000 ft. AGL. At 10,000 ft. AGL, this means a TTx could glide over 20 miles to reach a field and the Cirrus could glide approximately 14 miles. Numbers assume a no-wind condition, and prop control pulled back on a TTx. Obviously, this lesser glide ratio of the Cirrus is not really a factor because the parachute would be the preferred option in the event of an engine failure.
TTx – Moves slow (allows for easier fine tuning while hand-flying)
SR22T – Moves fast (you have to barely tap the trim to get the right setting)
TTx – None. Has a rudder hold instead.
SR22T – Has yaw damper integrated with the GFC700.
Rudder Hold (TTx)
The rudder hold is mediocre at best. It is intended to help hold the rudder in the desired position, but it is a little sloppy in the actual execution of that task. The idea is that if you were in a prolonged climb, you could hold the right rudder pedal to maintain coordinated flight and then turn on the rudder hold and take your foot off the rudder pedal. However, in reality you have to apply more than enough right rudder (approximately 1/3 to 1/2 past the bar width on the slip-skid indicator), and then when you release pressure, it will slide back just slightly into place. This seems sloppy for such a nice plane.
Yaw Damper (Cirrus)
The yaw damper keeps the airplane coordinated and can be used with or without the autopilot. It will be on for the entire flight except for takeoff and landing. This is a very nice system and is commonly found on bigger airplanes such as King Airs and transport-category aircraft. Be careful not to lose your stick and rudder skills. It will spoil you.
Max Takeoff Weight/Landing Weight
TTx – 3600 lbs./3420 lbs.
SR22T – 3600 lbs./3600 lbs.
How does a maximum landing weight affect me?
The maximum landing weight on a TTx means if you take off in a TTx at max gross takeoff weight, you have to fly for approximately an hour and a half before you can land in order to be under landing weight at the time of your arrival. If your typical mission involves trips more than an hour or two, this won’t be much of an issue for you.
In the Cirrus, max landing weight is not an issue, since it is the same as max takeoff weight. You can take off at max gross weight and fly 15 minutes to your $100 hamburger destination and fly back. If your mission frequently involves carrying heavy loads for short trips, the Cirrus will offer you more flexibility than the TTx.
As a side note, the older Cirrus models (prior to G5) were limited to 3400 lbs. for takeoff and landing. The increased weight limit of the G5 is a tremendous improvement over the G3 models.
Max Zero Fuel Weight
TTx – 3300 lbs.
SR22T – 3400 lbs.
This means that the total weight, not including fuel, must be below that number. Why? This limitation helps limit the “bending moment” of the wing upwards. Any additional weight (fuel) would help counteract the bending moment of the wings about the fuselage. This allows the manufacturers to achieve a greater max takeoff weight, without compromising structural integrity. The only time this limit might cause an issue would be with heavy loads for short trips.
Max Allowable Lean of Peak Operations
TTx – 85%
SR22T – 85%
In regards to some other comparisons that are mistaken, old references from Columbia manuals indicated 65% power as the previous LOP limit for the Columbia 400. This was changed more than 5 years ago to clear up discrepancies in the manuals, and it is now listed as being allowed up to 85% power.
Spin Recovery – Not approved for practice in either aircraft
TTx – Certified for recovery. (Not for practice.)
SR22T – Certified by FAA with equivalent level of safety (ELOS) for use of CAPS parachute as the approved method of recovery.
This topic has been blown way out of proportion by pilots on both sides of the argument. The parachute doesn’t mean the Cirrus is a dangerous airplane or poorly designed. It was just Cirrus’ choice for complying with spin recovery certification. And while some at Cirrus might say you could recover from a spin by using the flight controls in a traditional method, that would be counter to the procedure clearly outlined in their airplane flight manual. Either way, getting either of these airplanes into a spin would be indicative of a failure of the headset separator, rather than a poor design of the aircraft itself. Get lots of good training and this shouldn’t be an issue!
Both airplanes have very nice, high-quality interior options including leather seats and custom color schemes. Both have their own unique appeal.
TTx – 4 seats. 3-point harness.
SR22T – 5 seats. 4-point harness in front with airbags, 3-point harness in back.
Incline/recline levers are similar in functionality on both planes. The seat backs of the front seats will fold forward allowing easy access to the rear seats.
The TTx has very comfortable seats, and the 3-point harness tends to be less intrusive than the 4-point harness found in the Cirrus. The Cirrus lap belt has a tendency to rise up unless cinched down snugly. The front seats on the TTx have a T-handle mounted on the lower outermost side of the seat, and you use a hand hold under the panel to help you slide the seat forward. There is no height adjustment on the TTx seat, other than the unrealistic suggestion of buying a different thickness seat cushion (most come with medium seat cushions by default).
The Cirrus wins on the overall seat design, with an easy seat adjustment (lever under the front of the seat). The seat rails slope upward towards the panel so that as you get closer to the panel, you actually get higher as well. Although there are 5 seats, it may be unlikely to fit 5 full-size adults, but it’s nice for kids or lightweight passengers.
TTx – Height 49 in., Width 48.17 in.
SR22T – Height 49.7 in., Width 49.3 in.
TTx – 120 lb./25 cu ft. (hat rack can hold up to 20 lb., but not to exceed a total of 120 lb. in all baggage areas.)
SR22T – 130 lb./32 cu ft.
TTx – Tubular steel gear. Helps dissipate heat from brakes.
SR22T – Composite gear. Designed to absorb significant downward shock from landing under the parachute canopy.
Brakes & Wheel Fairings
TTx – Vented wheel pants to help cool brakes. Difficult to access for checking tire pressure.
SR22T – Not vented. Brake temperature sensors are installed to detect overheat condition. Newest design allows easier access for checking tire pressure.
Both airplanes have free-castering nosewheels (no connection between nosewheel and rudder pedals). Because of this, some pilots have the tendency to ride the brakes causing them to overheat. In some cases it could even cause a brake fire. This is easily avoidable if you don’t ride the brakes while taxiing. Also try to limit the use of excessive brake pressure during your normal landings when there is plenty of runway remaining.
Both airplanes have 2 alternators and are fully redundant.
TTx – Garmin Intrinzic (G2000)
SR22T – Garmin Perspective (G1000)
These companies have a history of playing the leap frog game when it comes to one-upping each other. Columbia had the G1000 first (2006), while Cirrus was trying to sell the Avidyne. Then Cirrus added the Garmin Perspective which had improvements over the G1000. Now the TTx has the Garmin G2000, which is the next generation of Garmin products.
TTx/Garmin Intrinzic G2000
Nice panel. This is cutting edge and comparable to the avionics installed on the latest Citation Jets. The TTx wins the race on having the latest and greatest avionics.
SR22T/Garmin Perspective (G1000)
Although the Perspective is based on the G1000, the modifications that Cirrus made were very well thought out. The Perspective has been around since 2008, but there have been software improvements and behind-the-scenes improvements over time.
Both airplanes now offer Electronic Stability Protection (ESP), autopilot-coupled missed approaches, and dual AHRS/ADC options. These are all incredible safety features rivaling those found on modern commercial jets.
Enhanced Vision System
TTx – Not available
SR22T – Nice option, especially useful if you plan on doing much night flying.
TTx – Garmin GFC700 with ESP
SR22T – Garmin GFC700 with ESP, Yaw Damper, and Blue Level Button. The Level Button is a simple but effective safety feature in the event of spatial disorientation or pilot incapacitation.
TTx – Digital. 1 screen with composite view.
SR22T – Digital (optional) 2 screen with split view.
I am a big fan of the new standby instruments. The digital format is a very clean design and helps bring these cockpits into the 21st century. Let’s leave the steam gauges in the past and move forward.
Visibility from the Cockpit
TTx – Sleek shape
SR22T – Slightly taller windscreen
The sloped-back windscreen on the TTx creates a smaller vertical field of view out the front windscreen. The advantage is less drag due to the aerodynamic shape, and possibly better safety in the event of a bird strike (to deflect rather than absorb the impact).
The taller windscreen on the Cirrus may be less aerodynamic, but it creates a larger field of view for increased visibility when looking outside.
TTx – Hinged at top of door. Opens upward.
SR22T – Hinged at front of door. Opens forward.
Easy to access interior while standing on the ground from in front or behind the wing. The door latch includes 2-inch steel pins that latch forward and aft from the door. It is very strong and never “accidentally” comes open. If you open the door in flight for some crazy reason, it will be ripped off the airframe when it catches the wind. I’ve seen pictures of the end result and it is not pretty.
The front-hinged door makes it difficult to access the interior when standing in front of the wing. Whether or not this is an issue is a personal preference. The door latches are a problem area on the Cirrus, and can sometimes open on takeoff or in flight if they are not closed properly on the ground. Check both latching points after closing the doors (upper and lower latch), and don’t trust inexperienced passengers to get it right the first time. If a latch opens after takeoff, it doesn’t necessarily mean the door is going to swing open. Usually it’s just one latch. Even if both latches came undone, the door would probably only open a few inches, thanks to the forward-hinged design and the airflow pushing the door towards the closed position. No damage is caused to the door if this happens in flight, but you’ll probably have to land to get it closed.
This is something that you have to feel for yourself to know which one you like best.
TTx – Smooth, but solid feel to the flight controls. The side-stick is a true side-stick in that it pivots from a point (like a joystick).
SR22T – Responsive. The control is a side-yoke which pushes in and out of the panel. The controls can feel a bit springy to some pilots. I initially felt a little “fidgety” because of the need to overcome the spring pressure when moving the controls. This becomes less of an issue with familiarity.
I would be proud to own either of these airplanes. The ultimate winner is dependent on your mission, your preferences in avionics and cockpit layout, and your preference for how the airplanes fly. Trip length, average payload, and desired safety features impact the decision and these variables may alter the recommendation I would give you based on your specific circumstances.
For those of you considering your next purchase, feel free to contact me directly and we can discuss your needs in more detail.
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We have affiliations with multiple aircraft manufacturers and aircraft dealers, which may allow us to earn a commission or referral fee. Since we are not exclusive to one particular manufacturer, we are able to bring you unbiased information to make an informed decision rather than one-sided reviews. If this information has helped influence your decision, please consider using us as the referral source for your purchase. If you’re a serious buyer for a new aircraft, call me directly and I’ll help coordinate demo flights for you and assist with the purchase process. – Brandon Ray (866) 227-8149.
Disclaimer – Keeping it real.
We try to keep our facts straight, but errors may occur. Please do not use our generic performance numbers or specifications presented for any actual flight planning. You should rely on the manufacturer’s approved documentation when making flying or purchasing decisions based on specific numbers or features.
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