DA40XLS vs. SR20G3

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Hi Philip,

We are considering both airplanes. There are five of us ranging from a student pilot to 350
hour instrument pilots.

A little twist on an old question:
1. Do you find a difference in operating costs?
2. The NTSB record shows the DA40 to be safer- do you feel like it is a safer plane?


-- Ged King, May 12, 2008


The main difference in operating costs is due to the constant stream of SBs and ADs from Cirrus. While your SR20 is under warranty there shouldn't be much difference.

Which is safer? The Cirrus is safe if flown by the numbers, like a jet. I.e., the pilot should be paying some attention to the instruments because the airplane won't communicate by feel if the airspeed is wrong. The DA40 is virtually impossible to crash and is probably much safer in the hands of a novice or goofing around VFR.

-- Philip Greenspun, May 12, 2008


I am a student pilot with thirty hours, and my partner is a private pilot with 90 hours. We went through the same exercise (DA40 vs SR20G3). We decided on the Diamond. The safety issue was big considering our lack of experience. Since we had both trained, or in my case still training in a DA40, the decision to go Diamond was pretty easy. I did a demo flight in the SR20G3 and noticed the fuel burn to be about 1/3 higher than the DA40 - given today's avgas prices, this is no small difference in operating cost. We flew our plane from LAX to KAUS (Austin, TX) when purchased at an average of 140 KGS (slight headwind) with a an avg fuel burn of around 7 GPH at 11,500. Hard to imagine the 20 matching that efficiency. Also, the insurance was 1/3 the cost of the SR20 (you will be charged insurance rates based on the student pilot hours). You can pick up an 04, 05, or 06 DA40 for about $220,000 - $270,000 with a fully upgradeable G1000 system (you forgo the Garmin autooilot with the older 40 for the functional but finicky KAP 40) for about $100,000 less than the SR20G3 or XLS. We bought a low hour 2006. Not as fancy as the XL or XLS, but both partners love the airplane. Of course, we will have to pay for the annuals ($1000-$2000), oil, brakes, tires, and other items, but the $100,000 we saved over new will go along way toward covering those cost. We also have a full warranty through Sept., 2008. Also, and maybe Philip could comment here, but it seems the G1000 is becoming the predominant glass system for GA aircraft. There are even rumors that Cirrus is going with the Garmin system. One thing is certain, learning the G1000 will definitely prepare all the partners for the next airplane. Scott

-- Scott Zodin, May 13, 2008