Cirrus purchase

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Hey Philip:

I am thinking of purchasing a used SR22, and wanted to get your advice on where to find
the best value.

If you were buying used, would look for an older 22 and upgrade the panel yourself? Or,
would you spend the extra money for a G3 with all the bells and whistles?

Here is an example: 2003 22, 550 hours, Entegra panels, a/c, no TKS asking $239k, or
2007 G3 GTS, 359 hours, WAAS, TKS, o2, the works for $350k.

My thought is to go with the 03 and upgrade to WAAS, DFC90, etc. and be in the plane for
$250k (assuming the 03 can be bought for less than the asking price).

What do you think, is the new wing and features of the G3 worth the extra $$$$. Do
airplanes without TKS get killed in the resale market? I live south and east of the Rockies.
I would stay away from ice with or without TKS.

-- Scott Zodin, December 7, 2009


A friend of mine who has moved on to turbines has his 2004 fully loaded SR22 for sale for $179k (see the top of ). I don't think you'll find a much better deal than that.

I don't think any "upgrades" to a Cirrus G2 make economic sense. Consider WAAS. It will cost about $10,000. If you fly the plane 1000 hours to typical airports you might do 25 LPV approaches in actual conditions. You've paid $400 per approach. If you said that you were going to use the airplane to commute between two airports, neither of which had an ILS and both of which had good LPV approaches, I would have a different answer. But for the average mission, a plane's panel should be left alone. If you want to spend some money on avionics, get a Garmin 696.

The fact that you are already thinking about reselling the airplane and that a $100,000 price difference is a concern would lead me to recommend that you buy the cheapest airworthy plane than can accomplish your mission. A $179,000 SR22 can't depreciate more than $179,000...

-- Philip Greenspun, December 8, 2009

Regarding the follow-up below about wanting to spend $15,000 to fly full procedures and missed approach holds.... If you don't want a big surprise when the autopilot or navigation gets screwed up, keep the heading bug centered. If you are planning to fly single-pilot IFR in a Cirrus where there is a significant chance of going missed due to the weather being below minimums, it may be time to reexamine your personal minimums. If you fly in busy airspace and ATC has radar, the chance of being assigned the published missed or any kind of hold in actual conditions is minimal (just look at where some of the missed approach holds are located; many would block departures). If you need time to run a checklist or load up and brief a new approach, you ask for "delay vectors".

Not everything that you did on a checkride is something that you'd want to do in real life.

Any time that a mechanic opens up the airplane and starts rewiring there is a serious possibility of a problem being created. If you have money and time to spare it might be a fun activity but it doesn't make much economic or practical sense unless, as I noted in my original response, you intend to commute to an airport with typically poor weather and no ILS.

-- Philip Greenspun, December 12, 2009

Thanks Philip. We live and operate out of central Texas, so a/c is a must. On your wish list you said you would like an a/p that would not be badly out of trim if it unexpectedly kicked off. Have you considered the new roll servo? Also, r8 which would be installed with a WAAS upgrade has a speed bug that will work with the IAS (indicated airspeed hold) on the new a/p. Adding WAAS and the roll servo would add about $15k to the cost of the airplane.

One other thing, the WAAS units are faster than non-waas, and also enable more precise flying of the full procedure and holds. So it's not just a matter of how many WAAS approaches you fly, it's also the overall NAV that's improved.

-- Scott Zodin, December 12, 2009