AOPA has announced that its 2009 "Let's go Flying" sweepstakes winner will take home a 2005 Cirrus SR22. Read here for the details.
I have long said the Cirrus is like Apple Computer. Anyone who owns and loves Macs knows what I'm talking about. Cirrus builds innovative, great-looking products that push technology. Cirrus blends form and functionality. Just like Apple. The Cirrus is a premium airplane that helped revitalize piston aircraft manufacturing and became the best selling single-engine plane in the U.S. It was the first certified aircraft with a whole-plane parachute system, at a time when competitors laughed at the idea. It introduced an entirely new cockpit to GA pilots (the glass cockpit). And it proved that a plane made partially out of plastic would be a technological triumph. If you go on the factory tour in Duluth, you'll see that the plane is literally built by putting it in a giant over to meld it together. It's the easy-baked oven of airplanes!
Yeah, I dig the Cirrus. Between the SR22 and the lower power SR20, I have close to about 100 hours. Which is not a lot. But it's enough to know that it's my first choice of airplanes. That's not to say I don't like other planes. I used to fly the Diamonds and learned on Pipers. And Cessna still builds workhorse aircraft. But Cessna's recent purchase of Columbiua (a Cirrus look-a-like plane) shows that Cirrus has grabbed the imagination of GA pilots who can afford a plane in the mid- six figure dollar range.
A Cirrus is a technologically advanced aircraft. They call it a TAA. That's why most schools and insurance companies require a 10 hour checkout. And it's expensive to rent. In New York, you can pay more than $250 an hour. If you own it, operating costs for the SR22 come in at about $150 an hour, depending on fuel charges. It also busts through the air at 180kts true. So it can be a handful.
The Cirrus is a cool plane. Need more evidence of this? Angelina Jolie flies one.