Generation 5 Cirrus SR22
Even though the SR22 feels very familiar to me — I fly an SR22 G3 model regularly — there was something about the G5 that was more solid than any SR22 I’d previously flown.
On my heaviest flight, we were a few hundred pounds under gross with full fuel, but I still kept it on the ground for the additional few knots the book says is needed at gross weight just to get a feel for it. My conclusion is that it’s really not needed for rotation, as the airplane was ready to fly not at 80 knots but at 70. For clearing obstacles, use book values.
I had a hard time discerning differences in performance between the G5 and the G3 I normally fly (for the record, there is no G4, for no other reason than it wasn’t as mellifluous-sounding a designation as G5 is). Climb was strong, around 1,200 fpm on the cool morning that I headed down to the Texas Gulf coast for the photo shoot. If there’s a difference, and physics dictate there must be, then it is surely slight. Likewise, in cruise it felt like any G3 I’ve flown: nice, comfortable and fast.
It was in arrival and approach that the airplane showed its great new powers. With a first-notch speed of 119 knots in previous generations of SR22s, you needed to be clever at times to get down to approach speeds. Start the approach a little too fast, and you’ll be struggling to both descend on the glide path and keep the speed below the flap limit. With the new settings, you can throw in the first notch of flaps at 150 knots, which is a huge deal to Cirrus pilots. We’ve all talked about how nice speed brakes would be on this airplane in the past. With the new flaps, there is no need — none, nada, zilch. You can now tailor your approach speeds to fit the traffic, the procedure and the needs of ATC.
Landing the SR22 G5 is different than in previous models, and there are a couple of reasons for that. For one, it has an extra bit of travel on the second notch of flaps, so you tend to sink nicely even while carrying a little power. The other thing is that the airplane is heavier, so with the power being equal, you are going to sink just a bit more. If any of that sounds bad, it’s not. Actually, it’s great. The G5 is by far the best-landing SR22 ever. And it is the best-flying SR22 by a long shot.
When Cirrus began showing its SF50 Vision jet around with a new iridescent blue paint scheme, it received a warm welcome from potential customers. So Cirrus decided to create a marketing tie-in with the soon-to-be-announced Generation 5 SR22, allowing buyers of the G5 airplane to get a position on a jet for $1.19 million instead of $1.96 million, or to allow jet position holders to pick up a G5 SR22 with guaranteed brokerage when they take delivery of their jet in a few years.
Cirrus called the special-edition SR22 the “Vision Inspired” model, which I flew and photographed for this story. In addition to the cool paint scheme, the Vision Inspired SR22 comes with a package of special features, including black baffling, stainless-steel cam locks, carbon-inspired interior with suede-look headliner and side panels and yoke covers, and Vision Inspired badging. The airplane also comes with three years of tail-to-spinner maintenance, the sat/comm/data package and air conditioning. The cost of the Vision Inspired SR22 is an eye-popping $829,000. Standard SR22T (turbo) models start at $569,900 for the well-equipped base model and go up to $724,900 for the decked-out GTS model.
Cirrus has delivered more than 5,300 airplanes to date, and the SR22 G5, with its 200-pound increase in gross weight, greatly improved flaps, enviable performance and features list, is the best one yet. While not everyone will be able to fork over the dough for the latest model, many pilots are jumping at the chance to do just that; a few are taking the opportunity to get a Vision Inspired airplane and a spot in line for a jet to match.