Plane & Pilot
Wednesday, November 30, -0001

Our 10 Favorite Cirrus SR22S

Airplanes that stand out from the crowd and make us take notice

Best Modification

Best Modification

When it comes to modifications, pilot Steven Grullon stopped at nothing to personalize the 2009 SR22 he flies for a private owner. First off, it’s a 2009 with the Turbo Excite package. Grullon and the owner designed the paint themselves, choosing a beautiful deep red and adding reflective graphics and stripes that change colors from different viewing angles. The interior is all custom, with a caramel interior made of a special new fabric that mimics leather in every way but is lighter. Little details like controls that match the seats, a detailed baggage compartment and hand-stitching add to the allure.

But easily, the most distinctive feature is the four-bladed prop. “Ours is the first G3 Perspective Turbo model to have the four-bladed prop,” says Grullon. “Flight Resource has the STC.” The new prop gives the SR22 a completely different sound inside and out. “It has this whisper sound,” Grullon explains. The four-bladed NT propeller yields better climb performance, better engine cooling and less drag than the Hartzell prop. The airplane is primarily used for pleasure flights between Florida and the Dominican Republic. “We use it like a car; to go pick up the dog or something we forgot,” laughs Grullon. That’s a dog that travels in style.

Most Travelled

Most Travelled

When Cirrus decided to expand their “Inside Cirrus” road show to Latin America, they had no idea how many countries they would be visiting. Starting in Mexico, Cirrus’ blue SR22 made its way through all of Central America, stopping everywhere from Guatemala to Costa Rica, Panama and everywhere in between. In spring and throughout the summer, the SR22 continued into South America, stopping in Chile and crossing the Andes into Argentina and beyond. The road-show pilots added each country’s sticker to the nose of the SR22 as it made its way throughout Latin America, looking like a veteran WWII bomber by journey’s end. The mission into Latin America is a big step for Cirrus, launching new Cirrus centers in various countries, and offering demonstration flights at nearly every stop. For many Latin American pilots, it was their first up-close look at the SR22.

Turbo Cirrus Plus

By Bill Cox
The first production Cirrus brought a full-airframe parachute to general aviation, introduced glass panels to the industry and dramatically simplified the process of learning to fly. Nothing is perfect, however, and there were a few areas that needed additional tweaking. One was the wheel pants. The SR22 was designed with a full-castoring, nonsteerable nose gear, requiring most low-speed steering to be done with differential braking. Alan and Dale Klapmeier did an excellent job of designing highly efficient wheel pants, but the design may have been almost too good in one respect. The wheel pants were so tight and aerodynamically efficient, they minimized airflow across the brakes, and that resulted in insufficient brake cooling and occasional brake fires.

Lopresti Speed Merchants of Sebastion, Fla., ( came up with a mod to cool the brakes and improve access to the tires in the process. Called Ice Skates, the STC’d Lopresti mods are constructed of a carbon-fiber sandwich with bromide in the resin (that won’t support combustion). The pants incorporate a NACA scoop directly in front of the brake disc and an exhaust outlet at the rear of the wheel pant. Like cowl flaps in an engine nacelle, this helps suck airflow through the wheel pant to help control heating. Lopresti sells the Ice Skate wheel pants for $7,495 uninstalled. If that’s not in your budget, Speed Merchants will modify your existing wheel pants to Cool Skates. These include the NACA scoop and vent and install the larger access door, all for $3,495.

Warren Fletcher of Tampa, Florida, owns a 2009 Turbo Cirrus SR22-G3 with the LoPresti Ice Skate wheel pants, along with the dual Speed Merchant Boom Beam X3 HID lights in the wingtips. “The new wheel pants make checking the brakes and airing up the tires almost ridic-ulously easy compared to the stock Cirrus pants,” says Fletcher. “The bigger access doors and button latch make it very easy to inspect and air up the tires. You have excellent access to everything. You can monitor the hydraulic lines for leaks at the same time and even examine part of the tire sidewalls.”

Fletcher flies his airplane at night fairly often and he feels Lopresti’s X3 Boom Beam HID landing lights make a world of difference. “This Boom Beam offers a healthy 600,000 candlepower. With one X3 mounted in each wingtip, the Cirrus is so visible at night, I’ve had people comment that it looks like a DC-9 on approach,” Fletcher remarks. “The runway is well illuminated from a quarter mile out on final. And when I’m in busy airspace, I’ll often use the lights during daytime to make my airplane more visible to other traffic.”

The Boom Beams have no filament, so there’s nothing to break or burn out. Each X3 consumes about half the electrical power of an incandescent bulb (1.6 amps) and is significantly cooler. As a result, the X3s come with a 5,000-hour warranty and sell for $1,299 a piece, uninstalled. The 300,000-candlepower X2 Boom Beams sell for $649.

The Cirrus enthusiast also has an order in for Never Flat Lifesaver tires, a NASA variation on Good Year’s Run Flat tires, and it’s virtually impossible to have a blowout since the tire itself supports the weight of the aircraft—a good thing, since there’s no air pressure. Lopresti’s Never Flat replaces the steel belt with a high-strength, composite, graphite-epoxy band that’s roughly the same weight as the steel belt but five times stronger. Similar to Kevlar in a bulletproof vest, this makes a puncture extremely unlikely, but unlike Kevlar, even if something does penetrate the tire, the basic structure is so strong that the tire won’t collapse. Warranty is 10 years, and the tires can be recapped. Price is $1,299 for the two 6.00x6 Cirrus main tires.


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