Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Down & Dirty

The Cirrus SR22 tries out the Idaho backcountry and redefines airplane camping

Cirrus announced the launch of its latest SR22 models, the Generation 5 SR22 and SR22T, at the beginning of this year, and it marked a sweeping design change for the successful aircraft. The biggest news is a whopping 200-pound increase in the airplanes' maximum takeoff weight.

According to Cirrus, the weight increase was the most-asked-for enhancement by the maker's substantial customer base. The changes for 2013 make the SR22 and SR22T the highest in-class useful-load aircraft available today.

While last year, customers could opt for a fifth seat in the '22, the new-generation model features a fifth seat as standard equipment, in conjunction with the 60/40 flex-seating feature, three-position recline and a child-seat restraint system. With the increase in maximum weight, the SR22 and SR22T become true five-place airplanes, capable of transporting five average-sized adults for at least 700 nm.

Cirrus only gives a new "Generation" moniker to aircraft that have gone through substantial redesign, and the 2013 model is no exception. In addition to the gross weight increase, Cirrus examined and reengineered a wide array of components in the Generation 5 series. The aircraft's unique one-piece carbon-fiber wing spar was enhanced with more layers, giving it even greater strength than before. The landing gear was beefed up, and a new flap system was designed, allowing extension to the first position at 150 knots.

The redesign accommodates the increased airframe load, aerodynamic improvements, improved flight performance and big changes to the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS.) The CAPS system hasn't experienced this much of an enhancement since the SR22's launch 10 years ago. Changes include a better failsafe electronic deployment trigger instead of the older pyrotechnic trigger, a bigger parachute canopy, and a larger, more powerful deployment rocket. Cirrus did substantial testing of the CAPS, including a new series of test drops, to validate the new system's performance with the gross weight increase for the airframe.

The Generation 5 continues the technological innovation that has marked Cirrus' success in the general aviation marketplace. In addition to the major changes, Generation 5 offers Cirrus Perspective avionics by Garmin; Cirrus Known Ice Protection; Perspective Global Connect satellite communications, and a host of interior and exterior upgrades and options.

For customers who are thinking of upgrading to the Cirrus Vision Jet but can't wait, Cirrus also offers the Vision Jet-inspired SR22T Special Edition. It reflects the Vision Jet's luxury, style and performance, and is a taste of things to come. Racecar seats, carbon fiber interior accents, three-tone paint scheme, sterling-finish propeller and spinner, and an $829,900 price tag make this the ultimate Cirrus for those looking to the future.

Labels: Piston Singles


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