The SR22 is the most produced light plane in the world, and many of Cirrus’s sales are to return customers. Cirrus is just really good at adding enough new features to its latest models that a lot of existing Cirrus owners find they just have to upgrade to get the latest cool stuff.
The G6 might be the best example of the strategy to date. Even though the airframe is essentially unchanged (I’ll explain the “essentially” part of that statement soon), the G6 model is a huge upgrade. I’ll end the suspense. It’s the avionics.
The G6 model sports a completely updated panel, with the brand new Garmin G1000 NXi update to the prototypical GA flat-panel system. Cirrus calls its installation Perspective NXi, and don’t think for a second that the upgrade is dime-store makeover. NXi is the real deal.
In the SR22, to the untrained eye the panel looks the same as before, with a pair of 10-inch reversionary capable displays. In NXi the computers that power the displays are far faster and more powerful than on legacy G1000 systems. This means lightning fast panning and zooming. The keypad, which sets Perspective apart from all other G1000 installations, is all-new too, with a row of lighted numerical buttons arrayed along the top of the keypad, a QWERTY alphabetic keypad (finally!), a Home button labeled with a little house icon to make navigation far simpler than on legacy G1000s, and the autopilot controller situated at the bottom of the keypad.
The new installation has a number of new features. There’s graphical, on-screen, airplane-specific weight and balance, a fantastic new taxi and runways awareness utility from Garmin called SurfaceWatch, which is a huge improvement over previous implementations of ground-ops awareness utilities. You also get all-new data driven charts on screen that give you a wealth of information while automatically aligning the image and decluttering the screen for you as heading changes and as you zoom in or out on the view.
The wingtips are new, too, with really cool and remarkably visible new wingtip lighting strips from our friends at Whelan. The new Spectra system lighting is nav lights, taxi lights, recognition lights and an over-the-top brand statement all at once. There are also new lights under the wings to help make it more visible on the ground and on the steps, to help ensure sure-footed entry and exiting.
Flying the 2017 SR22 is identical to flying the 2016 model, but using the avionics is a whole new experience. The price is only slightly higher than last year’s model, as well. The very well equipped example I flew out to Arizona from Texas goes for just under $900,000.
To read more details about our “first-to-fly” flight report on the airplane read the February edition of Plane & Pilot, available at a newsstand near you or by subscription at planeandpilotmag.com, or look for the article on our website later this month.
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