Cirrus SR22 or Piper Saratoga

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First of all, I love this forum. There are a lot of unbiased
answers to good questions. I know my questions pertain to personal
preference but I value your input.

I am a 250-hour instrument rated pilot and would like to purchase
either a Cirrus SR-22 or a Piper Saratoga. I am favoring the Turbo
for climb performance.

I have 130 hours in a Piper Saratoga and 11 hours in a Cirrus SR
20/22. I find the Saratoga very easy to fly and land. The Cirrus
is easy to fly but I find it very difficult to land. Some of my
landing issues may be self inflicted.

I have a tendency to land a little fast and this is not an issue in
the Saratoga. What I mean by a little fast is crossing the numbers
at 85-90kts. Landing the Cirrus with a little extra speed turns out
to be a bad landing. Is this a Cirrus characteristic when carrying
extra speed or do I just need more practice?

My likes and dislikes:
I love the idea of having a parachute on board in case of a
catastrophic event.
I like the Avionics.
I dislike the castering nose wheel.
I dislike the wet wing � seems to be a lot of post crash fires.
Difficult to land in certain conditions.

Piper Saratoga:
I do not necessarily need the extra room of the Saratoga but is nice
to have when needed.
Easy to fly and handle in all conditions � especially on windy days.

I like everything about the Cirrus but am very concerned about the
safety record of the Cirrus and my inability to make a smooth

I am curious to your opinions and what experiences you may share
with me. Thanks for your input!


-- Bill Walton, March 25, 2010


You'll certainly get used to the Cirrus. It is a relatively easy plane to land if you are accustomed to attitude flying. The landing attitude is a bit more nose-down than in a typical airplane. Then you round-out to level. Then you pitch up to about 7 degrees for the flare. I have flown the SR20/22 in winds gusting to about 35 knots. It is pretty stable.

Because so many SR22s were made so recently it is an unbeatable value as a used airplane.

-- Philip Greenspun, April 6, 2010

Regarding your follow-up below... The idea that the Cirrus is hard to land doesn't make sense. It is not a short-field airplane, but it is very easy to land on a longer runway. Until you're an expert, you can simply use the Part 121/135 rule of landing in 60 percent of the available runway (i.e., don't go to any fields where you need to reproduce POH numbers).

As for the Cirrus running out of rudder... I landed my SR20 in a 28- knot gusting 90-degree crosswind. I added about 10 knots for the gusts, so I was approaching at 85 knots. I didn't run out of rudder and had the airplane stopped about 2200' down the runway (5000'-long runway 23 at Hanscom; 29 was closed for construction). Were you planning on going to 2000' strips with 35-knot crosswinds?

-- Philip Greenspun, June 9, 2010

Jeff: Regarding your recurrency requirements question below... some insurance companies want you to have annual recurrent training in the Cirrus. This can be simply a BFR with an instructor. I think it is a good idea for the first few years at least to review the systems (the electrical system is a truly impressive engineering example and will take care of you with no pilot intervention, but it is still worth knowing what you'll be able to use with just the backup ALT2).

-- Philip Greenspun, June 9, 2010

To Jordan's question below about using the airplanes for transporting parts... I'm not sure of the payload difference. The SR22 is a pretty efficient airplane, so I'm guessing that it would have a better payload. As far as high density altitude goes, I see that Toluca has a nearly 14,000' runway. So the SR22 should be able to take off at gross weight. The 640 nm leg is less than 2/3rds the range of an SR22, so you wouldn't need full fuel. I'm not an IA or A&P, so I'm not sure about whether the weight and balance needs to be redone after the seat removal. Perhaps it should be. As for engine problems with a turbocharger, certainly they are more likely and the issues would be the same with a Cirrus or Piper.

-- Philip Greenspun, August 27, 2010


I am in the same situation right now considering a Piper Saratoga vs Cirrus SR-20/22. I like the idea of a new plane with modern avionics and lots of speed. The Saratoga is like an old station wagon, reliable and has lots of room when (or if) you need it.

Right now I have a wife and dog, but no kids as of yet and don't want to buy more plane than I need (Saratoga). Are there recurrency requirements with a SR20 or SR22?

Jeff Poplin

-- Jeff Poplin, June 8, 2010

Hello Jeff-

I love the Cirrus for it's slick fast design, it's incredible avionics and the parachute. It is truly an amazing airplane. However, as I stated in my original post, I have a tendency to land with a little extra speed and this is obviously not a good scenario for the Cirrus. There are a lot of landing accidents that are blammed on carrying too much speed across the fence.

I also do not care for the Cirrus running out of rudder control at lower speeds due to the small rudder.

I still have not purchased an airplane but I'm looking for a Saratoga. I agree with you, it is a big heavy station wagon compared to the Cirrus but I like it's stable platform and handling abilities more than the Cirrus. I am convinced it is a much more forgiving airplane. I don't want to be concerned about small mistakes, like landing a little fast, potentially causing a major accident. Nor do I want to run out of input controls by maneuvering too slow.

I think you will love either one. After flying both for over 30-hours I have decided to pursue a Saratoga. I wish you could get the avionics package of a Cirrus in a Saratoga.


-- Bill Walton, June 9, 2010

I am a Saratoga owner and with respect to Avionics, we have a G1000, not sure it gets much better than that. Saratoga has great space. there is ONE downside that frutrates, 6 seats rarely if ever means 6 passengers. Useful load with full fuel is only 400 lbs or so.

-- Jon Johnson, August 11, 2010


I too am debating between the SR22 and the Saratoga II TC. My mission for the aircraft will primarily be hauling aircraft parts around Texas and often into Mexico. Our base to Mexico City (Toluca) is about 640NM. Given that I have not experienced either plane, can you guess what the payload availability would be on that leg? I noticed on your page, Philip, that you mention some people remove the back seats in their Cirrus to haul larger objects. Does this require a different weight and balance to have in the aircraft?

Has anyone here flown the aircraft out of a high elevation airfield such as Toluca (about 8300 MSL)? Although it has an obscenely long runway I am curious to know if it will make it non-stop back to Texas with any decent payload.

Also, I have been told to stay away from the Turbo Cirrus due to engine problems. Is this also true of the Saratoga II TC?

I am sorry to bombard you with questions, but I cannot contribute answers although am intrigued by the forum as you are deliberating my exact comparison. Looking forward to seeing your thoughts.

-- Jordan Jaffe, August 27, 2010

I have spent countless hours researching this topic. I have 226 hours in a Piper Saratoga II TC and 87 in a Cirrus. The conclusion I reached is a Cirrus is a "Dangerous" airplane. It is very unforgiving and falls out of the sky on a regular basis.

I fly in and out of Colorado airports on a regular basis and the TC Saratoga does a great job. You will love it. I would definately buy a Saratoga over the Cirrus. I love the parachute and avionics but It is a dangerous death trap airplane.

-- Bill Walton, August 28, 2010