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Old 10-09-2007, 07:24 PM   #1  
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Default PPL training in a Cirrus.

Anybody have any opinions on this?


I never figured a Cirrus as a trainer, I always thought they were marketed as a upper level private owner aircraft.

I'm interested how some flight schools are going towards the Cirrus as a trainer. I'm interested in getting some people's opinions on how they might or might not handle the abuse that Cessna's are usually subjected to.

Well, I guess Google answered my own question.

http://www.glasscockpitaviation.com/...tpilotsr20.htm

Can you get your private pilot's certificate in an SR20?

Short answer: yes. A Cirrus is a fairly simple aircraft to fly, and the SR20 is the best choice of the Cirrus line. The difference in the aircraft is the automation and technology. It will provide you with an opportunity to get experience in the latest equipment from the start. This will require a certain amount of dedication on the part of the student in learning the equipment, similar to learning a new software package on a computer. In the same way, someone who learns software quickly will probably do quite well with a Cirrus. Some people have a fascination with technology and a hunger to explore its capabilities. If this sounds like you, you will really enjoy and probably do very well learning to fly in a Cirrus. Take a look at this article to get a student's viewpoint.
Should you get your private pilot's certificate in a Cirrus? Just because you have the aptitude to operate the aircraft does not necessarily mean that you have the need for it. Consider your purpose. Do you desire to own your own technically advanced aircraft in the future? Are you tired of waiting at airports for your airline flight and would rather transport yourself in luxury and safety? In that case, it makes sense, and your future insurance bill may be drastically lower if you train in the advanced aircraft from the start. In fact, you may save enough to justify the additional cost of training.
Lately there has been a lot of news about flight schools purchasing fleets of SR20s to use in their training programs. There is a good reason for this, as the manufacturers are producing more and more of these "glass cockpit" aircraft, and less of the traditional round gauge variety. What about learning in a glass cockpit Cessna? Cessnas have a great track record, and many pilots began in them. The advantage of a Cirrus is the new design. With a Cessna, even though it is a great aircraft, it's an old airframe, and you could expect 20 to 30 knots less of airspeed at the same fuel burn rate. Cirrus has incorporated several safety features such as an airframe parachute and airbags with a totally new airframe and interior luxury. A demo flight in each aircraft will speak volumes about the differences here. Also, I have found that the Avidyne instrument panel in the Cirrus is more user friendly and intuitive. The G1000 panels in the Cessna are quite capable, but will require more diligence for the student due to the more complex layout. Take a look at this overview for more information. A simpler interface will reward you with more time to look out the window, instead of weeding your way through screens of information.
Terry's First Solo Flight

Last edited by MobiusOne; 10-09-2007 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:35 PM   #2  
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Private pilot check rides focus on visual maneuvers, I'm not clear on the advantage of using a "glass" trainer for steep turns, S-turns, stalls, etc. other than draining your checking account a little faster. Also, an extra 20-30 knots to get out to the practice area so can fly in circles? All required instrument "maneuvers" can easily be done in old technology for whole heck of a lot less money.

I've had enough new student pilots hurl in the airplane to know that I don't want a fancy interior

New guys - search out the least expensive airplane you can for the PPL. With the money you save, you'll be able to afford a checkout in something "fun" and have money left over.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:48 PM   #3  
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Private pilot check rides focus on visual maneuvers, I'm not clear on the advantage of using a "glass" trainer for steep turns, S-turns, stalls, etc. other than draining your checking account a little faster. Also, an extra 20-30 knots to get out to the practice area so can fly in circles? All required instrument "maneuvers" can easily be done in old technology for whole heck of a lot less money.

I've had enough new student pilots hurl in the airplane to know that I don't want a fancy interior

New guys - search out the least expensive airplane you can for the PPL. With the money you save, you'll be able to afford a checkout in something "fun" and have money left over.
Good point with the interior. I thought about bringing that up as well but I didn't want to throw too many points out there. The Cessna interior isn't exactly anything to brag about, but having some fine Corinthian leather playing the opposite extreme of the spectrum isn't exactly inviting to a bunch of first timers getting in and out with sweaty backs and greasy hands.
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Old 10-09-2007, 07:58 PM   #4  
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I beg your pardon! I may barf, but I do not sweat or get greasy.

Seriously however, I've been told many times that even using a 172 is overkill for someone like me. I have to agree with that assessment. Money can be spent on other things.
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Old 10-09-2007, 08:03 PM   #5  
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Absolutely...you can get the same exact training in a 152 or older 172 - SP's are way overrated. And at that level, you really should be focusing on the real piloting aspect of things. After you get your certificate, if glass is your thing, then by all means go get checked out in a G1000 equipped aircraft. Couldn't agree more with HSLD.
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Old 10-09-2007, 09:09 PM   #6  
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Also, the G1000 is no more complicated than that stupid Avidyne system. Heck, you have to learn the PFD, MFD, and the two Garmin 430s that run it, or you could learn the G1000 that is a bigger, prettier 430. An SR20 is overkill. HSLD is right on.
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:24 AM   #7  
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You might be justified in using a TAA (like the cirrus) as a PPL trainer, but probably only under these circumstances:

-Your goal is private pilot, not professional pilot.

-Your time is limited, your finances less so.

-You intend to own/lease a cirrus as your personal flying machine.

If you plan on operating a cirrus anyway, the more time you have in the thing, the better for safety and insurance. You'll have the advantage of having conducted plenty of manuevers in a cirrus, so your comfort zone will be larger. Instrument training will be easier since you will be very familiar with the avionics.

If you plan on being a professional pilot or a renter, you probably want to learn on analog gauges since you may be seeing a lot of those. The transition from analog to glass is easier than vice versa (assuming slow GA airplanes).
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Old 10-10-2007, 07:44 AM   #8  
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The biggest problem that I see with training on this type of equipment is that students get too focused on the "whiz-bang" electronics. I've flown with people that have never known the world of pre-GPS navigation and without it, they have no clue as to where they are or any sort of situational awareness.

It's hard to force glass cockpit aircraft into "reversionary" modes that can be used over and over without doing some harm (ie popping circuit breakers on glass isn't exactly wise).

Learn the good old fashioned way and learn the basics. Once you have them mastered, then learn how to use the nifty electronics and gizmos. That way if you ever lose the nifty toys (and you will if you fly enough), you can always revert back to "old school" methods.
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Old 10-10-2007, 09:56 AM   #9  
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Originally Posted by FlyerJosh View Post
Learn the good old fashioned way and learn the basics. Once you have them mastered, then learn how to use the nifty electronics and gizmos. That way if you ever lose the nifty toys (and you will if you fly enough), you can always revert back to "old school" methods.
Yeah I always feel like a black sheep when it comes to this. I'm 6'1" and about 220-230 and have the option of training in a GPS equipped 172 (We don't use the GPS except for a lot later in our training). However, I waive the option and still fly in a 152 (Always mindful of our fuel load and only take in my gear bag what I absolutely need for the lesson). Also, as per the FAA we are generally allowed to use electronic flight computers (like ASA's CX-2) for flight calculations and VFR navigation. I also waive that privilege and plan, navigate, and aviate with the trusty old E6.

I always get an earful from other students that don't attend my school about how much easier/cooler it is to use glass instead of 'Those old school P.O.S gauges' and it just drives me up the wall. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing it the hard way for no reason but at the end of the day it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that I can get from here to there with nothing but a sectional and a silly little spinny thing.

All this effort seemed worth it when my instructor put me under the hood and had me do a VOR crosscheck and a diversion without being able to see out the window or some fancy GPS overlay and we then arrived exactly on time within about a mile of the target airport.
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Old 10-10-2007, 10:41 AM   #10  
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Spartan07 View Post
Yeah I always feel like a black sheep when it comes to this. I'm 6'1" and about 220-230 and have the option of training in a GPS equipped 172 (We don't use the GPS except for a lot later in our training). However, I waive the option and still fly in a 152 (Always mindful of our fuel load and only take in my gear bag what I absolutely need for the lesson). Also, as per the FAA we are generally allowed to use electronic flight computers (like ASA's CX-2) for flight calculations and VFR navigation. I also waive that privilege and plan, navigate, and aviate with the trusty old E6.

I always get an earful from other students that don't attend my school about how much easier/cooler it is to use glass instead of 'Those old school P.O.S gauges' and it just drives me up the wall. Sometimes I feel like I'm doing it the hard way for no reason but at the end of the day it gives me the warm fuzzies to know that I can get from here to there with nothing but a sectional and a silly little spinny thing.

All this effort seemed worth it when my instructor put me under the hood and had me do a VOR crosscheck and a diversion without being able to see out the window or some fancy GPS overlay and we then arrived exactly on time within about a mile of the target airport.
You got it right, and you'll also survive an electrical failure when everything goes dark on those fancy glass panels too. There's a reason they call it the "basics." If you don't have them, or "skipped" them by going big early, it'll bite you later.
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