Thinking of DA40 after SR22

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Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by DA40fan »

I'm a 400-hour, instrument-rated pilot who has owned an SR22 NA for 3 years. I'm thinking of switching to the DA40 for the below reasons and would love to hear any advice you all might have.

1) Currency and proficiency: Due to my busy work schedule, I haven't flown as much as I had hoped when I bought the Cirrus--only about 80 to 100 hours a year. And at this low-level of flying, I spend a lot of hours flying with CSIP--IPC every 6 months, VFR recurrency training, etc...--just to maintain proficiency. I feel that to fly the SR22 safely and proficiently, especially in IMC, I would need about 200 hours a year.

My guess is that the DA40 would be able to tolerate a low-annual-time pilot better than a Cirrus, i.e. it is a much more forgiving airplane. In my Cirrus, if I'm a few knots faster than 1.3 Vref on landing, I have to go around, especially since I operate out of a short airfield.

2) Costs and hassles of owning a Cirrus: owning any airplane is a hassle, but it has been a wild ride with the Cirrus, with maintenance between $10K to $40K a year so far. I think things will be better in subsequent years as we get through all the squawks, but I'm tired of writing big checks and, more importantly, tired of devoting so much mental energy to ownership.

There are plenty of DA40s for rent in my area and at $190/hour wet and 100 hours/year it would be way cheaper to rent.

3) Joy of flying: it has turned out that the long cross-country trips I have envisioned with the SR22, which is truly an awesome cross-country machine, are rare. My family is just not into flying and I fly solo or with only my dad most of the times for shorter, local trips. For these shorter, sight-seeing trip, the DA40 would be perfect. I only had 2 hours in the DA40 so far but still vividly remember how enjoying hand-flying that machine was. I've gotten pretty good at hand-flying the Cirrus but the spring-loaded side yoke and the electric trim still allow no hands-off flying.

For the above reasons, I'm thinking of switching. To be honest, I love my Cirrus and it's just so comfortable and the avionics with IFDs and DFC90 is a joy to shoot approaches. But I have been thinking so much about Diamond lately but I figured you guys might have some great opinions as I know there are plenty of Cirrus pilots here too.
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Scottsware
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by Scottsware »

I think you nailed it with points 1, 2 and 3. I have not owned a Cirrus but I have around 20 hours in a rental. Point 1) I’m much more comfortable flying my DA40 compared to the Cirrus and I have 40 years/18,000 hours. Point 2) I have found the DA40 to very reasonable for maintenance cost. I do change my own oil, clean plugs and change tires. Point 3) I enjoy flying the DA40 over the Cirrus. The control system of the Cirrus feels like the A320 minus fly by wire stability. With the DA40 the control feedback tells me what’s going on with the plane where the springs of the Cirrus removed me from that feel.
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by AndrewM »

I think where the Cirrus makes sense vs a DA 40 is when you have / need:

1. longer cross countries: the extra room/comfort of the SR22 along with the extra speed;
2. when you live / fly out of or into areas where you may potentially need FIKI. I would never fly into known icing in a small aircraft like these, but being based out of Boston I guess there is some reassurance if you have to briefly climb or descend through a layer you have FIKI;
3. if you have a regular mission that takes you over mountains / water and also night, where the chute would be a welcome safety feature in the unlikely event of an engine failure.

My mission is mostly short fun trips either myself or with family, rarely long cross countries. I do a few business trips each year, but always have commercial plan B if the weather is not looking optimal. At times on these trips I wonder about a more capable plane, however this is so rare it does not really factor in.

I cannot see myself going to the SR22, after flying one it is just too much autopilot flown for my current primary missions. Also, I just cannot justify the additional cost for my mission / requirements.

In the past I owned a DA40 myself in Florida, and had to sell that due to moving overseas. Now in Boston, I am in a partnership and that works out just great. If you are only doing 100hrs or so each year, I would suggest trying to find a partner and buying vs renting...
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by Rich »

There's an element of rent vs. buy in your post. There are the usual trade-offs, especially if you rent from someone with a fleet of airplanes that may not be identical. This is especially common in the area of operational instruments/avionics. And I've seen rental businesses that don't seem to consider it important to keep nav databases current.

I fly 50 hours/year now if I'm lucky. But having flown the same plane for 19 years straight with upgrades along the way I know very well everything it'll do. My main currency weakness is being as sharp as I'd like when operating "in the system". The aviate and navigate is fine, the communicate could use polish :roll:
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by chili4way »

Welcome to DAN. In which part of the country are you located? You might be able to find a shared-access arrangement (e.g. DiamondShare) that would work well for you at 80-100 hours/year.

It would also be helpful to know what vintage/year of your SR22 as this will provide insight into the avionics you're already familiar with, i.e. Avidyne, Perspective (G1000), Perspective+ (G1000 NXI).
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by Lou »

DA40Fan: Although I have thought about it, I have decided to stay with my DA40 for all the reasons you have listed and a couple more: low insurance cost and it holds its value. The DA40 is simply fun to fly. We like to travel cross-country but only for pleasure when we don’t have to be there. It’s an IFR trainer not an IFR machine in my estimation, but there is enough capability to give you a bit of flexibility when you need it.

And finally, I think Diamond aircraft are the prettiest airplanes you can buy right now, although the Panthera is nice too.

I don’t think you will regret the switch.
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by ememic99 »

I hope I'll make few useful comments.
DA40fan wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:18 pm
I feel that to fly the SR22 safely and proficiently, especially in IMC, I would need about 200 hours a year.
Of course, it depends on type of flights (cross country/pattern only, IFR/VFR, IMC, night) but 100 hours should be sufficient to maintain proficiency. In Europe 100 hours/year is considered significantly above average for GA pilot.
DA40fan wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:18 pm

Costs and hassles of owning a Cirrus: owning any airplane is a hassle, but it has been a wild ride with the Cirrus, with maintenance between $10K to $40K a year so far.
Sorry to hear that but someone was fleecing you. I have a friend with similar Cirrus experience and he's filing a law suit because he found several evidence of overcharging.
DA40fan wrote:
Wed Apr 07, 2021 10:18 pm
There are plenty of DA40s for rent in my area and at $190/hour wet and 100 hours/year it would be way cheaper to rent.
I agree it would be cheaper but it will definitively result with flying less, even less than these planned 100 hours/year. It's simply a fact - you'll always have other priorities, aircraft won't be available when you are free, you won't be able to do trips because you'll be restricted with time to return to base etc.

If switching to DA40 is motivated with getting into more enjoyable flight machine, I would think about DA40 ownership.
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by CFIDave »

Bottom line: Cirrus is a better PASSENGER'S airplane (more comfortable for long trips), whereas the Diamond is the better PILOT'S airplane (more fun to fly).

(Unless you want to buy a DA62, then you get the best of both. :))
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by Boatguy »

Your analysis is on target and it seems like you have a good understanding of your mission. I'll underscore and add a few comments to what has already been said.

- If you live in the west, get into a DA40NG as the turbocharger will make a big difference in your flying.

- I've rented (club) and shared. If there is a share available (DiamondShare, co-ownership, or whatever) I think the economics are about the same and the quality and reliability of the plane will be much higher.

- Someone else asked about your SR22 avionics. Unless you have an early G3, most DA40's out there will have essentially the same avionics as Perspective or Perspective + with GFC700. You will have very little transition training.

- The DA40 is also a little fussy on Vref speed and is very sensitive to landing weight. The difference is that the DA40 floats too long if you come in fast and is very tolerant of coming in slow.

- I was sharing with someone who switched to an early G3 SR22 (Avidyne). He flies about 25kts faster, burns twice as much fuel, and climbs slower above 8,000' than my DA40NG. On a two hour trip he will arrive about 20min earlier, and $50 poorer.

- The SR22 drives like a high end pickup truck with a smooth suspension. The DA40 drives like a Porsche at speed. You feel the plane and it responds immediately to a very light touch.

- If the plane doesn't have air conditioning, and even if it does but you live in the south (east or west), invest in JetShades AND some inexpensive stick on sun shades.

- I regularly make 3+hr trips. I've flown across the U.S. three times and intend to make a trip from CA to ME, and return, this summer. It does just fine as an IFR cruiser as long as you're OK with 150TAS instead of 175.

It sounds like a good match for your mission.
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Re: Thinking of DA40 after SR22

Post by DA40fan »

Thank you so much for all the advices, guys. I’ve been lurking here for years and knew that I would receive great input and I did. Thanks.

I live in Northern California and have mountains around. The SR22 is really nice in the mountains, especially when lightly loaded. Having CAPS when flying over inhospitable terrain is also nice.

Mine is a G2 Avidyne with the original 430s swapped out for the “dream panel” of IFD 550, IFD 440, and DFC90. It’s a pleasure to fly IFR. So if I switch to a DA40 with G1000/GFC700, I will have to learn from scratch. But I’m in general a quick learner so this shouldn’t be an issue.

My main concern with the Cirrus is safety and proficiency. Again, I just feel that I need to be able to fly much more than I can now to achieve decent proficiency. The plane is not very forgiving with sloppiness on landing, for example, like most high-performing planes. Despite having over 200 hours in type, I still don’t feel completely comfortable with landings when I go for more than 2 weeks without flying. In my personal ops manual, I need to get a CFI whenever I have fewer than 3 landings within the previous 30 days.

Is the DA40 really more forgiving when pilots are a bit rusty? I know that if I switch to a DA40, all my safety mentality regarding personal minima, frequent training, respect for weather, etc...—will remain, but perhaps I will have less chance of killing myself flying only 80-100 hours a year?

Ultimately point #1 in my original post is the most important one. I want to become an old pilot, not a bold pilot.
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