Cirrus Design Corporation announced last week that its fleet of more than 3,500 SR20 and SR22 composite, single-engine piston airplanes has passed two million flight hours–or the equivalent in distance of two trips to the sun and back.
With that much accumulated experience, it shouldn’t surprise anyone that the four examples of the third-generation SR22-G3, making a rather dramatic debut of the model at the Dubai Air Show, flew here under their own power. The two displayed by Cirrus Design are turbo-charged, with a cruise speed of 210 knots–and are for sale. The pair displayed by Dubai Aerospace Enterprise are the first for DAE’s training academy. They are not turbo-charged and have a cruise speed of 185 knots. The SR22-G3 is powered by the Continental 310 hp IO-550 piston engine.
Amazingly, the same pilot flew all four airplanes to Dubai–at least part of the way. Two weeks ago Armin Stief, a 10,000-hour freelance ferry pilot from Wiesbaden, Germany, consecutively flew the aircraft from the Cirrus factory in Duluth, Minnesota; to Ottawa, Canada; to Goose Bay, Newfoundland; to Narsarsuaq, Greenland; to Reykjavik, Iceland; to Wick, Scotland; and finally to Frankfurt, Germany, where Cirrus has a service center.
Three other pilots joined Stief in Frankfurt and the flight of four headed for Dubai. The route took them to Sofia, Bulgaria; Ankara, Turkey; Tabriz and Isfahan, Iran; and then to Dubai. “As long as you are not American, Israeli or Danish, you can get a visa to Iran,” Stief explained. “It took us 72 hours to get visas as pilots and the other permissions. The handling agents were all very friendly and spoke English. We didn’t see any military aircraft, but made sure to stay away from the Iraqi border.”
Stief said he used 800 nautical miles as a “comfortable” range for flight planning. The total journey covered about 7,500 nautical miles and took about 44 flight hours over seven flying days.
Cirrus builds 16 airplanes per week and for five years in a row the four-seat SR22 has been the world’s best-selling single-engine airplane. The primary investor in Cirrus is Arcapita, an investment firm headquartered in Bahrain. About 81 percent of the $225 million Arcapita has invested in the OEM is held by 248 individuals and institutions in the Arabian Gulf region.
With a starting price of $371,200, the SR22G-3 has a maximum cruise speed of 185 knots and a max operating altitude of 17,500 feet.