It’s a myth – you only need a turbo for long cross-country flights. Several years ago, when I was looking at pre-owned Cirrus aircraft a broker asked me about my typical flight mission. My usual cross-country flights were about 500 nautical miles between Houston Texas and Birmingham Alabama or similar distances to the beach in the panhandle of Florida. The broker said, “a 500 nm trip is just on the cusp of needing a turbocharged Cirrus” and added, “do the math.” Really –
Reason 14 – Myth “TURBOS ARE FOR LONG CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHTS”
At the time, I did not have any information to the contrary, but now I’ve experienced turbocharged flying and I’ve done the math. The Cirrus Turbo has benefits – even for medium and short cross-country flights.
Medium Cross-Country Flights (500nm)
Medium cross-country flights of about 500 nautical miles are a sweet spot for the Cirrus Turbo. You can beat commercial airline travel times. The Cirrus Turbo can climb into flight levels 10,000 – 18,000 and deliver flying time well below 3 hours in no wind conditions, which is very comfortable for pilot and passengers. Add a tail wind and the trip has “wow time” performance. The turbo in economy cruise beats normally aspirated models by 25 knots in the flight levels. With the turbocharged Cirrus you’ve got options on mid-distance cross-country flights.
You face a double penalty in a normally aspirated piston plane for higher altitudes. Time in climb is almost twice as long into flight levels 10,000 – 18,000 feet, and with those altitudes the engine can produce just a fraction of its horse power. For details read:
- Reason 11 – Cirrus SR22TN beats Southwest Airlines
- Reason 9 – Cirrus SR22TN has better altitude utility
- Reason 8 – Cirrus SR22TN has better headwind performance
- Reason 6 – Cirrus SR22TN out maneuvers the SR22 NA
Short Cross-Country Flights (less than 500nm)
Even on short flights, the turbocharged Cirrus offers a “climb higher” option when you might not even consider it with a normally aspirated piston engine. For details read: Reason 13 – When a Cirrus SR22 NA stays below
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