I flew a brand new SR22 G3 Turbo on Tuesday for three hours. It had just 45 hours on the Hobbs meter and still retained that new car smell. I rented it from TAA UK and went off with their CFI, John Page, for some training. We got up to 18,000 feet over East Anglia which is a record for me. Here are some initial observations:
- It flies just like a regular SR22. On the first take off of the day, you need to watch the manifold pressure to make sure you don’t overboost the engine while the oil is still sticky and once you’re settled on the departure leg, you need to set the engine up by tweaking manifold pressure, RPM and fuel flow. After that, you don’t really need to change anything until your final GUMP checks on the approach. Engine management is, if anything, simpler in the G3.
- It climbs well. Relative to a regular SR22, it climbs very well, especially as you go higher. The turbo normaliser takes care of everything so you can get a cruise climb of about 130 knots and 800 feet per minute all the way up to 25,000 feet. (You need to fiddle with the boost pump at high altitude but that’s the only change above 18,000 feet).
- It’s a bit more usable. The TKS filler cap is on the wing. No more TKS fluid on your trousers when refilling! The undercarriage is a bit higher so you have a couple of inches extra prop clearance. I like the glove box too. The main improvements with the G3 are under the skin and in the shiny new prop blade. They’ve also come up with some neat new paint schemes. These wouldn’t be decisive in a purchase decision but they’re nice bonuses.
- Fuel consumption isn’t as bad as I feared. You can get SR22 speeds at altitude on SR22 lean fuel consumption (c. 14 GPH) if you want. But you get the option of increasing fuel consumption to around 19 GPH (IIRC) and cracking on at about 200 knots.
- It goes faster. I saw 203 knots TAS in level cruise at 18,000 feet at one point. The ability to go higher gives you a bit more flexibility in terms of weather avoidance and the extra speed is really helpful too.
- Ample oxygen. The O2 tank is built in on the G3 and it’s much bigger than the rear seat tank on the other SR22s I fly. This means you can comfortably use oxygen on long flights, even with passengers. Pressurised would be better but the thing works and at 18,000 feet you might get 20m or so of usable consciousness before hypoxia takes its toll. In the meantime, you can do an Vne descent at about 4,000 FPM. I practiced this and it’s really not too stressful once you get used the ground filling up the windscreen! (Certainly, it’s less anxiety-provoking than the spiral descents I did for my CPL.)