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 approved for the Meridian. The au- topilot in the Meridian is usually a trustworthy S-TEC 1500, or many have been upgraded to the safety- minded S-TEC 3100. Bottom line, an early Meridian bought today can have a panel with all of the safety features found on the newest of airframes. So, a buyer with a $750k budget can move up into the turbine world and enjoy all the benefits that a turbine and pressurization provide.
Who is this pilot who wants to burn turbine fuel? The same one who is looking at the Cirrus SR22T-G6.
Cirrus SR22T
The Cirrus SR22T is often contrast- ed with the bigger, faster, stronger turbines because it is a downright classy, super functional, and progres- sive airplane. The SR22 offers great looks, a smooth ride, an impressive safety record and all the gadgets.
The avionics suite in the lat- est version of the SR22T, the G6 model, is the best of the best. The
whole cockpit is dominated by the Garmin Perspective-Plus avionics suite packed full of functionality. Huge, clear and colorful screens keep the pilot situationally aware and sometimes f lat-out entertained. If you get tired of looking at the real world fly by, you can see it in either synthet- ic vision or use the infrared camera. Operating the Garmin Perspective- Plus never ceases to amaze me.
And that parachute...what a bril- liant idea. Even if you don’t believe all the hype about how many true “saves” the BRS airframe parachute has recorded (more than 435 as of this printing), it is a great sales tool. Countless SR22T aircraft have been sold because the BRS made the owner feel comfortable about sitting behind a piston engine. Whether or not 435 “saves” have occurred or not is not the point; The point is that some lives have assuredly been saved, and the pilot who wants an SR22T G6 is very interested in safety.
The cruise speed in the Cirrus will be dependent upon altitude and exact version (turbocharged or non-turbo- charged), but a good average would be 180 KIAS with a 16.5 gph fuel burn. Yes, you can go higher and faster and stick O2 tubes up your nose, but who likes to do that? Most Cirrus pilots fly at an altitude that is comfortable for the passengers, and as the altitude goes down, so does the cruise speeds. To hit anywhere near the advertised 200 KTAS cruise speeds, you’ll be in the flight levels sucking O2. Even so, any Cirrus is a good cross-country machine, with a range of 1,000 nm or greater with full fuel.
Operational Differences
The Cirrus is certainly going to be cheaper to operate. With a fixed gear, the chance of a gear-up landing is eliminated, so insurance costs of a Cirrus will be about half of that of a comparably priced Meridian. If you are a 1,000-hour instrument-rated, middle-age pilot with no accidents
January 2021 / TWIN & TURBINE • 13

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