Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...

10 Replies

Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Doug Wint on Aug 16, 2018 9:18 pm

Hi fellow pilots! I just passed my first checkride this past weekend and now that that's behind me, I'm looking toward the next step in my aviation education. I did my training and checkride in a G1000-equipped, Cessna 172S.

I did my training at a Cirrus Certified Training Facility. I must admit that every time I walked out to my Cessna before preflight, I had to pass several of those beautiful SR20's and 22's. That said, I'm thinking of doing my instrument training in the SR20 - reasons being that the desire to fly one has grown so exceptionally strong now and also because my flight school is slowly phasing out their remaining non-Cirrus aircraft (now only down to three C172's) and I don't want to have the risk of disrupting my flight training because my plane is no longer available.

I'd like some advice on this matter. I like my current flight school and I'm not really in the mood to change, which is what I would have to do if I decided to stay with the C172. On the other hand, my concern is that learning a new airplane and coupling that with instrument would present too much of a challenge. Is that a legitimate concern?

No need to mention the cost benefit of sticking with the C172. I'm well aware of that and it's an issue that I've already resigned to accepting should I pass on training in the Cessna.

Please let me know your thoughts, fellow aviators! Thanks, in advance, for your help and keep flying!

Doug
  • Bookmark

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Mike Welker on Aug 16, 2018 10:16 pm

Hello, I am a student pilot and I would be very hesitant to jump right into a new style of plane until I spent some flying time in the one I learned in. That being said, my son is a pilot and we own a 172 together. We are currently looking into a upgrade to a SR20 or SR22 they are both very nice planes.  My son is ready to move up to something with a little more speed, after getting caught in some head wind and going slower than the cars below him. I am just wanting to finish my license and get some experience before jumping up to a completely different style of aircraft. My advice is to get cross training in on of the SR’s before starting IFR training. 

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Doug Wint on Aug 17, 2018 8:12 pm

Thanks, Mike. Yes, I was thinking proper training in the Cirrus before starting IFR training would be the best way to go. Good luck in your training!

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Aug 18, 2018 6:43 pm

I've trained people in the Cirrus, trained people for their IR, and trained people in a Cirrus for their IR.  My experience tells me that you folks are correct that your IR training will go much better if you become familiar with and comfortable in the Cirrus before starting the IR training.  I've trained folks for the IR in a new-to-them type, and it's always a struggle.

In addition, you're going to need 50 hours of XC PIC time to take the IR practical test, and if you just passed your PP checkride, you're probably a long way from that.  My suggestion, then, is to do the SR20 checkout, then do some hamburger runs to different airports more than 50 miles away to build XC PIC time.  When you have at least half that XC PIC time (or 40-45 if you're doing the IR on an intensive basis), at which point you should be pretty comfortable in the Cirrus,, you can jump into the IR training.

And I should also say that while I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Grumman guy, I really like the SR20/22.  If I couldn't have the Tiger I do have, my next choice would be an SR20.  To me, given the choice of a C172S versus an SR20, the Cirrus wins hands-down for comfort, flying qualities, and cockpit ergonomics. Of course, that's just me -- others may feel differently.  But you should definitely try the Cirrus to see for yourself.

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by James Ratichek on Aug 20, 2018 12:08 pm

Ronald Levy:
I've trained people in the Cirrus, trained people for their IR, and trained people in a Cirrus for their IR.  My experience tells me that you folks are correct that your IR training will go much better if you become familiar with and comfortable in the Cirrus before starting the IR training.  I've trained folks for the IR in a new-to-them type, and it's always a struggle.

In addition, you're going to need 50 hours of XC PIC time to take the IR practical test, and if you just passed your PP checkride, you're probably a long way from that.  My suggestion, then, is to do the SR20 checkout, then do some hamburger runs to different airports more than 50 miles away to build XC PIC time.  When you have at least half that XC PIC time (or 40-45 if you're doing the IR on an intensive basis), at which point you should be pretty comfortable in the Cirrus,, you can jump into the IR training.

And I should also say that while I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Grumman guy, I really like the SR20/22.  If I couldn't have the Tiger I do have, my next choice would be an SR20.  To me, given the choice of a C172S versus an SR20, the Cirrus wins hands-down for comfort, flying qualities, and cockpit ergonomics. Of course, that's just me -- others may feel differently.  But you should definitely try the Cirrus to see for yourself.

This is good advice. My only add: If you're carrying weight or flying at higher altitudes, a -22 is really going to have a huge edge over a -20. At least according to a buddy across the taxiway from me who owns a -20. Flat landers may not care as much.

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Doug Wint on Aug 20, 2018 9:01 pm

Ron, you bring up something that someone had reminded me of before but have since forgot, until now. With the required hours of XC ahead of me, would it be better to do those in a 172 simply because it is slower? Takes longer to reach the same destination in the 172 = more XC Hobbs time.

Sure, I'd be paying for that extra time but better that then having to take more trips in the 20/22 (not that that is all entirely bad).

Has anyone ever made that argument?

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Ronald Levy on Aug 21, 2018 2:02 am

Doug Wint:
Ron, you bring up something that someone had reminded me of before but have since forgot, until now. With the required hours of XC ahead of me, would it be better to do those in a 172 simply because it is slower? Takes longer to reach the same destination in the 172 = more XC Hobbs time.

Only if you're planning to do your instrument training in a 172.  Otherwise, the sooner you switch, the better that training will go later, and you just pick places further away or make more flights.  BTDT training an RV-6 pilot who just bought a 36 Bonanza (no prior HP or complex) and a dual-rated helo/FW pilot who hadn't flown FW since his PPL-ASEL checkride in a 172 several years ago (again, new to a Bonanza).  Both had a minimal Bonanza checkout prior to training, but only like 5 in type before beginning an intensive 10-day IR course.  The second one finished, but it took two extra days.  The first one did 12 days and discontinued. 

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Thomas Woodside on Aug 21, 2018 10:01 am

Did my PPL in a steam gauge 172, and am working on my IR in an A36 Bonanza (steam gauge, as well).  That's an even more radical change than the 172 to Cirrus.  Add 100 horsepower, a variable pitch prop and retractable landing gear to the equation and things are much busier.  But, now that I've flown in it for about 40 hours, you'd have to drag me back kicking and screaming to a 172.  Low wing planes are much easier to fly, in my opinion.  Also, I want to actually fly the Bonanza down the road, so there's no point in training in a 172 anymore.

Bottom line: Make the switch as early as you can.  Get to know the plane and how it wants to fly and get your instrument rating in the plane you ultimately want to fly in IMC conditions.  Landings can't be a concern once you are going for your IR.  Landings are the easy part.  Know how to get that plane trimmed up really well so you can work on a thousand other things with your hands off the wheel (rather, side stick in a Cirrus).  That added horsepower makes the plane want to climb or descend through the 100' barrier you will have during IR training very quickly compared to the 172 you've been used to.  You are a step ahead since you are used to the G1000, now just get to know how the Cirrus flies.  Also, there's the little things:  Where do I put my flight bag, charts, pen, etc?  Do I need a kneeboard?  How do I mount an iPad?  Stuff like that.  You don't want to get used to a 172 cockpit and then go fly an IMC approach in a Cirrus right after getting your IR ticket.  These little things matter.

As for building hours in a 172 because it is slower, I disagree with that.  Yes, you are learning something while you are in cruise flight to your destination, but I would argue that getting as many man-ups, taxis, takeoffs and landings as possible will teach you even more; especially in a new airplane.  You are better off having to take one or two more full trips than just padding your time by hanging it by the blades during cruise flight.  Even if you do want to pad hours, can't a Cirrus fly straight and level at 90-110 KIAS when you pull the power back?  Even a Bonanza can do that, if I wanted to fly the whole cruise portion with the flaps partially down or the gear extended (which I don't).

Your mileage may vary.  Best of luck with your training.

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Allen Halstead on Aug 27, 2018 12:15 pm

Doug,
Congrats on earning your PPL!  Bravo!  As some of the other responders have pointed out, the speed of the plane you use to build the needed 50 hours of XC time is not relevant.  It is hours, not miles.  So an hour at 150 knots is the same as an hour at 110 kts.  I am nearing completion of my instrument rating and have been using a rented 172 because that was pretty much all that iss available.  Two big benefits to a Cirrus or complex plane like the Bonanza are the constant speed prop and the extra weight.  I have 100 plus hours in nearly all complex plane models.  Here in south Texas, the summer thermals are brutal and make getting a 172 trimmed out for your approach configuration very challenging.  The big advantages of Cirrus 20 or 22 for IR training is you get the extra weight for stability and the constant speed prop, yet still with just a single lever and no cowl flaps or gear to keep up with.  The best of all worlds really.  One advantage of a complex plane too is getting the plane trimmed to speed outside the Initial approach fix, then you have both gear and flaps to extend to initiate and manage your descent with little or no change to power or trim.  So while there are more features to manage, they give you more ways to control descents.  The huge benefit of a constant speed prop is setting power precisely for your descent on approaches and having it stay exactly there.  The 172 or any fixed pitch prop plane keeps changing with pitch and speed so you are constantly having to scan and manage power settings.  My personal preference is to the CS prop plane.  I agree with the responder recommending getting time in the plane you will use for the IR before you start formal training.  Both for complete comfort with the avionics package and the plane itself.
Best of Luck with whatever you choose!

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Arthur Friedman on Oct 22, 2018 2:19 pm

Do your instrument training in what you plan to travel in. Long-distance travel is when an IR is most useful.

I got my PPL in a C-150, then bought a C-210 and got my IR in it later the same year. Besides learning in a more capable airplane, I also learned about the 210 much more quickly than I would have otherwise.

Re: Just pass the Private Pilot Checkride! Thinking of getting IFR training in a different type...what say you?

Posted by Arnold Feldman on Oct 29, 2018 9:50 am

First of all congratulations on passing the check ride!  There is probably no wrong answer, just more or less expensive options. I would start off by asking two questions; a) does cost matter, and b) does the SR-20 have traditional or electronic flight instruments?  If the answer is either a) yes or b) traditional, then I'd say stick to the C-172 for building cross country time.  Here is my thinking.  1) all part 23 airplanes fly the same, you pull back the houses get smaller, you pull back some more they get bigger again.  2) SR-20 is faster than a C-172 but pulling the throttle back will negate that.  3) At least where I hang out, the SR-20 is quite a bit more expensive than the C-172.  4) If you need to learn electronic instruments then fly the SR-20 cross country since learning EFIS will take up too much of your time and attention if you are also trying to learn instruments.  Years ago when I needed to build many hours over short time at low cost and still take check rides, I rented the cheapest plane I could find and built hours.  It was an AA-1B at $19.20 an hour - wet.  Damn I just gave away my age.

Best of luck,