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Why buy a Cirrus - get a Jetprop!!

I have owned an SR22T in the past, and since then a Piper Malibu Mirage (PA46). A few months ago I sold the Mirage and bought a used Jetprop.

I am so taken with this aircraft that I thought I should post a review, though I expect the usual firestorm of abuse from the Cirrus lovers here!

My argument: I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would buy a new SR22 when for the same money one can have a very good condition used Jetprop “JP”.

For those who aren’t familiar, the JP is the aftermarket conversion of the Mirage to a 550 horsepower turboprop. So a six seat cabin layout, single engine, pressurised, deiced, radar equipped travelling machine.

Here she is in the hangar along with the Mirage just prior to sale.

I found the JP in the US and imported her to the UK. She had 2,000 hours on the airframe and 1,000 hrs on the turbine at purchase. The airframe and interior were in impeccable condition and the engine has a 3,400 hour TBO, so I should hopefully have nothing major to worry about for many years. In the same time I would have to count on rebuilding the Mirage or Cirrus engine 2 times at least.

The JP has an extra 200 hp over the Mirage and that makes an incredible difference. The plane is an absolute rocket ship, climbing at anywhere up to 2,500 fpm, and cruising at 250 to 260 kts TAS. If you dont believe me here is a photo eastbound on Monday across France at FL 270, with a nice high altitude tailwind.

While she certainly burns more fuel that the Mirage or Cirrus, 8 NM per gallon in still air at altitude, this is not as bad at all once adjusted for the price of Jet A vs Avgas. I used to get 11 NM per gallon in the Mirage, but the price of Avgas is often twice or more that of Jet A. I refuelled in Corfu this morning at Euro 1.17 per litre (ex VAT). I think the price of Avgas there is pushing 3 Euros. In the UK Jet A is around 80p vs twice that for Avgas. So in most places it is actually much more cost efficient to fly the JP. With Avgas getting harder and harder to find in much of Southern Europe, a Jet fuel burner provides extra flexibility. Fuel planning in the JP is simplicity itself – first hour 40 gallons, every hour thereafter 30 gallons.

The rate of climb is impressive as I noted above. If you can get an unrestricted climb all the way to FL 260/270 you can count on getting there in well under 20 minutes from wheels up, burning 15 gallons or less. In the Mirage, climbing to max alt of 25,000 ft used to take and agonising 45 minutes with a fuel burn of 25 gallons. The high JP climb rate makes difficult SIDs, such as Sion in Switzerland, easily doable. Piston aircraft can’t make them.

Descent planning is simplicity – just start heading down 90 NM from destination and maintain between 1250 and 1500 fpm.

With all these great features there are of course some drawbacks:
Max useful load: with full fuel the JP can become a single person aircraft depending on how it is kitted out.
Range: IFR range is between 9000 and 1,000 NM, whereas the Mirage can do 1300 plus, if your bladder can hold out. Along with this comes an increase in low fuel pucker factor. With 30 gallons remaining in the Mirage it didn’t worry me, as I knew I still had 2 hours of fight time. But when burning 30 GPH in the JP that last 30 gallons gets v nerve wracking.
Complexity: The pre-start checklist in the JP is mind blowingly complex. She has two batteries, a generator and an alternator, and three fuel tanks with 5 fuel pumps. All these have to be checked and prepared in exactly the right way and in the right sequence. Also, if you accidentally push the throttle to the stop, such as on takeoff, the engine will overtorque in seconds and need a full teardown. The engine requires a delicate touch and constant attention in the climb and descent. Another peculiarity is a strict VNE limitation of 170 kts IAS. This is fine in the cruise as it gives you 260 kts TAS, which is more than enough. But it is very easy at 1500 fpm in the climb to find yourself exceeding VNE, and even easier in the descent.
Type and Class Rating: In their infinite wisdom EASA and the CAA have decided that the JP requires a special rating – actually a PA46T rating. Its not that big a deal, a few hours of online training, a day in the classroom and a few hours of flight instruction leading up to the test itself. I did mine with Oysterair with John Page as my instructor and it went smoothly.

So, why fly round with a cannula up your nose in an SR22 when you could be enjoying a classy pressurised cabin, flying much faster and burning less $$$ per mile. Go on Cirrus lovers, give it a go!!

Last Edited by Buckerfan at 05 Jan 21:35
Upper Harford private strip UK, near EGBJ, United Kingdom

Thanks for wetting our appetite

Buckerfan wrote:

Max useful load: with full fuel that JP can become a single person aircraft depending on how it is kitted out.

I remember one I have seen which had a 50 kg payload at full fuel…. Same thing with LR Ovations and Acclaims. Not sure however if with the Jetprop this has not a lot to do with the 1999 kg restriction in Europe.

Congrats on that lovely plane! Have fun.

(Why any Cirrus guy short of one with a Vision Jet should have a problem with a positive PropJet Review I have no idea…. )

LSZH(work) LSZF (GA base), Switzerland

But it does have the chute, just kidding congrats on your conversion !

The pre-start checklist in the JP is mind blowingly complex

How long it takes from the moment you finish outside walk around to start taxi?

I recall by time the PC12 started to taxi in Stapleford, I was in Calais clearing customs in SEP, we had lunch together, I can’t opine on 800nm legs but on 80nm, I did win

Last Edited by Ibra at 05 Jan 21:39
Paris/Essex, France/UK, United Kingdom

Congrats. Wish you many happy flights.

My basic argument is that I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would buy a new SR22 when for the same money one can have a very good condition used Jetprop “JP”.

Some people just prefer new over 20 or 30 years old.

The other is competency. Rif. what you write on complexity.

It can also be insurance, although this is more of a problem in the US than in Europe. I don‘t think Cirrus is selling more than 10-20 new SR22s to Europe per year. So practically none.

Plus the CAPS, yes. So…many reasons.

Personally, I would never spend a million on an SR22.

Max useful load: with full fuel that JP can become a single person aircraft depending on how it is kitted out

Even the lighter ones allow only 1 – 1.5 persons when fuelled up, so that they are overweight with two persons on board.

In the UK Jet A is around 80p vs twice that for Avgas

Yes, but for domestic flights, you have to pay duty on the fuel separately, don‘t you?

Last Edited by boscomantico at 05 Jan 21:49
Mainz (EDFZ) & Egelsbach (EDFE), Germany

Ibra wrote:

How long it takes from the moment you finish outside walk around to start taxi?

Ibra, if I am being really careful it can take 15 minutes. But I am getting quicker as I get more familiar. Another problem with the JP is that no two cockpits are the same. Because of the conversion each plane has switches and gauges in different places! When I first got mine I spent hours typing out a new checklist with every possible detail but also changing the order of things, if allowable, to provide for the most logical flow around the instrument panel.

Last Edited by Buckerfan at 05 Jan 22:14
Upper Harford private strip UK, near EGBJ, United Kingdom

Thanks for the review. The JP is a capable plane at great value. The best value cabin class SET I’d say. I’d love to fly in one someday to get a personal impression.

The comparison of new vs used, however, is always difficult.
Why buy a new PC12 when you could get an old 737 for the same price? The 737 can fly higher, faster and carry more. It will use a lot more fuel, but it’ll fly twice as fast. Exaggerating but you get the point.

Comparing a new Cirrus vs. a new M600 would be more accurate imo. The Cirrus at 1m USD suddenly becomes a bargain ;)

Again thanks for the report and enjoy your JP!

always learning
LO__, Austria

Here she is in the hangar along with the Mirage just prior to sale.

What a beauty!

LDZA LDVA, Croatia

One, if not the best thing, I am privileged enough to own and operate.

14 years, and 2,000+ hours later, still brings a contented smile every time I get to fly it….

Enjoy it @Buckerfan, and may it bring you as much pleasure as mine does.

Cheers – E

Last Edited by eal at 06 Jan 00:56
eal
Lovin' it
VTCY VTCC VTBD

Fantastic! Pressurization is such a game changer and you got a great traveling machine there!

Wonderful, congrats Buckerfan, really fits your flying profile!

Are you operating her from your farm strip?

Son Alberti LEJF, Mallorca, Spain
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