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How to avoid maintenance surprises?

In the other thread about everyone’s flying year I saw a few people with very high hours flown. This whole group must have a lot of data points about maintenance and how to have one’s personal aircraft available most of the time.

My own situation is that I have come back to aviation recently, have never owned an aircraft, and am in the process of IR training. I just passed the written exam and will do the fun part soon. For what I have in mind I will likely fly 250hrs/year with the majority of trips averaging in the 1.5 to 2 hrs range and I am leaning towards Cirrus SR22TN. I see that 2009 models with FIKI are coming into my reach.

The thing that I currently fear most at the moment is maintenance surprises that may result in having to make other travel arrangements while the airplane is in the shop waiting for parts or maybe even because I have to find the money to fix something major. I am not afraid of surprises per se, I’m not a control freak but I do like some predictability. My point of view is that there should be many things that I can do to treat my aircraft well so that I will not end up with bad surprises.

Would you care to elaborate on your maintenance strategy/tactics, what frequently breaks, what you do to avoid issues, etc.?

Plus: what options are available in the market to have some sort of flat maintenance expense?

Frequent travels around Europe

Well, 250/yr on a 2009 SR22TN means to me that money is not your primary issue. With such a plane I would just ask the Cirrus centers near you, Berlin, Groningen, Sylt wherever for a quote.

EDXQ

Usual note: if you want to be “in control” of maintenance and save some money in the process, put the new airplane on the N-reg.

Otherwise: learn as much as you can about the airplane. Read the MM, talk with (different) mechanics, talk with owners and really try to understand what kind of preventive maintenance does make sense and which doesn’t.

If the new airplane happens to be a Cirrus, join COPA and follow all there is to know about them.
However, it is impossible to know and learn everything before you actually have the airplane for a few years – some learning can only come by experience.

Drop me an email if you want to have real-life numbers about maintaining an SR22 over a ten-year period.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

Stephan

If you are considering a Cirrus then I strongly recommend that you join COPA. You will learn more there about operating and maintaining a Cirrus than anywhere else.

Secondly, if you are going to be on the N register, consider hiring these people to manage your maintenance:

https://www.savvymx.com/

They are very highly regarded by the Cirrus community and I use them myself.

EGSC

Yes, boscomantico knows a lot about it.

And i can send you my Cirrus SR22 Excel with all my costs, if you want it. It’s not a turbo, so your cost will DEFINITELY be higher, forget what the dealers tell you.

And don’t go to Berlin, go to Cirrus Europe instead.

Yes, COPA is a MUST. You will find a lot of valuable information there and make many good connections. I have recently bought some used parts from COPA members, for a FRACTION of the price that is normally asked.

FIRST (free :-)) advice: Carefully review the decision for the turbo. I thought about that one for three months – and decided for the non-turbo.

Yes, but at 250 hours per year, he seems to want to use for serious A to B flying on set schedules. Turbo and FIKI make sense for that. Sjoerd (Aeroplus) is the perfect example.

Frankfurt (EDFZ, EDFE), Germany

I agree with Alex on this and would think twice about getting a turbo. I fly a NA of similar vintage to Alex and I can’t think of a single flight in six years of ownership that I could have done in a turbo but couldn’t have done in my NA. That said, there are plenty of very experienced pilots, many of them posting actively on COPA, who don’t agree with that view.

If you do decide on a turbo, you will find a lot of discussion on COPA about the comparative merits of the Tornado Alley TN system and the more recent Contintntal T system which Cirrus has been fitting as standard for a few years. I don’t have personal experience of either system but opinion on COPA is certainly divided with quite a lot of doubt expressed about the newer T system.

EGSC

I was just thinking that maybe if he does his IR now the NA would be enough for the first years. I think for the turbo to really make sense you have to be pretty proficient and have solid weather know-know. But maybe i overestimate that.

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