Cirrus Unveils Gen7 SR Series And A Fresh Marketing Approach

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In a video stream from Orlando, Florida, tonight (Jan. 11), Cirrus unveiled the latest iteration of its SR Series, the G7 (Generation 7). Changes include a redesigned panel to more closely align with the configuration of the Cirrus Vision Jet and other jet-like features such as a stick shaker and automatic fuel tank selection. And yes, they improved the placement and robustness of the cup holders. The changes will be included on the full piston line of new-build SR20s, SR22s and turbocharged SR22Ts.

When SR Series Executive Director Ivy McGiver discussed the company’s post-COVID market successes on video with AVweb’s Paul Bertorelli last September, she referred to a “second bump” in post-pandemic aircraft sales. The first bump came from pilots or those already interested in becoming pilots when they found themselves with “more time and the same amount of money,” while working from home and not being able to travel for business. She defined the second bump as when the first-bumpers’ non-aviation friends took a look at how attractive personal flying can be and acted on their attraction. From the tone of the video, Cirrus has embraced this market with its G7 redesign and the marketing that goes with it.

“Everything in reach” was a catchphrase, and the double meaning was that it meant not only exotic fly-to destinations, but also the cabin improvements, for both front and rear seats. The panel now puts the two Garmin touch controllers closer together in the center section, leaving room for a car-like “cubby” below the autopilot for cellphones and snacks. The multifunction and primary flight displays (MFD/PFD) are 35% larger than existing Cirrus models’ and the top of the glareshield sits lower, exposing more of the windshield to the occupants’ view. Virtually everything is touchscreen “just like your phone and your tablet.”

The start switch is keyless and pushbutton, just like a car. In fact, Cirrus made the point several times that the goal of redesigning the interior of the G7 was two-fold—make it more like a car, and with an eye toward upselling down the road, also make it more like the Vision Jet.

The appeal to new-to-aviation customers was palpable. “We keep it simple.” The oft-repeated message was “flying doesn’t have to be complicated” and “you don’t have to be a professional pilot to be a safe pilot,” and even “[the G7] is a good first plane.” The Cirrus pilot training program and customer support elements of the manufacturer were also spotlighted repeatedly in the presentation and the videos.

While some might have been expecting something more revolutionary—like a jet-A burning engine, retractable gear or Fadec controls, Cirrus delivered an emotional pitch to the attraction of flight.

On video, McGiver recalled how getting her first bike was a freeing experience—and learning to fly took that feeling to another level. That’s the direction Cirrus is moving with the G7.

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Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

25 COMMENTS

  1. Scanning the internet, SR22 G6 $773K, SR22 G7 $845. Does the push-to-start operate the mixture control? Automated, reliable push-button starting would be nice feature.

  2. My first bike cost $50 new, was my main mode of transportation in college. How many of these bumpers are sopping up the billions of Covid fiat dollars pumped into our economy? Don’t expect a third bump – with $34T in debt an no one in Congress concerned, we’re in for a bad global economic collapse.

  3. Having spent many hours in an SR20 G6 I am amazed that Cirrus “The Category Leader” did not think to add FADEC? Honestly Diamond has had it since 2006. You know it’s Marketign spin when a ‘cubby’ and cupholder improvements are considered a big deal. How about a better mounting spot from EFBs, that are, oh I don’t know, near a cold air vent? Or call me crazy a height adjustable seat? As a 6’3″ pilot with a headset you quickly discover the roof. Or crazier still, mounts for cameras. I do a bit of track racing, with 4 cameras. It makes improving so much easier and faster to say nothing of a great way to share the experience. I sat through the long (the screen reading keynote) and was left underwhelmed. No talk of performance improvements, fuel options. The one cheer I did hear was for the flap over the fuel selector to auto switch tanks, oh boy let me get my checkbook. Hey Cirrus, the 1990’s rang and they want their ideas back.

  4. Kudos to Cirrus but I always fear marketers trying to appeal to the market at large to grow the sector by trying to imply that flying is simple. Icon also subscribes to that mantra.

    I have concerns when companies say ‘flying doesn’t have to be complicated…” but this is not entirely the correct picture and in my mind misleading.

    Flying many not need to be complicated but it is complex, even in a simple aircraft like a 152 or J3 not to mention TAA.

    To imply simplicity just doesn’t ring true.

    • IMO, the real complexity in flying is regulatory. Stick and rudder is a skill most anyone can learn. The very important science parts are high school level for the most part. We aren’t all that special as pilots because we were born different. We had the dream and made the effort.

      One major reason for the fall of private aircraft usage has been industry navel gazing. Cirrus was successful because they marketed direct to non pilots. One reason for that was that our little cult was full of BRS bigots and composite bigots. Another was inability of manufacturers to invest in demo rides and marketing. Those guys showed up with their roadshow and aircraft sales happened.

      For our little club to survive, someone is going to have to go sell planes outside the cult, and one of those reasons is the intransigence of the cult members who act like the planes fly on unwavering faith in 70 year old technology.

      • Expense, driven by unreasonable product liability, is a huge problem. Before attorneys figured out how to get 10x payouts from aircraft deaths vs exact same person in a car, new midrange aircraft were available for 2x the average US worker salary.

        Now a new C172 is 8x the average US wage and this aircraft is 15x. Product liability is top of my list of obstacles to GA growth.

        • No, product liability doesn’t keep new aircraft expensive. Low production volume does. We saw lower prices in the 1960s because manufacturers ran 3 shifts to pump out Cherokees and Skyhawks. The demand isn’t there for that volume anymore since the Cherokees and Skyhawks are still going.

  5. the primary mission of Cirrus is to make as much money as possible. if you’re looking for innovation and idealism, look to the experimental / home built /kit plane world.

    • As long as no compulsion or fraud are involved, making money is a good thing. It means you pleased your customers enough that they voluntarily paid for your product. I’m not sure that’s fully possible in a highly regulated industry like aviation.

    • There are tons of people who can afford this. Look at the current inflation especially around travel and luxury goods. Companies exploiting rents across all segments with negligible drop in sales. Certainly there are many folks who can’t afford, but a ton that can and do.

  6. I saw the announcement for the reveal and I thought immediately that it will be a more expensive whizz bang plane that even fewer can afford. A couple of years ago I bought an old Mooney that had been upgraded here and there over the years, but has basic avionics that i would someday like to upgrade. Paid $35,000 and it flies like a dream. Even has ElectroAir ignition, newer prop, and new fuel bladders. Some of these SR22s with upgrades costing 1.05 million dollars is just absolutely unreachable for so so many. Literally $1 million dollars more than my plane and not much faster or payload capacity. What’s annual full coverage insurance on a new SR22T? Being an engineer, I love composites… I love the glass panel and everything technology, but it’s unaffordable, period. I’m upgrading my Mooney. The structure, the aluminum, and design of the old planes is what endures so long if you can hold off corrosion. It’s why Cessna will continue to sell their GA planes. They are just so easy to fly and maintain AND repair if needed. I was hoping Cirrus would design a low end, simple, 160 hp (yes I said it), 4-seat plane on the cheap. With their superior aerodynamics, an EI 160 hp that could be certified for 91 octane would suffice and be cheaper in every way. In the meantime, I’ll be flying and upgrading the old stock out there.

    • And THAT explanation is exactly why I’ve kept my ’75 172M for 38 years. I upgraded to a new 160hp engine which — in MY A&P mind — is the best ‘iron duke’ aviation engine for the masses. It changed the performance of the airplane noticeably.
      I was so hoping that that they’d build a 2-place entry level airplane but — alas, and as you say — it’s all about the money. Great that a small number of people can both afford and justify an airplane like this … I cannot.

      • Good choice Larry. I had a 1967 completly refurbished C172K with an Air Plains 180hp conversion engine and climb prop, autopilot w/vert hold, ADS-B out, LEDs, 3 radios, including the GNS430W, plus another GPS I found in the hangar. About $104K worth of upgrades into the airframe. All well worth the money. Same performance as the C172S. Loved it.

  7. I had my 1978 Moondy 201 annualed by a Cirrus Service Center last year. During one of our conversations I asked them a few questions. Have the Cirrus airplanes been designed/built any easier to service than old legacy airplanes. Answer: no. I asked them how Cirrus owners liked their airplanes. Answer: They like them a lot while they are under warranty but when they are out of warranty and the expensive maintenance items come up they don’t like them so much. I have a friend who has an early SR22. He has updated the parachute twice. The last time it cost $30,000. So how are the legacy SR20/SR22 doing in the market. Do people realize that they need to put $3k or more in the bank every year preparing for the every 10 year repack? I am not a BRS biggot, I would love to have one, but not for a significant chunk of my net worth!

  8. Like several of the other commenters, I was expecting more from the big buildup they were pushing for this. Instead, we get more cupholders and a cubby for our phones – all for an additional $50+ grand. Yawn. Oh yeah, there are newer avionics to make it look shinier, but nothing to really improve on performance. But, as several have said, there seems to be plenty of people willing to plunk down the money. Wait times for a new SR is around 9 months. A hangar neighbor of mine is on his third Cirrus in four years, all purchased new. He is not a happy repeat owner, though. The key fob entry system doesn’t work, there are several places on the wings where the paint is peeling, and the engine had to be replaced in less than 200 hours due to serious internal corrosion. The last time it went into the shop, they had it for over six weeks and several things still don’t work right. And that was at an authorized Cirrus maintenance center. He is seriously thinking about dumping it and switching to another brand, probably a Diamond, after the warranty period expires. Like Larry and Raf, I plan to stick with my Cardinal RG.

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