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Published on May 12, 2009
This Is How They Build 'Em
We've had a ball showing you various aspects of how and why the Cirrus Aircraft SR20s and SR22s became some of the most popular aircraft in recent GA history. But the build process is nearly as fascinating as the airplanes themselves... especially in light of the changes the G3 version of the SR series has undergone in the last two years.
Not only did they redesign the airplane to be better in the air, but to be assembled in a more economical and sturdier fashion. The G3 update was extensive... The Cirrus team went through the bird from stem to stern in this upgrade, with some big changes proving to be more than skin-deep. An aggressive update of the primary wing structure resulted in a stronger and stiffer wing that allowed CD to carve well over 50 pounds out of that assembly -- and then they used that leeway to increase the bird's effective range.
The gear was heavily modified to be a somewhat narrower and taller construct and added some prop clearance, to boot. The gear used to be nearly 11 feet wide... and has been narrowed to just over 8.5 feet. They did this with the same gear legs they've used in the past, but mounted in a significantly more acute angle. This change allowed the interior of the wing to be adapted to a number of other modifications, most notably a larger TKS deicing fluid tank, and produced a more efficient internal structure. Internal fuel tankage jumped from 81 gallons to 92 gallons, as well.
A number of aerodynamic refinements have been incorporated...