Cirrus SR22 Doors – Are you Kidding me with This?

During my research of the SR22, one of the recurring complaints I had read about is that the doors are hard to close.  In fact, if you do any level of research, you’ll find that the SR22 door latches have been a common complaint since the first generation of the SR22.  With the SR22 Generation 3 having just been released in May of ’07, I was confident that I wouldn’t have to worry about this 6-year old problem.  After all, the G3 contains “over 700 improvements” and one of the 700 improvements is about the door!

To my surprise, doors are still a problem in the G3.  A very serious problem!  From the first day I started my training, the passenger door latches gave us problems, often requiring 3 or 4 attempts for them to latch properly.  I know many SR22 owners who are reading this will dismiss this complaint as “lack of experience with the SR22 doors,” but keep in mind, during my training, a Cirrus Certified instructor was sitting in the passenger seat and he has over 400 hours of instruction in the Cirrus, probably in 30 different SR22s!  Plus, how much experience should be required to simply close a door?  My own door was not nearly as problematic, usually closing on the first try, but still requiring a second attempt to close every 4th or 5th time I flew.  Even that is unacceptable if you ask me (I know, I know – nobody asked me).

One of the biggest problems with the doors is that there is no easy way to tell if the door is properly shut until the engine is revving > 1500 RPM.  At that point, you hear an obvious whistling sound from the wind generated by the propeller.  This sound is the alarm bell that the door was not shut properly.  Unfortunately, often times at 1500 RPM, you hear this sound during takeoff while you’re on the runway.  It happened to us three times during training.  We had to abort the takeoff, shut the door then continue.  For readers who are thinking you should have caught the door issue during runup, I have this to add: a) during training, runup was usually done once in a 3 or 4 hour session, but we’d often open the door after landing for some fresh air and b) we caught the door issue nearly a half dozen times during runup.

It gets worse.  Even when the door is shut and appears to be latched properly, the door can still unlatch during flight.  That too happened to us twice during training!  Both times with the passenger door and the transition trainer seated in the passenger seat.  The first time it happened during climb.  We were 10 minutes into a 2-hour trip when all of a sudden there was a loud bang and you could hear the gushing air coming in.  We had to to immediately slow down (the Emergency procedures call for a speed under 90 knots), then scramble to find a nearby airport to land.  The diversion easily cost us 30 minutes and almost a heart attack for a rear-seat passenger.  The second time, it happened on descend, in the last 10 miles of another two hour trip.  It doesn’t make much sense for the door to unlatch during descend since the outside pressure becomes higher than inside pressure, so if anything, it should shut the doors more tightly.  But there we were, 10 miles from our destination, flying smoothly for nearly two hours when both the trainer and I jumped out of our seats from the loud sound.

So what’s the deal?  With more than 3,000 aircraft built and being on the 3rd generation of the SR22 with over 700 improvements, why does this problem still persist?  It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen.  How hard could it be to get the doors right?  I’ve never heard of a car door that doesn’t shut right (unless it’s been in an accident).  Even Columbia seems to have figured out how to close a door properly on the first try and they’ve built fewer than 600 planes and are still in their “first generation.”  With the average new SR22 costing nearly a half million dollars, you’d think there’s enough money in there to build doors that shut on the first try.

I should add that even with all the door problems,  I never felt in any kind of danger.  The doors never sprung completely open.  Mostly, the bottom latch would come undone, which caused a half-inch gap to open at the bottom of the door.  But when it did happen, it was extremely annoying and it could be very traumatizing to any passengers.  I’ve decided to modify my passenger briefing to include the following additional statement: if the doors unlatch during flight, don’t panic, that’s part of an advanced new system design by Cirrus Research to demonstrate the plane’s ability to function with open doors.  It’s part of the CRAPS system (as in “craps!  my door just popped open”).

16 responses to “Cirrus SR22 Doors – Are you Kidding me with This?

  1. Wow, I couldn’t have said it better myself. You took the words right out of my mouth. I agree 100%. My experience with door opening is very similar to yours. Great post. Tom

    • Unhappy Cirrus Owner

      ** Attention Cirrus Owners ** Whatever you do DONT let your plane get into a repair situation with a Cirrus – The Factory is weeks and weeks behind, engineers are quitting, and getting the engineering data needed to fix something as small as a 2 x 4 inch repair on the fuselage will take MONTHS alone! – I have been without my plane for 3 months and 5 days, every time I inquire about my repair the Cirrus Service Center tells me its 3 more weeks. I have heard this for 3 months and I recommend strongly against the company. The plane is great but god forbid you need support or service, because you will be left hanging.

      I should of bought a Cessna Corvallis TT

      Very unhappy Cirrus owner.

  2. Why the cannot fix the problem?. they compare the SR to a lexus. I own a Lexus RX 330. The doors have not swung open!.

    I was researching into buying a new plane.

    Interesting to note that you are into software development. I own a solution company as well as I own manufacturing rights to industrial hand held and we compete with Motorola and Intermec.

    Regards

  3. maconcrete@aol.com

    The Cirrus G3 built prior to the advent of the “Perspective Cockpit” has an extremely serious and possible fatal flaw in that when alternator #1 and subsequently battery #1 is lost (and this happens frequently) the pilot is left with absolutely no cockpit ventilation what so ever. There is no ram air ventilation. This can and has resulted in a zero visibility situation in the cockpit, depending on ambient conditions. This will manifest particularly during the critical descent phase.This can possibly lead to a serious or fatal accident and may have contributed to past unexplained incidents. I have filed a complaint with the FAA to force Cirrus to address this issue, as Cirrus has not moved forward in addressing this issue in an expeditious manner.It is my opinion that all G3 aircraft with this defective ventilation system should be grounded, including my own aircraft. Maconcrete@aol.com

  4. In light of my personal (mild) disinterest in cirrus aircraft originally. May I note that this was not from any particular experience in them. but rather a simple ignorant prejudice of mine… I am pleasantly surprised at the objectivity that these postings have included in thier commentary. however as my lady partner now has fallen completely in love wih the lovely 500k G-3 she has seen on the ramp (palomar) ca. I must say I have mustered up an acceptance that, although always the case< these are very cool well performing and satisfying aircraft to own aand operate,EVEN with the annoying and sometimes mildy distrubing DOOR ISSUE. Yes I suspect that this is not the first time Cirrus hs head of or over heard a blog of this type. But it is questionaly to me as to what the exact nature of the failing hasp or match mechanism is that couldn't be remedied with a longer tab of some sort where needed. However my real comment intention here is that I am glad to hear of some minor defect in these beautiful aircraft as I know they are here to stay 12,000 hours or not!! I suppose now I admittedly have healed my high wing single preferences and allowed for th splendor of "the lift and the falling away"… that lies in the soul of the smooth air IMC that names a four seater… thank all for your participation information…… D

  5. Oxford System Inc.

    Hi,
    Your complaint about the doors not staying closed on the Cirrus SR22 is a valid concern and one that plagues all Ciruss owners. Because of this, our company has designed and distrubutes a door warning system that is very inexpensive and easy to install. Please look at our youtube video under DWS system to find out more about our product.

    I would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the DWS door warning system.

    Thank you.

    Sincerely,

    Edmond Topakian
    Oxford Systems, Inc.
    516-587-2057

  6. Ed,
    I applaud you for creating a system to protect pilots from the Cirrus door defect. It is shocking, however, that Cirrus does not fix the dangerous, unnecessary and potentially fatal defect in its airplane doors. A manufacturing defect such as this one should be corrected by the manufacturer itself.

  7. Joe, the door latch defect need not be fatal. The plane will safely fly with the door unlatched it just may whistle a little on the headset which is annoying. The biggest issue, particularly after takeoff, is to not let the door occupy your attention and distract you from something important. Sure, take note of it but fly the airplane first and you can probably go all the way to your destination it may just get a little chilly. There is no reason to freak out and crash over something like the door not being shut. With the CRAPS system (hilarious but perfect!) the passengers will have their expectations properly set and they will likely not be traumatized if it does come open. That is a great thing to add to the passenger briefing.

  8. This last comment is very valid………………………………….
    FLY THE AIRCRAFT FIRST !!
    I am kinda glad that the doors give a bit of trouble, and the resale value has been afftected, so I can buy one…………..
    Sphew…………….

  9. On a G1 just make sure the pins go in the holes and the door will be solid. On a G2 or later first make sure that when pushing the door button that both latches pop at the same time. If not get them adjusted. Secondly always have rpm below 900 when shutting the door. Shut the door using the arm away from the door with a pull across your chest. Finally, use a checklist. It is actually more common to take off having forgotten to shut the door especially if you live where it is hot. The strut will hold an unlatched door where it looks closed.

    If you do take off with an open door just fly the plane. It’s no big deal. There will be increased noise and a draft but the door will stay closed to the point that you can still use the armrest.

  10. It gets worse. Even when the door is shut and appears to be latched properly, the door can still unlatch during flight. That too happened to us twice during training! Both times with the passenger door and the transition trainer seated in the passenger seat. The first time it happened during climb. We were 10 minutes into a 2-hour trip when all of a sudden there was a loud bang and you could hear the gushing air coming in. We had to to immediately slow down (the Emergency procedures call for a speed under 90 knots), then scramble to find a nearby airport to land. The diversion easily cost us 30 minutes and almost a heart attack for a rear-seat passenger. The second time, it happened on descend, in the last 10 miles of another two hour trip. It doesn’t make much sense for the door to unlatch during descend since the outside pressure becomes higher than inside pressure, so if anything, it should shut the doors more tightly. But there we were, 10 miles from our destination, flying smoothly for nearly two hours when both the trainer and I jumped out of our seats from the loud sound.

    • Any other problems with the Cirrus? for the price this plane should be dancing for me, for less money I can buy a plane that give me more for less, OK, why should I buy a Cirrus? what is good about it? I have looked at many issues with the plane, mostly scary, any good news out there, spicialy for a low time pilot?

      • So a couple of things to mention:

        1) Cirrus eventually sent someone to fix my door problem and once they did fix it, it never occurred again in 2 years of operation (it required some adjustments by some expert that nobody else seem to be able to make)

        2) The plane was fun to fly. For me, the deciding factors to purchase was the ease of flight and speed.

        I ended up selling my plane after 2 years. It wasn’t practical for serious travel. I found that being a pilot is not super practical. That was my reason for selling.

      • I bought a Velocity, with a twin turbo charged engine, so far the plane has achieved 270 Kias, at 23000 feet, burning 14 g/h, it has a full glass cockpit and it is much noomyer, than most of single engines planes and can fly for about 1500 smiles (100 Galons tank) with the front canard , U can’t stall the plane, and for $420,000 not a bad deal, did not fly it yet, it is factory new and being test flight now

  11. Pingback: 20 Cirrus Design Four Seater Sr – Bestperfeed.info

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