Built by Cirrus Aircraft of Duluth, Minnesota, the SR-22 Turbo
has been one of the best selling aircraft in it's class for the
last 5 years. Designed as an improvement to the SR-20, the
SR-22 features a Continental 6 cylinder, 310 HP engine, a Garmin
glass cockpit, and even an emergency parachute system.
With it's plush, well appointed interior, clean lines, and
composite construction, the Cirrus is marketed as being more
than just an airplane, but "an elite lifestyle." With the
Continental engine swinging a 3 blade composite propeller the
SR-22 is capable of speeds of 219 knots or 252 miles per hour.
If you desire a Cirrus but have neither a pilots license, or a half a million
dollars to spare, ElectriFly has come to the rescue!
Built as an officially licensed model from Cirrus, the
ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 Turbo ARF captures the clean lines and excellent
flight characteristics of it's bigger brother, at a
significantly reduced price tag.
Cirrus SR-22 had caught my eye when I received my Tower
Hobbies advertisement in the mail so when I found out that I
would be receiving one for review I went to the
ElectriFly website to read more and download the instruction
manual. Great Planes produces first rate instruction
manuals so it was no surprise that the Cirrus manual included
everything that I consider essential in a good manual.
There are detailed instructions, lots of photographs, a complete
kit inventory, support contact information, CG, and control
throws. While not designed for a beginner, the SR-22 could
easily be assembled by anyone that has put together a few
When I received the kit I had already gathered together all of the necessary
parts and materials. My Cirrus is outfitted straight from
the Tower Hobbies tech notes, so I was confident that all of the
parts would work well together without any fuss, and the
performance would be very acceptable. In addition to the Rimfire .10 motor, we used an ElectriFly Silver Series 35amp
speed controller, 4 E550 Nano servos, and an ElectriFly Power
Series 3S 2200 Mah, 25C LiPo battery.
In addition to the above,
you will need common modeling hand tools such as a sharp hobby
knife, thin and medium CA, a small drill, small allen wrenches,
and a small phillips head screw driver. You will also need
to have handy some sanding implements and a small amount of liquid thread locker.
The adhesives I will be using to assemble the Cirrus SR-22 will
be Zap Thin
and Medium CA, and Pacer Z-Poxy where epoxy is required and
Z-42 blue thread locker. As always, please ensure adequate
ventilation when sanding and using modeling adhesives and
Initial inspection revealed a well packaged kit with parts
wrapped in individual plastic sleeves and everything
compartmented and taped down. There appeared to be no
shipping damage to any of the parts and the fiberglass fuselage
was flawless with an excellent finish and no blemishes.
The wood support structure for the servos and wing mounting was
installed and appeared both sturdy and light. My initial
impression was that this was going to be a good looking
Rimfire .10 Motor
2200Mah 3S Battery
ES50 Nano Servos
Aileron servo installation
wings came covered with genuine white Monokote with chrome trim
simulated de-icing boots on all of the leading edges. As usual with any ARF, I spent
several minutes sealing the edges and making sure all of the
covering was tight. There's an excellent insert that contains
detailed instructions on how to clean up the covering on an ARF
model, follow the steps and you won't have any problems. I went
ahead and ironed down the covering on the flat portions of the
stabilizer so that it would stay put when I removed the sections for
gluing. Also the wings contained a nice touch; there were
strings pre-installed to pull the aileron servo wires through.
Having these pull strings available greatly simplifies aileron servo
this point my friend Frank Foti showed up. He's a licensed
pilot, and a big fan of civilian aircraft, so he not only
volunteered to help out but when he saw the Cirrus he nearly tried
to take over the project. Conveniently enough for him, I can't
fly and film at the same time so he also did the piloting honors for
the photo and video flights at the end of the review.
won't bore you here with a step by step building summary, that has
already been well covered in the detailed instruction manual.
I'll just sand over the few rough edges that we encountered during
the building process.
wings went together without any issues. The recommended servos
fit perfectly in the provided bays and the covering has already been
removed for you. Getting the aileron extensions takes a little
shaking and pulling in both directions due to the fact that there
isn't a straight shot from the servo bay to the wing root. In
order to assure that we didn't end up with a servo in one hand, and
an extension tied to a string on the other we secured the servo wire
to the extension with a few wraps of un-waxed dental floss.
Any of the other contraptions designed for this purpose won't pull
through the small openings in the ribs. You're going to either
have to use the dental floss technique or equally effective is a
sleeve of heat shrink over the connection.
Plywood wing roots
Make sure joiner is straight
Drill hinge slots for CA
final task on the wings is to drill a guide hole for the servo
screw and install and remove the screw. Use a few small
drops of thin CA to harden the threads in the wood before you
mount the servos. The aileron servo installation was one
thing that I would change on this kit if I had the chance.
The recommended servos are so small that they could have easily
been laid on their side and mounted on a hatch resulting in much
cleaner looking installation. The thin airfoil on the
Cirrus leaves about half of the servo hanging out the bottom of
After centering the servos and installing the pushrod and
control horns, we cut the control horn screws off flush with the
top of the nut plate and the aileron pushrod a few millimeters
from the servo. Leave 4 or 5 millimeters of pushrod
in case any mechanical adjustment is required later. As
the ailerons come pre-hinged the aileron servo installation is
When installing the carbon anti-rotation pins in the wings be
sure to scuff the gluing surface of the rod before gluing them
in place. Medium CA or 6 minute epoxy works best for
The last step before fitting the wings to the fuselage is to
install the main landing gear. When you install the nuts
on the landing gear axle, ensure that the sides of the nut are
straight up and down. If the nut isn't on right it will
seem like the wheel pant doesn't fit down over the axle nut
correctly. The photograph in the manual is correct but
it's not noted in the instructions.
Rimfire .10 motor
our plane the landing gear installation on one side looked
perfect but the other side the drilling appeared off a little
bit and the result would have been toe out on one wheel.
To correct this we had to remove the gear and tweak the right
gear leg in a vice until the wheel was tracking correctly.
(I've inspected another kit since we built this one and this
appears to have been a one off problem with our plane)
Now is the time to install the wings. The two piece wing
uses a carbon tube and nicely machined thumb screws to hold them
in place. Take your time and carefully fit the wings. The fuselage
has two root ribs glued to the inside of the fuselage. The
holes for the anti rotation pins were too small and had to be
enlarged slightly for a nice fit. Dry fit and carefully measure and align the horizontal stabilizer. The
fuselage required a good bit of work with an emery board so that
the horizontal stabilizer was square to the wings.
a dry erase marker to mark the covering where it was to be
removed. An old soldering iron and a metal straight edge
removes the covering without scoring the wood. I then went over the
exposed covering edges
with a sealing iron when we were done. You can epoxy the
stabilizer in if you feel the need but I have found on many
models that thin CA wicked carefully into the joint works just
as well. Because of the sanding required I shimmed the low
side with a toothpick until the glue had set. Don't get
carried away with the thin CA, you don't want it running all
over the gorgeous finish on the fuselage.
ElectriFly thoughtfully provided two sets of servo mounting
holes. Since we will be using a 2200mah battery the servos
get installed in the forward set. If you plan on using a
larger capacity battery you should mount the servos in the rear
most holes. This will allow extra room for the larger
battery as well as moving some weight backwards for CG purposes.
The last bit of challenge in building the Cirrus was the nose
gear installation. The true to scale looks of the end
result is well worth the effort though. We found that the
nose gear steering arm was a very tight fit in the nose gear
steering arm block. It took some sanding of the steering
arm to get everything moving freely. Also, if you're going
to glue yourself to this project, gluing the halves of the nose
gear fairing together will be the time it happens. There's
not a lot of gluing area on each half, use medium or thick CA
and try your best to avoid CA finger prints. After the
edges were cleaned up, and the excess glue sanded away with 600
grit paper though, it looked great.
Nose gear done
Ready for decals
Once the nose gear was out of the way the rest of the assembly
went quickly. The motor installation was as easy as I have
ever seen (both times). Be sure to use the indicated
phillips head screws with thread locker to hold the motor in
place. The motor came with four socket head screws that I
thought would be easier to get tight and have less chance of
stripping. While this may be true, my smug smile of knowing
better than the designers disappeared when I installed the
propeller and the socket head screws hit the back of the prop
driver. Out came the socket heads screws and in went the
ones that were supplied for this purpose.
The radio and cabin installation was all that was left to get
the plane ready for decals. For guidance we choose my
Futaba 9CHP radio that's equipped with a FAAST module mated with
an R617FS receiver. This combination has given me many
hours of interference free flying at our busy club so it was my
first choice for the Cirrus. If you're using a Futaba
radio be sure to reverse the throttle channel before hooking it
up to a speed controller. I set up the recommended high
and low rates following the manual and added 25 percent expo to
the elevator and ailerons and 45 percent to the rudder. I
also installed the nose wheel steering pushrod in one hole on
the servo arm so the nose wheel steering wouldn't be overly
didn't have the recommended pilots but I wanted to keep my
options open for installing them later. I fitted the cabin
inside the hatch and found that it was a tight fit and looked
fine without being glued in so I left it that way. When
the hatch is installed the cabin and console lay flat and it
doesn't move around so I can go back later and install the pilot
and passenger when they come in.
Since I often make my own graphics I don't usually use the
supplied markings on my models. After looking over the box
and the supplied decals however, I decided I couldn't do any
better. When the decals were done following the steps in
the manual using dish soap and water, we decided I was right.
The supplied decals look great and really set the Cirrus off.
Before starting on the decals, wash your hands thoroughly with
dish soap and warm water to remove the oils from your hands and
wipe down the model several times with the same mixture and dry
it off with a clean, lint free towel.
the servos installed in the front bays, and the recommended
battery installed we balanced the Cirrus by turning it upside
down and checking the CG. The Cirrus balanced perfectly
without adding any useless weight or moving anything around in
control throws were set up per the instruction manual and a
final radio check completed. A few high speed taxi tests
showed that the nose gear was having some issues. After
some investigation we decided that the pushrod, though braced
per the instructions, was flexing and allowing the nose gear to
turn sideways. I added another brace towards the front and
things got a lot better.
We hooked up an in-line watt meter and tested the power output
on the ground. The system with the recommended APC 10x7e
propeller pulled 30 amps at full throttle and 350 watts.
This yields a power rating of 135 watts per pound which should
be fairly spirited performance. The 35 amp draw was 5 amps
below the speed controller rating and just over half what the
25C battery is capable of delivering so the important components
had an acceptable overhead margin.
With nothing else left but to fly, I topped off the battery and
taxied out to position and hold. Smoothly advancing the
throttle and giving a bit of right rudder correction the Cirrus
lifted off in about 70 feet as the throttle stick passed three
The clean lines of the Cirrus really looked great in the air and
a few half power fly-bys confirmed the control settings, high
rate is fine for general flying and the expo makes everything
smooth. Opening it up the Cirrus moves out nicely.
The white color on an overcast day can get hard to see if you
get too far away but against the trees or a blue sky and there
is no problem.
took the Cirrus up a couple of mistakes high, pointed it into
the wind, reduced the throttle and fed in up elevator until it
stalled. Nothing crazy happened. At a speed slower
than I might have expected given the thin wing and clean lines,
the Cirrus stalled straight ahead. I added power and it
pulled out nicely. Landings shouldn't be any problem.
The first few times we flew the Cirrus it was a bit on the
breezy side. The Cirrus handles mild wind just fine,
tracks well, and cross wind landings are no problem. If
the wind kicks up more than 12 mph our so I'd probably leave it
in the car. The light plane gets kicked around if it's
Though the Cirrus isn't designed to fly "wring it out"
aerobatics, it will certainly do the basics. Inverted and
slow rolls require a bit of down elevator. Point rolls and
large loops are no problem. The relatively small rudder
makes knife edge difficult to achieve though.
Landings, as I suspected, were no problem. The light
weight and clean lines make it want to float right on down the
runway when the wind is calm. I almost wish it had flaps
to create a little drag. Landings are smooth and
predictable and ground handling was excellent once the nose
wheel issue was addressed.
The ElectriFly Cirrus SR-22 is a
great looking airplane that flies as good as it looks. The
few challenges we encountered during construction were easily
overcome by anyone with a little bit of building experience.
The SR-22 is not a trainer but
is a great intermediate airplane for those pilots that possess
moderate low wing flight experience. While I'm sure that
there's a few people out there that will be tempted to over
power the Cirrus, the recommended power system has plenty of
The fiberglass fuselage is a
virtual work of art, especially for a kit in this price range.
Easy battery access makes swapping out flight batteries quick
and painless. The removable wing makes transportation
possible in even the most modest vehicle; I carry mine around in
my Jeep with plenty of room to spare.
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The comments, observations and conclusions made in this review are solely with respect to the particular item the editor reviewed and may not apply generally to similar products by the manufacturer. We cannot be responsible for any manufacturer defects in workmanship or other deficiencies in products like the one featured in the review.