I live in Australia and I'm in the process of choosing a school for my instrument rating. I need feedback from the many of you out there with IFR experience willing to share their thoughts.

I'm going to do a single engine instrument rating because I am a just private pilot with no immediate plans of doing a CPL or flying multi engine aircraft at the moment. I have CSU and RU endorsements, have flown VFR to this day on a basic and complex aircraft. There are a few schools that I'm considering, with the only real difference among them boiling down to aircraft and, of course, total training costs.

1. Towards the top end, I could train on an SR20 and brand new full motion simulator in a posh school.

2. The middle range would be on an C182 or a PA28R and standard simulator.

3. The lower range would be on an IFR rated C152 + time on a complex aircraft, and again standard simulator.

All up, the costs would go from simple on the C152 to (almost) double on the SR20.

Here's my call for advice: Other than the fanciness of flying in an SR20 over a C152 and learning in a shiny school,

What are the real, concrete benefits of doing an IR in an SR20 over a more conventional aircraft?

On the one hand, the C152 has analog instruments while the SR20 is all glass and has autopilot which, I understand, comes down to personal preference. Another key difference is speed. I'd say that flying more slowly might be an advantage to stay "ahead of the aircraft" but then again, that might be beside the point of IR training. I'm the super lucky position to be able to afford both but I still want to make a financially clever decision as I'm not the kind to spend money unnecessarily. In hindsight, that's how I did my PPL and it served me well.

A great many thanks for your much valued answers.

PS. Another factor that does play a role is obviously instructor experience and their availability.

PPS. A definite minus for the SR20 is the "requirement" to do the CSIP endorsement which puts the total costs just shy of that of a multi-engine endorsement on the Seminole or on the DA42 + IR.

  • $\begingroup$ I think the answer depends on the kind of airplane you will be renting after you get your rating. If the planes available to you have steam gauges, then go that route. If you have access to planes with a G1000 or other glass panels then train in the Cirrus. $\endgroup$
    – JScarry
    Jun 30, 2019 at 15:05
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ What exactly makes the Cirrus not a "conventional" aircraft? Looks perfectly conventional to me: cirrusaircraft.com/aircraft/sr20 $\endgroup$
    – jamesqf
    Jun 30, 2019 at 18:16
  • $\begingroup$ @JScarry My impression is that transitioning from analog gauges to glass panels will be easier than the other way around. I also don't want to be limited to a specific kind of aeroplanes when I obtain the rating. $\endgroup$
    – VH-NZZ
    Jun 30, 2019 at 20:49
  • $\begingroup$ @jamesqf That's the only small single engine aeroplane out there that operators require you to have a CSIP certificate to fly, which makes it more akin to having a type rating for practical purposes. Which other aircraft of that class takes 3 days to transition to, really? I'm not suggesting that there isn't a bit of marketing involved here but the whole approach indicates that their aircraft are not "what you already know". $\endgroup$
    – VH-NZZ
    Jun 30, 2019 at 20:55
  • $\begingroup$ Yeah, but it's a light four seater. It really doesn't matter which plane you use for your IR. I'd recommend using a steam gauge relic because it is more difficult, but that's just me. $\endgroup$
    – acpilot
    Jul 1, 2019 at 19:38

1 Answer 1


There aren't any. Unless you are planning on purchasing a Cirrus, you'd just be burning money for no good reason by training in that. An instrument rating is an instrument rating regardless on what aircraft you train. What is important is the quality of the training, ground and flight. If you think about it, I am quite sure you can find better ways of spending the money you will save.

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ The other thing is it's just "too easy" when you learn on an airplane with one of the latest avionics suites that require little in the way of mental situational skills. Move onto something with steam gauges later, and you'll be lost. $\endgroup$
    – John K
    Jun 30, 2019 at 14:46
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    $\begingroup$ @JohnK Yes, that is a very good point. It's a similar reasoning to why I recommend aspiring pilots get their glider ticket because their powered aircraft ticket. Learning how to fly in a glider really teaches you to truly fly, and to think well ahead of the aircraft, because you only get one chance to land. $\endgroup$ Jun 30, 2019 at 15:03
  • $\begingroup$ I understand the point you're making here. I for one cannot say that a Cirrus aircraft is my ultimate goal, I'd rather be conversant with a wider range of aircraft to be honest. In terms of performance, I'm only afraid that a C152 will be too modest with two adults on-board. Won't learning all the procedures on a C152 be a problem when transitioning to a faster aircraft? $\endgroup$
    – VH-NZZ
    Jun 30, 2019 at 21:02
  • $\begingroup$ @JohnK Could you concretely give an example of something that the G1000/Perspective would chew out for you needed for IFR that you would otherwise have to calculate mentally? Like calculating intercepts, 1/60, ... ? $\endgroup$
    – VH-NZZ
    Jun 30, 2019 at 21:04
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    $\begingroup$ Cheers to @JohnK, jwenting and Juan for your inputs, I appreciate. I'll go the old fashioned way and learn on steam gauges. $\endgroup$
    – VH-NZZ
    Jul 1, 2019 at 23:08

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