During my week working with the guys from Boldmethod pilot training, I was offered an incredibly unique opportunity – to fly a brand new Cirrus SR22GTS from Denver’s Centennial Airport to Steamboat Springs, Colorado. How cool is that?! I hadn’t ever flown in a Cirrus before, so I was pretty excited.


Aleks and Colin (the two Boldmethod Founders) surprised me with the Cirrus demo flight along with their good friend Justin Dillon. Justin happens to be the #1 aircraft salesman for Cirrus Aircraft, and is now the Director of Sales for the Western United States. Through Justin, we had the opportunity to learn a TON of new information about the aircraft line. At Cirrus, buyers are offered the opportunity to have their plane used as a demo aircraft for a few months (or a few hundred hours) before they receive it. This allows the buyer to get the aircraft faster than they would otherwise. As an added bonus, Cirrus demo pilots “break in” the new aircraft, working through some of the kinks typically found in new planes. Below are some photos of our ride for the day:

During the walkaround a preflight, Justin taught us about the aircraft and some of the systems that our plane was outfitted with. A few features found on our specific SR22GTS included:

  • Flight into known ice capability (de-icing leading edges)
  • Full Auto pilot
  • In-flight parachute (for the plane itself)
  • An emergency level-off button
  • A turbo-charged engine
  • A brand new Cirrus “Perspective” cockpit by Garmin
  • Synthetic vision capabilities
  • An infrared camera (can be viewed on either display screen)
  • Airbag seatbelts
  • XM weather and radio
  • A center FMS console (right at your fingertips off of the throttle – no more reaching to the screens!)
  • A platinum appearance upgrade
  • Doors that open Lamborghini-style (a typical Cirrus feature that makes entering and exiting the plane very easy!)

Before we started the engine, Justin explained how the parachute works in case of emergency. The handle is located behind a removable cover on the headliner; it takes around 40 pounds of force to pull down, so it’s not easy to pull accidentally! In addition, Justin showed me the “level-off” button in the cockpit. In the event the pilot becomes completely disoriented, you can push the blue “level” button, which returns the plane to straight and level flight.  Features like these are not only extremely cool, but are comforting to have in the plane. Starting the engine was easy and went smoothyl. It was great being inside a sleek Cirrus vs. the older 172’s I’m used to flying!

Denver’s Centennial Airport is absolutely massive for a general aviation airport. As we taxied out for takeoff I really realized how big and busy it is. There were dozens upon dozens of private jets lining the multiple ramps of the airport. Everywhere you looked there was someone landing, taking off, or taxiing!

Below is a video of our takeoff from Denver Centennial:

I hadn’t ever flown at a high-altitude airport like Denver, so I was amazed by how long the takeoff took. It really doesn’t take much to get the plane off the ground; once you’re at rotation speed, you slightly squeeze back on the controls, and watch the plane lift off. Shortly afterwards, you begin pushing and trimming forward to compensate for the increasing speed.

Climbing out of Centennial

Climbing out of Centennial

As we climbed out through Denver’s Class B airspace, we headed for our final altitude of 16,500 feet. That was a personal height record for myself (by far)! We were required to wear oxygen up there. It was amazing flying so close to the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. It ended up being a beautiful day; we were very fortunate that it wasn’t too windy or turbulent!

Below are photos from along the flight to Steamboat:

Since Justin is a Cirrus demo pilot, we got to experience some pretty amazing handling characteristics of the aircraft. The SR22 rolls in a pretty amazing way. When you bank the aircraft to a desired angle, the plane will pretty much hold that angle and heading until you move the stick for a change. The stall qualities of the aircraft were also pretty amazing. Instead of dropping a wing and rolling left or right, the plane just bobbed up and down during the stall. It was simply an INCREDIBLE aircraft both to handle and ride in.

Cirrus Perspective Cockpit

Cirrus Perspective Cockpit

It was shortly time for our descent into Steamboat Springs. Below are photos from the descent and landing:

Along the flight, I had recorded the track of our aircraft using CloudAhoy and my  Dual XGPS 160. Here are some screenshots from our route:

Below is a video of our landing in Steamboat:

We headed into downtown Steamboat for some lunch after landing, which was great! From our restaurant, you could easily see the Steamboat Ski Resort:

After a great lunch, it was time to head back to Denver. We were trying to beat POTUS who was due to arrive in a little more than one hour; this was sure to cause all sorts of trouble with TFRs! Here are some photos from the Steamboat Airport:

Below is the video of our takeoff from Steamboat:

We flew back to Denver at a lower altitude this time, so we could get a better view of the mountains and not have to deal with the in-flight oxygen. Below are photos from our return flight:

As we neared Denver, we were happy to find that POTUS hadn’t yet shut down the area, and that we were going to make it for a landing back at Centennial. It was also much more hazy in Denver by this time in the afternoon, much different from that morning!

Below is a video of our landing at Centennial (make sure to check out the infrared camera on the right screen as we cross the runway threshold):

Screenshots of our route are shown below:

As we arrived back in Centennial, we noticed that a military presence had arrived at the airport. Air Force Chinook helicopters lined a ramp, with some fighter jets nearby and ready.

The President's Escort

The President’s Escort

We taxied back to the Cirrus hangar and were done for the day. Overall, my first experience in a Cirrus aircraft was amazing. It was advanced, smooth, and sleek. The SR22GTS is now definitely at the top of my general aviation “dream planes” list.

This flight truly was a day of firsts. Here are just a few of them:

  • First flight in Class B airspace
  • First turbo-charged engine
  • First high-altitude airport flight
  • First real mountain flying experience
  • First time in a single engine aircraft to 16,500 feet
  • First required use of cockpit oxygen
  • First autopilot flying experience
  • First time flying in a plane with XM Radio

Thanks to Justin, Aleks, and Colin for setting up this amazing experience. It was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done!



Thanks for reading and watching!
-Swayne Martin
Twitter: @MartinsAviation


About The Author

If you want to become a pilot, I want to make your journey just a little easier. I'm a First Officer for Envoy Air, one of the largest regional airlines in the world, and have partnered with industry leaders like the U.S. Air Force to teach about various aviation careers. For a full bio, click the "About" tab above. Use the "Contact" tab to shoot me a message.

4 Responses

  1. Aaron

    Very Cool! Thanks for sharing. I just went snowboarding in Steamboat last January. It looks a lot different when there isn’t snow everywhere!

  2. Emily

    Great article! I really enjoyed the details of this flying adventure! Il looking forward to my 1st Cirrus ride to come. It’s definitely a model on my list!

    Always neat to get a good bite to eat along the way! Cool route charts shared. What app did you capture them on, ForeFlight?

    Happy & Safe Flying, Always!:-)


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.