THRILL RIDE: Cirrus SR20-G2 With sweeping lines and the most advanced safety features available in single-engine aviation, the Cirrus SR20 is part Volvo, part Alfa Romeo, and all purring sex appeal. "It's a fresh design, and it's such a pleasure to fly," says Mike Radomsky, 52, president of the Jupiter, Floridabased Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association. "It looks like a modern plane on the ramp, whereas others look like they did 40 years ago." This aircraft's exceptional style, maneuverability, and speed have propelled relative newcomer Cirrus to wild success; over the past 21 months, the company has sold more planes than it did in the previous three and a half years combined. Strap into the cockpit and you'll see why: Color LCD displays convey crucial flight data, while a side-mounted, joystick-style yoke evokes a jet-fighter setup. Maximum cruising speed: 156 knots (180 mph) Maximum range: 882 nautical miles (1,015 miles) Capacity: Pilot plus three passengers Carrying capacity, including fuel: 930 pounds Flight time, San Francisco to Reno: 64 minutes Bonus: Should something go very wrong, a Cirrus pilot can pull a red handle to deploy a 55-foot-wide parachute that will float the entire aircraft, occupants and all, back to earth. The company says the system has saved eight lives to date. $236,700; www.cirrusdesign.com
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