Any Cardinal owners here?

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Toby, Feb 24, 2005.

  1. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Toby Speed
    What do you like about the Cardinal? How are maintenance and operating costs compared to other airplanes? Any quirks or other special qualities that I might not notice on first glance?

    I'm considering a number of options for buying a plane or a share of one. This opportunity just came my way yesterday -- a 1/4 share in a well-equipped Cardinal.

    Thanks for any input!
     
  2. Greebo

    Greebo N9017H - C172M (1976)

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2005
    Messages:
    11,022
    Location:
    Baltimore, MD
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Retired Evil Overlord
    Toby,

    Are you a member of CFO? http://www.cardinalfliers.com - they have an email newsletter published...every couple days or so...that would be perfect for you.

    Personally, I'd love for a Cardinal to be my first plane. Even a share of one. :)

    C
     
  3. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Toby Speed
    Chuck,

    I've been to their website, but am not ready to plunk down the $34 to join. I do think they're cool-looking airplanes, though. I never really considered one before.

    P.S. to anyone who owns/flies one: Do you fly fixed or RG?
     
  4. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,611
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Anthony
    Hi Toby,

    As you know I'm not a Cardinal owner, but I considered getting into a partnership on one before I bought my Cherokee (yes which I later sold and bought the vaunted Tiger :) So I did a little research on the plane. In general, I like them, but make sure its a 180 HP with the C/S prop version. These are much better performers than the original 150 HP cardinals. They are beautiful airplanes. I like the looks of the Cardinal a lot (almost as much as the 182RG). Its an easy flying plane and capable aircraft, in line with other 180 HP planes, and the C/S prop does help climb. While it may look sporty, its handling is typical Cessna, which means its stable and a good instrument platform, but not a yank and bank "sporty" handling machine. The visibility is also excellent as you sit forward of the wing and there are no struts. If you're looking for a good, stable, travelling machine and possibly getting the IR, this is a good choice.
     
  5. Let'sgoflying!

    Let'sgoflying! Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    15,787
    Location:
    west Texas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Dave Taylor
    Wells Stewart, if he joined POA, has a nice one I saw at Gaston's last year and Im sure would answer some of your questions.
    Has POA been well advertised 'over there'? (or should it be?) I know a few (who truly belong here) that seemed unaware of it when I mentioned it.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2005
  6. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    9,311
    Location:
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Greg Bockelman
    One thing you want to be VERY CAREFUL about on a Cardinal is to park with the nose into the wind. If the wind catches that barn door of a cabin door, it was at least $1,000 to fix 25 years ago. Probably much more now.

    I personally would rather have a 180 or 200 hp fixed gear Cardinal rather than a 'Hawk purely from the sex appeal standpoint.
     
  7. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Toby Speed
    Hi Anthony,

    This will be a 180 hp with a c/s prop. It will also, I am sure, be very well equipped as far as instrumentation. The airplane hasn't been purchased yet, but I know two of the pilots (the third partner would be one of their wives, who is soon to take her private checkride), and they will want something pretty sophisticated. This would be a second aircraft for each of them.

    I like the visibility, too, with the wings set farther back.

    I'm thinking that this may be a solution for me, because I can still fly "my" Decathlon and get my tailwheel fix whenever I want (often), yet have something that will get me places and can be used for getting my IR. I recently found out that I'll be allowed to solo and rent the Decathlon, which takes some of the pressure off me to buy one.
     
  8. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Toby Speed
    "I personally would rather have a 180 or 200 hp fixed gear Cardinal rather than a 'Hawk purely from the sex appeal standpoint."

    Now that you mention it, I think he said it would either be 180 or 200 hp, and I thought he couldn't remember which it was. If it comes in both flavors, I'd rather get the 200. I know some of them have retractable gear, and I don't want that. That would be something to ask him.

    (p.s. -- edited to put Greg's sentence in quotes.)
     
  9. Greg Bockelman

    Greg Bockelman Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    9,311
    Location:
    Lee's Summit, MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Greg Bockelman
    Actually, I think most are retracts and just a few were fixed gear.
     
  10. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,611
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Anthony
    I'm not sure that's true, but I don't have the production figures. From my very scientific survey of ariports over the last 11 years of flying, I've seen more fixed gear than retract Cardinals. But again, that's just my perception, I could be wrong. I would stay with fixed gear for insurance purposes if your a low time pilot without IR.
     
  11. ejensen

    ejensen Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    2,285
    Location:
    Fort Collins, CO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Eric Jensen
    From the FAA registration database: 1783 fixed gear and 982 retracts.

    Eric
     
  12. Anthony

    Anthony Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    18,611
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Anthony
    Well there ya go! Perception is reality.
     
  13. SCCutler

    SCCutler Administrator Management Council Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    16,334
    Location:
    Dallas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Spike Cutler
    Don't own one, but I get to fly a very nice 177RG in the club, and I am sure it would feel very hot if I weren't so spoiled by the Bonanzas.

    Very nice flying planes (though I have been told that one must avoid the first year, the 150hp '68 models, underpowered).

    While the cabin is pretty roomy overall, the height is such that my headphone thingy (what's that called, the part that goes over the top?) is almost pivoting on the ceiling. It also seems very sensitive in the pitch axis- I get it all trimmed out for cruise, then my wife leans forward and we go "phugoiding all over the sky" (thanks to Gordon Baxter for that one). Only time I ever really felt like I needed altitude hold.

    But a nice buggy overall, and you can't find many better looking planes (at least, not with the wings in that confused location).
     
  14. Michael

    Michael Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,738
    Location:
    Cape Cod, MA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CapeCodMichael
    Funny, I was talking to Diana about this today. The cardinal I flew in seamed too small inside. As a passenger I had to lean back in order to fit. I am 6' tall. the left seat was a little better but still no head room. I believe the one I was in was a 70s model. There were no seat adjustments for height like I have seen in the skyhawks. It was fast and clean. But i wouldnt buy it for the reasons mentioned above.

    Michael
     
  15. W. Stewart

    W. Stewart Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    W. Stewart
    I just joined this Board today, and I don't know much about computer stuff, so I hope I am able to figure this out. I have been on the AOPA webboard for 6 years, but more of a lurker than a poster. I will experiment on here a bit, but will probably continue to use the AOPA webboard, too, to see if it settles down over there a bit. I appreciate Chuck and Chip's efforts here, and wish that AOPA would implement some of the controls that this board seems to offer.

    Love the pic of your Viking, Dave--I always heard they provided a lot of performance for the dollar! I would be concerned that routinely breaking the sound barrier like that might ultimately damage the wood and cloth construction, however . . .

    OK, as for the Cardinal:

    I have owned a '76 177RG for five years, and love it. Toby, I agree with Chuck's recommendation re Cardinal Fliers Online (CFO). Most of their info is actually available without a membership, I believe, as for the model history and prepurchase inspections. Even the daily e-mail digest is available without a membership (for some reason!), and it is the best aspect of the club. I basically never GO to the website anymore, unless I want to do a search of the daily e-mail archives.

    I don't know much about the fixed-gear Cardinal (177, 177A, and 177B), other than there were two occasions where I have wished I HAD a non-RG! The history of those models can be read about on the CFO website or in the two-volume set that Aviation Consumer sells. Most of the talk/malignment of the model is hearsay about the 68 model, what with the underpowered 150HP and the original non-slotted stabilator. ALL of the stablilators have been modified now, however, so forget about THAT. I believe that most (but NOT all) of the 150 HP models have been upgraded to 160 or 180 HP. I think there is only ONE 177B which has been modified by field-approval to the 200 HP IO-360: for some reason that does not seem to be an available option. I have heard of a FEW 177B's that have been turbocharged (still the carburated engine).

    As far as Greg's remark about most Cardinals being retractables, that is not my belief, but I have not looked at the actual production numbers. I do know that the fixed-gear models were made 1968-1978, while the RG was 1971-1978. All the RG's came with the IO-360 rated at 200 HP. Several of the RG's have been turbochared (or turbo-normalized?), and that mod is available through Tornado Alley/GAMI, which can render a 177 knot airplane (at altitude).

    The Cardinal is a WONDERFUL airplane. What I like about it the most is the very spacious cabin and the two large doors--the easiest plane ever made to get in and out of. The back seat is as spacious as the front seat of the 182. The visibility is good, although very tall pilots such as myself lose some of the advantage of the 'further-back' wing, as our seat being all the way back necessitates us leaning forward to see up (or to the inside of turns), but at least we CAN see up in that fashion. The plane is also nice looking, with the windshield sloping back--looks more like a Corvette than the Granada look of the other Cessnas. I think it is the best looking high wing plane ever made.

    As for Anthony's "handling is typical Cessna" remark, I don't agree. The controls are very well-harmonized, and, if anything, the powerful stabilator makes it pitch-sensitive (which, in turns, makes landings considerably more difficult than other Cessnas, as moving the yoke a few millimeters invokes appreciable pitch changes even when slow, like in the landing flare). The plane IS stable enough to make a good IFR platform, though.

    Bad things include the model's tendancy to leak in the rain (from the wing root fairing and the doors). Greg mentioned the problem with wind-from-behind catching and damaging the doors (with no struts to stop the forward movement of the doors, they can be forved past the usual hinge stops and damage the hinges). Our concern for the doors causes some of us to secure the pilot side door with bungee cord when parked outside for any length of time, as wind can rock the whole plane, and there is enough flexibility in the fuselage for the door to pop open, and then the open door might be blown forward forcibly, damaging it.

    Another "bad thing" is the design of the retracting gear (in the RG--duh!). By the time (1971) that the RG came out, Cessna had worked out most of the kinks in the more-trouble-prone 210 gear, but still it is not as easy to cause gear to retract into a non-existent low wing! There were several changes in the gear system made throughout the production run of the 177RG, though, with the 1974 and later models probably being more reliable than the earlier ones. Nevertheless, unlike most low wing retracts, the Cessnas require hydraulic pressure even to lower the gear (even with the manual back up hand pump), so if one loses hydraulic fluid while in flight, he is going to have belly it in (I have installed a light to show me when the gear pump is running--anything more than a fleeting flash while the pump is maintaining pressure in flight can hopefully give the pilot time to lower the gear). The RG Cessna owner should have a mechanic who is familiar with the systems--properly maintained, they should have no problems.

    My earlier references to my wishing on two occasions for a non-RG were with regard to costs: I had to rebuild the hydraulic pump once, and recently a brake line at the gear swivel point broke--two costs I wouldn't have if I had the straight-legged Cardinal. (But then, again, I wouldn't have the extra speed (10-15kt?) over the FG, nor would have that ego-stroke of manipulating the gear handle). Another advantage of the FG over the RG, other than costs, is the fact that the FG is better off grass (larger wheels).

    One could do far worse than a Cardinal. CFO is one of the best things about the model, too. If you do decide on the the plane, you would be wise to ante up the whole $34, Toby!

    Wells
     
  16. W. Stewart

    W. Stewart Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    268
    Location:
    NC
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    W. Stewart
    Michael: I am 6'4" or better, and I fit in mine. My finalists when I was looking to buy included a Tiger and a Cardinal. I love the Tiger, with it's great performance, given fixed gear and prop, and it WAS great--UNTIL I CLOSED THE CANOPY! From that point on, I had to hold my head 45 degrees to the side! Still, with the Tiger, I think one could replace the 4" seat cushion with a 2" cushion, rendering more room. Also, that plane had some Lightspeed headsets, and that particular headset seems to have a a bulky pad between my head and the headband--that headset also influenced my next headset purchase.

    Cardinals came with three types of seats: No crank, one crank, and two crank. CFO states that the no crank seats actually sat lower the the other two, but I have not sat in any of those. My plane has the two-crank seat in both pilot and co-pilot locations. This seat is reported to render the LEAST headroom of the three, so I have been interested in sitting in (and possibly acquiring) one of the other types of seats prior to redoing the interior. Even with the two-crank seat, I am able to sit in mine (perhaps I have my seat back reclined more?), as did the man I bought the plane from (and he was easily 6'6").

    On the CFO daily e-mail digest, some people have also reported modiying the headliner, as there is reportedly a good bit of room above it which could be utilized.

    It is funny how one's impressions are formed. I got 20 hours in a Debonair and found that the top of my headset was essentially a pivot point on the headliner. That plane had Bose headsets, and I decided at that time that I wouldn't have them (even if I wanted to spend that kind of money on a headset!). The design, as I remember, is kind of a one-hinge-on-the-top type, which seemed to eat up head clearance room.

    As for Lightspeeds, again, the Tiger I flew had some earliear model that looked very bulky up there. As a result, I bought the Flightcomm Denali ANR set. I was never very pleased with it, though. I recently bought some newer Flightcomm (perhaps a 3x-20G or something like that?): although the pictures make it LOOK bulky up top, that large-looking pad up there actually compresses down to nothing, so that I have as much head clearance with it as I do with the Denali. And I LOVE the Lightspeed!!!

    Wells
     
  17. gibbons

    gibbons En-Route

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2005
    Messages:
    3,387
    Location:
    Rogers, Arkansas
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iRide
    Hi Wells,

    Glad you signed up on PoA.

    Thanks for the excellent review of the Cardnal. You did neglect to mention the common problem Cessna has with all of their singles, the wings are mis-located. :)

    Chip
     
  18. Michael

    Michael Pattern Altitude

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2005
    Messages:
    1,738
    Location:
    Cape Cod, MA
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    CapeCodMichael
    Thank you Wells, Its good to know the headroom issue may be limited to the cardinal i flew. :)
     
  19. glpilot

    glpilot Pre-takeoff checklist

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    134
    Location:
    Loganville, GA.
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    GLPilot
    I believe there was a typo, the actual URL for CFO is http://www.cardinalflyers.com

    :cheerio:
     
  20. Toby

    Toby Cleared for Takeoff

    Joined:
    Feb 22, 2005
    Messages:
    1,076
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Toby Speed
    Wells,

    Thank you for your long and very helpful post. It will go in my "airplane buying" file, which is getting pretty fat. I'll go back to CFO and try to get into the articles. Whatever buttons I pushed last time asked me for my Visa card number, but I'll see if I can get around that.

    I had also heard to stay away from the 150 hp. I know that the fellow who is considering buying one of these is looking at 180 and 200 hp only. RG is not high on my personal list, especially now after reading what you say about what can happen if you lose hydraulic pressure, but I'll see what he says about this and think about it.

    I find that I'm being approached at least a couple times a week now with offers like this, and most people seem to have a very firm idea of what they want, so I may not have a lot of input. They don't really NEED me to share with them, from a financial viewpoint. A lot of them think that I don't know very much, either, but I am doing my homework. ;)

    I appreciate the time and thought you put into this.
     
  21. Diana

    Diana Final Approach

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2005
    Messages:
    6,169
    Location:
    Southwest MO
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Diana
    Hi Wells, nice to see you here. :)

    Hope you're planning to come to Gaston's again this year.

    I wish I had a video of your take-off at Gaston's last year. ;)
     
  22. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    12,676
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iGismo
    I think Wells summed up the Cardinal issues pretty well. The C177RG was the first retract I flew and once I got checked out, I flew that plane on any x/c I took for a few years, loving every minute of it. I also have some time in the welded gear model (180 Hp) and remember liking that as well. IMO the two best features of either plane are the aft location of the wing (great visibility upward and into turns) and the big doors (definitely the easiest Cessna to enter/exit). Unfortunately the big doors are also one of the worst features. The rain leaks were definitely a problem with the three aircraft I flew, and AFaIK even brand new ones were prone to leaks. I've also heard that there have been problems with corrosion of the airframe as well as avionics damage caused by the rain ingestion problem. And as to the wind blowing the doors 180 degrees open, parking into the wind (a good idea in any airplane with hinges on the front of the door(s) and never letting a passenger open a door on a windy day are the ways to avoid problems. That said, from what I've seen, virtually every 177 out there has had some door hinge damage.

    While it is true that the stabilator is more sensitive than a 172 or 182's elevator, it's something that's easy to get used to and IMO the feel in pitch is actually better than any other Cessna.
     
  23. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2005
    Messages:
    29,123
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    Tom-D
    Fly a C-170-B and compare. I think the elevator on the "B" is better.
     
  24. gismo

    gismo Touchdown! Greaser!

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2005
    Messages:
    12,676
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    Display Name:

    Display name:
    iGismo
    Cessna elevator feel.

    You're probably right. I was mentally comparing to the 172/182/210/310.