Flew a C177R Cardinal Yesterday for the First Time

Discussion in 'Flight Following' started by Bonchie, Apr 10, 2019.

  1. Bonchie

    Bonchie Cleared for Takeoff

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    Why the heck did Cessna not keep making these? I'm guessing there was an economic downturn and they never rebooted them?

    What a great plane. The seating position and visibility (high wing above not withstanding) really stood out to me as the most improved thing compared to a 182. It's like sitting in a sedan, with the panel height just right and plenty of elbow room. Tons of legroom in the backseat. Big spacious entry doors. Easy to land and does 135kts on 10GPH (no mooney to be sure but still). Good useful load for only having an IO360.

    I can see why some people covet these things. I much preferred it to all the 182s I've been flying over the past few years.
     
    Last edited: Apr 10, 2019
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  2. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I'd love to fly one, once, just to see what it's like.

    You've accomplished something on my bucket list.
     
  3. asicer

    asicer En-Route

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    It's because everyone preferred the 172. I guess the 70's was a weird decade.
     
  4. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    The cost to tool and assemble the strutless wing was more than the cost of the rest of the airplane. The goal of replacing the 172 was killed by the rabid rise of product liability lawsuits that doomed the entire GA industry for the remaining future.

    The cost of a Cardinal today would be close to a half Million Dollars...

    I was lucky to be around when they were new and affordable. Between the RG and a Grumman Tiger, there are few certified airplanes I would wand to buy today.

    ...Sad. :(:(
     
  5. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Lots of 172 jockeys had trouble with porpoising trying to land them and they received a bad rap right from the start. They were also underpowered to start with.
     
  6. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    You haven't been in MY 182 :D


    The Cardinal needs the IO-390
     
  7. IK04

    IK04 Line Up and Wait

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    I've heard that before, too...

    I never had any problems landing the Cardinal, since it was such a big difference from any other plane I had flown up to then and I adapted to the new feel...
    Lots of pilots are barely trained well enough to land without tearing off the gear, so I paid no attention to the haters... "What's a trim?"

    The C-182 took much more learning to land because of the downsprings and bobweights in the pitch controls.

    Yeah, the 180HP fixed gear Cardinals are dogs, but they probably fly farther per pound than just about any certified airplane (just guessing).

    "Jockeys" is a good description. :p
     
  8. idahoflier

    idahoflier Line Up and Wait

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    Definitely liked the cabin and big doors! I thought it was a bit of a dog to get up to altitude though...
     
  9. FastEddieB

    FastEddieB Final Approach

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    True, but that was quickly fixed by a slotted stabilator.

    I really liked the Cardinal.
     
  10. Pilawt

    Pilawt Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    The Cardinals (FG and retract) were nice airplanes, but victims of economic and production realities.

    In the early 1960s the 172 was still selling well, but the (comparatively) sleek new Cherokee was proving to be a hit. Somewhere in Cessna upper management it was decided that the 1967 172H would be the last year for the "clunky" strutted design, to be replaced with a modern new Model "172J" for 1968. The thinking likely went something like this:

    First requirement for the 172J: No wing struts, so the competitors can't mock our old-fashioned look in their ads. That means a carry-through spar structure in the upper cabin. That's heavier than a strutted construction going out the gate. So where do we put the spar? It has to be at or near the thickest part of the wing. The low-wing guys have it easy; they just run it under the seats. But put a strutless wing on a 172, and the maximum airfoil thickness, and thus the spar carry-through, is right where the pilot's head is. So we have to somehow move that spar aft, where the bulge in the cabin ceiling will be out of the way. How to do that?

    First, we can use one of those NACA 6-series "laminar flow" airfoils, like the Cherokees, Comanches and Mooneys. The maximum thickness is further aft than on the 172's old reliable 2412. So the 172J won't have the same slow flight, stall and short-field qualities as the strutted model. But hey, all the competitors' ads say "laminar flow" is faster. But we know that though it reduces drag some on something like a P-51 or maybe even a Centurion, it doesn't make much of a difference on a typical low-power bugsmasher with imprecise production tolerances and oilcanning, lightweight skins.

    Next we have to move that wing as far aft as we can, resulting in a forward CG of only 5% of mean aerodynamic chord, much further forward than a legacy 172. Our customers like big flaps, so we're gonna need a LOT of pitch authority to land tail-low with full flap and that forward CG. That means a long tail arm (more weight) and a stabilator (more weight and complexity, not to mention different handling qualities).

    This thing is starting to take shape, and it looks slick. It's obviously going to be much different from the old 172, so the model number gets changed to 177.

    [​IMG]

    Now with the wing (and fuel tanks) so low and so far aft, we can't count on gravity to deliver adequate fuel pressure to the engine in extreme nose-up attitudes. So add engine-driven and auxiliary electric fuel pumps and a header tank (more weight and complexity).

    Flight tests show we need more lateral stability, so make the vertical tail taller (more weight).

    The weight is adding up alarmingly, so we choose to go with thinner skins and lighter components in places. Still, it's about 150 pounds heavier than a 172H. And it's more expensive and labor-intensive to build than a 172. But 2,000 150 hp O-320-E2As have already been delivered from Lycoming, with an option for 2,000 more, so by cracky, we're gonna use 'em. To hedge our bet, though, we'll keep the strutted 172 line going and convert that old relic to the Lycoming engine, too.

    As mentioned above, some pilots had trouble adjusting to the 177's "different" handling (I got checked out in a brand new '68 Cardinal the day I got my private pilot license and flew my first few x-c trips in it -- never had a problem with it). The '69 model had modifications to the stabilator and pitch control linkage to tame handling in the flare, and Cessna paid for all '68s in the field to be retrofitted with the modification -- but too late to overcome a bad reputation.

    Now fast forward to the mid 1970s. The Cardinal has gotten a bigger engine and some aerodynamic makeovers, but 177B sales are lagging, while Lycoming-powered, strutted 172s keep tooling along. The 177B Cardinal has been filling a gap in the catalog between the 172 and 182, but not cost-effectively. So the company finally decides to pull the plug and replace the Cardinal with a big-engine 172, an Americanized version of the French-built 210 hp FR172 Reims Rocket. The "Plane of The '70s" did not survive its decade. Likewise the 177RG -- sales of 172s and 182s were going strong, but 177RG sales were declining each year. It didn't make sense to keep the line open for what had become an "orphan" design with no commonality with its stablemates. The last Cardinals were built in 1978.

    In 1968 Cessna also flew a prototype of a Model 187, a larger, Cardinal-like replacement for the 182. Performance was not significantly improved over the old reliable 182, and the 187 project was canceled. They also tried an experimental Model 182M, putting a cantilever wing on a legacy 182 airframe. Again, increased weight and production cost made it unfeasible.

    None of this is to knock the Cardinal, an airplane I really like. But it just goes to show that changes in design philosophy result in many unexpected consequences. Often, especially in this class of airplane, "clunky" works.
     
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  11. Tom-D

    Tom-D Taxi to Parking PoA Supporter

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    Poor sales due to the first year being under powered and its loss of elevator authority at slow speeds, they got a bad rap, and never got over it.
    That plus the no strut, people simply trust it.
     
  12. FlySince9

    FlySince9 En-Route

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    Since I was a Skyhawk guy forever, I was looking for a 177 but got fed up with the inflated value on them... I found that Mooneys are a much better bang for the buck!
     
  13. Slipperhead

    Slipperhead Filing Flight Plan

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    I just bought into a low-time ‘68 FG Cardinal that was upgraded to 180hp w/CS prop. It climbs well and is quite 172-like in flight. The huge flaps and ailerons make it very responsive, as does the full-flying stab.

    The Cardinal sits lower and is easy to get in and out of through those huge doors. The raked windshield makes for much improved visibility when turning, too. I’m pretty happy with it!

    Garland KOFP


    Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
     
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  14. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    ^^^ just be careful with those little vent windows. They fragile and super expensive to replace. We had a rule to never have them open in motion.
     
  15. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I didn't have any trouble learning to land mine. With the big stab you don't have to pull back very much to set her down so its easy to see how guys that are used to pulling the yoke clear up to their chest to flare could get themselves in trouble.

    I was actually referring to the 150HP 68' models as a touch underpowered.
     
  16. PeterNSteinmetz

    PeterNSteinmetz Line Up and Wait

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    There are people who have installed them in a Cardinal.
     
  17. Lynn Dixon

    Lynn Dixon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I absolutely love my 177 RG Cardinal. There is no other airplane I would rather have. The RG is quite a bit faster than the fixed gear models, and has a max gross of 2800. I have 978 lbs useful in mine,
    and I can carry 60 gallons of fuel. She flies fast and efficient. Heres a photo of my panel in flight:
    [​IMG]

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/ZS5NbfHzYeMXWftB7

    I'm at 4500, with power pulled back to 22 squared. She's trued out at about 145 MPH and burning 7 GPH and thats running very rich. You can see by the EGT, I haven't leaned it out in this photo. I wasn't 100% sure of that EGT gauge, and I was going pretty easy on leaning it since it was still farily new to me at the time.

    Having said that, I get better than book numbers by a little bit. She has a powerflow and one of those fancy challenger air filters. I also run a three blade prop. I have been able to do 170 MPH true at about 10 to 10.5 GPH in this bird at about 24 squared.

    This airplane fits my little families mission profiles perfectly. Having nearly 1000lbs useful load and the flexibility of 60 gallon tanks in a slippery and powerful airplane is something I never thought I'd find. My wife, daughter, and myself can all load up in the plane with plenty of bags for our trip and tanker fuel for safety and still not be at max gross, and we do it all COMFORTABLY. This is the only airplane I have ever felt comfortable, with plenty of elbow and shoulder room in. She doesn't even have the best paint job (its getting a bit rough), but I still get lots of compliments and comments just about every where I go. People seem to be drawn to them because you hardly ever see the Cardinal RG's anymore. And this thing looks soooo sexy in the air too :)

    I might be a bit biased though....I do love this airplane:

    https://photos.app.goo.gl/A4rPPLngESZ87Gua6
     
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  18. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Yep. That's the perfect engine for it
     
  19. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    I would not say that about the 180hp versions. You might say that about the 150hp version.
     
  20. Lynn Dixon

    Lynn Dixon Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Until you have to replace a cylinder. There are no aftermarket cyls available and if you have to replace one, you're gonna be out a whole bunch of money. I love the 390 but it's a decent bit of extra weight out on the nose of an already nose-heavy airplane and there's no options for cyl repair.
     
  21. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Pattern Altitude

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    Interesting numbers. You've got me adding 177s to my airplane searches when I'm on Barnstormers! This would make a nice photo plane with the door off and it has high enough speeds to make cover most of my photo shoots.
     
  22. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    I wouldn’t want to fly ours with the door off... but there are good photo window options.
     
  23. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    My wife and I did several trips in a club 172 and she always complained about our sweaty arms touching. I bought a Cardinal and she never complained again.

    I have a '68 with the O-320. It cruises at 110 on 7 gph of mogas and hauls 700 pounds with 30 gals in the tank. I took out the back seat and insure it as a two place plane.
     
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  24. cgrab

    cgrab Pattern Altitude

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    Speaking of windows, the vent windows are one of the best things in a Cardinal.
     
  25. Skip Miller

    Skip Miller En-Route

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    Useful load? The wing was far enough forward that the plane was near its forward CG limit unless you dragged around a cement bag or two in the baggage area... -Skip
     
  26. Lowflynjack

    Lowflynjack Pattern Altitude

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    I forgot you fly in them. The STC is just to take one door off. I've done it in the 175 and 182s, but the bigger door opening on the Cardinal might make it too windy inside. I see one listed on Barnstormers that has a giant photo window in it.

    I'm probably still leaning toward a 182.
     
  27. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    That issue is truly over blown. The forward CG works great if you want to load it up and go somewhere. If not, just a few pounds in the baggage compartment is all you need in the off chance you have two large bodies in the front with no one in back. A little extra oil, tie downs, etc. and you are pretty good to go.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  28. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    It’s better for the kind of Photography we usually do. I think wing struts are less of a problem for your specialty.

    F1609806-35C9-4053-A85F-17F7DDEF8DDC.jpeg
     
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  29. Ravioli

    Ravioli Final Approach PoA Supporter

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    Until you need to fix one. We had a club policy that the vents could not be open or operated in flight.
     
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  30. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The Cardinal is the only plane my fiancee has ever ridden in. I told her that we need to borrow a 150 for an hour so that she can appreciate how spoiled she is with all that room.

    Does your 68' have a powerflow?
     
  31. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    :yeahthat: We have had 500 lbs of people in the front seat of ours with nothing but a tool kit, tie downs and some oil in the back with no problem at all.
     
  32. c177tx

    c177tx Filing Flight Plan

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    Most of the bad comments about the Cardinal come from people that have read other bad comment's from other people and regurgitate them. I have been an owner of a 68 177 Cardinal for the past 29 years. When I first purchased the Cardinal it was in its stock configuration and unmodified, it still had it first run O-320-E2D with 1700 hours on it. I flew it in the unmodified condition for a number of years, my missions were the normal weekend flying to BBQ or pancake fly-ins. Mostly 2 person's but occasionally 3 or 4 for sight seeing trips with light fuel. I flew it to 2500 hours during that time I installed a Horton STOL kit because the plastic wing tips where getting some cracks, found out Cessna wanted as much for their junk plastic tips as Horton wanted for the whole STOL kit, and the kit came with fiberglass tips. After a trip down to New Orleans and seeing a bunch of swamps with alligators I decided I did not like looking at that high of a number on the tack and had a field overhaul done. At overhaul I had the RAM 160 hp upgrade and a powerflow exhaust. It has been a very economical, fun, easy flying aircraft. I have loaded it up with 4 people and taken trips to the coast an hour away with partial fuel, loaded up the back with camping gear and flown to Oskosh a number of times. The Cardinal did get a bad rap I believe from pilots that would load up full fuel (49 Gal's) and fill up the large cabin, then complain about the dogged climb or worse crash. Flying by the numbers I have fly out of a 1300' strip with out a problem. And that has been on a number of 100 degree days in Central Texas.
     
  33. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    I kept a couple gallon jugs of water back there and a 35 lb bucket of kitty litter. The bucket of litter came out if there were back seat passengers. Jugs of water stayed which did double duty. Never worried about getting too thirsty if I had to land off airport out in the desert.
     
  34. PPC1052

    PPC1052 En-Route

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    I don't like them open in flight. But on the ground taxiing, they are nice.
     
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  35. hindsight2020

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    Same performance of an Arrow, without having to endure the vitriolic hatred the Arrow garners. The Arrow is a more spirited climber btw, but don't let facts get in the way of a good scapegoat. Where the Cardinal shines is the ingress/egress. Truly transformative. I would still prefer a 182 if Lycoming equipped (not the RG, gear costs are a non-starter). I don't believe the 177RG suffers from the cracking and unobtanium part cost woes the 182RG does.

    As to the 390? Um, no. 4K for cylinder assemblies is just no. Maybe when continental releases their clone cylinders for it, now that they're doing the Prime cylinder and engines thing (aka the Titan purchase).
     
  36. jim.nelson

    jim.nelson Pre-Flight

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    Love the plane and it's perfect for my mission. The forward CG is really an issue and I don't want to haul around a bunch of ballast. Is there some STC to put maybe 10 pounds of lead way back in the tail to get the CG somewhat more normal?
     
  37. SoonerAviator

    SoonerAviator En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Why would you want a permanent solution to that problem? I'd rather throw 20lbs in the baggage compartment that I can remove if needed, than 10lbs of ballast in the tailcone that is permanent.
     
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  38. ktup-flyer

    ktup-flyer En-Route

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    Why wouldn’t you be able to find an IO-580 cylinder?
     
  39. N1120A

    N1120A Pre-takeoff checklist

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    In many ways, the 177RG is the best, most balanced light plane Cessna ever built (ignoring something like the TTx, that is really a Columbia). The 210, as capable and impressive as it is, kinda flies like a dump truck, and has those awful gear. The 182RG is another surprising performer from Cessna, and one that also would be nice to see come back.
     
  40. Kansas Flyer

    Kansas Flyer Pre-takeoff checklist

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    The forward CG really isn't an issue. I can have 500 lbs in the front seats with absolutely nothing in back or in the baggage compartment and still be in CG and that's a pretty extreme scenario. Just barely in, but it counts, and who doesn't typically have 20 lbs of stuff riding around in the back anyway? By the time you add up extra oil, tiedowns, tool kit, etc... I probably have 30 lbs back there.

    Mine is a 68' with an O-320 so i'm sure the lighter engine makes it a tad easier for me but it wouldn't be hard to stay in CG even with the extra weight of 180HP and a C/S prop.