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Cessna 177 "Cardinal" RG - nice!

Well, after flying for twenty years, finally, I have one of those beautiful Cessna 177 RGs at my disposal. Actually two of them, since the flying club I joined has two of these (both late model examples).

So far, I only did one hour with an instructor and one more hour on my own. But already, I can say they indeed are nice planes. Actually, I didn’t expect the experience to be any different, since so many people have spoken highly about it.

I still have to get really familiar with it, and yet have to fly it IFR, but so far, so great. Anyone have any type-specific tips from real-life experience for me?

A few pics and notes…

Outside (that paint job is, well, a bit special, but it doesn’t take away anything from the beautiful lines of the airframe):

The panel (again, this one is bit untidy):

Anyway, on the plus side, it has a GS430W and an STEC-50, which is the important stuff. On the minus side, it only has a standard DG, and also no standby horizon, which isn’t ideal for IFR.

It flies beautifully. Much better of course than the Piper Arrow I also fly. It also is a bit faster.

Sitting inside is quite comfortable. It’s MUCH more comfortable (and offers a much better view outside) than an M20J. Of course, the later is 12-14 knots faster.

I didn’t really have the occasion to really put it through its paces yet, but here we are in normal cruise, doing 132 knots indicated (let’s call it just shy of 140 knots true), while burning about 38 litres / just under 10 GPH:

I love the unobstructed views to the sides:

Looking forward to some more flying in the C177RG!

Last Edited by boscomantico at 29 Mar 21:00
Frankfurt (EDFE, EDFC, EDFZ), Germany

Hi bosco,

I share your passion. Since last dec I own this kind of plane too. 132-135IAS in 3000/4000ft using 9-9,5 GPH. Easy to fly and a great support by www.cardinalflyers.com

Due to the bad weather this year I flew the Cardinal only about 10h so far. Awaiting better weather.

Below my Cardinal

Last Edited by Tigerflyer at 29 Mar 21:26
EDLM, Germany

Fixed gear C177 Cardinal here. About ten knots slower!

Egnm, United Kingdom

The first airplane I bought, in 1995, was a 1976 Cardinal RG. Despite having owned over a dozen other types, guess what ? I still have the Cardinal !

As Bosco is finding out, the Cardinal RG is one of the most versatile and sweetest flying GA plane ever built .

Right now I’m in the process of doing a total make-over, including new paint, new interior and new avionics.

Can’t wait to get her back in the air !

FAA A&P/IA
LFPN

Beautiful aircraft, I only have flown the fixed gear. The Cessna engineers, at least according to Wings over the World, preferred the 172RG. Getting the flying characteristics right as a result of the centre of lift moving aft with the Cardinal wing took some work, so perhaps the engineers were fonder of the tried and tested 172RG.

The 172RG is more basic and slower, but with very good range. Dwane Wallace’s favourite was the 190.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

The C177RG is probably the most beautiful Cessna singles….it was very high on my list when I bought the Mooney M20J….more or less the same engine…I was looking for a 76 (with full panel and improved gear)..in the end, for me the extra 15-20 kts of the Mooney were hard to go past for long distance touring….(regular Scotland to S of France)…as well as having an HSI and 2-axis autopilot, which are not common on (old) Cessnas for some reason…

Last Edited by AnthonyQ at 30 Mar 08:24
EGPD / OMDW / YPJT, United Kingdom

RobertL18C wrote:

The Cessna engineers, at least according to Wings over the World, preferred the 172RG. Getting the flying characteristics right as a result of the centre of lift moving aft with the Cardinal wing took some work, so perhaps the engineers were fonder of the tried and tested 172RG.
The 172RG is more basic and slower, but with very good range. Dwane Wallace’s favourite was the 190.

Hmmm, me thinks you’re confused:

  • “Cessna, Wings FOR the World” was written by William “Bill” Thompson, Cessna’s Chief Test Pilot / Engineer, 1947 – 1975 .
  • The Cardinal wing was directly taken from the newly developed 210 canitlever wing featuring fully balanced Frise ailerons (This BTW, is what gives the Cardinal such nice handling characteristics). What was UNIQUE to the Cardinal is the full flying Stabilsor which did require some tweaking in the first years.
  • The 172RG was developed in 1979, AFTER the 177Rg, It is a complete dog when compared to the 177RG, in just about every category, and I have never seen any mention of any Cessna Engineers preferring the 172RG over the 177RG.
  • The biggest problem and what was ultimately it’s demise, was the high Cost to Build the Cardinal. Examples: Take a close look at the fully flush and compound curved doors and compare to 172/182 flat, “barn doors” to get an idea. Then there’s the huge, forged and machined spar carry-through, no doubt a small fortune to produce. Same goes for the wing and ailerons.
Last Edited by Michael at 31 Mar 09:40
FAA A&P/IA
LFPN

Michael correct on the title and author. The item is on p.43 of the book where the author reports that Chuck Hinson, who was the test pilot at the time, ‘told me that it was his favourite model – quite a testimony from a professional who trained and checked out Cessna Company personnel in everything from 150s to Citations!’ – the ! is in the quote. You could treat it as ironic or an endorsement, YMMV :)

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

…Wings for the World has a lot of interesting anecdotes on the way the test pilots and engineers worked the development of different models, and has quite a lot on the fixes for the Cardinal line.

Enstone (EGTN), Oxford (EGTK)

Anyone have any type-specific tips from real-life experience for me?

Take good care of the doors in windy conditions. Watch out for the front seat passenger opening the door without holding tight on the handle, if there is turbulence from the hangar. The doors give very good access to the comfortable rear seats, and to do that they are quite long and will catch the wind.
Many 177’s have leaky doors because they have been over-opened by the wind and damaged.

Thinking back to the days I did my CPL and IFR training in C177RGs, I still think it is one of the nicest flying types, and best all-round for light touring.

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