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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:00 pm 
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Hello everyone,

There are a lot of people on this forum whose aviation knowledge and experience is extraordinary. I would like to ask them to share what they know on the following subject.

The matter is that I've heard several times that when Cessna C177 Cardinal was conceived, it was meant to replace Cessna 172 as a primary trainer. However, later it became obvious that the aircraft failed to achieve this due to numerous issues that arose and became an executive private transport instead.

Unfortunately, this is but all I know. What were those cardinal issues of the Cardinal that prevented it from becoming a substitute for C172?

To me, Cardinal is one of the nicest aircraft I know, although only by pictures.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:21 pm 
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ilya1502 wrote:
Hello everyone,

There are a lot of people on this forum whose aviation knowledge and experience is extraordinary. I would like to ask them to share what they know on the following subject.

The matter is that I've heard several times that when Cessna C177 Cardinal was conceived, it was meant to replace Cessna 172 as a primary trainer. However, later it became obvious that the aircraft failed to achieve this due to numerous issues that arose and became an executive private transport instead.

Unfortunately, this is but all I know. What were those cardinal issues of the Cardinal that prevented it from becoming a substitute for C172?

To me, Cardinal is one of the nicest aircraft I know, although only by pictures.


I can only speak to my personal experience.
We had a Cardinal on our line that was purchased by one of our FBO partners. He leased it back to us as an instrument trainer.
I flew it quite a lot with students. The plane was fine really but it did have a tendency to float which didn't win any gold medals when it came down to low time pilots. Once checked out properly there was no problem at all but the overall result was a definite tendency for pilots to ask for the 172.
Aside from this the rental on the Cardinal was higher which didn't help the cause.
Bottom line was that for us at least the plane just wasn't worth the trouble of "selling it". It became a sort of odyssey for us. It was eventually sold by the owner.
Dudley Henriques


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 1:41 pm 
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They're good looking planes. There is one parked right in front of out 172. First plane I walk past every time I come to the the airport. It looks roomy, the doors are massive and it looks easier to climb into thanks to the lack of wing struts.

The 180hp versions seem to have a better useful load and cruise performance over the 172.

The comments made by Dudley are telling. I wonder how much more they cost over the 172 when new.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Ive always dug the aesthetic of the cardinal compared to other Cessnas. My A&P doesn't seem to care for them. Although it still looks "Cessna" it was a departure from their bread and butter with the cantilever wing and a stabilator. I have no time in a cardinal so I can't speak to how they fly... Owners seem to like them.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 2:41 pm 
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The Cardinal is a fine airplane, fitting between the 172 and 182 in capability. Nice big doors make getting in and out easy. It has a cleaner airframe, slicker C210 style wing with no wing struts, and a stabilator for the elevator. The RG is particularly nice. But as Dudley pointed out, the price tag and operating costs kept it from being a big seller, much like the Hawk XP. Most buyers looking for a 172 upgrade found it a better deal to simply pay a little more and go for the 182.

Cheers
TJ

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2017 7:15 pm 
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The 177 had two problems. One got fixed, the other didn't.

Problem 1. It was the only Cessna with a stabilator. In the early versions of the airplane, the stabilator would stall prior to the wing resulting in the nosewheel smashing into the ground on a full stall landing. It resulted in some serious damage to airplanes and some serious damage to the airplane's reputation. Cessna later put a slot in the stabilator which completely fixed the problem and actually resulted in some pretty good float in the flare. On a soft field landing you could hold the nose off forever. I actually tried to turn off the runway one time while the nose was still off the ground. I couldn't believe the nose could still be off the ground at such a low speed.

Problem 2. The airplane competed almost directly with the 172. The cantilevered wing on the Cardinal was very expensive to build, resulting in the airplane costing significantly more than the Skyhawk. There was simply not enough performance difference between the fixed gear versions and the Skyhawks to justify the higher purchase price.

The retractable gear versions however, were GREAT. I gave a great deal of instruction in a Cardinal RG II. It was a marvelous airplane. With its 200 HP Lycoming it would absolutely run away from a similarly powered Piper Arrow. The controls were wonderful and the roll rate absolutely invited you to do aileron rolls. The 1978 models were the best because gear retraction time was reduced to 6 seconds. The older airplanes took a good bit longer. You could safely fly much slower than a Piper Tomahawk on final. The doors opened 90 degrees making it very easy to get in and out of both the front and back seats. IMO it was the best 200 HP retractable single ever.

If you can find a 1978 model RG II on the market, you'll be paying 6 figures for it. But, more likely, you won't find one. They never make it to the market. Most owners are being pestered by their friends to sell every day. I think they keep waiting lists.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 1:13 am 
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Years ago I began my primary training in a C-177 and eventually did my first solo in it. Ours was a 180 hp, constant speed prop. It was a great airplane to fly but could be a little tricky on landing, particularly in the flare. I've got almost 500 hours now and I'd love to try fly one again to see if I'd still feel the same way. I always did appreciate the fact that the wing was set back a little giving the pilot better visibility during turns. This was nice as a student in the traffic pattern when I was trying to line up on final. Overall I have nothing but fond memories of the Cardinal.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 5:26 am 
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whamil77 wrote:
The 177 had two problems.

Thanks, whamil77, this pretty much explains it. I couldn't believe that floating alone can be such a problem to prevent using an aircraft as a trainer, otherwise all Diamonds can be ruled out.

You, guys, who have had an opportunity to fly this bird, are the happiest pilots in the world IMO.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 10:14 am 
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An interesting aircraft, had to read a bit about it. Never met one in person.

In aviation, where life spans of an individual airplane tends to be relatively long, an attempt to replace an established, well-received product model with a new one carries a huge risk. It is an exacerbated form of generic "older was better" syndrome, difficult to overcome because legacy products tend to be widely available second-hand, and support for them is essentially mandated. Assisted by regulating system that often allows good deals of 'grandfathering', it is easy to find the option of simply updating a current model the most compelling one. This shows from 172 to Bonanza; from King Air to 737.

I don't know how would the history have written itself if the 172 production had not resumed, but the Model 177 was refined to a true replacement. Anyways, the 177 was not that much of a failure anyway, with over 4000 built.


_/ _/ _/ _/


As a Tip of the Friday... ;) ...Writing Cessna model designations. (Not talking about ICAO/IATA codes.)

They don't carry a 'C' in them.

Cessna 177 or Model 177, but not (Cessna) C177 nor C-177. Simply 177. :)

Some Cessnas do carry a prefix in the model designation, which may or may not mean something important, but you wouldn't find a 'C' in common models. Examples include FR172, F177, A185, T182, U206, TU206, and so on.

-Esa


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 3:32 pm 
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I remember riding in a Cardinal 177RG, then also riding in a 'Gutless' Cutlass 172RG, The Cardinal was clean and a nice flying airplane while the Gutless felt like it was struggling to fly. I don't know if it was the added weight of the retraction equipment or what, but I did not feel comfortable in that airplane. The Cardinal RG was Cessna's perfect 'economical' RG design using the Lyc O-360. I guess that suggests the Cherokee design was more easily adaptable to RG than the Cessna line was.

Esa, what is your opinion on the higher compression 4 cyl vs lower compression 6 cyl. I am thinking of a Lyc O-360 180hp souped up to 200hp vs an O-540 at 235hp. A good comparison in aircraft would be the Cardinal RG with the 200HP Lyc O-360 vs the Skylane RG wth 235HP Lyc O-540. The O-360 would be more economical, while the understressed O-540 would seem a little more reliable. What happens to engine reliability when engine compression is increased?

Cheers
TJ

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 08, 2017 7:24 pm 
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I happen to be in the process of purchasing a Cardinal, I think the early 68 and 69 A models sealed its fate. It was so underpowered with the 150hp and had a tendency to bang the tail on landing, But it's a real looker :) and flys like a sweetheart!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 4:12 am 
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pilottj wrote:
Esa, what is your opinion on the higher compression 4 cyl vs lower compression 6 cyl. I am thinking of a Lyc O-360 180hp souped up to 200hp vs an O-540 at 235hp. A good comparison in aircraft would be the Cardinal RG with the 200HP Lyc O-360 vs the Skylane RG wth 235HP Lyc O-540. The O-360 would be more economical, while the understressed O-540 would seem a little more reliable. What happens to engine reliability when engine compression is increased?
Well, a common example of 200 hp, 360 cubic inch Lycoming would be that on Piper Arrow (IO-360-C1C6 nowadays). It appears to me as a fairly trouble-free power plant.

With an O-540, you gain a few horsepower but also some weight. Those 182RGs appear to have, by engine designation, these dual magneto thingies on them. I'd avoid them like plague, unless a support/replacement programme has since been introduced. Other than that, the (I)O-540 base series is fairly robust power plant, or at least they don't appear to spike in any fleet statistics in a bad way.

Now, in what comes to your question on engine reliability vs. compression ratio, there is no definite answer. In most cases, I would not expect much any difference. For what it's worth, Lycoming's recommended TBO guesses show pretty much zero correlation with compression ratio figures, so at least in their guesswork they didn't consider it a factor on its own. There are certain engines that are known to crack their cylinders pretty often, but those tend to be big-bore engines in 300 hp range, having compression ratios of around 8.5. Continentals, mainly.

Reliability of an individual engine is a difficult topic, because real life won't do damage points. While reliability is a statistical measure, stress on an engine is not a linearly accumulative number. For instance, steel parts that make up the highly stressed components of the engine can spend almost their entire life below their fatigue limit, accumulating very little fatigue in service. But if just in seldom cases stressed beyond their fatigue limit (prop strikes, gross mishandling etc.), hidden damage can be done to the parts that are not supposed to have any fatigue life.

Biggest issue affecting the reliability from the viewpoint of a single engine is manufacturing quality of the parts and components that are used. A 'good' engine may go on to and beyond its recommended TBO with few issues, but a 'bad' one may not last 25 hours. Luckily, most of the issues that develop can be detected before anything bad and expensive occurs.

-Esa


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 11:17 am 
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AKar wrote:
pilottj wrote:
-Esa


Thank you for the very insightful answer Esa. A lot to think about. The RV thread below got me a little dreamy about owning an RV-7 and how I would option it. Would I go with the 200hp IO-360 or the basic 180hp unit. Cost vs reliability vs performance..etc. As you say, and from personal experience, the basic Lyc O-360 is about as bulletproof as they come. I remember my training days flying a flightschool's fleet of O-360 powered 172s what with all the student abuse they put up with and kept on ticking.

Keeping the engine happy is my biggest concern when flying. I don't mind flying a few knots slower if it means the engine is 'happy'. Anyway, good stuff to think about.

Cheers
TJ

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 1:45 pm 
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AKar wrote:
these dual magneto thingies on them

What exactly you mean?


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 09, 2017 3:35 pm 
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ilya1502 wrote:
AKar wrote:
these dual magneto thingies on them

What exactly you mean?


I'm guessing he means this:

http://www.askbob.aero/content/lycoming ... b-ne-08-26

Not 100% sure though. I've heard negative things about dual magnetos vs 2 single magnetos, when my friend's airplane club was shopping for a new plane and it came up, but I don't actually have an airplane, so I don't have a lot of personal experience with it.

-stefan


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