Cessna Model 177 / Cardinal / Cardinal Classic


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Cessna Model 177

Expanding its range of single-engined aircraft in an attempt to satisfy what then appeared to be an insatiable market for this class of aeroplane, the company introduced the Cessna Model 177 at the end of September 1967. Generally similar in overall configuration to other members of the Cessna family of fourseaters, it was distinguished easily by a cantilever monoplane wing. Other 'advanced' features included weight-saving integral wing fuel tanks, an improved version of Cessna's Land-O-Matic fixed tricycle landing gear, and what was regarded as an 'easy handling' control system. The Model 177 was, at the time of introduction, the designation of the basic model: a de luxe version, named Cardinal, included full blind-flying instrumentation, more extensive equipment, and luxury interior appointments as standard.

Powerplant of the initial version was a 112kW Avco Lycoming O-320-E21D engine, but later versions had increased power and in late 1970 a third member of the family was added, the Cardinal RG, which introduced retractable landing gear actuated by an electrically powered hydraulic fuel injection engine.

In 1971 Cardinal II and Cardinal RG II versions appeared, these differing by having more comprehensive equipment as standard. In 1976 the Model 177 was withdrawn, the Cardinal becoming regarded as the basic model of the remaining four versions. Two years later the Cardinal also disappeared, the Cardinal II being renamed the Cardinal Classic, but at the end of 1978, at which time more than 4,000 of the Model 177 and Cardinal versions had been built, all Cardinal production was terminated.

 MODELCessna Cardinal RG
 ENGINE1 x Avco Lycoming IO-360-A1B6D flat-four piston engine, 149kW
  Take-off weight1270 kg2800 lb
  Empty weight772 kg1702 lb
  Wingspan10.82 m36 ft 6 in
  Length8.31 m27 ft 3 in
  Height2.62 m9 ft 7 in
  Wing area16.16 m2173.94 sq ft
  Max. speed274 km/h170 mph
  Cruise speed224 km/h139 mph
  Ceiling5210 m17100 ft
  Range1658 km1030 miles

PETER MELVILLE, e-mail, 29.12.2012 14:31

i own a cardinal 177B,and am wondering if i can increase the fuel capacity from 190 litres to 220 litres plus.if you can help.thanks.


Bill, 10.07.2012 22:04

I owned a C177 RG II. that was a dream to fly. It flew circles around C182. Fuel consumption was 8 1 /2 GPH @ cruise speed on long trips (that 4 cyl IO 360A was a gem). Very comfortable and roomy. Too bad it got such a bad rap (due to Aileron design) but with that corrected, so easy to fly. The factory avionics were not the best, but once upgraded it was a pure airplane with lots to like about it.


D. Turner, e-mail, 11.06.2012 19:26

We traded a 1976 172 for a 1976 Cardinal RG in 1980. It was a great plane to fly with generous cabin space and superb range and economy. Six or eight crosscountry coast to coast was very easy to do. Really missed it when sold.


Dave Lawrence, e-mail, 29.05.2012 01:22

I was a partner in a 1977 Cardinal RG. We had it on lease-back at DuPage County Airport in northern Illinois. A renter flew it to Washington Courthouse, Ohio, but crashed it in a bean field in IFR conditions on his return flight. We then bought a 1978 Cardinal RG. No more lease-back but we did rent it out for a year. It was the most comfortable plane I've ever flown. The family enjoyed the trips. Unfortunately, my partner moved to Wichita so he took the plane with him. i was really sorry to see it go, but with three children in high school (think 4 years later!) it was for the best. I really miss you.


Troy Lake, e-mail, 02.05.2012 02:38

This is gonna sound like the most oddball question ever asked, how far would a 177 glide on it's own if the pilot bailed out? I know it would somewhat depend on altitude, but would it glide a ways before going nose down? Believe it or not, I know a situation when this happened.


John Knudsen, e-mail, 19.02.2012 02:37

I flew a 177 for several years and found it to be a very nice airplane. I had a C 140 at the time. Both the C 140 and the C177 would do a "falling leaf" stall. No other cessna I ever flew would do this.


Ben, e-mail, 24.06.2011 21:02

Partners in a 1967 177. Loved the "ole girl". Many trips to Cedar Key, Fl and loved every minute. Dependable, good looking and fun to drive. Miss her much.


cujet, e-mail, 27.11.2010 03:41

I own an early Cardinal RG, with the IO-360 A1B6 engine (2 distinct and separate magneto's)(a reason for purchase of the early model). It's a fine flying aircraft. But the very best thing is the combination of interior space, speed and efficiency. I generally cruise at 142 Knots and at less than 9 gallons per hour. It will stay up on a long range trip for 5.5 hours, maximum. 700 statute miles is easy, even with a strong headwind.


Bernie, e-mail, 20.11.2010 05:10

I have a 1977 C-177RG that I bought as a factory demo with about 45 hours on it. Other than using oil excessively on my first engine, she has been a dream for me. At 2120 hours, I traded in my IO 360-A1B6D for an IO 360-A1B6, and my dream improved. I also traded my 2 blade prop for a 3 blade, with reduction in noise and more ground clearance. After owning this bird for the last 33 years, I wouldn't trade it in for any other airplane. It does everything I want it to do and then some.


Bob Spofford, e-mail, 18.11.2010 05:59

The Cardinal was originally intended as a replacement for the 172, which by 1968 was 13 years old and looking a bit dowdy when compared with the newer Piper Cherokee. The visibility (the pilot sits slightly ahead of the wing's leading edge) interior room and styling were a triumph of the marketing department. Unfortunately, the performance and handling of the original 1968 model weren't quite ready for prime time:
a) it was slightly underpowered with an airfoil that was unforgiving of attempts to horse it off the ground at low speed. As a result, a number of low-tiime pilots overloaded it and then flew into the trees on takeoff.
b) The handling was twitchy compared to other Cessnas, and heavy-handed technique sometimes provoked a tailplane stall in the flare, dropping the Cardinal on its nose gear and causing a lot of damage.

VERY quickly, word got around that the Cardinal, while beautiful, was an oddball that "doesn't fly like a Cessna." So the 172 was rushed back into production and Cessna set about fixing the Cardinal. By the 177B model in 1970, they had everything worked out - a bigger engine, constant speed prop, a kinder airfoil, revised control ratios and the distinctive slots in the stabilator. (The latter two items were retrofitted to all Cardinals at factory expense.)
However, the original bad reputation stuck, and Cessna only sold a few hundred each year until stopping production in 1978.
I own a 1975 177B that I bought in 1994. Even that late, there was still a cloud over the model, and fixed-gear Cardinals were priced lower than comparable 172s. In the last 10 years, that has reversed, and the Cardinal is now considered a modest sort of cult collectors item, with prices to match. The majority of Cardinals flying today are lovingly cared-for and are tricked-out with beautiful paint, leather interiors and high-end modern avionics.
An interesting footnote: The Cardinal was originally considered the model for the future of Cessna's single engine line. They actually built a prototype model 187 that had the power and other specs of the 182 /Skylane but the looks of a Cardinal. However, the Cardinal's teething troubles and the fact that it cost more to build (thanks to the compound curves and strutless wing) meant the idea was dropped pretty quickly. There are pictures available of the 187 prototype, but the plane itself was apparently broken up for scrap years ago.


JV, e-mail, 16.10.2010 00:00

I remember when the CE-177 first came out. I was a flight instructor at a small airport at Totowa-Wayne (NJ)Airport. The airplane was very pitch sensitive and with a balanced elevator-horizontal stabilizer, difficult to flare. It had a tendency to "float" on landing. The elevator could easily be over controlled especially on landing. That problem was remedied by slits in the forward portion of the elevator which gave it more feel. The engine was responsive if no somewhat underpowered with a fixed pitch propeller. The 177 was roomy and reasonably quiet. ARC avionics were not very good, as I remember.


B Schulte, e-mail, 20.12.2009 06:10

I was fortunate to be a partner in a 1975 Cardinal 177 RG. It was a dream to fly. It was a treat to take trips up to 1,000 Stat. Miles in. It was a top performer @ 7500ft. We had auto pilot and GPS. Just tell it where you wanted to go and it would take you ther in style. Fort Worth to San Antonio and back in an afternoon. I miss the old girl.


Juvenal, e-mail, 23.12.2008 14:05

Uma ótima aeronave, com um motor dentro das necessidades. Aeronaves de asa alta tem uma ótima performance no ar, principalmente em áreas logísticas. Trens de pouso reforçado, aguentando qualquer tipo de solo(areia, gramado, pedra,asfalto). Perfeita


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