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Ramp Appeal: Fan favoriteRamp Appeal: Fan favorite

Cessna 177 Cardinal

March Preflight

At first glance, you might mistake it for a Cessna 172. The Cessna 177 Cardinal shares the Skyhawk’s lineage and some of its flying characteristics, but the resemblance stops there. The Cardinal has no struts. The Cardinal’s high wing is aft of the pilot seat, making the forward visibility much better. It’s roomier than a Skyhawk, and its doors open a full 90 degrees.

The Cessna Cardinal has a dedicated fan base, and it’s easy to see why. Pilots who have never flown a Cardinal dream of doing so.

Built from model years 1968 through 1978, the airplane was meant to provide a step up from the Skyhawk. The first production-year models were equipped with 150-horsepower engines, which many consider underpowered. Subsequent models (177A, 177B, 177RG) were equipped with 180- and 200-horsepower engines (for the retractable-gear version). These also have cowl flaps and constant-speed propellers.

Flying clubs and individual owners prize Cardinals for their good looks, performance, and ability to perform multiple missions. The Cardinal Flyers Online type club ( offers technical information, cost-saving ideas, and opportunities to get to know other Cardinal enthusiasts.

Jill W. Tallman

Jill W. Tallman

AOPA Technical Editor
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.