This 1975 Cessna 177RG Cardinal Is a Sleek, Segment-Splitting ‘AircraftForSale’ Top Pick

Developed as a 172 replacement, the Cardinal eventually filled a higher-end slot in the market.

Each day, the team at Aircraft For Sale picks an airplane that catches our attention because it is unique, represents a good deal, or has other interesting qualities. You can read Aircraft For Sale: Today’s Top Pick at FLYINGMag.com daily.

Today’s Top Pick is a 1975 Cessna 177RG Cardinal.

Cessna missed the memo regarding the “if it isn’t broken” rule during the 1960s and tried to replace its venerable 172 Skyhawk with a new, better-looking model called the 177 Cardinal. The new airplane was promising, with a cantilever wing that eliminated the 172’s draggy, old-fashioned struts. The 177’s cabin was wider, as were its doors, which made getting in and out much easier. Its large, attractively sloped windshield stretched back into the front of the cabin roof to improve the pilot’s upward visibility. Overall the new Cardinal appeared to fix all of the Skyhawk’s minor shortcomings.

But there was a problem with power.

The first fixed-gear Cardinals had 150 hp engines that were not up to the task and, along with certain handling quirks, gave the airplanes a poor reputation. Cessna soon boosted power to 180 hp and made other adjustments that helped. Later the company rolled out the retractable model with 200 hp like the aircraft for sale here. Performance improved significantly.

Among the Cardinal’s many fans, this version is considered the best. The extra power and improved aerodynamics of retractable gear resulted in a neat, comfortable cross-country package that could cruise economically at 140 ktas. The Skyhawk wound up outliving the Cardinal, but the latter remains a desirable traveling machine.  

This Cessna 177RG Cardinal has 3,248 hours on the airframe and 1,440 hours on its 200 hp Lycoming IO-360 engine. The panel features a King KMA 20 audio panel with PM1000A four-place intercom, KLN 90A GPS, dual KX-155 Nav/Coms, King ADF, Narco AT-150 transponder, and S-TEC 50 autopilot with altitude hold.

Pilots who like the Cessna 172 but want a stylish aircraft with more responsive handling and a higher cruising speeds should consider this 1975 Cessna 177RG Cardinal, which is available for $103,900 on AircraftForSale.

You can arrange financing of the aircraft through FLYING Finance. For more information, email [email protected].


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