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5 Answers

Transition C 172 to C177RG

Asked by: 4290 views Flight Instructor

I am transitioning to a C177RG  from a C172 FG. I am told the Cardinal will stall easily on landing because of the laminar wing  " fly the plane onto the runway and don't go below 80mph ". I am concerned about this as I been used to   landing just above stall speed of the 172  I am told I can't do this with the 177 as it  fall out will essentially of the sky if I   stall   i.e. go below 80mph Is this not over caution. I don't see much difference on the approach and landing from the 172. The stall speed of the 177 is stated to be 67mph per the POH  I should be able to abide by this and not be so super cautious about stalling   Some second opinion would be appreciated    

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5 Answers



  1. Mark Kolber on Jun 23, 2013

    I’m hardly a Cardinal expert with only 14 hours more than 10 years ago, but I do not recall any way in which the airplane were more finicky on landing than a 172 or required any special procedures.

    I would be concerned with any advice that says that there’s a fully-certified aircraft that it’s inherently dangerous to fly at a Vref of 1.3 Vso.

    So, first I’d go to the POH. Get Vso in calibrated airspeed, multiple by 1.3 and convert the result to IAS. That should be your Vref. Compare it with the POH checklist for recommended landing speeds at full gross. Are they in line; is your instructor claiming there needs to be a substantial mark-up over that?

    If so, I’d start asking questions why. Or, you can test the veracity yourseld at altitude – isn’t that what stall awareness training is all about anyway?

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  2. John D. Collins on Jun 23, 2013

    I don’t have a lot of time in the C177 and C177RG, not much more than 80 hours and it is eons ago, but I am not a fan of the type. The C177 has a slotted stabilator to aid with tail stall at low speed. The nose will drop suddenly if you get too slow as you run out of pitch authority. You should follow the POH speeds on landing and the advice of an experienced instructor in landing technique, particularly when the aircraft is nose heavy, for example when just you and a passenger or instructor are on board. By comparison, the C172 is a much nicer landing airplane.

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  3. Bob Watson on Jun 25, 2013

    I can’t recall the C-177RG “falling out of the sky” on landing, but it’s not uncommon for higher-performance airplanes to sink faster than a C-172 as the speed drops towards Vso. Consequently, it’s more important to fly the numbers more precisely on approach. Keeping 80 on final, until just over the threshold, is a good way to keep the controls from going mushy and the plane slows down easy enough to where you won’t float too long.

    It’s too bad that your getting psyched-out before even flying the plane. I’ve seen pilots who have been conditioned by such warnings to fly the final approach much faster than necessary to prevent any of the evils that await when flying “too slow.” (spin into the ground, stall and splat, etc.) In reality, 1.3 Vso in a C-172 or a C-177 is plenty fast for the airplane, but pretty slow for some pilots. So they add a few knots for their CFI and a few more for grandma, just to be safe. Unfortunately, while this gives them plenty of airspeed buffer, it increases their landing distance to 2 to 3x what the plane would need if flown correctly (by the numbers). It’s a false economy to keep the plane from stalling on final only to run off the end of the runway.

    As Mark suggests, fly around at 1.3 Vso in landing configuration at altitude to get a feel for how the plane handles. If there’s sufficient control authority at altitude (with power off, to simulate landing conditions, of course), that authority should still be there when you’re over the runway.

    I like the Cardinal-RG. Great view for pax and photos (no strut and no wheels to disturb the view) and it’s a stable and docile plane. I’m not a fan of the complicated Cessna landing gear (compared to other light plane systems), but they are reliable enough when properly maintained. My only beef with the plane is the fuel-injected engine is hard to start when hot. It’s bigger, heavier, faster, and more complex than a C-172, so you’ll have to get used to those differences, but, IMO, it’s worth it.

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  4. USAF_PJ on Apr 02, 2014

    I have 700 hours in a c177RG. I have about the same in a c172 and a piper archer. Been flying 23 years, so I’d say I have a well rounded enough experience to speak on this issue. The 177RG is a great plane, that said, it is not a 172, it is much NICER. It’s bigger, complex and has a 200hp engine. 80kts on final? Sounds to me like your instructor isn’t too experienced with the 177. Maybe he was taught that by whomever taught him. It will not fall out of the sky below 80kts, especially with full flaps. Fly what the book says. If you are heavy loaded, add 5 Kts. I f you have a nice long runway, then you have no worries. I land my Cardinal on a 1500ft strip “daily”, I fly a 90kts downwind with 10 degrees of flaps, 80kts base with second notch of flaps and 65-70kts on final with full flaps. Remember, the stabilator is different than the 172. It is heavier. You are moving the entire airfoil rather than just the elevator…so yeah, it is different but nothing to be scared of…just learn how it flys and you’ll do just fine. I love the 172 but if you are going to put your big boy flying pants on, you’ll have to learn to fly bigger, heavier and faster planes that aren’t as forgiving as our trusty 172’s. Remember, a 172 was really designed a an excellent training aircraft. It’s made for people learning how to fly. We get so comfortable flying it that anything else becomes “strange”. The majority of the problems the 177 got a bad rap for were due to pilot induced oscillations. We were all flying it like a 172. It wasn’t the plane that was the problem, it was pilots. None of us like to admit that but it’s the truth. Learn your plane, fly it the way the people who built it say it should be flown. If you find that to be too complex for your skill level for now, stay in a sky hawk.

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  5. USAF_PJ on Apr 02, 2014

    A quick response to a previous poster saying he doesn’t like hot starts with fuel injection engines. Here is a very good trick with the 177 engine. The fuel injection lines live on top of the engine, so when you turn off the engine in the normal fashion, then try to start it again after a quick turn, you can have issues. Try this, plan ahead, once you taxi and are ready for shut down rev to 1200RPM. Pull the mixture and let the engine stop. Once you get back in..TOUCH NOTHING, just master switch, aux fuel pump and turn the key. It will start right up, then advance the mixture and idle back the throttle. Once I learned this my fuel injection hot starts became a breeze. I wish I could find the guy who taught me that on the ramp many years ago and shake his hand!

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