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6 Answers

Penny wise pound foolish

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Commercial Pilot

Hi all, I'm about to start on my commercial. I have two choices for complex aircraft, a basic Cessna 172RG Cutlass, or a Cessna 177RG Cardinal with Aspen avionics. Should I save some $$$ and just fly the 172RG or would it pay in the Future to fly the 177RG with "glass/MFD/Autopilot". Thoughts appreciated................. Chris

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6 Answers

  1. John D. Collins on Jan 06, 2012

    Presuming that the Cardinal RG costs more per hour to rent, I don’t see any advantage towards obtaining the commercial certificate just because it has an Aspen PFD.

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  2. Bill Trussell on Jan 06, 2012

    As you might think the correct answer would depend on your future plans.  If you are going to fly for a living then glass experience would be nice, but not absolutely necessary.  Most commercial operators will have type specific training requirements for you to achieve, which will include avionics systems.  There will be time to get the glass experience down the road if you wish.
    Flying the 172 RG is a lot like the fixed gear 172, but the wheels go up and down and there is a different engine up front.  It is complex but not high performance.  I would suggest to my students that they learn incrementally, fly the 172RG for the rating, then move up to the Cardinal in a lower stress enviornment post your checkride for the rating.  This would offer the best of all worlds, having achieved the commercial rating in a more familiar aircraft, then transition to the Cardinal.
    All that said a lot would depend on the overall availability of both aircraft. Which one has more time available to achieve your goals in a reasonable timeframe.  Either way it sounds like a lot of fun for  you!

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  3. Micah on Jan 06, 2012

    I agree. i would train in the 172RG, save the money, and later find a glass cockpit sim course for introduction/training in that environment. Keep it simple; learn one thing at a time.

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  4. n on Jan 06, 2012

    The first plane you fly as a green CPL is not going to have glass, heck you’re going to be lucky if you don’t have “inop” stickers in it.

    Get your CPL for as little as possible and spend the money you would have spend on the 177 (which ain’t the best flying bird btw) on gas to drive around and shake hands and land that first job!!!

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  5. StudentCFI on Jan 08, 2012

    The Aspen really shines if you are going to use it for instrument, otherwise, just stick to the cheaper steam cockpit C172RG.  The commercial checkride is all visual maneuvers anyways, so why pay for all that fancy glass when you will spending most of your time outside the cockpit anyways?

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  6. Matthew Waugh on Jan 09, 2012

    Fly the C172RG – you can get “glass” experience later. It takes, at most, a few hours in the plane (and many hours in the books) to master glass – do commercial VFR maneuvers in a glass cockpit won’t buy you much of anything.

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