May 2009 Issue
An honest 177 knots on 11 GPH turns the Cardinal into a contender with new aircraft. Spacious cabin and affordable entry price are plusses.
Cessna’s 177 Cardinal can best be described as one of those should-have-been products that just never...was. Sleek, good looking and with decent payload and speed, it never quite nudged the Skyhawk into retirement, as Cessna had hoped it would. Nonetheless, the airplane still has a loyal following of owners, many of whom pine for additional speed. That wish is now grantable in the form of a new turbonormalizing system now in the final certification stages at Tornado Alley Turbo in Ada, Oklahoma. TAT is well known for its Bonanza and Cessna 185 TN systems, not to mention its hot selling (at least until recently) turbo system for the Cirrus SR22. The new Cardinal conversion—which retails for about $40,000, all in—adds to TAT’s lineup. In mid-March, we visited TAT’s Ada skunkworks to examine and fly the TN Cardinal RG. (Only RG owners need apply; the STC doesn’t cover the fixed-gear version.) The airplane we flew was equipped with what will be the actual TN hardware, although the final dots and crossed-Ts on the paperwork were expected to be done before summer 2009.
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