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Cardinal RG take off

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Cardinal RG take off

Old 29th Oct 2011, 22:23
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Join Date: Oct 2011
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Cardinal RG take off

Hi,
I Hoping to gain some insight from others experience. I am a new pilot
and Im building hours on 200hp Cardinal Rg, that I co - own. Based on our checklist the take off sequence is something like this:
After rotation, at 60 mph, the a/s quickly tops out at 80 mph with full fine pitch and full throttle, gear down, 10 deg flaps. ( standard T/O from POH).

Normally, I confirm no useable runway, select gear up, wait the 12 seconds for gear to swing, then safe airspeed, positive rate then deselect flaps. After flaps travel inward the airspeed is now about 85- 90Mph

At this point I add in some pitch, to bring the rpm from 2700 rpm to 2500, then
bring back power, to 25" Then look for 17 gph fuel. per POH. This climb is yeilding about 85-90 MPH. and it feels slow

Here is the question- If you rotate and establish the 75- 80mph then adjust pitch to 2500Rpm as the first chore in the sequence you seem to be able to get up into the 100mph range quickley. ( I understand the prop is grabbing more air)
within a second or two, Swing the gear up and then have way more lift available due to the quicker speed. Maintaining a nice 110mph climb comes easily.

I believe airspeed 100- 105mph is more valuable than, a full fine pitch clean up sequence where 80 MPh is the max speed. This is based on feel and what feels like common sense.
Am I making a mistake? Or is there a reason I am not taking into account that would be more prudent/ safer to follow the slower initial flight sequence. VFR/ Day time. Hard surface.
Thanks in advance.

(Max gear swing speed is 140mph per POH)
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Old 29th Oct 2011, 22:51
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Remember that your 'checklist' whilst potentially useful, is not an authoritative document on how your aeroplane should be flown, whereas the POH / AFM most definitely IS.
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Old 30th Oct 2011, 00:00
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Glen,

Your airspeed is controlled by your pitch attitude, and your rate of climb is controlled by the amount of power you have selected. Now, yes, each is affected by the other factor, but not as primarily.

It's really easy to get caught up in the numbers, and get distracted away from flying the plane by feel. The Cardinal does respond to being flown by numbers more than other aircraft types, but it's still a plane you can feel too.

Certainly don't concentrate so hard as to count to 12 to figure out where the gear is, there are little lights for that if you're not sure.

Normally, I confirm no useable runway, select gear up, wait the 12 seconds for gear to swing, then safe airspeed, positive rate then deselect flaps. After flaps travel inward the airspeed is now about 85- 90Mph
Let me re-arrange this for you a bit....

Maintain "safe airspeed" all the time. "Safe" varies by condition of flight. Confirm no useable runway ahead, confirm positive rate and clear of runway, before retracting the gear. Retract gear, confirm aircraft is continuing to climb and accelerate to a suitable flaps up climb speed, and clear of obstacles, and then retract the flaps. Maintain the flaps up climb speed.

I know it's cool to keep yourself busy right after takeoff, and the raise the gear early just because you can, but remember that drag increases as a square of the speed, so the drag caused by the gear remaining extended is not really penalizing you a lot at climb speed. Similarly with the flaps. Retracting either too early will be much more a problem then retracting them too late!

Yes, the runway has not slipped behind you as you climb through 400 feet AGL, and you've got the gear up, and are feeling fast! Bang clatter, the engine quits! Being super sharp, you race through the forced approach drill, lower the gear and the flaps, then switch off the master, with the gear only halfway down. It's been done many times in electo-hydraulic system aircraft, and you don't notice or have time to pump the gear the rest of the way, yet, you're approaching to a very suitable landing surface anyway.

Give yourself more time to get used to flying the aircraft. Do a number of circuits without even raising the gear. Go flying with your partner, and have him/her watch your speeds, while you don't. You should be able to fly the plane by feel, and not watch the ASI at all, if you can't you would benefit from more practice.

Though the Lycoming manual does allow for "over square" engine operation, it is considered not the best practice to reduce RPM before MP. The engine controls are in the left to right order to assist with this. Power first, then RPM, then mixture. You can always go back and fine tune later. 17GPH sounds about right. Remember that the engine is using excess fuel for cooling in the climb, so waste some fuel and keep the engine happy.

Keep your eyes open for a copy of a book titled "Cessna, Wings for the World" by Thompson. It is an excellent read, and has lots of information about the Cardinals.
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Old 30th Oct 2011, 00:00
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Hi Glen

In my experience of flying an RG rotate at 65mph and climb at 80/85 to 300ft
then raise the gear and flaps. Reduce mp to 25 first then rpm to 2500 (this is more for noise reduction as prop tips can be supersonic and very loud.)
leave mixture full rich for cooling accelerate to 105mph again for better cooling. MP before RPM on reduction, RPM before MP on power increase.

75% power is 2450/24.5

The IO360 can run max power with no time limit, but Cardinals generaly have cooling problems, (Cessna design fault) cyl 3 being the highest normaly. Should try and keep any cyl at 380F or less, 400F max for short period DO NOT BELIEVE the 475F POH red line. The single cyl head temp guage is on cyl3 as normaly the hotest best to have a 4 cyl engine monitor.

I would not fly under 90mph unless on finals, then nail 70/75max with 20/30 flaps. Can be side sliped if needed.

60degree banked stall speed is 90mph
10 flap 150mph max.

WE used to desend by leaving power at cruise setting putting the nose down and going to 180mph in smooth air then level out reduce mp slowly to give 150mph drop 10 flap then she slowed to 140 then drop gear slowed to 110 lower 20 on flaps mp around 21, 90mph in the circiut then 30 flap final 70mph full fine full rich cowl flaps open ready for go around.


I believe the CardinalRG is the best all round 200hp aircraft. Better then the Arrow or Mooney.

Good Flying Brian
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Old 30th Oct 2011, 01:04
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I'm guessing your Cardinal is 1975 or earlier, based on speeds in MPH. I own and fly a 1977 RG.

Don't be in a hurry to reduce power. I lift off at about 55 kts (slight nose up) and accelerate to 80 kts for initial climb. Gear up, wait for the yellow light, then flaps up. 80 kts is great initially, but I can see over the nose better at 90-100 kts. I don't reduce power below 1000' AGL, and may leave full power in longer if I know I want to be higher sooner (say, in mountain country). 25", 2500 rpm, and fuel back to top of green (watching CHT).

Close in for landing I first select 10 degrees flap. This slows the plane down to gear speed, then drop the gear. I'm quite comfortable flying the pattern at 80 kts, then slowing to 65-70 kts on short final (with 30 degrees).

Last edited by MarcK; 30th Oct 2011 at 02:39.
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Old 30th Oct 2011, 01:47
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I fly all singles the same. Rotate, positive rate, gear up and accelerate to Vy, at 400 feet AGL flaps up climb power and hold Vy to 1000 feet. At 1000 feet accelerate to a cruise climb and complete the after takeoff checks.

Altitude is life so you want to get away from the ground so you have some options. The aircraft will always climb better with the gear up so as soon as you are safety climbing you should raise the gear. I do not believe in the "wait until there is no useable runway ahead before raising the gear" because in practice it is hard to judge that distance, and in any case so what if the engine fails just as you start to climb away ? You land on your belly, walk away and the insurance company fixes your airplane. An EFATO is just about the worst thing that can happen to you. That extra height from the increased climb rate will give you more time and more options which will always be a good thing
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Old 31st Oct 2011, 08:45
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Originally Posted by Big Pistons Forever
Rotate, positive rate, gear up
100% agree. As soon as +'ve rate of climb confirmed get the gear up - for the reasons mentioned.

OC619
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Old 31st Oct 2011, 09:00
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Cardinal RG takeoff and landing

Thank you all for responding. I read each response a few times and took some advice from each of you.
Today I got in a half dozen circuits near dusk.
Flaps in at safe airspeed and positive rate above 200' seemed to earn an extra 10mph. Climbing to circuit height 800' at full power with the gear down, was comfortable provided the nose/ angle of attack was trimmed for 90-95mph.
the gear down during the climb, proved to be less of an anchor than I thought. I flew four circuits with gear extended.
I seemed to have lots of time, as opposed to being " busy" tweaking everything and looking for more speed.
In the climb, there is a big difference in air speed when the gear is up and the flaps are in, early, but point is well understood about being prepared for a mill failure, and being better ready with 10 flap and gear extended- should there be something to land on past the fence- This is BC though, and rugged is the norm or water is the other.
Manifold, Prop, then Mixture does make more sense in that order, and proved to be quicker to get the setting than a back and forth adjustment method I was doing before.
And finally trimming for the desired air speed in climb and approach made the work load easier.

approach at 90mph is the easiest landing for me to grease, there is lots of ground effect, and the time in ground is longer, touch down happens at or close to 80mph. Seem to be able to get my target each time after flaring over the thresh hold. the higher air flow seems to give everything lots more authority. The sink is slow and linear. (Throttle is idled at fence.)
Conversly;
I did try out a couple of 75mph 30 deg flap approaches. Slower on approach but less time in ground effect and the bottom seems to drop out quickly after the flare- resulting in a crow hop if you dont arrest the sink with lots of and very quick stabilator, and of course you hear the DWU speaking up as the touch down is app. 65mph, Adding more power helps arrest the sink , but Im not sure which method actually used less runway to a full stop- adding the power or at least keeping it on for the short /soft field adds some unwanted floating time, its easily more work. (1975 Model 177RG) Thanks again. G
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Old 31st Oct 2011, 11:30
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I'm glad to hear you're having success. Within the bounds of the techniques described in the flight manual (particularly those which are "limitations"), there is opportunity to fly any given aircraft with a variation of technique, depending upon your experience/comfort with the aircraft, and the situation.

Though I agree with those who posted that there is less drag, and therefore greater climb with the gear up, the difference can be smaller than one would expect, and getting to that lower drag configuration can involve busy hands, and temporary increases in drag. The Cardinal, like all 100 and 200 series (and 337) Cessna retractables will have a drag increase during retraction. The Cardinal is in the lesser affected group, with no main gear doors to open when you select "up", but you still have the affect of the main wheels turning sideways to the airflow for a number of seconds.

The 200 HP Cardinal RG has lots of oomph, so I would not worry about getting up and out (if you have to, you were into somewhere which as too tight). Remind yourself that the Cardinal started life as a 150 HP fixed gear, and then a 180 HP fixed gear. They were quite adequate aircraft.

A few other cautionary comments about the Cardinal; The very well maintained one I used to rent (wet for $55 per hour in 1978 - those were the days!), still had many failures to indicate gear position, due to switch problems. Prepare yourself for the day when you cannot confirm the nose gear is down. If there is an option for a mirror, I'd have it installed (if it's not already).

The flush fuel caps, though great on Lear jets, were not great on the Cardinal. The O rings on the caps tend to crack, and let in water, so be vigilant about draining sumps. More alarming is the fact that they can engage the filler with only two of the three tabs, and appear to be on when they are not. The difficulty in getting up to actually check them makes a visual confirmation for the rear tempting, but it's not enough. After the flying club fueled the one I used to rent, I visually checked it from the rear as taught - the caps looked fine. Fifteen minutes into my flight, I noticed that I was trailing a stream of fuel. I selected the tank with fuel left in it, to prevent further crossfeeding, and went right back. The cap was still in place, but I had siphoned out 45 gallons of fuel in about half an hour. Noticing that stream of fuel behind me was just luck. You're not really thinking to watch the fuel quantity fifteen minutes after taking off with full tanks! Left un-noticed, I would have been gliding before too long.

They are wonderful planes, and although a little different in feel to land, once you're used to them, they're great, even in short runways. I used to fly a 180 HP fixed gear Cardinal based at a 1600' grass runway, with wires at one end, and had no problems with short field performance.
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Old 31st Oct 2011, 15:52
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Originally Posted by Pilot DAR View Post

and getting to that lower drag configuration can involve busy hands, and temporary increases in drag.
Not sure I agree that moving the landing gear selector from "down" to "up" constitutes "busy hands".....

However flying technique seldom involves black and white, right or wrong ways to do things. On the question of gear up or down, a case can be made either way. However I do feel strongly about the desirability of an initial climb at or around Vy. I see man pilots who fly higher performance retractables who ,after liftoff, make a shallow climb accelerating to a cruise climb airspeed and then slowly climbing away. This in my opinion greatly increases the window of vulnerability in the case of a EFATO.

Pilot DAR's other points are quite good. I especially agree that the landing gear retraction/extension mechanism can be a problem area on Cardinal RG's. There were 3 different system designs in the 8 year life of the the Cardinal RG and it is important that pilots who fly this aircraft really understand how it works and the emergency procedures required in the event of a problem.
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