Monday, July 18, 2005
Yellowbird JournalismPilot reports are standard fare in the general aviation press. Each issue will have at least one report on the latest offerings ranging from spam cans to bizjets. Reporters typically give description of the flying qualities, a discussion of any good or bad features, comparisons with similar models, and maybe a thumbnail history of the development. The point of view can be as objective or subjective as the reporter desires - some read like technical documentation, others read like advertisements. The fact that aircraft manufacturers are also advertisers may color some reviews. Journalistic objectivity can be hard to maintain when advertising dollars are at stake, but who really wants to read a depressing article about airplanes?
If reporters were limited to covering the latest aircraft, they'd have a hard time filling their pages. So, and given the health of the used aircraft market, reviews of older models fly side by side with the latest advances. It's not uncommon to pick up a recent issue and see reviews of, say, a Cherokee 140 and the latest Cirrus or Citation. The universe of older airplanes is relatively stable, so reviews of the same type tend to pop up every few years, with maybe a slightly new twist to make them worth reprinting. Cardinals have been reviewed a number of times since their inception, but their rarity compared to the other Cessnas and Pipers makes them an infrequent guest in the aviation press. Still, even as recently as 1998, you could pick up an issue of Flying magazine and find an article on fixed gear Cardinals.
It's not a bad review, although it spends most of five pages covering the troubled development and sales history of Cessna's 177 line. If you are Cardinal shopping, you'll find a more detailed review in the pages of Aviation Consumer, but one thing you won't find in either review is photo coverage of a very special Cardinal. The pictures are nice, if not overly detailed, and they do show her off pretty well. She doesn't get top billing, but she does get to strut her stuff a little. And if the text doesn't tell an entirely happy story, at least the pictures will make you smile.