Monday, July 18, 2005


Yellowbird Journalism

Pilot 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?

The issue at issueIf 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.

Let's Go!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.


Posted by Blogger wingman at 12:31 PM, August 11, 2005  

I'm a sub 200 hr pilot out of the saddle for many years. Longing to get back and occassionally living vicariously reading blogs of pilots. I got the majority of what time I have in the log in a '67 Cardinal. Bad rep is undeserved. I loved flying that old thing, though the '67 didn't much like to climb with the too-small motor, which I think is what got the bad rep more than the aerodynamic ticks. I have a photo on my website:

Posted by Blogger wingman at 6:47 AM, August 15, 2005  

Learned something new from you. 3339T must have been a '68 since there were none before that. I think the manufacture date must have been some time in '67. I remember that it was one of the early ones off the line.

Posted by Blogger wingman at 6:49 AM, August 15, 2005  

PS: the little boy in the picture is now 22!

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