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'68 Ops
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'68 Info from an Owner

Gary Meadows stepped forward in the CFO Digest to answer the questions of a reader who was interested in a '68 Cardinal, but concerned about it's reputation.

Later someone asked for more details and we got a batch of answers.. you will see all those member's comments on this page.

There's nothing like hearing from someone who owns one... let's hear what Gary has to say:

From: "Gary Meadows" (
Subject: Joel Zieve's 68' question

Joel, I've owned a 68 Cardinal with the 150HP engine for about a year and a half now, and I find it to be a great aircraft. Now with anything there are limitations, but IMHO, these tend to be near the edges of the normal operating envelope, and seldom affect the way I fly. When looking for a plane, I've found that you have to define your typical mission. You won't be able to fill the seats, fill the tanks and go. But, How often do you do that? You'll have less than outstanding climbs at high density altitudes. On those days where it's 100 deg F/100% humidity, it still can muster 400-500 FPM climb. And now that it's cooler (75-80 deg F) I find it making 700-800 FPM - not bad.

Speed - it trues about 130 MPH with the lower cowl, and exhaust fairings, on about 8 GPH. These two mods also help engine cooling. $500 well spent! I haven't seen any problem with the sharper wing. Stalls aren't really that vicious. They say that the wing builds up drag quickly at high angles of attack, and I'm sure that I'll get disagreement on this, but I believe that most of the drag people are blaming on the wing is actually the huge hole in the lower cowling! One thing, in the flare, the 68 is touchier in pitch than other planes that I've flown, so a light touch is important. Later Cardinals (69 - later) had the stabilator linkages changed to alleviate this problem.

Make sure you check for any damage history, many 68's were pranged by ham-fisted pilots. Overall performance (with mods listed) is on par with a 172, at a lower price than a 172. But you have MANY advantages over a 172. You have roominess, great visibility , sexy looks, no strut, easy access. If you're on a budget, you can buy a decent 150HP 68 for probably about $30,000, you can't touch an equivalent 172 for that, and I'll guess that a 177B will go for (someone correct me), about $45,000 - $50,000. If you've got the $$$, then it don't get any better than a 177B (for fixed-gear aircraft), in my book, If I had the $$, I'd own one. But if you're on a budget, and it suits your mission most of the time, then definitely consider a 150HP 68 Cardinal. It's a fine airplane.

Gary Meadows N2934X
(Self-appointed 68 Cardinal Cheerleader)

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