Sunday, October 31, 2021

Cessna 177 Cardinal, N29615: Accident occurred October 30, 2021 near Parker County Airport (KWEA), Weatherford, Texas

This is preliminary information, subject to change, and may contain errors. Any errors in this report will be corrected when the final report has been completed. 

The National Transportation Safety Board did not travel to the scene of this accident. 

Additional Participating Entity: 
Federal Aviation Administration / Flight Standards District Office; Irving, Texas

Location: Weatherford, Texas
Accident Number: CEN22LA036
Date and Time: October 30, 2021, 19:10 Local
Registration: N29615
Aircraft: Cessna 177
Injuries: 5 None
Flight Conducted Under: Part 91: General aviation - Personal

On October 30, 2021, about 1910 central daylight time, a Cessna 177 airplane, N29615, was substantially damaged when it was involved in an accident near Weatherford, Texas. The pilot and four passengers were not injured. The flight was operated as a Title 14 Code of Federal Regulations Part 91 personal flight.

According to a statement provided by the pilot, he was on short final to runway 17 at the Parker County Airport (KWEA), Weatherford, Texas. During the descent to land, the pilot added carburetor heat and “cleared” the engine several times by momentarily adding and reducing power. The pilot added a “slight amount” of power and the engine did not respond to his power input. He firewalled the throttle, mixture, propeller, and carburetor heat controls. The pilot was unable to restore engine power and prepared for a forced landing. While maneuvering to land on the road, the airplane collided with power lines and terrain. The airplane came to rest inverted. The right wing, fuselage, and firewall sustained substantial damage.

The airplane was retained for further examination.

Aircraft and Owner/Operator Information

Aircraft Make: Cessna 
Registration: N29615
Model/Series: 177
Aircraft Category: Airplane
Amateur Built:
Operator: On file 
Operating Certificate(s) Held: None
Operator Designator Code:

Meteorological Information and Flight Plan

Conditions at Accident Site: VMC 
Condition of Light: Day
Observation Facility, Elevation: KNFW,608 ft msl 
Observation Time: 18:52 Local
Distance from Accident Site: 
Temperature/Dew Point: 20°C /4°C
Lowest Cloud Condition: Clear
Wind Speed/Gusts, Direction: 4 knots / , 130°
Lowest Ceiling: None 
Altimeter Setting: 29.88 inches Hg
Type of Flight Plan Filed: None
Departure Point: Guthrie, OK (GOK)
Destination: Weatherford, TX

Wreckage and Impact Information

Crew Injuries: 1 None 
Aircraft Damage: Substantial
Passenger Injuries: 4 None 
Aircraft Fire: None
Ground Injuries: 
Aircraft Explosion: None
Total Injuries: 5 None
Latitude, Longitude: 32.746158,-97.682257 (est)


  1. Replies
    1. Track:

    2. It was a fraudulent design to begin with, as exposed by NASA after multiple accidents with no good explanation other than being unable to perform to the POH. It looks like this was just another GA engine-out situation, though.

    3. "It was a fraudulent design to begin with, as exposed by NASA after multiple accidents with no good explanation other than being unable to perform to the POH."

      The 177 Cardinal was supposed to replace the 172 Skyhawk. Its only real design issues were the fully moving horizontal stabilizer and high speed NACA 6400 series airfoil. There were problems with pitch control in the flare or slow flight which found the pilot quickly running out of pitch authority at MCA.

      Additionally, the aircraft had poor climb performance but that was only related to being under powered. Cessna made various improvements starting with the 1969 177A model including adding a 180hp Lycoming and elevator mods, then more on the 1970 B model to make it a truly respectable aircraft with the 172 NACA 2400 series airfoil and constant speed prop. There was (is) nothing wrong with them after the A model was introduced - certainly not enough to warrant a "fraudulent design" after the new versions. Anyone saying otherwise doesn't know what he's talking about.

    4. The reason they had to drop the model was that sales never recovered, let alone being able to replace the 172. The reason those sales never recovered is because there were a lot of angry pilots, families, court cases, and regulators, sinking the program's reputation beyond what anyone wanted to touch with a ten-foot pole, no matter how many corrections were made to the fundamental design. Using an incorrect airfoil, insufficient power, and sometimes insufficient control authority to meet the numbers nevertheless published in the POH are among the basic design issues that are life and death in nature--it takes some work for engineers to get those wrong all the way into production--and that's how NASA got involved. Cessna has certainly hoped for short memories, and by and large, that was achieved once the generation of experienced pilots passed on who often wouldn't fly or buy them.

    5. @RelPoster - I'm old enough to remember when people could discuss design shortcomings, upgrades, unfortunate happenings and resolutions without adding "fraudulent design", "hoped for short memories", "ten foot pole" and other rage-baiting to juice up the exchange.

      If you want to convey information, stick to the tech facts. Nobody at Cessna wanted to turn out a bad model or "hoped for short memories". Nothing is gained by raging in the comments and falsely disparaging the manufacturers with statements of intent like that when you couldn't possibly know that to be true.

    6. I was part of a regulatory agency involved in that Cardinal program debacle back in the day. I have to agree to some extent with RP. The deaths of several accomplished aviators was not just “unfortunate” nor the engineering that screwed up without cause, just as with the 737 MAX. There is a limit to how much those situations can be re-characterized for the sake of polite or comfortable discourse. The least pejorative term I would use is “negligent.”

    7. Why not give the folks who look at KR postings some sourced info about the 177 design problems and what was done? Several articles provide some background, much better than continuing with just opinions. Each link below contains some info about the troubles and resolutions.

    8. As a professional investor, I like to look at big but subtle clues in the market. One easy way to know whether the industry thought that Cessna’s story and fixes were true or whether the regulators and plaintiffs’ story was true is to look at valuations. The failure of the aircraft from its last year of production, everything being fixed, to hold or increase their value relative to inflation and the rest of its market competitors for decades to come, indicates that the market believed that its reputation was unrecoverable. By 2014 it was still being punished for something.

  2. > Generally a 4 place a/c

    Perhaps generally, but there is a child seat option, and the FAA does allow multiple people to sit under one seat belt. More information is available from the Cardinal Flyers website.

  3. It's a four place aircraft, what is wrong with people???

  4. The Cardinal has 4 seats just like the Skyhawk, but that doesn't mean you can't have a kid in your belted lap so long as the W&B checks out. If that was indeed the case is it irresponsible to not have a child in a dedicated lapped seat? Of course. But that doesn't change the fact that the aircraft CAN seat five or even six people with two lightweight adults and small children in the back.

  5. Bench seat, 1968 model, flying three kids on the bench seat was okay back in the day if weight and balance wasn't a problem. FAA clarified all that in 2012 after kids got ejected in a 2009 accident where the pilot, six adults and seven children perished in an eight seater.

    Shared belt still allowed if conditions are met, per below:

  6. C-177s have bladder style fuel tanks. There have been numerous fuel exhaustion incidents because of collapsed bladders. I won't fly a C-177 more than 3 hours no matter what the POH says.

    1. "C-177s have bladder style fuel tanks."
      No, they have aluminum fuel tanks.

      "There have been numerous fuel exhaustion incidents because of collapsed bladders."
      Not in 177s since they don't have bladders.

      "I won't fly a C-177 more than 3 hours no matter what the POH says."
      Perhaps you should familiarize yourself with the C177 systems first.

  7. I flew every model of the Cardinal when I was a student pilot including the RG. Never had a bad landing with the stabilator. It also made the transition into flying a Cherokee easier as a student pilot.

    I also flew a late model Cardinal from SoCal to Atlanta and with the long range tanks I only needed 3 fuel stops enroute. The plane was almost too comfortable for a long flight.

  8. Been flying a 1977 C177-B since 1989. Nothing wrong with the -B design. The earlier models were underpowered. I'd rather fly a Cardinal than a Skyhawk, although there's certainly nothing wrong with Skyhawks.