Wednesday, July 1, 2009



STANDARD DATA: Seats 4. Gross wt. 2,650. Empty wt. 1,555. Fuel capacity 66. Engine 180-hp Lycoming.
PERFORMANCE: Top mph 167. Cruise mph 161. Stall mph 58. Initial climb rate 800. Ceiling 16,800. Range 828. Takeoff distance (50') 1,775. Landing distance (50') 1,340.

A retractable version of Cessna’s ever-popular Skyhawk was introduced in late 1979. Designated the Cutlass RG, it carries 180-hp in the nose, 20-hp more than its sister ship. Even with the addition of retractable gear mechanisms, the Cutlass achieves an impressive 14.7 pounds/hp power loading ratio, compared to 14.4 for the Skyhawk or the Piper Arrow IV and Beech Sierra at 13.75 pounds/hp. Everything from the firewall back and the belly upward is 172. The gear is the same used in the Skylane RG and can be operated at anytime under 161 mph, taking about five seconds to cycle.

The Cutlass fit into the airplane market as the lowest- priced four-place retractable and was economical to operate with a fuel consumption rate of 10 gph at 75% power. Cruise at 9,000 feet and 75% power is 161 mph. With a maximum usable fuel capacity of 62 gallons, range at that power setting is 829 miles. The useful load of 1,092 pounds and four seats allows the Cutlass to achieve 64 seat-miles per gallon. Because it was built from the time-tested Skyhawk airframe, proven Skylane RG landing gear, and the reliable Lycoming 0-360 engine, people at Cessna liked to joke that it was “a new Cessna that already withstood the test of time.”


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