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1968 Cessna 177 Cardinal N3212T
Intro to N3212T

When I started leaning how to fly, my wife said, "Great, now he's going to want to buy a plane!" So, the deal I her was that I would not buy a plane until after I got my commercial pilots certificate, which she thought would never happen. Well, it did happen in February 2006. So, I started looking.

I had initially been looking for a Grumman Cheetah or Tiger, but after I did my research I decided that a better choice would be a common Cessna or Piper, primarily because of better availability of parts, service centers, etc. Knowing that I could only spend about $40-50 thousand on this dream of mine, I began to get depressed about my prospects. Most IFR certified aircraft with low time and in good condition were well above my price range, until I found a 1968 Cessna 177 Cardinal, N3212T, and it had just had been painted and redone inside and out, only had 2000 hours on the airframe, and the engine had less than 50 hours since overhaul. My only concern was that the overhaul was in 1998, so it had been flying only about 7 hours a year on average.

All in all it was a good plane at a great price, so I bought it.

The first year, the only real problems I had were with the mixture cable, and a couple of fuel leaks. The first leak was in the wing tank quick drain. As it turns out, the fuel boss that the quick drain screws into was stripped, and the fuel was seeping out through the stripped threads. The second problem was with the o-rings in the fuel selector valve. It had apparently been leaking for a long time. I'm not sure how that was missed in the annual done with the pre-buy inspection.

Panel Evolution
I started upgrading the panel almost immediately. It desperately needed a new audio panel and I wanted the out dated and broken equipment out, so the ADF and LORAN had to go. With those changes the panel evolution began.

The First Annual
Although I had a few issues in the first year that were pretty minor, the first real annual was a eye opener.

A Bad Day In Milli
In November 2016 I learned a very valuable lession that I hope stays with me for a long time...

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Aircraft Details

White / Gold / Maroon (July 2004).
Cowl Speed Fairing
Exhaust Speed Fairing

Beige Vinyl / Beige Fabric / Tan Carpet (2005)
Head Rests from Toyota Celica and recovered
BAS seat belts with shoulder harnesses

Garmin G5 Attitude Indicator
Garmin G5 HSI
Garmin GMA340 Audio Panel and 4 Place Intercom
Garmin aera 660 VFR GPS with AirGizmo Panel Dock
Garmin GNC 355 IFR GPS/Comm
Michel MX300 Nav/Com VOR/LOC/GS
Garmin GTX-345R ADSB In and Out Transponder with WAAS
JPI EDM-730 Engine Analyzer with Fuel Flow
S-Tec 30 autopilot
Nulite Instrument Lighting

Other Equipment
Vertical Card Compass
Electric Clock
True Airspeed Indicator
Pitot Heating System
Whelen LED Flashing Tail Beacon
Powerflow Exhaust
Challenger Air Filter
BAS Seat Belts
Zefronics Voltage Rebulator with overvoltage relay

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Maintenance Stories

Panel Evolution
The First Annual
Water Leaks
Engine Temperature Issues
Log Books and other Paperwork
Photos from the 2006 Pre-Purchase inspection
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