September 18, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
Last July Cessna SkyCatcher project engineer Neal Willford promised only that the first production Cessna 162, the SkyCatcher, would fly by the end of the year. The first copy of the two-seat trainer beat that by more than two months by flying in China Sept. 17.
The airplane is the first 162 fabricated and assembled on production tooling in Shenyang, China, the main location for SkyCatcher production. The light sport aircraft’s first flight tested handling quality.
“The SkyCatcher program continues to make significant progress, today with the first flight of our very first aircraft produced on production tooling, following closely on the heels of our announcement in July of ASTM compliance for the aircraft,” said Jack J. Pelton, Cessna chairman, president, and CEO. “We are excited about this program and eager for the Model 162 SkyCatcher to take its place in the industry as the light sport aircraft of choice.”
A 100-hp Continental O-2200D powers it. It features a Garmin G300 avionics system. Information appears in a single, split-screen primary flight display and multi-function display, or as two full-screen displays with an optional second screen.
Shenyang Aircraft Company has a long history of military and civil aircraft production. Following shipment to the U.S., the 162s are to be reassembled for delivery at one of three regional locations. Cessna, in association with King Schools, has developed a Web-based training system for sport and private pilot training soon to be available through Cessna Pilot Centers.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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