October 20, 2010
By Thomas A. Horne
Persistent rumors that Cessna is developing a single-engine turboprop appear to be correct. In an interview with AOPA Pilot, Cessna President Jack Pelton hinted strongly that the company has been working on a design that would fill the niche between Cessna’s Corvallis TT high-performance piston single and its Mustang light twinjet. “The Mustang evolved from a twin turboprop design we were exploring in the late 1990s,” Pelton said.
Rumors assert that there have been sightings of a single-engine turboprop that closely resembles the Mustang in the Wichita area. Other rumors say the mystery airplane already has an N number, and is being hidden in Pelton’s personal hangar.
“The airplane would ideally have a cruise speed greater than 300 knots … and a price point between $1 and $2.2 million,” Pelton revealed in an interview with AOPA Live. “We want to be south of the Mustang in terms of price.”
Pelton said that Cessna’s current strategy is to emphasize its light- and mid-sized offerings by making upgraded—or new—variants on an annual basis. “We want to be positioned with new products when the economic recovery comes,” he said.
Hinting at a soon-to-occur new product rollout—presumably the mystery single-engine turboprop—Pelton said that he’d like to make a new product introduction at AOPA’s upcoming Aviation Summit in Long Beach, Calif., Nov. 11 through13. “But I think that might be too soon.”
AOPA Pilot Editor at Large Tom Horne has worked at AOPA since the early 1980s. He began flying in 1975 and has an airline transport pilot and flight instructor certificates. He’s flown everything from ultralights to Gulfstreams and ferried numerous piston airplanes across the Atlantic.
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