Cessna to offer diesel-powered Skyhawk

July 28, 2014

Topping a list of Cessna Aircraft news released at EAA AirVenture is a 155-horsepower diesel-powered Cessna 172 Turbo Skyhawk JT-A.

Now Cessna Aircraft has two diesel-engine aircraft in its single-engine line. The company displayed a Cessna 172 Turbo Skyhawk JT-A at EAA AirVenture and said that certification is expected "soon" for the Cessna 182 Turbo Skylane JT-A.

Cessna Aircraft will add a diesel Turbo Skyhawk JT-A to its product line in 2015.

The Skyhawk JT-A is powered by a 155-horsepower Continental CD-155 diesel engine that is claimed to extend the aircraft's range to 1,012 nautical miles, a 58-percent jump over the standard Skyhawk, and to increase speed to 131 knots true airspeed while burning 25 percent less fuel. It will be offered as an option in 2015.

The engine is already certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency for retrofit to newer Skyhawks under a supplemental type certificate.

“We’ve been working for a few years now to find new, reliable alternative fuel solutions for the Cessna Skyhawk to meet changing environmental regulations, particularly in Europe, as well as the limited global supply of (avgas),” said Joe Hepburn, Cessna’s senior vice president of piston aircraft. “The recent advances and growing maturity in diesel engine technology in the aviation market now give us the means to satisfy a growing demand around the world.”

The Continental Motors CD-155 engine was originally designed and produced by the Thielert Aircraft Engines as the Centurion 2.0S. (Piper is using the same engine in its Archer DX.) Cessna has long sought to produce a diesel Skyhawk, and in 2007 the company announced that it would start deliveries of Thielert-powered trainers the following year. But Thielert-powered aircraft were plagued by operational problems, the engines weren't granted their projected 2,400 lifespans, and the German company was forced into bankruptcy. Continental purchased the company in 2013 and plans to produce a full range of diesel aircraft engines ranging from 135 to 300 horsepower.

The Skylane JT-A uses the Safran SMA SR305-230 engine.

The Skylane JT-A, announced at EAA AirVenture 2012, uses the Safran SMA SR305-230 engine. Cessna plans to station up to six Skylane JT-A marketing demonstrators around the world and begin deliveries upon certification. The diesel Skylane has a range at max cruise speed of 1,025 nautical miles with a ceiling of 20,000 feet and a useful load estimated at 1,000 pounds.

Also during EAA AirVenture, Cessna announced the first flight of the first production Citation CJ3+ business jet and new seating options for the Cessna 206 Stationair.

Cessna now offers up to five different cabin seating options for the Cessna 206 Stationair that are to be available in 2015. The aircraft uses 100LL fuel. The cabin can be arranged quickly for two, three, or four passengers. The two-passenger option is referred to as a "limo" arrangement. The quick change in configuration is possible thanks to seat belts that are attached to the seats, and a new rear seat-rail system that allow seats to easily be removed or reconfigured. Passenger seats will be similar to luxury car seats.

With new seating options for the Cessna 206 Stationair, the cabin can be arranged quickly for two, three, or four passengers. The two-passenger option is referred to as a “limo” arrangement.

The Cessna TTx will get what is called a "Surge" package that includes a special paint scheme, two-tone leather seats, and a Blackmac C447 aluminum propeller that is approved for flight into known icing. The TTx has the Garmin G2000 avionics suite with touch-screen interface. The aircraft is said to have a max cruise speed of 235 knots true airspeed and a range of 1,250 nautical miles at "economy" cruise speeds.

The Turbo Skyhawk JT-A will have a 2015 base price of $435,000. The Turbo Skylane JT-A has a 2014 base price of $530,000. The Stationair 2014 base price is $615,000, while the 2015 base price will be $634,000. The cabin seating option is $40,000 and will be available in January 2015.

The Cessna TTx will get what is called a “Surge” package that includes a special paint scheme, two-tone leather seats, and a Blackmac C447 aluminum propeller that is approved for flight into known icing.