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Third Cessna SkyCatcher airframe now in testingThird Cessna SkyCatcher airframe now in testing

Cessna Aircraft is making progress on its attempts to revitalize the flight training and recreational flying markets.

The engineering team now has completed the third 162 SkyCatcher airframe, which will be used for static testing. Two other airplanes are being used for flight testing. One of those will be equipped with a production interior, which will makes its debut at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wis., later this month.

Before Cessna can beginning delivering the airplanes in the middle of next year, it has to meet a less stringent set of light sport aircraft standards—American Society of Testing and Materials (ASTM)—than normal type certification. But Cessna officials say they will go beyond ASTM by conducting extensive ground and full-airframe fatigue tests.

According to Cessna’s preliminary numbers, the two-seat airplane will have a service ceiling of 15,500 feet, a useful load of 490 pounds, a fuel capacity of 24 gallons, and a cruise speed of 118 knots.

At full-rate production, Cessna plans to produce 700 airplanes at the Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in China. Priced at $111,500 in 2007 dollars, the SkyCatcher will feature a Garmin G300 glass avionics system.

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