Cessna Aircraft has confirmed no new purchase agreements are being accepted for the Cessna 182 JT-A diesel-engine Skylane, and numerous dealers have confirmed the project is on hold indefinitely. The company recently announced a return to production of Skylanes with gasoline-powered engines.
“I can confirm that the company is currently not taking new orders for the 182 JT-A,” said spokeswoman Lindsay Adrian. “Maintaining the relationship we have with our customers is of the utmost importance to us. Because certification has taken longer than expected, we are giving order holders options, including having their deposit returned.”
Cessna remains interested in diesel technology and will soon deliver a previously announced diesel Cessna 172 JT-A Turbo Skyhawk with a 155-horsepower Continental CD-155 diesel engine. The Skylane has a 227-horsepower SMA SR305 turbocharged engine. A turbocharger failure early in development resulted in an off-airport landing of the test aircraft and was blamed on turbocharger parts that were drilled rather than machined. Dealers also indicate that the FAA has required the addition of a heated-air induction system that they say also led to problems. Rather than seek FAA endorsement of approval already granted in Europe, Cessna sought full FAA certification. The engine has operated well for decades under European approval.
Some customers have cancelled their 182 JT-A orders in favor of new Cirrus aircraft, or have purchased used turbocharged Skylanes.
Orders for new Lycoming-powered 182Ts with gasoline engines are already coming in. The Civil Air Patrol ordered 17 of the Skylanes now on the production line that were intended to have the SMA engine. Some of those have to be converted for gasoline engine use. The production line restarted late last year, a dealer said. Aircraft manufactured several months ago will get new tires and seals, said Gary Schneider, logistics manager for the Civil Air Patrol. Dealers have confirmed at least another half dozen orders outside of those ordered by the CAP.
Deliveries of the 182T are expected to start in late July or early August. Several dealers said they were informed the 182 JT-A is on hold indefinitely as long ago as last fall. One indicated there was a new problem with the turbocharger at about the same time. Cessna appears to be committed to offering a diesel-powered Skylane at some point in the future, according to Adrian. “Textron Aviation remains committed to innovation within the piston product line and to Jet A technology,” she said.
The 182 JT-A was to have had a base price of $530,000, while the 182T base price is $470,000.