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Cessna chooses China's Shenyang Aircraft Corporation as manufacturing partner for Model 162 SkyCatcher

Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, will partner with Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) to manufacture the new Model 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft (LSA). SAC is a subsidiary of China Aviation Industry Corporation I (AVIC I), which is a government-owned consortium of aircraft manufacturers.

The company made the announcement today during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

"The LSA market demands the latest avionics, safety and reliability, light-weight equipment and a competitive price tag," said Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack J. Pelton. "Our solution is to partner with SAC, a company with excellent facilities, state-of-the-art technologies and a workforce highly experienced in aircraft manufacturing. SkyCatcher customers will get an advanced design, high-quality workmanship and world-class product support, all at an affordable price from Cessna, a brand known and trusted worldwide."

Cessna will design the aircraft and handle American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) compliance work, as well as provide on-site personnel to oversee manufacturing, quality assurance and technical design. SAC will be responsible for assembling the SkyCatcher.

"SAC greatly values the cooperation with Cessna, and sees Cessna as a significant partner in the general aviation segment. Since the start of the cooperation between the two companies that began in 2003, a good foundation has been established," said Chairman and President, Mr. Luo Yang of SAC. "The communications and exchange of visits between the management of our two companies have strengthened the trust and understanding, which leads to today's signing of the Model 162 contract, making SAC the sole source supplier of this great airplane."

President, Mr. Lin Zouming of AVIC I added, "With the continual economic growth in China and the changes in China's policies for the general aviation industry, AVIC I has placed strategic importance on general aviation development and will strongly support and promote the business."

Founded in 1951, SAC is a civilian and military aircraft manufacturer with 16,000 employees in Shenyang, China. Boeing, Airbus, Bombardier, Spirit AeroSystems and Singapore Aerospace are just a few of SAC's clients.

"Through decades of joint production ventures and sub-assembly ventures with the industry's top manufacturers, SAC has emerged as the premier aircraft enterprise in China," Pelton said. "That experience and their outstanding facilities and production capabilities make them the perfect partner for us on the SkyCatcher program."

Cessna unveiled a proof-of-concept aircraft in July 2006 to gauge market response, then announced in July 2007 that it would proceed with development of a light sport aircraft, dubbed the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher. An introductory price of $109,500 USD will hold for the first 1,000 orders and then increase to $111,500 USD. Orders have already approached 900.

The SkyCatcher features an exclusive Garmin glass cockpit – the G300 – and a Teledyne Continental O-200D 100-horsepower engine designed specifically for the LSA. The aircraft will cruise at speeds up to 118 knots and will have a maximum range of 470 nautical miles. It will be capable of Visual Flight Rules/Day/Night operations.

The aircraft has a maximum gross weight of 1,320 pounds, a service ceiling of 15,500 feet, a useful load of 490 pounds and a usable fuel load of 24 gallons. Its cabin width at shoulder height is 44.25 inches, and two cabin entry doors and forward pivoting seats give access to a 12.5 cubic-foot baggage compartment. The SkyCatcher has tricycle landing gear with a castering nose wheel and standard dual toe-actuated disc brakes.

The aluminum aircraft will meet ASTM standard F2245 for light sport aircraft. First flight of the prototype SkyCatcher is set for the first half of 2008 and deliveries are expected to begin in the second half of 2009. Cessna expects to produce up to 700 a year at full-rate production.

Press release issued by Textron Aviation Inc. on November 28, 2007


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Textron Aviation Inc. Airframer
AVIC SAC Commercial Aircraft Company Ltd Airframer


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