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First production Cessna SkyCatcher completes first flight

Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, completed the first flight of the first production model SkyCatcher May 1, about eight weeks after the first prototype SkyCatcher flew.

The 30-minute SkyCatcher flight departed Cessna Aircraft Field Airport adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base and consisted of flight maneuvers evaluating the controllability and stability of the aircraft. The SkyCatcher, flown by Cessna Engineering Test Pilot Dale Bleakney, returned to Cessna Field (KCEA) as scheduled where it will continue development testing.

In addition to having two aircraft in the test program, Cessna is set to begin static and fatigue testing on a separate airframe in mid-May.

Cessna plans to produce three airframes prior to commencing normal production: a prototype, the first production model, and an ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) test article that Cessna's engineering team will build in the development phase of the SkyCatcher program. All engineering work and testing of the 162 will be completed in Wichita. The aluminum aircraft is planned to meet all ASTM standards for light sport aircraft.

Priced at $111,500, the 162 is expected to cruise at speeds up to 118 knots with a maximum range of 470 nautical miles. The aircraft will feature a Garmin G300 avionics system. Information is presented in a single, split-screen primary flight display (PFD) and multi-function display (MFD), or as two full-screen displays with an optional second screen. The aircraft will be capable of day and night, visual flight rules operations.

Preliminary design parameters for the SkyCatcher include 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 capacity of 24 gallons. It has a cabin width at shoulder height of more than 44 inches, equaling that of the much-larger, 6-place Cessna 206 Stationair. It features two top-hinged cabin entry doors and forward pivoting seats giving access to a 12.5 cubic-foot baggage compartment.

Press release issued by Cessna Aircraft Company on May 5, 2008


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