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Mon, Jul 28, 2008

Cessna Debuts Production SkyCatcher At AirVenture 2008

Comes One Year After Model's Introduction

Cessna unveiled to the public the first production Model 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft, complete with a production interior, Monday morning at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture 2008.

The unveiling comes one year from the date, and at the same venue where Cessna officially launched the light sport aircraft program. Since the launch, Cessna has taken orders for more than 1,000 SkyCatchers and completed three airframes for the program’s development.

Cessna says the 162 prototype and the first production aircraft have accumulated more than 90 hours for ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) flight testing, which will be completed later this year. A third airframe serves as an ASTM test article and has started static testing. The primarily aluminum aircraft will meet ASTM standard F2245 for the light sport category.

All engineering work and testing of the 162 will be completed in Wichita, KS at Cessna Aircraft Field Airport adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base. Flight testing is now focused on gathering the test data to show compliance with the ASTM standard.

Beyond flight testing, design of the production assembly jigs and tooling by Shenyang Aircraft Corporation is progressing rapidly. All assembly tool designs are complete with 30 percent built and located in the assembly building. All detail tool designs to support fabrication are complete and are in process.

Cessna has what it terms a "cross-functional" team located in Shenyang, China, working in the areas of Operations, Quality, Engineering, Manufacturing and Supply Chain. Once production begins, all SkyCatchers will be built in Shenyang, then shipped to the US for reassembly.

Deliveries are scheduled to begin in the second half of 2009, and at full-rate production, Cessna plans to produce up to 700 SkyCatchers a year.

Priced at $111,500 in 2007 dollars, 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, where information can be presented either in a single, split-screen primary flight display and multi-function display, 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, useful load of 490 pounds and a usable fuel capacity of 24 gallons.

FMI: www.cessna.com

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