Inaugural Flight Of Prototype Aircraft
Aero-News has learned Cessna completed the first flight of its
Model 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft prototype Saturday.
"The first flight of the SkyCatcher is a significant step ahead
toward our goal of bringing an affordable training aircraft to
market," said Jack Pelton, Cessna’s chairman, president and
CEO. "There is a lot of excitement at Cessna as we progress through
our many developmental programs and I’m very proud of our
teams for continuing to stay on track."
The one-hour SkyCatcher flight departed Cessna Aircraft Field
Airport adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base just after 0700, and
consisted of flight maneuvers evaluating the controllability and
stability of the aircraft. The SkyCatcher, flown by Cessna
Engineering Test Pilot Dale Bleakney, proceeded to Mid-Continent
airport where it will continue development testing.
"Cessna’s dedicated SkyCatcher team made an incredible
effort to complete the first flight ahead of schedule and I’m
extremely proud of their accomplishments," said Derek Mookhoek,
program manager for the SkyCatcher.
This aircraft is the first of three airframes: 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 ASTM standard for
F2245 light sport aircraft.
Cessna says fabrication of the first production 162, scheduled
to fly later this spring, is progressing as planned and the ASTM
test article last week completed limit load testing alongside the
new Citation CJ4 test article at Cessna’s structural test
In related news, Cessna says its engineering team continues to
evaluate the 100-hp Continental O-200 engine using the proof of
concept aircraft. It first flew with the Continental engine on
August 17, 2007, shortly after the program’s official launch
at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in
Now 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.