Test Pilot Kirby Ortega Discusses the Advantages of Cessna’s New LSA
At the 2009 AOPA Summit, attendees experienced an up-close encounter with Cessna’s newest aircraft to enter the LSA market. Since the announcement of the 162 Skycatcher program in 2007, Cessna has received over 1,000 orders. A two-place, single-engine piston, high-wing aircraft, the Skycatcher is a strong contender in the training market. Powered by the Continental O-200D 100-hp engine, the 162 Skycatcher weighs in at an extremely light 830 pounds empty weight, 280 pounds less than the 150. As a result, the aircraft features a cruise speed up to 118 knots and a maximum range of 470 nautical miles.
After departing from San Diego’s King Schools, where the first production-conforming Skycatcher had been stationed during the development of Cessna’s pilot training curriculum, Chief Test Pilot Kirby Ortega flew the aircraft to Tampa, Florida. The three-day journey allowed Ortega to become more familiar with the aircraft’s handling and features, including the all-new Garmin G300 avionics system. With the increase in situational awareness and decrease in heads-down time, the G300 provides a great educational advantage for both students and instructors alike.
The 162 arrived at the AOPA Summit as part of Cessna’s demonstration of its new Internet-based flight training software, available through Cessna’s Pilot Center network and developed in conjunction with Kings Schools. The web-training program, coupled with the Skycatcher, represents Cessna’s effort to offer a complete flight-training package for new students as the company makes its first 162 deliveries. On December 18, 2009, Rose Pelton, wife of Cessna C.E.O., Jack Pelton, took delivery of the very first Model 162 Skycatcher.
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