Cessna promises first C162 SkyCatcher delivery to VIP this year

Washington DC
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Cessna says it will deliver its first factory-built light sport aircraft (S-LSA) to its first customer - Cessna chief executive Jack Pelton's wife - before the end of the year.

Rose Pelton plans to get her private pilot licence in the 100hp (75kW) Teledyne Continental Motors O-200D-powered aircraft, the next-generation follow-on trainer to the venerable Cessna 152. The C162 is being built in China for Cessna by Shenyang Aircraft, a decision the company says was driven by the need to produce the aircraft at the lowest possible cost.

Priced at $111,500 bare and $135,526 fully loaded, the SkyCatcher achieved its American Society of Testing and Materials standards compliance validation in August, after several design iterations driven by lessons learned in recovering from power-on spins.

The final configuration includes a ventral fin, longer rudder and vertical fin, modified gearing for the ailerons and rudder control and a Gurney strip on the trailing edge of the electric-powered elevator trim tab, a device Cessna says desensitises pitch control.

Cessna says the first 10 or so aircraft from Shenyang will not include the changes and will be modified in Wichita. After tests flights in China, the aircraft will be disassembled and shipped to delivery centres in South Carolina, Nevada and Kansas.

The company has not yet decided on the location of a European delivery centre.