OSHKOSH: Cessna set for new direction on singles

Washington DC
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Cessna has unveiled a new variant of its turbocharged Lycoming TIO-540-powered 182 Skylane. Called the NXT, the piston single will be powered by a 230hp (172kW) Safran-built Jet A-burning SMA turbo diesel piston engine and could, Cessna says, provide a springboard for a series of similar re-engining projects for the airframer.

"This [launch] shows the direction Cessna is going," says Jeff Umscheid, business leader for Cessna's 172, 182 and 206 product lines.

 cessna

Cessna

The aircraft will provide a maximum cruise speed of 155kt (287kmh), down 10kt from the existing turbo C182, but the engine will also reduce fuel burn by 30-40% compared with the 235hp Lycoming TIO-540 in the turbo C182. Maximum range will increase to more than 1,400nm compared with 971nm for the turbo C182.

Umscheid says the turbo C182 will be replaced by the NXT when the aircraft is certificated in the second quarter of 2013. The 182 NXT is priced at $515,000, up 16% compared with the $443,500 for the turbo C182. Cessna will support the engines through Lycoming.

A Jet A option for Cessna's product line has been a top request from Cessna customers, particularly in international locations where avgas is not readily available. "We kept getting requests for a Jet A single," says Umscheid.

Cessna is not alone in moving toward Jet A solutions. Piper aircraft chief executive Simon Caldecott says his company continues "to explore diesel power, particularly in areas where avgas is hard to get".