SkyCatcher future in doubt after second flight test crash

Washington DC
Source: Flightglobal.com
This story is sourced from Flightglobal.com

A Cessna spokesman confirms the future of the Model 162 light sport aircraft programme is under review after a second flight test aircraft crashed on Thursday.

The SkyCatcher crash occurred at 10am, local time, near Wichita, Kansas, during a flight in which the pilot intentionally pushed the aircraft beyond the airworthiness standards required for certification, the spokesman says.  

The specific circumstances about what the aircraft’s was doing at the time of the incident were not immediately clear yesterday.

The pilot, who was unhurt, deployed the SkyCatcher’s Ballistic Recovery Systems parachute, softening the aircraft’s landing. However, the aircraft was flipped on its back after the pilot climbed out amidst windy conditions, the spokesman says.

“It’s a windy place here in Kansas,” he adds.

The crash is now under investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB).

The incident comes about six months after the first of Cessna’s two Model 162 flight test aircraft also crashed, after the pilot lost control of the aircraft during power-on spin testing. That crash remains under review by the NTSB.

Cessna has sold more than 1,000 SkyCatchers and planned to achieve ASTM certification and deliver 40 models by the end of the year.

But all details about the programme’s future are under review by company executives, the spokesman says.