Cessna has announced nearly a year-long delay in initial customer deliveries of its 206 Stationair and Turbo Stationair six-seat utility aircraft, following its decision to replace the Textron Lycoming IO- and TIO-580 engines with IO- and TIO-540 variants because of reliability and service life issues.

The setback came to light during the aircraft's airframe and engine-certification programme, when, according to the Wichita, Kansas-based aircraft manufacturer, the turbocharged, higher-compression, TIO-580 was unable to pass Lycoming's 500h endurance test, "raising doubt that the engine would perform to standards without a lengthened development programme", says Cessna.

The 540 variants will not alter performance and specifications - the Stationair and Turbo Stationair will cruise at 145kt (270km/h) at 6,500ft (2,000m) and 165kt at 20,000ft, respectively. Deliveries of the 206 and T206, originally planned for December 1997, will not start until "late 1998".

Source: Flight International