Cessna delivered on 18 December the first Model 162 SkyCatcher light sport aircraft to Rose Pelton, wife of Cessna president Jack Pelton. She will attempt to earn her private pilot's licence in the two-seat piston single.

The handover comes nearly two and a half years after the launch of the all-metal, high-wing SkyCatcher - which is built in China by Shenyang Aircraft - and five months after the aircraft completed flight-testing to American Society of Testing and Materials standards. Cessna was originally scheduled to complete ATSM flight-testing at the end of 2008 but the programme was set back by two accidents.

The high-wing LSA - for which Cessna has amassed more than 1,000 orders - is powered by a Continental O-200D 100hp (75kW) air-cooled engine and a fixed-pitch propeller. The aircraft has a maximum cruise speed of 120kt (220km/h) and a maximum range of 870km (470nm).

Cessna Skycatcher 162
 © Cessna

The SkyCatcher features a Garmin G300 avionics system. Information is presented in a single, split-screen primary flight display and multifunction display, or as two full-screen displays with an optional second screen. The SkyCatcher will be capable of visual flight rules/day/night operations.

Cessna, in association with King Schools, has also developed a new web-based training system for sport and private pilot certificates that will be available through the Cessna Pilot Center network of flight schools.

Source: Flight International