December 2009 Issue
Cessna 162 Skycatcher: The Future Alpha Dog LSA
In the wildly edgy television series, The Wire, there’s a classic line for a would-be challenger: "If you come at the King, you best not miss." Somehow, that seems to apply in the light sport market as a multitude of manufacturers wait and wonder what Cessna’s going to do with its Skycatcher LSA. The wait part is over and the wonder soon will be. Cessna is now poised to deliver the first of its 162 Skycatchers by the end of 2009. During 2010, it will ramp up production to begin delivering the first of more than 1000 aircraft it says are on order. We got our first look and demo flight prior to AOPA Summit at Tampa, Florida, in early November. The aircraft presented to us what Cessna’s Kirby Ortega called "P1," or the first production compliant airplane. In other words, what you see is what you get, minus some wiring harnesses left over from last-minute testing. The airplane was built in Wichita, although the entire wing assembly—complete with control surfaces—was built at Cessna’s Shenyang, China, contractor. The first production version flew in China in mid-September.
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