LAKELAND, Fla., April 21, 2009 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, said today at the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., development of the Model 162 SkyCatcher program continues.
A production SkyCatcher – built in Wichita, Kan. – was involved in an incident during flight test on March 19. The aircraft was undergoing a very aggressive spin test regime – power on and cross-controlled – when it entered a spin that was not immediately recoverable. This spin test was one of more than 500 flown to date using various combinations of center-of-gravity positions, power settings, flap settings and control inputs. The pilot deployed the airframe parachute in accordance with the flight test procedure and emerged from the aircraft unhurt after it touched down. The aircraft was slightly damaged and is being repaired.
Cessna has committed to additional testing beyond ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) requirements throughout the aircraft’s development; the SkyCatcher will meet ASTM standard F2245 for the light sport category. All engineering work and testing of the 162 is being completed in Wichita at Cessna Aircraft Field Airport adjacent to McConnell Air Force Base.
In the coming weeks, Cessna will gather additional wind tunnel data. That information, combined with data from recent spin testing, will be used to refine the configuration before spin testing will be resumed.
A mock-up of the SkyCatcher is on display this week at Sun ’n Fun. The SkyCatcher is a two-seat Light Sport Aircraft powered by a 100 horsepower Continental O-200D engine. The program was launched in 2007.