Cessna’s entry into the Light Sport Aircraft race made its first flight Oct. 13.
The proof-of-concept aircraft launched from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita and flew for approximately 30 minutes. Company officials said the aircraft flew at speeds in excess of 110 knots.
Cessna Chairman and CEO Jack Pelton proudly noted that this proof-of-concept design has been just nine months in the making.
“As the world’s largest producer of single-engine piston airplanes, it’s a testament to the experience and engineering ability of the Cessna team that we were able to make this happen in such a short time frame,” he said.
Pelton stated that the company would continue to evaluate the design, as well as continue to study the market to see if production of the Cessna LSA would make good business sense. That decision is expected to be made in the first quarter of 2007.
The proof-of-concept design was unveiled at EAA AirVenture in July. Throughout the week-long show, people crowded around the display area to gawk at the airplane.
Cessna’s LSA proof-of-concept features a high wing spanning 30 feet, side-by-side seating for two in a cabin with a maximum width of 48 inches (a half-foot more than the ubiquitous Cessna 152), tricycle gear, and a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine.
To be certified as an LSA, the aircraft must have a maximum gross weight of no more than 1,320 pounds (1,420 on floats), a maximum level flight speed of 120 knots, and no more than two seats.
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