The delivery schedule for Cessna’s Light Sport Aircraft, the SkyCatcher, is being re-evaluated following the March 19 crash of the second flying prototype.
“The crash happened during flight testing,” said Doug Oliver, a Cessna spokesman. “The pilot was not hurt and the ballistic parachute deployed as it was supposed to deploy.”
This is the second crash of a SkyCatcher during a test flight. In September 2008, a non-conforming SkyCatcher entered what Cessna officials described as “an unrecoverable condition.” The test pilot attempted to activate the built-in ballistic parachute. When the chute failed to deploy, the test pilot parachuted to safety.
Oliver would not release the details of the flight that led up to the most recent event, but did say the pilot was following the test regime of the flight.
“Because this was a prototype, it was an instrumented airplane and data was collected,” he said. “That data is being shared with the FAA and the NTSB at this time.”
The crash puts a halt on development of the SkyCatcher at least temporarily because Cessna does not have another airframe that can be used for flight tests.
Oliver added that Cessna still plans to be at Sun ‘n Fun in April and would have the SkyCatcher mockup on display.
Prior to the March crash, Cessna had predicted the first deliveries of the much-anticipated LSA to be in late 2009.
For more information: Cessna.com.