Cessna has recently announced that its new Model 162 SkyCatcher Light Sport Aircraft is now in compliance with ASTM International standards for Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). Hence, deliveries will likely begin before the end of the year. For those of you not familiar with the new design, the Model 162 SkyCatcher is a two-place, high-wing and single-engine piston Light Sport Aircraft aircraft which is defined in the USA as an aircraft with a gross weight that is under 1,320 pounds (600 kg) and has a top speed of not more than 120 knots.
As mentioned in a previous post, obtaining a Sport Pilot License is more affordable than obtaining a regular private pilot license as less training is required and this can save a student as much as US$3,000 – 5,000 in training costs. In fact, Cessna’s CEO Jack Pelton predicts that:
Once these airplanes enter service, they will act as a catalyst for increased pilot starts. They will significantly change the economics of ownership and operation for flight schools, aircraft renters and aircraft owners, and will benefit the entire GA community.
The SkyCatcher can reach speeds of up to 118 knots, will have a maximum range of 470 nautical miles and will feature a Garmin G300 avionics system. The aircraft will also be capable of Visual Flight Rules/Day/Night operations. Thus, Pelton is right about the potential of the plane to give general aviation a much needed boost. And despite the economy and the downturn in the market for general aviation aircraft, Cessna is already reporting more than 1,000 orders for the aircraft – a good sign for the future of general aviation.