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SkyCatcher Flight Testing to Continue with Reconfigured P-1

The SkyCatcher P-1 will become Cessna's new test bed following the crash in September of the prototype.

September 30, 2008 — Cessna Aircraft Company will resume flight testing of the Model 162 SkyCatcher as soon as it reconfigures another test aircraft, says Angela Landwehr, manager of media relations. The original prototype, which had more than 100 flights and 128 flight hours on it, was lost when it crashed two weeks ago during a power-on, cross-controlled spin test. The installed BRS system did not properly deploy, she said, so the test pilot successfully bailed out and parachuted to safety.

While the accident investigation continues, Cessna is reconfiguring its first production aircraft (P-1) to resume flight testing, Landwehr said. That is the same aircraft seen this past summer on display during EAA AirVenture Oshkosh at Cessna’s exhibit.

“We are in the process of doing that now,” she said, adding that there is a third aircraft in static testing, which will not be involved in the flight test program.

The original timetable for delivery was August-September 2009 time frame, Landwehr said, but it is still too soon to tell how the accident has affected that. “We will do whatever is best for the program, “ she said. “Our decisions are driven by safety and not by what we said the schedule will be. It’s too early to tell in the investigative process.

“The program will continue to move forward, and as soon as we can get that other airplane reconfigured we will resume flight testing.”

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