First Production Skycatcher Flies from China Factory; Online Ground School Announced
September 17, 2009 — The first Cessna Model 162 SkyCatcher fabricated and assembled on production tooling flew today, September 17, at the production factory in Shenyang, China, according to a news release issued by Cessna Aircraft Company. The SkyCatcher, a two-place, single-engine piston, high-wing light-sport aircraft (LSA), performed a number of handling quality tests during the flight.
“The SkyCatcher program continues to make significant progress, today with the first flight of our very first aircraft produced on production tooling, following closely on the heels of our announcement in July of ASTM compliance for the aircraft,” said Jack J. Pelton, Cessna chairman, president, and CEO. “We are excited about this program and eager for the Model 162 SkyCatcher to take its place in the industry as the light-sport aircraft of choice.”
Meanwhile, the SkyCatcher prototype is in San Diego, California, for the next two months to participate in testing for a web-based companion sport pilot ground school to be offered through Cessna Pilot Centers. In a partnership with King Schools, the online training is being offered for a cost similar to current paper-based ground school kits. The course is not FAA certified nor is it required, but Cessna spokesperson Angela Baldwin says the training is ASTM approved and includes an option for the private pilot ground school at no extra charge.
Through a generous donation by The Emil Buehler Trust, EAA will receive SkyCatcher aircraft serial numbers 2 and 3, to be used to fly EAA Air Academy students and Young Eagles. Baldwin says the delivery of the first production SkyCatcher, slated for an unnamed retail customer, is expected by the end of the year.