Cessna to speed up Skycatcher deliveries

Cessna Aircraft is set to accelerate deliveries of its Model 162 Skycatcher light sport aircraft, the company said today.

Cessna delivered its first Skycatcher at the end of 2009. It is notifying customers that while aircraft modifications have delayed initial deliveries, Cessna and Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in China, which is building the aircraft, are working together to increase deliveries through 2010.

Another group of Skycatchers is being readied for delivery by Yingling Aircraft in Wichita. Deliveries will be made in the coming weeks, the company said.

Cessna announced the development at the Aero Friedrichshafen show in Germany. The show starts today and runs through Sunday.

Hawker Beechcraft has five aircraft on display at the show — the Premier IA, King Air 350I, King Air C90GTx, Baron G58 and the Bonanza G36.

Cessna also said it is cautiously optimistic about a predicted rebound for piston-engine aircraft.

"We see a number of indications that the general economy may be stabilizing and that should eventually translate into a return to growth I the piston market," Cessna vice president of worldwide propeller aircraft sales John Doman said in a statement.

The good news is that Cessna expects the piston segment of the general aviation market to be the first to recover.

Cessna made 354 piston aircraft deliveries last year.

The company has seen increased activity from flight schools, flight academies, military training programs, airlines and universities for training aircraft, it said.

The company expects the general economy to strengthen, leading to a rebound in general aviation sales. Substantial growth, however, isn't expected before mid-2011.