Aviation

1st SkyCatcher now at Cessna

Cessna Aircraft's first production 162 SkyCatcher has arrived in Wichita from Shenyang Aircraft Industry in China.

The light sport aircraft is being assembled at Cessna. It will be modified here to comply with the latest design changes, Cessna spokesman Bob Stangarone said.

The second SkyCatcher will be shipped from Shenyang, in Xinhua, China, to Yingling Aviation in Wichita for assembly. Yingling is one of three companies that will reassemble the aircraft after arrival in the U.S. It's receiving the first batch of aircraft, however.

Modifications will need to be made to the first 10 or so SkyCatchers after they arrive until design changes can be incorporated into the production line, Stangarone said.

Design changes were made following two crashes during spin testing in the flight test program. The company increased the size of the tail, added a small ventral fin for additional stability and handling, and lengthened the rudder.

Cessna introduced the SkyCatcher in 2007 as a way to encourage more people to fly and to train pilots.

It decided to build the $111,500 plane in China so it could be sold at a competitive price, officials have said.

The plane is Cessna's answer for a replacement for the Cessna 150, a two-seat airplane that has been used to teach thousands to fly. The 150 has been out of production since 1977.

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