Diesel Cessna JT-A on Track for Imminent Certification
With 13 airplanes on the production line, Cessna's jet-A-burning Turbo Skylane JT-A is on schedule for certification and first deliveries before the end of June. "We are on track," said Jeff Umscheid, business leader for the project. "We have been taking orders since [EAA AirVenture 2012 last summer]."
The JT-A's SMA diesel engine is exhibiting a 40 percent increase in fuel efficiency, compared with gasoline engines, said Umscheid, and its electronic engine controls (with mechanical backup) and single power lever simplify the pilot's engine management chores. "The reduction in pilot workload is substantial," he said.
An important goal of the program was to market a Skylane able to use more widely available jet fuel, because avgas is scarce in many parts of the world. And even where it is available, leaded avgas is costly to manufacture and deliver, since equipment used to make and deliver it cannot be used with unleaded auto fuels.
Cessna also announced its composite TTx is preparing for first deliveries in May. The first flight of a production airplane was in March. With a cruise speed of 235 knots, the TTx is billed as the fastest certified single-engine fixed gear aircraft. Brian Steele, business leader for the TTx program, pointed out that speed isn't the only virtue of the new model.
Its Garmin 2000 avionics suite includes touch-screen panels. Touch-screen control pads, air conditioning, side sticks, golf-bag-friendly baggage space and stitched leather on the seats contribute to the overall value.
"It's the attention to detail that helps set the TTx apart," said Steele.