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Redbird to 'Build' Diesel Skyhawks, Dubbed Redhawks
At EAA AirVenture Oshkosh Redbird Flight Simulations announced that it is going to start rehabbing existing Cessna Skyhawks (early to mid-1980s models) for use in its training programs at its Skyport FBO in San Marcos, Texas, as well as selling them to other flight schools. Most noteworthy of the upgrades will be the Centurion 2.0 turbodiesel single-lever control engine, which will take the place of the pre-existing Lycoming 320-series engines in the airplanes.
Redbird founder and chairman Jerry Gregoire said the program will be a spinner to tail refurbishment and will include complete airframe overhaul, paint and interior and new avionics, the latter of which Gregoire said would the subject of an announcement sometime after AirVenture. The airplanes will have pre-arranged leasing, insurance and warranty programs.
Redbird will "build" the airplanes in a new factory it will construct near its Skyport FBO in San Marcos. Gregoire said his company will make use of the first four Redhawks in its flight training program before beginning sales to other training organizations. The sales effort will kick off at Redbird's Migration event in October, with first deliveries happening in the second quarter of next year.
Flying has already flown the airplane. For a full pilot report and story on the project, see our story in an upcoming issue.