Cessna will offer a whole airplane parachute as an option, though no details have been revealed. The Garmin G300 avionics package will include a flat-glass primary flight display (PFD) with engine instrumentation, comm radio and transponder, but there will be options for expanded displays and an autopilot. Garmin has not yet finalized configuration of the G300 so it has not released details.
A single Garmin flat glass PFD will be standard, but the second display will be optional. The new LSA standards are key in simplifying the design of the 162, and thus controlling costs. Standard light airplanes must be approved under FAR Part 23, a rule so vast that it covers everything from a light piston single all the way up to the Citation CJ3 business jet that can fly at 415 knots and cruise up to 45,000 feet. Any rule that covers such an enormous range of airplane capability includes a lot of baggage that doesn't really add anything to the safety or utility of light VFR propeller airplanes. Project engineer Neal Willford told me that he has found the LSA standards to be very appropriate to the light airplane mission, and in some cases structural load factor requirements are a little higher for the LSA design.
Of course, what really matters is that Cessna is applying its decades of experience to the design of the 162. For example, fatigue tests are not required under LSA standards, but Cessna is conducting them. Design features that can meet the standards may not hold up well in the punishing real world of flight training, but Cessna knows how to design an airplane for that mission. The LSA rules are not FAA certification requirements in the conventional way, but are a standard that the manufacturer affirms that it complies with. So it is the reputation and experience of the manufacturer that matters most in LSAs, and after having built half of all light airplanes Cessna is secure at the top.
The static test article of the Model 162 was nearing completion before the Oshkosh show, and the conforming prototype was being built. Cessna will make the first flight of the airplane in 2008 and begin deliveries in 2009. The 162 will be sold through Cessna's existing dealer network and $5,000 deposits were being taken at a rapid rate during the show with hundreds booked on the first day.
The Model 162 will not be built in the U.S. because, well, it would cost too much. Cessna had not finalized all contracts for construction of the airplane at show time so exactly where the airplane will be built was not announced. Cessna's initial demand forecast is for about 700 Model 162s worldwide each year.