Two years after Cessna announced its intent to develop a diesel-powered Skylane 182, Textron Aviation announced today at the opening day of AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, a similar modification program to the most produced airplane in the world — the Cessna 172 Skyhawk.
Besides being powered by jet-A fuel, which is generally more plentiful and less expensive than 100LL avgas, the new Turbo Skyhawk JT-A will have a significant boost in range, allowing the four-seat airplane to travel as far as 1,012 nm. Despite the increase in range, owing to the reduced fuel burn, the new Skyhawk gets a speed boost, allowing it to cruise as fast as 131 knots. The speed increase is achieved by greater horsepower at altitude with the turbo engine. The Skyhawk will be powered by a 155-horsepower Continental CD-155 diesel engine, which has already achieved a European supplemental type certification for aftermarket installation in the 172.
Textron Aviation hopes to have the Turbo Skyhawk JT-A ready for customers starting next year for a price tag of $435,000, an increase of $65,000 over the gasoline-powered 172, said Joe Hepburn, Textron Aviation’s senior vice president of piston aircraft. The Lycoming powered version will continue to be offered as well. Certification of the more powerful and larger Skylane JT-A is imminent, but has been delayed as the Safran SMA engine has caused some problems for Cessna’s test pilots.
Cessna chose to introduce the new diesel-powered models in response to the increased cost and lack of availability of 100LL fuel. “The recent advances and growing maturity in diesel engine technology in the aviation market now give us the means to satisfy a growing demand around the world,” Hepburn said.
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