Premier Aircraft Sales has launched an upgrade program for the Cessna 172 Skyhawk that adds a new Continental/Centurion 2.0 diesel engine to the airplane to go along with fresh paint, new interior and modern glass avionics.
The first airplane upgraded under the program is a 1997 Cessna 172R model with a sticker price of $289,500 — about $70,000 less than a brand new Skyhawk. In addition to the 135 hp Centurion turbo diesel, the airplane includes paint and interior and a Garmin G500 cockpit with GTN 750 touchscreen navigator.
Premier hopes to have the airplane ready for delivery in time for Sun ‘n Fun in Lakeland, Florida, in April. Art Spengler, the Fort Lauderdale, Florida company’s vice president of operations, told Flying interest in the Skyhawk upgrade program has been strong right out of the gate. While this is the first airplane Premier has upgraded with diesel power, Premier hopes to turn it into a full-fledged refurbishment program for pre-G1000 Skyhawks. The engine accounts for $95,000 of the purchase price, with the final out-the-door tally dependent on what options the buyer chooses. If all goes well, Premier plans to pursue a similar STC retrofit for Piper Warriors.
The Centurion diesel burns 6 gallons per hour of jet-A, versus the Skyhawk’s stock Lycoming, which burns around 9 gallons an hour of pricier 100LL avgas. The Centurion also includes a Fadec for single-lever operation.
Redbird Flight Simulations of San Marcos, Texas, has launched a similar program targeted at the training marker using existing 172s and the Centurion diesel that it calls the Redhawk. The company is aiming for a purchase price of $100,000 less than that of a new Skyhawk.
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