Eclipse Shows off Single-Engine Concept Jet As some had speculated for a some time, Eclipse Aviation did indeed introduce a single-engine jet at AirVenture. Eclipse CEO Vern Raburn made a surprise, dramatic entrance in the jet, taxiing up to the company's display tent at show center as reporters looked on, before emerging from the jet and briefing the press on the new program. Like the company's twinjet, the new concept single-engine jet features sheet metal construction for the most part, though its large V-tail is built from composites. The single engine-the same Pratt & Whitney PW615F turbofan that's on the 500--is mounted on a pylon on the back of the airplane. The Concept Jet is a four-seater, with conventional two-in-front, two-in-back seating. Projected performance is impressive with a hoped-for cruise speed of 345 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet (though how that will happen without a backup source of pressurization remains to be seen), a range of 1,250 nm. Raburn insisted that the airplane is simply a "concept jet" at this time, a point Eclipse underscored by naming the airplane just that-the Eclipse Concept Jet--and painting that right on the airplane. Raburn is understandably sensitive to what might be perceived by some customers as a launch or soft launch at a time that the company is still going through the last throes of getting its twin-engine Eclipse 500 twinjet up to snuff and out to customers. So as not to commit existing resources, Eclipse went outside of house to build the proof of concept article, using an outside design and prototyping firm, Swift Engineering, to do the heavy lifting of the project. The proof of concept jet, still unpressurized, had flown about 30 hours by the time it got to AirVenture. Raburn said that there was no set timetable for deciding whether to go ahead with building the single-engine jet, though he implied that a launch decision would most likely take place in a year to 18 months. It's Official: Cessna Launches its LSA The day before the start of AirVenture, Cessna president Jack Pelton announced that his company was going ahead with its Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) design, which now has a name and designation: the Cessna 162 SkyCatcher. The airplane is mostly made of sheet metal, with strut-braced wings. For power Cessna evaluated the Rotax 912 aero engine, but decided instead, after talking with its customers, to go with the Continental 0-200, the same engine, interestingly enough, that powered the company's archetypal two-seat trainer, the Cessna 150. The 162 will feature a flat-panel avionics system from Garmin designed expressly for the SkyCatcher. The G300 will feature one or two displays, with many of the features of the G1000 that's in the company's larger piston singles but optimized for the more compact panel of the 162 and the sport/training mission of the smaller airplane. The timetable for the introduction into service isn't quick. First flight is slated to take place in the first half of next year, with ASTM compliance-it's how LSAs are "certified"-scheduled towards for the latter part of that year, with first deliveries in the second half of 2009 and a ramp up to full production by 2011. Cost of the basic airplane is around $110,000. At last year's AirVenture when Cessna announced that it was studying a possible LSA entry, Pelton said that it would consider a cutoff price of $100,000. But at the launch event Pelton admitted that such a cutoff price had been unrealistic. He also argued that the SkyCatcher, when compared with LSAs that are comparably equipped, represents an equal or better value even at the higher price point. After AirVenture, Cessna might have revisit those plans. It received more than 400 orders for SkyCatchers the first two days of the show.