Cessna 162 SkyCatcher Makes First Flight

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The first prototype of Cessna's light sport aircraft entry, the model 162 SkyCatcher, made its inaugural flight recently from Cessna's R&D facility in Wichita. Cessna test pilot Dale Bleakney was at the controls for the one-hour flight, during which he checked out the airplane's basic controllability and stability. Cessna planned to continue development flight testing from its Mid-Continent facilities.

The airplane is the first of three 162s that Cessna will use in the SkyCatcher's ASTM certification process. At the time of the first flight, the first production example was being built and the ASTM test article was undergoing load limit testing. A nonconforming, proof-of-concept airplane has been flying since early last year.

The SkyCatcher will be powered by a Continental O-200. The flight and engine instruments will be displayed on a new generation Garmin G300 flat-panel system. Due to be available next year, the 162 is slated to sell for $111,500.