Cessna Gives SkyCatcher a Vote of Confidence

Cessna confirmed that the crash of a second Model 162 SkyCatcher prototype last week resulted from an unrecoverable spin. Nevertheless, Cessna remains committed to the light sport aircraft project. Company CEO Jack Pelton explained, "We test all our aircraft well beyond the limits of what is expected in normal operation." In the second SkyCatcher accident, the pilot lost control during what Pelton described as a "very aggressive" power-on, cross-control flight regime. When the spin was not immediately recoverable, the pilot deployed the ballistic recovery parachute and was uninjured in the landing, which destroyed the aircraft. The parachute is an option on the Model 162 and the most recent accident has provided Cessna with first-hand data on the crashworthiness of its aluminum airframe. As a light sport aircraft, the SkyCatcher is not required to be tested to the same standards as a normal category aircraft, but Cessna is pursuing the full test regime, regardless. The spin test last week was one of more than 500 such test regimes the SkyCatcher has undergone involving myriad combinations of power settings, control configurations, control inputs and weight-and-balance. Pelton added, "By the time a Cessna aircraft enters service we have the highest degree of confidence in the design, flight characteristics, manufacture and quality of the aircraft."