Cessna SkyCatcher Prototype Crashes; Pilot Safe

The Cessna 162 SkyCatcher nonconforming prototype crashed last Thursday during a test flight. The FAA reported that the developmental light sport aircraft was performing a stall series at 10,000 feet when it entered an unrecoverable flat spin. The pilot bailed out at about 5,000 feet and escaped without injuries. Information on the airplane's weight and balance configuration for the test flight was not released. Cessna Chairman Jack Pelton said he does not expect the crash to slow the SkyCatcher development program. The prototype first flew in March and had approximately 150 hours logged. It has been joined in the test program by two production aircraft. Cessna has received close to 1,000 orders for the SkyCatcher, which is to be built in China and assembled in the United States. First deliveries at the target price of under $110,000 are scheduled by mid-2009.