Cessna Getting Loud About Big Changes

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Cirrus Design's one airframe may be pressing production and design at Cessna. As Cirrus practically matches deliveries with Cessna, Cessna Aircraft CEO Jack Pelton confirmed last week what his company has been leaking -- Cessna is planning to not only produce a new design, but to revamp its line of single-engine aircraft, "to be competitive." "We're working real hard on it," Pelton told The Wichita Eagle. Cessna spokesman Dick Ziegler told AVweb Tuesday that changes are in the works but insists no further details are available just yet. "We're studying designs, materials, and technologies, we're analyzing available data, and we're getting customer feedback," he said. "We are committed to retaining our leadership in the single-engine market ..." and "We'll announce and go forward when the leadership is ready," he said. The company has said that its new products will continue to be built in Kansas. Cirrus, which has become the strongest threat to Cessna's single-engine four-place dominance, welcomes the competition. "I think it will be good for aviation and good for pilots," Cirrus VP of Marketing John Bingham said recently. Any time new products that enhance safety and performance are introduced, the industry as a whole benefits, he said. The latest numbers from the General Aviation Manufacturers Association showed that Cirrus delivered 447 single-engine four-place aircraft in the first three quarters of 2005, compared to 424 for Cessna.