Rumors Of The Next Cessna

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AVweb has learned that those in attendance at a recent Cessna dealer's meeting were encouraged to pore over Columbia and Cirrus aircraft -- but also were introduced to renderings of what could become Cessna's new aircraft. We're told attendees learned that the aircraft's basic design would incorporate a strutless high-wing planform built of composite material. Attendees were told the craft would be pulled by a 350-hp powerplant with speed, comfort and ... speed ... as high priorities. Rear-door entry was included in the design, as was fixed gear -- which would cut down on complexity and cater to the aerodynamic reality that, while at cruising altitudes, retractable gear offers precious little advantage over properly faired fixed gear. Plus, fixed gear generally incurs lower maintenance, insurance, production cost and weight penalties.