Cessna's Next-Generation Flyby

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"It will set new standards in performance, comfort and safety, and will be backed by Cessna's worldwide sales, distribution, training and service infrastructure," said Cessna CEO and president, Jack Pelton of the company's "Next Generation Piston Aircraft" (NGP). The design's surprise appearance came during Monday's unveiling of Cessna's concept LSA (which was expected). The un-announced arrival of Cessna's NGP, however, simply dropped jaws. A close look shows fixed tricycle gear, a cantilever forward-swept wing, front and back access doors plus a baggage door, and subtle compound curves. With the introduction of two brand new aircraft designs -- the proof-of-concept LSA, and the forward-swept wing five-place(?) piston-single -- Cessna has re-entered the race and put its money where its mouth is. Gaping jaws and visible goose bumps (in the balmy mid-western heat) were a dime a dozen during the aircraft's three circuits, but hard numbers are still to come. Cessna says the aircraft, flying out of the company's Wichita facilities, has since June 23 accumulated more than 20 hours in its development program.