At AOPA Expo, Cessna is debuting a mockup of its Next Generation Piston (NGP) aircraft and displaying its flying proof-of-concept Light Sport Aircraft (LSA). It further announced upgrades for its current single-engine pistons. The company anticipates a launch decision for the NGP program by next summer, which would be followed by an 18-month certification schedule if given the green light. Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton said the flying proof-of-concept aircraft is meeting and exceeding expectations with more than 80 hours in the air since its maiden flight on June 23. Meanwhile, he said the LSA concept is on track, with a program launch decision expected in the first quarter next year. Cessna's LSA is expected to cost less than $100,000.
"The more we evaluate our Light Sport Aircraft proof-of-concept airplane and the market potential for such an aircraft, the stronger our conviction is that this could be a favorable step for our company's product line," Pelton said. Cessna's LSA model has made more than 11 flights, accumulating more than 20 hours in the air. The two-seat LSA proof-of-concept features a high wing spanning 30 feet, a maximum cabin width of 48 inches, tricycle gear and a 100-hp Rotax 912 engine. Not forgetting its current piston line, Cessna said its Skylane and Stationair will get significant enhancements for their Garmin G1000 integrated avionics suite with the introduction of the Garmin GFC 700 automatic flight control and flight director system as standard equipment. In addition, WAAS, Garmin SafeTaxi and Garmin FliteCharts will be standard on all three of its piston models, and Garmin ChartView powered by Jeppesen will be available as an option.