Cessna Hits 7,000 In 10

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Has it been 10 years already since Cessna restarted its piston-engine single production? According to Cessna, which earlier this month celebrated completing the 7,000th single-engine piston to emerge from its Independence, Kan., facility, it has. Thankfully, the math is easy: An average of 700 new piston-engined singles have emerged from that factory since 1996, adding to the company's total production of more than 152,000 single-engine piston aircraft in its nearly 80-year history. Ironically, the company restarted production after a 10-year hiatus that began in 1986, in part because of unlimited product liability exposure and high insurance costs. Cessna says 1994's General Aviation Revitalization Act (GARA) allowed it to re-enter the market for single-engine piston airplanes.

Cessna's 7,000th Independence-produced aircraft was a Cessna 182 Skylane sold to Frank Seymour of Sheltair Aviation Services, which owns eight FBOs in Florida and New York. “Cessnas are reliable and fun to fly,” said Seymour, who also owns a Cessna 206 Stationair. “I need to fly between FBOs to ensure the customer service and facilities are meeting expectations, and I look forward to using this beautiful new airplane as my transportation.” Within days of GARA's enactment, Cessna announced a search for the town where it would build a facility to manufacture single-engine pistons again. In December 1994, Cessna announced it would build the new airplanes at Independence. Included are model 172 Skyhawks, 182 Skylanes and 206 Stationairs. Cessna broke ground for the facility in May 1995. To date, Cessna says it has delivered more general aviation airplanes than any other commercial manufacturer. More than half the general aviation aircraft flying today are Cessnas, the company said.