Textron Introduces Diesel 172

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Textron says its introduction of a factory-equipped diesel option for the 172 Skyhawk reinforces its commitment to providing diesel options for customers. The Turbo Skyhawk JT-A was introduced at a news conference at AirVenture 2014 on Monday. It will be powered by a Continental CD-155 diesel, which is the tweaked version of the Thielert Centurion engine. Continental bought Thielert a year ago. The mill adds $60,000 to the price of a base Skyhawk pushing it to more than $420,000. The engine will be offered under an existing STC, which makes the introduction relatively straightforward. Cessna expects to start deliveries in 2015. The aircraft gains a few knots with the new engine (131 knots maximum speed) with a 3-gallon-per-hour reduction in fuel burn. “The recent advances and growing maturity in diesel engine technology in the aviation market now give us the means to satisfy a growing demand around the world,” said Joe Hepburn, senior vice president for piston aircraft. Meanwhile, the company says the diesel-powered 182 will be certified "soon."

The Turbo Skylane JT-A was introduced at last year's AirVenture and there have been issues, including an off-airport landing, with the engine in testing. The test aircraft flew to AirVenture this year and Cessna plans an aggressive marketing campaign. "Up to six Turbo Skylane JT-A marketing demonstrators will soon be stationed around the world and deliveries of the first production models are ready to begin upon certification."