Cessna Announces CAP Order

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With the downturn in the economy, the order count that used to be a fixture of major aviation events has all but disappeared, but Cessna broke the recent mold at Sun 'n Fun 2010, or more accurately, just after it. Cessna linked an order for 12 Cessna 182s to the Civil Air Patrol to the annual spring show in Lakeland, Fla., even though it's doubtful CAP brass made the decision while kicking the tires last week. Nevertheless, it put a brighter spin on the show, which is holding its own in the economy and trying to make up for apparent decreases in exhibitor and fly-in attendance with jet team shows on the weekend (Thunderbirds this year) to draw the local crowds.

There were no order announcements by other OEMs during the show but exhibitors AVweb spoke with were generally upbeat by the quality of the weekday attendees, if not the quantity. Cessna CEO Jack Pelton told AVweb that Sun 'n Fun is a bellwether event and the level of activity at this year's show confirmed his analysis of the current aviation market. "It's going to be a long and slow recovery," he said. "But at least people are here and they're staying involved.