Cessna Aircraft At 80

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Those attending Sun 'n Fun in Lakeland, Fla., starting tomorrow will be among the first to get a close look at Cessna’s proof-of-concept Next Generation Piston (NGP) aircraft. Dealers and prospective fleet customers have already given the flashy high wing a good going over, but the company has always kept it away from the masses since its surprise debut at EAA AirVenture last year with a flyby. The curious at AOPA Expo in Palm Springs had to be satisfied with a mock-up display, but the actual airplane will be at the Cessna pavilion at Lakeland. In fact, the company will have an example of every production model on display to help mark Clyde Cessna’s brave venture that started in 1927. In case you’ve lost track of the Wichita-based manufacturer's current offerings, that’s nine Citation models, the Caravan and three piston singles. The NGP, the proof-of-concept light sport aircraft, the Mustang entry level jet and a Grand Caravan will be on view outside. There will also be exhibits from Cessna’s trophy case, including the 1996 Collier Trophy it won for the Citation X.