Cessna, Cirrus Find Buyers In Dubai

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It's not only heavy iron that gets sold at the Dubai Air Show -- some big sales of piston aircraft also were made this week. Cirrus Design announced a sale to Dubai Aerospace Enterprises Flight Academy to supply their training fleet. Two SR22s were delivered at the show, with the rest to come next year. Cirrus also brought its turbo SR22 to the show for the first time. "At present the Middle East is an untapped market for us," said John Bingham, managing director of international sales for Cirrus. "We envisage the market will grow healthily over the next few years, especially in the private aviation sector, and we expect to be part of that." Cessna brought its new turbo diesel Skyhawk to the show, and announced that Ethiopian Airlines will buy 10 copies. "These aircraft will be used in ab-initio airline training and represent the first fleet of the new Skyhawk TDs ordered by a major airline training school," said Bob Gibbs, Cessna's director of international propeller aircraft sales.

Ethiopian Airlines said it chose the aircraft for its Garmin G1000 avionics and economical operation. The Skyhawk TD is powered by a 155-horsepower Centurion 2.0 diesel engine from Germany's Thielert Aircraft Engines. The engine burns JetA-1 fuel, making it a popular option in countries where avgas is scarce, according to Cessna. Cessna also announced this week at Dubai that the Citation Mustang has achieved certification in 40 countries and a dozen more countries are in the works. "We now have 40 Mustangs in the field and our customers report that the aircraft has exceeded expectations," said Roger Whyte, Cessna senior vice president, sales and marketing. Nearly three-quarters of the Mustangs ordered this year are destined for international customers. Another 44 Mustangs should be delivered by the end of the year, the company said.