Russia's Major Cessna Skyhawk Order

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One of the largest orders Cessna has ever recorded was placed at Moscow's JetExpo 2013 for 79 of the manufacturer's Skyhawks (more than half the number of Skyhawks delivered in all of 2012), purchased by Moscow-based operator ViraZH. ViraZH plans to establish the aircraft as trainers and will place them at flight schools throughout western Russia. At list prices, the deal would be worth more than $22 million. The delivery will be fulfilled through the third quarter of 2014, giving the Russian operator, which already operates 11 Skyhawks, one of the largest Skyhawk fleets in the world.

Cessna says the order is encouraging as it represents an increase in the company's global customer base while also increasing accessibility to flight training in Russia. The 172 is now the "best-selling, most-flown single-engine aircraft in the world," according to Cessna, and the latest variants are equipped with an all-glass Garmin G1000 integrated flight deck. Cessna delivered 140 Skyhawks in 2012, according to General Aviation Manufacturers Association data. The company's piston line is now led by the Cessna TTx, which it advertises as "the world's fastest commercially produced and certified fixed-gear single engine aircraft." The four-place low-wing tops out near 235 knots behind a 310-hp Continental TSIO-550-C engine and can cruise for 1,250 nm.