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Cessna Working To Streamline Skycatcher Production

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Cessna is working to accelerate deliveries of its 162 Skycatcher and iron out production-line inefficiencies caused by the addition of airframe modifications that resulted from spin testing, the Wichita Eagle reported Friday. Currently, Cessna has its Skycatchers produced by Shenyang Aircraft Corp. in China. Those aircraft are then shipped to Yingling Aviation for reassembly. From there, aircraft go to Cessna for modifications borne from the spin test program, and then they go back to Yingling for flight tests and delivery. Shenyang is expected to build a new facility in 2011, which will eventually produce the Skycatcher light sport aircraft with the modifications incorporated directly into the production line. For now, Cessna says Skycatcher output in 2010 will improve, but they're not saying by how much.

Cessna delivered 354 piston aircraft last year and is somewhat optimistic about improving that number in the near term. Cessna's vice president for worldwide propeller aircraft sales said, "We see a number of indications that the general economy may be stabilizing and that should eventually translate into a return to growth in the piston market." But the company is expecting only a small improvement in sales through 2010, reserving its forecast for real improvement to sometime in mid-2011.

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