New aircraft sales continue to be on the soft side, but some specialty refurbishing and modification companies can't keep up. "I can't build them fast enough," said Todd Peterson, owner of Peterson's Performance Plus, creator of the King Katmai modification of the Cessna 182. On setup day Wednesday at AOPA Summit in Palm Springs he sold a fully tricked-out $350,000 version of the aircraft complete with Tundra tires, wing extensions and nose-mounted canards that turn the venerable cross-country platform into a serious back-country performer.
Peterson said he has seven airplanes under construction at his facility in El Dorado, Kan., and a long list of future customers for the unique aircraft. He sources low-time corrosion-free airframes for his clients, completely rebuilds and modifies them with 260-or 300-horsepower engines and fully modern panels, in addition to the STOL gear. He said the typical customer has other airplanes, from twins to business jets, and want a better-than-new specialty aircraft. Peterson said there are now about 500 variations of the modified 182 flying.