Those attending this week's Sun 'n Fun Fly-In in Lakeland, Fla., can catch a glimpse of Cessna's possible future. The Wichita-based airplane manufacturer is displaying its Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) and Next Generation Piston (NGP) "proof-of-concept" airplanes at the show, though a white picket fence prevents attendees from getting too close to the NGP prototype. Cessna is evaluating airplanes "for design specifics, market demand, and whether or not the products support a viable business case for production." LSA project engineer Neal Willford said several changes have been made to the LSA model, namely the nose cowling has been modified to fit the Continental O-200 engine.
Meanwhile, Cessna engineers are refining the NGP's aerodynamic s and systems. The large-cabin single-engine prototype is powered by a 315-hp Lycoming IO-580 piston engine, though Cessna said other powerplants are being considered.
According to Cessna, the NGP is constructed using a "higher percentage" of composite materials compared with the company's traditional airplanes. Those lucky enough to see the airplanes at Sun 'n Fun should remember that the proof-of-concept interiors are in no way indicative of how a production model will look, the company warns. The NGP and LSA prototypes have logged 126 hours and 78 hours, respectively.