Cessna says its single-engine turboprop is not ready for prime time and will not be shown at AOPA Summit in Long Beach next week. It had been widely speculated that the company would unveil the project at the show but Bob Stangarone, Cessna’s VP of Corporate Communications, said the company is a long way from that. “What we’re flying is neither a prototype nor proof of concept aircraft. It’s a technology demonstrator to help us determine how we could best fill the gap between the Corvalis and the Citation Mustang,” Stangarone told AVweb. “Any new aircraft introduction would be some time away.”
Speculation about the new aircraft peaked at the National Business Aviation Association convention two weeks ago and documents we published last week courtesy of Plane Fax have triggered a flood of tips that fit Stangarone’s characterization. One reader told us the PT6A-135A engine that powers the test bed is a lower-power (500-horsepower) version of the ubiquitous turbine, which is normally rated at 750 horsepower. Another, who worked at Columbia Aircraft before Cessna bought it, says the type certificate of the test airplane is the same as that of the Columbia (now Corvalis) line and is therefore a derivative of that design.