The first production line assembled-in-China Cessna 162 Skycatcher to be flown took flight Thursday at Cessna’s Shenyang production facility in northeast China, performing “a number of handling quality tests during the flight,” Cessna said in a news release. The “first” here means that the particular aircraft was “fabricated and assembled on production tooling.” Cessna in July earned ASTM compliance (international standards for Light Sport aircraft) for the two-place, piston powered single-engine high wing, and Cessna chairman, president and CEO, Jack Pelton, is excited to see the Skycatcher “take its place in the industry as the light sport aircraft of choice.” When Cessna first announced the Skycatcher would be assembled in China, it fielded some boisterously opposed opinions from some percentage of the flying public, but Cessna has stayed the course. The Shenyang Aircraft Company (SAC) is the fabricator of the aircraft’s fuselage, which it then integrates with other components including a Continental 0-200D 100-hp engine and Garmin G300 split screen primary flight and multi-function displays. Aircraft will be shipped from China to the U.S. where they will be reassembled, according to Cessna.
The 162 should cruise near 118 knots for a 470 nautical mile range. It will be built for VFR day/night operations. The company, which operates a network of flight training centers, says it has more than 1000 orders for the aircraft.