Second Skycatcher Prototype Crashes


A Cessna spokesman says the company may have to reconsider the delivery schedule for the 162 Skycatcher after the second crash of a prototype Thursday. The pilot, who was doing unspecified flight test maneuvers, pulled the ballistic parachute, which deployed and he was uninjured in the incident. Photos show the aircraft ended up inverted, likely because the parachute pulled it along the ground. The crash aircraft was the only flying example of the 162 after September crash destroyed the first prototype. Deliveries were to begin later this year, but Bob Stangarone, Cessna’s vice president of corporate communications, told the Wichita Eagle, that schedule will have to be adjusted.

Stangarone told the Eagle that spin testing the 162 “was the last big thing we had” in completing the Light Sport certification testing of the design. It was an unrecoverable spin that caused the September crash, in which the pilot bailed out after the aircraft parachute failed to deploy. Cessna enlarged the tail on the Skycatcher in response to that accident but Stangarone was unable to confirm whether the aircraft was undergoing spin testing at the time of Thursday’s accident.