Cessna to enter Light Sport Aircraft Market

I’ve been looking around at some of the cool planes coming out that qualify under the FAA’s new Light Sport rules. I was surprised to find this Press Release from Cessna.

Here’s an except for you:

The newly-emerging Light Sport Aircraft category is the highest growth sector of general aviation. Light Sport Aircraft are defined as having a maximum gross weight of 1320 pounds, maximum level-flight speed of 120 knots, and no more than two seats.

“As the world’s largest producer of single engine piston airplanes, we believe we could bring unique capabilities to this exciting market,” said Cessna Chairman, President and CEO Jack Pelton. “Our extensive sales and service network could provide an important market advantage, which, in concert with our design and manufacturing experience, could make this an attractive extension of our product line,” he said.

Pelton said the company will evaluate a spectrum of issues associated with entering the sector to determine if there is a favorable business case. That decision is expected to be made in the first quarter of 2007.

“An important part of our thought process in looking at LSA is the value in terms of new pilot starts. Experience has shown that Cessna brand loyalty is a powerful force in our success, and we believe this new category of aircraft could provide a conduit for new pilots to grow through the Cessna product line in the years ahead,” he said.

The company plans to unveil its proof-of-concept LSA at a press conference at the EAA show on July 24, and will survey attendees at the show to insure a Cessna-designed LSA would be responsive to market preferences.

I had wondered if and of the major players were going to release new designs targeted to the new market. Though I believe if Cessna (or any major company) releases new production Light Sport Aircraft that it will appeal and be successful outside of the sport market. Seems most pilots are looking for ways to cut the cost of the cross town hamburger run.

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