Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Days Of Celebration, Days Of Dreams
10 new planes that offer encouragement and new visions for aviation
ATP & D-Jet
This is a year for anniversaries: the 50th of the Cessna 150, 60th of the North American T-28 Trojan, 80th of the Pietenpol and 100th of Canadian aviation. But it will also go down in the history books as the year when the future snuck in on a whir of silent propellers: commercially produced electric-powered aircraft made their dramatic debuts.
Cessna 162 SkyCatcher
The 10 aircraft below represent our take on recent aviation notables, but you can take away this capsule overview: Economic doldrums seem to be fading, and the human spirit of endurance, adaptation and innovation is alive and as exuberantly indomitable as ever.
The long-watched, patiently awaited (more than 1,000 orders are on the books) Cessna SkyCatcher, powered by the 100 hp Continental O-200D, emerged from flight-testing setbacks with its ASTM certification sticker—the 100th LSA model to do so. Deliveries of the China-produced LSA should start by year’s end. Visit www.cessna.com.
Red Tail P-51
Long-time Italian producer Tecnam offers its P2006T, a “compact,” twin-engine high-winger that takes an impressive new slant on four-seat personal or business travel. Powered by FAR 33–certified Rotax 912S engines, the bird has a 9 gph total burn; that’s with both engines running. It also features retractable gear, full-feathering constant-speed props and an optional all-glass avionics cockpit—all for less than $500,000 fully equipped. Visit www.tecnamaircraft.com.
Red Tail P-51
The famed Tuskegee Airmen, World War II’s celebrated African-American troop of P-51 fighter pilots, are enjoying yet another celebration of their storied past with the return of one of their own: a C-model Mustang like the one they flew so long ago. Following a fatal crash, the airplane was rebuilt through tens of thousands of hours of work and donations amounting to $25,000 over the project’s five years. Visit www.redtail.org.
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