In an exclusive briefing with Plane & Pilot, Kevin Schmitz, the business leader of the Cessna TTx program, shared some progress reports on a few of Cessna’s single-engine programs, including the reintroduced Skylane and the troubled 182 diesel JT-A Skylane model.
Schmitz emphasized that the decision to “pause” the diesel-powered Skylane program, announced officially earlier this year, was done in order for the company to be able to allocate its resources to other programs, with special attention to the 172 JT-A, which Schmitz said is closing in on EASA certification.
Textron Aviation, the company that encompasses the Cessna and Beechcraft brands, among others, is bullish on the turbo-diesel Skyhawk’s prospects, especially in Europe, where the price of 100LL is sky high, but also in the United States, where the plane’s frugal fuel usage can save flight schools big bucks. The 172 JT-A is powered by a Continental CD-155 engine, a 155 hp model manufactured in Germany.
The 182 Skylane JT-A program, which has experienced a couple of program starts and stops after extensive problems in development related to the SMA diesel engine integration, remains paused, Schmitz told Plane & Pilot. The term, according to Textron Aviation’s media and public relations manager Nikki Riemen, is meant to emphasize that the program is still alive, but not currently getting attention from Textron Aviation, as it focuses on other promising programs, including, she said, the 172 JT-A.
Schmitz shared his surprise that the reintroduction of the normally aspirated Skylane seemed an industry secret. The model, one of the most produced in aviation history, has been a mainstay of the Cessna fleet for almost 60 years (with a hiatus in the mid-’80s to the mid-’90s). In anticipation of the introduction of the JT-A model, Cessna ceased production of the normally aspirated version in 2013, but reintroduced it in 2015.
Schmitz emphasized that the good old-fashioned 182 Skylane is indeed available from Cessna and that information about it is available on the company’s website: txtav.com.