October 5, 2007 Own your own brand new Cessna for a touch over a hundred grand – it’s an offer many are finding too good to refuse. The Cessna SkyCatcher Light Sports Aircraft seems to be the right product at the right time – the all-metal, high-wing twin-seater monoplane is easy to fly (or learn to fly), very good looking and at a price point that's within a wallet’s stretch for aviation fans. Plus it has one of the most trusted names in aviation written down the side. Perhaps this is why it’s been selling like crazy since its July launch with the company now reporting orders for more than 850 aircraft.

The SkyCatcher (Cessna model 162) is an all-metal, single engine piston, high-wing, twin-seater monoplane. Its 100-horsepower engine can take you to a maximum height of 15,500 feet, a maximum speed of 136mph, and a maximum range of around 5.8 hours on its 90-litre fuel capacity.

It’s designed to stir the passions of beginners and enthusiasts alike – Cessna envisage this plane as their way of reaching out to a new generation of aviation fans.

Dual control sticks let the passenger get in on the action, and a Garmin G300 cockpit puts radio, GPS navigation, COM and transponder information as well as all the standard flight data in exceptionally easy reach on either a single or double multifunction display.

Since 2004’s pilot licensing overhaul by America’s Federal Aviation Administration, the sport-pilot license category has been introduced, requiring only 20 hours’ training (less than US$3,000 estimated costs) and no longer subjecting applicants to a medical examination. The SkyCatcher fits neatly into the Light Sports Aircraft category, meaning that it can be flown on a sport-pilot license – so it’s a very accessible little plane indeed.

With a pricetag of around US$110,000 (this introductory price of $109,500 will hold for the first 1,000 orders and then increase to $111,500), it’s genuinely affordable to anyone who’d otherwise spend that sort of dough on a sports car or yacht – and it offers aviation virgins a very attractive way of taking their first steps down a path filled with passion and adventure. No wonder, then, that Cessna are reporting that more than 850 SkyCatcher aircraft are on order (valued at more than $90 million) as of October 4.

More information, brochures and presentation videos at the SkyCatcher website.

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