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EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedWhat’s new in production aircraft
By James Wynbrandt, EAA AirVenture Today
Aviat Husky
Diamond D-Jet
American Champion Super Decathlon
American Champion Scout
Hawker Beechcraft
Cessna Skycatcher

August 2, 2009 - Oshkosh, Wisconsin  - New models, new options, even new display locations: Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) of certificated production aircraft have plenty of news to share with AirVenture visitors. All of these exhibitors have lots to talk about, so stop by their display areas to see for yourself. On Monday, AirVenture Today profiled the personal jets from some of these manufacturers. Here are some highlights of their piston aircraft news.

Cirrus Design (Booth 199)
Want to really personalize your aircraft? Duluth, Minnesota-based Cirrus Design has introduced its Xi individualized option package at AirVenture. Customers can pick their colors and paint scheme for the exterior, and choose a variety of unique interior appointments, such as custom stitching and embossing.

The company calls it “a winged extension of your flying persona.”

“Our customers work with our most senior designers one-on-one,” said Todd Simmons, Cirrus vice president of marketing.

The first customer airplane to go through the new Xi program, SR22 N565SR, made its debut at AirVenture.

“It’s fully personalized: his name and signature are embossed on the leather,” said Simmons. “There is no other plane like it.”

The Xi package adds $25,000 to the aircraft cost, and the company reports strong demand for the option.

Piper Aircraft Co. (Booth 158)
In May Singapore-based Imprimis Capital bought Piper Aircraft of Vero Beach, Florida, and the new owners are bent on aggressive expansion.

At AirVenture, Piper announced the return of the venerable Archer, the company’s 180-hp stalwart. Though never officially scrubbed from the product line, it returns in 2010 with a Garmin G600 glass panel and air conditioning at a price of about $300,000, according to Jacqueline Carlon, Piper’s director of marketing.

“We met with dealers a few weeks ago, and they’ve placed a significant order,” Carlon said.

The G600 will also be installed in the single-engine Warrior and twin-engine Seminole trainers, to “provide a full-service training solution” incorporating glass panel technology that students and flight schools demand today.

On the business side, the company plans an expansion in the Pacific Rim and the Middle East, and it is actively seeking proposals from potential dealers here at AirVenture. Among the territories up for grabs: Australia, China, India, and the Middle East.

Meanwhile, the company delivered a turboprop Piper Meridian, the company’s current flagship model, on Tuesday.

Aviat Aircraft (Booth 220)
A small nature camp in the middle of Aviat Aircraft’s display area, complete with fire pit and fishing pond, re-creates a slice of the wild, pristine spots for which the company’s Husky bushplanes are made.

Afton, Wyoming-based Aviat Aircraft is showcasing a series of product enhancements at AirVenture.

The Aviat Husky now features Garmin G600 with Synthetic Vision. The panel also sports a J.P. Instrument (JPI) EDM-930 electronic engine monitor, Garmin G430 comm and G330 transponder, plus XM satellite weather and music. New, larger doors make the aircraft easier to access, and the new AeroLED lights can be seen from 5 to 7 miles in daylight. With a 60,000-hour life, the lights can be left on continuously, and they draw just 2 amps versus the 14 amps needed to power the typical GE 45201.

The company’s Pitts and Eagle aerobatic aircraft are also on display.

Company President Stuart Horn reports business has been brisk. “On Tuesday and Wednesday we sold one each day, and have a lot of prospects, so it’s a good show,” Horn said.

Diamond Aircraft (Booth 244)
Diamond Aircraft of London, Ontario, is benefiting from its new location and expanded display area.

“We’ve had good steady traffic; we’re pleased,” said Mark Lee, Diamond’s director of marketing and sales for the D-JET.

The company’s key message: “We’re continuing to innovate and invest,” he said. As proof: the company reintroduced the DA20-C1 trainer with a Garmin G500 glass panel. Last November Diamond introduced an Aspen Avionics primary flight display, so buyers looking for glass panel capabilities now have two choices.

The company is also displaying its HK36 motorglider, after an absence from recent AirVentures, and the newly certified DA42 NG Twin Star, equipped with two Austro Engine AE300 170-hp turbo-diesel engines.

The fuel-efficient aircraft didn’t need ferry tanks for its flight to AirVenture from Austria. Flying at 65 percent power at 14,000 feet, the aircraft had a true airspeed of 155 knots while burning only 5.6 gph per side.

Just prior to AirVenture, Diamond received Canadian certification for the DA42 L360, a variant powered by two Lycoming IO-360 powerplants.

American Champion (Booth 225)
The Rochester, Wisconsin-based company is showcasing its 8KCAB Super Decathlon, 8GCBC Scout, 7EC Champ, 7ECA Citabria Aurora, 7GCAA Citabria Adventure, and 7GCBC Citabria Explorer.

The Champ is the first OEM equipped with TCM’s new O-200D engine, said Jerry Mehlhaff Jr., vice president of engineering and son of the company’s founder.

The 100-hp engine, created for light-sport aircraft (LSA) and selected to power Cessna’s SkyCatcher LSA, is 20 pounds lighter than its predecessor and offers higher compression for more efficient operation.

Other upgrades on display this year include an Aspen Avionics electronic flight instrument system panel, which also features a JPI EDM-930 engine monitor.

Last year at AirVenture, American Champion introduced its Scout water bomber, and the company reports it hopes for certification by year’s end. Capable of carrying 100 gallons of water, the Scout also sports an infrared enhanced-vision system, which allows pilots to see through smoke and put the water where it’s needed.

The company anticipates the aircraft will have a $150 per hour agency operating cost.

As of Thursday the company had sold at least one aircraft.

“It’s been a great crowd,” said Mehlhaff. “Traffic is up, and the quality of prospects has not gone down.”

Hawker Beechcraft (Booth 333)
Hawker Beechcraft unveiled its new C90GTx at AirVenture. The update to its C90 King Air features composite winglets for better climb, speed, and fuel efficiency, as well as a 380-pound gross weight increase.

The panel features a fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite. Also on display from the King Air line are a King Air 350 and a B200GT. Rounding out the display fleet are a Beechcraft Premier 1A, Baron G58, and Bonanza G36.

The company hopes to generate four to six sales from the show, but another big goal is to have a chance to see current customers.

“That’s probably the single biggest reason we’re here,” said Mark Molloy, regional sales director for the Wisconsin area. “Customers from all over can reconnect and see our new products,” Molloy said.

Cessna Aircraft (Booth 110)
With the reconfiguration of grounds, Wichita-based Cessna Aircraft Co. filled a new display area near the Main Gate that covers one-third more space than the company’s previous display. It’s a perfect setting for the fleet Cessna brought to AirVenture: a 162 SkyCatcher LSA, the 172 Skyhawk SP, 182 Turbo Skylane, 206 Turbo Stationair, Corvalis, Corvalis TT twin turbo, Grand Caravan, Caravan Amphibian, Citation Mustang, and Citation CJ2+.

The company also has some honorary golden oldies on display: Cessna 150s.

“We’re celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Cessna 150,” said Angela Baldwin, Cessna’s manager of media relations.

But the company is also looking ahead to its new trainer: “The SkyCatcher is nearly ready,” Baldwin said. “That’s the big thing.”

At AirVenture, the company announced it expects to begin deliveries of the SkyCatcher by the end of the year.

Cessna also unveiled its Cessna Sport/Private Pilot Course under the Cessna Flight Training System, a new web-based system available through Cessna Pilot Centers.

In other news, Cessna unveiled a synthetic vision upgrade retrofit for G1000- equipped Cessnas.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
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