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
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
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
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 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
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
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
“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
“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
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
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.