AERO13: Cessna propeller duo make European debut

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Two of Cessna's propeller lines made their European debuts at Aero as part of a strategic effort by the US airframer to stimulate customer interest in its latest single-engined products.

The Caravan EX was approved late last year by the US Federal Aviation Administration and Cessna is expecting to clinch European validation for the single-engined turboprop within the next three to four months, says Jodi Noah, Cessna's vice-president of single-engined propeller aircraft.

"This is only the second time the Caravan has undergone an upgrade since it entered service in 1985," Noah adds. "The last upgrade was in 2007 when we installed the Garmin G1000 avionics."

Powered by the new Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140 engine, this latest version of the 10-seat, high-wing Caravan series boasts a 38% improvement in the rate of climb over its predecessor - exceeding its original improvement target of 20%. Noah says the $2.15 million Caravan is bucking the trend in the light business and general aviation sector where demand has been at its lowest level for many years.

"The Caravan is continuing to sell well globally due to its versatility and low operating costs. Last year we delivered 107 of these aircraft and we expect these numbers to climb again when the Caravan is certificated with floats in the third quarter." Over 2,300 Caravans have been delivered to date, Noah says.

The other debutant, the TTx, is earmarked for certification and first deliveries teh second quarter. Europe is expected to approve the four-seat, high-performance aircraft - the fastest commercial certified piston-driven aircraft currently in production - early next year. The $734,000 aircraft replaces the Corvalis TT and features the first Garmin G2000 touchscreen-controlled glass flightdeck.