It’s that time of the year when half a million people converge on beautiful Oshkosh, WI for Airventure. Day 1 is in the bag and day 2 should be nearly done when you read this.
I’m not there, though I wish I was, but I’m making big plans for next year. To be honest, I’m making big plans in general for the next year, so stay tuned.
For now, I’d like to do a run down of some of the coolest stuff I’ve seen floating across my news feeds and social media.
Skyhawk JT-A: Cessna’s Solution to the 100LL Problem
If you’ve flown piston aircraft at all in the US over the last decade or so, you’re no doubt familiar with the sting that comes from watching the price of 100 octane low lead aviation fuel. As it stands now, the price of 1 measly gallon is around 6 dollars. In other words, the fuel to power a Cessna 172SP for just 10 minutes will set you back $6. Now, there are a myriad of reasons for this (and some debate as to whether it even matters), but 100LL will only get more expensive.
If you’ve flown a piston aircraft outside the US, you might have had a really hard time even getting any 100LL. In some cases 100LL just isn’t available due to logistical difficulties, in others there are better options available. The truth is, whether you like it or not, 100LL is on its way out. The deck is stacked against it.
This has thrown the aviation world into a bit of a tail spin—how do we proceed?—and projects trying to solve this problem are popping up all over. That, however, is a story for another day. Today I want to talk about something else.
Last year, Cessna released a diesel-engined 182 and it seems like they liked what they saw over the last year. This year, they’ve doubled down on their decision to go with Jet-A for their new piston aircraft and released the Turbo Skyhawk JT-A
Now, this is way outside my budget, but a diesel 172 does offer a number of improvements to an aircraft that is near and dear to my heart. Exhibits A,B, and C are improved range, speed, and fuel economy. All this is primarily due to the Continental CD-155 under the cowl. If you’re in the market for a new plane, this one will set you back $435,000.
More attractive to me, is the prospect of retrofitting a diesel engine to an older 172 (e.g., the RedHawk). Seeing as the CD-155’s little brother, the CD-135, is STCed for several models of Cessna 172, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect something similar from Continental with this engine based on their work with Cessna on the Skyhawk JT-A.
The One Week Wonder
In case you haven’t heard, one of the big events EAA is putting on this year is the One Week Wonder. The gist of the project is that any of the 500,000 or so visitors are welcome to help build an entire airplane in 1 week. It may sound crazy, but it can be done with enough [well-supervised] hands. It looks like they are off to a really great start, but only time will tell if they actually manage to have a complete, ready-to-fly airplane on Sunday.
What else is happening?
There were a few other notable milestones for other companies. Icon, for example, announced they might actually be able to start deliveries next year. This came in the form of the first “production” Icon A5, dubbed ESN-1. This aircraft and a couple of others will allow Icon to finally complete their certification program and spool up production to start deliveries.
I’m sure you have probably heard your fair share about all this, so let me just skip to the pretty stuff. Or rather, let you skip to some pretty stuff.
Visit these other fine sites for the pretty stuff
Thanks for stopping by, but that’s all for now. I’m going to get back to gawking at my feeds and trying to actually work. Do stay tuned for the new updates from this blog and have a great week (especially if you are in Oshkosh).