Cessna loaned the Production #1 C162 Skycatcher to King Schools in September so we could begin flying it to provide a model performance on video of the maneuvers a learning pilot has to demonstrate.
We love it. In fact we think it is a game-changer. It gives new hope for an exciting future for flight training.
It is as wide as a Cessna 206. Nearly everyone who took lessons in a C150 or C152 has stories about the difficulty of fitting two people in the airplane. In the Skycatcher you have a feeling of luxurious spaciousness.
It is easy to get in and out of the airplane. The struts connect to the fuselage aft of the cabin doors and the gull-wing doors move up and out of the way. Although the seats don’t adjust (we use cushions), the rudder pedals do adjust forward and backward, and the control stick comes from the panel, leaving the floor area clear.
The visibility is fabulous. The view over the panel is great. The side windows come down lower than on most airplanes and, along with the aft strut placement, result in an unrestricted view of the ground passing below. In warm weather it is a delight to taxi the airplane with the doors up for an open air feeling.
It has plenty of power. It seems to just leap off the runway. The great performance is probably the result of having so much power for its weight plus an improved wing.
The G300 avionics system is nearly as capable as the G1000 and is very intuitive and easy to operate.
And to cap it all off the control feel is wonderful—the controls are delightfully responsive without being overly sensitive. This airplane is flat out fun to fly.
I have to tell you that initially we were skeptical about this whole light sport aircraft concept. Our reaction was, “What’s the big deal?” Well the big deal is that Light Sport Certification let Cessna build a far more capable and fun airplane than a Cessna 152 at a price far lower than what the Cessna 152 would cost if it were built today. Cessna really got it right, and that is great news for our entire industry.