SKYCATCHER PROTOTYPE CRASHES
Federal investigators are on their way to Douglass, Kansas to investigate the crash of a Cessna Skycatcher LSA prototype Thursday. The pilot of the test aircraft was able to parachute to safety and was reportedly taken to hospital with minor injuries.
Cessna media relations personnel were unable to immediately respond to AVweb's request for more detailed information, but KAKE Television is reporting the aircraft crashed into a treeline near the boundary of Butler and Cowley Counties. The television station is quoting witnesses as saying they heard a loud pop and then saw sparks and the plane spiraling down. The pilot landed in a field about 400 yards from the aircraft. The TV station quoted a Cessna spokesman as saying the crash aircraft had about 150 hours on it.
The prototype first flew on March 8, and Cessna is planning on delivering the first customer aircraft in the first half of 2009. What the crash does to that schedule is unclear. There are close to 1,000 orders for the aircraft, which will be built in China and reassembled in three plants in the U.S.