Deliveries Begin for World’s Fastest Single-Engine Aircraft
INDEPENDENCE, Kan., July 1, 2013 – Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company last week delivered the first production units of the Cessna TTx to customers following a ceremony at the Cessna facility in Independence, Kan. The TTx holds the distinction of being the world’s fastest commercially produced and certified fixed-gear single engine aircraft.
“The customers will now find out what we know, that the TTx is an aircraft which will wow pilots with its performance, and surprise passengers with its comfort,” said Brian Steele, business leader for the Cessna TTx. “Everything about it is fun, fast and sporty, while at the same time intuitive and comfortable. The G2000 avionics are so advanced and at the same time familiar. The interior appointments add a refined touch of class to the overall TTx experience.”
A high performance, all-composite aircraft, the TTx is designed for advanced pilots with advanced technology and greater comfort in mind. The leather-wrapped side-stick control and additional horsepower provide advanced TTx pilots with speed and performance close to that of a jet. The speed comes with style, as the fit and finish of the TTx has been likened to detailing reminiscent of a luxury sports car interior.
One of the customers accepting delivery is David Barnes, Chief Executive Officer of Watermark Retirement Communities. Barnes said he plans on using his TTx to travel between the 32 Watermark properties throughout the country. Representatives from Pacific Air Center (PAC) were on hand to assist with the event. PAC is a Cessna authorized sales center covering the southwest United States, with bases in Long Beach, Calif., and Scottsdale, Ariz.
Production line flow of the TTx was announced in April of 2012 at the Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo in Lakeland, Fla. The aircraft has a top speed of 235 ktas (270 miles per hour), an operating ceiling of 25,000 feet and an optional Flight into Known Icing (FIKI) system, enabling pilots to file flight plans allowing for varying weather conditions. The TTx is the first aircraft to be equipped with the Garmin G2000 avionics system which features a glass cockpit with dual 14.1 inch high definition displays and touch screen controls.
“Cessna has a versatile, reliable workhorse in the 208 and the world’s dominant flight trainer in the 172, so it is rewarding to see an aircraft as unique and distinctive as the TTx leave the Cessna hangar to round out our single engine offerings,” said Jodi Noah, Cessna senior vice president of single engine/propeller aircraft. “In true Cessna fashion, the teams involved in delivering the TTx to the marketplace have placed quality and performance as top priorities, and they delivered.”
Cessna is the world’s leading general aviation company. Since its inception in 1927, Cessna has designed, produced and delivered nearly 200,000 airplanes around the globe. This includes 6,500 Citation business jets, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Today, Cessna has two principal lines of business: aircraft sales and aftermarket services. Aircraft sales include Citation business jets, Caravan single-engine utility turboprops, single-engine piston aircraft and lift solutions by CitationAir. Aftermarket services include parts, maintenance, inspection and repair services. In 2012, Cessna delivered 571 aircraft, including 181 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of $3.111 billion. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at cessna.com.
How it Started
One of my best friends in high school, (Doug Gray) was a private pilot. He offered to take me up for a flight in a 1967 Cessna 150, N6228S. We took off from Calhoun, Georgia, and he took me on a scenic tour of the area, I was hooked. I later found out that my English teacher, (Jan Haluska) was also a flight instructor and the school was offering a ground school course the next year, which he taught, along with flight training with the goal of becoming a private pilot. I managed to talk my dad into funding the training, at the time the total cost was right around $500. Cessna 150 rental rates where $12 an hour, and the 172 we used for cross country was $15 an hour including fuel.
It started August of 1977. The fall semester rolls around, and I am enrolled in ground school, and if memory serves me, we met twice a week. First came the paperwork for my student pilot certificate, which at the time was included with the 3rd class medical. I loved ground school, especially learning navigation, plotting courses on the sectional, again this was before iPads and GPS, so we did a lot of dead reckoning and VOR navigation for cross countries. At the end of the course, I made an 83% on the Private Pilot written exam, remember this was before we had the question-and-answer books that on future test I would consume before taking a written.
The fun really began on August 22, 1977, it was my first flight. To my surprise we used the same Cessna 150, N6228S that my friend Doug Gray had taken me for a ride in. The Cessna 150 had a standard VFR instrument panel, with one NAV/COM, and one VOR CDI. No intercom, so no headset, at the time I didn’t know what I was missing. I didn’t get my first headset until I started my instrument training in 2003. I was a big guy, I was 6’ 4” and weighed 245 lbs. but I do not remember being uncomfortable in the 150 even with the instructor in the right seat.
First flight lasted .8 hours, and we accomplished orentation, shallow turns, stability, and effects of flight controls. Over the next few months we added steep 720’s, slow flight, stalls, turns around a point, S-turns, emergencies, landings, (short field, soft field and normal).
At this point I want to talk about a training experience that still stands out. We were close to solo and were practicing takeoffs and landings. Turning base to final Jan got very upset at the way I was cross controlling the aircraft. Cross control is when you are in, say a left turn, and use opposite rudder to line the nose up with the runway. So, he had me depart the pattern and head east to the practice area, and climbing up to 5500 feet MSL, he had me slow down to just above stalling speed, start a left shallow turn and add right rudder. As the airplane stalled I had the strangest sensation, no roller coaster has ever come close, instead of blue sky in the windscreen I was looking at brown ground, and as far as I could tell we were upside down, through the terror of the moment Jan talked me out of the spin, controls neutral, oposite rudder, pull slowly out of the dive. As we leveled off he asked me what altitude we were at, as I remember it was around 2,800 feet MSL. Then he asked me what would happen if I experenced this on base to final in the traffic pattern. The answer was obvious, I would be a pile of wreckage off the end of the runway with a very short-lived aviation career. Needless to say this cured my cross-control tendencies.
Another training event the sticks out in my mind was the first time we did takeoffs and landings at the High School runway. The runway was 1,500 feet long, not sure of the width, but it seems like we had about 5 feet on each side of the wheels when on the center line of the runway. Landing from the south you also had to go between a cutout in the trees to be able to stop in time on the runway. After getting confortable landing here every runway since seemed huge. I remember landing at Chattanooga (KCHA) on a night cross country and commenting to Jan, that I felt like I could of landed sideways on the runway, it felt that large.
Very soon after this I started wearing old shirts to all my flight lessons, the reason for this occurred on February 8, 1978. The lesson that day was stalls, takeoffs and Landing. As we were taxing back in Jan told me it was time for my first solo. I was very excited, and after some last minute advice from Jan, including watch for floating on landing the plane will be light with him not in the right seat, complete 3 takeoffs and landings to a full stop. It was a blast, and at the end of my shirt was shorter in the back because Jan cut the tail out of it signed and dated my solo [an aviation tradition]. Total flight time accumulated on the day of my solo was 18.1 hours. I was now officially a pilot with solo priveleges.
In my next article I start cross country training, when Jan decided that it would be best accomplished this in the 172. Checking out in N5970R was like moving into a 747, this started a love affair with one of my faviriote planes to date. Since this time I have flown over 900 hours in many different models of the 172 and feel like I am stepping into an old friend every time.
More about Randy here: https://www.flyhpa.com/team/randy-delong/
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