Cessna Plane That Uses Jet-A Makes First Production Flight

May 22--Cessna Aircraft has announced that the first production flight of the Turbo Skylane JT-A took off from Independence on Tuesday.

The single-engine piston-powered plane has a diesel engine that runs on Jet-A fuel.

The four-place plane performed as expected, Dale Bleakney, Cessna senior test pilot, said in a statement.

"The weather conditions were fantastic, and we took the turbo 182 up for what turned out to be a very normal first flight," Bleakney said.

The flight lasted 2.3 hours, flew at 8,000 feet and reached a true air speed of 182 mph.

The plane is the first aircraft powered by a diesel engine specifically designed for aviation, Cessna said.

The general aviation industry has been facing a looming fuel issue in many parts of the world. Avgas, typically used to fuel most single-engine aircraft, is becoming scarce, expensive and unavailable in many places.

The ability for a single-engine plane to run on the more common Jet-A fuel means operators can fly to more parts of the world without worrying about the availability of increasingly scarce avgas, the company said.

The engine is expected to burn about 30 to 40 percent less fuel than comparable avgas engines, it said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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