With the taste of humble pie still lingering, I was amused and pleased to see an interview that AOPA conducted with Cessna CEO Jack Pelton at NBAA. A week ago I wrote that Cessna was going to launch its single-engine turboprop at NBAA, and when they launched the Citation Ten instead I had to eat humble pie. To be honest, I was starting to wonder if all the rumours over all the years referred to a project that had been quietly retired (remember Cessna's New Generation single engine piston?).
Jack Pelton however confirmed the project and even gave a few details. The aeroplane is based on the Mustang and has a target price of between $1m and $2.2. Jack Pelton suggested that performance would be in the 300kt area with impressive altitude ability.
If those numbers are met the new aeroplane will prove to be tough competition for both the Meridian and the TBM, but numbers - and particularly prices - are difficult to predict, and I can't really see how anyone could sell a certified, pressurised, single-engine turboprop for anything like $1m, unless Cessna do something interesting with their choice of engine, something Pelton hinted at. The announcement is going to make life interesting for Meridian and TBM sales people, even in the short term.
Watch this space, now the cat is officially out of the bag, I'm sure we'll be getting some more information.