Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The invisible aeroplane

Anyone know what's happening with the Skycatcher? In terms of orders, it's in high-speed cruise, in terms of deliveries it's just about limping away from the hangar.

As I understand it, there have been just eight deliveries so far. Most of those have gone to Cessna employees, or those close... so what gives?

The official line is that the aircraft are being shipped to Wichita for assembly and modification by Yingling Aviation. That's true, but how come only eight have been delivered? Wichita has thousands of skilled unemployed aerospace workers, so presumably there's not a resource issue. Cessna has over a thousand orders, so there's not a demand issue...

There are of course rumours, none of which I've been able to confirm. I've heard that the factory in China is struggling to make acceptable quality aeroplanes, I've heard that Cessna is not at all happy with the Chinese for various reasons, I've even heard that the Chinese have an aeroplane all of their own that looks just like a Skycatcher.

Anyone got any ideas?

Monday, 30 August 2010

Attitude indicator

I was hanging around a flying school recently. This particular school appeared to be modern, forward looking and well run. The instructors, students and ops staff were all friendly and helpful and the facilities were excellent.

There was of, course, a fly in the ointment and that fly worked in engineering. While I sat on my bar stool minding my own business an obviously frustrated character publicly strutted his stuff for all to see. Trying to make a sentence from the few words that made their way through the expletives, I figured that there was an issue with some paperwork. Something about logging flight time I think.

Whatever the detail, his actions suggested that it was serious - it seemed that if something wasn't entered in the right place on the right bit of paper that a wing would fall off, probably both wings actually.

He may (or may not) have had a point, but his public posturing did nothing to create a good relationship with the instructors. Who knows what the customers thought.