5:36 PM

Good News for Bend?

While the GA world remains abuzz about the possible acquisition of Columbia Aircraft by Cessna, the question remains about what will happen to the Bend plant when the ink is dry on that deal.

As I have been preparing my growing list of future destinations to fly my 235 (coming very, very soon...), I have always had a trip planned over the gorgeous Cascades to tour the Columbia operation. So like many Oregonians, we've all been waiting for some positive news on the impending relocation - or not. Today I found this on kansas.com via The Wichita Eagle:

ATLANTA - If Cessna Aircraft is successful in its attempt to buy Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Corp., Cessna would retain Columbia's operations in Bend, Ore., and not try to move it to Wichita, said Roger Whyte, Cessna's senior vice president for sales and marketing. Whyte said he has spent a lot of time studying Columbia's line of low-wing, high-performance aircraft. "It's a very well designed, very well engineered product," Whyte said in Atlanta, where the National Business Aviation Association meeting and convention opened this week.
The Eagle story also said this:
Columbia's aircraft would complement Cessna's current offerings, he [Whyte] said. It would fit in the class above the 172 and 182. The addition won't affect Cessna's development of its next generation of piston-engine planes.
So let's see...what might the Cessna piston product line look like a couple of years from now. They are adding a Light Sport – a great idea – and will still continue to crank out wildly overpriced Skyhawks. But with the addition of a low-wing, high performance model, don't be alarmed when either the 182 or 206 gets the axe. I do not see them keeping them both AND developing the NGP too. The sale must still be approved by a bankruptcy court, Cessna said. The court is also establishing procedures that will let other interested bidders submit offers at a November auction.

And in closing, I have to again say that The Wichita Eagle continues to offer some of the best aviation coverage out there for a traditional (non-aviation) mainstream paper. The story on Cessna can be found here, and the writer, Molly McMillin, can be emailed here.

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