Cessna ropes P&WC for Citation Mustang

 - January 10, 2008, 8:46 AM

Cessna has selected the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F turbofan engine instead of the FJ33 turbofan proposed by Williams International as the powerplant for the new Citation Mustang very light twinjet. Each PW615F provides 1,350 pounds of thrust flat-rated to ISA+10 and incorporates dual-channel Fadecs.

“The competition for the Mustang engine between P&WC and Williams International resulted in two excellent proposals,” said Charlie Johnson, Cessna president and COO. “We have a long-standing working relationship with both companies and would have been comfortable with either proposed engine.” Yet, having said that, Cessna concluded that the PW615F would best meet its demands for “performance, aftermarket support and pricing.”

The Mustang represents the launch vehicle for the first of P&WC’s new family of PW600 engines targeting the entry-level and very light business jet markets. P&WC’s new engine family was announced more than three years ago. The PW600 family will span the range from 1,000- to 3,000 pounds of thrust. Included in the family is the 2,500-pound-thrust PW625 demon- strator project in collaboration with Raytheon Aircraft.

As the new year unfolded, this latter program was still “trickling along,” according to John Wright, P&WC v-p of marketing for business aviation and military engines. Flight trials of the PW625 have started on the company’s Boeing 720 flying testbed. The company claimed that the “knowledge of the operational capability gained from the demonstrator program was instrumental in Cessna’s decision to select the PW615F.”

P&WC maintains that the PW615F is being designed to offer a “significant step” in performance, cost and durability. For example, the engine will offer “up to 40 percent fewer parts count over a comparable PW500 [series] engine while achieving similar pressure ratios.” Type certification of the new powerplant is scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2005. It will enter service with a 3,500-hour TBO, a 1,750-hour mid-life hot-section inspection and a three-year, 1,000-hour warranty. The Eagle Service Plan will also be offered for further in-service support.

Cessna’s decision to go with the PW615 is not surprising. P&WC engines have powered Citations since the line was introduced and currently push the Citation Bravo, Encore, Excel and Sovereign. However, the decision was a second disappointment recently for Williams, which late last year was dropped by Eclipse Aviation to power its developmental Eclipse 500 very light twinjet. At press time, Eclipse had not announced it would select a PW600 series engine, but early this year the Albuquerque, N.M. company revealed it was looking at two Fortune 100 manufacturers and a minimum power requirement of 900 pounds of thrust per side ('Eclipse and Williams part ways; new engine selection imminent').

Despite the setback for Williams, the Walled Lake, Mich. company remains a major supplier for the Citation series. Cessna uses the FJ44, a Williams-Rolls engine, on the CJ1 and CJ2, and selected the Williams FJ44-3A for the new CJ3. And the 1,200-pound-thrust FJ33, which Cessna rejected for the Mustang, has been selected by Century and Aerostar for their respective very-light business jets. These two programs, however, are still seeking developmental funding. (Williams- Rolls engines also power the Raytheon Premier I, the in-development Sino Swearingen SJ30-2 and the Spirit Wing Learjet 25D.)

Announced at last fall’s NBAA Convention, the Mustang is scheduled for certification in 2006. An avionics package for the Mustang is expected to be announced before the end of next month.

P&WC Runs Falcon 7X Engine

In another new business jet program, P&WC just concluded initial ground runs of its PW307A engine, selected for the Dassault Falcon 7X trijet. To date, the engine has reached its maximum rated thrust. Flat rated at 6,100 pounds of thrust to ISA+18.4, the PW307A will enter service with a 7,200-hour TBO.

P&WC has selected MHD, a joint venture between Hurel-Hispano and Aermacchi, as the supplier of the nacelle aerostructure and thrust reverser for the Falcon 7X, while MTU of Germany is a partner on the PW307A engine, responsible for providing the low-pressure turbine module. The new-generation Falcon 7X is scheduled to enter service in 2006.

In spite of these successes, the ailing economy in general and the poor business aircraft market in particular is taking its toll on P&WC, as it is on other manufacturers. Last month, the Montreal, Quebec, Canada-based company disclosed it would lay off another 350 workers. This is in addition to 500 job cuts announced last September. The company’s total work force is approximately 7,000.