Cessna Sets Sail with Long-awaited Columbus

 - February 7, 2008, 10:02 AM

Yesterday, Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton revealed the name of the company’s newest and largest business jet, the large-cabin CE-850 Citation Columbus. In planning for six years, the all-aluminum Columbus will seat up to 10 passengers and cost $27 million (2008 dollars). First flight of the airplane, formerly known only as the large-cabin concept, is expected in 2011, with FAA certification scheduled for 2013 and first deliveries in 2014. In a departure from how it currently builds Citations, Cessna is outsourcing construction of the fuselage and empennage to Spirit AeroSystems. Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new 8,830-pound-thrust PW810 engine (see below) will power the Columbus, and Rockwell Collins will supply its Pro Line Fusion glass cockpit. Cessna will assemble the Columbus in Wichita and act as integrator of the program. None of the suppliers is a risk-sharing partner. Performance includes 4,000-nm range at Mach 0.80, max cruise of Mach 0.85, 1,950-pound full-fuel payload and takeoff distance at max takeoff weight of 5,400 feet. Cessna has letters of intent for 70 copies of the Columbus, and the jet will be the first of a series of new airplanes, according to Pelton.