Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has logged more than 65 hours over some 30 flights since making its maiden jaunt on February 18, Chris Hearne, Textron Aviation senior v-p of business jets, told AIN yesterday here at ABACE 2014. The twinjet has already achieved its full performance envelope, reaching its maximum speed of 440 ktas/Mach 0.80 and altitude of 45,000 feet, and has recently completed ground vibration and flutter testing, he added.
“From an engineering perspective, I am very proud our team has designed an aircraft that is proceeding in a very predictable, reliable manner and displaying characteristics of a very mature system in its first few flights,” said Michael Thacker, Cessna senior v-p of engineering. Upcoming tests for the Latitude will focus on low-speed performance.
Meanwhile, a second Latitude is being prepped for its first flight “in the coming weeks,” according to Hearne. The first prototype has also been fully painted recently to ensure proper uninterrupted airflow for RVSM approval, he noted.
The twinjet fuses a new, larger fuselage with the wings, tail and systems of the Citation Sovereign+. With the new fuselage, the Latitude has the widest cabin of any Citation, and it is the only Cessna jet with a flat floor. It also features Garmin G5000 avionics, an electrically operated door and autothrottles.
Cessna expects FAA certification of the Latitude, which will fill a niche between the Citation XLS+ and Sovereign+, in the second quarter of 2015. The company launched the $14.9 million jet at the 2011 NBAA Convention.