Cessna Plans On Four Jet, Turboprop Certifications This Year

 - May 20, 2014, 2:10 PM
Gulfstream G550 at EBACE

Textron Aviation (Booth 6113), here for the first time since it integrated Cessna, Beechcraft and Hawker, has a number of programs in development or just certified. The transition to a unified company is taking place in customer support, too, with maintenance technicians undergoing cross-training on all of each brand’s models. However, while Hawker jets continue to be supported, the company has no plan to produce any more aircraft under the brand, Textron Aviation president and CEO Scott Ernest said during a press conference on Tuesday.

Two Cessna jets are close to key certification milestones, according to Chris Hearne, vice president, business jets for the integrated Cessna and Beechcraft. The Sovereign+, making its European debut here at the EBACE show, was FAA certified late last year and is near achieving EASA validation. And the Citation X+ is due for FAA certification by the end of June, with deliveries beginning immediately after. Both airplanes feature Garmin G5000 flight decks, which are increasingly found in Cessna’s Citation lineup.

Next up for certification will be the CJ3+, also equipped with Garmin avionics, but the G3000 version for Part 23-certified jets. Pilots are halfway through flight testing, and the first production CJ3+ is at the end of the production line. “We plan on having certification in the third quarter,” Hearne said.

On the larger jet front, the Cessna Latitude program is accelerating, with a second jet joining the flight test fleet on May 9. This Latitude is the P1 first production version. Last week the FAA issued the type inspection authorization, so that Cessna can log flight hours toward certification requirements. Production line flow for the Latitude is scheduled to begin this June.

The Longitude is still in the early design stage and Cessna continues to solicit customer input on the design.

Asked about Hawker programs, Ernest said he has no plan to restart production, which was stopped before Textron Aviation’s acquisition of Beechcraft. Using the Hawker name for future jets is not under consideration at the moment, he added. Nevertheless, Some Hawker technologies, in composite materials for example, could be used in other aircraft of the Textron family.

On the turboprop front, Christi Tannahill is now Textron Aviation’s senior vice president, turboprop aircraft, responsible for the Beechcraft King Air and Cessna Caravan models. The Grand Caravan EX received EASA certification just before the first day of EBACE 2014, and deliveries in Europe will begin immediately. The 100th EX, powered by the Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-140, was shipped in April.

On the product support side, Brad Thress, newly appointed senior vice president of customer service, announced that Textron Aviation’s European service centers have received EASA continuing airworthiness management organization (CAMO) approval. The facilities so approved are in Paris, Doncaster, UK, and Düsseldorf, Germany. “We think that it’s nice for the OEM to offer that,” Thress said. “You can get [continuing airworthiness] at the same place you get your maintenance done.”

All of the Textron facilities are transitioning to offering maintenance services for Citations, Hawkers and King Airs, with mechanics undergoing cross training and EASA approval to work on multiple types. Prior to the Beechcraft acquisition by Textron, most Hawker and Beechcraft maintenance in Europe was done by authorized third parties, but now Textron is able to offer the option of factory-provided maintenance for those models. “By the end of the year, we’ll be fully able to work on all the products,” he said.

In Europe, recent additions include two new line support stations, at London Luton Airport and Cannes Mandelieu Airport. This summer, a new line support facility will open in Geneva.