Demand for aircraft in the Asia Pacific region has become increasingly diverse, to the delight of Cessna senior vice president of sales and marketing Roger Whyte.
“Not only has demand expanded for Cessna’s line of products in the Asia Pacific region, that demand covers many countries and spans all models,” he said. “We are seeing outstanding response to our newest products–the Cessna SkyCatcher, the Citation Mustang and the Citation Columbus.”
Cessna delivered 160 new aircraft in the region last year, an increase of more than 35 percent from 2006 deliveries. The company recently made its first commercial business jet sales in South Korea and Vietnam and delivered the first personally owned Citation business jet to an individual in China.
On February 6, Cessna fleshed out the details of its newest business jet, the Model 850 Citation Columbus, designed for intercontinental travel with a target range of 4,000 nm at Mach 0.80 carrying eight passengers. The all-new aircraft is the Wichita airframer’s largest business jet to date. The Columbus follows the design philosophy of other Citations by using an aluminum airframe, and it contains structural and cabin interior features to maximize interior cabin space.
Preliminary performance numbers set a maximum cruise speed of 488 knots (Mach 0.85), a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.86, a full fuel payload of 1,950 pounds and takeoff field length of 5,400 feet at maximum takeoff weight. Configurable for up to 10 passengers, the low, flat cabin floor provides a standing aisle height of 73 inches.
The 850 will debut Pratt & Whitney Canada’s next-generation 8,830-pound-thrust PW810 and come with Rockwell Collins Pro Line Fusion avionics. The initial price for the Citation Columbus is $27 million in 2008 U.S. dollars. Cessna plans to achieve U.S. Federal Aviation Administration certification by the end of 2013, with deliveries beginning in 2014.
Meanwhile, the company is preparing for the first flight of its Model 162 SkyCatcher prototype in the coming months. Intended for the training and sport flying markets, the two-seat aluminum airplane will meet the American Society for Testing and Materials standard for F2245 light sport aircraft. It will cruise at speeds up to 118 knots and travel a maximum range of 470 nm.
After nearly a year of extensive flight evaluations and design modifications, the proof-of-concept aircraft first flew with the 100-hp Continental O-200 engine last August 17, just weeks after the program’s official launch at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.
In other news, Cessna appointed Mike Shih to lead the company’s operations in China, where the SkyCatcher will be built at Shenyang Aircraft Corp.