The “right stuff” might be your answer, particularly if you liked what author Tom Wolfe had to say in his recounting of America’s efforts to send a man to space. Was Wolfe referring to what it takes to be the first man on the moon, or was he addressing high-performance vehicles in general?
Cessna Citation Mustang
The six-seat Citation Mustang, Cessna’s newest addition to its stable of business jets, is starting to take shape. At press time, the Wichita manufacturer was busy building the Mustang prototype’s tooling, and more than 3,700 of the very light jet’s 5,000 detail parts had been fabricated. The $2.395 million Mustang is the company’s first clean-sheet aircraft design since it launched the Citation III in 1978.
The first Citation Mustang conforming prototype got its wings on the morning of February 3. Workers at Cessna’s Pawnee facility in Wichita mated the wing to the fuselage in a process that took less than 20 minutes, according to the company.
The first Citation Mustang test aircraft was towed from Cessna’s Pawnee facility in Wichita late last month for initial engine runs. According to a company spokeswoman, the engine run was one of the remaining systems tests to be completed before first flight, which is officially “this summer” but could occur this month.
Pratt & Whitney Canada recently reached the rated takeoff thrust of 1,350 pounds in sustained ground runs of its new PW615 turbofan engine, which will power the Cessna Citation Mustang. Cessna expects to receive the first engine shipsets early this year. Certification of the engine is planned by the end of 2005, and Cessna expects to certify the Mustang in the third quarter of 2006.
Garmin has selected FlightSafety International as the “preferred online training provider” for the G1000, the avionics suite that Cessna chose for the Citation Mustang. Scheduled for release in April, the online course will provide initial familiarization training to Mustang pilots in advance of their initial training in a FlightSafety full flight simulator.
Cessna, Eclipse and Adam Aircraft are all confident that their respective very light jets will be certified this year. According to Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton, the Citation Mustang is on track for FAA approval in the fall, though he hinted that the VLJ could get its papers a little earlier.
Building a new engine is a huge gamble, but if the timing is right the payoff can be enormous. For Pratt & Whitney Canada, offering the PW600 series to aircraft manufacturers in the early 2000s turned out to be a smart move. Three manufacturers chose the PW600 for their respective very light jet programs–the Cessna Mustang (PW615F), Eclipse 500 (PW610F) and Embraer Phenom 100 (PW617F).
Announced at the 2002 NBAA Convention, the recently certified Citation Mustang is cementing Cessna’s reputation as an on-time, as-promised manufacturer. Certification on September 8 and first delivery on November 22 took place last year on schedule. And the company has received the production certificate and full known-icing approval, with no remaining items left to certify.
Cessna received the FAA production certificate for its new Citation Mustang very light jet on November 22, two-and-a-half months after type certification on September 8. By issuing the production certificate, the FAA cleared Cessna for volume production and to conduct flight tests and sign airworthiness certificates using its own designees and with less FAA involvement.