It's going to be a photo finish between the Eclipse 500 and Cessna Citation Mustang in the race for full FAA type certification (TC). Yesterday, Cessna completed the 150-hour function and reliability testing, the last major hurdle before TC.
Cessna Citation Mustang
The Cessna Citation Mustang on Friday became the first of a new segment of aircraft known as very light jets (VLJ) to be fully FAA type certified. Its Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F powerplant was FAA certified on the same day. According to Cessna, the type certification (TC) includes approval for the following operations: single-pilot, day, night, IMC and RVSM.
Cessna said the FAA cleared the Citation Mustang for flight into known icing two months after the new entry-level jet received FAA type certification on September 8. “While approval for flight into icing is not required for certification of the airplane, we wanted to have this in place prior to delivering our first Mustang and in advance of this year’s major icing season,” said Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton.
Three of the major players in the very light jet (VLJ) arena appeared before the Senate aviation subcommittee to address concerns that the new breed of aircraft will present insuperable challenges for the ATC system. Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton; Eclipse Aviation president Vern Raburn; and DayJet founder Ed Iacobucci took their case to Capitol Hill. Joining them were two top FAA officials and an aviation consultant.
Pratt & Whitney Canada (PWC) has successfully completed the maiden flight of its PW617F engine, selected to power the Embraer Phenom 100 very light jet (VLJ).
There are 12 very light jets currently in development, in flight-test or recently certified. Nearly all are clean-sheet designs, which typically consume more money and time than do derivatives, illustrating the faith manufacturers (and would-be manufacturers) have in this emerging market.
Eclipse Aviation received FAA type certification for the Eclipse 500 on September 30, becoming the second very light jet manufacturer to achieve the milestone approval behind Cessna, which had the card for its Citation Mustang VLJ punched a few weeks earlier.
Cessna formally launched two new business twinjets at last month’s NBAA Convention, making the Citation CJ4 and XLS+ the latest in a steady sequence of airplane introductions by the Wichita manufacturer.
The Cessna Citation Mustang prototype made its first flight from McConnell Air Force Base in Wichita on April 23 at 10:26 a.m. CDT. Test pilots Scotty Jergenson and Dave Bonifield flew the very light jet (VLJ) on a 2.5-hour mission, climbing to 11,000 feet, where the airplane underwent various stability and control tests, including cycling of the landing gear, flaps and speed brakes. The flight concluded at 12:47 p.m.
It was a close race, but in the end Brazilian airplane builder Embraer chose the Garmin G1000 avionics system for the company’s in-development very light jet and light jet, now known officially as the Phenom 100 and 300.