The champagne corks were surely popping in Wichita on September 8 when Cessna Aircraft announced it had earned full type certification of its newest jet, the Mustang. The paperwork was signed just short of four years after the company announced the project at the 2002 NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla.
Cessna Citation Mustang
Like the overall U.S. economy, the business aviation industry is still exceptionally strong, as reflected by the healthy number of new business aircraft in the works. There are now 31 business jets in development, in flight-test or certified within the last 12 months.
At press time, FAA type certification continued to elude Eclipse Aviation for its very light jet, while Cessna confirmed speculation that it would be first to certify a VLJ when its Citation Mustang received Part 23 type certification for everything but known icing on September 8 (see page 1).
London Executive Aviation (LEA) is preparing to pioneer the use of very light jets (VLJs) in the European charter market. The UK firm has been tracking the VLJ phenomenon since the late 1990s and is convinced that the promised low operating costs of the VLJs will attract a significant number of customers who hadn’t previously imagined that private aircraft charter could be affordable.
Cessna’s Citation Mustang on September 8 became the first very light jet to be fully FAA type certified. Its P&WC PW615F engine was FAA certified on the same day. See page 20 for a program update and page 58 for the first pilot report since the Mustang got its papers.
London Executive Aviation is pushing Cessna to get early delivery of the first of seven Citation Mustangs it has ordered. The UK operator is set to receive the first two examples of the new very light jet in December next year but is now negotiating with the OEM to advance at least one of these deliveries into this year. The six-seat Mustang is due to complete certification in the fourth quarter of this year.
As of early last month, the Citation Mustang prototype and two production examples (S/Ns 0001 and 0002) had logged more than 850 flight hours. Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton told AIN that the Mustang is “on pace” to obtain FAA certification this fall, though he hinted the approval could even come a little earlier.
Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer left no doubt that it plans to become a major player in the business aviation market over the next decade.
In proposed special certification conditions for the Citation Mustang published last month in the Federal Register, the FAA revealed some weights for the VLJ that Cessna has not disclosed. The notice listed the mtow as 8,395 pounds; max landing weight, 7,850 pounds; zero fuel weight, 6,500 pounds.
Antwerp, Belgium-based Flying Group has become a major business aviation player in France, with new sites at Cannes and at Paris Le Bourget. The recent opening of Flying Group’s state-of-the-art terminal at the French capital’s dedicated business aviation airport is symbolic of the fast-growing company’s ambitions in France.