The first very light jet to suffer major damage, Cessna Citation Mustang S/N 049, returned to service on February 29 after enduring the collapse of its left fuel tank and two broken wing spars on a December 19 ferry flight. According to the FAA, the twinjet received “substantial damage” during the flight from Cessna’s Independence, Kan.
Cessna Citation Mustang
Very light jet (VLJ) charter operations are on the rise in Europe with the service entry of the first Cessna Citation Mustangs. During the last week of January, Germany’s Triple Alpha Jet Charter became the continent’s first commercial operator of the four-passenger aircraft from its Dusseldorf headquarters. The approximate charter rate will be n1,800 ($2,600) per hour.
If you’re planning on flying a Cessna Mustang, Embraer Phenom, HondaJet or Diamond D-Jet, you’ll have to learn how to run Garmin’s G1000 avionics system. And while you might already be used to modern EFIS with tape displays for altitude and airspeed and widescreen ADIs, HSIs and moving maps, the Garmin system has its own design philosophy. Most pilots new to the G1000 will find that it takes some time to get comfortable.
Put simply, the very light jet (VLJ) is a small airplane in search of a big market. Latin America might not be the big market the manufacturers hope for, but it does hold promise to be big enough. Just how big might depend on whether there is sufficient aviation infrastructure and government backing for an aviation segment perceived to be composed of rich men’s toys.
London Executive Aviation (LEA) officially unveiled the first of the 10 Cessna Citation Mustangs it has on order during a ceremony at Farnborough Airport on Thursday. The UK company is now preparing to begin charter operations with the four-passenger aircraft around February 18. According to LEA CEO Patrick Margetson-Rushmore, the charter firm will be able to operate the Mustang for about 25 to 30 percent less than the Citation Bravo.
The FAA on Friday issued a request for comments on special conditions that would apply to Embraer’s Phenom 100 VLJ to cover “novel or unusual design feature(s) associated with aft-mounted engine fire protection.” In the request, the FAA included information about the Phenom 100’s maximum takeoff weight, one of the specifications for the jet that Embraer has not revealed publicly thus far.
Whether or not Cirrus Design of Duluth, Minn., ever decides to build a single-engine personal jet depends heavily on what emerges on the small-turbofan development front. Cirrus director of marketing Ian Bentley told AIN, “Throughout aviation history, starting with the Wright brothers, airframe development has relied on the emergence of new engines.”
Cessna has selected the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F turbofan engine instead of the FJ33 turbofan proposed by Williams International as the powerplant for the new Citation Mustang very light twinjet. Each PW615F provides 1,350 pounds of thrust flat-rated to ISA+10 and incorporates dual-channel Fadecs.
Ballistic Recovery Systems (BRS) of St. Paul, Minn., has received a $600,000 grant from NASA to develop a whole-airplane parachute system for very light jets. The company has identified eight aircraft in various stages of development that could become a market for the product and has agreements to work with three possible manufacturers of jets in the 5,000- to 8,000-lb-mtow, 350-kt-cruise-speed category.
With certification of the first of the very light jets (VLJs) somewhere on the horizon, manufacturers and interior designers are giving considerable attention to the challenge of creating a big-jet environment in a small-jet cabin.
Currently, about half a dozen companies are working on VLJs, all of them borrowing to some extent from the field of automotive design and fabrication.