Cessna received FAA certification of the Citation XLS+ on June 2. New features of this upgraded version of the Excel/XLS series include Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics, fadec-controlled Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545C engines, seven-knot faster maximum cruise speed, extended nose contour and expanded seat widths. Deliveries of the $11.595 million XLS+ should begin by year-end.
Cessna Citation Sovereign
Precision Pattern of Wichita, a subsidiary of DeCrane Aircraft’s Cabin Management Group, has been selected by Cessna Aircraft to provide cabinetry for the Citation Sovereign and the recently announced Citation CJ3. PPI (Booth No. 1133) provided the cabinetry for both the Sovereign and CJ3 mockups at NBAA (Booth No. 5277), including galleys, closets, entertainment cabinets, storage cabinets, tables, arm ledges, bulkheads and vanity assemblies.
“To date, all major milestones have been completed on or ahead of schedule,” noted Cessna Citation Sovereign senior product director Brad Thress. “This week’s NBAA Convention is the Sovereign’s first public appearance, and we are proud to show it with a completed interior and exterior.”
Wichita-based Cessna Aircraft is continuing to make progress on the development and certification activities of its super-midsize Citation Sovereign. Announced at the 1998 NBAA Convention, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306C-powered Sovereign will have an NBAA IFR range exceeding 2,500 nm (two crew and eight passengers), an mtow of 29,250 lb, a 454-kt max cruise speed and a 47,000-ft ceiling.
On April 28 Cessna rolled out the first production version of the XLS+, the latest version of the Citation that entered production in 1998 as the Excel. The first production XLS+ was scheduled to receive exterior paint and interior installation after the rollout, while the two flight-test XLS+s continue flying toward mid-year FAA certification and deliveries by the end of the year.
FlightSafety International plans a $2.5 million, 28,600-sq-ft expansion to its Cessna Learning Center in Wichita to enable the addition of simulators for the Citation Excel, Citation X and the new Citation Sovereign now under development. The expanded facility also will have space for two more simulators. Construction was expected to start soon. Currently, the Cessna Learning Center has 10 simulators.
The Citation Sovereign, Cessna’s newest aircraft, had completed 15 test flights at press time since its first flight on February 27. Cessna said all flights have gone “very well” and testing to date includes stall characteristics, stability and control, autopilot development, thrust reversers and airspeed calibration.
Last year’s dot-com nosedive has taken its toll on the startup companies planning to build new business aircraft and seeking ever more elusive investor funding. Notably, Century Aerospace in June indefinitely shelved its plans to build the entry-level six-place, twin-turbofan Century Jet.
All major milestones with the Sovereign have been completed on or ahead of schedule, according to Brad Thress, Sovereign senior product director, who added that Cessna displayed the super-midsize jet, with completed interior, for the first time at the NBAA Convention last month. So far two test airplanes (a prototype and S/N 001) have logged 220 hr on some 120 flights.
By almost any measure NBAA’s annual convention, held September 10 to 12 in Orlando, Fla., can be considered a rousing success.