The Cessna Citation CJ4 prototype successfully achieved a two-hour 22-minute maiden flight yesterday morning, taking off from McConnell AFB in Wichita and landing at nearby Mid-Continent Airport. “It was an outstanding first flight,” said Cessna senior engineering test pilot Dan Morris, who flew the aircraft with engineering flight-test manager Dave Bonifield as copilot.
By almost any measure NBAA’s annual convention, held September 10 to 12 in Orlando, Fla., can be considered a rousing success.
Cessna Aircraft racked up orders for 156 Citation CJ3s (of which 100 are for NetJets and 25 for CitationShares) in the two days following its launch on the opening day of last month’s NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla. The new CJ3 is a stretched derivative of the hot-selling Citation CJ2–itself a stretched derivative of its popular CitationJet/CJ1.
The Chinese proverb “may you live in interesting times” certainly seems appropriate for manufacturers and would-be manufacturers of new business airplanes. Interesting times indeed: with the weaker than expected economic recovery, and the specter of a possible double-dip recession, even some established, well financed business aircraft manufacturers are stretching out timelines for their respective new products.
Cessna 525B CitationJet CJ3, Stuart, Fla., March 8, 2008–The NTSB blamed the crew’s failure to reset the brake circuit breaker before taxiing for the airplane’s collision with an unoccupied parked airplane when the brakes didn’t work. The first officer had pulled the brake circuit breaker two days earlier when updating the Jeppesen database to keep the brake hydraulic motor from continuously cycling.
An airframe match for one or both new small turbofan designs currently under development by Pratt & Whitney Canada may be announced at this month’s NBAA Convention. Two years ago, the engine maker revealed it was working on two new engines: the PW600F, a 2,000- to 2,400-lb-thrust model, and, in a joint development program with Raytheon Aircraft, the 2,500-lb-thrust PW625F.
It’s expected that Cessna will announce at this month’s NBAA show the Citation CJ3, reportedly a slightly longer, faster and more powerful version of the company’s hot-selling CJ2, itself introduced into service just two years ago.
The aircraft modification business represents American enterprise at its best–dozens of small companies each turning out a variety of unique products aimed at what traditionally appears to be a narrow segment of the worldwide marketplace. Modification specialists are inventors–critical thinkers and dreamers who often see solutions to problems the rest of us assumed were unfixable.
Considering the circumstances, NBAA, its membership and participants in the association’s 2001 convention in New Orleans were generally satisfied, despite the reduced numbers of attendees and exhibitors. This year, despite a struggling U.S. economy, show organizers for the Orlando event expect a show equal in scale to what had originally been anticipated in New Orleans.
On June 10 Honda flew its latest jet engine design for the first time. In the 1,900-lb-thrust range, the engine flew on a modified Cessna CitationJet from Honda’s purpose-built research facility at Atlantic Aero in Greensboro, N.C. Concurrently, Honda is busily at work on a CJ-size airframe in Greensboro, with first flight expected in January.