It was always going to be a close race, but in the end Cessna became the first manufacturer to obtain full FAA certification of a very light jet (VLJ), the new breed of compact business airplane that holds the promise of changing the industry forever.
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.
Two weeks after first flying the Citation CJ2+ prototype on April 2, Cessna had logged 18 hours in nine flights in the new business jet. At press time, test pilots had evaluated dynamic stability, stall characteristics, trim checks, engine start characteristics, flap and landing gear extension and retraction, controllability, trim actuation, engine operating characteristics and autopilot operation.
Cessna received certification for its Citation Sovereign from both the European Aviation Safety Agency and the JAA, enabling the twinjet to be certified and registered in 25 nations adhering to EASA regulations and the 10 countries still following JAA procedures. Cessna also claimed the Sovereign received the first-ever EASA type certification data sheet for noise. The Sovereign received FAA certification in June last year.
In its first-quarter earnings report, Textron said that of the 55 Citations its Cessna division delivered (compared with 33 in the first quarter last year), 50 percent were the CJ3, XLS and Sovereign–all new within the last year. Textron said that during the quarter, Cessna booked orders for 73 Citations, better than it expected.
Cessna CitationJet CJ2 525A, Newnan, Ga., July 15, 2005–The NTSB said the CitationJet’s collision with a localizer antenna was caused by the pilot’s delay in aborting the landing and his failure to maintain obstacle clearance. The Safety Board listed as contributing factors hydroplaning and the localizer antenna.
Cessna has recently added online access to Service Bulletins and Letters for all Citation models at its support Web site (www.cessnasupport.com). In addition, all available pertinent documents are now accessible online specifically for the 525B, 680 and 750. Only documents from May 5, 2005, to the present are available for the remaining Citation models.
For the first time, AIN is identifying which aircraft have been added to or deleted from the “In The Works” charts because of the volume of changes this month.
The deletions: Cessna Citation CJ2+, certified on October 3; and Safire Jet, which is being put “on the shelf” due to a lack of progress since Safire Aircraft declared bankruptcy in June 2003.
How has this year been for Cessna?
The upgrade parade that has been a hallmark of recent NBAA Conventions continued to march along pretty much unabated at last month’s show in Orlando, Fla., where no fewer than seven new models made triumphant debut appearances, but only one entirely new airplane bowed in–and it was a very light jet (VLJ) from a start-up company few people had ever heard of before the show.