The Wrights knew it. So does every aeronautical engineer, aircraft manufacturer and pilot. More than anything else, the engine defines the performance of the airplane.
Garrett Aviation Services has acquired the Cessna Citation FJ44 re-engining business from Sierra Industries. The program modifies the Citation 500/501SP series with the Eagle wing modification and the Williams FJ44-2A fanjet engines. The offering has been renamed the Garrett FJ44 Eagle II program.
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.
Despite a prediction in early October that its Williams FJ44-powered Learjet 25D would make its first flight within two weeks, Guthrie, Okla.-based Spirit Wing had yet to fly the airplane last month, but it “could happen before the end of the year,” Mike Pinwell, director of operations, said. “First flight is really, really, really, really close,” he told AIN. “We’re taking care of some maintenance issues.
Cessna announced last month that it is upgrading the Citation CJ1 and CJ2 to add more value to the entry-level aircraft. To be known as the CJ1+ and CJ2+, the improved twinjets will incorporate many of the refinements built into the CJ3, including the larger sibling’s more feature-laden version of the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics system, in addition to other improvements.
At last month’s NBAA Convention, Spirit Wing Aviation of Edmond, Okla., announced that it will begin producing its “virtually new” Spirit-Lear early next year. The company said the $2.2 million SpiritLear–a re-engined Learjet 25–will be priced lower than any other airplane offering its combination of speed, range and passenger capacity.
While no manufacturers actually launched new aircraft at the NBAA Convention last month, several did commit to major improvements for their existing products. Notably, Cessna, Piaggio and Bombardier announced extensive upgrades–involving newer or more powerful engines, avionics and/or interior makeovers–for their CJ1 and CJ2, Avanti and Learjet 40 business airplanes, respectively.
The FAA last month awarded type certification to Cessna for its Citation CJ3 light jet and to Bombardier for its long-range Global 5000. The CJ3 features a cabin that is two feet longer than that of the CJ2, new Williams International FJ44-3A engines and advanced fully integrated Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics.
Grob Aerospace chief test pilot Tore Reimers and test pilot Peter Weger made the first flight in the number three SPn carbon-fiber light jet on October 29. The airplane is equipped with most systems that will be used in the conforming version, according to Grob, including the production Liebherr Aerospace landing gear. The test pilots flew number three twice on October 29.
Williams International launched the 3,500-pound-thrust FJ44-4, a FADEC-equipped turbofan engine that uses essentially the same core as the 3,000-pound-thrust FJ44-3. Detailed performance parameters are being kept under tight wraps until an application for the new engine is announced. A spokesman for Williams International, based in Walled Lake, Mich., said at the show the company is just now beginning to market the engine to potential OEMs.