Cessna’s Roger Whyte talks to Charles Alcock about forging new territory with the Citation Columbus large-cabin business jet. Click here to view.
Gary Hay, who started working on Cessna’s manufacturing floor in 1966 and worked his way up to CEO just over two years ago, retired unexpectedly from the Wichita-based airframer on June 30. Russ Meyer, president of Textron’s new aircraft sector and who was Cessna CEO and chairman from 1975 to 2000, announced he would serve as interim chairman and CEO until a permanent replacement is appointed.
Servizi Elicotteristici Italini (SEI) has been a primary source of helicopter cabin completion and refurbishment for European manufacturer AgustaWestland, so when AgustaWestland decided to expand its helicopter assembly line in Philadelphia, SEI executives decided to move west. SEI of America, as the new company is called, opened a 12,000-sq-ft hangar at Philadelphia Northeast Airport late last year.
Mike Redenbaugh took over the CEO’s office at Bell Helicopter’s Fort Worth, Texas headquarters in May and now faces some formidable challenges–including getting the military V-22 tiltrotor program on track and completing certification of the BA609 civil tiltrotor in cooperation with partner Agusta Aerospace of Italy.
Bell Helicopter Textron announced the recent deliveries of three helicopters–a Bell 412, 206B-3 and 430–to customers in vastly different industries and took orders for two 407s in September. The Fort Worth, Texas-based manufacturer also inked a deal at the NBAA Convention in Orlando, Fla., last month on the sale of an AB139, jointly developed with AgustaWestland.
In separate ceremonies at last month’s NBAA Convention, Bell/Agusta announced the sale of a corporate AB139 to American International Group and Eurocopter revealed that the EC 120 on display was bought. The buyer of the EC 120 wasn’t disclosed, but the seller, insurance broker Lance Toland, immediately ordered a new EC 120, this one with air conditioning.
Cessna announced today that the Citation Columbus 850 large-cabin business jet will employ “hybrid” fly-by-wire technology for the flight controls, using a system designed by Parker Aerospace. Parker is responsible for designing and manufacturing primary and secondary flight controls and high-lift, stabilizer trim and speed brake controls.
Cessna’s newest project, first unveiled as a concept airplane at NBAA 2006 and dubbed the Large Cabin jet, is now the biggest jet in the company’s lineup and called the Citation Columbus. The fuselage mockup of the airplane generated enough positive feedback for the board of directors of Textron (Cessna’s parent company) to give the program the go-ahead on January 23, so it’s time to add the jet to In The Works.
General aviation manufacturers enjoyed another record-breaking year last year, with billings totaling $21.9 billion, up 16.5 percent from the previous year, and worldwide shipments reaching 4,272 airplanes, up 5.4 percent. For the first time ever, shipments of jets exceeded the 1,000-per-year milestone, climbing to 1,138 last year.
After extensive market research and more than a year of showing prospective customers a cabin mockup of a large-cabin jet, on January 24 Cessna Aircraft formally launched the newly named Citation Columbus, formerly known as the Large Cabin Concept. Cessna didn’t reveal details about the Columbus until a February 6 event in Washington, D.C.