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.
Cessna Citation Sovereign
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.
The pace of airplane introductions in the first half of the year has bordered
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.
The first Citation Sovereign production aircraft, S/N 001, completed its first flight June 27, “several weeks ahead of schedule,” according to Cessna Aircraft. During the 1.8-hr flight, tests included stability and control, configuration changes and engine operation, including in-flight restarts.