It’s become tradition. No sooner does a manufacturer introduce a new airplane than NetJets follows right behind with an order announcement. This year’s NBAA Convention is no exception. The Woodbridge, N.J.-based fractional jet operator has placed orders and options for 200 of the newest midsize business jets, introduced here by Cessna and Gulfstream, transactions that have a potential value of nearly $2 billion.
Cessna Citation X
Deliveries of new business jets continue to grow despite the slow economy and, according to Honeywell’s 10th annual business aviation outlook, the market will remain healthy in the near term with purchase expectations up in all regions.
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 uprated Rolls-Royce AE3007-C1 engine for the 2002 Citation X (starting with S/N 0173) has received FAA certification. The engine provides 5 percent more takeoff thrust (6,764 lb each side). Cessna said the enhanced engine performance will help to increase the Citation X’s payload capability, in addition to improving the business jet’s takeoff and climb performance.
Two months after launching the biggest, fastest and priciest Gulfstream ever, top executives for the U.S. business jet maker arrived at EBACE with a growing order book for their new G650 and sky-high optimism about the direction of the company overall.
At press time, as many as 50 of the 183 Citation Xs delivered worldwide had yet to be inspected for “very small cracks” in the elevator hinge fittings that were originally discovered during a routine inspection on April 20 of a Citation X at the Wichita Citation Service Center. Subsequent inspections revealed several other Citation Xs with similar cracks. On April 22, Cessna ordered all Citation Xs grounded until they were inspected.
By almost any measure NBAA’s annual convention, held September 10 to 12 in Orlando, Fla., can be considered a rousing success.
The longer you’ve been around business aviation, the more you’ve witnessed the revolution in the way manufacturers approach the long-term reliability and maintainability of their aircraft. The shrinking maintenance force, combined with the tightening of corporate budgets, is putting the squeeze on OEMs to deliver more capable, reliable and cost-effective aircraft.
Fall 2001 may not have been the most auspicious time to launch a new business strategy, but for Elliott Aviation its ambitious business plan for the next half-decade is showing signs of success, despite a faltering economy and the impact of September 11 on business aviation.
Diagnostics of the airplane’s engine indication and crew alert system (EICAS) indicate that a Cessna Citation X (N750WM) that rolled off the side of a JFK Airport runway April 3 had hydraulic problems, according to the NTSB preliminary report. The WM Aviation-registered jet veered right off Runway 13L and collided with a dirt divider, suffering substantial damage.