Cessna Aircraft brought a fuselage mockup of what it describes as the basis for a new series of light jets to the NBAA Convention this week in Orlando, Fla. The airframer is seeking customer input on the design as it begins to narrow down specifications for an eventual product launch. New this year at its NBAA booth, Cessna is also offering a virtual-reality simulation of several of its aircraft, which allows guests to immerse themselves in the cabins and instantly change various features.
Tamarack Aerospace has unveiled the first of what it promises will be a series of active winglet systems designed to relieve wing bending loads caused by winglets. The company’s active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) is slated to be certified and available for installation on Cirrus SR22 G1 and G2 piston singles early next year, but Tamarack is also testing Atlas, which includes new winglets, on a Cessna CJ1. In fact, it brought an Atlas-equipped CJ1 to the NBAA Convention this week in Orlando, Fla., and is giving demonstration rides during the show.
Tamarack Aerospace Group (Booth No. 4171) revealed during its press conference yesterday that it is taking deposits at NBAA’12 for its active technology load alleviation system (Atlas) active winglet system for the Cessna Citation CJ1. “We’re accepting $10,000 refundable deposits here at the show,” said Brian Willet, vice president of sales and flight operations for the company. “The cost of the Atlas kit is estimated to be $196,000, and we are projecting it will take 80 manhours to install the active winglets,” he continued.
For a market that company president and CEO Scott Ernest describes as remaining soft, Cessna is continuing its product development schedule. During the company’s press conference here yesterday he announced that the Wichita airframer has launched a new version of its midsize Citation Sovereign, and invited show attendees to visit the new aircraft, which has been under development for the past year-and-a-half, at the static display. Three of the upgraded Sovereigns are currently flying and have thus far accumulated approximately 800 flight-test hours.
Urbana, Illinois-based Frasca International has expanded its market share in China with contracts totaling eight flight simulators this year and has also developed its first level-D full-motion simulator.
Before digging into the details of each of the light jet markets, it’s worth noting some global factors affecting the market. In 2012, the big story in the light jet market was Europe and the devaluing euro. As the light jet market typically trades in U.S. dollars, with the euro dropping nearly 20 percent in value compared to last year, European sellers saw an opportunity to take advantage of the strong dollar and liquidate at relatively lower dollar values for their assets, yielding a higher amount of euros.
Irvine, Calif.-based JetSuite announced an order today for 15 Cessna Citation CJ3s, which will double the size of its fleet and expand its offerings beyond the Embraer Phenom 100. The charter membership firm started taking bookings today for the new, longer-range CJ3s, though inaugural flights won’t begin until November 19. During the first year of operations, JetSuite’s CJ3 service will be available between any points east of the Mississippi and from the East to and from Aspen and Vail, and through Eastern Canada and the Caribbean.
UK-based ConnectJets has launched Jet Card Europe as an occupied-hours, all-inclusive block charter program that incorporates a loyalty plan through which members can earn free flight hours and other benefits. Clients can join by signing up for 25 hours or more per year and earn one free flight hour for every 50 hours flown.
Six months after launching its midsize Citation Latitude, Cessna Aircraft today at EBACE announced a $25.9 million stretched version–the Longitude–that will fly 4,000 nm at Mach 0.82. First flight is scheduled for 2016, with entry into service in 2017. “The aircraft is long on range, high on value and low on price,” Cessna president and CEO Scott Ernest said at the unveiling.
Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron reported first-quarter revenues of $2.9 billion yesterday, up 15.2 percent from a year ago, and $247 million in manufacturing profits, an $80 million increase attributable largely to Bell. While quarterly revenues at Cessna increased by $113 million year-over-year, to $669 million, the division still recorded a loss of $6 million, though the red ink was shallower than the $38 million loss in last year’s first quarter.