Cessna has begun manufacturing engineering test articles of the Citation Latitude and expects first flight in next year’s first quarter. “We’ve moved from engineering, analysis and modeling to cutting metal and driving rivets,” said Terry Shriner, business leader for the Latitude. “The team is always energized when we see an airplane begin to take shape for the first time.” These first airframes are being built using tooling intended for production, and the tooling and assembly procedures will be refined to prepare for line production, which begins next year.
Conklin & de Decker released the 2013 edition of its Aircraft Cost Evaluator, which offers benchmarking, operating and ownership cost data to the business aviation industry. The evaluator provides aircraft owners, operators, brokers and dealers with side-by-side operating cost, specification and performance comparisons for some 550 business jets, turboprops, helicopters and piston aircraft. Newly added aircraft include the new Cessna Citation Sovereign, Cessna 208 Caravan EX and Eurocopter AS365N3+ and EC145T2.
The first production model of Cessna’s new Citation Sovereign completed its maiden flight last Wednesday, logging more than 2.5 hours in the Kansas sky. The flight included tests of its Garmin G5000 avionics with autothrottles, as well as the autopilot, engines and aircraft systems. The aircraft took off and landed at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport, where Cessna’s main manufacturing facilities are located.
Aircraft on ground (AOG) maintenance will be available for Cessna 208 Caravans at all Cessna Aircraft factory-owned Citation Service Centers. According to the company, employees at the Citation Service Centers have already received the necessary training, and the tooling is in place.
The state of Kerala in Southwest India has invested $2.2 million in a seaplane operation to promote major destinations located near its 24 lakes and water bodies known for backwater tourism and houseboats. Kerala Tourism Infrastructure (KTIL), the nodal agency for the project, awaits a Directorate General of Civil Aviation no-objection certificate (NOC), and plans a launch in mid-May.
Textron, parent company of Cessna Aircraft, held its first-quarter 2013 earnings call yesterday, and the news was not particularly uplifting for its Wichita-based business segment. Customers in the light jet market, who tend to be small business owners, continue to defer purchase decisions, “reflecting continued concerns about their financial outlook,” said Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly. As a result, he continued, Cessna delivered 32 new jets in the first quarter, six fewer than the same quarter last year, “resulting in a segment loss in the quarter of $8 million.”
They say the first year can be the best, and for Hong Kong-based Asian Sky Group (ASG, Chalet 370) it has been a sweet first year. The company has completed several aircraft transactions during the past 12 months, and executed several long-term consulting agreements. In the last quarter, ASG participated in transactions totaling $140 million for both new and pre-owned aircraft as diverse as a Cessna Citation CJ1+ and an Airbus ACJ319.
Cessna Aircraft, in a relatively quiet ceremony on Monday, rolled out the first production unit of the new Citation X upgrade at its Wichita, Kansas manufacturing facility. A crowd of some 200 Cessna employees hailed the rollout and CEO Scott Ernest claimed that the 8- to 12-passenger twinjet, with a top speed of Mach 0.935, is the fastest (though not yet certified) civilian aircraft in the world. (The certified Gulfstream G650 has a maximum speed of Mach 0.925.)
Though business aviation is still young in China, the country has been quick to make clear its intention not just to be a consumer of imported business aircraft, but to be active as a manufacturer of them too. So far, partnerships with foreign airframers have been the main path to this goal, but now China’s Avic group has started work on its own design for what it calls the China New Generation Business Jet.
Cessna Aircraft rolled out the first production copy of the new Citation X yesterday at its Wichita manufacturing facility, to the applause of some 200 Cessna employees. The upgraded twinjet was first announced at the 2010 NBAA Convention.