Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter both contributed to the design and development of parent company Textron’s new Scorpion military jet, which was unveiled yesterday. According to a Textron spokesman, Bell brought composite expertise to the project, while Cessna designed and built the jet at its Pawnee facility in Wichita. A nearly completed prototype, which has been fitted with a pair of Honeywell TFE731 turbofans, is expected to fly by year-end.
Cessna and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron and partner AirLand Enterprises unveiled a prototype intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance/strike aircraft named “Scorpion” at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Monday.
While Bell Helicopter may be banking on its tiltrotor technology to recapture market dominance in U.S. Army aviation, the civil market will continue to rely on conventional helicopter design for some years to come, CEO John Garrison told AIN.
Total GA airplane billings in the first half of the year reached $10.4 billion, an increase of more than 25 percent over the same period last year, according to statistics released last month by the General Aviation Manufacturers Association (GAMA). The tally marks the first time since 2008 that the industry revenue has exceeded $10 billion in the first half of the year.
Certain helicopter makers such as Enstrom and various kit makers have long been a staple at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual AirVenture convention. For Enstrom, the journey represents a little more than an hour’s flight from its factory in Menominee, Mich. However, other mainline helicopter OEMs historically have been reluctant to exhibit at the nation’s largest airshow–until this year.
The first production copy of the Cessna Citation M2, an updated CJ1+ with Garmin G3000 avionics, logged its maiden flight from Cessna Aircraft’s Independence, Kan. facility on Friday. It reached altitudes up to 17,500 feet during the two-hour sortie. The M2, which was announced in September 2011, is expected to receive FAA certification in the fourth quarter.
Cessna Aircraft has completed the first fuselage for its midsize Citation Latitude, the Wichita-based company announced on Thursday. FAA certification and entry into service of the Latitude is scheduled for mid-2015.
The initial fuselage is now being used as a static-test article, while a second Latitude test article will soon be used for structural trials. According to Cessna, the third fuselage built will be for the flying Latitude prototype, which is expected to be powered on later this year and fly early next year.
Yesterday at LABACE Cessna unveiled the cabin mockup of the Citation Latitude for the first time in Brazil, giving show-goers the opportunity to see the type’s capacious cabin. Measuring 77 inches wide and 72 inches in height, the flat-floor cabin offers unprecedented headroom for an aircraft in the midsize class. Cessna offers two cabin configurations, coach and club, with seating for up to nine passengers. Six swivel seats form the basis of both configurations.
Cessna Aircraft is offering a program that covers all scheduled maintenance and parts costs for new Citation Sovereigns for the first five years or 1,500 flight hours. According to Cessna, the Sovereign Shield program “practically eliminates maintenance-related direct operating costs” for 2013 Citation Sovereigns, allowing owners to operate the aircraft for “far less” than other midsize business jets.
Cessna Aircraft’s single-engine line is likely to experience price hikes as the company seeks to improve profit margins on all of its aircraft, even as sales of some models slump. That was the word from Cessna vice president Jodi Noah here at EAA AirVenture Monday. “We will be pursuing price increases on a few of the different products primarily because we want to be able to offer the different products in our line-up.