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.
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.”
At the ABACE show last year, potential helicopter exhibitors were told that they had to truck their aircraft into the static display because of a ban on helicopters at Shanghai Hongqiao Airport. That policy changed this year.
“On Sunday, a Bell 407 was the first civil helicopter ever to land here in Hongqiao,” said Roger Whyte, NBAA’s special counsel to the president. “It wasn’t easy to get permission, and it’s taken a long time to go through all the authorities to get permission, but we got it.”
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 is making rapid progress with its efforts to operate in China through joint ventures formed with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA), the Wichita-based company said today at ABACE in Shanghai. The joint venture with CAIGA involves building Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EXs in Shijiazhuang and Cessna Citation XLS+s in Zhuhai for the Chinese market.
Cessna Aircraft (Chalet 190) announced here at ABACE 2013 yesterday that sales are up 50 percent in China from 2011 through 2012, and up in Asia Pacific overall. Meanwhile, the company is making rapid progress with its efforts to operate in China through joint ventures formed with China Aviation Industry General Aircraft Co. (CAIGA) in Shijiazhuang and Zhuhai. The joint venture with CAIGA involves building Cessna 208 Grand Caravan EXs (Shijiazhuang) and Cessna Citation XLS+ business jets (Zhuhai) for the Chinese market.
When Bell Helicopter sold its remaining stake in the BA609 civil tiltrotor program to partner AgustaWestland about two years ago, industry analysts figured that Bell was exiting this niche market. But might not be the case, since Bell unveiled a next-generation tiltrotor–the Bell V-280 Valor–yesterday at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) convention in Fort Worth, Texas.
Production of Cessna Aircraft’s new Citation Latitude is on schedule, and the company expects that full airframes will be on the manufacturing lines by year-end. The midsize business jet is scheduled to fly in the first quarter of next year. The Wichita-based aircraft manufacturer has already started building test articles, and has moved from engineering, analysis and modeling to cutting metal. Meanwhile, Cessna started a 19-city tour in the U.S. last week that showcases a Citation Latitude cabin mockup.
Bell Helicopter has named Sameer Rehman director of international trade support for commercial sales and marketing. He was previously managing director for the Textron subsidiary’s commercial business in Asia Pacific. To succeed him, Bell promoted C.M. Hwang, formerly commercial business development manager for Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea and Singapore.