Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, is showcasing the company’s new super-midsize Citation Longitude business jet this week at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE) 2018. Fresh from its circumnavigation of the globe in March and now nearing Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) type certification, Textron Aviation’s flagship Citation Longitude will be on the vanguard of the FAA's latest certification requirements.
“We’re in the home stretch now and eager to move one step closer to delivering this new Citation flagship jet to our excited inaugural customers around the globe,” said Brad Thress, senior vice president of Engineering. “This is the most robust certification process we’ve ever been required to conduct for a Citation, which means we will deliver an exceptionally verified, clean-sheet aircraft that will thrill pilots and passengers alike. We’re introducing one of the most thoroughly-researched passenger experiences — one that will revolutionize the super-midsize category with its low cabin altitude, class-leading legroom and low decibel cabin sound levels that are half of its nearest competitor.”
Based upon the FAA's newest certification requirements, the number of the ground and flight test conditions to be met by the Longitude program is nearly double the amount completed on past certification programs. The team used five aircraft and nearly 50 ground test articles to expedite testing, whereas previous certification programs featured three aircraft and fewer than 30 ground assets. This innovative approach enabled the program to move swiftly through the development and certification process, while affording agility for enhancements driven by customer feedback.
Structural testing as well as component qualification testing is complete, while flight testing is wrapping up with nearly 3,000 total hours. The Longitude is built at Textron Aviation’s headquarters in Wichita, Kansas, where the assembly line is at full-rate production.
Earlier this year, the aircraft completed a 31,000-nautical mile world tour, demonstrating its performance and reliability throughout a broad array of environments across 12 countries. During the tour, the Longitude made various stops throughout Europe, including customer visits in Sweden, France, Italy, Switzerland and the U.K.
“Textron Aviation has more than 1,700 jets and turboprops based in Europe, so a key element of the Longitude’s development and certification process has been to seek out and incorporate feedback from our European operators,” said Rob Scholl, senior vice president, Sales and Marketing. “They are showing great interest in the Longitude’s class-leading amenities as well as its low operating costs, short field performance, cabin comfort and range.”
With a range of 3,500 nautical miles (6,482 kilometers) and full fuel payload of 1,600 pounds (726 kilograms), the Citation Longitude is designed to elevate passenger expectations in the super-midsize class by delivering a quiet cabin, a low cabin altitude (5,950 feet/1,814 meters), more standard features and a comfortable, bespoke interior. With seating for up to 12 passengers, including an optional crew jump seat, the Longitude features a stand-up, 6-foot tall flat-floor cabin. A standard double-club configuration delivers the most legroom in the super-midsize class. Fully berthable seats are designed and manufactured in-house and a class-leading walk-in baggage compartment is accessible throughout the entire flight. State-of-the-art cabin technology enables passengers to manage their environment and entertainment from any mobile device, while high-speed internet maximizes in-flight productivity.
The clean-sheet design of the Longitude integrates the latest technology throughout the aircraft, delivering what is anticipated to be the lowest ownership cost in its class. It features the next evolution of the Garmin G5000 flight deck and is powered by FADEC-equipped Honeywell HTF7700L turbofan engines featuring fully integrated autothrottles with envelope protection. With Garmin’s new Head-up Display (GHD 2100) and enhanced vision capability, the Longitude facilitates eyes-up flying. The spacious cockpit incorporates easier access and an ergonomic design that fully focuses on crew comfort and efficiency.
No super-midsize business jet offers more range, greater payload or higher cruise speed at a lower expected total ownership cost. The Longitude is designed to feature the longest maintenance intervals in its class — 800 hours or 18 months — expected to make it the most cost effective aircraft to operate in its category.