Textron Aviation Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company, today announced that the third aircraft in the Cessna Citation Longitude flight test program recently completed its first flight. Test pilots Corey Eckhart and UJ Pesonen, along with flight test engineer Mike Bradfield, successfully tested various systems throughout the one-hour and 40-minute flight. The aircraft will be used in the program for avionics and systems development, as well as collecting flight simulator data.
In addition to the three flying test articles, the company has started assembly line flow in the company’s east campus Plant IV manufacturing facility, with the first four production Longitude aircraft currently in progress. These aircraft are being built using the same advanced tooling and manufacturing techniques that were applied on the Longitude flight test articles, which drives precision and quality on the assembly line.
“The speed at which our team is achieving these milestones is an important indication to our customers of the maturity of the aircraft’s systems and the proficiency of our processes,” said Brad Thress, senior vice president of Engineering. “We continue to build momentum in the program, and the team is dedicated to getting this world-class aircraft in the hands of our customers.”
The third aircraft joins the test program less than six months after the first Longitude flew in October 2016. To date, the first two aircraft in the flight test program have completed 125 flights, logging more than 250 hours. Certification of the Citation Longitude is expected by the end of this year.
The Longitude is designed specifically for maximum passenger comfort and offers the lowest cabin altitude in its class at 5,950 feet. State-of-the-art cabin technology allows passengers to manage their environment and entertainment from any mobile device, while standard high-speed internet maximizes in-flight productivity. With seating for up to 12 passengers, the Longitude features a stand-up, flat-floor cabin with a standard double-club configuration and a class-leading walk-in baggage compartment fully accessible in flight.
Textron Aviation announced in October 2016 that the Longitude had achieved an improved range of 3,500 nautical miles, an increase of 100 nautical miles, and full fuel payload of 1,600 pounds, an increase of 100 pounds, further establishing the aircraft’s anticipated leadership in its segment.
The clean-sheet design of the Longitude integrates the latest technology throughout the aircraft, bringing customers the lowest ownership costs in this class. It features the next evolution of the Garmin G5000 flight deck and is powered by FADEC-equipped Honeywell HTF7700L turbofan engines with fully integrated autothrottles. With optional head-up display 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 to operate in its category.