Cessna Aircraft Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, a Textron Inc (NYSE: TXT) company, today announced the Citation Latitude flight test program has yielded improvements in expected aircraft range and runway performance, promising even greater value for operators than originally envisioned. Certification of the Citation Latitude is expected in the second quarter of 2015.
The aircraft specification is being changed to reflect an increase in range to 2,700 nm at long-range cruise, an increase of 200 nm. Additionally, runway performance is significantly improved with takeoff distance now an impressive 3,668 feet, rather than 4,030 feet in prior projections.
“The Citation Latitude certification program is about two-thirds complete and has hit the mark every step of the way,” said Scott Ernest, Textron Aviation president and CEO. “The entire team is focused on ensuring we exceed customer expectations with the new Citation Latitude, whether in terms of design, production quality, or in making improvements like we’ve seen in the performance numbers.”
Today, Cessna also introduced a fourth aircraft into the Latitude certification program. During the 2.5 hour first flight for Serial 003, the crew successfully completed the standard production flight test profile. The Latitude certification flight test program has amassed more than 600 flight hours in more than 260 flights. The Latitude prototype first flew on schedule in February, followed by two additional aircraft in May and July. Cessna gained Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Type Inspection Authorization (TIA) for the Latitude in May. Final type certification by the FAA is expected during the second quarter of next year.
The first fully-configured Citation Latitude will make its public debut at the 2014 National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting in Orlando, Fla., from Oct. 21-23, only three years after program launch.
“Thanks to the continued investment in the Citation jet product line, we’ve had a busy flight test and new aircraft production schedule,” Ernest said. “The success of the Citation Latitude program is another indication of our commitment to the owners who use our aircraft every day, around the world.”
The Citation Latitude features an all-new fuselage, creating the most open, spacious, light and refined cabin environment in the midsize category. The Latitude has the widest fuselage of any Citation jet, a flat cabin floor and 6 feet (1.83 meters) of cabin height. Cessna’s Clairity™ cabin-technology system ties into the Latitude’s advanced avionics center to provide connectivity and entertainment to each passenger through their personal electronic devices.
The Citation Latitude accommodates up to nine passengers, can reach a flight level of 43,000 feet (13,106 meters) in just 24 minutes and has a range of up to 2,700 nautical miles (5,000 kilometers). It is designed with a powerful new cabin cooling system, a pressurization system providing a 6,000-foot (1,829-meter) cabin altitude at the aircraft’s maximum operating altitude of 45,000 feet (13,716 meters), an electronically-operated cabin door and Garmin G5000 avionics, two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D engines, and auto-throttle capabilities.
More than 6,600 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world since the first Cessna Citation business jet was put into service in 1972. Citations are the largest fleet of business jets in the world and have surpassed 30 million flight hours.