LCC Decision Expected Soon; Citation XLS+, CJ4 Move Towards
Cessna is nothing if not cautious in its development of new
products. Nearly one year after the planemaker announced at NBAA
2006 it planned to explore the large business jet market with its
large-cabin concept (LCC), Cessna told NBAA 2007 attendees Monday
that, well, they're still considering it.
"After unveiling the concept at last year's National Business
Aviation Association (NBAA) event, we took the mockup to the
European Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition and the
Paris Air Show to get opinions from a diverse sample of potential
customers for a large-cabin, long-range business jet," said Joe
Hepburn, program manager for the LCC. "This seems like a logical
extension of the Citation family, but we are being comprehensive in
examining the business case for adding this aircraft to our product
Cessna's goal is to announce a decision on the LCC in the first
quarter of 2008. A full scale LCC mock-up is on display at NBAA
Wind tunnel testing is now progressing to investigate range,
speed and stability characteristics of the large cabin aircraft
configuration. In the fourth quarter, the company will conduct
tests in Bedford, England to determine high speed characteristics
and in San Diego, CA to examine low speed handling qualities and
high lift systems.
Cessna also announced Monday its two newest Citation business
jets -- the CJ4 and XLS+ -- are moving "efficiently" through the
development process toward certification.
The CJ4 -- a larger, longer-range version of the evergreen CJ
line -- has finished more than 75 percent of the detail design
stage, including recent completion of a full wing for fuel
The new Williams International FJ44-4A electronically controlled
(FADEC) engine, which will debut on the CJ4, continues flying on
Cessna's test bed airplane. A second engine has accumulated 3,000
equivalent flight cycles in accelerated testing, and a third engine
recently passed induction system icing certification tests.
The CJ4 is on schedule for first flight during the first half of
2008, with entry into service planned for the first half of 2010.
Cessna already has taken 130 orders for the new $8 million jet.
The XLS+ -- an upgrade to the mid-size Excel/XLS -- completed
its maiden flight on August 2, 2007. Cessna will start line flow
for the first production aircraft within the next few weeks; two
test aircraft have accumulated more than 245 flight hours and
continue to work toward achieving FAA certification in the first
quarter of 2008.
Cessna says first delivery will occur by the end of 2008. The
order book has reached 123, including the order announced at the
June 2007 Paris Air Show of 37 for NetJets' fractional aircraft