...While Mustang Flies

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Although it started three years after Eclipse went public with its VLJ program, long-established Cessna appears to be catching up to start-up Eclipse with the development of the Mustang. The prototype flew for the first time on April 23 and by Wednesday it had flown at least twice more, said Cessna spokeswoman Jessica Myers. Myers said the company hasn't decided to fly the prototype to Oshkosh but it hasn't ruled it out, either. "It will depend on where we are with the flight test program," she said. The prototype will be used for aerodynamic and systems tests. Later this year, two production Mustangs are scheduled to fly and they'll form the backbone of the FAA certification test program. Last week's maiden flight was said to be successful, with pilots Scotty Jergenson and Dave Bonifield taking off at McConnell Air Force Base at 10:26 a.m. and landing at Wichita Mid-Continent Airport at 12:47 p.m. The plane climbed to 11,000 feet, the gear and flaps were cycled and various stability tests were carried out. "Everything went just as planned," said Project Manager Russ Meyer III.