Cessna's Citation Fleet Enjoys Recent Gains

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CJ3 Stays Ahead Of Schedule ...

Cessna recently announced its first production Citation CJ3 (serial number 001) took its first flight on August 8, three weeks ahead of schedule. This particular CJ3 -- to be used primarily for avionics development and certification -- departed from McConnell Air Force Base and landed at Wichita's Mid-Continent Airport after a one-and-a-half-hour flight. This first flight of the serial 001 aircraft was performed using a standard production first flight profile, which included the full range of airspeed maneuvers, from stalls to MMO, and coupled approaches.

Cessna has dedicated three Citation CJ3s to the certification process: a production-conformed prototype, and serial numbers 001 and 002. The prototype made its maiden flight on April 17, 2003, and has already logged over 83 hours. Flight tests underway include climb performance and roll-control tests. Other recent CJ3 program accomplishments are the successful completion of the low- and high-speed envelope expansion, mating of the wing to the fuselage on CJ3 serial number 002, completion of the first customer specification session, and painting of the prototype. The CJ3 team has also begun static testing. The first major airframe article assessment of the tail cone and empennage was completed in late June. All static testing is expected to be completed by the first quarter of 2004.

... First Production Sovereign Rolls Out ...

On August 27, Cessna team members rolled out their first Citation Sovereign assembled on the production line. Serial number 0003 was celebrated with a brief roll-out ceremony, attended by line employees and management. With a fully operational, 17-station production assembly line, Cessna will deliver its first Citation Sovereigns -- of 100 ordered -- early in 2004. The company says testing -- with its three Citation Sovereigns accumulating over 1600 hours -- continues to run smoothly and certification is expected in the fourth quarter of 2003.

... ARINC Offers One-Stop RVSM Package for Citation Airframes ...

On August 14, ARINC Direct announced a "one-stop" RVSM modification and certification package for the Cessna Citation 500-series jets. ARINC will provide everything needed to bring the business aircraft into compliance with new RVSM airspace rules scheduled to go into effect over North and South America in January 2005. The ARINC RVSM package includes complete installation by ARINC's FAA/JAA-certified Colorado Springs service center, an RVSM height-monitoring flight, and the required Supplemental Type Certificates (STCs). The ARINC avionics package includes Shadin's new ADC-6000 dual Air Data Computer replacement with a right-side altimeter. ARINC claims this equipment preserves the original Citation cockpit architecture while providing multiple-port capability and interfacing for the Flight Management System (FMS) and other systems. Operators planning to have ARINC perform the RVSM upgrade later this fall can have a wiring harness installed immediately. ARINC estimates about 1300 Cessna Citation business aircraft are registered in the region.

... Despite Another Round Of Layoffs

While the Citation line is seeing some gains, the same can't be said for Cessna as a whole. Earlier this month, Cessna announced another 300 Cessna employees will be given layoff notices, as the company said it will complete the 1,200 layoffs it announced in March. The first 900 workers were laid off in May and the next batch will leave before the end of the year. All of this comes as a surprise to many, especially after company officials recently said Cessna might be able to finish the year without more layoffs, and after a furlough was imposed in the name of company stability. Employees affected by the layoffs will receive their 60-day notices by the end of August, with some of those workers being dismissed before the 60 days expire at the end of October. The layoffs will leave Cessna's employment at 8,000 by the end of October.