Cessna Celebrates Citation Encore+'s First Flight

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The newest addition to Cessna's Citation bizjet stable took off for its first flight last week, marking a major milestone on the way to FAA certification. The event continues Cessna's relentless, machine-like ability to announce, certify and deliver to customers new airplanes on a pre-defined schedule. In the case of the Encore+, the type was first announced last November at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Orlando. Cessna said at the time that deliveries would start in February 2007, and the March 23 first flight indicates that, once again, the company is right on schedule. Cessna continues to expect FAA certification of the airplane in the early fourth quarter of this year. “We’ve set an ambitious certification schedule since we announced the Encore+ only five months ago at the National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention. We are pleased this first flight adheres to our schedule, marking a major milestone that moves us toward on-time customer deliveries in the first quarter of 2007,” said Lynn Young, Citation Encore+ program manager.

Now that the airplane's first flight is under its belt, Cessna said the next step toward certification involves refined development of avionics and engine software. The Encore+ succeeds the Citation Encore and is equipped with dual-channel FADEC engines and a full Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite. When compared to the Encore, the "plus" version offers increased efficiency and payload capability, more standard equipment and new interior styling features like LED indirect cabin lighting. “During the one-hour and nine-minute test flight, the pilots flew an aggressive flight profile to test basic stability, flap and landing gear extension and retraction, controllability, trim actuation, engine operating characteristics and basic autopilot operation,” Young added. The Encore+ is powered by twin Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535B engines rated at 3,400 pounds of thrust. Maximum takeoff weight for the Citation Encore+ has been increased by 200 pounds over the Encore, enabling the typical operator to have a full-fuel payload (in addition to two pilots) in excess of 1,100 pounds. Cessna expects to certify the Citation Encore+ for single-pilot operation.