Citation Mustang Testing Continues
Last week at the annual Sun 'n Fun fly-in extravaganza at Lakeland, Fla., Cessna updated the industry on the progress it is making toward bringing to market its contender in the very light jet (VLJ) sweepstakes. The company said its Citation Mustang program continues to move toward certification and first delivery, both of which are scheduled for the fourth quarter of 2006. If current and announced certification schedules for both the Cessna Citation Mustang and the Eclipse 500 hold, that means as little as a bit more than three months could separate FAA certification of the two newest -- and perhaps most anticipated -- business jets. Most recently, according to Cessna, the Mustang prototype, serial number 0001, along with serial number 0002, have accumulated more than 850 total flight hours. Currently, the company's focus is to work its way through the certification flights proving the avionics and autopilot, systems, and aerodynamics -- including stability and control -- meet FAA certification standards. Cessna reports that all major airframe static tests are complete, and that fatigue testing is more than 80 percent complete.
As AVweb has reported, the Mustang's Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F dual-channel FADEC engines have already been certified. Meanwhile, Cessna said serial numbers 0003 through 0009 have started down the line at the company's plant in Independence, Kan. -- the new facility producing Cessna's single-engine piston line -- which will be the assembly point for the new jet. In fact, Mustang serial number 0004 will be the first Cessna jet to be fully assembled outside of Wichita. Once certified, the Mustang will seat up to six and include single-pilot certification under FAR Part 23. It will cruise at 340 KTAS and feature a maximum operating ceiling of FL410. Currently, more than 230 Mustangs are on order; Cessna says production is sold out into 2009.