Cessna Repositions Mustang to Independence

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Cessna last week updated the industry on the company's progress toward certifying the Citation Mustang very light jet (VLJ). Cessna's entry into the coming VLJ sweepstakes -- projected to occur after the Eclipse 500 -- is on schedule, according to the company, and will mark the first jet aircraft produced at the company's Independence, Kan., facility, which was originally built to manufacture piston-powered aircraft when Cessna restarted their production 10 years ago. Cessna says it has accumulated more than 1,100 total flight hours and more than 600 flights spread among the three Citation Mustangs currently flying in its certification program. Although Eclipse has suffered setbacks in its original certification plans brought about by an unplanned engine change and supplier delays, Cessna's certification apparatus has a well-deserved reputation for meeting its target dates, even years later. So, it should come as no surprise to learn, according to the company, that the Mustang remains on schedule for its anticipated FAA certification in the fourth quarter of 2006.

The first Mustang to be delivered, a Cessna customer demonstration aircraft, is also planned for the fourth quarter of 2006. Customer deliveries are to begin in early 2007. Additionally, Cessna says it plans to produce 40 to 50 Mustangs at the Independence facility during 2007 and has some 240 orders for the new aircraft. Cessna adds that Mustang production is sold out into the third quarter of 2009. Presently, Mustangs three through 13 are on the production line in Independence, Kan., and serial number four will be the first Mustang to be fully assembled outside of Wichita. The Citation Mustang program was announced in September 2002. The six-seat business jet will be certified as an FAR Part 23 aircraft, with a cruise speed of 340 KTAS and maximum operating altitude of FL410.