Cessna Flies CJ4 Prototype

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Cessna flew its CJ4 prototype for the first time on Monday and by all accounts it went well. It was an outstanding first flight," said test pilot Dan Morris, who flew the aircraft with engineering flight test manager Dave Bonifield as co-pilot. "We tested quite a number of the systems on the aircraft, including the autopilot, and all performed very well." The flight lasted two hours and 22 minutes and onboard telemetry sent systems data to Cessna's engineering facility. Two more test articles are under construction at the company's Pawnee Advanced Engineering facility in Wichita. The CJ4 is a beefier and technologically advanced progression of the CJ3.

The CJ4 has a maximum payload of 2,100 lbs., about 300 lbs. more than the CJ3 and the wing has been changed to a moderately swept design that incorporates three upper speed brake panels that help it achieve its short-field performance (3,300 minimum takeoff runway and 2,665 for landing). But the biggest changes are technological. It sports two Williams International FJ44-4A FADEC-equipped engines that put out 3,400 lbs. of thrust compared to 2,820 on the CJ3. There's also a Collins Pro Line 21 panel up front and a Rockwell Collins cabin management system that features a high definition media center. The electronics were also wrung out on the test flight. "The FADECs operated just as we expected, and along with the four displays of the Pro Line 21, this is a very pilot-friendly aircraft," said test pilot Morris.