Cessna To Increase Citation X Production, Help Retrofit Winglets

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Despite the NTSB's data showing that GA hours are down since 1990, activity levels in certain segments of civilian non-scheduled aviation are up. Perhaps chief among them is the business aviation segment, as evidence by last year's record-setting sales numbers. With that in mind, and perhaps recognizing there's never too much of a good thing, Cessna Aircraft Company last week announced it was increasing production of its Citation X business jet over the next five years. Additionally, the company this week said it had entered into an agreement with Winglet Technology, LLC, to collaborate on the latter’s patented "Elliptical Winglet" design for retrofit on Citation X jets already in the fleet. More than 260 Citation Xs already have been delivered to customers around the world and the backlog for the aircraft extends well into 2008. The fleet has amassed almost 1 million flight hours over its 10-year history, the company said. With a top speed of .92 Mach, the Citation X is not only the world's fastest business jet but it's also the fastest civilian aircraft flying.

“Orders for the Citation X have been increasing and, as a result, we will be increasing production more than 65 percent from 2006 to 2010 to meet the growing demand for this popular aircraft,” said Roger Whyte, senior vice president of sales and marketing at Cessna. Meanwhile, Winglet Technology's elliptical winglets, which are designed to increase range and increase payload on high/hot departures, will be installed and flown on a Cessna Citation X test bed this summer. Cessna and Winglet Technology plan to announce details on the expected performance benefits and planned availability later this year. “We are looking forward to working with Cessna on what we believe will be a significant performance enhancement for the Citation X,” noted Bob Kiser, president of Winglet Technology.