Cessna Citation XLS+ Takes Flight

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The "world's best-selling business jet model" has its latest version in the Citation XLS+, which made its first flight last week. The development program saw its one hour 30 minute-long test flight completed at Rockwell Collins' facility in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, with the aircraft "performing as expected," according to program manager Kevin Steinert. Outfitted with new Collins Pro Line 21 integrated avionics and Pratt & Whitney Canada full authority digital engine control, the aircraft's development is progressing on schedule for type certification in early 2008 with first deliveries expected next summer. The price point for the 440-ktas, 1,800-nm aircraft is set near $11.6 million. According to Cessna, the XLS+ should offer a climb direct to 45,000 feet in less than half an hour, with landing capabilities suitable for 2,700-foot strips. The aircraft will be the latest in the Excel/XLS line, which has so far seen delivery of 575 aircraft with a total accumulated flight time of nearly 1.2 million hours. Cessna delivered 1,239 aircraft in 2006, with a backlog of $8.5 billion in orders.