Cessna Latitude First Flight

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The Citation Latitude, the first in the line of new midsized business jets that Cessna hopes will challenge Embraer in that market, made its maiden flight on Tuesday and it went well according to Cessna. The aircraft, which was announced a little over two years ago at NBAA 2011, flew for 2.5 hours, climbed to 28,000 feet and topped out at 230 mph on this flight. Senior Test Pilot Aaron Tobias said all the aircraft's major systems were tested. “To go out and run the card as we did today amazes me,” Tobias told the Wichita Eagle. "It's an easy-flying Cessna." On its second flight, Tobias said he's going to fly it at 45,000 feet and more than 500 mph.

The Latitude will accommodate up to nine passengers and has a maximum range of 2,500 miles. Although it's loosely based on the Sovereign, it's about a foot wider and has a flat floor with a stand-up cabin. It's designed to take on Embraer's Legacy 450/500 designs, which are also in development.

Click for our video preview of the Latitude at the 2011 NBAA Convention.