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Cessna marks completion of first upgraded Sovereign jet

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, March 4, 2013, at 8:26 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, April 17, 2013, at 10:55 p.m.

Cessna Aircraft celebrated the roll-out of its first production Citation Sovereign – with upgrades to technologies, range and performance – on Monday.

About 200 employees gathered to recognize the milestone.

It’s a significant achievement, said Kelly Reich, Cessna business leader for the Citation Sovereign and the Citation X.

“It shows we’re ready to start delivering airplanes as soon as we receive the TC (type certificate),” Reich said.

Cessna announced the upgrades to the $18.1 million midsize jet in October at the National Business Aviation Association’s annual meeting in Orlando.

The upgraded 8- to 12-passenger jet Sovereign received a good reception at the show, Reich said.

“People recognized that we’ve taken a great airplane and made it better,” he said. “That’s gone very well with the customer base.”

The project is important to Cessna given the competitive environment for business jets, Ron Draper, Cessna senior vice president for the integrated supply chain, told employees at the celebration.

They overcame challenges on the program, including some supplier delays, which ultimately could have delayed the project, Draper said.

But “we didn’t want to do that,” Draper told employees. “I appreciate your hard work and your flexibility.”

The Sovereign is expected to receive certification and begin deliveries in the third quarter of this year.

The Sovereign is Cessna’s second-largest business jet, in cabin size, behind the Citation X.

The plane will come down the production line with Cessna’s Citation Latitude, which shares a wing, tail, avionics and engine.

The line will be flexible to meet the mix of orders between the two models, Reich said.

The upgraded Sovereign will have a range of 3,000 nautical miles, an increase of 150 nautical miles over the previous Sovereign.

It features a new cockpit with Garmin G5000 avionics and a new Pratt & Whitney PW306D engine.

It also will have improved short runway performance, automatic throttles, winglets and improved ground cooling performance, Cessna said.

Since the Sovereign was introduced in 2004, Cessna has delivered 345 Sovereigns to customers.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com.

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