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Bombardier launches new midsize business jet, Challenger 350

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Monday, May 20, 2013, at 11:05 a.m.
  • Updated Sunday, June 23, 2013, at 2:45 p.m.

As the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition prepares to open in Geneva, Bombardier Aerospace announced the launch of the midsize Challenger 350 business jet, an updated Challenger 300.

Fractional ownership company NetJets is the launch partner, Bombardier said.

NetJets has placed an order for 75 Challenger 350s, with an option for 125 more.

The company made the announcement at a special event at the show.

Deliveries will begin next year.

“The Challenger 350 jet will take our existing Challenger family to new heights,” Steve Ridolfi, president of Bombardier Business Aircraft, said in a statement. “Based on our owners’ and operators’ needs, we have taken the world’s best-selling super-midsize jet and further increased its capability to better meet the growing requirements of our ever-expanding Challenger customer base worldwide.”

The $25.89 million Challenger 350 will offer increased performance, improved engines and landing gear, an all-new interior and advanced avionics.

Cessna Aircraft, meanwhile, said it’s looking to capitalize on a European economic upswing.

Despite eurozone economic challenges, Cessna is confident about the region’s prospects for business aviation.

“While the eurozone as a whole remains in recession, there are bright spots that give grounds for optimism,” Kriya Scott, senior vice president of sales, said in a statement.

Many economists expect Germany, a major business aviation market, to benefit from rising exports and domestic consumption soon.

And the United Kingdom has a brighter outlook for growth and inflation than much of the region.

It’s right for Cessna to invest now in its products to maintain its leadership position, Scott said.

The company’s new Citation X is on track to be in the market by year-end, and its midsize Citation Latitude and super-midsize Citation Longitude are progressing well, she said.

The Latitude and the Longitude are meeting performance and technical objectives, the company said.

“The enthusiasm continues to build for the Citation Longitude,” Terry Shriner, Cessna’s business leader for the two planes, said in a statement.

Cessna recently completed cyclic testing of the electrically operated main cabin door and has simulated 19,000 flights with nine passengers and two crew members.

The critical design review for the throttle quadrant and environmental controls is complete. And more than half of the 28,000 necessary parts have been completed. The first prototype is being assembled.

The company expects to have it flying early next year.

Meanwhile, the Longitude recently completed wind tunnel performance validation, and testing confirmed its range and speed projections.

The next step is development testing of select components and concepts to help validate the architecture and layout of the plane. The first flight is scheduled for mid-2016, with entry into service in the second half of 2017.

Also at EBACE, Beechcraft Corp. announced the start of flight tests for winglets for its Hawker 400XPR upgrade program at EBACE. Conforming flight tests with the winglets began in May as the program continues its certification and flight testing work.

The Hawker 400XPR upgrade package offers several airframe modifications to improve performance, cost and resale value, the company said.

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

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