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Cessna’s Citation Latitude takes another step toward FAA certification

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at 11:11 a.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, May 21, 2014, at 5:39 p.m.

Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude midsize business jet has received type inspection authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration, and the first production airplane has joined the flight test program.

Obtaining type inspection authorization is a significant step toward certification from the FAA. It allows Cessna to begin accumulating flight hours that will apply toward official certification.

The Citation Latitude test program has accumulated more than 60 flights and 130 hours to date. The prototype flew for the first time in February.

Cessna is part of Textron Aviation.

“All systems are performing as expected on the Citation Latitude prototype and first production aircraft,” Chris Hearne, vice president of business jets, said in a statement. “We’re eager to continue the program in this next stage of flight testing.”

The second production Latitude is expected to join the flight test program this summer.

FAA certification is expected in the second quarter of 2015.

The Citation Latitude has the widest fuselage of any Citation jet. The two-pilot jet can accommodate up to nine passengers and has a range of 2,500 nautical miles.

The company also received type certification from the European Aviation Safety Agency for its Grand Caravan EX aircraft, which paves the way for deliveries to begin immediately, the company said.

Cessna made the announcements this week at the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition in Geneva. The show runs through Thursday.

In other EBACE news, Beechcraft Corp., part of Textron Aviation, announced that the number of King Air twin-engine turboprops registered in Europe, the Middle East and Africa now exceeds 825 aircraft. That includes 450 in Europe.

Analysis of industry data shows that business turboprops are becoming more popular with operators in those countries, with the largest fleets based in South Africa, France and the United Kingdom, Beechcraft said.

Turboprops make up about 30 percent of the business aviation market segment in the regions of Europe, the Middle East and Africa, the company said.

Reach Molly McMillin at 316-269-6708 or mmcmillin@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @mmcmillin.

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