Aviation

Textron unveils full-scale cabin mockup of its biggest business jet

Textron Aviation unveiled a full-scale mockup and revealed more details of its biggest business jet yet, the Hemisphere, on Monday, the eve of the world’s largest business aviation show. (Oct. 31, 2016)
Textron Aviation unveiled a full-scale mockup and revealed more details of its biggest business jet yet, the Hemisphere, on Monday, the eve of the world’s largest business aviation show. (Oct. 31, 2016) Courtesy photo

Textron Aviation unveiled a full-scale mockup and announced additional details of its biggest business jet yet on the eve of the world’s largest business aviation show.

At a packed chalet at Orlando Executive Airport on Monday afternoon, officials of the Wichita-based company revealed a physical example of its Cessna Citation Hemisphere, a long-range, large-cabin jet that Textron Aviation hopes to fly by 2019.

The National Business Aviation Association exhibition begins Tuesday in Orlando, Fla.

In addition to the Hemisphere’s cabin mockup, the company said the $35 million, 19-passenger jet will be powered by European engine maker Safran’s Silvercrest engines. It also will use Honeywell’s Primus Epic glass cockpit and will be controlled with fly-by-wire technology using components from Thales.

“As a demonstration of our continued commitment to invest in new and differentiated products, we’re showcasing a full-scale cabin just one year after announcing the Hemisphere at NBAA 2015,” Textron Aviation CEO Scott Ernest said. “This should leave no doubt as to our intention to expand our segment leadership position.”

Honeywell Aerospace’s new forecast, released on Sunday, expects large-cabin, long-range business jets to be the strongest-selling category of aircraft through 2026.

Kriya Shortt, Textron Aviation’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, said not only will the Hemisphere be the company’s largest-ever jet, it also will hold the distinction of being the first Citation jet to have fly-by-wire flight controls – or those controlled by a side stick instead of a yoke.

“This is an aircraft where full fly-by-wire is absolutely appropriate. … The airframe is of a size that requires that,” she said.

She said a panel of customers, noncustomers and other business aviation experts advised the company on the design of the 102-inch-diameter, 6-foot-2-inch-tall Hemisphere cabin, which includes a separate galley, lavatories fore and aft and a walk-in baggage compartment accessible during flight.

The company has not made a decision where it will build the airplane, Ernest said.

Also making its NBAA debut is the first flying Citation Longitude.

Shortt and Ernest said at the news conference that the first production Longitude is complete, with a second nearing completion.

“The line is starting to populate itself,” Ernest said, “so it’s definitely going in the right direction.”

The $23.9 million super midsize jet, a full mockup of which was unveiled at last year’s NBAA in Las Vegas, also received a performance increase. Its range has been extended 100 nautical miles – to 3,500 – because of engineering changes made before the first flight of the airplane in Wichita on Oct. 8.

The first flight of Textron Aviation's Citation Longitude super-midsize jet comes less than a year after the company unveiled new details for the aircraft. (Oct. 8, 2016)

Its upgraded range will allow it to fly, for instance, from London to Boston without a fuel stop, Shortt said.

“This truly will be a market leader, and we couldn’t be more excited to start deliveries at the end of next year,” Shortt said.

Jerry Siebenmark: 316-268-6576, @jsiebenmark

  Comments