Cessna Citation Longitude receives FAA airworthiness certification

The Cessna Citation Longitude will be on its way to customers soon.

Textron Aviation announced Monday that the 12-seat, super-midsize business jet has been deemed airworthy by the Federal Aviation Administration, paving the way for deliveries.

It is the company’s longest-range Citation yet.

“With the broadest lineup of business aviation platforms available worldwide, today Textron Aviation welcomes the Longitude into the esteemed Citation family of products and begins a new era of best-in-class solutions for our customers,” Textron Aviation president and CEO Ron Draper said in a news release announcing the plane’s FAA type certification.

The Longitude is made at Textron Aviation’s Wichita manufacturing plant, 1 Cessna Blvd. The company employs more than 13,000 workers worldwide, including more than 9,000 in Kansas.

Textron is recruiting skilled and professional workers “to keep pace with attrition and meet our current production plans,” spokeswoman Christina Walser said by email. Last year, Textron hired almost 1,000 employees and has maintained that rate, she said.

The company makes Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker planes, which currently account for more than half of general aviation aircraft, according to the news release.

‘“The real success of the program comes from the talent and customer focus our employees bring to work every day,” Draper said in the release.

“Their hard work and dedication have been spectacular through every step of the program, from initial concept, through design and testing.”

The $26.9 million Longitude can seat up to 12 passengers and has a 6-foot tall flat-floor cabin with a walk-in baggage compartment that’s accessible during flight. The plane has a maximum cruise speed of 555 mph and a range of 3,500 nautical miles (4,027 regular miles), the most of any Citation jet.

The FAA airworthiness certification comes four years after the long-range Citation’s 2015 unveiling. The Longitude was initially expected to enter service in 2017 but that date was moved after one of the plane’s suppliers has “an obsolescene issue” that resulted in an upgrade, according to The Eagle’s news archives.

Textron said Monday that the jet’s experimental and demo fleet has completed nearly 6,000 hours of flight time and a more than 35,000-mile world tour. The plane received provisional type certification last December.

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Amy Renee Leiker has been reporting for The Wichita Eagle since 2010. She covers crime, courts and breaking news and updates the newspaper’s online databases. You can reach her at 316-268-6644. She’s an avid reader and mom of three in her non-work time.