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Cessna marks 40th anniversary of Citation's first flight

WICHITA — Forty years ago today, Cessna pilot-in-command Milt Sills and co-pilot J.L. LeSueur flew the first Cessna Citation prototype from Wichita’s Municipal Airport, now Wichita Mid-Continent Airport.

The one hour and 45 minute flight on Sept. 15, 1969, was a milestone in bringing Cessna’s first business jet to market. The plane was certified in September 1971 and deliveries began in January 1972.

Cessna originally called the plane the Fanjet 500. But days before the first flight, Cessna changed its name to the Citation, a name to evoke  the combination of abilities  that propelled the thoroughbred racehorse by the same name to win the Triple Crown in 1948, the company said.

Since then, Cessna has delivered more than 6,000 Citations.

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