Cessna is preparing to roll-out and fly the first Citation Latitude business jet prototype in the first quarter of next year.
The development comes as the airframer embarks on a three-month demonstration tour of the US with the super-light business jet, which is earmarked for certification and service entry in 2015.
"We've started building engineering test articles which will be completed later this year," says Terry Shriner, business leader for the Citation Latitude. The first airframe will be used to evaluate cyclic fatigue and the second for static testing.
Cessna says it is using production tooling to build experimental airframes in an effort to iron out any problems ahead of full-scale production at its Wichita, US facility next year.
"Improvements will be identified and incorporated into the tooling and assembly methods before line production begins in 2014," says Cessna. "This is to ensure on-schedule deliveries and support the expectation of high-quality finished aircraft."
The nine-seat Latitude was launched in 2011 to fill a gap in Cessna's Citation product line, between the superlight XLS+ and midsize Sovereign.
Priced at $14.9 million, the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306D-powered twinjet will have a maximum range of 2,500nm, (4,600km), a maximum altitude of 45,000ft (13,700m) and a maximum cruise speed of 440kt (815km/h).
It will climb to 43,000ft in 23mins.