Cessna’s newest and largest aircraft, the Citation Longitude, completed a first flight on 8 October in Wichita, Kansas.

The 2h, 2min flight, piloted by Ed Wenninger and Stuart Rogerson, tested the aircraft’s stability, flight controls, flaps, landing gear and pressurisation, says Textron Aviation, the parent company of Cessna.

The launch of flight testing comes 11 months after Textron Aviation unveiled a ground test prototype of the Citation Longitude at the NBAA convention in Las Vegas.

First flights validates the company’s “focus on investing in our development and production processes to bring the aircraft to market quickly without compromise”, says Scott Ernest, Textron Aviation president and chief executive.

The super mid-size Longitude is the largest aircraft to enter flight test by Cessna, exceeding the size and range of three other Citation models — Latitude, X and Sovereign. It also features Cessna’s first use of fly-by-wire technology, with electronically-actuated spoilers.

The Longitude is also the first aircraft developed by Textron Aviation that bears a legacy of both Cessna and Hawker Beechcraft, the latter of which was acquired in 2014.

Although the Longitude fuselage cross-section is shared with the Latitude, it features a general wing layout based on the Hawker 4000, a composite-skinned midsized jet no longer in production.

The Longitude’s first flight was operated from Textron Aviation’s “east campus” in Wichita, which was formerly known as Hawker Beechcraft headquarters. The aircraft was assembled inside Plant III, which Textron Aviation officials describe as a “product development machine”.

Source: FlightGlobal.com