Cessna last week flew a Williams International FJ44-4A jet engine aboard its CJ2 testbed aircraft, marking the first flight of the new turbofan destined for the eight-passenger, $8 million CJ4, writes John Croft.

The full authority digital engine control (FADEC)-equipped powerplant, which generates 3,400lb-thrust (15.1kN), de-rated from 3,600lb, "exceeded" Cessna's expectations during the 50min flight, according to the company. The CJ4, a larger-cabin, longer-range version of the CitationJet, is scheduled for first flight by mid-2008, certification by the end of 2009 and deliveries by mid-2010.

"Every lesson we've learned in 3 million FJ44 flight hours has been applied to this latest model," says Gregg Williams, president and chief executive of Williams International. "It is our most efficient engine yet." Cessna says the FJ44-4A has the best thrust-to-weight ratio in its class, in part due to proprietary aerodynamic improvements that result in lower operating temperatures and a "significant reduction" in fuel consumption. Williams engines power all aircraft in the CJ line, including the CJ3 with its 2,820lb-thrust FJ44-3A. The FJ44-4A will have a 5,000h overhaul interval, 1,000h more than the FJ44-3A time between overhauls.

The CJ4's 5.3m (17.4ft) cabin is 0.5m longer than that of the CJ3 and has a wider entry door developed for the Citation Mustang, Cessna's entry into the very light jet arena. The aircraft will have the same 1.61m3 (57ft3) baggage capacity as the CJ3.

The combination of an all-new moderately swept wing and the new engines are expected to allow the CJ4 to cruise at 435kt (805km/h), 20kt faster than the CJ3. Time to climb to 43,000ft will be 28min, with a maximum altitude of 45,000ft. Maximum-fuel payload will be 455kg.

Source: Flight International