China has certified the Cessna Citation XLS for operations at elevations of up to 15,000ft (4,572m) after tests at Tibet’s Qamdo Bangda Airport in February.

The China Flight Inspection Center (CFIC), which is part of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), conducted the tests at Qamdo Bangda, which at an elevation of 14,219ft is the world’s highest airport. These helped the Chinese authorities to validate navigation aids and gather information on high altitude operations.

“The flight inspection mission flown by the CFIC is one of the most demanding in the world, and one has only to look at this mission for proof,” said Todd Duhnke, Cessna director, International Sales. “The Citation XLS has long been the most popular business jet in production and this achievement is just another example of its great operational performance and versatility.”

Cessna XLS in Tibet (big)

The company says that high altitude operations are the most difficult for any aircraft due to the lower density air, which results in much higher ground speeds for takeoff and landing than at lower altitudes. That is complicated by turbulence and low clouds at Bangda, it adds.

Cessna engineers worked with the CAAC to certify the Citation XLS for operations at field elevations up to 15,000ft, up from the aircraft’s previous certification at 14,000ft. This has allowed all Citation XLS/XLS+ aircraft operating in China to be certified for operation from airports at this higher altitude.

The CAAC, Cessna’s largest Chinese Citation operator, also operates other Citation models for it flight inspection mission. This includes five Citation XLSs, one Citation VI and one Citation X. Cessna says that there have been more than 600 deliveries of the Excel, XLS and XLS+ series of Citations to customers around the world.

Source: Flight International