Cessna is approaching design freeze on the super-midsize Longitude business jet after clearing a critical series of windtunnel validations on the wing, says chief executive Scott Ernest.

The windtunnel tests were necessary to examine the new wing of the Longitude, which shares the fuselage but not an aerofoil with its smaller Latitude sister jet.

The windtunnel validated airflow over the gently-swept wing in a variety of conditions, re-affirming the manufacturer's projected Mach 0.82 cruise speed with a 4,000nm (7,400km) range and M0.85 maximum speed, Ernest says.

With the wing design locked down, Cessna has turned its focus to the stretched fuselage tube of the Longitude. The structure is already about 95% complete in design, Ernest says, including some key tweaks.

"The baggage compartment has continued to grow," he says. "You can basically put a couple of bunk beds back there."

The baggage compartment is now 9ft (2.74m) long with an area of 200ft³ (5.67m³).

Cessna unveiled the Longitude in 2012. It will be powered by a pair of 11,000lb-thrust (49kN) Snecma Silvercrest engines, with a goal to complete first flight in 2016 and enter service in 2017.

Ernest, however, declines to be specific when asked for an update on the schedule, saying only that the certification will be completed "as soon as possible" after the Latitude enters service.

The midsize Latitude jet is on track to achieve first flight in January 2014 and enter into service one year later.

Source: Flight Daily News