Garmin has performed a maiden sortie of the first Cessna Citation XLS to be retrofitted with a G5000 integrated flight deck, with the twinjet completing the milestone in late February at the avionics manufacturer's US test facility in Olathe, Kansas.
During the 116min flight, the crew performed an initial checkout of the G5000 system, says Garmin, including engagement and evaluation of the aircraft's new flight-control system.
"We were able to complete every item on our test card," adds company test pilot Grant Wittenborn. "The system performed very well, and we are excited to continue development with our eye on starting certification flying later this summer," he says.
Garmin launched the modernisation programme in October 2016, in partnership with Cessna's parent company, Textron Aviation. The project is designed to breathe new life into the XLS – the second iteration of the in-production XLS+ – and its predecessor, the Excel. The superlight pair were introduced in 2004 and 1998, respectively, and feature the Honeywell Primus 1000 flight deck. Flight Fleets Analyzer records a combined fleet of about 700 aircraft worldwide.
Garmin is hoping to secure US and European supplemental type certification for the G5000 upgrade in early 2019, and says the retrofit will be available through Textron Aviation's service centre network and selected Garmin dealers.
In its configuration for the Excel/XLS, the G5000 features three 14in (35.5cm) displays that provide the flight crew with technologies including synthetic vision, electronic charts, wide-area augmentation system/local performance with vertical guidance approaches, automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast compliance, engine indication, and traffic collision avoidance system information.
"The G5000 flight deck is estimated to provide a weight saving of 150lb [68kg] or more compared with the current system, allowing additional baggage, passenger and fuel-load flexibility," says Garmin.
The G5000 flight deck features on a number of business aircraft, including the Citation Latitude, Longitude, Sovereign+ and Bombardier Learjet 70/75.