Cessna is the business jet maker which has lost the most in the worldwide recession since 2008. So, it’s a huge relief for the company to be making strong progress on revitalising its fleet, essential if it is to grab back market share. This week, Cessna announced that it has successfully given its newest jet, the Citation Latitude its first flight.

The flight took place on 18 February, just two years after the aircraft was announced at NBAA 2011. The Latitude is on course for type certification in 2015 Q2, says Cessna.

The company says that this first flight tested flaps, landing gear, pressurization systems, anti-ice capabilities, stability and control. The test flight reached an altitude of 28,000 feet and attained speeds of 230 mph (Mach 0.6). Cessna flight engineers said all systems performed as expected.

Aaron Tobias, Cessna senior flight test pilot, said, “I feel fortunate to be able to fly for a living, and it is a privilege to be part of the crew piloting the Cessna Citation Latitude on its maiden flight.

“The Citation Latitude was great today, which is to say it behaved just as anticipated. The Garmin G5000 avionics are an enormous leap forward in flight management. When combined with the widest Citation cabin and the flat cabin floor, the improved cooling system, the electrically operated door and the lower cabin altitude, you have in the Latitude an amazing aircraft that we believe sets very high benchmarks for performance, capability, and comfort. The Latitude will be tough to beat.”

Students attending Wichita State University on a Cessna-funded engineering scholarship were invited to watch the maiden flight at the Cessna’s telemetry monitoring station at the company╒s headquarters. The station receives a live feed from the prototype aircraft, allowing engineers to monitor the flight’s progress and receive real-time systems updates. Seven aeronautical engineering students attended the session.

Cessna Citation Latitude

Cessna Citation Latitude