September 9, 2006
There now is a fully certified VLJ (very light jet). And it's the Cessna Mustang.
When Cessna announced the new, entry-level business jet at the 2002 AOPA Expo in Palm Springs, California, and the NBAA convention, the company called it a "sure thing." The Mustang is the first of the new breed to receive full FAA certification for single-pilot operations, day/night operations, VFR/IFR, and operations in reduced vertical separation minimum (RVSM) airspace.
The company expects to receive certification for flight into known icing conditions within a few weeks, although that's not required for full type certification. Most of the icing testing has been completed, and now all the company needs is cooler weather so the aircraft can be tested in natural icing conditions.
"This is an immense achievement, marking another point in history where Cessna has led the aviation industry into new territory," said Cessna Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer Jack Pelton as he announced the certification achievement on Friday.
"We met or exceeded all the requirements for the Mustang's weight class, and went on to test the aircraft in many categories to commercial airliner standards," said Pelton. "During flight testing, we successfully achieved more than 2,200 certification test conditions, meeting or exceeding all our program performance goals, including range and speed."
Cessna says the six-place Citation Mustang has a top speed of 340 KTAS (nearly 400 miles per hour), a range of 1,150 nautical miles, and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet.
The Eclipse 500 VLJ received a provisional type certificate earlier this year at Oshkosh, but full certification is still pending a change in the wing tip tanks.
Cessna says it has 250 orders for the Mustang and plans to deliver the first customer aircraft early next year.
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