On a remarkably newsworthy opening day at European business aviation show Ebace, Cessna unveiled a clean-sheet, long-range design, the Citation Longitude. The airplane, which the company plans to certify by 2017, will feature the same clean-sheet fuselage cross section as the smaller Latitude, which Cessna launched last fall. The new airplane will be much larger and much more capable, however, and will boast an all-new “gently swept” wing with winglets.
Longitude’s range will be 4,000 nm with a ceiling of 45,000 feet. Maximum speed is projected at Mach .86, a very competitive value. Longitude will be able to fly nonstop from New York to Paris, from London to Dubai, or from Beijing to Moscow.
The airplane will compete with the Embraer Legacy 650 and the Bombardier Challenger 605. At a price just under $26 million, Longitude will be substantially less, at least in base price, than its formidable large-body competitors.
Perhaps the biggest surprise was the announcement that the engines will be supplied by French manufacturer Snecma in the form of its yet-to-be-certified Silvercrest turbofans. For Snecma, a company well known in commercial aviation for its highly regarded airliner engines, the Cessna win puts it in the thick of a business aviation market for the first time. While the choice represents, arguably, a gamble for Cessna, it is a gamble with an extremely successful company with world class products in its resume and world class resources. The Silvercrest engine will produce 11,000 pounds of thrust to power the 55,000 pound max takeoff weight jet. The engines will not have set TBOs; overhauls will be done on condition.
Longitude represents yet another big win for avionics manufacturer Garmin, which will supply the G5000 touchscreen-controlled integrated avionics suite in the Longitude. The suite is very similar to that in the previously announced Citation Ten and will include autothrottles.
While it features the same fuselage shape as the Latitude, the Longitude will feature a 31-foot long cabin with room for up to eight passengers in a variety of configurations. The cabin will boast the same high-end design sensibilities as the Latitude, along with highly adjustable seats that swivel and recline. There is a large hard door lavatory, though which passengers can access a large pressurized baggage compartment even in flight.
Cessna expects to make first flight in 2016 and to earn FAA certification in 2017. The airplane will be built in Wichita.