Cessna Gears up for Moving Corvalis Production to Kansas and Mexico

Starting next week, Cessna's Corvalis 350 and 400 (nee Columbia) will share factory space with the Citation Mustang and Cessna's other single-engine, piston-powered products.

The Corvalis models were acquired by Cessna two years ago, and had been being built in the original Columbia plant in Bend, Oregon. One of Cessna's moves in response to the economic downturn was to close the Bend plant, and move production of the now-Corvalis models to existing facilities in Independence, Kansas. Work on the composite wings and fuselages will move to Chihuahua, Mexico. According to an article in the Wichita Eagle newspaper, the paint shop area at Cessna's Independence plant will temporarily serve as the Corvalis production line. More permanent arrangements are scheduled for completion around the end of the year.

Cessna expects to have the permanent production program fully operational by 2011. Some 30 employees from the Bend facility have been hired to work in Independence on the Corvalis line. Cessna delivered 24 Corvalis aircraft in the first half of 2009; down from 46 delivered in the same time frame of 2008. Among all its piston models, Cessna expects to deliver 400 aircraft this year compared with 733 last year. Conversely, Cessna plans to deliver 125 Mustang light jets this year, up from 101 last year.

Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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