Textron Aviation delivers 1,000th Citation 560XL jet

For the second time, Textron Aviation has accomplished what only two other aircraft manufacturers have: deliver over 1,000 copies of a business aircraft model.

On March 31, the aircraft manufacturer from Wichita, Kansas announced that it had handed over the 1,000th Cessna Citation 560XL series business jet. The Milestone Citation XLS + has been delivered to a customer in the Northeastern United States and will be managed and operated by Custom Jet Charters, a Part 135 operator with locations at Palm Beach (Florida) and County of County international airports. Westchester (New York).

Comprised of three variants – Excel, XLS and XLS + – the 560XL has accumulated more than five million flight hours since its FAA type certification in April 1998. “Every two minutes, a 560XL jet takes off or lands somewhere in the air. world, ”said Textron senior vice president of global aviation sales and flight operations Lannie O’Bannion. “This milestone delivery is a direct reflection of the confidence of our customers and the dedication of our employees who continue to build and support the Citation 560XL family of aircraft. “

In addition, the company’s joint venture in China, Cessna-AVIC Aircraft (Zhuhai), is expected to deliver its 300th XLS + this year, which will go to the Civil Aviation Administration of China Flight Inspection Center. It will be the sixth of eight XLS + acquired under a purchase contract signed in December 2018, according to the company.

According to JetNet, only three other series of business jets have reached or exceeded the 1,000 delivery mark: the Bombardier 600 series Challengers with 1,122 aircraft, the Citation 550 series (II, S / II, II / SP and Bravo) to 1,185 aircraft, and the Hawker 750 to 900 series to 1,102 aircraft.

Rolland Vincent, creator and director of JetNet iQ, said AIN The 560XL’s combination of short-field capability, cabin, speed, and price made it a popular jet. “It was a very good response to the Lear 45,” said Vincent, referring to Citation’s cross-field competitor, Bombardier Learjet. “Quote came up with a really good answer, taking this and that off the shelf, then creating a very capable aircraft.”

The 560XL was developed under the leadership of Russ Meyer, Chairman and CEO of Cessna. Meyer, now president emeritus of Cessna, said AIN the company’s long-term product strategy at the time was to build on the success of the original Citation and develop successive models that were slightly larger than their predecessors, boasting speed and increased range, but also reliable and low cost of operation. . Examples of this strategy include Citation II, an upgrade from Citation I; and the Citation V, an upgrade of the Citation II.

“The development costs of these improved Citations were much lower and we were able to use many components from the original model,” said Meyer, adding that the Citation II used a stretched fuselage, the same airfoil and the same tail. as Citation I. as well as many of the same systems. “It was the same for the passage from II to V”, he declared.

The 560XL was another example of this strategy, Meyer explained, noting that by the time it arrived, Cessna had delivered over 3,000 Citation Is, IIs, S / IIs and Ultras. “As a result, we had a very solid base of prospects looking to upgrade to a mid-size jet. “

But not just any midsize jet. The owners and operators of Citation – some of whom were part of its Citation Advisory Council – wanted a mid-size jet with a standing cabin, short-field performance, adequate speed and range, and high reliability at an attractive price, Meyer noted. The price – $ 6.775 million at the time – was maintained in part by engineers at Cessna who devised a cheaper way to mate the wings to the fuselage that required fewer parts and fewer hours of assembly, Meyer added.

“The beauty of Excel for me was that we knew there would be a strong market,” he said. When Cessna announced the Excel at the 1994 NBAA convention, he added, it took 50 orders for the jet, “which had never happened in the industry before.” By the time deliveries began, Cessna had an order backlog of 200 orders for the Excel.

The third edition of The Legend of Cessna, published in 2007, credited Meyer with saying he expected the company to sell more than 1,000 Excel. “We were so confident in Excel that it seemed like a reasonable statement to make,” he said. “And the good news is it’s still in production.” Whenever production of the 560XL ends, Meyer said, it “could turn out to be” the longest-running business jet in production for a single model. “It was a good program which benefited from the experience we had on the previous and existing Citation models.”

Kevin A. Perras

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