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Cessna Citation Ten Makes Maiden Flight

Cessna Citation Ten
Cessna's newest aircraft, the Citation Ten, flew for the first time on January 17, 2012.

Cessna Citation Ten
The Citation Ten takes off for its first flight.

January 19, 2012 - Cessna made the first flight of its extremely fast Citation Ten on Tuesday, and after more than two hours of flight test pilots reported that the airplane performed as expected. Tests included basic systems and avionics, including a new autothrottle system.

The Ten is an evolutionary version of the Citation X. The Ten is more than a change from a Roman numeral to an Arabic number. The Ten cabin is 15 inches longer, tall winglets are standard, it is the first airplane using Garmin's new G5000 touch-screen flat glass avionics system, and the Rolls-Royce engines have been refined for higher altitude cruise efficiency.

The X is the fastest civilian jet in service with a maximum Mach operating speed (MMo) of Mach .92, which equals about 527 knots true airspeed, and the Ten will retain that speed. The new winglets will help the Ten climb to a higher cruise altitude at higher weights and under warmer air conditions so range will increase to an expected 3,242 nautical miles. The improved engines, and the added efficiency of the winglets, will also help the Ten get to its certified ceiling of 51,000 feet with more fuel weight aboard, thus enhancing range.

The Ten is a midsize cabin jet with about 5 feet, 8 inches of headroom. It can operate from runways just over 5,000 feet long at maximum takeoff weight, and has the range to link city pairs such as London to New York nonstop.

The X was a success, but its avionics system has become dated. The new Garmin G5000 features enormous flat-screen displays and is the first in a transport category jet to use touch-screen control panels for all primary avionics data entry and control. The G5000 has the capability to "window" the displays so pilots can elect to see a huge variety of information including Jepp charts, engine parameters, systems status, and so on, in addition to the primary flight instruments and navigation guidance.

Cessna expects certification and first delivery of the Ten in 2013. There may be a little intrigue involved because the Gulfstream G650 that has received provisional certification and will enter service later this year will claim the title as fastest jet with an MMo of .925 Mach. Can Cessna in testing the Ten bump its maximum speed up to Mach .93 to retain the title? Nobody is saying.

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