Cessna Wraps Up 80th Year
Wichita, Kan.– As 2007 comes to a close, Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, looks back at an eventful year.
Cessna acquired a company – Columbia Aircraft Manufacturing Company – with the intent of continuing production of its two high-performance, composite single-engine piston aircraft. On Dec. 5, the Columbia products were branded the Cessna 350 and the Cessna 400, and approximately 400 employees at the Bend, Ore., manufacturing facility became Cessna employees.
The other leading storyline of 2007 occurred in July, when Cessna entered the light sport aircraft market by launching the Model 162 SkyCatcher at the Experimental Aircraft Association AirVenture. Cessna is designing the aircraft and will handle ASTM (American Society for Testing and Materials) compliance work, while Shenyang Aircraft Corporation (SAC) will assemble the mostly U.S.-produced components. Cessna also will provide on-site personnel in Shenyang, China, to oversee manufacturing, quality assurance and technical design. By the end of 2007, more than 900 firm SkyCatcher orders had been recorded.
Cessna stayed in the news throughout the year with product news, honors and milestones.
At the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Expo in October, Cessna announced that it will offer the Thielert turbo diesel engine in its Skyhawk 172S aircraft with deliveries set to begin in mid-2008.
Equipment changes were also announced for the Caravan models with the introduction of the Garmin G1000 integrated avionics package, including the GFC700 flight control system, which becomes standard on all Caravans beginning in the first half of 2008. Cessna will also offer optional TKS ice protection from Aerospace Systems & Technology, Inc. on cargo pod-equipped Caravans scheduled for delivery starting during the first half of 2008.
The success of the Citation Mustang program continued at the Independence, Kan., facility with the first retail delivery to Dave and Dawn Goode of GOODE Ski Technologies in April. EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) certification was achieved in May, making the Mustang the first new-generation entry level business jet to be certified in Europe. The first EASA-certified Mustang was delivered to Danish entrepreneur Jørgen Andersen on Nov. 6. This was the second Citation Mustang delivered to a European customer following the delivery of a U.S. registered aircraft to Jane Howell in September.
Cessna delivered the first Citation Encore+ to an undisclosed customer at the end of April. Certified by the FAA in December 2006, Encore+ offers Full Authority Digital Engine Control (FADEC) equipped engines, increased payload capability, a new integrated avionics suite, more standard equipment and new interior styling features.
Several new Citation models are progressing toward certification. On Aug. 2, 2007, the XLS+ – an upgrade to the mid-size Excel/XLS – completed its maiden flight. First delivery is expected before the end of 2008. Development of the largest Citation CJ business jet – the CJ4 – progressed with completion of 95 percent of the detail design stage. It is on schedule for the first prototype flight in mid-2008. Cessna also continued exploratory design work on a large cabin concept (LCC) aircraft, with the goal of announcing in the first quarter of 2008 a decision on whether to proceed with the program. The aircraft would be capable of intercontinental travel and would become the largest aircraft the company has ever developed.
Cessna announced at the beginning of the year it will open a new Citation Service Center in Mesa, Ariz. Slated to open by early 2009, the new facility will feature a high-bay, 101,000-square-foot maintenance hangar adjacent to the Williams Gateway Airport. Total value of the project is in excess of $20 million.
Cessna was recognized for its exceptional products and leadership by several industry awards in 2007. Jack Pelton, chairman, president and CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company, received the Ad Astra Award – the Kansas Chamber of Commerce’s highest honor bestowed annually by the state’s business community. The Cessna Citation Mustang was named “Product of the Year” by The Aviation Consumer while the Citation X was named “Best Business Jet” by Black Enterprise Magazine. Cessna was also named Customer of the Year, and Cessna Supply Management Vice President Don Beverlin won the Richard Hall Award for Leadership Excellence at the first annual Aerospace & Defense Supply Chain Excellence Awards.
Among the milestones reached during its 80th anniversary year, Cessna delivered the 5,000th Citation business jet and the 1,000th CJ, as well as the 8,000th single-engine aircraft from the Independence facility. The Citation fleet passed 20 million flight hours, and the Caravan reached 10 million flight hours.
Based on unit sales, Cessna Aircraft Company is the world’s largest manufacturer of general aviation airplanes. In 2006, Cessna delivered 1,239 aircraft, including 307 Citation business jets, and reported revenues of about $4.2 billion. Cessna has a current backlog of $11.9 billion. Since the company was originally established in 1927, some 190,000 Cessna airplanes have been delivered to nearly every country in the world. The global fleet of more than 5,000 Citations is the largest fleet of business jets in the world. More information about Cessna Aircraft Company is available at http://www.cessna.com.
Textron Inc. is an $11 billion multi-industry company operating in 32 countries with approximately 40,000 employees. The company leverages its global network of aircraft, industrial and finance businesses to provide customers with innovative solutions and services. Textron is known around the world for its powerful brands such as Bell Helicopter, Cessna Aircraft Company, Jacobsen, Kautex, Lycoming, E-Z-GO, Greenlee, Fluid & Power, Textron Systems and Textron Financial Corporation. More information is available at http://www.textron.com.
Forward-looking Information: Certain statements in this release are forward-looking statements and speak only as of the date on which they are made, and we undertake no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the statements, including but not limited to the following: [a] changes in worldwide economic and political conditions that impact demand for our products, [b] the interruption of production at Textron facilities or Textron’s customers or suppliers; [c] slowdowns or downturns in customer markets in which Textron products are sold or supplied; [d] changes in aircraft delivery schedules or cancellation of orders; and [e] changes in national or international government policies on the export and import of commercial products.
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