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Cessna Completes Major Phases of Wind Tunnel Testing for Citation Columbus


SÃO PAULO, Brazil.– Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company, announced today at the Latin American Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition it has completed a series of seven wind tunnel tests as part of the design phase of the new Citation Columbus, Cessna’s largest ever business jet.

The testing was done at three locations in the U.S. and Europe by Cessna’s Aerodynamics Group. Results from tests at the low-speed wind tunnel in San Diego, Calif., the ONERA French Aerospace Lab near Toulouse, and the high-speed wind tunnel at the Aircraft Research Association in Bedford, England, will be analyzed in the coming months, though preliminary data analysis revealed no surprises.

“Low speed wind tunnel testing has allowed us to optimize flaps and slats for making our landing and low speed goals achievable,” said Cessna Senior Manager, Aerodynamics and New Product Analysis Greg Rincker. “Much of this data will allow the slat and flap structure, including actuators, to be optimized to meet the loading needs without being excessively heavy. In the high speed tests, we have been fine tuning the wing airfoils and planform for more efficient manufacturability, lighter weight and the needs of systems like landing gear and anti-ice protection.”

At the California wind tunnel, Cessna technicians used a complete model of the Citation Columbus to generate data to fine-tune the low speed attributes of the Columbus. Performance and handling qualities from these low speed tests have proven pre-test estimates. At the French wind tunnel, the Aerodynamics Group used a semi-span model of the Columbus weighing nearly 3,000 pounds, the largest model ever tested by Cessna, to generate low speed data at typical flight operating conditions. High speed wind tunnel testing was carried out at the Bedford facility.

The Citation Columbus, launched earlier this year, is expected to be the only aircraft in its class capable of 7,408 kilometers (4,000 nautical miles) non-stop at the speed of Mach .80. Preliminary performance numbers set a maximum cruise speed of 904 kilometers per hour (486 knots), a maximum operating speed of Mach .86, a full fuel payload of 885 kilograms (1,950 pounds) and takeoff field length of 1,646 meters (5,400 feet) at maximum takeoff weight.

Configurable for up to 10 passengers, the aircraft will have a cabin length of 11.1 meters (36.3 feet) including interior baggage space. Cessna’s engineering team and its suppliers have designed the all-new Citation Columbus to be one of the most advanced, fuel-efficient, cleanest business jets.

Major suppliers for the Citation Columbus are: Pratt & Whitney Canada, engine; Rockwell Collins, avionics; Vought Aircraft Industries, wing; Spirit AeroSystems, fuselage; Spirit AeroSystems Europe Ltd., empennage; Parker Aerospace, powered flight control system; Goodrich Corporation, landing gear; and Argo-Tech Corporation, fuel system.

Cessna plans to achieve Federal Aviation Administration certification for the $27 million business jet by the end of 2013, with deliveries beginning in 2014.


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