Cessna marks 50th anniversary of first Citation flight

Textron Aviation is celebrating the 50th anniversary of the maiden flight of the original Cessna Citation business jet – the first model in what has become the largest business jet family in the world.

The prototype, branded the Citation 500, lifted off from Wichita’s Municipal airport (now Wichita Dwight D Eisenhower National airport) on 15 September 1969 for a 1h 45min sortie, piloted by Milt Sills and J L LeSueur. US certification was awarded in September 1971, leading to first deliveries in January 1972.

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Textron Aviation

Cessna unveiled a mock-up of the light business jet in October 1968, originally calling it the Fanjet 500. The concept was to offer a growing population of business travellers an aircraft that was a quieter, simpler, safer and less expensive option than other business jets on the market, that also gave pilots of twin-engined turboprops an easy transition.

At a price of about $695,000, the six-seat Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1B-powered Citation had a maximum cruise speed of 350kt (650km/h) and a range of 1,330nm (2,430km).

“The same vision that led to the creation of the original Citation 50 years ago still guides us today,” says Ron Draper, president and chief executive of Textron Aviation, Cessna’s parent company.

“We are building on our history as an industry leader and investing in the future to continue to exceed customer expectations,” he adds.

Cessna has delivered more than 7,500 Citation models worldwide. The current family line-up includes the M2 entry-level jet, CJ3+ and CJ4 light jets, superlight XLS+, midsize Sovereign+ and Latitude. The Longitude super-midsize business jet is scheduled to enter service before year-end.


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Airbus marks 50th anniversary with flypast

Airbus kicked off its 50th anniversary celebrations in style today with a flypast over its Toulouse headquarters.

The date is significant for the European manufacturer as it was this day in 1969 that the original Airbus partnership agreement was signed at the Paris air show in Le Bourget, signalling the launch of the A300B programme.

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A formation of Airbus family aircraft, including the A220, A320 Family, A330neo, A350 XWB, A380 and BelugaXL, along with Dassault Alpha Jets of the Patrouille de France, flew over Toulouse city this morning and completed a flypast over Blagnac airport where Airbus is based.

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The “50 years of Airbus” celebrations in Toulouse will be covered on flightglobal.com. Read our online special report celebrating the manufacturer’s big birthday here

Updated to reflect date and video


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Airbus to mark 50th anniversary with Toulouse flypast

Airbus plans to kick off its 50th anniversary celebrations tomorrow (29 May) in style with a flypast over its Toulouse headquarters.

The date is significant for the European manufacturer as it was then in 1969 that the original Airbus partnership agreement was signed at the Paris air show in Le Bourget, signalling the launch of the A300B programme.

A formation of Airbus family aircraft, including the A220, A320 family aircraft, A330neo, A350 XWB, A380 and BelugaXL, along with Dassault Alpha Jets of the Patrouille de France, will overfly Toulouse city at around 10:00 GMT and complete a flypast over Blagnac airport where Airbus is based.

The “50 years of Airbus” celebrations in Toulouse will be covered on flightglobal.com. Read our online special report celebrating the manufacturer’s big birthday here


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Which anniversary will top list in 2019?

As landmark years go, 1969 takes some beating. The USA put men on the Moon before the end-of-­decade deadline set by President Kennedy, while on ­either side of the Atlantic, Boeing and an Anglo-French venture flew for the first time two of the most iconic airliners ever, the 747 and Concorde. Europe’s aerospace powers also combined to take on the Americans in the widebody market by creating Airbus. And in Brazil, a small aerospace concern called Embraer was born.

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Before the oil crisis, humiliation in Saigon, and the stagnation of the 1970s, there was excitement about the potential of science and technology to drive knowledge and economic improvement. There was a similar ­optimism in 1919. The war to end all wars had ended­ – ­a conflict in which aviation had come of age – and there were high hopes about its commercial ­potential in a new era of international co-operation. The year 1919 saw an airship fly from Europe to the USA, Alcock and Brown do the same in a Vickers Vimy, and the launch of the first international airline service, from London to Paris.

Flight International is marking its 110th anniversary in 2019 with what we are billing a “Year of celebration”. While history does not always happen in neat calendar intervals, these events of 50 years and a century ago were pivotal to the development of aviation.

We will be recognising them – and others from 110 years of Flight – over the next 12 months.


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Boeing marks 737 Max anniversary with 130-strong fleet

Boeing has passed the one-year anniversary of the 737 Max with a staggeringly large in-service fleet that has fulfilled promises of improved fuel efficiency while battling normal teething problems.

Boeing delivered 130 aircraft representing two versions of the 737 Max in the 12 months since first delivery to Lion Air’s Malaysia-based subsidiary last May, the company says in an online blog post.

The deliveries might have been even higher, but engine supplier CFM International fell several weeks behind on a planned ramp-up of Leap-1B engine production. CFM plans to catch up on deliveries in the third quarter.

The 130 deliveries of the 737 Max within a year is almost double the number of A320neo family aircraft that Airbus handed over to customers over its first year in operation. Airbus also faced supplier production shortfalls, involving cabin interiors and the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G engine.

So far, the 28 737 Max operators have logged 118,006h on 41,797 flights that carried 6.5 million passengers, according to Boeing.

The 737 Max family enters the market facing a high bar for reliability, as the highly mature 737NG series operates with a mission dispatch rate over 99.7%.

“You’re bound to have some teething issues in the beginning,” wrote Boeing vice-president of marketing Randy Tinseth in his blog, without elaborating.

The fleet now stands at a mission dispatch rate of 99.4% and should improve to the 99.7% standard by the end of the year.

Boeing has sold 4,509 firm orders for the 737 Max family, including sales of 416 737 Max 10. Boeing does not break down the firm orders for the other three major variants of the 737 Max family, but the 737-8 version is by far the most popular.


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