Monday, October 31, 2016

Cessna Selects Hemisphere Suppliers, Boosts Longitude

Hemisphere (c/n E700-741001) N9722L.
(Photo by David McIntosh)
Textron Aviation announced yesterday that it is returning to a Honeywell cockpit, has chosen to stick with the Snecma Silvercrest engine and that it will incorporate a Textron Aviation-designed fly-by-wire system based on Thales components for its Hemisphere large-cabin jet. The choice of Honeywell’s Primus Epic avionics suite with touchscreen controls marks the company’s first selection of a Honeywell cockpit since the original Citation X and Sovereign.

The company first gave a glimpse into its plans for its new Citation Hemisphere last year at NBAA 2015, and at this year’s show it is providing a more detailed look into the 4,500-nm twinjet. It is debuting a full-scale cabin mock-up of the Hemisphere, which will firmly plant the company in the large aircraft market, this week at its static display at Orlando Executive Airport.

The flight deck will provide a trans-­oceanic-capable flight management system along with SmartView synthetic vision and enhanced vision system for lower minimums approaches. The Hemisphere will include Textron Aviation’s proprietary LinxUs maintenance and diagnostic reporting system through Honeywell’s satellite communications and connectivity capabilities.

Snecma’s Silvercrest engine, which will provide more than 12,000 pounds of thrust for the Hemisphere, also was selected to power Dassault Aviation’s Falcon 5X. It had originally been slated to power the Citation Longitude, but then was replaced with Honeywell HTF7700L turbofans. While the Silvercrest development program has suffered delays, Textron Aviation noted that the engine incorporates the latest in technology to offer “unrivaled performance in its category in terms of propulsion efficiency, reliability and environmental friendliness.” This includes a fuel consumption that is up to 15 percent less than other engines in the category.

The full fly-by-wire system, the first for any Citation business jet, will include active control sidesticks. Textron Aviation will integrate the system, with Thales providing flight control computers and remote electronic units. Thales also provides the fly-by-wire technology for the Longitude’s rudder and spoiler systems.

The Hemisphere cabin mockup on view just a year after Textron Aviation unveiled the aircraft “should leave no doubt as to our intention to expand our segment leadership position,” said Textron Aviation president and CEO Scott Ernest. The company plans to fly the Hemisphere in 2019, with entry into service following fairly quickly in 2020.

Meanwhile, Textron Aviation’s first entrance into the super-midsize market, the Citation Longitude, arrived at the NBAA show on Saturday with newly announced improved performance numbers. Performance has been improved over the original projections, with range stretching by 100 nm, to 3,500 nm, and full fuel payload increasing by 100 pounds, to 1,600 pounds.

“Increases for both range and payload on the Longitude will bring even more value to our customers, particularly for popular non-stop routes, including New York to Paris, London to Dubai and Singapore to Sydney,” said Michael Thacker, senior v-p, engineering.

This boosted performance comes just a few weeks after the Longitude completed its first flight, kicking off a busy flight test campaign that is expected to culminate in certification next year. The Longitude will provide seating for up to 12 passengers, with a stand-up flat floor that is 72 inches tall and 77 inches wide.

Cessna’s new super-midsize jet is fitted with Garmin’s touchscreen-controlled G5000 flight deck, which will incorporate a head-up display with enhanced vision, although Textron Aviation hasn’t yet announced vendors for these products.

Textron Aviation isn’t ignoring the lighter end of the market–earlier this year it introduced its competitor in the turboprop-­single market, the Denali–although activity has slowed somewhat in the light jet arena. “It’s pretty simple,” Ernest explained. “When you look at the market and areas of growth in the light jets from the CJ4 on down, there’s an incremental piece of growth but not substantial with respect to where the market is going.

“The investment in midsize and large jets has got the potential to continue to grow from now through 2025. We can’t just say the market is tough now and not invest. Otherwise we wouldn’t have the Latitude and Longitude, and we wouldn’t be where we’re at on the Hemisphere. When you look at where others are investing, we’re ahead of the curve.”

(Kerry Lynch - AINOnline News) 

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