Cessna’s Citation Latitude fuselage completes wing mate

Cessna Aircraft has successfully completed the wing mate on the first Citation Latitude test article, the company said.

Mating the wing to the fuselage is a program milestone as the Latitude approaches the first flight of its prototype, which is expected in the first quarter of 2014, it said.

Cessna announced the mid-size Latitude business jet at the National Business Aviation Association’s convention and exhibition in October 2011.

“It is very rewarding to see an aircraft take shape that, until now, you’ve only seen on paper,” Terry Shriner, Cessna’s business leader for the Latitude, said in a statement.

The plane’s design is driven in part by customer input on performance and cabin amenities, Shriner said.

“We started with a clear vision for the Latitude — to make the widest Citation, engineered with performance, luxury and value for which Cessna Citation jets are well known,” Kriya Shortt, Cessna senior vice president of sales, said in a statement.

The plane is designed to fly with two crew members and up to nine passenger and climb to 43,000 feet in 23 minutes.