Category Archives: Cessna

Cessna Aircraft partners with Liberty University

Cessna Aircraft has partnered with Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va., to help students with flight training.

Under the agreement, students will learn to fly at Cessna Pilot Centers and enroll in online classes at Liberty that will qualify toward a degree in aeronautics at the same time.

Liberty also plans to offer classes to high school students who live near Cessna Pilot Centers so that they can take part of their training before they graduate, the company said.


Kirby Ortega inducted into National Flight Instructors Hall of Fame

Kirby Ortega, who retired from Cessna Aircraft last year as chief pilot for its piston engine operations, has been inducted into the Flight Instructor Hall of Fame by the National Association of Flight Instructors.

Ortega was surprised at a banquet Thursday evening in Lakeland, Fla., the site of this week’s Sun ‘n Fun International Fly-In and Expo.

He began flying at age 16 through the Cessna Employees Flying Club. His father was an employee. Ortega received his private pilot’s license at age 17.

During  summer break from Wichita State University, Ortega’s father challenged him to earn his instrument, commercial and flight instructor ratings. Ortega took his advice and earned the ratings at the former Ross School of Aviation in Oklahoma, where student housing was a double-wide trailer and 10 guys shared two bathrooms.

Ortega worked as a flight instructor at the Augusta airport during the late 1970s, then joined Cessna in January 1980 as chief flight instructor. He was 23.

At Cessna, he eventually was promoted to flight training supervisor and then chief pilot for piston engine operations.

He has logged roughly 24,000 flight hours.

Cessna: Citation Latitude makes third flight, achieves maximum performance envelope

Cessna Aircraft’s Citation Latitude prototype has made its third test flight.

During the flight, the business jet successfully achieved its full envelope of performance, the company said.

It reached a maximum speed of 506 mph and an altitude of 45,000 feet with a gross takeoff weight of 29,000 pounds.

The plane made its maiden flight last week.

Michael Thacker, Cessna senior vice president of engineering, said in a statement that from an engineering perspective, Cessna’s team has designed a plane that is proceeding in a predictable, reliable manner.

The test plane is displaying characteristics of a mature system in its first few flights.

Cessna CEO Scott Ernest called the Latitude a breakthrough aircraft in many ways.

The plane is an affirmation of Cessna’s commitment to new product development, Ernest said

“The Latitude is an aircraft that delivers a lot of firsts from Cessna — the wide fuselage, the stand-up cabin with a flat floor, auto-throttles, the electric door and the improved cabin environment,” Ernest said. “All these achievements stem from listening to the voice of the customer and getting down to the business of delivering what customers need and desire.”

Wichita Aero Club gala brought some quotable moments

Saturday’s Wichita Aero Club gala drew a packed house as it honored Cessna Aircraft chairman emeritus Russ Meyer for Meyer’s contributions to aviation.

It also had a number of quotable moments. Here’s a few:


“He’s got great charisma, assuming it’s OK for a guy to say that about another guy.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran in a speech honoring Russ Meyer.

“If I can (say) Russ Meyer is my friend, my standing goes up a lot. That’s very important for someone in the business I’m in right now.”

— Sen. Jerry Moran

“He had a huge smile on his face. He looked right by me and said, ‘Russ.’”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen, who had been impressed with himself that he had secured a difficult-to-get appointment with then U.S. Treasury Secretary John Snow, on Snow’s greeting.

“It is very appropriate for Russ to receive this honor, because it’s hard to imagine someone who’s done more for his ‘adopted hometown’ of Wichita than he has. He is one of the most significant figures in general aviation history, and has probably had the largest impact on aviation policy than any other single person in the United States.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“Russ’s huge record of accomplishments extends well beyond aviation. “n fact, the last two times that a sitting U.S. president has visited Wichita, it has been at the invitation of Russ Meyer, and to see the philanthropic projects he’s been deeply involved in.”

— National Business Aviation Association president Ed Bolen

“One of these days, we’re going to learn that an award like this should go to the wife.”

—Russ Meyer, in accepting the Wichita Aero Club Gala award, on his wife, Helen.

“If you were anyplace in the world, if you looked up and saw two airplanes flying, chances were 50 percent that one of them was a Cessna.”

— Russ Meyer on the go-go years for general aviation during the late 1970s.

“It was not a campaign, it was really a crusade to save the single-engine market.”

—Russ Meyer on efforts to pass the General Aviation Revitalization bill. After its passage, Cessna restarted piston airplane production.

“I promise you this: If I were 25 years old today, I’d pursue a career in this industry in a heartbeat.”

– Russ Meyer during his speech at the gala.

Auction, including Cessna “Bird Dog”, classic truck, brings $1 million for Armed Forces Foundation

Cessna Bird Dog and Dodge M37 truck A restored 1959 Cessna L-19E “Bird Dog” and a restored Dodge M37 truck were sold together in an auction Saturday to raise money for the Armed Forces Foundation.

The two were sold for $750,000 to a Cessna customer who wishes to stay anonymous, a Cessna spokeswoman said.

Combined with donations from the audience, the auction, held by Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. in Scottsdale, Ariz., raised $1 million for the Foundation.

Cessna donated the classic 55-year-old airplane, one of 130 airworthy L-19 aircraft left in the world.

Kansas City-based Kansas Aircraft Corp., partnered with Cessna to locate the plane and arrange for Cessna to buy it, Cessna said.

It had been used in France as a trainer and brought to the U.S. from France in 1984.

Okoboji Classic Cars of Spencer, Iowa, donated the three-quarter ton pickup truck after working 2,500 hours to restore it. The company had discovered it sitting in a field.

The plane and truck were auctioned in a prime time broadcast on Saturday.

The money will be used to support the Armed Forces Foundation’s efforts to educate the public about the effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury.


Report: Scorpion light attack jet set to fly first week in December

Textron AirLand plans to fly the first prototype of the Scorpion, its military light attack jet, in the first week of December, according to a report by Aviation International News.

The prototype was designed from scratch and built at Cessna in Wichita, in secrecy, beginning in early 2012, company officials said in September.

Low volume production is slated for 2015.

Testing and early production will take place in Wichita, Cessna’s parent company, Textron has said. Beyond that, it remains to be seen.

Textron spokesman Dave Sylvestre on Monday did not confirm the date of the first flight. It is scheduled to take place before the end of the year, he said.

It will take place in Wichita.

The plane is in the testing and final checks stage preparing for first flight, Sylvestre said.

The Scorpion program is slightly ahead of schedule, he said.

The nearly all-composite plane borrows technology, but not the design, used in Cessna’s Citation business jets. It was built without government funds, and the company didn’t go through the usual procurement process in which the military issues specifications and companies compete for the project.

Cessna Citation CJ4 and XLS+ winners in Robb Report “Best of the Best”

Cessna Aircraft announced that its Citation CJ4 and Citation XLS+ business jets were chosen as winners in the annual Robb Report “Best of the Best” issue for their aircraft categories.

Cessna received an award marking the honor at a ceremony at Cessna this month.

The CJ4 was a winner in the light jet category, while the XLS+ won in the light midsize category.

“Cessna is one of the most successful companies in the history of the Best of the Best award,” Daniel Curtis, Robb Report director of aviation, said in a statement. “This is our highest accolade.”

In the past 25 years, Cessna has taken a category title 29 times, Curtis said.

“What an honor to be recognized in the Robb Report ‘Best of the Best,’” Brad Thress, Cessna senior vice president for business jets, said in a statement. “It is rewarding to have our world class business jets inspire others. Recognition belongs to those on our team at Cessna who continue to innovate in the design and manufacture of the XLS+ and CJ4 aircraft.”

The Robb Report has published the Best of the Best issue for 25 years, which recognizes aviation, wine, spirits, cigars, travel and fashion.

Kaman Composites in Wichita supplies parts to Scorpion project

Kaman Composites is benefitting from Textron AirLand’s recently announced Scorpion project, a small military jet.

The Wichita company supplied a variety of components for the Scorpion prototype aircraft, Kaman said Tuesday.

That included the wing assembly, vertical and horizon stabilizers, wing fuel access panels, main landing gear doors and several closeout panels.

“Kaman is proud to have supported the development effort for the Scorpion program,” James Larwood, president of Kaman Aerosystems, said in a statement. “This new twin-jet aircraft is a cost effective solution for lower-threat battlefield and homeland security missions. Our efforts highlight the capabilities of our Wichita composites facility to produce a range of components and assemblies.”

Kaman is in a prime position to build parts for future Scorpion aircraft as well.

Textron unveiled the prototype of its first modern military jet last month. The jet will be used for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and attack.

The Scorpion is being built by a new Textron division, Textron AirLand, a joint venture with AirLand Enterprises.

Cessna Aircraft is lending a big hand to the project.

Cessna designed and built the prototype in secrecy in Wichita beginning in early 2012.

Its first flight is scheduled for this year, and low-volume production is slated for 2015.

Testing and early production will be done in Wichita. Beyond that,it remains to be seen, company officials have said.

Cessna CEO Scott Ernest: Company will need help selling the Scorpion

Cessna Aircraft’s involvement in its first modern military jet, the Scorpion, will diversify Cessna’s business, Cessna CEO Scott Ernest said Thursday evening.

“We do know how to design jets,” Ernest said during a speech at a reception kicking off the Kansas Aviation Expo. “There is a tremendous amount of knowledge and pure engineering talent.”

Cessna engineers have been secretly working on the design and prototype during the past two years at Cessna’s Pawnee facility.

The process has helped Cessna learn about composite techniques that can be applied to future products, he said.

Now, “the thing we need is orders,” Ernest said. “We’ll either sell 2,000 of them, or we’ll sell zero.”

The company will need help selling the light jets, designed for intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and attack missions.

It will need support from senators and the military, he said.

“We need somebody from the military to stand up and say, ‘This is an economical way to (do missions),” Ernest said.

He’d like to build 2,000 of them in Wichita.

But it’s too soon to say where they will be produced.

“I’m not going to commit to anything,” Ernest said.

If a government commits to buy the planes, “we may have to put some jobs there,” he said.

The plane is being built by a new Textron division, Textron AirLand, a joint venture with AirLand Enterprises. It was introduced last week at the Air Force Association Air & Space Conference and Technology Exposition in National Harbor, Md.

The first flight is scheduled for this year, and low-volume production is slated for 2015.

Testing and early production will be done in Wichita.




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.