Textron Aviation has successfully completed the maiden flight of the first certification-conforming production airframe of the Cessna Citation Ascend. The flight, which lasted 1 hour and 24 minutes, reached an altitude of 13,500 feet and a maximum speed of 308 knots. This milestone marks another achievement for the program, with Textron Aviation’s senior vice-president of engineering, Chris Hearne, expressing confidence in the team involved.

The company is currently working towards securing an amended type certificate for the Ascend, which is scheduled to enter service in 2025. The airframe’s flight test program, which includes the prototype and the new airframe dubbed “P1”, has accumulated over 400 flight hours to date. The Citation Ascend, an updated variant of the Cessna Citation Excel, will feature key updates such as Garmin’s G5000 avionics suite and Pratt & Whitney Canada’s new PW545D turbofan engine.

In addition to these updates, the Ascend will offer a flat-floor cabin, larger windows, and the ability to accommodate up to 12 passengers. Performance targets include a range of 1,900 nautical miles with four passengers, and a maximum cruise speed of 441 knots. The aircraft will have a maximum take-off weight of 20,500 pounds, allowing it to carry a high combination of payload and fuel load while still being able to operate on short runways.

The successful flight of the Citation Ascend test article demonstrates the progress being made by Textron Aviation in bringing this new aircraft to market. With its advanced features and improved performance capabilities, the Ascend is set to make a significant impact in the aviation industry. Stay tuned for more updates as the program continues to move forward towards certification and entry into service.