Building a Cessna Citation

By Robert Mark on November 13th, 2008

I used to fly Part 135 charter from Chicagoland a few years back. The company often had us riding as co-captains in some early Citations on some wonderful trips in some occasionally awful weather. Any of you who have found yourself stuck down at 3,000 feet 10 miles out over Lake Michigan in the middle of winter will understand. Just think more ice than you’ve probably ever seen in your life – or want to see again – and we’ll probably be on the same page.

But the Citation II we flew never let us down, at least not unless one of us drivers did something to cause a problem in the first place that is. I carried as many as nine people in back in and out of some amazing places. I always felt like there was beef in that fuselage – somewhere – even though I could never see it.jetwhine 2

Last month I heard from one of my old co-captain buddies who is still flying in Chicago. His company had a brand new Citation XLS+ on order as this year’s Christmas gift. Cessna says their order book has swelled to over 900 of the XLS family over the past few years.

As we listen to aircraft manufacturers talk about production cutbacks – even for some for my friends at Cessna – I was happy to hear that Scott’s boss was still eagerly awaiting his new airplane, also called a Model 560 in Cessna speak. In some recent photos Scott sent me, I found an opportunity to peer inside the Cessna manufacturing line at Wichita where a conglomeration of metal, plastic and composite enter the hangar at one end and leave as a completed airplane out the other door. Watching this XLS+ take shape is a fascinating story, I think. jetwhine 7

So here, in a few initial pictures, is serial number 6008 as it began life a few months back. They’re due to pick it up in a little over a month so I’ll have a few more photos just after Christmas. Little airplanes or big ones … there’s just nothing like a new one.jetwhine 6 jetwhine 3

Sad Note

As we go to press today comes word that Eclipse has missed a few weeks worth of payroll. The curtains are closing surely in ABQ. We’ll miss you all. But no matter what … the E-500 is a piece of innovation in this industry that will not be forgotten.

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