Have to have or nice to have?

For the last few years, deliveries of large cabin long-range jets have remained stable while the rest of the market has suffered. However, I have to wonder – intercontinental range may be nice, but do owners really need it? And how do they actually use their aircraft? Business jets such as the Gulfstreams, Globals and Falcons have phenomenal capabilities. Bombardier’s Global 6000 has a 6,000 nm range – sufficient to fly from Moscow to Los Angeles – and the forthcoming Global 7000 will take you up to 7,300 nm from New York to Shanghai. Gulfstream’s G650ER goes even further at 7,500 nm, while Dassault’s upcoming Falcon 8X has enough range to go from Paris to Singapore or Sao Paulo. Don’t get me wrong, this is all just fine if you’re happy to ride in business jet comfort for up to 14 hours. But, perhaps surprisingly, it seems owners of these aircraft aren’t, with most using them for more mundane missions. A sample of around 100 business jets recently offered for sale shows that large cabin jets fly sectors averaging just one hour and 57 minutes – or around 1,000 nm. This is essentially flying from Washington, DC to Dallas, Texas. Not exactly the long-range missions these jets brag about on the brochures… Obviously, they do fly long-range missions, and it should be noted that the average for Bombardier Globals is higher – at around three hours. But there was only one aircraft (a G450) posting an average flight sector of more than five hours, and only two more with more than four hours. So the general evidence appears to be that the range capability of big jets is not fully used. Just in case Why do customers want more

First Longitude powers up

Three weeks after the Citation Longitude’s wings were joined with the aircraft’s fuselage, Cessna powered the electrical distribution system on its super-midsize jet. Both steps are significant milestones in the aircraft’s path to accomplish first flight this summer. “The power on stage allows our team to begin verifying the aircraft’s electrical power system and paves the way for functional tests and engine runs that will get us to first flight in the coming months,” comments Textron Aviation President & CEO Scott Ernest. At the 2016 EBACE convention in Geneva, Switzerland, Textron Aviation’s Cessna announced that it has successfully completed the wing and fuselage mate of the first Cessna Citation Longitude. The milestone occurred only six months after revealing the new aircraft, which is on track for first flight this summer and entry into service in 2017. “The team has been working diligently to meet a development schedule unmatched in the industry, and it’s rewarding to see the aircraft taking shape,” comments Textron Aviation President & CEO Scott Ernest. “The market is asking for this aircraft.” The Citation Longitude is designed to seat 12 passengers, while featuring a stand-up, flat-floor cabin with a standard double-club configuration and a walk-in baggage compartment fully accessible in flight. The aircraft’s cockpit features Garmin’s G5000 flight deck and is powered by FADEC-equipped Honeywell HTF7700L turbofan engines with fully integrated auto throttles. Honeywell’s family of HTF7000 engines powers the Bombardier Challenger 300, the Gulfstream G280, and Embraer’s Legacy 500 and 450.  Rockwell Collins has been selected to provide several flight control systems for the Longitude as well. The company’s horizontal stabilizer trim and flap actuation systems will enable the aircraft to maneuver while in flight. “Cessna needed a flight controls provider that could deliver on the Longitude’s relatively short development schedule, and