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Cessna Acquires Beechcraft and Delivers New Jets

Mary Grady

Cessna Aircraft has been busy so far this year working on a number of upgrades and adding new models in its jet fleet. The Wichita, Kan.–based manufacturer has also been working to integrate the Beechcraft Corporation, a former competitor producing the Hawker and Beechcraft model lines, which was purchased in March by Cessna’s parent company, Textron.

In March, Cessna introduced the Citation CJ3+, a new version of its CJ3 single-pilot jet, with upgraded Garmin G3000 touchscreen avionics and improved turbulence-detecting radar for a smoother ride. New interior designs are offered for both the cabin and cockpit, and an improved pressurization system helps both passengers and crew feel less fatigued. The $8 million jet also will offer enhanced connectivity, with boosted Wi-Fi and high-speed Internet capabilities. The CJ3+ will have a cruise speed of 478 mph, a range of 2,382 miles, and seating for as many as nine passengers. Deliveries of the new model are expected to start by the end of the year.

Also in March, Cessna announced an upgrade available for its Citation CJ2+ jet, called the Alpine Edition. This package of modifications includes the new Garmin G3000 avionics and new pressurization and diagnostic systems. The upgrade—which is available only as a retrofit, not on new jets—also offers optional new exterior paint schemes and interior designs. Upgrading a CJ2+ to the Alpine Edition will take about 10 weeks and at least $900,000, says Cessna, and the required certification to make the changes should be ready by mid-year. The single-pilot jet seats up to eight passengers and can fly up to 2,014 miles at speeds up to 481 knots.

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