Textron Aviation announced key suppliers for its new $35-million Citation Hemisphere at NBAA 2016 in Orlando, Fla.The Safran Silvercrest engine has been selected to power the new large-cabin business jet, which is expected to log its first flight in 2019. The Hemisphere cockpit will feature Honeywell’s Primus Epic integrated avionics package, with full fly-by-wire flight controls that will incorporate components from Thales. With a projected range of 4,500 nautical miles, the 19-passenger Hemisphere was designed with input from Textron’s customer advisory board.
“We spent the past several months listening to our customers who operate aircraft in this space today,” said Kriya Shortt, Textron Aviation’s vice-president of sales and marketing, at an NBAA press briefing. “Customers want and need a clean design that meets their needs, with more comfort and next gen capabilities. The Hemisphere offers flexibility with its 102-inch diameter cabin, 6’2″-high cabin, 20 oversized windows and best in class seat width.” Other design features of the Hemisphere include skylights in the galley and aft lavatory.
“These are long missions,” continued Shortt. “You could be in this aircraft for eight to 10 hours; thermoelectric seats allow passengers to customize their experience in the cabin. The third zone will be quiet and intimate, [and the Hemisphere has] both forward and aft lavs and a fully accessible baggage compartment.”
According to Textron Aviation president and CEO, Scott Ernest, the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) has been moving to vertically integrate its production line to further improve efficiencies. “We are investing in a process that allows us to design, certify and manufacture planes in half the time of anyone in the industry,” he said. “We purchased a furniture shop [to bring upholstery services in-house] and some repair shops, trying to get the right value for our customers.” Ernest also pointed to the successes Textron has had with the Hemisphere’s smaller siblings, the Citation Latitude and Citation Longitude, the latter of which completed its first flight on Oct. 8 in Wichita, Kan., with entry into service expected in 2017. The Longitude was first announced at NBAA 2015 in Las Vegas, Nev.
“For us to be able to announce the Longitude last year and then to fly the prototype here [to NBAA 2016] reinforces the commitment this team has to do the job right,” he said. “In the last year, the team got the Longitude up in the air; the Latitude continues to be the best-selling midsize cabin plane with 40 deliveries; and we introduced the Denali, our single-engine turboprop at Oshkosh. We delivered our 7,000th Citation to NetJets and our 5,000th Citation Light Jet. We’re well into the certification program on the Scorpion with the U.S. government.”