Cessna’s CJ4 Prototype Takes to the Air

Fans of the Cessna CJ3 have been waiting for next progression in a series of outstanding aircraft and it seems the Cessna CJ4 is finally almost ready to go into mass production. Cessna took the CJ4 prototype for its first test flight on Monday and it appears that the flight was very successful.

Test pilot Dan Morris, who flew the aircraft in question together with co-pilot and engineering flight test manager Dave Bonifield, said that it was “an outstanding first flight.” The flight, which lasted two hours, twenty-two minutes, gave them the perfect opportunity to test a large number of the aircraft’s systems, including the autopilot facility. It reached an elevation of 16,000 feet during the flight and various flight maneuvers were used to check the twinjets stability and control. During the course of the test flight, the onboard telemetry sent relevant data from the systems tests to the company’s engineering facility where this data is now being carefully analyzed. The flight is just part of a progressive developmental plan, and there are still two more test articles that are currently under construction in Wichita at the Pawnee Advanced Engineering facility.

The Cessna CJ4 is a natural progression of the CJ3, with more advanced technology and more oomph than its forerunner. The CJ4’s maximum payload is about 300 lbs greater than that of the CJ3 and the wings have also been changed to a more ‘swept’ design. Three upper speed brake panels have been incorporated into the design of the aircraft to ensure that the CJ4 can still land and take off in a relatively small area, giving the aircraft the maneuverability and wider range of use that has made it so popular up until this point. Power is provided in the form of two Williams International FJ44-4A engines. Together the engines provide a whopping 580 lbs more thrust than what was available to pilots on the old CJ3.

Other features on the new aircraft include a Collins Pro Line 21 panel and a Rockwell Collins cabin management system complete with high definition media center. The FADECs operated exactly as they should have and all in all it was found that the aircraft promises to be very pilot-friendly.