On March 17 we saw the third Longitude in the test flight program sailing the skies for the first time, paving the way for a new round of testing and development.
With an officially installed assembly line flow, the first four Longitude are now in production process. From the facilities of the fourth plant in East Wichita, Kansas, the manufacturing team is using advanced tools and cutting-edge Textron Aviation technology to bring the plane to life.
The large fuselage sections of the Longitude have been designed and constructed with a series of vertical mounting tools that have given the assembly technicians the additional space required to build the largest Citation ever built. On the other hand and also in support of the technicians, tools with vertical structures developed to build the 73-foot wing of the Longitude have been used.
It’s an innovative approach to assembling an airplane, something never seen in the industry, said Ron Draper, Senior Vice President of Textron Aviation.
“Not only is it more efficient to build large aircraft such as the Longitude, it also establishes a higher level of consistency and quality in the adjustment of the aircraft and finish.”
-Ron Draper SVP, Integrated Supply Chain
The vertical structures tools also include platforms that move up and down to prevent technicians from continuously bending to access the components placed horizontally.
The result? Safer and more controlled aircraft built in a more stable rhythm.
Since the first prototype took off in October, the Longitude flight test program has logged more than 290 hours, and the first two aircraft in the program have completed 142 flights. The next step of the aircraft will be a new phase of performance testing, with pilots and engineers refining the aircraft’s systems.