What is set to be the latest addition to Cessna's Citation line of business jets made its first flight this week. The Cessna Citation Ten prototype flew for more than two hours in the skies over Cessna's main manufacturing facility at Wichita, Kansas, with the aircraft's stability and control, handling, autopilot and autothrottle systems, engine operability and avionics all put to the test. Cessna says all systems functioned as expected on the maiden flight, keeping the Citation Ten on track for FAA certification in mid-2013, with first deliveries planned for the second half of 2013.

First announced in 2010, the Citation Ten is a larger, more advanced version of Cessna's Citation X (Model 750), which became the fastest civilian aircraft in the world since the retirement of the Concorde. The Ten is a mid-size aircraft designed to deliver greater fuel efficiency, get to altitude faster and travel farther than the Citation X. It seats nine passengers and two pilots and is also 15 inches (38 cm) longer than the Citation X, which Cessna says provides extra legroom in the aircraft's forward club seating area.

The aircraft's two Rolls-Royce AE 3007C2 engines will take a Citation Ten with a Maximum Take-off Weight (MTOW) of 36,600 lbs (16,601 kg) off the ground in 5,140 ft (1,567 m) and enable a maximum cruising speed of 527 knots (976 km/h), a certified ceiling altitude of 51,000 ft (15,545 m), and a maximum range of 3,242 nautical miles (6,008 km). Cessna says this makes one-hop flights possible between cities such as New York-London, Boston-San Francisco, London-Dubai and Miami-Seattle.

The Citation Ten also marks the debut of the Garmin G5000 avionics suite that is centered around three 14-inch LCD primary and multifunction displays and four touch-screen control panels. The multifunction displays have split-screen capability, which allows continuous monitoring of engine, flight control, hydraulic and electrical systems. Garmin's SVT synthetic vision technology on the primary flight displays also provide the crew with a virtual reality view of runways, terrain, traffic and obstacles, while electronic charts with aircraft position overlay deliver dynamic situational awareness during approach.

Touch screens also extend into the passenger cabin where Cessna's proprietary Clarity cabin technology solution lets passengers access movies, moving maps and the Web on any of the touchscreen displays provided for each seat. These displays also provide connections for passengers' personal electronic devices.

"It took a significant amount of work by a large number of people to get us to this milestone today and I am happy to report that the aircraft performed exceptionally well and handling characteristics were excellent; just as predicted," said Michael Voigt, Cessna's engineering test pilot who flew the Ten prototype. "All systems functioned as expected including the Garmin G5000 avionics system. We are looking forward to a successful flight test program and FAA certification."

Here's a video from Cessna detailing the features of the Citation Ten.

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