WICHITA, Kan., April 23, 2009 – A Cessna Citation XLS landed and took off earlier this year at Qamdo Bangda Airport (BPX/ZUBD) in Tibet, demonstrating the aircraft’s capability to operate at the world’s highest airport at 14,219 feet (4,334 meters). The Citation XLS is a product of Cessna Aircraft Company, a Textron Inc. (NYSE: TXT) company.
Operated by the China Flight Inspection Center (CFIC) of the Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), the flight was to validate navigation aids and to gather information on high altitude operations. Altogether, the aircraft made five landings and takeoffs during the operation in February.
“The flight inspection mission flown by the CFIC is one of the most demanding in the world, and one has only to look at this mission for proof,” said Todd Duhnke, Cessna director, International Sales. “The Citation XLS has long been the most popular business jet in production and this achievement is just another example of its great operational performance and versatility.”
High altitude operations for any aircraft are the most difficult due to the lower density air which results in much higher ground speeds for takeoff and landing than at lower altitudes. At Bangda, operations are also complicated by turbulence and low clouds.
Cessna engineers originally worked with the CAAC to certify the Citation XLS for operations at field elevations up to 15,000 feet (4,527 meters), up from the aircraft’s previous certification at 14,000 ( 4,267 meters). As a result, all Citation XLS/XLS+ aircraft operating in China are certified for operation from airports at this higher altitude.
The Excel/XLS/XLS+ series of Citations is the most-produced series of business jets, with more than 600 delivered to customers around the world. The CAAC, Cessna’s largest Chinese Citation operator, also operates other Cessna Citation models for it flight inspection mission – five Citation XLSs, one Citation VI and one Citation X.