““[Bill Gates] has been historically one of my best supporters…One of my favorite e-mails he ever sent me…I proposed this crazy project. And he sent back this two-line response: ‘This has got to be the craziest thing you’ve ever suggested. Please proceed.’” ”
Cessna Sets Sail with Long-awaited Columbus
Cessna's large-cabin Citation, the Columbus, is a "go" for launch. The all-
aluminum jet can seat 10 passengers and will cost $27 million (2008 dollars). First flight is expected in 2011, with FAA certification scheduled for 2013 and first deliveries in 2014. In a departure from how it currently builds Citations, Cessna is outsourcing construction of the fuselage and empennage to Spirit AeroSystems. Pratt & Whitney Canada's new 8,830-pound-thrust PW810 engine will power the Columbus, and Rockwell Collins will supply its Pro Line Fusion glass cockpit. The jet will have a 4,000-nautical-mile range at Mach 0.80 and a maximum cruise speed of Mach 0.85. Required takeoff distance at maximum takeoff weight will be 5,400 feet. Cessna has letters of intent for purchase of 70 of the aircraft.