Today at the 2016 NBAA, Textron’s Cessna division announced their new aircraft, the Hemisphere.  “For the first time in more than 20 years, the large- segment see a clean-sheet design aircraft with the Citation Hemisphere,” said Scott Ernest, Textron Aviation president and CEO. “As a demonstration of our continued commitment to invest in new and differentiated products, we’re showcasing a full-scale cabin just one year after announcing the Hemisphere at NBAA 2015. This leave no doubt as to our intention to expand our segment leadership position.”

Cessna claims the Hemisphere seat up to 19 passengers, will have the widest in its class at 102 inches. The aircraft feature a three-zone cabin with a 6-foot, 2-inch stand-up clearance on a flat floor. The aircraft’s cabin altitude of 5,000 feet will ensure passengers “arrive at their destination feeling refreshed”.

The 4,500 nautical-mile range Hemisphere be powered by two Safran Silvercrest engines, a next-generation engine with over 12,000 pounds of thrust. Cessna claims these engines empower operators of large and long-range business jets with the best speed, range, field performance and direct operating costs.

The last sentence is a odd.  There are only two applications using the Silvercrest – the Hemisphere and the Dassault Falcon 5x.  So, in fact, these engines do not actually empower anything that is flying.  The Hemisphere was announced today and is expected to fly in 2019.  The 5X has suffered a two year delay an is not expected to fly until 2017.  The reason the 5X is delayed? In a word, Silvercrest.

So we asked Cessna about this.

  1. What can you tell us about the engine selection process please?
    1. Which firms were asked for proposals?
  2. The selection of the Silvercrest seems odd.  This engine has caused significant disruption for Dassault.
    1. Does the selection not put your program at some risk?
    2. What SAFRAN have to offer that made them winners?
    3. confident are you the engine be on-time?  Has SAFRAN guaranteed this?

Cessna sent this response:

“The Snecma Silvercrest offers the best combination of performance and efficiency for the Citation Hemisphere.

With first flight of the Hemisphere scheduled for 2019 and certification of the Silvercrest slated for 2018 we are confident in our decision.”

It seems that Cessna and Textron have taken a big bet on this engine given its record so far.

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