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The Citation X®+ set a milestone, establishing the world’s fastest general aviation speed record over a recognized course. The long-range business jet averaged just under 606 miles per hour at 39,000 feet flying from Seattle, Washington, to Wichita, Kansas. The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), the country’s oldest national aviation club and the official record keeper for U.S. aviation, certified the accomplishment. The Federation Aeronautique International later also certified the flights as world records.
Jonathan Gaffney, NAA President and CEO, presents the official certification of the records to members of the Textron Aviation team (L to R): Michael Thacker, senior vice president, Engineering; Chris Hearne, vice president, Jets; and Terry Shriner, director of product design, Jets.
Michael Voigt, Cessna’s senior test pilot on the project, handled the logistics and preflight planning. This included coordinating with air traffic control towers along the route and with the NAA for permission to attempt the record and verifying takeoff and landing times.
All three test pilots who were on board agree the route and record showcase the business jet’s true range and speed.
On July 25, 2014, the three-man crew flew the Citation X+ from Wichita to Seattle to Miami and then reversed the trip the next day. Each leg was awarded a speed record.
“It was great. On the second day, we left Miami in the morning and arrived in Seattle in time to have lunch with the air traffic controllers. Then, we got back into the aircraft and flew to Wichita. We were home in time for dinner with our families. We were all over the country in one day and were still able to get home with time to spare,” said Neil Payne, a Cessna engineering test pilot.
Voigt agreed, “The Citation X+ is the fastest general aviation aircraft with speeds of up to Mach 0.935. It has the range, speed and flexibility to get people where they need to go. The record proves it.”
“It was exciting to be part of the process of establishing a speed record. It’s a feather in our cap. It will be nice to look back and see our names in the record books,” Voigt said.