Inside Cessna factory

cessna factory

When you’re looking at the assembly area inside of the Cessna manufacturing plant in Independence, Kansas, you can also see Mustang jets right beside Cessnas. 

Cessna never really planned for them to be here. The Independence facility was originally constructed to build only the single-engine products, the 172, the 182 and the 206.

Around 2001 they looked at leaning out the operation, removing inventory, and looking at a different way to assemble the airplanes and as a result, they freed up over 50,000 square feet of floor space and used it to get more assembly work.

The Mustang jet was the first one being built in Independence and right now they have unit number 371 ready to go out the door.

In consolidating the production lines from the 172, 182 and 206, they took out a lot of inventory. They reduced over a quarter million square feet in space to about 40,000 square feet of space.

What makes this possible is the flexibility of Independence’s workforce, to be able to work on the Mustang jet and other new models of aircraft that will be manufactured here. 

One major factor in changing the assembly process was where the installation of things like engines and avionics happens. In the early days of the single-engine production at Independence, the engine and the propeller installation was done very early in the assembly process. 

With the prop in the way, it made it more difficult to produce a high-quality paint job so the installation of the prop was moved as close to the end of the assembly process as possible, right before weight and balance, right before we fly the airplane. And now not only propellers, also engines and avionics are all installed very late in the assembly process, having less sleeping inventory and reducing the costs. 

This same principle was also applied to the Mustang jet and now the engines for the jet are also installed in flight reducing millions of dollars in inventory cost. 

Flight operations are conducted now in the new flight building made possible by bringing the Mustang jets to Independence.

The primary goal of flight operations and managing costs is to accomplish the flight test in a single flight. That means doing functional testing, like fuelling the airplane wing right after the wings are assembled before it’s even joined to the airplane, getting the functional test very early in the process.

Resources: Independence, Kansas


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