Textron Aviation’s flagship Cessna Citation X+ landed Saturday at TAG Farnborough Airport after a short flight from Paris Le Bourget. On Friday, the X+ crossed the Atlantic for the first time, flying 2,788 nm from Presque Isle, Maine, to Paris in five hours 33 minutes, averaging 502 knots groundspeed and burning 10,600 pounds of fuel. The X+, which received FAA certification on June 26, was crewed by Textron Aviation chief pilot John Esping and senior demonstration pilot Mike Walton.
After departing Presque Isle at about 500 pounds shy of maximum takeoff weight, the X+ climbed directly to FL450. According to Esping, the original X would have had to stop the initial climb at FL430. The new X+ could have climbed to FL470 an hour after takeoff for a maximum-range trip, but Esping wanted speed during this flight. “We accelerated to Mach 0.86,” he said, slightly faster than the 0.84 to 0.85 achievable in the X. After reaching 30W longitude, the X+ was able to accelerate to Mach 0.88.
While the X+ handles no differently from its predecessor, Esping said, during the over-water leg he appreciated the autothrottles, which maintain a constant Mach number with no need for adjustments by the crew. After the Farnborough show ends this weekend, the X+ will fly company trips around Europe then depart for the U.S., with the first leg from Farnborough to St. Johns, Newfoundland.