Cessna’s Citation line just keeps on growing

 - November 6, 2006, 8:05 AM

Cessna formally launched two new business twinjets at last month’s NBAA Convention, making the Citation CJ4 and XLS+ the latest in a steady sequence of airplane introductions by the Wichita manufacturer.

Cessna said its Citation CJ4 isn’t just another derivative of the CitationJet line but rather is a clean-sheet design that incorporates some of the best features found in other Citations. “It has the best of the Encore-plus’s cockpit and cabin, the Mustang’s wide cabin door, Sovereign-style wing performance and the CJ3’s external baggage capacity,” said Citation 500-series product marketing manager Brett Palmiero.

Cessna intends to amend the existing A1WI type certificate data sheet to include the Model 525C. The company used the same process to certify the 525A and 525B.
Cessna plans to fly the 11-seat CJ4 in spring 2008, with FAA certification to follow in late 2009. Service entry of the $7.995 million (2006 $) CJ4 is expected in spring 2010. According to preliminary data released by Cessna, the CJ4 will be able to climb directly to its 43,000-foot ceiling in 28 minutes. Range of the new twinjet is projected at 1,825 nm, while the balanced field length is expected to be 3,300 feet. Powering the new airplane will be a pair of 3,400-pound-thrust Williams FJ44-4A turbofans.

A new, moderately swept wing will make the CJ4 the fastest of the CJs with a top cruise speed of 435 ktas, 20 knots faster than the CJ3. The new wing will also have a lift-dump system and hinged flaps. The CJ4 will incorporate single-point refueling.

Inside, the CJ4’s cabin is slightly wider than those of its CJ siblings, with four inches more width at the floor yielding improved legroom. Optimal window placement provides passengers with a better view. Taking a cue from the Mustang, the new CJ has a 24-inch-wide cabin door that doesn’t taper at the top, making it easier for passengers and crew to enter the twinjet. The CJ4’s fuselage is 21 inches longer than the CJ3’s and includes an external baggage compartment.

LED cabin lighting comes standard on the CJ4. Also standard is an integrated cabin management and entertainment suite, offering cabin lighting/environmental control and an audiovisual system capable of playing CD/DVD/MP3 media. A single XM satellite radio receiver is standard, and additional XM units, LCD displays and other cabin equipment are available as options.

Like its siblings, the CJ4 comes with the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics system, though the new jet has four screens versus the three-screen layout in the smaller CJs. The airplane also offers a new tilted panel with push-button switches, a more ergonomically designed pedestal and redesigned crew seats that have two inches more legroom than the CJ3. Electric windshields are a first for a CJ.

Preliminary specifications include range of 1,840 nm, 1,000-pound full-fuel payload, 16,510- pound mtow and 2,100 pounds max payload capability. “The CJ4 builds on the CJ lineage buts adds next-decade architecture,” Palmiero said. “It has the strongest performance and payload balance in its class while offering benchmarking standard features and amenities.”

XLS Gets an Upgrade
Cessna at the show also unveiled plans to upgrade one of its most popular Citation models, the XL/XLS. Dubbed the XLS+, the new version–to be available in 2008–can be distinguished on the ramp by its more aerodynamic nose contour. Another subtle change is the aircraft’s Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545C, which is a FADEC version of the XL/XLS’s PW545B.

But the most dramatic changes to the twinjet are on the inside. The passenger compartment has been refined and the flight deck, likewise, gets a makeover. Cessna interior engineers have designed serpentine side ledges that allow for wider, more comfortable passenger seats. The nine passenger seats in the XLS+ are two inches wider and have a more comfortable headrest and less intrusive armrest. Additionally, each seat has one deeper cupholder that accommodates bottles of water.

The flight deck has undergone a radical change, with a four-display version of the Pro Line 21 system replacing the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics found in the XLS+’s predecessors. Included as standard are two eight- by 10-inch PFDs and MFDs, electronic radio tuning, two CDUs, e-chart and graphical weather capability, Collins FMS-3000, standby instruments, performance database, advanced airplane diagnostics system, dual navcoms and a backup radio. The airplane also sports a cleaner throttle quadrant, while modern pushbutton switches have replaced toggle switches.

FAA certification of the XLS+ is expected in the first quarter of 2008, with deliveries slated to start in the following fourth quarter. A limited number of XLS+s slated for delivery in 2008 will cost $11.595 million; the price escalates to $11.945 million for 2009 models. The current price of the XLS is $11.295 million.

Cessna has said that it plans to introduce at least one new model a year. In recent years it has launched the Citation Mustang, CJ2+ and Encore+ and is now exploring a large-cabin bizjet that could fly with a pair of 10,000-pound-thrust turbofans and feature a cabin with the same headroom as the Gulfstream G550.