Cessna XLS builds on popular midsize Excel

 - November 2, 2007, 6:45 AM

Cessna Aircraft last month unveiled the Citation XLS, a faster and longer-legged derivative of the Citation Excel with a price tag of $9.895 million and described as “a logical step up for customers moving up from smaller light jets.”

Senior vice president of product engineering Jack Pelton revealed that the Excel successor will feature many standard items that were options before. Valued at about $600,000, these include a nine-place interior with a six-place center-club seating configuration, a two-place belted couch and an aft left-hand belted seat. New passenger seats will add between two and four inches of seat-cushion width, and on the flight deck crew seats from Goodrich Aerospace will be standard.

Traditional cabin lighting in the XLS has been replaced with light-emitting diode (LED) lighting that is easier to maintain, lighter in weight, produces less heat and has a longer life. Cabinetry has been added, and veneer cabinetry is now standard. Other new standard equipment includes an auxiliary power unit, UNS-1ESP, traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) and enhanced ground proximity warning system (EGPWS).

Another enhancement is the brake control system. The fluid reservoir, accumulator and hydraulic power pack have been moved to the left-hand fairing, allowing easier access and maintenance.

The standard XLS cockpit features Honeywell Primus 1000 control display system avionics with three 8-inch by 10-inch LCD screens–two primary flight displays (PFDs) and one multifunction display (MFD). Displays present drop-down menus accessed through a cursor-control joystick in the pedestal. The Primus 1000 CDS is controlled by an integrated avionics computer that contains multiple functions, including the flight management system (FMS), global positioning system (GPS), flight director and autopilot. A double-wide pedestal is standard to allow installation of an optional second FMS. All standard XLS avionics have been repackaged and are stored in the aircraft nose for ease of maintenance.

The cockpit is also equipped with Honeywell’s emergency descent mode system. In the case of crew incapacitation during a loss of pressurization, the system automatically commands a 90-degree turn to the left and descent to 15,000 feet.
The airplane will come with Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545B engines with 4.5 percent more takeoff thrust.

The XLS is expected to have a max cruise speed of 428 knots and a range of 2,110 nm, 33 knots faster than the Excel and 30 nm better range. The mtow has increased from 20,000 pounds to 20,200 pounds, the useful load from 7,510 pounds to 7,700 pounds, payload with max fuel from 720 pounds to 920 pounds, and climb to 45,000 feet has been reduced from 73 minutes to 25 minutes.

The airplane will be delivered with a comprehensive standard warranty: five years or 5,000 hours on the airframe and Primus 1000 avionics; five years or 2,500 hours on the P&WC engines; and one year for paint, interior and other supplier items.
Cessna anticipates certification of the Citation XLS in next year’s first quarter, with first deliveries in the middle of the year. The XLS production line flow will begin in this quarter as it replaces Excel production.

Citation X Upgrades
Cessna also revealed upgrades planned for the Citation X, starting next year as standard equipment, although it decided against winglets (see box item). Most notable are new passenger seats that are four inches wider with armrests that fold back to allow easier access. On the flight deck, pilots will find new seats from Goodrich Aerospace.

Interior furniture will feature a pin-in/pin-out attachment system to improve fit and finish. LED lighting is standard in the cabin, along with new cabin controls for lighting, cabin temperature, window shades and audio/video equipment.
New options are available for Citation X buyers, including the Max-Viz enhanced vision system (EVS) and Aircell satellite phones.

The Citation X 2004 upgrades will begin with S/N 225, and Cessna anticipates deliveries will begin next year.

The company revealed there have been “significant” increases in the Citation Sovereign’s performance, including range, speed and climb. The projected range has gone from 2,820 nm to 3,040 nm and the Mmo from Mach 0.78 to Mach 0.80.
Sovereign operators, said Cessna, will find that times to climb are one to three minutes better than expected. Powered by Pratt & Whitney Canada PW306C engines, the aircraft will be able to take off at mtow from runways less than 3,800 feet in length.

The Citation CJ3, a program announced a year ago at the NBAA Convention, began its certification test program this month. Two aircraft are already involved in the flight-test program and have logged more than 200 flight-test hours. The production line began in late July this year and work has begun on S/N 003 and 004. The company claims orders for more than 160 aircraft and anticipates deliveries will begin late next year.

Finally, Cessna continues its enthusiasm for the Citation Mustang, announced last year at the NBAA Convention. At that time, Cessna took orders for more than 200 aircraft in the first 48 hours. Wind-tunnel tests have been completed and the airplane is “exactly on schedule,” said senior v-p of sales and marketing Roger Whyte.

Work has begun on the first prototype airplane and a first flight is expected in mid-2005. Flight tests of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F engine will begin next year using a Citation CJ1 platform. Deliveries are expected to begin shortly after certification in late 2006.