Cessna yesterday 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 sideledges 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, which should eliminate passenger complaints. (The bottles often tumble out of shallower cupholders during takeoff and landing.)
The flight deck has undergone a radical change, with a four-screen Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 system replacing the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics found in the XLS+’s predecessors. Included as standard are two 8- 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.
Obviously, the XLS+’s Pro Line 21 system offers more capabilities for pilots, but it also gives maintenance technicians more to like. “This system has the most extensive diagnostics system to date in any Citation,” XLS+ program manager Kevin Steinert told NBAA Convention News. “The system works at the airplane level, not just at the avionics level.”
According to Steinert, the diagnostic system has a data collection unit that stores information from the maintenance data computer. The data collection unit provides full-time recording of all PC board input/output and other specified bus data. This data is accessible via a USB port in the flight deck pedestal.
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.