When Cessna canceled the large-cabin Citation Columbus last year, many wondered what the company would do next. Now we know: the Citation X will remain Cessna's flagship–for now. Yesterday the Wichita-based airframer unveiled a longer and slightly faster variant of its iconic mach 0.92 Mach speedster, first delivered in 1996, and rebranded it the Ten.
Cessna chairman, president and CEO Jack Pelton said the Ten would be the first of several planned new product announcements over the next several years, at an estimated rate of one per year. "We want to take the markets we are established in and maintain our leadership position," he said, leaving open the door that the canceled Citation Columbus could be resurrected in the future. "At some point in time I'm sure you'll see us go up market."
The new Citation Ten is scheduled for first flight at the end of next year and to enter into service in 2013. The price has been initially set at $21.495 million (2010). While Cessna declined to estimate the aircraft's Mmo, Pelton said the Ten would be faster than the Mach 0.925 Gulfstream G650, but declined to set an exact number. "We are not going to get into specific performance until next year." However, on a typical 2,500-nm trip, Cessna estimates the Ten will burn 145 pounds less fuel and arrive two minutes sooner than the current model.
This latest iteration will feature winglets, uprated Rolls-Royce engines, a 15-inch longer cabin with new interior, an iPhone-like cabin management system and the launch of the Garmin G5000 avionics suite.
The changes yield a variety of performance improvements. Payload increases by 214 pounds, range at high-speed cruise increases by 211 nm to 3,107 nm and the initial cruise altitude increases to FL450 from FL430. Time to climb to FL450 is only 23 minutes; to FL350 (anti-ice off) it is only 13 minutes. Not only will the Ten have a higher initial maximum cruise altitude, it will be able to fly faster at various altitudes; cruise speeds will increase from two to 19 knots, depending on altitude. At FL350 high-speed cruise increases from 525 ktas to 527 ktas, while at FL490 it bumps from 460 ktas to 479 ktas.
The Ten will use a pair of Rolls-Royce AE3007C2 high-flow-fan turbines, rated at 7,034 pounds of thrust each, that deliver a 4 percent boost in takeoff thrust, 9 percent better climb performance, 7 percent more cruise thrust and a 1.4 percent improvement in specific fuel consumption. The engine will be certified prior to aircraft type certification.
The new engines feature a more efficient fan with 38.5-inch compound swept fan blades, which Rolls-Royce says are more durable and improve stability. The engine will also have a larger LP turbine to improve durability and HP compressor vane schedule for efficiency as well as new Fadec software with improved engine health monitoring and engine start logic. The first AE3007C engine entered service with the Citation X in 1996 and Rolls-Royce has delivered more than 600 to Cessna to date. The engine is produced at Rolls-Royce's Indianapolis plant.
The Citation Ten will will be the launch platform for the Garmin G5000 avionics suite (see story on page 5), featuring three 14-inch LCD primary and multifunction displays and four touch-screen control panels. The Part 25 avionics suite, a first for Garmin, will include TCAS II with Change 7.1, synthetic vision, electronic charts, SafeTaxi, dual FMS with Waas LPV and RNP 0.3 Saaar capability, solid-state weather radar with turbulence detection and vertical scan, integrated Taws, ADS-B Out, Link 2000+ datalink, autothrottles with speed and thrust modes and diagnostics with data logging and interface with Cessna's AReS system. Options include satellite weather and ICAO Type 1A flight data recorder. The G5000 will be the most prominent feature in the Citation X's restyled cockpit, resplendent with streamlined switching, metalized trim and other luxury automotive-style accents.
System options include XM satellite weather and Garmin (via Iridium satcom) worldwide weather, lightning detection, a second HF radio, transmission of maintenance data in flight and enhanced SafeTaxi with situational alerting on runway, taxiway and for insufficient runway length.
Joel Mugglin, Cessna Citation X product marketing manager, said the G5000 will be upgradeable to include ADS-B In once that is defined. While the winglets will be available for retrofit on older Citation Xs, the G5000 avionics will not.
Cessna is developing a proprietary cabin management system (CMS) for the Ten with Dallas-based Heads Up Technologies. The CMS integrates the cabin electrical system, avionics and communications through a fiber-optic backbone.
The interactive touch-screen controller at each seat, about the size of an iPhone, has a built-in Internet browser (Internet service required) and controls digital audio and video (a Blu-ray player sits in the forward closet), lights, window shades, cabin temperature, interactive moving map and cabin diagnostics. Texts can be sent from seat to seat and the VIP controls can be designated to any seat in the cabin.
While the CMS screen is large enough to view video media, Cessna does plan to offer monitor options. The CMS is scalable for future growth. Anticipated phone service will be via Aircell Axxess II, with optional Internet via Aircell (domestic) and Inmarsat SwiftBroadband (international). Cabin Wi Fi, high-speed Internet and satellite radio will be available as options.
Mugglin described the CMS as "unobtrusive, but very functional. You won't know it is there until you touch it."
Roger Whyte, Cessna senior executive vice president for sales and marketing, said the new CMS already has been successfully bench tested.
The 15-inch cabin stretch provides 8.6 inches of additional legroom in the forward club four-seat grouping and nearly five inches in the aft grouping. The seats are restyled with eight extra degrees of pitch, allowing passengers to lean farther back when the seats are in the takeoff and landing position.
"You feel cradled, like you do in a sports car," said Mugglin. The sidewall tables are also larger for the forward club area. A side-facing divan will be available as a custom option, but will not be pre-certified.
The jet will feature restyled side ledges large enough for drinks and personal electronics and will contain USB charging ports. The galleys include a new optional large galley that covers the forward right-hand window and has a translucent back panel for transmitting natural light. A new left-hand forward closet provides some additional storage.
Cabin lighting has been refreshed with overhead, dimmable and warmth-adjustable overhead white ambient lighting and RGB color-adjustable LED accent lighting on the side ledges, aisle and cabinetry.
Pelton said the Ten exemplifies Cessna's commitment to "new product development" and its intention to "maintain a general aviation leadership position."
He said that R&D spending on the Ten had eaten Cessna's profit year-to-date and that R&D was approximately six percent of revenues. For the first six months of 2010, Cessna posted revenues of $582.8 million. "I think it is time to take some bold moves. We're going to move a little differently on our product strategy," Pelton said. "In the past we've adopted a lot of designs that have lower risk and we are going to break that dynamic at Cessna."
Mugglin said that much of the impetus for the Ten came from some of the owners of the 300 aircraft currently in service. "Existing Citation X operators do not want production discontinued. We are excited to give them something to think about again," he said.
Cessna's Whyte said that he expected "a lot" of orders for the Ten to come from existing customers.