The first Citation flew in 1969 and with its turbofans, accessible entry price and undemanding handling, it revolutionised the bizjet market. The success of the Citation range has made the name Citation synonymous with business aircraft.

Guy Leitch

CESSNA HAS NOW DELIVERED more than 7,200 Citations. From its entry level Citation Mustangs to the Citation Longitude, the Citations fulfil almost all the small and midsize market requirements.

Whereas Cessna used to be defined by its market-leading single engine pistons, particularly the Cessna C172, which is still the most produced aircraft ever built, the Citation series has come to define Cessna’s market dominance in general aviation.

One of the key reasons behind the Citation range’s success is its worldwide service and support. Cessna has by far the largest network of both OEM and licensed service centres across the world – and is well represented across Africa.

The Secret to the Citation’s Success

One of the secrets to the Citation’s success is that Cessna kept the development costs down and the family characteristics intact by making each successive Citation an incremental upgrade of a smaller or older model. Thus the original CJ has now been replaced by the Citation M2, yet they both retain the same construction number sequence. The current Citation range starts from the Citation M2, up to the Citation Longitude, which is a natural outgrowth of the Latitude, which in turn is a development of the Sovereign+.

‘the first CitationJet was delivered in 1993’

The roots of the current smaller Citation family can be traced back to the first CitationJet which was delivered in 1993 and of which an impressive 359 were delivered. An updated version, the CJ1, was introduced in 2000 which included an updated avionics suite and a higher maximum takeoff weight. Also introduced in 2000 was the larger CJ2. This was a five-foot stretch of the CJ1, allowing a maximum of eight passengers rather than the seven passengers that the CJ1 could carry.

Another hugely popular line for Cessna has been the Citation Excel, with the Citation XLS+ still being produced. Including all variants, the family has sold almost 1000 Excels.

Cessna’s Citation range has an aircraft type and size that covers almost the entire bizjet market.

The Evolution of the Species

The original Excel came about as a mix of other aircraft. Customers wanted a larger cabin cross section than the Citation V line, so Cessna used a shortened version of the Citation X fuselage. The wing was based on the Citation V Ultra’s wing, and the tail was from the Citation V. The engines were variants of the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW500 engines that were also used on the Citation Bravo and Citation Encore.

There have been two upgraded versions since the original Citation Excel. The Citation XL was introduced in 2004 and had uprated engines and a glass cockpit. The current in-production Citation XLS+ entered service in 2008 and includes updated avionics, uprated FADEC engines, and a modified nose. The addition of a plus sign (+) to denote an upgrade is termed ‘plussing’ by Textron. Where an incremental upgrade has been introduced for the CJs, these aircraft have been included in the numbers for the original model. A jump in the families, from CJ3 to CJ4, have all been kept as separate entries. The largest member of the CitationJet family is the CJ4.

Citations hold the record for the highest number of deliveries of an aircraft type in a single year. In 2009, Cessna delivered 125 Mustangs – an all-time record and one that doesn’t look like being beaten.

‘The first Citation flew in 1969’

Cessna’s largest Citation was expected to be the Hemisphere. However development has been suspended and the current top of the range is the Longitude.

The Longitude uses the same T-Tail rather than the Latitude’s cruciform tail. Cessna also swapped the engines from the Silvercrests to Honeywell HTF7700Ls, and the range is a very useful trans-continental 3,500nm.

With the Longitude, and the possible relaunch of the Hemisphere, Textron has an almost complete aviation solution. It builds small single-engine piston aircraft that are used in flying schools around the world. Through its Bell Helicopter subsidiary, it makes helicopters. Through Beechcraft it builds business turboprops and, through Citation, it builds business jets.

The early Citations revolutionised the bizjet market.

The Gen2

Cessna is now taking orders for the Citation M2 Gen2 and the Citation XLS Gen2.

The latest updates to the Citation M2 platform strengthen the model’s focus on pilot and passenger comfort as well as productivity. The M2 Gen2 brings an enhanced cabin experience. Its role as a business jet is enhanced in that productivity has been bolstered with the latest cabin technology such as wireless charging and USB-A ports at each seat. In the cabin, ambient accent lighting, re-mastered illuminated cupholders and additional in-flight accessible storage improve the passenger experience.

In the cockpit, three inches of legroom has been added to the co-pilot position for enhanced comfort. Additionally, cabin entry threshold materials have been improved for durability and maintainability.

Citation XLS Gen2

The Citation XLS Gen2 cabin has also received many subtle but significant improvements such as the new lighted airstair door with a curtain for weather protection on the ground and improved acoustics in flight. Passengers enjoy natural lighting and a new pedestal seat design enhances passenger comfort with individual controls, new styling and optional quilting, while the forward couch features an optional fold-down capability, which allows passengers to access baggage in flight.

Communications connectivity is the new buzz-word in bizjets. The XLS Gen2 features a state-of-the-art intuitive wireless cabin management system that includes a touchscreen moving map monitor, wireless charging, USB charging ports at each cabin seat and optional Bongiovi Immersive speaker-less sound system.

More than 1,000 560XLs have been delivered over the past 25 years, many to the most demanding fractional ownership operators and charter operators. Cessna’s range of business jets is demonstrably hitting the market’s sweet spot.

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