The Citation Excel

The Citation Excel


The Citation Excel is technically a mid-sized jet, yet it still fits in the super light jet class– its cabin length is 18.7 feet and it can fly up to 1,961 miles (1,704 nautical miles) – but it can take off in 3,590 feet and climb to cruise altitude in just 18 minutes, performance statistics reminiscent of light private jets.

Technical Specifications and Accommodations

The Citation Excel’s cabin holds eight passengers. It is 5.7 feet high and 5.5 feet wide, which is about average for a midsized private jet. Details like fold-out tables and sliding headrests make the interior comfortable. There are several different seating arrangements to choose from, including one option with a three-person divan. An external compartment provides 80 cubic feet of storage space, along with some additional space in an internal closet.

The Excel can cruise at 423 ktas. It has a range of 1,907 miles (1,657 nautical miles) with four passengers.

The Excel outperforms competing super light jets due in large part to its two Pratt & Whitney PW545 engines. They have a thrust rating of 3,804 pounds apiece. The average hourly fuel burn is 216 gallons an hour or approximately $864.00 at $4.00 a gallon.

The Citation Excel comes standard with two air conditioning systems to keep the cabin comfortable, even in the most extreme outside temperatures. A long-travel trailing link landing gear ensures smooth landings and taxiing. High-capacity carbon brakes give the Excel powerful braking capabilities that other jets of its size do not have. The brake wear is minimal and, like all other systems in the Excel, is extremely reliable.

Pilot Friendly Avionics

The avionics system is probably the most pilot-friendly feature of the Excel. The engineers of the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite realizes the importance of details like consolidating multiple displays into a few, easy-to-interpret ones and placing screens close to the controls to which they apply. All of the information needed is displayed on three sleek screens. The relevant controls are located directly on the screens’ faceplates to improve pilot hand-eye coordination and flight performance.

The Citation Excel Offers Great Value

Finally, the Excel is currently one of the best buys on the market. Pre owned prices are approximately 50-60% of what they were new. You can now find earlier model Excels on full engine programs comfortably under 3 million dollars. Add Cessna’s Proparts to the aircraft and you are effectively able to budget your annual direct operating costs.

In short, the Citation Excel is a solid, reliable aircraft that can take you anywhere a mid-sized jet can go at the cost of light-jet travel. Its comfort, performance, and reliability match Cessna’s high standards in private jet travel.

RandAdminThe Citation Excel
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The CJ 525 Series

The CJ 525 Series

by Tom Coogan

In the 1980’s the Cessna Citation 500 series was often burdened with the moniker,  “Slotation”.  In response  Cessna developed a mostly clean sheet new design jet,  named it the CitationJet and the 525 “CJ” series was born. One could argue that dubbing the new design as CitationJet when trying to differentiate itself from without impugning the Citation series  is like naming your first son Patrick after his popular but aging older sister Patricia.  No matter what the neighbors say, Patrick is no Patricia.  CJ was designed with the speed conscience but economically motivated single pilot operator in mind.  Initial deliveries in 1993 brought in a new age of light jets.  Later variants (CJ2, CJ3 and CJ4) are each larger and more powerful than the predecessor.

A new wing using laminar flow aerodynamics mounted below instead of through the fuselage produces less drag while maintaining predictable and benign handling qualities keeping the owner/ single pilot safe.  The wing uses bleed air de-icing on the leading edge.    The 500 series cruciform tail was replaced with a T-tail keeping the airfoil and flight control in undisturbed air even at high angles of attack.

The CJ 525 family grew into the CJ1 and longer more powerful CJ2 (525A) around the turn of the century.  The CJ2 carries an extra row of seating to total 10 including the pilot.  These models carried a new avionics panel,  the Collins Pro Line 21 series with a 2 or 3 screen EFIS.  2004 brought the CJ3 (525B) which is a longer version of the CJ2 with a more powerful FADEC engine.  ln 2006 Cessna added a  “+” to the CJ1 and CJ2 names with the Williams addition of FADEC and a few other updates to new production aircraft.  The FJ-44-1AP replaced the FJ44-1  in the CJ1+ and a derated version of the CJ3 engine, the FJ44-3A-24 replaced the FJ44-2  in the CJ2+. These upgrades bring  simpler operation and improved performance to a proven airframe.  The Plus designation for the CJ3 came in 2014 and is a subject for another article.  The CJ4 (525C) was on the ramp in 2010 and like many youngest siblings, is a bit of a rebel and a rule breaker.  It carries new larger wings with leading edge sweep borrowed from its cousin the Sovereign.  It has a redesigned heated glass windshield with increased sweep.

Let’s talk about the engines.  Cessna went just a step or two out on a limb when adopting Williams as their engine manufacturer with the FJ-44 series.  This simpler alternative to Cessna’s 500 and 550 series Pratt and Whitney powerplants has been a crowd pleaser for CJ operators.  Each larger version of the CJ came with a more powerful version of the Williams FJ-44, starting with the 1900 thrust lb -1a on the CJ and CJ1 To the 3600 thrust lb  -4a on the CJ4.

Worth mentioning is the Citation 510 Mustang which was developed and brought to market to compete with a seemingly growing, but in retrospect  prone to attrition,  stable of Very Light Jets.  Another new product, the M2,  basically a beautifully resurrected CJ1+ with an updated model of the same engine, Garmin 3000 avionics, a new interior and modern toys was made to bring competition to the Phenom 100 and the Honda Jet.  We will dig into those another day.  Let’s also leave the CJ4 for another day and take a look at the  CJ1, CJ2, and CJ3 performance, operating cost and  resale markets.

From Conklin and DeDecker:

Citation CJ1 Citation CJ2 Citation CJ3
Cabin-Height (Ft.) 4.75 4.75 4.75
 – Width 4.83 4.83 4.83
 – Length 11.00 13.58 15.67
Cabin volume (Cu. Ft.) 201.00 248.00 286.00
Cabin Door Height (Ft.) 4.25 4.25 4.25
 – Width 2.00 2.00 2.00
Baggage -Int. (Cu.Ft.) 8.00 4.00
– External 51.00 70.00 65.00
Typical Crew/Pass Seating 2/5 2/6 2/6
Weight-Max Take-off (Lbs.) 10,600 12,375 13,870
 – Maximum Landing 9,800 11,500 12,750
 – Basic Operating 7,050 7,900 8,585
 – Usable Fuel 3,220 3,932 4,710
Payload-Full Fuel (Lbs.) 430 668 775
 – Maximum 1,350 1,400 1,925
Certified Yes Yes Yes
IFR Certified Yes Yes Yes
Price – New (Corporate)/1000 4,145 5,716 8,347
 – Pre Owned Rng/1000 1,400/1,900 2,400/2,900 4,000/7,100
 – Years Produced 2000 – 2005 2000 – 2006 2004 – 2013
Citation CJ1 Citation CJ2 Citation CJ3
Range-NBAA IFR Res (N.Mi.)
        Seats Full 775 1,075 1,374
        Ferry Range – (Pilot(s) only, no pax) 1,161 1,530 1,891
Range-30 Min. Res (N.Mi.)
        Seats Full
        Ferry Range – (Pilot(s) only, no pax)
Balanced Field Length (Ft.) 4,220 3,820 3,440
Landing Field Length – FAR 91 2,644 2,777 2,522
Landing Field Length – FAR 135 3,305 3,471 3,152
Landing Field Length – FAR 121 4,407 4,628 4,203
Rate Of Climb (Ft/Min) 3,230 3,870 4,478
        – One Engine Out 850 1,160 1,090
Cruise Speed-Max (KTAS) 381 413 417
        – Normal 381 413 417
        – Long Range 307 344 348
Stall Speed (IAS) 77 82 82
Ceiling-Certified MTOW (Ft.) 41,000 45,000 45,000
        – Service 41,000 45,000 45,000
        – Service OEI 21,200 21,500 26,250


Citation CJ1 Citation CJ2 Citation CJ3
Fuel (1) $469.00 $493.50 $602.00
Fuel Additives
Maintenance Labor (2) 108.30 111.15 109.25
Parts Airframe/Eng/Avion (3) 111.69 122.54 99.78
Engine Restoration (4) 241.92 266.24 278.16
Misc Exp. – Landing/Parking 12.12 14.15 15.86
 – Crew Expenses 71.36 71.36 71.36
 – Supplies/Catering 33.96 33.96 33.96
Total Variable Cost/Hour $1,048.35 $1,112.90 $1,210.37
Cost per Nautical Mile $3.16 $3.08 $3.16
Average Speed-Kts. (6) 600-nm trip 332.00 361.00 383.00
Cost data in this report is intended to be used as a benchmark
Type of Operation: Corporate Corporate Corporate
1. Fuel Cost 3.50 3.50 3.50
    Gallons/Hour Blk Fuel/Flt Time +15% 134 141 172
2. Maint. Labor Cost per Hour 95 95 95
    Maint. Hours/Flight Hours 1.14 1.17 1.15
3. Incl. Engine Parts Cost No No No
   Engine Model FJ44-1A FJ44-2C FJ44-3A
   Aircraft Model Year 2005 2006 2013
4. Overhaul Cost Source TAP Elite14 TAP Elite14 TAP Elite14


FJ44’s in up to and including the CJ3’s came with a 3500 hour TBO and a 1750 hour hot section inspection.  Williams was able to get an extension to 5000 hour TBO’s and 2500 hour hot section inspections when certain parts are incorporated and the engine is enrolled in the Manufacturers Engine Maintenance program, the “Total Assurance Program” or” TAP”.  This extension was announced in late 2014.  Certainly in a first run engine this would seem to be a “must have” engine plan.  On an aircraft which has had recent engine overhauls and the aircraft operability after the next 3500 hours is questionable, the decision is more complicated. In comparative pricing of a CJ with first run engines not on an EMP, the market price is reduced in most buyers eyes by the full value of the TAP buy in.  Buyers of higher time aircraft with recently overhauled engines are more likely to be content with the non program engines with a market price reduction of less than full buy in.  These adjustments to aircraft market values exist in all personal and business jet models  but the TAP only periodic inspection extension  of the FJ44 strengthens the argument in the CJs. There are always a few buyers who prefer no engine plan and may use a different pricing model

The CJ Market

Let’s take a peek at where straight CJ’s through CJ3’s are trading across selected production years.  Unless we say otherwise, we will assume the aircraft is on TAP Elite or Blue with RVSM and no ADSB .  Straight CJ’s require a panel upgrade to get ADSB so for now budget 155K for a GTN 650/750 upgrade or wait a year or so and a far less expensive option is expected using the core of the existing system.  In  the CJ1 and CJ2, upgrading the Garmin 530’s to WAAS/LPV and  swapping in a pair of Garmin GTX 330 transponders can get you legal and LPV approach capable for 30 grand,  less expensive than most of its business jet cousins.   The CJ3 is not included in the SB/STC described above so for now that upgrade is around 75 to 80K through the GPS 4000s upgrade and could be more depending on specifics to the panel.  If you decide to upgrade to the Pro Line Fusion with synthetic vision and all the toys expect to cough up around 300k.

In the following analysis JetNet, VRef, Controller and proprietary market information have been used to come up with values.

Straight CJ’s can be purchased for under 1m, sometimes well under 1m.  Of the 349 in the fleet around 11 percent are for sale in the open market, just over the industry average of 10 percent.  While the average time on market is 500 days on JetNet,  the last 3 sales were on market for an average of 165 days.

Jump to a 2002 CJ1 and expect to pay 1.35m for an aircraft with around 4200 hours, which for a TAP example would put it just past or approaching its first overhaul depending on when it had the hot section done and whether it has the newer parts installed.   Around 13 percent of the CJ1 fleet is for sale and average time to sell is 278 days, and again most recent sales were on the market for slightly less than that.

Let’s stay in the 2002 year group and look at the CJ2 market.  More room, more seats, more power, more range.  These attributes will cost you almost a million more than the same year group CJ1. Expect to pay 2.3m for the 4200 Hour 2002 CJ2.  The CJ2 market is a little more robust with just under 9 percent of the fleet for sale and less than 200 days to sell on average.

In 2004  Cessna produced the CJ1, CJ2 and CJ3.  Let’s compare how the market treats them.

A 2004 CJ1 with 3700 hours should fetch 1.55m.    The CJ2 commands an 850k premium at 2.4m, and a 2004 CJ3 an additional million over at 3.4m.

The last year we will look at is 2008.   In this year all 3 models have FADEC. In the 2004 example only the CJ3 had it.  The 2008 CJ1+ is likely to cost 2.4m with 2400 hours, around 850K more than the non plus 2004 version.  A 2008 CJ2+ with the same hours would be 3.45m, a 1.05M premium to the CJ1+.  Remember the 2004 model CJ2 has a market value  800k higher than the CJ1.   Another way to look at this is to say the 2004 CJ2 market value is fifty percent higher than the CJ1 and in the 2008 models  just slightly less at 47 percent higher.  When accounting for error allowance, one could consider the percent differentials identical.  Finally the 2008 CJ3,  around 4.25m, only 800k or 23 percent more than the CJ2+ from the same year.

Demand for personal and business jets in general was reduced by the shock and fear of asset depreciation following the 2008 to 2010 period when values plummeted.  While large cabin values continue to slope downwards the CJ series has leveled out to a more historically standard depreciation rate.  Steady prices bring a higher confidence that the CJ asset one is purchasing will hold its value to those buyers who had stayed out of the market fearing rapid asset depreciation.

The CJ series covers a broad range of needs over its different model designations in an economical, reliable single pilot operation.  Cessna got this one right and sales figures show it.

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Citation 560 V/Ultra Encore Comparison

Citation 560 V/Ultra Encore Comparison

The Citation Encore

By Tim Palma

The Citation Encore is the “encore” to its successful Citation Ultra. The Encore is versatile, able to fly long distances, take off and land on short runways, and carry a large load. Owners laud its cabin comfort, performance, and its low operating costs.

The cabin, which can hold eight passengers with fully recline seats, stretches to seventeen feet, five inches – the longest cabin of any light jet. The strategic use of seamless wall panels, indirect lights, and mirrors make the cabin seem larger than its actual volume of 3037 cubic feet. Passenger cabin amenities include individual flat panel entertainment systems and audio jacks, power outlets, and the Magna Star 200 radio phone. A newly-designed airstair entryway makes boarding a lot less difficult, especially for passengers in high heels. The Encore has storage space for 43 cubic feet of baggage, or more than 1400 pounds. The Encore can takeoff from a sea level runway in 3,490 feet. The required runway distance increases to 5,760 feet at an altitude of 5,000 feet and a temperature of 77 ˚ F. As far as speed is concerned, in thirteen minutes, it climbs to 37,000 feet, where it can reach its maximum cruise speed of .74 Mach (429 knots). For a long range cruise, it flies at 376 knots at its maximum certified flight level of 45,000 feet.

The Encore’s speed can be attributed largely to its wing design. Keeping with the Citation line’s tradition of simplicity in design and operation, it uses the straight wing design that was such a success on Cessna’s other private jets. Cessna redesigned the standard straight wing that the Citation line had been using. The result was a wing with a large leading-edge radius and a level upper surface, which better distributed air flow, cut drag, and ultimately increased the Encore’s cruise speed. The wings allow the Encore to land on runways as short as 2,400 feet and take off in 3,490 feet when loaded to the its maximum takeoff weight of 16,630 pounds.

It would be entirely unfair to give credit for the Encore’s speed solely to the wing design –the Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535A turbofan engines played a part, too. Each engine provides the Encore with 3,400 pounds of thrust (almost 400 pounds more than the Ultra), while achieving a 16% more efficient specific fuel consumption than the P&W JT15D-5D engines used on the Ultra.
The engines produce enough bleed air to support anti-icing, cabin pressurization, and air conditioning. The Encore’s temperature control system has been updated to use both bleed air and an electrical vapor-cycle machine. The electrical system serves as a backup air conditioning system on really hot days and can be started on the runway to cool the cabin before the engines start. The temperature control system is conveniently designed to allow the cabin and cockpit to set and maintain different temperatures.

The Encore incorporates the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite. Honeywell realized the importance of consolidating multiple displays into four easy-to-interpret displays and placing screens close to the controls that they apply to. One of the predecessors of the Encore had a confusing array of five screens and over eight analog controls. The relevant controls are located directly on the screens’ faceplates to improve pilot hand-eye coordination and flight performance.

The Encore uses a trailing link landing gear for smooth taxiing and soft landings, and can be single-pilot operated. A new forced mixer nozzle cuts engine noise, and new fuel heaters have been added that eliminate the need to mix anti-icing additives with the fuel. Other small updates allow the Encore to carry 344 fewer pounds of fuel and still have a longer range than the Ultra.

Citation Ultra

The Ultra cabin is the same as the Encore. Passenger cabin amenities include individual flat panel entertainment systems and audio jacks (an optional feature). The Ultra has storage space for twenty six cubic feet of baggage, or about six hundred pounds worth of golf bags, suitcases, or whatever else worth bringing along.

Arguably the best selling point of the Ultra is its short takeoff distance. The Ultra can pull off a takeoff in just 3200 feet while loaded to its maximum takeoff weight of 16,300 pounds. The Ultra has a cruise altitude of 37,000 feet as well. It has the same wing design as the Encore and is able to achieve similar maximum cruise and endurance speeds

The Ultra has Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5D turbofan engines. Each engine provides the Ultra with 3,045 pounds of thrust. The blades, made from a single-crystal alloy, are part of a wide-chord blade design that has been refined by computer software to improve aerodynamic characteristics. The new alloy also allows the inner tube temperature to go up an additional 68 ° F (when compared to JT15D5-5A engines). The engine design cuts down on air leaks, resulting in better aerodynamic efficiency over the A.

Like the Encore, the Ultra engines produce enough bleed air to support anti-icing, cabin pressurization, and air conditioning as well as providing a temperature control system that allows the cabin and cockpit to set and maintain different temperatures.
The Ultra, like the Encore, can be flown single pilot.

Citation V

The Citation V is one of the best-selling light jets ever produced by Cessna. It has a good blend of cabin comfort, performance, and reliability.

The deciding factor for most clients comparing the Citation V to other similar jets is often the comfort of the cabin. The Citation V’s cabin is 17.4 feet long, 4.8 feet wide, and 4.8 feet high. Compare these numbers to the Hawker 400XP’s cabin dimensions of 15.6 x 4.8 x 4.9 feet, or the Citation Bravo’s dimensions of 15.8 x 4.7 x 4.8 feet – the difference in length is significant. The engineers of the Citation V took advantage of the extra cabin space and installed extra-wide seats that recline 60 degrees and rotate a full 360 degrees.

The Citation V has an external baggage capacity of 46 cubic feet and an internal capacity of 28 cubic feet. In other words, this private jet can haul about seven suitcases and three golf bags, depending on the specific jet configuration and amount of passengers. Cessna spent considerable time on sound control in its original design of the Citation V. The result was one of the quietest light jets offered in its day. Other notable features include the two-zone temperature control and the ventilation system designed to eliminate drafts.

The cabin pressurization system can hold a sea level cabin to 23,580 feet, which is useful when flying at a high speed (425 knots/hour) cruise at 37,000 feet, or at a long range (350 knots/hour) cruise at the Citation V’s maximum certified flight ceiling of 45,000 feet. Takeoff distances are fairly short. At sea level, the Citation V can take off in 3,160 feet. At an altitude of 5,000 feet and a temperature of 77 ˚ F, the required runway distance increases to 4,780 feet.

It has an average cruise speed of 415 knots per hour and makes it a popular choice for 350 to 400 mile trips. Typical nonstop flights include Fort Lauderdale to New York, Aspen to Los Angeles, and San Francisco to Southern California.

RandAdminCitation 560 V/Ultra Encore Comparison
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The Pilatus PC-12 Part Three: Development- Overcoming the stigma of a single engine aircraft

The Pilatus PC-12 Part Three: Development- Overcoming the stigma of a single engine aircraft

By Tim Palma

In my previous article, I discussed the different series and model designs of the PC-12. This article will focus on the single biggest hurdle that Pilatus had to overcome in marketing and selling the PC-12. Early aircraft engines were underpowered and unreliable. Multiple engines were required on an aircraft to carry a nominal payload to their required destinations. Couple this with the unreliable nature of the engines and the mentality of “the more engines the better” was born. This mentality gave rise to “multi” multi-engine aircraft such as the DC 4, 6 and the B-52. As aircraft production rates continued to grow, so did the monetary and mental investment into the multi-engine mindset. Given the high failure rate of these early model engines, OEM salesman drove the perception that a single engine aircraft was not safe. The final piece to the anti-single engine stigma was most pilots learned to fly in single engine aircraft and their goal was to advance to a multi-engine model. The thought of moving back to a single engine seemed like a step backward.

RandAdminThe Pilatus PC-12 Part Three: Development- Overcoming the stigma of a single engine aircraft
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The Pilatus PC-12 Part Two: Production

The Pilatus PC-12 Part Two: Production

In my previous article, I discussed the history of the PC-12 and its developmental background. This article will focus on the model’s production history. The PC-12, like most long produced aircraft types, has gone through numerous modifications, upgrades and designation changes. The three basic model designations of the PC-12 are:

RandAdminThe Pilatus PC-12 Part Two: Production
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The Pilatus PC-12 Part One: Development

The Pilatus PC-12 Part One: Development

Pilatus Aircraft Limited, based at Stans, in Switzerland, has produced a wide range of aircraft since forming in 1939. The company originally was best known for its training aircraft, the P-2 and P-3 (no longer in production), the PC-7 and PC-9. It also had success with the PC-6 Porter. The PC-6 production line was terminated in 2000, but continuing demand has seen the aircraft put back into production. The PC-21 is the latest trainer to be developed and started full production in 2008.

RandAdminThe Pilatus PC-12 Part One: Development
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