Speed does matter! Demonstrating its rank as the maker of the fastest civil aircraft in the world, Cessna Aircraft Company announced today at the annual National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) Convention & Exhibition that the recently certified Citation X+ has set several city-to-city speed records for its weight class including Seattle to Miami, making the 2,375 nautical mile trip in 4 hours, 52 minutes. Cessna is a subsidiary of Textron Aviation, Inc., a Textron Inc. (NYSE:TXT) company.
“Today’s news provides yet another example of how the Citation X+ meets customers’ need for speed,” says Scott Ernest, president and CEO of Textron Aviation. “Maximizing the hours in the day is what business aviation is all about. When you have the opportunity to spend less time in the air and more time in front of your customers, you’re making the choice to invest in winning the market, and the X+ is the perfect aircraft to meet that mission.”
Referring to the National Aeronautic Association’s (NAA) certification, the Citation X+ set four speed records over a two-day period in weight class C-1h (12,000 kg to less than 16,000kg) for flights over a recognized course: 1) Wichita Mid-Continent Airport (KICT) and King County International Airport (KBFI) outside Seattle; 2) Seattle to Opa-Locka Executive Airport (KOPF) near Miami; 3) Miami to Seattle; and 4) Seattle to Wichita. The aircraft was loaded to simulate a typical customer flight, including required crew and four passengers and luggage.
Close to the speed of sound: With a maximum aircraft speed of Mach 0.935, the record-setting effort generated an average maximum speed of Mach 0.916 during the two-day period, with various weather and flight conditions encountered for the following NAA-qualified results:
FlightCity Pair Record Time* Distance km*Max Speed ktas Avg Ground Speed
knots*Max Alt 1 KICT-KBFI 2:58 2,303 543.9 419.7 FL360 2 KBFI-KOPF 4:52 4,378 537.0 486.2 FL450 3 KOPF-KBFI 5:13 4,378 531.5 453.1 FL470 4 KBFI-KICT 2:22 2,303 532.6 526.4 FL410
*NAA Qualified. “It’s great to set records with the speeds we’ve seen from the Citation X+ starting with our earliest test flights,” Michael Voigt, Cessna’s pilot-in-command said of the NAA certification. “The real reward comes, though, when we hear from our Citation X+ customers about what speed means to their business and their ability to get more done, more efficiently.”
The high-end business jet, certified by the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in June, has seating for up to 12 passengers, a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet, an unmatched maximum speed of Mach 0.935 and an increased max range of 3,408 nautical miles.
Technically, the most distinct outward difference with the evolved Citation X+ is the addition of winglets, allowing the aircraft to cruise efficiently at higher altitudes and to consume less fuel, as well as improving takeoff and landing performance at higher elevations or on hot days. Powered by two FADEC-controlled Rolls-Royce AE3007C2 turbofan engines, the Citation X+ can fly above most commercial traffic and often above adverse weather at a maximum altitude of 51,000 feet.
Important for the pilots is the fact that the cockpit of the Citation X+ features ergonomic seats designed for transcontinental flights, and a dual-zone temperature control system keeps pilots and passengers comfortable. The flight deck is centered on the Garmin G5000 avionics package with four intuitive, full-color touch-screen controllers and three 14-inch high-resolution displays, as well as fully integrated auto throttles to reduce pilot workload. Standard Garmin Synthetic Vision Technology on the primary flight displays gives the crew a virtual reality view of runways, terrain, traffic and obstacles.
This airplane also features a longer cabin with even more leg room, built around a proprietary intelligent cabin management and entertainment technology solution integrated with the aircraft’s avionics and electrical systems. Each seat location is also provided with its own individual touch screen to control cabin lighting, window shades and temperature. The interior of each new Citation X+ can be tailor-made to the customer’s specifications in seating layout, color and material choices and entertainment options that can include global, satellite Wifi connectivity.
This information reflects the company’s focus on continued investment in general aviation’s most extensive product line up. During the past year, Cessna has certified four new Citation models – the Citation M2, Citation CJ3+, Citation Sovereign+ and the upgraded Citation X+. The next new Citation product coming to market within the coming year is the Citation Latitude, expected to certify in the second quarter of 2015.
Over 6,600 Citations have been delivered to customers around the world since the first Cessna Citation business jet was put into service in 1972. Citations are the largest fleet of business jets in the world and have surpassed 30 million flight hours. For more information on the Citation X+, visit Cessna.com.