NBAA 09: Cessna: CJ4 beats expectations

Washington DC
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Cessna has revealed significantly improved performance numbers for its CJ4 light jet, set for certification by end of the year, with first deliveries in the first quarter of 2010. Mike Fuhrman, director of technical marketing for the Wichita-based airframer, says test results and technical adjustments have yielded better speed, payload, range and time-to-climb results for the seven- to 10-passenger Williams International FJ44-4A-powered $8.75 million twinjet.

Most significant is a speed increase of 17kt (30km/h), boosting maximum cruise speed from 435kt to 452kt at 31,000ft (9,500m) and up to 430kt at its certificated maximum altitude of 45,000ft. Maximum operating speed remains at M0.77. Time to climb is improvement is based on adjustments to the full authority digital engine controllers, with the CJ4 now able to climb directly to 45,000ft from sea level in 28min at its maximum take-off weight of 16,950lb (7,700kg). Fuhrman says engineers had initially expected that the CJ4 would have to climb to 43,000ft and burn fuel before climbing to 45,000ft.

At maximum take-off weight, the CJ4 requires 3,300ft of runway for take-off and 2,665ft for landing at standard conditions, improvements made by "tweaking" the modulated speed brakes and ground spoilers, says Fuhrman. With maximum fuel of 5,810lb and two pilots, the CJ4 will have 1,024lb of payload available in the cabin, enough for five 200lb passengers.

Range has also increased based on a better than expected specific fuel consumption figures from the engines and the quicker time-to-climb. Fuhrman says Cessna is now advertising 1,965nm (3,635km) range (standard NBAA IFR reserves) with a full-fuel payload at maximum cruise speed thrust settings, up from 1,825nm, an increase of more than 7%.

The CJ4 is the launch platform for Rockwell Collins Venue in-flight entertainment system, which comes standard with three 10.6in (270mm) monitors, two for the seating area and one for the bulkhead at the front of the cabin, and single-point control of most cabin functions.

Also included are iPod docking stations at each seat and as an option, a multi-port docking station at the front of the cabin. Rockwell Collins' Pro Line 21 integrated avionics system is also in the cockpit.