NBAA 2006: CJ4 launched and Citation XLS announced

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Cessna kept its promise of launching the much-heralded Citation CJ4 this morning – and then added to the celebrations by announcing a new derivative of its best-selling Citation XLS.

The new Citation XLS+ will feature a fully integrated Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, including XM animated broadcast graphical weather and charts, and improved PW545C full-authority digital controlled engines from Pratt & Whitney. Exterior and interior restyling is also integrated into the new model, most prominently the extended contour of the nose and expanded seat widths, both introduced to more closely resemble Cessna’s Citation X and Citation Sovereign models.

This is the third generation of the Citation 560XL series and Cessna was anxious not to interfere with a winning formula. “Even with the success of this aircraft, Cessna has continued to seek improvements by asking our customers how we could make the best even better,” says Cessna chairman, president and chief executive Jack Pelton.
Customer comments helped drive the design for the new Citation CJ4.

The CJ4 design has incorporated many of the great assets in other parts of the Cessna fleet as well as being the platform for a new engine from Williams.
“We have used the Mustang door, the Encore + cockpit, a Sovereign style wing and the CJ3 baggage space. We placed the windows into the design last to guarantee a perfect positioning,” says product marketing manager Brett Palmiero.

Pelton told NBAA: “We have also designed an external frame on the cabin that gives us much more space for wider seats. We’ve created an airplane that is truly a combination of top-notch engineering advances. Rather than just a stretched CJ3, the Citation CJ4 is a true upward extension to the single-pilot-certified family.”
Configurable for seven or eight passengers in the main cabin, the CJ4 is expected to have a full fuel payload of 1,000lb (455kg) and maximum payload of 2,100lb, 300lb more compared with the typical CJ3. The CJ4 is expected to have a cruise speed of 435kt (800km/h).

First flight is scheduled for the first half of 2008 and entry into service is set for the first half of 2010. The introductory price is expected to be just under $8 million in 2006 dollars. Cessna already has more than 70 orders for the new jet.

The new Williams International FJ44-4A full-authority digital controlled engine will debut on the CJ4. The twin engines each provide 3,400lb (15kN) of thrust, compared with 2,820lb of the CJ3’s FJ44-3A. The aircraft will be certificated for operations up to 45,000ft (13,720m). The electric rudder and aileron trim are new features, as is single-point refueling for the aircraft.

Meanwhile, certification for the Citation XLS+ is expected in the first quarter of 2008 with the first customer delivery in the last quarter of that year. Priced at $11.6 million, Pelton says the XLS+ “will continue the tradition of the Excel and XLS as the most affordable stand-up cabin business jet”. Planned performance of the upgraded jet sees cruise at 435kt, a range of more than 1,800nm (3,330km), climb direct to 45,000ft in 29min, and land on runways as short as 3,180ft.

Cabin mock-ups of both the Citation CJ4 and the XLS+ will be on display at the Cessna stand (5133) at NBAA.