Upwardly mobile owner/operators are target customers for business jet, set for 2004 certifcation

Cessna hopes to announce a substantial order backlog for its new Citation CJ3 light business jet at this week's National Business Aviation Association show in Orlando, Florida. The $5.8 million aircraft is set for certification in the second quarter of 2004, leading to first deliveries in the third quarter.

The CJ3 is a stretched version of the CJ2, with a 0.61m (2ft) longer passenger cabin providing more legroom, uprated Williams Inter-national FJ44-3A turbofans and enhanced Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics.

The aircraft has a 0.53m longer wing span, 0.3m taller verticaltail and a 0.15m longer tailconeto house the Goodrich full-authority digital engine control (FADEC) units.

With a maximum ramp weight of 6,290kg (13,870lb), the CJ3 will be certificated for single-pilot operation under FAR 23 commuter-category rules, allowing a common type rating with the smaller CJ1 and CJ2, says programme manager Russ Meyer.

Instrument flight rules range with four passengers and two crew is 3,080km (1,665nm), an increase of 220km over the $4.9 million CJ2. Maximum cruise speed is 417kt (770km/h), an increase of 7kt. Time to 37,000ft (11,300m) is 16min, which is 1min faster than the CJ2.

Flight testing of the 2,780lb-thrust (12.4kN) FJ44-3 began on 16 August, mounted on the left side of Cessna's CJ2 prototype. The engine provides 14% more take-off and 12% more cruise thrust than the CJ2's FJ44-2C, and introduces a dual-channel FADEC. Assembly of the CJ3 prototype is under way, with the first flight set for the second quarter of next year. Two production aircraft will be used in the certification flight-test programme.

The standard Pro Line 21 avionics suite includes primary flight displays for pilot and co-pilot, multi-function display with enhanced maps, flight management system and integrated radios.

Other standard equipment includes Goodrich Landmark terrain and Skywatch HP traffic systems, Goodrich electronic standby flight display, Smiths electronic horizontal situation indicator and Spirent Systems cabin display.

The CJ3 is the first aircraft to have a file server as part of the standard avionics. This allows cursor control of the flat-panel displays and enables optional features such as electronic charts and graphical weather. Collins is offering two weather sources: WSI's satellite-broadcast system; and Universal Weather's VHF datalink system.

Although the CJ3 is priced above the Citation Bravo, Cessna says the $5.45 million Bravo will remain in the product line because it offers slightly more payload and range, and two more seats. The company has Bravo orders into 2004 and will "let the market decide" how much longer the older aircraft stays in production.

Most CJ3 customers are expected to be owner/operators upgrading from the CitationJet, CJ1 and CJ2.


Source: Flight International