Faster Than The Wind

The speed advantage of twenty or thirty kilometers per hour is not always visible in the real flight. Adverse weather conditions can easily neutralize such an advantage. Meanwhile, famed aircraft Cessna Citation X are palpably faster than the competitors and indeed save time in the flights. Moreover, the developer company is doing everything possible to maintain the leadership and will soon submit a new version of the record holder — Citation Ten.

For the past 15 years in a row Citation X is the fastest business jet in the world. Moreover, after the completion of the operation of the supersonic “Concorde”, the “ten” has received the honorable olive branch of the speed champion among all certified commercial airliners today. Coming from New York to Los Angeles or, for example, from Moscow to Dubai, Citation X gives the 95% probability of landing in half an hour earlier than any other reactive machine.

Even the appearance of Citation X supports the reputation of almost racing aircraft by its arrow-shaped wings, streamlined contours of the fuselage, relatively large, tangibly powerful engines. This plane is simply obliged to fly at breathtaking transonic speeds, something different is inconceivable.

Restoring The Reputation

In the late 80’s “Gulf Streams” and “Learjets” have easily outpaced any “Cessna”. The difference in speed was so obvious that the idle tongues called the popular family of business jet aircraft Citation no otherwise than "Slowtation" (in other words, slow mover). Tired of the quips and “studs”, which were constantly directed against the company, Russ Meyer, Jr., who served as the board chairman of Cessna Aircraft, decided to get rid of the attacks. He offered to construct the most high-speed aircraft in the history, equipped with the airtight heated trunk. The new aircraft, designed from the scratch, had to restore the image of the aircraft manufacturer, and at the same time to become the new leader of the company.

The ambitious project was announced in October 1990. Although skepticism dominated (detractors believed the company’s plans were unrealistic) already on 21st of December, 1993 the first prototype of Citation X took off for the first time. The supplies began three years later. The first client was one of the greatest golfers of all time, Arnold Palmer. Having flown 5,000 km with the average speed of 876 km / h in September 1996, the famous sportsman gave a beginning to the countless records of “ten”.

The reputation of Cessna Aircraft has been restored, and a team of the aircraft manufacturer engineers was awarded the prestigious prize Collier Trophy National Association of Aeronautics in 1997. Restrained with emotions official communique read: the award was given for the development and commissioning of Citation X — the first in the history of the United States Aviation commercial aircraft that has reached cruising speed of M 0,92.

As a rule, the quickness has to be paid. But an amazing fuel efficiency of a business jet became the undoubted achievement of Cessna. The “Ten” consumed only 1461 liters of aviation fuel per hour which was a truly unique offer on the market of mid-class aircraft in the middle of 90s.

As was expected, Citation X has attracted the attention of representatives of sports, political and media elites. Meanwhile, a sufficiently large number of aircraft was purchased by large companies, including operators of fractional ownership. In spite of a sizeable price, the machine is still in steady demand, at the end of November 2009 Cessna delivered the 300th aircraft. By the way, business jets of this type have already made more than a million takeoffs and landings, and the total distance flown is by four times exceeds the distance from Earth to the Sun.

Forward To The Perfection

Cessna Aircraft Engineers do not rest on the laurels and constantly improve their creation. Listening to the customer requests, they eliminate small defects that arise with the increase of the operating experience. Although they decide sometimes the fundamental problems. Thus, traction of engines and payload were increased, the runway length required for landing in conditions of high temperature and high altitude was reduced. The control of the aircraft on a roll at low speeds has been optimized and therefore the work of pilots in a reduction in a strong crosswind was facilitated.

To the honor of Cessna it should be noted that the majority of serious improvements were carried out at the expense of the manufacturer.

The electronic equipment is also constantly upgraded. Already this year, instead of the usual avionics Honeywell Primus 2000 the aircraft will be equipped with the improved Honeywell Primus Elite system.

The company watch closely the new developments in the field of aviation safety — at the last exhibition EBACE 2011 Cessna introduced the “ten” with the improved vision system. This device will form the basic supply pocket and will be mounted on each serial machine without exceptions. Moreover, the development of artificial vision system is in the short-terms plans. And in the year 2012, the aircraft will be equipped with the newest system of broadband Internet access Aircell Aviator 300.

It seemed that the position of Cessna at high-speed Olympus suffered after a record flight of the perspective trucker Gulfstream G650. But the aircraft manufacturer is not going to surrender and offers its customers to mount the aircraft an elliptical epoxy-graphite wingtips, drastically reducing the head resistance.

Citation X with additional aerodynamic surfaces can accelerate the speed up to 0.942 M, which is almost 972 km / h (compare with 0.925 M declared by Gulfstream G650). So, it seems that Cessna will make every effort to maintain its leadership. The prestige of the brand name is above everything.

The edges will also increase the rate of climb. If earlier the “ten” “climbed” to the altitude of 13 110 m in 26 minutes, now it’s by four minutes faster.

Dmitry Fedotov

The article is published abridged. The full version you can find in Top Flight № 6 (28) 2011

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