Golden Mean

Middle class business jets are in high demand among Russian customers. One of the reasons of such a preference is an optimal combination of functionality, comfort as well as costs on purchase and maintenance. Planning a short- distance flights the best choice would be to use this aircrafts, weather to go for a business to Europe or with a family and friends to the sea. They are capable to carry up to 9 passengers on board to distances from 1 865 to 3 107 miles (30 to 50 hundred kilometers) at the speed of 497-528 miles per hour (800-850 km/h).
This
article is devoted to three middle class aircrafts, namely, Hawker 900XP, Learjet 60XR and Citation XLS+.

“Citation XLS+”: Business Image

In early 1990s, after the consideration with the clients, Cessna Aircraft Company came up with the idea of creation the next in turn middle class aircraft. They already had a successful experience in this field. Super high-speed Citation X amazed imaginary and, it would seem, proved the right direction in construction of aircraft of a bigger dimension. However, “vox populi” suggested taking up the development of more budgetary liner. At the same time Cessna’s clients demanded the only hardly feasible requirement to keep transversal size of the cabin “ten”.

The point of client’s pool was listened to. But instead of developing completely new machine from the very beginning, the constructors preferred to combine different elements, which had been elaborated for another construction before.

The new aircraft inherited non-sagittate wings from Citation Ultra and cruciform tail unit from Citation V. Fuselage was borrowed from Citation X, though it had been shorted by more than 6 meters. As a result Citation Excel came out, the news of which creation was announced on NBAA in 1994.

Further events developed by leaps and bounds. The business jet prototype made its first flight on 29th of February 1996, and the certificate has been received by the April 1998. By the beginning of delivery (summer 1998) Cessna secured more than 200 orders for “national” aircraft. The hundredth machine has been sold by the August 2000. At the beginning of XXI century this model became even more popular, so the manufacturer hardly kept up with the production of new aircraft. In the years 2000- 2002 the liners were sold out like hot cakes. Annually more than 80 business jets were sold. At times Excel were assembled in three days on Cessna factories. According to GAMA, from 1998 to 2004 total of 370 Citation Excel aircraft have been delivered.

In 2004 it was a high time for the first upgrade — Citation XLS (according to the JETNEWS, 329 aircrafts were sold in 2004 — 2008). In 2008 the aircraft was updated the second time. Citation XLS+ has been equipped with the new avionics Collins Pro Line 21, new engines PW545C (5000 hours till the extensive repairs) with electronically-numeral management system, and remodeled nose cone.

According to JETNEWS statistics, 48 Citation XLS+ are registered around the globe. The majority of the aircraft is in America (23 of them), four of them based in Germany, and in threes in Turkey, Brazil and Austria. Distribution of Citation XLS around the world approximately the same: 159 aircraft in the USA, 30 in Portugal, 26 in Germany and 13 in Brazil. Altogether, nearly 700 Excel/XLS/XLS+ aircraft were delivered. 

The cabin can seat up to nine passengers, but only seven armchairs are usually mounted.

The regional sales manager of Cessna in Russian representative office, David Glassner, said, “this model is popular enough among Russian owners, however, by this time no Citation Excel/XLS/XLS+ aircraft are registered in Russia.” At the present situation, delivery period of XLS+ is minimal. It is possible to order the machine and get it by the end of 2010. The process of certification Citation XLS+ in Russia has already begun. Commercial papers are expected to be signed in the following year.

“Citation XLS+ goes perfectly for intraeuropean flights. Excellent landing characteristics make it possible to use a range of small airports. Into a bargain, pilots and air operations centers highly appreciate handleability, flight qualities, simplicity of systems that reduce maintaining costs, and the high level of safety. Taking into account all the advantages and the prospect of license reception in Russia, Cessna company is sure that this aircraft will become a natural choice for much more Russian owners,” David Glassner believes.

It’s possible to undergo servicing (main form- once per 300 hours) in the company’s own service centre, which is located in Le Bourget, also in authorized centers in Viennese and neighboring Oberwaltersdorf airports, and in Oberpfaffenhofen airport near Munich. By the end of this year mobile service centre is to begin to work, which will operate clients from Northern France, South Italy and Spain. The building of another service centre will start In January 2011 in Valencia.

The founder of Prime Air company (run Citation XLS already for 4 years) Sergey Pashkov says that no significant disrepairs were found in Citaion XLS. Everything’s alright with the avionics. In winter as well no problems stand, though, of course, when we fly to the Southern airports, Norilsk for example, we put the plane in a hangar.

Dmitry Fedotov

The article is published abridged. The full version you can find in Top Flight № 5 (17), 2010.

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