Cessna Citation X – the fastest operative civilian jet

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The different categories among the jets have made that dream a reality. Here is the latest addition to the clan. Cessna has already made its name in the arena of private jets. The Cessna babies were practical and with good engine qualities but the area where faced the chaff was in the field of speed.

The Cessna Citation X is the fastest operative civilian jet, with a maximum speed of Mach 0.92 (527 ktas, 607 mph, 977 km/h at 41,000ft ASL (12,700meters ASL). This also makes it the fastest business jet in history.

What makes it a show stopper are a couple of impressive features: the X is the  first aircraft from Cessna to use a Rolls-Royce engine and fully integrated avionics. Though there are some commonalities among its predecessors the X has its  wing, tail, tail cone, gear, and systems designed from scratch and not based on pre-existing aircrafts. One attribute that is often first noticed is the large diameter of the engine intakes. This feature, related to the high bypass ratio turbofan, reduces the noise from the engines and improves fuel efficiency. Another obvious characteristic is the highly swept wing with a supercritical airfoil, which contributes to the zoom factor alias top speed.

A little background information

The Cessna Citation X is built by the Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. Although based on the earlier Citation III, VI and VII models, the Citation X is an altogether different airplane.
The impetus for Cessna toward the Citation X program was to do away with its popular  image of the Citation as a slow airplane. Increased speed and a pressurized baggage compartment occupied the top slots in the ‘must – have’ list.

The Cessna Citation X aircraft incorporates a number of innovative design features, which makes it stand apart from its predecessors.

Airframe

The main focus was towards doing away with its tardy image. The resulting design includes an area-ruled fuselage for efficient transonic flight. The Citation X’s wing is slung below the fuselage rather than passing through it. This allows increased volume in the fuselage, a one-piece wing, and simplified wing-fuselage connections.

Engines

The Cessna Citation X is powered by two Rolls-Royce AE 3007C1 engines; a first among the Cessna’s, each with a thrust of 6700 lbf (30 kN), pod-mounted on the sides of the rear fuselage. The engine has solid titanium blades and a three-stage low-pressure turbine. The engine’s fan has a 5 to 1 bypass ratio for improved fuel efficiency and low acoustic signature.

Powered controls

Another first for Cessna is the inclusion of powered controls in the Citation X. The controls are powered by dual-hydraulic systems for redundancy. As Paul Kalberer, the chief engineer of the Citation X program explained, the Citation X needs just as many hydraulic pumps and actuators as a Boeing aircraft, but has much less space inside the wings.

Avionics

Honeywell provides the avionics system for the glass cockpit. The Honeywell Primus 2000 EFIS flight director system is composed of five 7″x8″ CRT screens. Dual flight management systems with GPS are standard.

Speed

The Cessna Citation X is the fastest civilian aircraft currently being flown, attaining Mach .92. With the supersonic Concorde and Tupolev Tu-144 no longer in use and the proposed Gulfstream G650 planning to top the Citation X’s speed record by .005 Mach, the X is all set to top the list.

Elliptical Winglets

The elliptical winglets increase range by 150 nm, lower fuel burn by 4-5%, increase hot and high performance as well as climb rate, permitting a climb to FL430 in 22 minutes, as opposed to 26 minutes without the modification. Cruise speed at altitude is increased by 15 knots, and maximum takeoff weight by 1200 lbs (545 kg).

The first Citation X was delivered in July 1996 to golfer and long-time Cessna customer Arnold Palmer. In October 2000, Cessna announced an upgrade for all Citation Xs to be delivered after January 1, 2002. The main characteristics of this upgraded version are a 5% increase in thrust, a 400 lb (180 kg) increase in maximum take-off weight and improved Honeywell avionics.

Cessna Citation X