The first production unit of the new Cessna Citation X took its maiden flight at the end of July, marking another step to full certification and delivery of the mid-size business jet to its first customer.
“The Citation X was flawless today,” said Gary Drummond, Cessna senior production test pilot and the flight’s pilot in command. “We took the X to an altitude of 49,000 feet on a flight pattern over western Kansas. The aircraft attained a top speed of Mach 0.935, or 617 miles per hour. We conducted a 3.1-hour flight with an average cruise speed of Mach 0.915, or 604 miles per hour, at 41,000 feet. The Garmin G5000 avionics performed brilliantly and the auto-throttle system is going to be a welcome feature for Citation X operators. Approach into high congestion areas are simplified with auto-throttles. Speed and command changes were seamless today. The auto throttles on the X delivers flight performance advantages with greater situational awareness and reduced crew workload.”
The new Cessna flagship will have an operational range of 3,242 nm, meaning it can easily fly non-stop from London to New York, Tokyo to Singapore or right across the European continent. The aircraft has two Rolls-Royce AE 3007C2 turbofan engines, each delivering 7,034 pounds of thrust. The Citation X is one of the few business jets permitted to operate at an altitude of 51,000 feet. This capability allows the aircraft to fly above most weather and avoid lower-altitude commercial traffic, translating into shorter flights.
The Citation X offers a longer cabin and greater range compared to the earlier aircraft with the same name. That X made its first flight in 1993, with about 330 built since then. The new X has a upgraded cockpit as well, featuring three 14 inch primary displays and four touchscreen controllers for data entry and systems control. First flight of the new Citation X was on January 17, 2012. Deliveries are expected to begin early next year.