Cessna began development of the Citation X in 1990 and after its introduction in 1996, it quickly set numerous speed records to claim the title of the fastest operational business jet in the world. With the Gulfstream G650 receiving its type certificate from the FAA in September 2012, Cessna lost that crown, but is set to reclaim it with the first production “new Citation X” rolling out the hangar door this week.
In 2010, Cessna announced plans for an update to the Citation X that would be called the Citation Ten, later deciding upon the “new Citation X” as the name for the updated model. A prototype first flew in January 2012 and two test aircraft have since clocked up over 675 flight hours.
Changes from its predecessor include a 38 cm (14.9 in) longer cabin, 2 cm (0.8 in) of extra height, a 1.7 m (5.6 ft) increase in wingspan, an increase in maximum takeoff weight to 16,601 kg (36,600 lb) and a 26 nautical mile (30 mile/48 km) increase in range up to 3,242 nautical miles (3,731 miles/6,004 km).
The new aircraft also features elliptical winglets at the tip of the main wing. These winglets, which Cessna says increase fuel efficiency and takeoff and landing performance at higher elevations and on hot days, were previously available as an aftermarket option on the Citation X but come as standard on the new model.
But it’s the aircraft’s speed that was always the focus. "Speed is the reason for flight. It was true for Clyde Cessna in 1927, and it's true today," says Scott Ernest, Cessna CEO. "The Citation X is the perfect aircraft for customers wanting to move faster, be more efficient and get where they need to be more quickly than ever before."
The new Citation X boasts a maximum speed of Mach 0.935, outpacing the Gulfstream G650’s Mach 0.925 and making it the fastest operational civilian aircraft in the world. It also claims a maximum cruising speed of 527 knots (976 km/h, 606 mph). Cessna expects it to have the same maximum altitude of its predecessor at 51,000 feet, allowing it to fly above commercial air traffic and adverse weather.
The first production new Citation X rolled out of Cessna’s Wichita, Kansas, manufacturing facility on Tuesday, April 16. It is one of six new aircraft the company plans to bring to market this year.
Cessna is expecting to receive FAA certification for the new Citation X later this year. Customer deliveries are set to start shortly thereafter.