Cessna Aircraft Co. observed the 20th anniversary of the maiden flight of the CitationJet prototype April 29.
On April 29, 1991, pilots Bob Leonard and Bob Carnahan took off from Wichita’s Mid-Continent Airport, reached an altitude of 10,000 feet and checked handling and trim characteristics, engine response and more.
Powered by two Williams-Rolls FJ44 advanced turbofan engines, the CitationJet was the first business jet to use a true natural laminar-flow wing, according to company officials. These features allowed for a roomier cabin, faster speeds and more range than the original Citation 500 and its replacement, the Citation I. The acquisition and maintenance costs of the six-passenger, T-tailed CitationJet attracted many first-time Citation owners, officials add.
“The price and the performance of Williams International’s all-new FJ44 series advanced turbofan engines allowed Cessna engineers to create an entirely new generation of light business jets with the CitationJet,” said Jack J. Pelton, Cessna’s chairman, president and CEO. “The CitationJet was a success from the moment it was announced at NBAA in 1989 and was instrumental in Cessna today boasting 6,100 Citations, the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Many of the concepts that made the CitationJet an impressive breakthrough influenced the development of future Citations, such as the Citation X and Citation Excel.”
The CitationJet prototype was eventually joined by other pre-production aircraft for the certification program. FAA certification was achieved in 1992 and deliveries began in 1993. The CitationJet rapidly became one of the world’s most popular light jets and inspired an entire family of aircraft (the name was shortened to CJ): the CJ1, CJ1+, CJ2 and today’s current production versions, the CJ2+, CJ3 and CJ4.
Cessna delivered 359 CitationJets, and today the CJ series fleet has surpassed 1,450 aircraft.
For more information: Cessna.com