It’s a well known saying that “time is money” and this has proved to be true especially in the case of business travelers. But whether you are part of an executive team traveling on business or jet setting on a much needed vacation, there is no better way to travel than with a private jet. No more flight delays and no more tedious security checks that is common with commercial airlines.
Private jets offer you the flexibility and ease of travel that is well worth the extra cost. Gone are also the less than satisfying economy seating and airline food that we all love to hate, on this trip you set the standards and you call the shots. With the vast array of private jets available, one might wonder which private jet is best for them. Well, if time is your biggest concern, why not choose the fastest private jet there is!
The Cessna Citation X is a long range, medium size business jet aircraft. The X is the fastest operative civilian jet with a top speed of Mach 0.92 (706.5 mph, 957 km/h at 41,000ft ASL (12,700meters ASL). This also makes it the fastest business jet in history. It’s true that most of the elite few may have the opportunity to own or travel daily on such an aircraft, but thanks to Eaglesoft, we now have an opportunity to see for ourselves what it’s like not only to be onboard, but to fly one of the fastest private jets in the world.
The Citation X by Eaglesoft is no stranger to the flightsim community. This history of this Citation X goes back to Abacus Corporate Pilot Series for FS2000. Eaglesoft then built the original CX1.0 for FS2002/FS2004 which many of you may already have in your virtual hangars. As time went by, aircraft being developed for FS9 had seen vast improvements with the almost standard introduction of FMS with vertical and lateral navigation capabilities.
While other developers created a Citation X to meet this standard, the team at Eaglesoft was busy behind the scenes creating what may now be a new standard in business aircraft simulation with the CX 2.0. For a list of the features available on the CX 2.0, visit Eaglesoft.
What makes the Citation X by Eaglesoft stand out above other Citation X aircraft currently available? Well, any and all real world CX 750 pilots who own other Citation X products have said that there is actually no comparison with the Eaglesoft CX2.0 on realism or operation. In addition, Eaglesoft provides an extensive set of documentation, a dedicated support forum with a newly added CXV2.0 Pilots Lounge monitored 24/7, real world CX 750 pilot staff advice and consultation, a fantastic visual model, the most realistic Flight Dynamics available, and much more.
At this point some of you may be asking “Is this product going to be too advanced for me?” Well, while novices who are willing to learn are fully supported, the Cessna Citation X Extreme V2.0 is built for the "Advanced" Flight Simulator enthusiast who wishes to own a "More Realistic Citation X with Advanced Operation and Features Set" regardless of cost.
The complexity of the systems implementation also led to a decision to do a joint review by two Avsim reviewers, to allow for a more thorough examination of this interesting airplane. In some chapters, we’ve chosen to give our own account and impressions, in the hope that this will add some insight for potential buyers of this package.
We got the first invitation to review this aircraft in October 2009, but development was still in full swing and only the FS9 version was available. Since then, several patches have been released and the FSX version started shipping. The current version (1.83) is performing quite well both in FS9 and FSX, and it is time to put some of the test flight experience to paper.
As mentioned above, there are a lot of different systems to learn and test and in spite of our efforts, we are sure there are features that have still to be explored and appreciated. OK, lets begin our review so we can share with you how great an aircraft this really is.
Installation & Documentation:
You can find the Citation X V2, downloadable at the Eaglesoft site. There are two separate packages to choose from, one for FS9 and one for FSX. The downloads use the well known Flight1 wrapper.
(Marlon) The Installation of the Citation X 2.0 was quite simple. After the download process has completed, the installation is done in a matter of minutes. After the installation, you will notice desktop shortcuts to the documentation that comes along with the package.
The Documentation can only be described as thorough and user friendly. I have come across some aircraft manuals that have left much to be desired, but the documentation for the CX 2.0 was well written and provides much insight to the complex systems of the Citation X. Some features are explained even though they are not enabled on the aircraft which gives users a feeling of full competence while using the aircraft.
Some portions of the avionics are presented by themselves so users can focus their attention on the many simulated functions. Also useful is a presentation on how to set up your throttle configuration to accurately use the FADEC function. I strongly recommend reading the manual for this aircraft, understanding how it works will only add to the thrill of using it.
(Bert) The installation is straightforward, and you end up with a choice of seven models, and a list of reference manuals to peruse: Cockpit layout, Flight Guidance Controller, Radios, FMS quick start guide, EFIS guide, and two Sample Flights, complete with airport arrivals and ILS approach plates. In addition, there are links to a set of YouTube videos prepared by a Citation pilot, explaining how to set up the FMS for take-off and cruise.
Lastly, there is an active Support Forum and Pilot’s Lounge where users can ask questions which are answered both by Eaglesoft developers as well as other users. This is a good thing, because the Citation X is a complex aircraft, with many features that are going to be unfamiliar to new users.
I would recommend that new users read the documentation cover to cover, for this airplane is expected to be flown “by the book”, using the provided checklists which can be popped up in the cockpit. Although there is a lot of documentation, it is mainly in Reference Format, so there is a definite learning curve to getting to the point where you feel confident that you are prepared to fly this high performance airplane.
One more time, be prepared to follow the checklist to the letter, or you will find the Caution lights coming on and Warning messages appearing on the MFD, just as you are entering some critical phase of your flight! Once mastered, there is a definite sense of satisfaction, so the investment in time is worth the effort!
Model and Sound (Marlon):
When Cessna created the Citation X, it was an entirely new and unique design. Some loved it, some hated it; but one thing is for sure, Eaglesoft did a fantastic job in modeling this aircraft. From almost every angle there are very few if any inaccuracies and even though it looks close to version 1.0, the CX2.0 is a total rebuild of the Citation X. One of the features that could have been better is the “not so round” tires. This may be a minor detail to some, but I am sure there are folks with an eye for detail that may notice this.
The model comes with many new features, including winglets which can be added without having to load a totally new aircraft from the aircraft menu. The Elliptical wing design increases range by 150 nm, lowers fuel burn by 4-5%, increases 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. The Eaglesoft Citation X 2.0 also has an animated Pilot, First Officer and Female VIP passenger, along with engine and pitot tube covers and a host of other “hidden” features in the interior cabin.
Interior textures are quite nice and it gives a realistic feel to the interior, whether it is the cockpit or the cabin. The only suggestion I would offer would be the use of more high quality textures on the exterior. These days most aircraft come equipped with very high definition textures and it really takes the exterior model of any aircraft to the next level.
Sound wise, the Citation X soundset is as real as it gets. From start up to shutdown, the unique sound of the Rolls Royce AE 3007C1 is beautifully captured. The design of the engines itself is a bit unconventional but very functional in terms of fuel efficiency and noise reduction and this fact is true as you notice not only accurate modeling of the engines, but a difference with the sound of this aircraft vs. others in its category.
The model, outside and inside the cockpit (Bert):
First impression upon loading the Citation X is that it truly looks like the real thing, inside and out. Initially, I installed the FS9 package and was thoroughly impressed by the overall looks of the airplane from pretty much any angle. It just looks great! Weeks later, I installed the FSX version and was surprised that it looked identical. The good news is that it is just as gorgeous in FSX as in FS9, the bad news is that we have come to expect more from FSX models, and little things like the not quite round wheels (and some rough spots in the VC) stick out as being less than the state of the art. Eaglesoft has announced that a “sweetened” 3D model is in the works and will be provided as a no-cost upgrade to FSX customers.
More important than the outside looks, to me, is the place where a pilot spends most of his or her time, namely in the cockpit. Luckily, this is one of the strong points of this package. For starters, there is a choice of a regular (4:3) and two wide screen (16:10) 2D cockpits, as well as a fully functional virtual cockpit. The gauges are readable in either, as can be seen from the pictures below, and it is really a matter of personal preference which cockpit view you want to use.
I’ve been moving more towards the VC view in recent airplane releases (in part because some vendors no longer provide a 2D cockpit), but with the level of complexity of the FMS and the glass panel avionics, I appreciated the wide screen 2D panel which looks very crisp on my 1680:1050 monitor, and which has the benefit of not moving on me as I reach out to push a button or turn a knob.
After some flying with this aircraft, I’ve come to starting in the 2D cockpit, get the avionics started up, the FMS programmed and the airplane in the air and on autopilot. At that point, I switch to the VC to monitor the flight and prepare for the arrival, as well as getting out of my seat from time to time when I’ve been sitting too long and having a look around the cabin.
The airplane can be configured with or without winglets, and with various passenger loads. If you venture into the cabin, you can lower the seat table, deploy the passenger LCD screens, serve a drink from the bar, and after returning to the cockpit, close the cockpit door. All in all, nicely done.
Flying experience (Marlon):
To date, I have flown nearly 50 hrs using the Citation X 2.0 with flights ranging from 30 minutes to 3 hours long. This may sound odd, but each flight felt different and on each flight I discovered many new features of the aircraft. From the very start though, setting up the Citation X was made easy with the use of a checklist which I suggest you print to have handy while flying.
The FMS setup is a no compromise situation, you have to set up the FMS by the book or you WILL run into problems. One of the things overlooked is the Take off Initialization process, so I encourage users to read the manual well in order to understand this process. After setting up the FMS and starting up the engines, I advanced the throttles not knowing what to expect but thankfully the aircraft does not require a high power setting to get rolling nor is it uncontrollable.
While taxiing though, I remembered that I forgot to set my initial altitude. This may be quite a challenge on this aircraft due to the fact that the heading and course indicators are positioned on the center pedestal! In real life I am sure they would be easy to get to, but how was I going to set my altitude without pulling up the large center pedestal window? Well Eaglesoft provided two easy ways to do this. First the heading and course selectors can be brought up in the 2D panel covering the autopilot controls, but if you fly in the VC this may be a bit of a problem. So the second option (my favorite) is the use of keyboard commands that can be customized to your liking. This makes setting nearly all autopilot functions quick and easy just as it would be in real life.
Another one of my favorite features is the Primus RMU. The RMU (Radio Management Unit) is easy to use and very handy. It allows you to either tune the radios manually or by the FMS interface. However this does not work for ILS frequencies, perhaps when and if the software is upgraded by Eaglesoft it may be included. Another aspect of the RMU I found to be interesting is the fact that you can easily save COM and NAV frequencies.
Reading the manual is important in order to know how to do this. Something else I found that really shows how thorough this unit is simulated, is the NB (Narrow Bandwidth) and WB (Wide Bandwidth) settings for the COM frequencies. In theory the wide bandwidth setting can improve reception of stations using older equipment. This truly shows how in depth the systems of this aircraft are and it really is a nice touch.
When I got to the runway, I double checked the setup of the aircraft to ensure that I would not receive any “No Take off” warnings and especially remembering to push the TOGA button which is a click spot near the autopilot controls. Advancing the throttles to take off thrust went smoothly; I was particularly concerned about this because I did not have a registered copy of FSUIPC which is required for accurate FADEC capabilities.
For me personally, I was able to have some FADEC functions but for some users it may not work at all. Nonetheless it made my CH throttles feel like it really did have FADEC technology built it (Hmmm wouldn’t that be a great idea? Throttles with FADEC technology built in?) Anyway, the most exciting moment came when the aircraft left the ground. I was stunned to see how wonderfully the aircraft responded while hand flying. I almost didn’t need the autopilot at all! The turns were smooth, airspeed easy to manage and I never once felt the need to trim the aircraft constantly to control the pitch.
Even with the autopilot engaged and VNAV/LNAV engaged, the aircraft continued to fly like a dream. The only time I noticed a bit of unsteady flying was at very high speeds in level flight. The aircraft began shaking a bit but that was quickly stopped by reducing the speed to the recommended cruise speeds. Later I eventually found out that this was not really a shortcoming of the Citation X 2.0, but a limitation within FS9 itself.
When it came time to initiate our descent, it is extremely important to follow the landing initialization process or else the autopilot will not fly the published STAR you have entered into the FMS accurately. Landing the Citation X was also a unique experience. I initially thought it would feel just the same as any other small jet in terms of handling but I was grossly mistaken.
To land the Citation X smoothly you need to plan ahead and fly the aircraft the way it is intended to be flown. If your power setting is low you will have a hard time handing the aircraft, I have found that by setting the throttles to 50-55% you are able to hold the glideslope a lot easier and every now and then you might manage to grease the tires onto the runway.
Flying the Citation X was a joy. It’s not often you find a complex aircraft with so many features and flying characteristics that are so accurate and unique. For those 50 hours or more that I spent flying and testing this aircraft, I had a lot of fun while learning so many new things and I am sure you will too.
Flying the Citation (Bert):
The biggest surprise to me, is how easy this airplane is to fly by hand. It is very well behaved, and once you get past the overwhelming level of information provided via the PFD and MFD screens and just look out the window, you can make a perfect landing every time. The really addictive quality of this airplane, however, is learning to fly it using the complete set of “Normal Procedures” checklists, from preflight inspection to shutdown after landing.
If you want to get to know the systems in the Citation, a good way is to follow the Cold & Dark start up instructions. This involves first starting up the Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), following the Cockpit Preparation checklist, before then executing the Engine Start instruction flow following the Engine Start checklist, and for good measure shutting down the APU at the end. At this point, the systems are all active and the IRS systems are aligned.
Now to the avionics: This is where things get truly interesting. The airplane comes with advanced Honeywell avionics, including five glass screens as well as fully functional dual FMSs. The PFD and MFD each have multiple modes and you can spend quite some time figuring out where all the information is “hidden”. If you are like me and are eager to get into the air, it will not take you long to get to the point where the MFD displays a “No take-off” warning, and you get to search for what you have overlooked during the pre-flight setup. Also, it takes some getting used to that not all controls are in front of you.
The often used HDG, CRS, and ALT knobs are on the floor, between the seats. In real life, I’m sure you can just reach down and find these knobs by feel alone. In the simulator, you have to either pan down in the virtual cockpit, at which point you cannot see the main instruments to read the settings, or you have to pop up a Remote Instrument Control panel so you can get everything into view. This is one of the reasons why I prefer flying this airplane from the 2D cockpit during the takeoff phase.
For my personal use, I also ended up adding some click spots in the cockpit, so I can easily access the FMS and other sub panels. The little panel manager in the bottom left is ingenious, but there are times when I would rather click on the panel, and get the information. For users with programmable flight modules, keystrokes for the avionics can be assigned in an .ini file, so there is lots of room to customize the flying environment to your tastes.
The FMS deserves a review all to itself to do it justice. Let me just say that I found that if you program and use the FMS the way the documentation instructs you, you can fly very complex flight plans with both lateral and vertical control (LNAV and VNAV) and hit each waypoint at the prescribed altitude, putting you right on the glideslope for finals. If on the other hand you start pushing buttons to see what might happen, you may well find yourself with unpredictable results or even a CTD.
I have no idea how the real Honeywell FMS likes it if you deviate from the prescribed procedures, but several real world pilots have stated in the support forum that the airplane is expected to be flown according to the documentation and that professional pilots do just that! To get a feel for the process, I’d suggest you watch some of the instructional videos.
The documentation makes it quite clear, that the Nov 2007 Airac navigation database as shipped, is not current. Now, the navigation databases in FS9 and FSX are not current either, as a matter of fact they are also several years out of date. I’m personally quite happy flying in this simulated environment, but Eaglesoft provides the option for you to subscribe to Navigraph and get the latest database upgrades if you want the most current SIDS and STARS support. The latest database upgrade from Navigraph in fact is dated Jan 2010.
As far as flight plans go, the Citation allows you to build the flight plan by programming the FMS, load a previously saved FMS flight plan, or load the active FS flight plan, built by using FS Flight Planner. This gives you a lot of flexibility and can potentially be the cause of confusion. With the version 1.83 patch, the documentation has also been clarified on this and as always, the support forum is there if you are having trouble with this. Once you figure it out, it is quite easy to build the flight plan in the FMS itself, select the departure information and once airborne, add the arrival selection. This works every time and closely mirrors what a real Citation pilot would be doing.
The Citation does not come with an auto throttle, so the pilot is responsible for adjusting power, especially during climb and descent. The airplane does have an automated FADEC engine/throttle control system however, which really makes this much easier. The FADEC function in the simulation requires a registered version of Peter Dawson’s FSUIPC module to be installed. So for users who do not already have FSUIPC, a decision is required as to either fly without FADEC support, which works just like any other airplane, or to make the purchase and get the module.
I’ve had a copy of FSUIPC for years and found it to be indispensable, so for me the FADEC support worked right “out of the box”. It is as simple as the automatic transmission selector in my car: A few defined positions for the lever, and T/O, Climb, and Cruise power is selected and is indicated on the panel. Very nice.
Talking about descent, it is important to know that the Citation’s VNAV descent has two possible modes: VFLC and VPTH. If there are zero altitude restrictions, VNAV descent will use VFLC which is a descent controlled by speed. If there are any altitude restrictions, VNAV descent will use VPTH which is a descent controlled by angle.
The default angle is 3 degrees. The FMS will calculate the vertical path from the destination altitude backwards. It's goal is to meet all altitude restrictions and match the default angle for descent. It is up to the pilot to recognize the VNAV mode and adjust the throttle accordingly. As an example, which I encountered early on, VFLC mode will not start the descent if you do not reduce the speed below the planned descent speed! Makes sense, once you know it!
Normally a summary for an aircraft this complex may be lengthy, but all I can honestly say is that this has been the best aircraft I have flown for the FS platform all year (2009). The Citation X 2.0 sets a standard that other developers may have a hard time catching up to, after all, how many developers can give you so much for so little?
Innovative features such as the FADEC function is nothing short of amazing given the fact that FADEC does not even exist in the flight simulator. The price of the package itself is well worth it, after all you get an aircraft that’s worth millions crammed into a package that we all can afford and enjoy everyday and all day long. I have always been a fan of medium to large aircraft, but since reviewing this aircraft, I have not been able to go a day without flying it.
This may be one of the best FS add-ons for 2009/2010 and I am sure we have not seen the last of these top notch corporate jets from Eaglesoft. I think this deserves the tag “Editors Choice” Well Done! – Marlon Carter
My summary is even shorter. I found the Eaglesoft Citation X V2 to be a well crafted package with a lot of content. This is an airplane that you do not just fly a couple of times and park in the hangar. With the very capable FMS driving the equally capable autopilot, you can go and explore the world of SIDS, STARS and flight plans, including VNAV navigation. All of this in a high performance aircraft that will get you to your destination quickly, and at flight levels of 30 – 40,000 feet. If you choose to, you can add Navigraph updates for the most current navigation data.
In my books, The Eaglesoft Citation X V2 is a winner. – Bert Pieké
What We Like About The Citation X Package
What We Don't Like About The Citation X Package
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