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    REVIEW - Carenado Citation S550



    by Ray Marshall

    Avsim Editor Note: Welcome to the most in-depth review of this product available today.  You will find History, Development,  Type Differences, the review itself as well as a Bonus Avionics review. If you wish to skip directly to the review, please scroll to half way down the page, where the start of the review is marked.




    The year 2014 had some unexpected highs and a few disappointments, including some delays on a few highly anticipated add-ons. On the positive side, we saw the introduction of some spectacular new airplanes, the continued development of exciting new technologies, the beginnings of solutions to some of the most annoying problems facing FSX and some accomplishments that gave us all encouragement.


    The top of my list was the unexpected Flight1 GTN navigation and GPS units for both FSX and P3D with a config program to install them in any existing add-on.  Many others would put P3Dv2 at the top of the list of accomplishments for the year.  Yet others would select a specific airplane from one of our outstanding developers or maybe one of the weather or clouds programs.


    It is now 2015 and things they are a-changing.  Carenado seems to be slowly trying to edge into the top tier of general aviation add-ons for FSX and P3D.  Top Tier? Carenado?  Yep, that appears to be their plan.  Just look at some of their introductions during the last 12 months.


    Working backwards, we have the Pilatus PC-12, the Piper Seneca V, Phenom 100 and the Beech 1900D at the top of the list.  There is the Piper Malibu Mirage and JetProp and a TBM 850 among other high performance types to set the pattern.  Most recently the Hawker 850XP and Cessna S550 Citation II have been topping the Carenado Facebook timeline photo section promising upcoming releases. (This was written very early in January, 2015)


    Matter of fact, Carenado has been so busy producing these higher end models that they had to create a subsidiary company to handle the smaller jobs.  Now Alabeo is cranking out a new model every month or so and they also are getting into the bigger and more complex models, even building the R-66 Turbine helicopter.  The next two in the pipeline are the cabin class Piper Navajo from Carenado and the Cessna Titan C404 from Alabeo. It hasn’t taken long for the lines to be blurred between these two companies.


    Both Carenado and Alabeo models are using FDE’s authored by none other than Bernt Stolle, also in the top tier of flight dynamics gurus.


    This review is going to zero in on the first Cessna Pure Jet for flight simulation by Carenado.  This one falls generally between the smaller Phenom 100 and the much larger Hawker 850XP.  I am expecting great things from both of these new corporate jets.

    The flight sim community appears ready to pounce on any really detailed bizjet.  It has been a long and a stressful waiting period for us users while constantly urging the developers to update their older models and finally receiving some promises of bringing to market some totally new models.  We are talking about corporate jets with no propellers, an HD VC panel and an executive cabin, along with updated and updatable nav data.  Most rumors  mention Navigraph when discussing the updatable nav data.


    Carenado has a history of using real world models, usually located in Chile but not always, to assist in replicating the smallest details of their planes.  This is usually a good thing.  Their trend to include less and less documentation and flight planning data and being a little careless in quality control of switches, click spots locations, and panel placards and labels is the primary reason they are not already considered as a higher quality developer.

    This Cessna S550 Citation II is no exception to using a real world model and this one is being used in the daily jet charter business.  This particular one is one of the very first S550 models and was built in 1984. 




    Only 160 total S550 models were built in a 3 year span and was introduced as a heavier, faster, longer range, and slightly more economical Citation II.  Using an innovative super critical airfoil borrowed from the Citation III design but with a modified straight wing along with an upgraded Pratt and Whitney -4B engine and some aerodynamic smoothing it looked to be winner. 


    However, the $800,000 premium for these upgrades failed to suitably impress the customers and Cessna reverted back to the basic Citation II in 1987 in order to have an upgrade path for turboprop owners to step up to a pure jet.  The Citation II was actually priced lower than some of the high-end turboprops like the King Air 200.  Cessna argued the Citation II was not only less costly to purchase but was also less costly to operate than the big turboprops.


    The swept wing and much larger and faster Citation III was being built on parallel production lines during this period of one step forward, one step back for the Citation II.

    Although the full list of enhancements and upgrades received with the S550 is quite long and distinguished, the driving force in the design criteria was for Cessna to have a Citation that would cruise faster than 400 knots.  400 knots was the speed barrier that was thought unachievable in a straight wing fan jet due to the critical mach factor.

    I suppose the 200 mph barrier that existing back in the late 60s for the 4 to 6 seat singles like the Mooney and Bonanza was similar to the jet set with the 400 Knot speed ceiling.


    The history books will record that Cessna was the prime innovator and mold breaker with several models  that cruised in the 400 – 430 kt range using straight wing designs with the quiet fan jet engines. Cessna has never wavered on producing small jets with true short field capability and slow approach speeds for easy transition from the turboprops.  This has required a combination of very smart aerodynamic designs and innovative high-thrust light-weight fan jet engines.



    What Exactly is the S550 Citation II?


    The Citation S/II is a faster, heavier, longer-range version of the Citation II with improved JT15D-4B engines and aerodynamically enhanced wings.  The -4B engines provide greater thrust at higher altitudes than the Citation II -4 engines.  Although the same length as the Citation II wing, the S/II wing is aerodynamically superior with the same Super Critical drag reducing technology used on the swept wing Citation III and has longer flaps and ailerons.




    In short, it is a faster, heavier and enhanced Citation II, which was a stretched and updated Citation I, and the predecessor to the Citation V that was later replaced by the Bravo - the 1990s bizjet of choice for many years before being up-seated by larger and faster follow-on Citation models.


    If you are like most pilots, you probably find it difficult to keep track of Cessna’s Citations.  Since 1971, when the very first Citation rolled out of the plant in Wichita, Kansas, there have been a steady stream of Citation designs.  Some are real model changes, most are more like specialized versions of previous models.

    None of the Citation model designations make much sense unless we start at the beginning and walk through some of the introductions, updates, changes, enhancements and new models introductions.

    This can be excruciatingly boring to those that don’t have a keen interest in Citations, especially those that actually prefer Hawkers, Lears, or Gulfstreams.




    Cessna has a history of using bits and pieces of existing models to create a new model or upgrade with an slight increase in speed, altitude, economy, or number of seats.  Only on a couple of rare occasions have Cessna actually come up with a clean sheet new model.  The Citation III and Citation X come to mind as the early original models.

    Of course the very first one was an original and worth discussing in any conversation about bizjets.  While trying to avoid a designation for their new fan jet that had a 500 somewhere in the name, like everyone else's, Citation was adopted at the very last minute and is the only thing that makes any sense and has stayed common with all the new models.  Not even a political committee could come up with a naming convention as screwed up as the Cessna Citation family.


    I bet most of the people at Cessna couldn’t pass a simple test of which Citation model numbers match the names and the proper sequence of updates and upgrades.  I even bet that not one non-marketing person could pass that test with a perfect score.


    I have been a student of make and model identification of the Cessna Citation family for several years and I still am confused and confounded by the marketing of these best-selling corporate jets.

    I keep reading that the Citation family consists of either 6 or 7 families of aircraft, but I have never once read or found a table that delineated or confirmed these statements.  I can usually depend on Google being somewhat correct and Wiki being somewhat confused but in this case I see copies of copies of incomplete data and totally erroneous data concerning the Citation family.

    One thing is for sure.  The Citations are popular throughout the world and they are the best-selling business jet models, bar none. Someone at Cessna has their hand on the pulse of the Corporate Jet market because every one of their makes or models seem to be just what the market is seeking.  Many times several hundred orders are placed within weeks of a new model introduction.


    Cessna stands alone as the world’s leading builder of general aviation airplanes. Since its inception in 1927, Cessna has designed, produced and delivered more than 200,000 aircraft to nearly every country in the world. This includes more than 6,000 Citation business jets, making it the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Today, Cessna has two principal lines of business: aircraft sales and aftermarket services.

    The total number of Citations may be in question but salesmen continue to use that number and I did find an advertisement stating that over 6,700 pilots have been certified as Citation Pilots by one major training company.




    Cessna is a subsidiary of Textron Inc., a $10 Billion multi-industry company, and operates a total of 12 factory-owned Citation Service Centers across Europe, the United States and Singapore.


    Cessna Aircraft has three manufacturing facilities located in Wichita, KS; Independence, KS, and Columbus, GA. Our real world model for the Carenado S550 was built at the Cessna’s Wallace Division in Wichita in 1984.


    How Textron’s recent acquisition of Beechcraft with their popular Hawker Biz Jet line will fit in the corporate structure is yet to be seen.





    The Nitty Gritty on the S/II S550 Citation


    No one seems to know who added the S to the S/II, or for that matter why they used the / in the model designation.  The Citation I is a Model 501 and the Citation II a Model 550.  This updated Citation II has been referred to as a Super Citation II, a Special Citation II, and yet another three designations:  SII, S/II, and S550.


    To keep everyone on their toes, the single-pilot version of the Citation I is the CE-ISP and the single-pilot version of the Citation II is the II/SP.  Initially, there was not going to be a single-pilot version of the S/II due to the upper MGTW limit of 12,500 pounds for single pilot operations.  That was changed very shortly after the S/II started deliveries.


    The S550 or S/II can be certified for single pilot operation with a few fairly simple additions like a headset with a boom mic, a coupled autopilot, an Ident button on the yoke, some very pricy inspections and some very specific pilot experience with a successful FAA checkride.


    Parked on the ramp, it may look like a Citation II or Citation V at first glance, but a closer examination reveals changes, big and small.


    From certain angles or locations it is easy to spot the S/II vs the II.  The most noticeable difference is the extended wing root of the S/II.  The S/II also has larger Fowler flaps and they are positioned closer to the fuselage than on the II. Closer up one would notice the TKP anti-icing system along the leading edge of the wings.  This is the one and only Citation model to feature the TKS system.




    The S/II and Citation V seem to have the most common external features.  The key difference here is the extra 20 inches in length of the Citation V with the one additional window on each side. Most folks incorrectly think the extra windows are to accommodate extra seating, but out of character for Cessna, the additional 20 inches simply provided more leg room throughout the cabin.


    The engines and covers appear to be the same with the upgrades internal to the hot sections only for the S/II vs the II.  The Citation V has larger thrust engines but no apparent physical differences are noticeable when sitting on the ramp.


    Only the rivet counters might notice the aerodynamic smoothing and slightly reengineered pylons and gap seals on the flaps and such for the three models.







    Inside the cockpit, the casual pilot might not even notice the differences other than the deice boots being replaced with the glycol seeping system.  Of course when that TAS readout edges over to the high side of 400 knots he or she should be duly impressed.



    A Fork in the Road


    As the great bard, Yogi Berra, has advised, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”  Whether Yogi Berra actually used that piece of advice is questionable but it can serve as an introduction for a new feature for my usually way too long and way too detailed reviews.


    We are adding  jumps or links for you to choose to totally ignore certain sections. For instance, using this next jump you will be able to totally skip this most interesting and fairly concise history of the Cessna Citation Jets.  You will not lose or gain anything of significant value no matter which fork you take.


    Personally, I think it is fascinating reading, but then I am slightly biased as I did the laborious research, the original graphics, and the writing for the most part (credit given for the borrowed stuff).  But, there is really no way of me knowing whether or not you read it, skipped it or bounced through it like a speed reader so here you are at the fork.  Your choice.


                    Forget the Citation history, show me the meat, or....


                                    Thanks for the offer, but, out of courtesy to Ray and the fact that I might just learn                                                         something interesting that I did not know, I will continue reading the review.


    The Citation Story (from the real early days)

    Ellis Brady, Cessna’s manager of engineering flight operations, said the Citation began to take shape “in the mid-1960s when our engineers and management teams were struggling with where the industry was going.

    Beech was working hot and heavy with turboprops, but we had jet experience and we thought that a jet was the way to go.”   Cessna had the Air Force T-37 jet trainer program cooking and ultimately built over 3,000 ‘Tweety Birds.’



    “We talked to P&W officials a fair amount and it became obvious that they were anxious to develop the JT15D engine.”

    “Meanwhile, we simply believed that due to the lack of vibration, quietness and the other characteristics that attract people to turbine airplanes, the fan jet was the way to go as opposed to the turboprop,” said Brady.


    “In our discussions, a basic specification began to emerge: The airplane had to be very easy to fly; it had to be a stable instrument platform; it had to operate out of short fields; it had to have sophisticated systems that created system simplicity from the pilot’s viewpoint; it had to be simple to build yet meet jet standards; in short, as Dwayne Wallace said, it had to be the ‘Cessna 150 of the jet set.”’


    From an engineering standpoint, the P&W JT15D high-bypass fan engine had all the advantages of turboprops at low altitudes and those of pure jets at high altitudes. The trick would be to design a wing that let the engines do their thing while keeping handling qualities “Cessna-like.”


    And that was no easy task because the design team decided that for reasons of simplicity of manufacture, operation and maintenance, the control systems would be totally conventional. Stick pushers and shakers as well as “feel” systems had to be avoided at all costs. “All through the development of the original airplane we were looking for straightforward stall characteristics,” said Brady.


     “Everything would grow from there. We spent hour after hour, day after day, month after month putting all kinds of cuffs, airfoil shapes and flaps on our models, attempting to develop good stall characteristics.”

    The straight wing — a Citation trademark — was at once the solution to most of the early engineering challenges and yet a problem for those at Cessna who wanted to market a 400-knot jet.


    Straight wings do have nice stall characteristics, and are very nice to fly at approach speeds. However, straight wings reach critical Mach at a lower speed than do swept wings.




    In day-to-day operations, this means that the decision to opt for the simplicity of a straight wing produced an airplane that cruised about 80 knots slower than it would have, had “state-of-the-art” swept wings been selected.


    On the other hand, state-of-the-art swept wings would have been much more expensive to fabricate and might have needed special devices like stick pushers and shakers for certification.

    Brady continues, “Our goal was always to use only standard push-pull controls– no pushers, shakers or related systems that would drive up both fabrication and maintenance costs.”

    Obviously, swept wings would have flown like swept wings, which means challenging stall characteristics, relatively high approach speeds with a tendency toward dutch-roll problems during “hot” approaches.


    All of those conditions would have restricted the Citation to airport runways of 4,500 to 5,000 feet or more. The Citation design team decided to stay with the straight wing, but that didn’t stop them from tinkering with the wing to get maximum performance for the Citation. In fact, it was largely wing tinkering that led to the Models I, II and S/II.


    “The thing we’re so proud of is that Cessna went ahead and spent the time and money to find simple solutions.” Almost paradoxically, anything in engineering can be accomplished immediately if you take a complex approach to the problem; simplicity takes longer, but pays off in the end.




    As Citations rolled off the Wallace Division assembly lines, the engineering team kept developing and refining their design. With serial number 41, a bleed-air anti-ice windshield was chosen to replace an electrically heated windshield.  The compound curves presented fabrication problems and maintenance headaches, including delamination and static build-up. Besides, the heating elements were expensive.

    At serial number 214, max operating altitude was increased from FL 350 to FL 410, which took quite a bit of structural work. Fuel capacity was increased by running the integral tanks all the way to the wingtips.




    At serial number 275, the standard avionics package was changed. Originally, the avionics specification included Bendix flight guidance and RCA navcoms; the standard specification on serial number 275 included Sperry flight guidance and Collins radios.


    At serial number 350, the Citation became the Citation I. The wingspan was lengthened by

    3.2 feet, and the engine changed from the -1 to the -1A. Takeoff thrust was still at 2,200 pounds per side, but altitude performance was improved.


    Most of these changes were retro-fitable, so today’s Citation fleet has a mixture of Citation and Citation I configurations. Only the wingspan increase was not offered as a retrofit.


    The Citation II was a major program change. The first II was the 595th Citation built.

    Thereafter, Citation Is and IIs were offered simultaneously, with the first II delivered in May





    Once again the wingspan increased, this time to 51.7 feet. The cabin was lengthened 3.5 feet to make the II a seven to 10-passenger airplane compared with the I’s six to seven-passenger load. New engines (JT15D-4) were installed and brought takeoff power to 2,500 pounds per side.


    Takeoff weight for the II was 13,300 pounds compared with 11,850 for the I. Max payload grew to 3,017 pounds (standard factory equipped) in the II, from 2,102 pounds in the I.


    Perhaps most important was that the II offered significantly longer legs while operating out of the same short runways used by the I. The tanks-full range of the II was 1,938 nm compared with 1,337 nm for the I. The II could haul six passengers a distance of 1,509 nm, compared with the I, which could carry five passengers only 1,138 nm on the best of days.


    At the mid-production run, the price spread between the two airplanes-fully equipped was

    only $600,000.  The Citation II in 1982 listed at $2.56 million, fully equipped.


    Initial production of the Citation II continued until July 1984 when the “last one” was delivered to the U.S. Customs Service. The last Citation I was delivered in May 1985.



    Introducing the S/II, SII, S550, Super or Special II (December 1984)
    One month after the last Citation II rolled off the line, (mid 1984) the first Citation S/II (Super II) appeared at the Wallace Division delivery center.  Once again, the wing was the attention-getter.




    Although the design team was still pretty much the same innovative group, they had new digital

    tools at their disposal: The S/II was a creature of computer-aided design.CAD was used to take a close look at the airflow around the wing root, engine nacelle and pylon. All three areas were changed to reduce drag. The airfoil, for example, was shaped to provide less drag rise than the II’s at cruise Mach number.


    “It was always our desire to get as much speed out of the wing as we could,” recalls Brady.

    “Everything we did in developing the S/II was precisely what we always wanted with the original

    II. We did a lot of wind-tunnel testing and pre-work with computers.”


    “Our goal was to keep the laminar flow attached further back, which reduces drag. We

    reshaped the leading edge, extended it several inches and reshaped it to get the best aerodynamics.


    We removed the boots and went to the TKS system. This is an anti-ice product made by TKS De-Icing Limited and similar to that found on the BAe 125, to keep a smooth juncture so that the

    airflow didn’t trip and become turbulent.”




    The II’s wing root, pylons and fairings were reshaped to reduce the drag caused by airflow

    through the channel formed by the wing root, the fuselage and the nacelle.


    Between the rudder and aileron, spring interconnects were added to aid dihedral effect, and a row of vortex generators were installed at the mid-chord position to improve aileron effectiveness at the high end of the S/II’s velocity/g-loading envelope.


    As a result of the aircraft’s aerodynamic improvements, the Citation S/II offers less drag than the Citation II. But Cessna was not content with just relying on their cleanup program, particularly when Pratt & Whitney offers an improved version of its JT15D-4, known as the “B” model.




    Like the -4, the JT15D-4B develops 2,506 pounds of thrust and has a time between overhaul of 3,000 hours. But it is certified for higher N1 speeds above FL 300. This change in fan speed enables the JT15D-4B to provide higher thrust in the thin air of higher altitudes. All other aspects of the powerplant are identical to the Citation II’s -4.


    About 80 percent of the S/II’s speed advantage is attributed to aerodynamics; the remaining 20 percent results from the higherN1 limits of the -4B powerplant.


    They look similar and they feel the same to pilot and passenger, but there is an impressive difference between the new Citation S/II and the Citation II.



    BC/A Analysis Team, December 1984


    The need for constant improvement is clear, and airplane manufacturers are spending large quantities of time, effort and dollars to develop aircraft with more performance and lower operating costs. Some are employing advanced engineering techniques to significantly refine existing designs.


    The airfoil of the S/II has been shaped to provide less drag rise than the Citation II’s at cruise

    Mach number. By incorporating slightly more thickness toward the trailing edge, the S/II’s airfoil

    is more aft loaded than the II. Thus it exhibits the favorable drag characteristics of

    supercritical airfoils.


    Since the new aircraft also has an extended chord and significant taper at the wing root, due to the addition of a pronounced break in the wing’s planform where the wing joins the fuselage, the fineness ratio (percent slimness) of the wing at its root is greater than the II’s. Consequently, the S/II wing experiences the onset of its drag rise between 0.59 and 0.64 Mach, which is about 0.04 Mach higher than its predecessor and is impressive for an unswept wing.


    The S/II’s wing does not have pneumatic boots on the outboard portion of the wings and a

    bleed-air-heated cuff inboard as does the Citation II. Instead, the aircraft is fitted with the TKS system for the dispersal of anti-icing fluid all along the wing’s leading edge.


    The S/II carries 63 pounds of TKS fluid, which is sufficient for six hours of continuous use if applied only to the inboard sections that previously were heated by bleed air. In addition to being an effective anti-icing system, TKS on the S/II results in a smooth leading edge and might help the wing remain cleaner since TKS is known for its ability to disperse squashed bugs from surfaces.


    In an attempt to prevent the airflow from separating and producing pronounced drag as it

    flows through the channel formed by the wing root, the fuselage and the nacelle, Cessna engineers also extended the wing-root fairing aft of the wing and designed a thinner engine pylon. The end result is the S/II’s pylon has a longer, more aerodynamically efficient “duck tail.”


    The rivet counters will notice that the S/II does not employ small fences on the upper inboard sides of the ailerons as does the Citation II. These devices are used to aid dihedral effect: the tendency for a wing to roll when the aircraft is yawed. Applying right rudder should cause the left wing to rise. By placing small fences on the upper inboard portions of the aileron, they interact with the cross-flow caused by the yaw and the aileron is forced down, thereby helping the aircraft roll in the desired direction.


    Cessna engineers tried to achieve the desired dihedral effect using the fence technique but

    opted instead for a spring interconnect between the rudder and aileron. While the handling qualities purist doesn’t like spring interconnects, the S/II flies nicely despite the rudder/aileron spring.


    While the Citation S/II does not have aileron fences, and therefore does not suffer the drag of such devices, it does have a row of vortex generators at approximately the mid-chord position ahead of the ailerons. The VGs improve aileron effectiveness at the high end of the S/II’s velocity/g-loading performance-envelope.


    As a result of its lower drag and higher power at altitude, the Citation S/II offers a high speed cruise of 399 knots on 1,090 pph at FL 370 in ISA conditions; at FL 410 it has a long-range cruise speed of 357 knots while consuming 820 pph. The respective figures for the Citation II are: high-speed cruise of 374 knots on 1,081 pph at FL 350, and long-range cruise of 327 knots on 690 pph at FL 430.


    In that most folks fly Citations at max speed rather than best fuel, the real operational difference between the II and S/II turned out to be a 40-knot speed difference in the S/II’s favor. Yet, for many potential operators, that speed difference simply wasn’t enough to justify the difference in price ($750,000 to $800,000in 1986 dollars) between the II and S/II; thus, the return of the II.


    But for those folks that want to go fast and are not that concerned about the daily price of jet fuel – the S/II will move them along at 407 knots at FL310 using 1,387 lbs/hr at 13,000 pound gross weight – the same as the Max Takeoff Weight of the II.



    More Than More Speed

    The higher speeds of the Citation S/II are impressive by themselves. But, the S/II also provides about five percent better range at normal cruise than the Citation II while lifting a higher gross weight. Thus its improvement in maximum productivity is greater than the increase in either speed or range.




    The Citation S/II is certificated for a ramp weight of 15,300 pounds, 1,800 pounds more than theII, and it has a max takeoff weight of 15,100 pounds. Thus, the S/II achieves its greater speed whilecarrying more, thereby emphasizing the benefits of Cessna’s aerodynamic and powerplant changes. Furthermore, the S/II can achieve an initial cruise altitude of FL 410 after takeoff at max gross.


    Mainly because the S/II’s flaps extend inboard until they nearly reach the fuselage rather than ending almost 3 feet outboard of the fuselage as in the Citation II, the new aircraft has a stalling speed that is one knot slower than the II, despite the S/II’s higher gross weight.




    Part of the weight advantage of the S/II is consumed in the new aircraft’s heavier basic operating weight of 8,550 pounds, compared with the II’s BOW of 8,035 — but the new Citation has a useful load that exceeds the II’s by a respectable 679 pounds. An operator may choose to use that greater useful load for carrying passengers, or he can take advantage of the S/II’s 5,777-pound-capacity fuel tanks, which hold 805 pounds more than its predecessor.



    A Close-up View of the very first production Citation S/II

    While beating the bushes and performing numerous internet searches for specific info on the S/II, I came across a sales brochure for the very first S/II.  This is serial number S550-0001 Registration N86BA that is offered for sale with a ‘Make Offer’ price tag.  The panel photos look like that could have been taken in P3Dv2 or FSX of the Carenado S550 Citation II.  The S/II that Carenado chose to use as the model for the coders must have been a twin sister to this one.


    Here is the published description of N86BA’s installed Avionics and additional or optional features so we can get a feel for the level of detail of the early model S/IIs. Take note of the Sperry SPZ-500 autopilot/flight director, the two-tube EFIS and the Honeywell GNS-XLS FMS.




    This is typical of the S/IIs leaving the Cessna factory in Wichita.  This flies in the face of those so-called Citation experts at Avsim have been posting in our forums stating that the S550s didn’t have autopilots or EFIS. Some of these guys must think they came with a yoke, pedals and a whiskey compass.


    Almost everyone that I was able to query stated their S/II came equipped with the Sperry AP/FD and EFIS.  Of course, many of these now also have a Garmin GTN 750 mounted in the panel.





    Classic Citation

    The S/II incorporates all the qualities that made the Citation II a popular aircraft. It offers room for seven to eight passengers and has a fully enclosed lavatory, and its flight deck has space for a full complement of avionics. Interior appointments for the new S/II are were attractive and well-built.




    The S/II also enjoys typical Citation quietness. The S/II possesses the good airport performance and fuel specifics that are Citation trademarks, and its healthy fuel capacity gives the aircraft a highly competitive tanks-full range.


    The BC/A team made a test flight to gather specific data to write the article for their magazine. The following is an abbreviated  account of that flight:


    For our flight, which carried a useful load of 4,511 pounds, and had a takeoff weight of 13,200pounds, which equated to 85, 92 and 97 knots V1, VR andV2 respectively. Balanced field length was conservatively calculated to be 3,350 feet.


    Once we were released from the confines of Atlanta Departure Control and the congestion of the Atlanta area, we climbed to FL 310 and observed a true airspeed of 399 knots on 1,235 pph, which is two knots and about 85 pph better than what Cessna states is possible in temperatures averaging about ISA+3.


    We then climbed to FL 370 and observed a TAS of 388 knots with a fuel flow of 1,020 pph, which equates to a specific range 0.018 nm per pound better than book but about six knots and 68 pph under handbook figures. Possibly our power setting was slightly low. On average, however, the S/II lived up to its advertised billing in terms of speed and specific range for our weight, temperature and altitude.


    As we approached the Toledo area and descended, we applied the spoilers to observe their

    effectiveness and vibration. While spoiler deployment causes a slight rumble, the disturbance is minimal and should not be a distraction to passengers. With the spoilers deployed, the aircraft can descend at a rate that easily exceeds the limits of the vertical speed indicator, and actuation of the devices causes almost no effect on handling qualities.


    Below FL 180 we canceled our airways clearance and did some air work, including stalls. The S/II responded in typical Citation fashion: The aircraft has to be one of the gentlest jets flying. Its handling qualities are very well-behaved. The pitch dynamics are nicely damped, and lateral/directional characteristics are equally pleasant. During stalls, the aircraft gave ample warning of its condition, and the stall break was not severe, although we did observe a tendency to roll  slightly to the left as the nose pitched down at the stall.


    The S/II’s speed stability on the approach was very good, with the aircraft responding nicely to power changes and easily trimmed for a stabilized flight path. The fact that Cessna increased the strength of the elevator down spring and added slightly to the bob weight in the pitch system was apparent as we commenced the flare. More force was needed to effect the roundout, but otherwise the aircraft behaved pleasantly–like a Citation.


    The Citation S/II is an example of how technology can subtly improve a good product and

    make it more attractive. No doubt exists that the S/II is a more capable aircraft than its predecessor, and that’s good news for both the operator and the manufacturer.



    Re-introducing the II (October 1986)

    The Citation II currently is priced at $2,195,000, which includes a Sperry flight director/autopilot, Collins navcoms and a full interior. Thrust reversers are an extra $146,025.


    With a base price of $2.195 million, the typical Citation II should leave the factory with a price tag of $2.42 million with options.  A similarly equipped S/II would cost about $3.3 million.


    The first of the “born-again” IIs will be delivered in March 1987, and as of this writing positions were available for April or May delivery. At $2.42 million, the new II is bound to be highly competitive in both the jet and turboprop world.


    Consider the following prices for similarly equipped airplanes from the 1986 B/CA

    Planning and Purchasing Handbook:


    Beech King Air B200                        $2.39 million

    Piper Cheyenne 400LS                   $2.43 million

    King Air 300                                         $2.69 million







    Obviously, Cessna is “re-declaring” war on the high-end turboprops. Remember, a single-pilot version, weight limited to 12,500 pounds, is available for the same number of dollars as them.


    For the second successive year, not a single passenger fatality was recorded during nearly 750,000 flight hours by the fleet of Citations. The worldwide fleet has flown 3.5million hours and logs more than 2,000 flying hours each day. To date, only 14 Citations have been involved in fatal accidents — an industry record.


    Here’s the latest production count as of October 1986:

    Model Number

                    Citation                                349

                    Citation I                              342

                    Citation II                             503

                    Citation S/II                        90

                    Citation III                           102



    Credits – bit and pieces and large chunks of the above was taken nearly word for word from these two printed articles:


     “B/CA Analysis: Cessna Citation S/II,” December 1984, page By John W. Olcott and Richard N. Aarons



    “Cessna’s Citation II and S/II in Head-to-Head Competition”, October, 1986, By Richard N. Aarons, B/CA published article.

    Originality, content, and ownership resides with the original authors and B/CA magazine.





    A More Global view of Cessna and the Citations


    I own every book that I know of that has been written about Cessna and the Cessna airplanes. Including those coffee table sized heavy weights and the smaller bedside table ones about only the Cessna 172 or the Early Citations or the military editions.

    Some are naturally better than others but like my wife determined when she finally concluded her search for the perfect Margarita – It is anybody’s third one.  Sometimes it is the 3rd reading of the same book that I have gleaned enough from reading the other books that it seems to finally click with me.

    I can now state with absolute certainty that it is not humanly possible to fully understand the model designations of the Cessna Citations.  Beginning with that premise, here we go.



    The Cessna FanJet 500


    This was the one that started it all. A real breakthrough for both Cessna and the industry. This little plane was significantly quieter, simpler, safer and less expensive that the other business jets at the time.  The timing seemed to be perfect and the plane was ideal for the business traveler.


    This was a niche business jet from the start.  Cessna had identified a sizable gap between the top-of-the-line twin turboprops, which generally flew at 300 mph at FL250 and the low end corporate jets that flew at 500 mph at FL350.


    Drawing on its experience building more than a thousand T-37/A-37 small training jets for the military, Cessna leadership conceived a pressurized aircraft that could fly about 400 mph and carry 4 or 5 passengers. This new plane would be extremely economical to operate and maintain and be an easy transition for twin-engine pilots.  A key consideration was the ability to access small airfields that existing business jets could not. Short takeoffs and landings were a must.


    The most important criteria for this new Cessna jet was that it could be flown by a single pilot.


    The existing jet market didn’t take the Cessna jet seriously. After all the speeds were too slow for a jet and the FAA would never approve a single-pilot business jet anyway.  Bill Lear had already been given a flat – no way –with his new Lear 23 fast mover on the single-pilot issue.


    Undeterred by the naysayers, Cessna broke ground on a new production facility for its new business jet, decided to bypass the normal dealerships and distributors and geared up for direct sales that included flight training at a dedicated facility in Fort Worth, Texas.

    From the very beginning Cessna planned on a close relationship with the new buyers with an eye on repeat purchases for larger, faster, and more expensive jets.  Another smart decision was the early establishment of the Citation Service Centers.  In no time, there was one in the New York, one in Kansas and another in California.  With an eye on the world expansion, Germany was selected for the first European center.


    By using a standardized training program for both pilots and mechanics that was managed by professionals and included in the purchase price, the Citation quickly became one of the safest planes in the sky.

    To drive this point home, Cessna and the Citation line is the only airplane manufacturer to ever receive the Collier Trophy.  In 1986, Russ Meyer accepted the trophy on behalf of Cessna and all those safe pilots flying those millions of miles without a fatality.



    What is in a name?


    The design was finalized, the assembly line was being fine-tuned for production and Cessna was still seeking a name, rather than a number for their new business jet. At literally the last minute, an executive at the Cessna’s advertising company suggested the name ‘Citation’ after the horse that won the Triple Crown in 1948.  The parallels between the famous racehorse and the new jet were ideal.  Both embodied exceptional performance, flexibility, handling, efficiency, and appearance.


    James Taylor had been hired away from Pam Am’s Business Jet Division and given cart blanc as the new leader for Cessna’s newly formed Commercial Jet Marketing Division.  His first task was to find a more distinctive name for the FanJet 500.  When Ogilvy & Mather, the advertising company, suggested Citation Taylor ran with it.

    Undeterred that Dwane Wallace and Del Roskam were initially reluctant to hitch their wagon to this horse name, Taylor purchase a stack of horseshoes, had them chrome-plated and came in at daybreak the next morning. He placed one of his shinny horseshoes on every executive’s desk and waited for the response.  It worked. It worked so well that many Citations since thenhas a horseshoe as part of the model’s individual logo, usually on the yokes.

    Of course, when the model 510 Mustang was promoted as a thoroughbred, almost 40 years later, the racehorse’s likeness was painted on the tail for all the world to see.



    The Citation 500, Model 500/501


    Cessna was so convinced the market would respond to a medium-priced, medium-performance jet that could operate out of local airports they had spent $35 million when the first Citation was delivered. At the time, this represented 40 percent of the company’s net assets. Many industry observers hypothesized there was no way the Wichita aerospace firm would ever recover such a huge development expense, and some felt the now renamed Citation 500 would be the company’s downfall.


    Cessna tested and perfected this initial design for three years, following its plan to produce a short-field jet that could land at the majority of the world’s airports.


    A mock-up was built fairly early on to use not only in media promotions but for the engineering and design team to have something physical to work with.  Starting with this initial design the team had several years of fine-tuning time on their hands.


    The vertical tail was lengthened by about a foot.  The horizontal stabilizer was enlarged and lowered to provide more upsweep for better stability and the engines were placed closer to the fuselage and moved farther back to reduce drag.


    The inlet guide vanes in front of the compressor were eliminated to quiet the engine – a crucial move that would later prove beneficial when aircraft noise became a public outcry in the early 1970s.


    The Citation’s gross weight was increased by 850 pounds to a 10,350 pound takeoff weight and the cabin was lengthened by six inches.  A new seating layout featured four reclining seats with a lounge on the right side of the cabin across from the entry door.


    It was now mid-September, 1969 and time for the first test flight.  The first 1:45 flight was mostly uneventful and plans were made to continue flight testing with the second prototype scheduled to fly in January, 1970 it was time to set the marketing campaign in motion.


    Now all that remained was a successful test flight program and FAA certification. This would require another year and on September 10, 1971 the FAA Regional Director hand delivered the certification papers for the Citation.

    One of the most important decisions the company made with the Citation was to build it as a fully completed and ready to fly aircraft.  Prior to that, it was common practice for customers to buy their plane and then ferry it to a completion center to get the interior and avionics installed.


    The Citation family of aircraft has gone on to sell more than 7,000 units and set the standard in the light to mid-sized jet market, the Citation 500 was the start of this wide-ranging legacy in the industry.



    Marketing the Citation


    Selling an innovative business jet required an innovative marketing plan and the resulting strategy would have far reaching consequences and marked a crucial turning point in how Cessna viewed its relationship with their customers.


    This direct to the customer structure was unique in the industry, wellat least in the airplanes sales industry, and would grow in future years and help create an environment in which Cessna would be able to build and nurture long-term personal relationships with its customers.  Later on Cessna’s customers would even play a key role in helping Cessna design its aircraft.


    By the Spring of 1970 the marketing team had compiled a list of 100,000 names and more than 27,000 businesses as potential customers.  Owners of twin-engine piston and turboprop aircraft desiring a step-up planes were among the most promising prospects.


    The marketing started in earnest in September 1970 at the NBAA convention in Denver.  The Citation’s $695,000 price tag included factory installed avionics, ground and flight training, and a one-year computerized maintenance program.  This standard package greatly simplified the production process and streamlined the pilot training because simulators could be similarly standardized.


    Cessna was set to sell a complete business aircraft program, not just another airplane. The sales staff was hand-picked by Taylor and did not include any seasoned professionals. This new team was composed of salesmen ‘who had not bounced around the industry for years’.  This was to ensure they were not bound by a lot of old ways of doing things.


    We need a Convincer. A what?


    The marketing team hit the road in early 1971 with a demonstration unit that featured a full-scale mockup of the Citation’s cabin and cockpit. This mobile unit contained a conference room with projection and refreshment facilities large enough to accommodate several potential customers at the same time.


    This eighteen-wheeler full trailer covered more than 10,000 miles throughout the U.S. and Canada just prior to the first production rollout of the Citation.  It came to be known as the Citation Convincer.


    It is really going to happen.


    In late August, 1971 the first production Citation rolled out the factory door. In the next two weeks it would log 95 hours of demonstration flight time.  On September 10, the Citation was awarded FAR Part 25 certification.  This required almost 4 years of design and development work.


    Cessna was most disappointed that their application for single-pilot certification was denied.  They immediately initiated a concentrated program to convince the FAA that the two-pilot requirement should be re-evaluated.  After about 6 months of daily pressure, it became clear the FAA was not ready to change its position so Cessna decided to back off for a while.


    The backup plan was then put in place.  It was decided to also certify the Citation I and the yet to be built Citation II as small aircraft certified under Part 23.  These would come to be known as the Citation I SP (for single pilot) and Citation II SP. This necessitated some small changes in the cockpit to accommodate the one pilot in the left seat but also limited the maximum takeoff weight to 12,500 pounds.


    Knowing full well the larger and heavier Citation II’s range and payload would be severely impacted with this max takeoff weight requirement, Cessna requested an exemption for large aircraft to be operated by a single pilot. To the astonishment of the industry, this request was granted in 1984 for Part 91 operations only but, more importantly established qualifications and training standards to allow subsequent model 500 series Citations to be operated with one pilot.  Down the road, this would include the S/II, CitationJet, Bravo, Citation V, Ultra, and Encore to be flown single pilot.


    Interestingly, the Citation is the only jet to have ever been granted single-pilot certification by the FAA.



    First Delivery of Citations


    With two Citations completed and 12 in production, the jet was finally ready for market.  Cessna delivered the first production Citation to American Airlines as a demonstrator in January 1972 and subsequent models were delivered suppliers like Bendix and United Aircraft Canada (P&W) for the same purpose.  American operated the simulator training facilities for pilots and mechanics in Fort Worth , Texas for all Citations.  Bendix supplied the avionics and United Aircraft the engines.


    The first retail customer to own a Citation was Levitz Furniture.  With a production rate of six jets a month, the 50th Citation was rolled out in September.  52 Citations were delivered in 1972 making it the industry’s biggest seller for the year.



    Off and running, err flying.


    By 1975, Cessna had set industry and company records by increasing Citation deliveries for three years in a row and delivering more light jets than the competition in each of those years.  Annual productions had risen from 52 the first year to 85 Citations built in 174.   The 200th Citation was delivered to Burlington Industries in November, 1974 and the 250th rolled out in July 1975 on its way to Fed Mart.


    Timing is everything, well at least it is important.


    The unforeseen energy crisis that wreaked havoc on the general aviation industry in the early 70s was a blessing in disguise for the popularity and continued success of the Citation.  On average, the Citation used 20 – 50 percent less fuel than other jets.  It could travel 700 miles on 250 gallons of fuel.



    The Citation I, the first of many.


    First available in December 1974, Cessna showed their first of almost unlimited boosts, stretches, additions, enhancements and such.  This resulted in extended range, higher operating altitude, more speed, extra seats, nada, nada, nada.



    A Growing Family of Citations Announced.


    In 1976, Cessna released what was probably to most significant announcement ever made by a general aviation company when it unveiled the expanded Citation family at the NBAA convention in Denver.


    Here is a synopsis of that announcement as printed in a 2001 special issue of the NBAA Convention News archives.


    NBAA convened in the Mile-High City for its 1976 annual meeting and convention. Production rates were continuing to climb, despite an unsettled economy. Cessna surprised the gathering with the introduction of its Citation III, a 10- to 15-passenger swept-wing turbofan twin with a $2.5 million price tag. At the same crack-of-dawn press breakfast, Cessna also revealed plans for a stretched version of its straight-wing Citation to be known as the Citation II and an improved version of its baseline Citation, now to be known as the Citation I. The Citations I and II would be powered by 2,200-lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A turbofans. The Citation III from a pair of Garrett TFE731s.


    That was the kickoff of many new Citations upgrades, enhancements and model changes. Just so this review doesn’t turn into yet another book about Cessna and the Citations, I am going to briefly introduce the Citation III, VI, VII and X. These are the swept-wing speedy ones that need the longer runways but do indeed fly very fast and very high.  As most of you know the Citation X is the fastest and highest flying corporate jet in the world. Mach 0.92 @ FL510. And then I will come back and explore the continued development of the straight wing side of the family.


    The Citation III, a new swept-wing, high performance business jet.


    The Citation III was a totally new design in the midsize category and was Cessna’s largest financial commitment to a single product in the company’s history.


    The Citation III’s technologically advanced wings, developed in cooperation with Dr. Dick Whitcomb at NASA, were key to its performance.  The unique airfoil significantly reduced the wave drag associated with standard airfoil designs on jets flying at similar speeds.


    Certified to fly at FL510, the design included a means for an automated system to take over in event of rapid cabin decompression.  At this altitude the pilots cannot remain conscious more than a few seconds without a pressurized cabin.  In the event of loss of pressurization, the autopilot will fly the airplane from FL510 to FL140 in 3 minutes and 30 seconds and then level off automatically.


    The Citation III is without question the finest business jet I’ve ever flown.  And I have flown them all.

    Arnold Palmer, Professional Golfer


    But, the most impressive features may be related to performance. At the high operating altitudes the Citation III was the fastest airplane in its class, with exceptionally stable handling characteristics, low operating costs due to increased fuel efficiency, and the ability to climb quickly.  The first Citation III customer was Arnold Palmer, the legendary professional golfer. (More about this later in the review)


    In the early 1990s two follow on models of the Citation III were introduced.  The Citation VI was a more affordable with the same outstanding performance but updated and standardized features to keep efficiency high and operating costs low.  From 1983 to 1994 Cessna delivered 240 Citation II and VI.


    The Citation VII offered more significant improvements enabling quicker climbs increased speeds at high altitudes as well as better ice and rain removal.  New Garrett TFE731-4 engines added the additional thrust needed.


    Unique to the Citation VII was that every single plane came with a totally custom interior.  The selection of interior fabrics, finishes and woods were practically unlimited.  Of course, here is where you get what you pay for.


    The Citation Sovereign was designed and marketed to snuggly fit between the Citation VII and the Citation X as a true international workhorse while carrying 8 passengers at 400 knots in upscale comfort. This created a new jet category – the super mid-sized business jet.


    This was Cessna’s first major cut and paste on a grand scale. Mating the fuselage of the highly successful Citation X with a newly designed mildly-swept natural laminar flow wing with a couple of big and highly efficient P&W 300 series engines yield a long-range Citation with outstanding short field performance.


    The cockpit is equipped with a state of the art Honeywell Primus Epic CDS avionics suite with four 8 x 10 inch display screens and the latest terrain and traffic avoidance systems.


    The Citation Sovereign is somewhat unique in that it is a wonderful mix of more for less. Being yet another sensible Citation, Executive Jet placed an order for 50 on the day of announcement with an option for an additional 50. Cessna got 80 orders for the Sovereign worth $1.1 Billion in the first two weeks of marketing the airplane before its formal announcement at the 1998 NBAA convention.


    The Citation X (not the letter X, but the Roman numeral 10) is so special that it would take an entire book to describe the development and extensive list of records captured by this most impressive of all Citations. This one is at the extreme other end of the spectrum and has almost nothing in common with the early straight-winged Citations that we are now reviewing.  From the first one delivered to Arnold Palmer in August 1996, Cessna has delivered an amazing330 Citation X dream machines at a current price tag of about $20 Million.


    The secret of the Citation X's speed is really no secret at all.  The design combines extreme low drag with outrageously large engines and a highly swept supercritical wing.  It looks a lot like a spaceship when looking down from above. Max cruising speed of Mach 0.935, 527 knots.



    Building a Better Business Jet


    The efficiency of the Citation production team made it possible to produce a record 140 Citations during 1979.  By 1981 the number was increased to 186 and on January 27, 1982 the 1,000th Citation was delivered.  This set an all-time record for all general aviation companies for the number of business jets produced in the shortest time.


    OK. Back to the 1976 NBAA announcement of the Growing Family of Citations


    The surprise announcement by Cessna at the early breakfast meeting highlighted the planned evolution of the original Citation.  This would be an improved baseline Citation that would shortly be renamed Citation I and plans for a Citation II that would be a stretched and improved Citation I.


    At the same crack-of-dawn press breakfast, Cessna also revealed plans for a stretched version of its straight-wing Citation to be known as the Citation II and an improved version of its baseline Citation, now to be known as the Citation I. The Citations I and II would be powered by 2,200-lb-thrust Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1A turbofans.


    Citation I

    The Citation I was a carefully designed upgrade of the two-pilot Citation.  Boasting increased wingspan and thrust, this resulted in improved performance, range, climbing abilities, cruise speed, and passenger accommodations.

    Citation II

    The Citation II was a new business jet that used many of the same components and systems of the Citation I.  The fuselage was stretched four feet, providing an eight-seat configuration, and the wings from the Citation I were attached to a new carry-through structure.  Now able to reach FL430 after having a takeoff run of only 2,990 feet put it at the top of the performance charts for any jet in its class.

    The Citation II was certified in 1978 and quickly became the best-selling business jet of all time and remained in production for 16 years.

    This version was quieter in both takeoff and cabin sound levels and more fuel efficient as well.  It had considerably better range plus it retained all the other good characteristics of the original Citation.

    The big news for many was the Citation II could also be flown by a single pilot, either as the II/SP version or with a Part 91 exemption to the pilot’s certificate.


    The Citation S/II (This is the one Carenado has chosen to model)

    The Citation S/II, which debuted in 1984, featured a modified supercritical wing, which was much more efficient at higher speeds.  This particular wing was one of the main reasons for the later success of the Citation V.

    The S/II also featured improved sound insulation, increased baggage space, and greater useful load.  Like the Citation II, it could be operated by a single pilot as long as the pilot had a Part 91 exemption.



    Executive Jet Aviation and NetJets

    In 1986, a company called Executive Jet Aviation purchased six S/II to launch its new and unique fractional share program.  Founded in 1965 as a charter organization, it had recently been purchased by Richard Santulli, who had developed NetJets to sell fractional shares of ownership while still guaranteeing that the planes would be available when needed.


    EJA has since purchased almost $2 Billion worth of Citations.  In 2012, NetJets placed an order for up to 150 Citation Latitudes.  This extraordinary order included 25 firm orders and options for 125 more with deliveries beginning in 2016.


    The Citation Latitude is priced between the $12 Million Citation XLS+ and the $17 Million Citation Sovereign.


    Cessna T-47A – The Navy’s Super Citation

    If there was ever a high performance straight wing early Citation this may be it.  With shortened wings, hydraulic assisted flight controls, and new P&W JT15D-5 engines strapped on the sides, this one was built for intercepts and evasive maneuvers.


    Cessna was able to hold the price down for the order of 15 of these Navy Specials that was used for Navy Navigator and Radar Intercept Officer training by borrowing bits and pieces from other Citations already in production. 

    These new -5 engines are the exact same ones found on the Citation V and provide a healthy 400 pounds of additional thrust for each engine.  The powered aileron system comes from the high-performance swept-wing Citation III. 


    By chopping almost a yard off each wing, handling is much more responsive with the increase rate of roll.  The clipped wings also lowers the bending loads on the wing’s center section making it stronger.  But, to meet the specified structural loads, the T-47 has thicker wing skins and steel spar caps in the wing center section.


    The horizontal stabilizer was moved up the vertical fin spar a tad.  Because the fin is swept this horizontal stabilizer moved aft, increasing the effective tail length and improving pitch response.


    The T-47 is stressed to +4.25 Gs, compared to the +3.8 Gs of the standard Citation.  During radar-intercept training Navy pilots regularly pull 3.5 Gs in turns. (always hot-dogging it, Go Navy)


    With the military exemption to the 250 knot speed limit below 10,000 feet, the T-47 was designed to fly at 350 – 380 knots Indicated within a few feet of the ground. Because bird strikes are more likely at this ground hugging altitude the standard S/II windshield was beefed up along with a stronger steel frame.  This was tested with 4 pound birds being slammed into the windshield at 350 knots.




    Another fine addition for the Navy edition was an overhead window above the pilots seat.  The Navy guys tend to transition from level flight at 370 knots and a couple of hundred feet off the ground to a screaming intercept profile that could easily call for a climbing turn with 60 – 80 degree bank.  That is when the additional overhead window is appreciated.


    A tad heavier than the base S/II with a MTOW of 15,500 pounds, the T-47’s bigger engines provide a max rate of climb approaching 5,000 fpm and Best SE ROC of 1750+ fpm.High speed cruise is 420 knots.


    To save some weight, the thrust reversers were not installed.  The long military runways should look like an interstate to these guys and why tempt them to try a carrier landing.


    One last change was the Navy specified the fanjet engines have electronic engine fuel controls as opposed to the all-hydromechanical fuel delivery system in the standard S/II.

    The extended or protruding nose of the T-47 is necessary to house the Emerson APQ-159 radar units.

    Several companies competed for this contract. Cessna and LearJet were the finalists.


    The T-47s flew in pairs on a typical training sortie.  One acted as a bogie (the bad guy) and the other set out to nail it, vectored into position by the trainee RIO, but carefully watched by the instructor.


    Robert J. Collier Trophy was awarded to Cessna and the Citations - Twice


    The Citation program got a well-deserved boost in 1986 when the Citation fleet became the first general-aviation recipient of the 74-year-old Robert J. Collier Trophy. The award was presented to “Russell W. Meyer, Cessna Aircraft Company and its line of Citation business jet aircraft for the safety record in 1985 of the worldwide fleet of almost 1,400Citation aircraft.”


    The Collier Trophy was awarded a second time in 1997 to Cessna and the Citation X design team specifically for “the design, development and placing into service the Citation X – the first commercial aircraft in United States history to achieve a cruising speed of Mach 0.92.”


    This award is probably the most coveted aeronautical honor in America. It is “awarded annually for the greatest achievement in aeronautics or astronautics in America with respect to improving the performance, efficiency, and safety of air or space vehicles, the value of which has been thoroughly demonstrated by actual use during the preceding year.”


    Prior recipients include Orville and Wilbur Wright for the Wright Model E in 1913 and the crew of Apollo 11 for the successful moon landing mission in 1969 among all the other honored recipients.




    A quick overview of the Citation Family lineage


    Not everyone might agree with me but, generally all members of the Citation Family fall into one or more of the follow groups:

                    Straight Winged Citations with cruciform tails – usually slow with older avionics
                                    Citation, Citation I, II, S/II, Citation V

                    Straight Winged Citations with cruciform tails – faster and/or with somewhat modern    avionics
                                    Bravo, Ultra, Encore

                    Straight Winged Citations with T tails – usually slow but, with modern avionics
                                    CitationJet, CJ1, CJ2, CJ3, CJ4, Mustang, M2 (CJ4 is not slow at 450+ knots)

                    Small diameter cabins with restricted headroom 4’-8” but with modern avionics
                                    Entire CitationJet+ line, Ultra+, Encore+

                    Stand up and walk around headroom 5’-7” cabins (but not for average height people)
                                    Citation III, VI, VII, X, and Sovereign

                    Larger diameter cabins with straight wings and cruciform tails and modern avionics
                                    Excel (XL), XLS, XLS+Sovereign,Latitude

                    Newest designs with enlarged cabins and long range
                                    Longitude and Columbus?




    Another way of looking at the groupings of Citations

    The CE-500 series type rating includes the following 500 series but excludes the 510 Mustang, M2, 525 CitationJet and  follow on CJs – CJ1, CJ2, CJ3, and CJ4 (525 A, B, C)

    Includes Citation I (500) Citation II (550) Citation S/II (S550) Bravo (550B) Citation V/Ultra/Encore (560) Ultra+ and Encore+ require differential training.

    A different type rating is required for the XL/XLS with differential training required between XL/XLS and XLS+


    As the straight-wing Citation Family Grows . . .


    To get up to speed here, the original FanJet 500 gets renamed the Citation 500 just a few day prior to the first test flight.  This first of the kind from Cessna is certified in September 1971, deliveries to customers begin in 1972. Production was discontinued in 1977.


    The Citation I, an improved 500, 377 were built between 1977 and 1985 when production ceased.


    The Citation II, built between 1978 and 1984 and again from 1987 to 1995 was a stretched and improved Citation I. This quickly became the world’s best-selling business jet.  The goal of the second manufacturing period was for Cessna to have a low priced introductory jet so they could continue to entice the turboprop owners to step up to a pure jet. 503 units had been built when production was initially stopped in 1984. Another 100 was built in the second wave.


    Cessna guaranteed the S/II to be cheaper to operate than the turboprop you are now flying for the next three years or they will write you a check for the difference.  No checks were






    The Citation V was the follow-on model and replacement for the S/II. There was never a Citation IV, as production was cancelled prior to prototype.  The Citation V was a stretched S/II with one additional row of windows and used the S/II wing but was fitted with more powerful engines. This one was a little unique in that additional seating was not added, but the 20 inch cabin stretch made for more air and light in the cabin with nice leg room for all.  Redesigned seats now had more lumbar support and room to swivel and recline to an almost berth-like 60 degrees.  The Citation V was built from 1989 to 1994 and quickly became the best-selling business jet by a wide margin. 636 total were built.


    One of the easiest methods of identifying these versions of Citation is with the side or cabin window count.  The Citation I had four windows per side, the Citation II and S/II had 5 per side and the Citation V had six per side.


    The Citation V was tweaked into the Ultra as an upgrade in 1994.  The primary reason for this incremental update was to introduce the new cockpit. The Citation V Ultra was the first Citation to be decked out with a state of the art third generation glass cockpit with fully integrated PFD and MFD displays. Using the original wing from the S/II,  just enough speed was squeezed out for the Ultra to become the first straight-wing Citation capable of exceeding its maximum mach operating limit in level cruise.


    Someone in the marketing department must have discovered a possible new niche so the Citation II witnessed yet another replacement.  It was finally time for a technology update. Announced in 1994 and brought into service in 1997, the Citation Bravo was what most everyone thought the S/II and Citation V should have been.




    The Bravo, while built on the basic S/II airframe, but now powered by improved Pratt and Whitney engines and fitted with smooth landing trailing link main gear was now sporting a new higher class interior finish with a few more inches of legroom.  The antiquated panel was updated to the Honeywell Primus 1000 EFIS 3-tube glass cockpit. The Bravo wing design looks like the original Citation II, but has the supercritical design of the S/II but does not have the extended root like the S/II and V series. Production ceased in 2006 after 337 copies.


    One more expression was store for this original 500 series Citation line.  Riding on the success of the Ultra, it just seemed logical to make one last upgrade, hence the name – Encore.  The Citation V Encore was a clear follow-on update.  The Encore broke tradition and was fitted with new Pratt and Whitney 500 series engines with higher thrust and better fuel economy.  The Encore made history in a minor way by being the last descendant of the original Citation 500 to be upgraded to trailing link main landing gear.


    It is common to see the word Ultra inserted in the name of the Encore, ie, Citation V Ultra/Encore.  Duh.


    The cockpit and panel is a la Ultra with no practical update. This was to change, big time, a few years later with the introduction of the Encore +.  More about this later.


    Now we have a blend of straight-wing and swept-wing Citations

    With all these make and models in production Cessna was bound to push the envelope and try a blended Citation. I’m surprised someone didn’t suggest ‘Synergy’ as the name for this new blended model.

    Excel, or sometime XL, was the name chosen to carry the flag as Cessna’s answer to the mid-sized jet at a light jet price. One of the long-standing complaints about all small jets was the lack of a stand-up cabin.


    In a somewhat ingenious, but, not unexpected, move the wing and empennage of the Citation V Ultra, that had just been named ‘Best Business Jet’ by Flying Magazine, was mated to the fuselage of the top of the line and fastest civilian airplane, the Citation X, to create a new stand-up cabin light jet.  Creating the Excel was a little more complex than just slapping together the different existing components and making a new brochure.  A lot of aerodynamic and structural design work and sufficient testing had to be done to accomplish this fusion.




    The Ultra’s wing span was extended and some real creative design work was needed to mate the center section in a manner that kept it from passing through the cabin and messing up the aisle.  The cabin floor had to remain unobstructed for the entire length if it was to fly in the big leagues.  To avoid the weight of a bigger and heavier horizontal stabilizer to handle the additional forces Cessna decided to stick with the same sized stabilizer but to make its position adjustable by linking it to the flaps. The Excel’s horizontal stabilizer moves automatically with changes in flaps settings, adjusting its angle of incidence to the needed position for each phase of flight.


    At the Excel’s heart is a pair of P&W 4,200 pounds of thrust 500 series engines that were flat rated near 3,800 pounds, leaving room for growth.  These were the latest generation bypass engines withimproved thrust and lower fuel consumption. These engines provide enough reserve power for bleed air de-icing the wings thus dispensing with the Ultra’s boots.


    The Excel’s cockpit is standard Ultra but with its cabin comfort and elegance is pure Citation X. With a top cruise speed of 430 knots it can climb straight to Fl410 at gross weight in 20 minutes. In addition to the 68 inches of headroom throughout the cabin, the baggage compartment was enlarged by 25%.


    In typical Cessna fashion, the Excel was followed by the XLS, but not before selling a staggering 800 units.  Wow.  Can you believe these names? Duh. The latest model is the XLS+ with a totally modern all glass and fully integrated panel and remains in the current model inventory.


    Walk into one of the several Cessna owned Service Centers located around the world and you will usually see a full house of Citations including many very similar models.  At times you have look closely to determine the exact model.




    Now it is time for a totally new design, well sorta, and a play on words.

    During this same time period of designing and building the infamous Citation X and the Citation VI and VII, Cessna and prior to the Bravo and Excel and Sovereign, and with the Citation II still in production, Cessna decided to try a redo of the original little one – the Citation 500.

    One of my favorite books uses this introduction:

    A company rarely gets a chance to accomplish the same marketing coup twice, but Cessna did just that when it introduced the CitationJet two decades after the original Citation 500.


    The first Citation Jet rolled out in 1991 to repeat the original Citation 500’s success as an alternative to the turboprops.  On less thrust than the 500, it delivered more speed while burning less fuel, demonstrating how far aerodynamics and engine technology has progressed in only two decades.  The CitationJet was the first of the very light jets, beating any and all competitors to the market by a decade.

    Advances in engine technology had advanced so rapidly in the last decade that the price difference between the original Citation engine and the current model Citation II engine was practically nil.  With the engines alone accounting to about 30% of a Citation’s total cost it made little sense for customers to opt for the smaller jet.  In 1995 Cessna stopped making the Citation I.

    But, at the same time, they recognized that with the Citation I’s demise the unfilled market niche that had been so brilliantly exploited with the original Citation was about to re-emerge.  There was no competitively priced fanjet airplane to take on the turboprops.

    Here was an opportunity to repeat history. If Cessna could once again create a 4 – 5 passenger small jet that delivered performance and operating economies competitive with the turboprops they should be able to capture the same lucrative market a second time.

    This would be like shooting fish in a barrel.  Heck, Cessna could dig out the old specs, dust them off, do a minor update based on what they had learned in the last 20 years of building Citations and be ready to go in short order.

    Let’s see now; we need a straight-winged entry-level jet that is easy to fly. Oh, and be certified for a single pilot from the gitgo.  And this time the jokes will be on the competition – we already have the fastest jet the civilian dollar can buy. Ha.

    So was born the CitationJet.

    This time the name was a no-brainer, derived from an in-house champion, a sure winner.  It would be considerably faster than the turboprops, have good economics, approved for single-pilot operation, priced to sell and be especially pleasing to the eye.

    But, once this new design and performance spec begin to materialize it didn’t look quite so easy.  Customers were now more sophisticated and demanded a higher level of creature comforts and were no longer inclined to deal with steps in the aisle or old style round gauges and such.  And speed was the now the name of the game – a ‘Slowtation’ would not do this time.




    To keep the price of a totally new high-speed jet competitive and retain all those qualities like ease of handling, slow approach speeds, short takeoffs and landings, etc. etc.  Oh my, this calls for a new lighter-weight engine which will most like mean less thrust.

    So now we have a spec that calls for less power than any Citation in history. Making it go faster than the original is going to take a lot more than some incremental tweaking. As the final spec was becoming clearer the only solution that had potential to yield the required results was the laminar flow wing. Such a wing was conceptually possible but, could it be designed to retain the easy to handle characteristics and could it be economically manufactured in mass production.

    Benefiting from recent joint research with NASAand the knowledge gained from constantly tweaking the supercritical S/II wing the in-house design team came up with an extraordinarily efficient design. The finished laminar flow wing retained laminar flow for up to 31% of its surface from the leading edge aft.

    OK, we now have a theoretical design, can it be built to the exacting contour precision and smoothness?  Evidently yes.  Cessna used slightly thicker wing skins that other airplanes and had them chemically milled from a solid block of metal to provide consistent rigidity.  The forward portion of the wing was bonded and flush rivets were used only aft of the laminar flow area and they were filled and smoothed until all traces of them were gone.

    Bleed air for deicing was the only practical choice for a laminar flow wing even though it takes precious performance from the already low thrust engines.  The proper mixing of hot bleed air with the ambient air gets the job done with almost no reduction in engine performance.

    The design selection of a T tail mounted up high in the smoother air above the slipstream allows a smaller and lighter empennage.

    The Williams Rolls FJ44-1A engines are as technologically advanced as the new wing.  They are lighter, more fuel efficient than any other turbofan in small jet use.  The FJ44-1A engines have only about 700 moving parts compared to about 2,300 parts on the original P&W engines.  The Williams engine also weighs in at 132 pounds less than the P&W 5D-1s and burn 20% less fuel. Again, Cessna found the right engine at the right time for the right plane.

    In order to save weight, the CJs engines are not equipped with thrust reversers. Instead they have thrust attenuators, pioneered by Cessna for the T-37 Tweety Bird. These are paddle-like panels that swing outward at a shallow angle to deflect the thrust sideways. Flaps can also be extended to a 60 degrees ground roll only setting to slow the plane after landing.

    Bottom Line.  When finally certified, the CitationJet far surpassed the original Citation 500. With a typical 380 knot cruise speed, it was 40 kts faster, it could fly 13% farther on 17% less fuel and with a FL450 ceiling it could fly 10,000 feet higher.  The CitationJet routinely operates from runways shorter than 3,000 feet.  And it costs less than the entry level Citation I it replaced in the lineup.  Amazing.

    The CitationJet was the first Cessna Citation to have trailing Link landing gear and featured a full EFIS suite on the pilot’s side and oh yes, they can all be flown by a single pilot.

    In 1998, Cessna made a two-pronged move to protect the CJs market position by announcing two derivatives of the littlest Jet, the CJ1 and CJ2.

    The CJ1 was an incremental upgrade to add the advanced two-tube Collins Pro Line 21 glass panel with 8 x 10 screens.  Engine information is displayed on the MFD eliminating individual gauges. A modest increase in allowable gross weight increased the useful load by a few pounds.

    The CJ2 was a more ambitious affair to pre-empt the competition.  The CJ2 was a stretched CJ, with more powerful engines.  The wings were lengthened 3 feet, the fuselage stretched almost 3 feet and the cabin seating went from 4/5 to 6/7. The cockpit of the CJ1 and CJ2 are identical, so both can be flown single pilot.

    The CJ2 performance figures are typical Cessna. Max cruise is now 400 knots, up from 380 knots, range is 1,680 nm up from 1,475 nm, and useful load is now 4,898 pounds up from 3,900 pounds.  Maximum takeoff weight is 12,300 pounds compared to the CJ1 of 10,600 pounds.

    About 5 years later in 2004, Cessna introduced the CJ3. Yep, a stretch CJ2 with more powerful and more efficient engines, a gain of about 15 knots cruise speed with two additional seats.  Starting to sound familiar?

    I bet you could have guessed the next one was the CJ4, a stretched CJ3 with yada, yada, yada. To be fair, the CJ4 is a lot more than a little bit bigger, little bit faster.  The CJ4 has a new mildly-swept wing design along the lines of the Sovereign and gained a whopping 1,600 pounds of thrust.  Even though it is an evolutionary step in the CJ family it is not a replacement for any of its siblings.

    I read someplace that the CJ4 was actually about ‘90% clean sheet’ design with mostly new electrical systems, advanced cabin systems including a lot of power operated stuff and special lighting, a couple of inches more cabin headroom, a new more shapely nose, more system redundancy, and more than a bit faster.

    The CJ4 also has a ‘clean sheet’ cockpit that is much more ergonomic and any previous CJ family member. The most used controls are near eye level, most system controls are now on tilt panels just below the flight deck with knobs and switches that are easier to reach. Dozens of individual gauges are gone with indications now on the MFDs. Dual CDUs are more forward and mounted higher for ease of use.




    By most accounts, the CJ4 is clearly the best narrow-cabin Citation yet built.  Typical Cessna docile handling is already best in class, the new wheel brakes are on par with the best brake-by-wire systems and the new cockpit redesign significantly reduces pilot workload.  What more could you ask?

    The CJ, CJ1 and CJ1+ have all been retired from production and we now have a CJ2+ and CJ3+.  The + in the model designation usually means an upgrade in the cockpit to a more modern, more integrated, lighter weight panel that runs cooler and eliminates a few gauges.

    The + also in most cases adds a little more thrust or efficiency or both but also add FADEC.  This is the computer control system for the engines that are mostly set and forget.  This is a real boost for single pilot operation of these faster and more complex business jets.

    The Mustang and the M2

    The most recent entry level Citation is the M2 that will stepping into the ‘Smallest Citation’ position.  This was the position of the Model 510 Mustang for some time now, but it is evidently time to upgrade the Mustang, hence the M2.  According to Cessna the M2 is not a replacement for the Mustang, it is simply the newest ‘entry level’ Citation.

    Other Citation Models

    The on again, off again Columbus is off again.  The Latitude and Longitude are niche models that cost an arm and a leg but probably worth every dollar.  The systems and cockpits in these models are so advanced that it could be somewhere between forever and never before we see them simulated for our current flight simulator by our current developers. Lots of fly by wire, touch screens and fully automated system. That doesn’t sound like much fun to fly anyway.

    OK, Why is it important to know about all these Citation Models?

    Ah. Good Question.  Because according to Carenado, this is just the beginning of Cessna Citation releases.  We can expect more and more as time passes. I am going to interpret this as we can expect faster and more modern Citations with improved avionics just like the real world models.

    Popularity by number of Magazine covers with a Cessna Citation photo.

    One rainy day, or maybe one rainy weekend, I gathered up as many Flying Magazine and AOPA magazines as I could find with a Cessna Citation on the cover.  This may be interesting to someone.  I thought it was fascinating.




    Here is the Million Dollar Question - Why Does Cessna’s Jet Fly so Slow?

    This was a very common question and on most everyone’s mind in the early 1970s prior to the certification of the Citation, Model 500. I found the most plausible answer in the archives of Flying Magazine in an excellent article entitled – Why does Cessna’s Jet go so slow? This was a progress report published in the February issue of 1970 and featured the first photos of the first two flying prototypes. 

    Total credit for original research and writing goes to Archie Trammell.  I have simply shortened the article a bit and added a few connecting words here and there.  Thanks to Archie Trammell, Flying Magazine, and Google Books for answering this question.

    Outside a few restricted areas at Mid-Continent Airport, practically nothing was known about the Cessna Jet in early 1970.  Not even the aviation press had the full story and not much was in print about what would eventually be named the Citation 500, then Citation I and a decade later Citation II and then S/II.

    What little information there was came from the competitors – Learjet, Aero Commander, Lockheed, Dassault and Sud – and none of it sounded very good. The only thing known for sure was that Cessna had announced at the NBAA convention in Houston in 1968 that it would be building the 400 mph Fanjet 500. The mock-up at the NBAA convention presented a good broad-brush idea of the jet’s likely appearance, but as the design was finalized and refined in wind tunnel tests its lines gradually evolved into what has since become the classic Citation look.

    We now pickup on the story in progress . . . The question that folks should be asking is ‘Whatever became of Cessna’s turboprop?”  The answer to this is easy, it became Cessna’s turbofan, which is basically the same thing as a turboprop, only better.

    Once you begin thinking of the Cessna jet in this light, all the questions have answers, and very exciting answers they are.  The reason Cessna’s jet is so slow is because it’s not a jet; it’s Cessna’s version of a turboprop, and it goes like the blazes – 60 mph faster than any other turboprop, and only 50 mph slower than some jets.  Why does it have straight wings?  That is easy also, whoever heard of a turboprop with a swept wing?

    Why would anyone pay $700,000 for a 400 mph turbofan when he can get a 500 mph jet for the same price? Because not just anyone can fly a 500 mph jet; but if Cessna wins their gamble, almost anyone will be able to fly their turbofan, and this may be the most exciting question and answer since Wilbur asked Orville if he’d like to get out of the bicycle business.

    This all probably came about in some mid-1960s planning session when the 421 program had been finalized and turned over to engineering and the planners were facing that age old problem: what next?  A turboprop, of course. Their dilemma was how to make it fit the Cessna formula. The sure-fire Cessna 172 formula for success, you know the one that can’t be violated.  Since the C172 constitutes 10% of the general aviation fleet, success is as simple as offering the 172 pilots incremental increases in performance and utility. These 12,000 airplane owners are a continual prime source of prospects for the C182 which is the second best-selling airplane in the world.

    Similarly, those that move up to the C182 become prime prospects for a retractable, then a twin, then a bigger twin, and so on to the top of the line.  It’s amazing how many 172 pilots become company presidents or chief pilots who decide which airplane will be bought.  This chain must not be broken, not even for a turboprop or jet. Every new model must be a link back to the bread-and-butter Skyhawk.

    This put the planners of 1965 in a bind, for the turboprops were proving to be for the pros.  They were temperature and torque limited which meant a lot of head-down time in the cockpit fiddling with the power levers.  With 500 or 600 hp per side , asymmetrical thrust was high on the required skills curve when an engine went out.  Obviously, a 421 with the complexities of turbine power added would not do, for traditionally at Cessna, a move up in performance and sophistication has been compensated for by better handling characteristics. After all, the 400 series twins are the most honest airplanes Cessna builds.  Thus, the step-up man is free to wrestle with problems of high-speed navigation, engine-out procedures, and pressurization with having to also fly a handful of airplane.

    So the planners had to come up with a turboprop that would be so easy to operate that step-up pilots wouldn’t even notice the added duties of turbine power.  Since they had 10 years of experience with green pilots in heavy, medium speed airplanes through their Air Force T-37 trainer program, they decided to use the T-37 wing form and milk it for even better handling characteristics.  To compensate for higher speeds and greater rates of climb around busy VFR airports they would have to build in superb visibility.  And to compensate for power and systems management duties, they would draw heavily on automation technology and human factor engineering.

    What about asymmetrical thrust? At Cessna, there are strong feelings about hanging more and more power out on the wings and more complex cockpits and then expecting their C172 pilots to identify with being able to fly them someday.  Should the new turboprop be center line thrust like the Skymaster?  Naw, this would present problems, both in engineering and in sales.

    Just about this time in the discussions, a man from United Aircraft of Canada’s Pratt and Whitney Division came by and noticed a ‘Salesmen Welcome” sign on the front door.  He went in and began talking about a new JT15D turbofan engine of 2,200 pounds thrust.  After listening, the Cessna planners thanked him for his time and asked that he drop in again in a couple of years because at the moment they were up to their ears in a turboprop program.

    The Canadian, not quite ready to be put off, remarked half in jest that the turbofan engine can be thought of as a turboprop of sorts. In fact, if you were to take a PT6 and mount a shrouded, fixed pitch prop on it, you would have essentially a turbofan engine.

    Woah. Wake Up call. At this, bells gonged and lights flashed all over South Wichita.  Imagine that: a 400 mph, centerline thrust turboprop with fixed-pitch propellers.  Talk about excitement.  I feel a new spec coming.

    OK, we build a new step-up twin that would operate safely out of any airport a 421 will, paved or not.  Like the turboprops, its thing would be shorter trips and medium altitudes.  The turbofan is more suited to this profile than either the turboprop or the turbojet, because it climbs and goes faster than a turboprop and burns less fuel than a pure jet at the low and middle altitudes. 

    To maximize mission capability, it would have low wing-loading, and oversized windshield and cockpit side windows for operations into and out of small airports where it would be required to mix with C150s and Cherokees.

    We will set the price in the $500,000 to $600,000 range – not exorbitant for an airplane with this speed and range. The prime prospects would be C310 and 400 series owners.  Since this will be aimed at wholly-owner flown or by part-time professional pilots who have other duties in a small company, the key to volume sales would be single-pilot capability.  So the planners leaned heavily on a combination of exotic automation and utter simplicity.  Flight controls would be simple cables and torque tubes, power controls would be a single pair of levers, fuel selection would be Off/On and Crossfeed.

    This is going to be a marketing man’s dream.  It would have turboprop capabilities, jet speeds and the ease of flying a Super Skymaster.  It will be all alone with a market base and appeal that no other high-performance business plane has enjoyed.

    First, big corporations that have been buying turboprops for runabout use would find it ideal. On short hops of 150 – 400 miles, its block time would actually be quicker than a jet.  All airplanes are the same speed taxiing and in the pattern, so 100 mph more speed can easily be canceled by breaking the climb off at 15,000 to 20,000 feet instead of FL300 to FL400, and by using less busy, closer to the ultimate destination, secondary airports.

    But, the more exciting appeal would be to smaller companies that haven’t been able to afford jets because they don’t have a need for all the transportation a jet must deliver.  The lower insurance costs and practically nil crew costs combined with its ease of handling and operation from secondary airports rather than prime air-carrier airports where liability rates are so high would bring the annual utility rate in line with the travel needs of the smaller companies.

    After things got moving, the original step-up program seems to have gotten warped.  Someone began referring to the new airplane as a ‘fanjet’ rather than a turbofan, which was an invitation to problems.  Certification, for instance: The FAA lets anyone fly turboprops, and they may have let a turbofan pass, had it been explained to them that a turbofan is a simplified turboprop.  But, mention jet to the FAA and you’ve hit on a preconceived notion.

    We will tell you exactly what happened when Cessna went to them talking about their fanjet, for we’ve talked to the same guys about the same subject.  First, there’s a song and dance about every airplane standing on its own merit. But stall long enough and act dumb enough and they’ll grow weary and admit that they feel a jet is a jet.  It flies fast and it flies high and it catches up to a lot of bad weather.  Therefore, it must be flown by professionals – two of them. Though it has been tried before, the FAA has not yet certificated a business jet for single-pilot operations.  They do allow single-pilot ferry flights for factory delivers.

    In short, it is a case of guilty until proven otherwise; the FAA has decided that jets are tricky beasts that call for skills of two pilots – at least one of them certified by the FAA in the airplane – and it is the job of the manufacturer to prove otherwise.

    So when Cessna came talking about their fanjet, the FAA allowed that single pilot operation would be possible if flight tests proved feasibility.  But, they revealed their true feelings by suggesting that Cessna first certify the two-pilot airplane, then try for a single pilot version later.

    The next blow to fall was from the insurance companies.  Mention businessman pilot and jet in the same breath and they do a double snap roll.  Most simply say they will never insure a non-professionally flown jet.  Several even refuse to insure a turboprop unless two pilots fly it.  So when ‘Fanjet 500’ got hung on Cessna’s turbofan, insurance underwriters started thinking in term of premium rates like those for other jets in their experience.

    The saddest effect of the Fanjet name fell on the general public. It caused potential jet buyers, the established jet builders and the press to miss the point of the airplane entirely.  Prospects looked at the performance figures and wondered if it was some short of spoof.  The competition sharpened their pencils and began figuring ways to meet Cessna’s price.  One even cut back his jet’s gross weight and met both price and short-field capabilities.  And for 18 months the FAA, insurers, and the press waited, afraid to become too enthusiastic for fear the slow-jet program would flop.

    Meanwhile , back at the ranch, the engineering team were working the slide-rules trying to meet the original goals – and were coming very close. The first prototype flew on schedule and they had to change the wingtips, change the shape of the tail, move the engines back a bit and lengthen the fuselage to keep the balance right. They ended up adding 850 pounds to the GW, but the airplane was performing as planned.  Cruise speed will be 346 kts (398 mph) just a couple mph short of the original target.  Stall speed will be 83 knots (95 mph), 5 mph higher than planned.  Useful Load will be 4,942 pounds, and takeoff distance at full gross over a 35 foot obstacle will be 3,350 feet.  The price remains $590,000 basic and $625,000 fully equipped – very close to turboprop prices.

    With the number two prototype now flying and first deliveries just 18 months away, the question is what turn does the project take now?  If everyone continues to compare the Cessna jet to other jets the marketing battle is going to get very interesting. Dassault, Lear, and Sud have all announced mini models to compete with Cessna.  The newly announced Lear 24C looks very strong in comparison.  The Lear goes 87 knots faster, climbs 3,000 fpm faster, and flies 7,000 feet higher.

    But there are indications that jet fever at Cessna is beginning to subside and the original turbofan excitement is coming back.  The change in name from Fanjet 500 to Citation is a sign of this.  Although, like other jets, the Citation is being certificated under Part 25 so that it will be acceptable to those big corporations at an airline level of excellence, so Cessna people are saying the Citation is not really like the other jets at all.  It’s not noisy taking off like a jet, it doesn’t gulp fuel ravenously that it has to be cut off at FL400 like a jet, it doesn’t have fences and vortex generators and slats on its wings like a jet.

    In fact, the Citation evidently was not intended to be competitive with any of the jet’s virtues, which is why the Cessna management was not overly concerned when Lear announced the 24C.  The Citation will be competitive in the turboprop market and when this is explained properly, they’re betting several million development dollars that it’ll set well.

    So now the new marketing group is getting ready to make everyone aware of the difference between a turbofan and a jet. At the same time, Bob Lair, Cessna VP of Aircraft Operations, has started an educational program for insurance underwriters.  Plans are to bring several of them in so they can see for themselves that the Citation is built for ease of flying. They may even let them fly it, but for sure, they will explain the significant differences between a turbojet going 500 mph at 40,000 feet and a turbofan doing 400 mph at 26,000 feet. 

    They will learn about the coffin corner, where Mach buffet and stall speed converge. And at 40,000 feet a pressurization failure is a first-class emergency, and most likely the passenger’s life expectancy could get cut very short. At 26,000 feet, the Citation’s best cruise speed altitude, man gets along very nicely with simple continuous flow O2 equipment.  Lair will also explain that on many flights the Citation pilots won’t even have to file IFR, because he will be below Positive Control airspace.  Finally on many flights, he won’t be going into and out of high-density airports.  With its short-field capabilities, the Citation will spend most of its time on secondary airports where catastrophic liability claims are much less likely to arise from tangling with a 500-passenger 747.

    If Lair is successful – and he’s a very personable and persuasive man -  Cessna will have cracked the jet barrier, so that you and I can dream of someday going 400 mph, just like the big boys do.  Which is the answer to the question, ‘Why does Cessna’s jet go so slow?”




    The Review Itself

    The Carenado edition of the S550 Citation S/II


    One could almost describe in detail this latest add-on from Carenado without even seeing it.  Yes, the exterior model is drop-dead gorgeous, the VC and Cabin are delivered in HD with 4,096 x 4,096 textures.  Extras include an exceptionally well done APU unit and the standard ramp furnishings typical of recent Carenado models. 

    A totally new and somewhat helpful feature is an online view of the panel using the free Prezi service. A link







    (http://www.carenado.com/CarSite/Portal/pages/mans550fsx.php} )is provided at the Carenado web site from the S550 product page.  Click on the term ‘Panel Reference’ in the lower right corner at the product webpage.

    Documentation, what little there is, is also typical Carenado, meaning a few scattered pdf files with no introduction or explanation. The normal and emergency checklists are really about all that can be used and without and performance charts for calculating fuel flows and reference speeds, one is left mostly on their own to figure out how the S550 should or could be flown.

    Note:  Some additional flight planning documentation was included in Caranado’s SP1 update.  Any recent purchases of the Carenado S550 Citation II will come with SP1 or later.

    Because this is a niche model that was sandwiched between the Citation II and Citation V with only 160 total models built between 1984 and 1989 there is practically nothing useful that is specific to the S/II that can be found online. I suppose if one was desperate they could purchase a bonafide copy of the Airplane Flight Manual or an Operating Manual on eBay for about 5x the price they paid for the Carenado flight model.




    Most flight simmers will probably try to adapt the somewhat more freely available Citation II flight data, manuals, and guides to the S/II.  A small and select few might be able to find downloadable copies of the Flight Safety Checklists and manuals specific to the S/II.

    What would be a very useful stopgap measure would be three or four simplified takeoff calculations for different airport altitudes, temperatures and aircraft weights.  The same for climb profiles, cruise profiles and some approaches with suggested speeds and configurations.  A Citation S550 is not a jump in and go flying type airplane, although I am sure many flight sim enthusiasts will do exactly that. (Note:  Most of this was included with the SP1 update from Carenado)

    If there was ever a model that needed a Flight Guide or Flight Manual, this would be the perfect candidate.  I don’t think I have ever actually seen a Carenado Flight Manual for any of their airplanes.  A few years ago, several pages taken from the POH were packaged with the small Cessnas but they got away from that.

    Note:  The FSMania.com 3 part video series by Tim G. gives a very nice overview of the Carenado S550 Citation II.  Tim is a real world, instrument rated pilot and makes some very watchable flight sim videos.  Find them here. (

    Failure Modes

    There are no maintenance items or failures built into the Carenado model. The SP1 and possibly SP2 updates will be eagerly anticipated by most of the first day buyers.  Several have the S550 parked in the back of the hangar awaiting these SP updates and fixes.


    This is a somewhat touchy subject when discussing a complex aircraft delivered by Carenado.  Historically, the Carenado aircraft are intentionally lite or have lite systems with beautiful exteriors and recently beautiful cockpits and panels to match.  But, what exactly is realism when flying in a flight simulator?

    Shouldn’t the windshield scratches, glass and instrument reflections be considered realism items? How about this new ‘special wind drag effect’ sound feature included with the S550?

    I think the physical movement of the airplane when weight changes are made falls in the realism category.

    I also consider the excellent feedback of sights and sounds when hand flying the S/II should be considered a realism item.

    How about the ramp or exterior views?  If it looks like a photo of a real Citation shouldn’t that be considered realism?  I vote yes.

    Frame Rates

    A general rule is that as the aircraft get more complex and the textures files keep getting larger and larger, the Frame Rate (FPS) just has to be negatively impacted, especially on legacy pc systems.

    On my system, locked at 31 FPS, the S550 does just fine with no stutters until I open the 3rd or 4th window.  I typically fly with 3 or more small windows open on a second monitor.  It is noticeable when the FPS drops into the ‘low teens’ and also noticeable when the FPS jumps back into the high 20s the instant I close one or two of those windows.  I have not had any stutters to speak of.

    This might be the heaviest hitter on FPS of any Carenado model that I remember.  I remember the Carenado C182T was a FPS hog with the large glass displays.  If you have a marginal system you will most likely have to fly with less traffic and weather in the built-up areas.

    Other Factors

    As someone on the forums stated – ‘This ain’t no RealAir’.  This is true, it definitely is not, nor is it intended to compete head on with the RealAirs or A2A Simulations. The difficultly  may be in the price structure.  They are all within a few dollars of each other but that is about all they have in common.

    I think the Carenado S550 should not be described as flying on rails, as I have read but neither should one expect any extensive actions and reactions of systems based on the real world model or real world experiences. Sure it will fall out of the sky if you run out of fuel and it will make sparks if you land with the gear retracted, and you can change the cabin pressure and see the needle move, but you can also fly all day long with the pressure at zero just as well.

    I’m suspect you can fly the S550 at Mmo speeds with the flaps extended and then retract them and keep flying with no ill effects. Of course, this is not realistic, but what the hey.

    This is not quite true.  The Carenado S550 will not accelerate to the higher speeds until the gear and flaps are properly retracted.  However, one can extend the flaps or lower the gear in excess of the maximum allowed speeds. But, then again, you can do this in the real world Citation S/II, although I would think that would be only in an emergency to lower speed or initiate a rapid descent.  The wing spoilers or speed brakes do not have an upper speed limit for deployment, but, keep an eye on the annunciator panel so as not to forget they are deployed.

    A few of the really good features that I have noticed.




    First, this one has a better than average sound package. I will go so far as to say, I have no intention of even looking for an aftermarket sound pack for the S550.  Is it really that good?  In a word – yes.  Can it be improved?  Most likely, yes, but I personally don’t think the incremental improvements would be worth the effort. The engine sounds are mostly realistic, the flap movement sounds are perfect.  The gear movement is realistic with just enough thumps and bumps to be noticeable and most of the switches have associated sounds.

    The new Carenado wind drag sounds didn’t impress me very much but, that is probably because I have been flying a lot of A2A Simulations and RealAir products recently and their products have realistic wind and motion sounds to die for.  I don’t hear subtle sounds very well, so if they are meant to be barely noticeable then I barely noticed them.

    Ground Handling.  One of the first things I noticed is how well and how effortless the S550 gets around on the tarmac.  The steerable nose wheel is exactly that.  Turn the wheel with your joystick, your rudder pedals or a key press and release the brakes and you are in a smooth turn.  For a tighter turn add a little brake pressure.  This is much better than most!

    I would invest in one of the companies that make brake shoes if I had to pay for them because I can’t find a low enough thrust setting to avoid riding the brakes to slow down on a long taxiway.  This is not a big problem, just an irritation. It may be my inexpensive Saitek X-52 Pro controls just need better calibration, but more likely it is a needed adjustment somewhere in design files.

    This is also common in the real world S/II so it is not unusual to see the thrust reversers deployed in short bursts on long taxiways. Real world pilot also only use one engine for extended taxis to save wear and tear on the braking system. The Citation V and later models had a Ground Idle switch added to tone down the turbine speed on the ground. None of the S/II’s that I know of had this useful feature.

    The Pilot’s Window.

    That little small window that real world Citation drivers use to talk to the ground crew or to pass an electrical cord through to operate a small heater when waiting for the boss to arrive on those really cold mornings.  It is only on the left side of the early Citations but it looks and works great.  Does the sound change when the window is opened? Well, I just tried to open it while flying and to my surprise it will not open while in flight – that is a good thing.  When I’m back on the ground I will check to see if the outside sounds increase when the window is opened.




    The VC Panel

    I like it. I like it a lot. I doubt one would find more than a precious few S/II panels that have not been modified or upgraded over the years.  A few came from Wichita with an early model UNS type FMS or FMC, most didn’t, but then these probably had one added sometime along the way.

    Seating position/Pilot Visibility

    Just like the real world model from Cessna, the Carenado S/II has a great pilot’s view – both realistic and well appreciated.  The overall visibility of the Citations in general are the absolute best of all business jets. For flight simulator pilots that have not yet purchased the Track IR5, this one should be the one that you will most enjoy.  The big pilot’s side window along with the forward view reminds me of sitting in a bay window with a gorgeous view.

    The Panel Configuration

    Almost all the photos of the S550s for sale have a GPS or two somewhere in the panel, or if not, a more fully functioning FMS. There is not much available space for additional goodies unless you remove the Weather Radar that almost all S/IIs had when they left the factory. Those 6 or 8 individual radios really eat into the space allocation.

    I suppose, the Universal FMS and the MFD is modeled after the real world model that Carenado based this on. I can’t confirm this but it seems reasonable.  The EFIS is not a model that I came across in my research while waiting the last couple of months for the Carenado release. They fooled us with the timing and just kept adding more and more screenshots to their Facebook page. I don’t think I saw a single rwS/II photo that had the full set of copilot instruments like this Carenado edition.  Wouldn’t a set of Plain Jane instruments suffice for the copilot side and save a few FPS?  Especially for a flight sim.

    This Airplane is Underpowered. I must have read this a hundred times in the forums.  If it is, it is not by much. None of the early Citations, including this one and the ones that followed it, were ever known as speed demons or accused of having excessive high altitude climb thrust.

    Now I will agree with anyone and everyone that more thrust is better and a steeper climb profile is more fun than a long flat one and nothing will ever replace a higher cruise speed, but, this is an early Citation.  A slowtation, a mutation, a nearjet. All those derogatory terms that were used by the competition when the early Citations were selling like hotcakes.




    Only a few of even the newer models have any reserve power to speak of.  Now I also agree that the Carenado S/II should be able to climb to the upper-30s flight levels without stalling or being required to make step climbs.  A lot of this has to do with flying technique and patience, but, I suspect if Carenado does not tweak the climbing ability with some SPs or patches you will see a lot of shade tree mechanics messing up their aircraft.cfg and air files trying to soup up their Slowtation.  Or even worse, the disappointed buyers will uninstall the S550 from their harddrive and spend their time badmouthing Carenado and the S550 all over the internet.

    The Aftermarket Performance Mods.

    One company has been very successfully modifying and upgrading Citations, including the Citation II and S/II and even some of the earliest  CitationJets.  Checkout SIJET.com for some mouthwatering performance numbers for the S/II with new Citation V or CJ3+ Williams fanjet engines strapped onto a mostly unchanged or unmodified S/II fuselage. The FJ44-3A engines will boost the static thrust from 2,500 to 2,820 lft. The resulting performance is amazing.




    Without fail, any Citation owner will tell you, when asked, that they crave a little more power, another 40 knots of cruise speed, better climb power, longer range and a little more weight carrying capacity.  This has not changed since the very first Citation.

    How Do I fly the Carenado S550 Citation S/II?

    I have two models in my private hangar. I have the plain vanilla edition that remains exactly as it was installed from the Carenado download, with SP1 and SP2, and I have an updated and modified model with a special repaint (so I don’t get the two confused) that is a work in progress.  This work in progress is simply that. I read the forums, I read my email, and I read the magazine archives with the flight reviews from back in the 80s.  I will try most anything that remotely sounds like an improvement in performance or productivity.

    I try to fly both models at least once each day and I keep written notes concerning each flight. Yes, the two models have very difference performance curves. The unmodified one is a little slower and some of buttons and knobs don’t work properly and I seldom turn on the UNS FMS or the MFD.  Does it fly?  Yes, and it flies quite well actually. Do I have to make step climbs to the higher altitudes? Yes, I do and when I do and I enjoy those flights because I enjoy flying the Citation.

    I have learned to simply ignore the ITT gauge during startup because the readings would totally turn those fanjets to toast.  I am constantly disappointed when the Airspeed bug does not work or I can’t add the Target numbers for the Fans on the N1 gauge. I try to only use the documentation that came with the download and not mix up my aftermarket manuals and guides. Yes, this surely does put a large speed bump in the way but that it what I have chosen to do.

    The Sperry Autopilot can’t possibly be coded correctly.  Functions that should work properly tend to turn themselves off for no sensible reason and the IAS function will initiate an instant descent when engaged during a stabilized climb profile rather than continuing at the engagement speed. Some of the simpler screw-ups like the mislabeling of the Altitude Selector as the VSI is just that and you just have to remind yourself that it works properly, it is just mislabeled.

    Several indicator lights do not work correctly however, but the tooltip seems to properly indicate the selected function when the mouse cursor is placed over the switch or button.

    Later on I am going to tell you about some of my flights in the souped up model.  Remember, you have to have the base Carenado model first in order to have an upgraded, updated and modified Super S/II.

    Why am I not just sticking to the review of the Carenado S550 Citation II like it arrived in the download?  Because I am a lover of Citations.  I drool each and every time I see or hear a real one.  I love them all and this is the only one in existence that will run on my P3Dv2 system and be legal.

    The out of the box, first run of the Carenado S550 Citation II had a lot of deficiencies.  Maybe a lot more than a few and the sum total is it is a crippled flying model in the current state.  I am expecting most of these ‘problems’ to be fixed by the factory.  It may take more than one SP to really clean it up and smooth out enough of the rough edges to make it a recommended model. That is OK with me – remember, I love Citations – and this is the only one available today.

    Am I letting Carenado off the hook for coming out with this one with all these handicaps? Not for a minute. I just don’t have that much leverage. I am willing to wait.  Not forever, and actually not very long, but at the end of the day I feel good.  My Citation looks good and my souped up one flies better than most anything else that I choose to compare it with. And for that I am thankful.

    Round Gauges, first edition EFIS gauges and vertical engine instruments.

    Yep, that is what you have here.  If you are looking for a glass cockpit, move along, there is nothing for you here. If you don’t even want to use the FMS and MDF, then by all means leave the power off and don’t ever turn them on.  The Citation S/II will fly just fine without them.  I am a little surprised to see as much glass as there is in this one.  The EADI and ESHI were the first steps toward modernizing the panel.  The MFD can be useful if you will spend the time to explore the features and learn how to use it to help you.

    The obvious advantage of the EFIS system is that it provides a tremendous amount of display flexibility and certainly increases a pilot’s ability to get the big picture quickly. The instrument scan area is basically reduced to two large and easy to read instruments placed directly in front of your nose.






    These first edition EFIS vacuum tube gauges were expensive, heavy and tended to run hot. The S/II and V versions came with special ‘EFIS Cooling Fans’ that had annunciator lights to indicate when the fans were running and should the temperature rise the ‘EADI Hot’ or ‘EHSI Hot’ warning light would illuminate.  Follow on flights were prohibited after a ‘Hot’ warning until the condition was identified and corrected.

    From reading several magazine articles it is apparent that the EFIS option for the SPZ-500 flight director/autopilot system was very popular in the S/II.  Most owners elected to purchase the two 5 inch gauges for the pilot’s side only.  This was Honeywell’s first step toward their eventual Primus 1000 glass panel.  The replacement Citation V came with the Honeywell EFIS as standard fare based on the popularity in the S/II. Later models like the Ultra and Bravo came with much larger, 3 glass panels.

    Although I personally thought the Citation cockpit needed a total makeover to move most of the important stuff from the rear of the console further forward and higher up to help the single pilot. I have never been a fan of the head down pilot position. 

    The Business and Commercial Aviation magazine writers obviously did not agree we me as they consistently regarded the Cessna Citation cockpit as the ‘best in class’ year after year.  This included the II, S/II and Citation V which were all cut from the same cloth.  This same concept was carried forward when the CitationJet line was introduced with the autopilot and controls just about as far back as possible in the center console.

    Where we have always agreed though is that in any airplane the handling characteristics in approach maneuvering configuration are the most important measure of pilot friendliness and safety.  This is based on the fact that the approach phase requires the pilot to direct a great deal of attention away from the basic aircraft handling.  Assuming the aircraft speed and altitude is part of the basic airplane handling, then the traffic watching, navigation, communications, weather, checklists and such require due attention.  This is why the ‘quiet cockpit’ is so important when flying approaches and landing.

    The biggie for me has always been related to airport performance.  I think the strongest feature of the Citation, and this naturally includes the S/II, is in and around the airport.  This goes back to the original design specification to be able to get into and out of the smaller airports and to have slow approach and landing speeds in order to fit in with the general aviation traffic.

    It is not uncommon to see a Citation sitting at the smallest of airports, even ones that make the turboprop driver a little uncomfortable.  If you need to get into and out of a tight spot, a Citation should be on your short list.

    We also agree that Citations, not just the S/II, but all Citations, are superb instrument platforms.  If you are new to flying Citations, you will find that once trimmed properly, they tend to stay where they are pointed with very limited additional pilot input.  This is noticeable when thrust is reduced, flaps deployed, and gear extended.  Just the slightest attitude changes are noticed and usually only require minor trim changes.

    I guess I am rebelling because this add-on did not come with even minimal explanations of how I should use these instruments or why they are there.  In my souped up edition I replaced the insides of the MFD with the Flight1 GTN750 display.  This is a sort of work around until Carenado comes out abonafide VC install feature for the GTN750 and maybe the GNS530.Kudos to our friend Bert Pieke for the custom panel.cfg data.

    These screenshots show the MFD being used to house a partial image of the Flight1 GTN 750 and the standard Annunciator panel being replaced by the autopilot controls.  The annunciator panel has been relocated to the console.  These are some of the more visual updates from the Bert Famous Mods shop.







    This stopgap works better than could be expected due to the large size of the MFD screen and now a few of the buttons in the frame can be used to access some of the GTN features. To the non-pilot it looks like it belongs there.  The more I fly with the F1 GTN750 installed in lieu of the MFD, the more I like it.

    The disadvantage of replacing the MFD with the GTN750 is of course, the loss of the MFD functions. The current configuration requires one to basically choose between upgrading or updating the FMS or using the GTN750.  The two do not seem to coexist very well, but we may be able to come up with a good compromise.  Some prefer to have the Weather Radar, traffic, and Maps and such displayed on the MFD.  Other than the FPS hit from some of these items, I think is falls into the personal preference category.

    When (if) Carenado releases the VC install kit for the F1 GTN750, I would fully expect the GTN to be located in the panel with the MFD fully functional.  At that time an upgraded FMS and the GTN750 should both be available, for those that chose that route, along with the functions of the MFD.

    The SP1 just arrived from Carenado

    This was one of the quicker releases of an SP and is very welcomed by everyone.  First and foremost, most of my complaints that you just wadded through have been corrected or partially corrected.

    The minor stuff like the American flags being painted incorrectly on the tails of a few repaints has been fixed, but the more important items, like the startup temperatures, engine thrust settings, air file, etc., have all had some attention.

    We have a new model file, a new air file and some new texture files with the SP1.  The engine startup sequence, initial temperatures and idle settings are now much more realistic.  The mislabeling has been corrected and some of the Autopilot functions have been improved or corrected, but not all.  The typical climb profile is also improved and you should be able to climb directly to the mid-30s without any steps.

    The vertical engine instruments and fuel gauges now read correctly and have had the upper limits extended and the tool tips corrected.

    Another big item that should be welcomed by all is the missing Takeoff and Climb performance data.  We now have a much better grasp of what the V1, VR, and V2 speeds are for the various elevations and runways and now have the ability to calculate a flight profile.  This was totally missing in the initial release.

    Did Carenado fix all the problems?  No, not by a long shot, but the S550 Citation II flies much better and the documentation is more in line with what should have been included.  I still have the irritations of some P3Dv2 growing pains with inconsistent appearance of the ramp items, the airspeed bug not working, and the target indicator for the Fan speeds. 

    These are not flight critical but, still a pain.  All these things work in my FSX installation but not in my P3Dv2 version, although other users are not reporting problems with these items using P3D.  Go figure.

    One item that falls into this category that is flight critical is that I cannot get the HDG or CRS knobs to work.  I can press on them and the indicator moves to the 12 o’clock position but the mouse wheel will not get them to budge off dead center. I have a workaround that keeps things moving along by adding an additional autopilot with a Heading knob that does work properly. I still cannot adjust the CRS.

    What is not included in the SP1? 

    Two large items: An updated and updateable nav database and the VC panel install kit for the F1 GTN750.  According to Carenado, these were never intended to be part of the initial release and the team is hard at work on the new database with the VC kit for the GTN750 to follow at a later date.

    A Flight Tutorial – this would be a first for Carenado

    I sent Carenado Management an email very early on and suggested someone be assigned the task of producing a basic flight tutorial for the Carenado S550 Citation II.  I feel this one is sufficiently complex enough to warrant the purchasers the courtesy of at least a minimal demonstration of how it was designed to be operated in FSX and P3D.

    My idea of the flight tutorial would include startup, with and without the APU, engine and instrument checks and setups, installing a flight plan, use of the radios and nav gear, taxi, takeoff (using calculated V speeds from existing documentation), climb, cruise, TOD identification, descent profile to a published approach, landing and shutdown.

    SP2 was hot on the heels of SP1 and fixed that Gear Warning problem.

    Here is the list of SP1 and SP2 items.  I’m sure several more items should be on the list but maybe ‘Fixes’ covers them as a general term.




    Back to Flying the Carenado S550 Citation II with SP1 and SP2 installed

    The full list of items corrected or updated with SP1 and SP2 doesn’t seem to be available.  What Carenado has provided are some definite improvements.

    One of the first things I noticed after reviewing the updated gauges and instruments was the ITT temperatures are much more in line with reality.  I also noticed when I released the parking brake that the Citation did not start moving.  This is a good thing.

    At VR and climbout I noticed the elevator trim had been adjusted, maybe a little too much in fact.  Rather than a bunch of additional up trim, I now need a bunch of nose down trim.  Well, at least we know someone is working on it.

    This is when you should notice and appreciate that large vertical fin and rudder.  The low-speed directional control and yaw stability is excellent in the Citations.  Of course, those big long wings contribute their share toward the overall feel and stability.  It has a perfect roll rate for a large plane. (> 12,500 lbs).

    It should be apparent that a few select small adjustments can make a tremendous difference in the feel and handling in the flight sim.  These are probably all low cost, or no cost improvements for the better.  I’m sure there are many subtle improvements that contribute to the overall better handling.

    This is the first S/II Citation built for FSX and P3D and it may just well be the perfect model selection.  For those that think this is just another remake of the Eaglesoft Citation 551, keep in mind the S/II is not just a 551 with a different shaped wing.

    While the S/II does indeed have a larger and different shaped wing, it also has the first supercritical wing that Cessna produced.  The basic design parameters were borrowed from the swept wing Citation III that was unfortunate to have the bad timing of being built at a time when an engine fell off an airliner on takeoff and severed all the hydraulic lines.  The FAA in their special wisdom, decided to rewrite FAR 25 and the Citation III certification got caught up in the delay.

    The Citation design team used some of that delay to put their new CAD system to work and came up with a highly improved wing design.  This basic wing design was later used for the Citation V with only a 6 inch extension on each side and used again with the Bravo about ten years later except without the root extensions.

    So the net result, in addition to a better looking, faster climbing, faster cruising, longer range Citation II with an additional 800  pounds of fuel carrying capacity and an increased useful load the new S/II contributed to two other follow on models that use the same wing design.  Larger Fowler flaps, placed closer to the fuselage actually lowered the VREF speed although the S/II is almost a ton heavier than the II.  The new flaps and ailerons are made from a composite material for added strength with lower weight.

    Just about any area that could be made a little smoother or sleeker would help reduce drag.  Gap seals were added to the flap and ailerons and the spoilers were recessed into truly flush mounted wells.  At one time the goal was to gain one knot of cruise speed.  This must have been after the magazine article that quoted a 399 knots cruise speed.

    Did I mention the S/II was the first Citation to break the 400 Knot cruise speed barrier.  Everything about the S/II is an improvement over the Citation II.  My favorite is the high speed cruise increase from 376 kts to 407kts.  Of course, those larger wings can hold larger fuel tanks so the fuel capacity was increased from 5,000 to 5,800 pounds enabling that longer range or ability to trade fuel for passengers, if needed.

    With a ramp weight of 15,300 pounds the S/II overshadows the standard Citation II’s 13,500 pounds.  Not all specs favor the S/II due this this huge increase in weight carrying capacity.  The lighter Citation II will naturally use a little less runway and climb a little faster with a BOW of 1,200 pounds less than its replacement.

    Although the  Pratt& Whitney JT-15D-4 A and B engines have the same SL thrust specs, the ‘B’ version in the S/II is certified for higher fan speeds above FL300. This provides the higher thrust at altitude.  These higher N1 limits coupled with a new exhaust nozzle contribute about 20% toward the speed gains of the S/II.  The remaining 80% of the efficiencies are attributed to aerodynamics.

    In addition to the speed gains, the new engine tweaks improved the specific fuel consumption allowing this greater speed without an equivalent increase in fuel burn.

    Back when the S/II was new, the salesmen tended to use mph instead of knots/hour simply because it had not been that long since the airspeed indicators were switched from mph to knots.  462 mph just sounded faster than 402 knots.  But anyway you look at it, almost 8 miles a minute is moving on.

    Flies like a jet, takes off and lands like a turboprop

    If you are new to Citations you will be amazed at the incredibly low V-speeds for an airplane that cruises at 400 knots. At light-to-mid-weights you can expect V-speeds to be in the 80s and 90s range.  I routinely calculate Vr around 91 or 92 knots and V2 at 97 or 98 knots.  Incredible.  The tendency for new Citation pilots is to add another 10 knots or so to the approach speeds simply because they can’t believe the correct approach speeds are so low.

    This is a contributing factor to the often heard stories about how the Citations tend to float down the runway.  Well, Yeah.  Try coming over the fence at the proper speed and don’t over rotate and you will be rewarded most times with a smooth touchdown just past the numbers.  I say most times, because the trailing link mains didn’t arrive on the small cabin Citations until about 10 years later. 

    Another common phrase by new Citation pilots is that you have to unstick it from the runway on takeoff.  There is actually a little truth in this one.  The manual states it like this: “Note: After rotation, a slight pull may be required to achieve V2” but, this is concerning a single-engine takeoff technique. The Citation should fly off the runway, if trimmed properly, but does indeed require positive backpressure on the yoke.

    Most takeoffs are with 20 degrees of flaps, but 7 degrees of flaps is also available as a normal takeoff setting.  This is yet another difference in the S/II and the Citation II.  The S/II has 0, 7, 20, and 35 degree flap detent settings but can be set to any position between 0 and 35 degrees.  The Citation II has 0, 15, and 40 degrees settings.

    The standard flap setting for approach is 20 degrees and full flaps for normal landings.  The Citation has a high Vfe for initial flap deployment of 7 degrees or 20 degrees of 200 knots and you can drop the gear at 250 knots.  That is especially high since the Vmo below 8,000 feet is 261 knots.

    I prefer to use the speed brakes and to lower the gear early to slow down during a high speed/high rate of descent.  The spoilers are smooth, and only generate a little noise and they work as they should with deployment on both the top and bottom of both wings.  There is no maximum speed for Vsb.

    A constant 6,000 fpm rate of descent is not uncommon in Citations and ATC will usually work with the flight crew if they want to stay high as long as possible the elect to ‘drop down’ rather late in the terminal area.  With some combination of spoilers, flaps and extended landing gear, speed control is easily maintained with the Citation.

    The fuel burn charts assume you will be using a 3,000 fpm descent from altitude.

    A fun thing to do in the simulator is a ‘simulated pressure breach at cruise’.  This is where you want to see how long it takes to get from say, FL430 to 15,000 feet. You may be surprised how well the S/II behaves during this maneuver.  (Hint, 3 minutes is too long)

    With a typical Vref of 95 knots for say an 11,000 pound S/II arriving from a short business flight, ATC would not be happy if you flew the approach at those speeds.  A more practical approach profile is to use something like Vref +40 or at a high density airport maybe Vref +50 until the FAF, then gradually drop your speed until you arrive at Vref over the fence.  If you think you may be holding up traffic, you can delay your speed drop to the MM.   You don’t want to create any of those ‘slowtation’ comments.

    A fairly common real world speed is around 200 KIAS when closing in on an airport terminal area.  This is more in line with other business jets and reducing speed in a Citation is nothing like most of the LearJets.What is important is to be in the landing configuration at the proper speed and altitude when turning final from a circling approach or just inside the Middle Marker when on an instrument approach.

    It is also not uncommon to hear ATC making comments like ‘Citation blah blah, we have higher speed traffic closing, please expedient your approach.’  I think that is one of the reasons the Citation pilots actually prefer the smaller outlying airports where they mix with the traffic a little better.

    But, then again, any speed in excess of Vref will create a tendency to float along in ground effect and add an extra 1,000 feet or more to your runway requirement.  Of course, you could use that as an excuse to pop those thrust reversers and make a little noise to announce your arrival.

    The standard landing in the S/II equipped with thrust reversers like the Carenado edition is to deploy the TRs as soon as the nose wheel touches the runway and then stow them when ground speed get to 60 knots.  The deployment of speed brakes on landing is also standard procedure with full flaps deployed usually until clear of the active.






    Just a small note; I know it's nitpicking but in general only space ships have 'reverse thrusters' (rocket engines). Jet engines can only have 'thrust reversers'

    The Flight Sim Community Contributions to the improved S550.




    We are indeed fortunate that a couple of extremely talented fellow flight simmers took an early interest in repairing some of the deficiencies of the initial release of the Carenado S550.

    Almost immediately the pressure was placed on Bert Pieke’s shoulders to get a copy of the S550 and start work on adding the F1 GTN750 to the VC panel and to please do something about that Sperry Autopilot. Bert is up to version 3.7 with his special mods and still thinking up improvements and fixes. Bert likes to maximize the mouse wheel and fix anything that uses xml code.  Useful click spots, VC mounted AP controls and proper AP operation are just a few of his free fixes.  Check the Avsim Carenado Support Forums to message Bert.

    Meanwhile, across the big pond, JanekBln, the ISG1 guru was cranking out specific Citation S/II improvements to the Ernie Alton FMS whiz box that can be used to replace the CarenadoFMS with its minimal capabilities. Not everyone will want a high end FMS in an old Citation, but those that do will have things like VNAV and Navigraph update capabilities.  Of course, Janek has added a host of features to the EADI and EHSI boxes that come with the ISG1 and these fit nicely in the Carenado S550 VC panel.  Another feature of the ISG1 is that it will read PFPX Flightplans.

    If you are seeking a full function FMS in the Carenado S550 then the Integrated SimAvionics Group’s ISG1 is going to probably be your choice.  Add all the Citation specific free Mods that Janek Bin is providing to the already fully functioning ISG1 and if you prefer FMC over GTN then you will have a winner. You can use the ISG1 either as a VC installation or as a popup or some combination of the two.  Additional high resolution gauges come with the ISG1 package.

    For some reason, Carenado chose not to allow the primary Altimeter to be adjusted using InHg.  Most of the real world S/II’s primary Altimeters have both inHg and hPa readouts inside the dial.Janek Bin has also fixed this deficiency for those sim pilots that use inches of mercury.




    Electronic Checklists and Flight Info gauge

    As part of the free programming that Janek Bin has done to integrate the ISG1 system into the Carenado S550, the MFD has been adapted and programmed to displayabout 20 pages of checklists.  There is no feedback or checkoff features, but they make a handy ready reference.  These checklists have been endorsed by a real world Citation pilot.






    A further contribution to the community is the Flight Info page that can be displayed on the MFD or popped up and Windowed to assist those flying the Citation from outside the cockpit or just using a second monitor.  This was also a creation of Janek with a little help from some friends.




    When you back off and take a look at what he has done it is really astounding.  This is all free for the asking.  Most of the enhancements started off with just the ISG1 in mind.  But, for those that did not have the ISG, but did had the GTN750 he built a whole new setup for many of the updates and changes.  He also solved the clickspots problem for most folks.

    This remains a work in progress but two of the more recent additions are a working TOGA and Vspeed verbal callouts.

    Check in at the AvsimS550 support forum and search for ‘S550 mods’.  Bert and Janek will respond to a PM requesting their latest updates.

    Practice flying an approach in the S/II Citation II

    To make a really good approach and landing in the S/II you need to be very comfortable flying at Vref speeds in the landing configuration.  You will probably think you are flying too slowly but keep in mind that slow approaches to small runways was one of the key design specifications for all straight wing Citations from the very beginning.

    For this exercise we will start with the S/II trimmed for level flight at 150 knots in the clean configuration.  This is a typical initial approach speed for a Citation, like the S/II.

    Because this is practice for us to get the feel of the Citation we will start at an altitude of 5,000 feet.  We will not be landing, just observing the attitude changes, speed changes and altitude control while adjusting thrust and trim changes.  We will use everything available to us for speed control – various flap settings, gear up and gear down, even speed brakes or spoilers and of course, changes in thrust.

    Because most approaches and landing are at the end of an extended flight, we will pick an aircraft weight of 11,000 pounds.  You can select any weight and CG that you like but use something consistent while practicing.  When I go out to practice takeoffs and approaches, I rarely start with more than half full tanks and only the pilot and copilot seats occupied.

    At the end of the exercise you should feel very comfortable flying the S/II at the bottom end of the flight envelope.  It is imperative that you learn to slow fly the Citation in the landing configuration. 

    We can also work on some missed approaches, go arounds, circling approaches, low passes, etc.  The transition from overthe fence in landing configuration to a stable missed approach climbout configuration is actually easier in a Citation than in a Cessna 182.

    The Sensible Citation – Carenado S550 Citation II

    Carenado has chosen an early edition Citation for their first Citation introduction. This would not have been my first choice, but it is my only choice for flying in P3Dv2. The S/II should serve us well as our first Citation with an eye on future Carenado Citations.




    The good points are it is faster than most airplanes we have been flying.  It is well equipped as delivered and can be upgraded with ease to be much more functional and fun.  Carenado has talked about a VC install kit for the F1 GTN750 and the ISG1 FMS can replace the stock FMS for more capabilities including real VNAV and Navigraph updates.

    The physical model is for the sake of a better word – outstanding, with beautifully painted liveries and a very well equipped flight panel.  The flight model is very good when using SP1 snf SP2 and can be further tweaked and adjusted by those with sufficient talent to do so.

    The pilot seating position and view is also outstanding – probably the best of any airplane I have seen in FSX and P3D.

    The flight model is also very realistic and captures all the ‘Cessna like’ qualities of the Citation. This means it is easy and comfortable to fly, behaves like a Cessna 172, cruises at 400 knots but has an over the fence speed of 88 knots. The Carenado S/II can get into and out of a 3,000 foot runway while carrying 4 or 5 passengers, baggage, and a crew of 2.

    It comes with some extra features like thrust reversers, bright EFIS gauges, full autopilot and flight director, a basic FMS and one of the first MFDs that projects traffic and weather radar.

    The sound package is one of the best from the Carenado shop.  You will not have to look for an aftermarket upgrade for the sounds.  I did an A – B test using the Carenado sounds vs the Turbine Sound Studios PWJT15D sound pack from 2008.  Other than a somewhat more realistic sounding whine of the engines in the TSS version while in the exterior view, I prefer the Carenado Sound pack for the overall better sounds from the pilot’s seat for the general background sounds, flap movements, gear retraction and extension, door closing, switches, etc.


    Yes, the Carenado S550 Citation II was a little slow coming out of the gate.  The engines ran hot at startup, some of the autopilot functions did not function correctly and it was underpowered in high altitude climbs.  The typical Carenado faux pas were present but most were fixed with a timely SP1 and SP2 along with the engine startup and improved thrust settings.

    Most disappointing for me was the continued lack of flight planning and aircraft documentation with the initial release. This got a big boost with some substantial takeoff and climb charts and tables that came with the SP1.  The initial checklists and cruise tables were about the only useful data.

    The stock Universal FMS is ‘very lite’ on functions and features, with many normally expected features being totally absent. However, those of you that do not use or want an FMS can choose to leave it powered off and the S/II will fly just fine.  For those seeking a full-fledged and functional FMS, the aftermarket and optional Integrated SimAvionics Group’s ISG1 comes with replacement EFIS gauges and will fit nicely in the Carenado panel.  This is a Honeywell/King GNSXLS lookalike that will do just about everything one would expect an FMS to do.

    It seems to me that most of the attention of the Carenado version of the UNS FMS has to do with fuel and fuel monitoring.  Of course, Citations are known for their super simple fuel system – one tank in each wing feeds the one engine on that side and a crossfeed is available for balancing.

    The Multi-Functional Display has Traffic, Weather Radar display, and basic mapping. It can be used for these functions or as a temporary frame and VC holder position for the F1 GTN750 or for the Checklists and Flight Info from Janek Bin.

    The price for the S550 Citation II sets an all-time high for Carenado add-ons at $44.95.  Is it worth it?  That will have to be answered by the individual customer.  It may be considered marginal bang for the buck without any updates or upgrades.

    However, should you already own or plan to purchase the F1GTN750 then the value just went up considerably. Should you already own or plan to purchase the ISG1 FMS then again the value just went up.

    For basic flight sim enjoyment, the plain vanilla Carenado S550 Citation II might be difficult to justify at this price point. With the aftermarket add-on of either the F1 GTN750 and/or the ISG1 FMS then it is most definitely a muchmore valued add-on and a recommended purchase.

    There is no mention for any requirement for FSUIPC, especially the pay version, for this add-on.  This is not always the case with flight sim bizjets.  Remember, Carenado is the only developer that provides both FSX and P3Dv2 installers for no extra charge.


    The Carenado S550 Citation II receives a conditional recommendation.  This means that if your intentions are VFR and/or very limited IFR type flying and you are in the market for an up-to-date FSX and P3D capable business jet, then this may be the only one available. Provided you are aware of the limitations of the Carenado universal FMS and lack of an installed GPS then yes, it could be a nice addition to your virtual hangar.

    Now, provided you are willing to add to the existing base Carenado S550 Citation II, then you have a resounding very highno-reservations recommendation.  If you have to purchase the Flight1 GTN750 and the ISG1 FMS then your investment level is going to be quite high, but will be very rewarding.  Maybe one or the other, but not necessarily both would be a practical choice.  Both of these add ons can be used in all your other aircraft.

    Either additional add-on with the free community tweaks and fixes will bring the Carenado S550 Citation II up to a very high standard that should be acceptable to even the most discerning flight sim pilot. Either of these two configurations will rate a ‘Most Highly Recommended’

    Final Thoughts

    As stated throughout the review, I love the Cessna Citations for all the right reasons. They are truly Sensible Citations that initially made their own niche and are now the most popular and best-selling business jets of all time. 

    There are enough, well way more than enough, models in the Citation family to keep our developers busy for the next decade.  Although all Citations, with the exception of the most exotic ones like the Citation X+, will fly like a Cessna, provide great ramp presence, provide comfortable high speed jet travel, and still takeoff and land at small airfields.

    The differences are going to be in the cockpit.  We have one of the most basic of them all with this Carenado S550 Citation II so any new or additional flight sim models should have increasingly complex and more integrated flight management systems.  The Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 Avionics package is available in several real world Citation models and should be available in future flight sim Citation models.




    Here is a snapshot view of where the S/II fits in the Cessna Citation family.  Only part of the spreadsheet data is shown here, but we can see the Max Takeoff Weight puts it dead center in the range of aircraft.

    The Next Citation for FSX/P3D

    Those Citations with the just prior to and just after the ProLine 21 avionics packages are there for the taking by our developers.  We could see some of the Citation Bravo, Ultra or early Encore panel suites with 3 or 4 large glass panels and maybe even some of the ‘plus (+)’ upgrades with touch screens, larger panels and additional integration. This could be along the lines of the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics package or something similar.

    A more likely guess on my part, and I probably know less than you do about what Carenado may or may not do, would be one of the early CJ models.  Maybe a CJ1, CJ2 or CJ3.  I say this simply because it should be a practical matter to move some of the Carenado Hawker 850XP coding over to a new Citation CJ project.  Both have the Pro Line 21 systems and I realize you can’t just take one system and add it to a different model, but, there must be a lot of common coding behind what we see on the panels.  Even if nothing could be ported over, the learning curve for Carenado should benefit a 2nd aircraft with the ProLine 21 system.

    Should this happen, we could have a much more modern Citation with a new laminar flow wing and T-tail.  This one would likely be a couple of thousand pounds lighter than our S/II but would have the high efficiency Williams engines so they could be smaller and lighter.  The end result could be a new Carenado Citation that has performance as good or slightly better than the S/II with the benefit of a more modern looking Citation that flies higher, climbs faster, and is packed with modern nav gear. 

    And in keeping with the Cessna way of thinking, we should be able to take off and land at just about any airport on the map.

    I will welcome any new Citation. Meanwhile, I sure would like a see someone bring forth a flight sim edition of the SIJET Super S/II.  This could be limited to upgraded engine performance but, the enjoyment level of the Carenado S550 Citation II would probably go through the roof.  I volunteer to create an original repaint for this one.

    Optional NavigraphS550 Citation Extension Pack from Carenado.

    This is the long awaited and often requested response from Carenado for updated and updatable nav data.  This is an additional fee product, currently priced at $9.95 and requires the base or original Carenado Citation II for FSX/P3D be installed.




    A new, (meaning updated) Carenado FMS, EHSI and PFD (probably should read MFD instead) with Navigraph AIRAC cycle 1310 (October 2013) is included in the package with a couple of small pdf files.

    The most significant feature is that it is now updateable provided you purchase the updated nav data from Navigraph.  This is not a requirement to use the October 2013 AIRAC.

    Other features gained by making this additional purchase is that the Carenado S550 Citation II FMS will then load a departure procedure (SID), load and arrival (STAR), and load an approach procedure (RNAV, ILS, LOC, etc). 

    Although the website (www.carenado.com) touts VNAV and NAV modes and ability to set different altitudes for waypoints, this should be taken with a grain of salt as Carenado’s idea of VNAV and conventional NAV functions vary from the norm or normally expected.

    I personally think there were just too many expected features left out of this Extension Pack to make most flight simmers want to run out and purchase it.  Heck, you can’t even fly Direct to a new waypoint.  Surely this will be fixed in a future SP.

    If one considers the base or original Carenado FMS as a ‘very lite FMS’ with very limited features, then it would be fair to consider this optional Navigraph Extension Pack in the same light with the exception that the nav data is indeed updated and updateable with additional purchases from Navigraph.






    Most disheartening to me is that you cannot import or save a flight plan, can’t use Airways when building a flight plan, and that Carenado has totally disabled the List feature for direct entries when building a flight plan.  These are all missing key features. Worst of all, there are no Performance Pages at all.

    Carenado’s choice to redefine NAV and VNAV functions really distracts from wanting to learn this now unorthodox FMS.  I hope it is not too late to undo some of these baffling coding choices and release a version that is more aligned with the mainstream way of doing things.

    This one comes with a neutral recommendation only because of the very reasonable price point.  I would not be happy flying with it, but for less than ten dollars, it could be worth a try for those that are willing to devote the time to learn an unorthodox and limited function FMS.

    Screenshot Gallery














    New Replacement HD Sounds for the Carenado S550 from SkySong Soundworks

    Aaron Swindle at Skysong Soundworks has just completed a new replacement sound pack for the Carenado S550 Citation II.  This is a new sound pack for the P&W JT15D engines and with new flaps and gear movements, clunks and clanks and warnings.  Rolling sounds change with the speed of the aircraft and the wind slips over the fuselage increases with speed.

    I realize that earlier in the review I stated that I would not go looking for a new sound pack, but, that was before this new Skysong release.  You can listen before you purchase and it is always nice to have that option.  Like previous add-on sounds, I like some of each, but sounds are very personal and require personal choices. These are very realistic sounds and are engineered to ‘interlace with the Carenado aircraft’.


    Ray’s Test System

    Intel i7 4790K  4.0 GHz OC to 4.4 GHz,

    16GB 2133Mhz DDR3 memory

    CPU Cooler and sound deadening packages

    Triple Dell 24 INHD Monitors 5770 x 1200

    nVidia GTX970 4 GBGDDR5 Overclocked

    SSD 512 GB x2, 6 TB storage in additional drives

    Windows 7 Professional 64 bit

    P3d v2.5

    Saitek x52 Pro, Combat rudder pedals, Bose Companion 20 Speakers

    Publisher:  Carenado

    Download:  357MB  + SP1 and SP2 + optional NavigraphS550 Extension Pack

    Platform: FSX/P3Dv2

    Format: Download





    One of our fellow flight simmers has agreed to throw his hat into the Avsim Review ring with a detailed evaluation of the Carenado S550 Avionics and specifically the optional Navigraph Extension Pack. 

    This is Ken Goodpaster, a real world CFI currently teaching the Universal UNS-1 Flight Management System on a daily basic as part of his King Air and B1900 flight training.

    At the end of this bonus section, we are providing a Line Oriented Flight Training simulated flight from KIDA to KJAC in the Cessna Citation S/II.  This may be as close to having a tutorial flight for a Carenado flight model as we have ever been.

    You might want to grab a grande cup of coffee and get ready for some great insight into flying the Carenado Cessna Citation S550.


    Carenado S550 Avionics Review

     When the S550 was released in 1984, the avionics scene was quite different. Glass was in its infancy with aircraft such as the MD-80 released just a few years prior and the Beechcraft Starship (often referred to as the first all glass business aircraft) still 5 years away from production. Thus fresh from the factory the S/II was an analog “steam gauge” airplane.



    Carenado provides an S/II that has been well maintain by its owner and upgraded with an eye toward capability on a budget. The default AD-650A Attitude Indicator and RD-650A Horizontal Situation Indicator were replaced with Universal Avionics EFI-550 5½” active matrix LCD displays. The Primus 300SL Weather Radar display was replaced with the Universal Avionics MFD-640 6½” multifunctional display. The avionics are topped off with a Universal Avionics UNS-1 Flight Management System. (Unfortunately, not the WAAS version.) The Sperry SPZ-500 Flight Director and Autopilot were retained. While not a top of the line panel replacement the Carenado offering is a comfortable mix of old and new that is more than capable of getting in and out of airports, even when mother nature comes knocking.




    Carenado’s documentation for the Electronic Flight Instrumentation refers to the top EFI-500 as the EADI (Electronic Attitude Director Indicator) and the lower EFI-550 as the EHSI (Electronic Horizontal Situation Indicator.) Above the EADI is the Universal Reversion / Test / DH panel and below the EHSI is the Display panel. The lower console contains the UNS-1 FMS, Course / Heading panel (knobs), and the Sperry SPZ-500 Flight Director and Autopilot control panels. Carenado provides some 2D popups that helps when looking at the EADI/EHSI and selecting FD modes or adjusting course and heading.








     A pilot trained on the EFI-550 will feel at home in the Carenado S550. There are some minor differences in the format of the information and Carenado’s version does not have all of the features of the Universal Avionics EFI-550. While this may be a bit disappointing to the customer looking for a 100% replica of actual avionics, Carenado’s EADI and EHSI are more than capable of providing the information the pilot needs to navigate the aircraft. (Note: colors displayed by EFI-550 depend on installation.) The major gripe is Carenado’s use of tadpoles for traffic as opposed to the standard TCAS symbology.




     Minor inconsistencies consist of: course displays outside of compass rose, heading bug not displayed in arc mode, no primary course deviation scale is displayed when using FMS/GPS (5.0 enroute, 1.0 terminal, and 0.3 approach), no top of climb or bottom of descent indicators and no vertical navigation indication when altitude information is loaded into the UNS-1 FMS. Despite these minor annoyances the Carenado EFI-550 does a very good job of providing pilots with the information they need for instrument flight.

     The weather radar depiction on the EHSI is good. Again not a 100% simulation of a real weather radar, but it is capable of detecting the weather that REX Essential was sending to Flight Simulator X. As the aircraft entered cells that Carenado painted as amber (hazardous) the Citation was bumped around by the turbulence REX was injecting into FSX. The radar has a limited capability to depict weather based on range to the closest cell. While flying along I could see a large development out the window, but it was not until I was within about 20nm the radar started to depict the storm. The radar seemed to have a bird’s eye view of the weather (with zero attenuation no matter how strong the storm) and was incapable of depicting ground clutter.






     Where the display for the Primus 300SL Weather Radar was located, Carenado replaced it with the much more capable Universal Avionics MFD-640 Multifunctional Display. As described by Universal Avionics:

    The MFD-640 offers a convenient, versatile, and powerful solution for retrofit and forward fit applications alike. You gain the ability to access a wealth of information including our TAWS Terrain Awareness and Warning System displays in Map, Profile and 3-D views. You can also display weather radar and uplinked weather graphics; information from the Flight Management System, including the flight plan, surrounding navaids, airports and more; monitor VOR bearing and DME distance; and display TCAS and onboard video sources.





     Like the EFI-550, Carenado provides a respectable version of the MFD-640. The MFD is more than capable of providing the pilot with information needed during the flight and makes a good companion to the EHSI. Some inconsistencies between the real MFD-640 and the Carenado version are they exhibit minor color and formatting differences. Another discrepancy is traffic is displayed as tadpoles instead of using standard TCAS symbology. Within the Carenado flight deck, the TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System)display is slow to update which can cause a difference in the 2D popup gauge and the VC gauge. In the image below, you can see the 2D gauge is displaying red (warning) while the VC gauge is correctly showing no conflicts.




     Despite these problems the MFD and the EFI-550 allows the pilot to keep track of multiple overlays on separate instruments. This dividing of information can be critical such as when operating in mountainous airports with high elevation and hazardous. The TAWS system is very accurate even in remote areas of the world.

    Carenado chose the Universal Avionics UNS-1 Flight Management System as the primary method to provide long range and integrated navigation to the S550. The UNS-1 got its start in January 1982 and was named “Universal Navigation System.” According to Universal Avionics, the “1” did not stand for the model number but rather the unit would provide ‘one best computed position.’ It was not until a year later in February 1983 that the UNS-1 received its approval from the FAA and by March of that same year, the Falcon 50 was the first aircraft to carry this new FMS. It is unknown how many Citations have carried UNS-1s over the years, but the UNS-1 remains a popular FMS for retrofit into older aircraft as well as a choice for new aircraft.




     The UNS-1 consists of a remotely mounted Navigation Computer Unit (NCU) and in the case of Carenado’s S550 a 4” full color Flat Panel Control Display Unit (FPCDU). According to the Pilot Training Manual: the UNS-1 is certified to TSO C115b and C129a classes A1/B1/C1. It meets the GPS navigation operational approvals and Minimum Navigation Performance Specifications (MNPS) for navigation within North Atlantic Track (NAT) airspace.

     The FMS takes advantage of a particular sensor’s good properties while minimizing its liabilities. The system processes multiple range information from DME, True Air Speed, velocity and/or position information from the long-range navigation sensors, and aircraft heading, in order to derive the Best Computed Position (BCP). This is accomplished through the Kalman filtering of the various sensors.







     The Software Control Number (SCN) is the software that is loaded into the FMS and defines how it operates. Think of the various versions of FMS (UNS-1E, UNS-1F, UNS-1L) as computer hardware and the SCN as the Operating System loaded onto the hardware. While you may have different hardware, all of the UNS-1x FMS that carry the same SCN will operate similar. Interestingly Carenado’s Software Control Number (SCN) is FMC VER 1.0, while their documentation shows SCN FMC VER 802.0.




     When reviewing something as complex as an integrated flight simulation of an aircraft with technically advanced avionics you have to take into consideration the level of detail that the developer is trying to simulate. In Carenado case, they state, “the features they represent are very close to the real avionics.” Thus, where Carenado represents a feature in their version of the UNS-1, I will compare it to the real world avionics.

    Carenado’s UNS-1, (the same unit as in their B1900) is a simplified device that connects directly to FSX/P3D navigational database and flight plan. (Note: Carenado released an Extension Pack that operates differently which is discussed below.) This has the benefit in a customer who does not wish to be bothered with learning to program a complicated FMS can quickly create a flight plan and load it into the simulator where the Carenado UNS-1 will pick it up and provide navigation. Unlike the Flight Simulator built-in GNS-500, using the UNS-1 you can modify legs in the flight plan without having to reload a flight plan into the simulator. The UNS-1 will also give you performance and five pages of fuel information. You can also load procedures (Instrument approaches only), but these are based on the simulator (FSX/P3D) navigation database and are often out of date.

     Those looking for an operational facsimile of the actual UNS-1 will be sorely disappointed. Carenado’s version does not even come close to the operation of the real world FMS. Carenado took artistic liberties to the point of completely reassigning the functionality of mode buttons. The NAV button incorrectly turns on and off the flight director and autopilot. 

     The LIST, TUNE, and VNAV functions have been completely disabled by Carenado. The Menu mode button is sparse as compared to a UNS-1 with SCN 802.x. The actual FMS has multiple menu pages depending on mode and is identified by a boxed M. Carenado choose to only provide a menu from the Flight Plan page and compared to the actual FMS is missing many of the items that are normally associated.




     Finally, navigating through the various mode pages is incorrect at times. As you press the PREV and NEXT keys, you advance through pages, when you reach the last page (i.e. 2/2), the next press of NEXT button should loop you back to the first page. Pressing the mode button (i.e. FPL) should have the same effect as pressing NEXT. In the FPL mode pages the FPL Summery should not have a page number; it is a hidden page pressing NEXT after the last page.







    On 9 March, Carenado released the long awaited Navigraph S550 Citation Extension Pack:




    Updatable database
    AIRAC cycle 1310 (October 2013) included
    Universal FMS
           Load a departure procedure (SID)
           Load an arrival (STAR)
           Load an approach (RNAV, ILS, VOR, etc.)
           Multicolor screen display
    Set different altitudes for different waypoints (VNAV)
    Two navigation modes: VNAV and NAV


    You don´t need to have a subscription with Navigraph because this extension pack installs an October 2013 Navigraph database which has all the information you need to perform a flight. But if you want to keep your database up to date you will need a subscription with Navigraph.



     Download and installation were an effortless affair requiring that I enter my e-mail address and serial number. Since I had JaneK’s ISG1 modification, I had to change my configuration prior to install. I was able to isolate the ISG1 modifications into a separate panel.isg folder that allowed me to enjoy both Carenado’s Extension Pack and my ISG1 modified S550s.

    Carenado still refuses to acknowledge which FMS hardware or SCN they are trying to replicate, I will continue to assume that the documentation for the FMS included with the base S550 was correct and Carenado intended to replicate a UNS-1 with SCN 802.0.

     Immediately noticeable is the FMS has a new color scheme, this time displaying text in white and cyan. As Universal states, “the colors presented on the FMS are dependent on whether the aircraft has an EFIS and, if so, the EFIS manufacture and model.” In the photo of the real UNS-1 it is attached to a Universal EFI-890R. Since Universal Avionics manufactures both the EFI-550 and EFI-890R I would expect the color scheme of a UNS-1 attached to either EFIS to be similar.






     The initialization page looks mostly like the real UNS-1 with some inconsistencies. The first issue is the FMS does to seem to be using or as its initial position and the INITIAL POS ID is not selectable (important when initializing the FMS in a hangar.) The FMS has to have some sort of GPS as RNAV (GPS) approaches are not filtered out. Thus, I expect the FMS should detect its position using its internal or attached GPS. Without this information, I am unsure which method the FMS is using to determine its initial position. But, the latitude and longitude coordinate are correct.

     Looking at the NAV Database Expires date, I notice that it is 19-FEB-16. For 2016 there is no cycle that expires on 19 Feb 2016 and is defiantly not the expiration date of cycle 1310 that comes with the product. Checking that there is a valid and unexpired database in the UNS-1 is an important check a pilot makes when initializing the FMS. In addition, in the bottom right corner of the INIT page is the FMC VER, Carenado has now abandoned version 1.0 and created a 12-digit number that I assume is for some sort of internal or support tracking.

     Above the FMC VER is the PERF DB or the Performance Database. According to the Universal Pilot Training manual, “FMS containing a performance database will show on the initial page a PERF DB line and a number that indicates the aircraft for which the performance data was created… …Performance calculations may include V speeds, balanced field length, climb and cruise, and other information.” Thus, I expect the Carenado Cessna Citation S550 will have multiple pages of performance information.

      Inputting a flight plan has changed with the extension pack. Page 1 of the Flight plan pages allows for only two entries: departure and arrival aerodromes. While I have to admit when training new pilots to the UNS-1 I often recommend that they enter all flight plans by entering the departure (which is prefilled by the FMS based on initialization position) and arrival aerodromes, then inserting their route. This procedure is not a required entry method of the UNS-1. If the pilot chooses, they could enter information as depicted on their flight plan.






     Once the departure and arrival aerodromes are entered with the Carenado FMS you must enter the departure and arrival procedures prior to entering any route information. Unlike the real FMS that can remember the points it entered as a departure and arrival, the Carenado version cannot. Change a STAR or approach enroute and the entire flight plan is wiped out. This makes using the extension pack frustrating, especially in an online ATC environment.






     To insert a waypoint after the departure and arrival procedures are selected, just select the line after the last point before your new waypoint and type in the next waypoint. Like the real UNS-1 the Carenado Expansion pack understands NDBs, VORs, and named Waypoints. Unfortunately, you cannot create Pilot Waypoints.

     There is no method to enter airways into a flight plan with Carenado’s FMS. When asked about using the LIST feature they stated, “We didn’t include it because the version we recreated doesn’t have that. I know there is a version of that instrument that has it, but the aircraft we used as a model doesn´t have that.” According to the Universal 80X/90X Pilot Training Manual page 58,http://www.avsim.com/pages/0515/S550/ “t.jpghe LIST function allows for direct entry of a VOR, APT, NDB, Intersection, Airway, GAP, or another route.” I am not sure why Universal would manufacture an FMS to then disable a key feature. Yet, in aviation just when you think you have seen it all, something else comes out of left field. As for usability of the Carenado FMS, not having this feature requires more work when entering airways. I would have preferred to have this feature even if it was not 100% true to their model.




     Perhaps the most unusual choice is Carenado’s depicting of the NAV and VNAV modes. According to Carenado’s documentation, “Once the flight plan is complete, and after takeoff, you need to press the NAV on FMS to activate lateral navigation, or VNAV key to activate and engage the vertical and lateral navigation.”






     On the real FMS pressing, the NAV mode button brings up the navigation pages and pressing the VNAV button brings up the vertical path pages. Why Carenado choose to activate both flight director and autopilot modes using FMS mode buttons is unfathomable. These modes should be activated on the MS-205 Flight Director where they belong. Pressing the VNAV FMS mode button on Carenado’s UNS-1 provides the pilot with even less control with some unknown algorithm determining climb and descent rates. 

     Selecting the PERF mode button the FMS takes us to the performance page. On the initialization page Carenado PERF DB information stating this FMS is has a performance database installed. However, I am only able to access page 1/1, which represents an UNS-1 without a performance database. This is a misrepresentation by Carenado, which leaves you to believe the FMS includes a performance database when in fact it only includes basic performance information.




     Perhaps the one missing feature most customers find infuriating is the ability to STORE and LOAD flightplans. Carenado states they are considering adding these features to a future update. I can only hope that Careando does more than consider and does so with haste. Lacking the ability to STORE and LOAD further devalues this product.

     Hearing the words from ATC, “Cessna 12345 you are cleared to hold at…” will bring fear to any user of the Carenado Extension Pack. While I admit the base version could not hold unless coded into a procedure, the extension pack is now devoid of holding. On the real UNS-1 holding is under the MNVR 2R softkey on the NAV page. Since Carenado decided not to model the navigation page, we are left without this critical maneuver. Fly a missed approach off an RNAV (GPS) approach where holding is only defined as a waypoint provided by the FMS and you are left scratching your head. What was the team at Carenado thinking when they decided to leave out this feature?




     While I picked apart the Carenado Navigraph S550 Citation Extension Pack we have to remember that FSX/P3D as an engine does have its limitations. As stated by Carenado, “…the engine constrains development of some complex systems, that’s why we usually reduce some avionics to the most important and essential features, otherwise we could have many collaterals effects. In S550 we didn’t reproduce the customization features of the FMS for example.” Thus, we cannot expect a full featured Advanced Flight Management System simulation with this extension pack. The primary purpose of this pack was to add an updatable database. In that regard, Carenado lived up to their claims. You have updated DPs, STARs and Approaches and as you will see in LOFT 1, I was able to fly the RNAV (GPS) Z 19 approach into KJAC in a Carenado pure environment, something I was not able to do before the extension pack. However, this capability comes at the price of functionality reduced from a simple FMS with an outdated database to an extension pack with a frustrating experience.

     The extension pack also includes a few patches. I noticed right away that the Wx radar now actually had to be on in order to depict radar returns. There are also come changes to the EHSI and the MFD.  The EHSI no longer displays the waypoint that you are heading to. The MFD is almost useless with amount of background data that is shows. However, the fact you now have to pay to get fixes that should have been released as a part of the base service pack is a troubling trend by Carenado.






     Unfortunately, I cannot recommend the CarenadoNavigraph S550 Citation Extension Pack. While its $5 introductory price makes it a tempting grab, its functionality is just not the quality one would expect. Entering flightplans without the ability to select airways is painful. Having departures and arrivals then wipeout all of that hard work would tempt the calmest of us to want to turn green and go smash something. Having the FMS change Flight Director Modes and engage and disengage the autopilot is taking too much artistic license in the name of simplicity. There are a number of other advanced navigation avionics products available that provide better usability and capability with less frustration.  

    Carenado choose to leave the Honeywell Sperry SPZ-500 Autopilot/Flight Director installed in the S/II.




     Considering the real world cost in flight-testing required for a Supplemental Type Certificate to install an updated autopilot/flight director, many Citation IIs still carry the old SPZ-500. The Flight Director is the the brains behind the automatic flight system and combines input from the Air Data Computer (ADC), the solid state gyro information from the Attitude Heading Reference System (AHRS), short range navigation systems (directly from VORs and Localizers), and long range navigation systems (FMS or GPS). With this information and based on the input from the MS-205 Flight Director Mode Selector it will compute the pitch and roll necessary to achieve the requested flight path. This flight path is displayed as command bars (or FD cue) on the EADI. The pilot can choose to manually fly this information or couple the autopilot to the flight director. Whereas the Flight Director is the brains, the SP-200 Autopilot is the muscle. Through three servos (ailerons, elevator, and rudder) and the aircraft’s trim system, the autopilot will follow the commands of the Flight Director.

     One component missing from the Carenado SPZ-500 is the Touch Control Steering (TCS) button. TCS has a number of functions depending on Flight Director mode selected. When Indicated Airspeed (IAS) is selected for climbs and descents and the pilot depresses the TCS button, it will interrupt the autopilot and a new airspeed is set by manually controlling the aircraft pitch then releasing the button. The Flight Director will then maintain this new airspeed. The same function is provided for Vertical Speed (VS). By depressing TCS, setting a new VS and releasing the pilot can change VS. TCS will sync the flight director command bars when a vertical mode is not selected. This action will put the aircraft into a pitch mode. Neither Flight Simulator X nor Prepar3D has Touch Control Steering capability built into the simulator engine. Thus, Carenado had to find an alternative to resetting IAS and VS and chose to use the Pitch wheel.

     Disregarding TCS, the SPZ-500 operates as the Pilot Manual describes with only a few inconstancies. Carenado disabled Vertical Navigation (V NAV), thus S550 cannot climb or descent using flight path angle. (Not withstanding VNAV through the FMS) The only mode remaining in the VS-212 VNAV Computer Controller is Altitude Preselect. While the autopilot generally remains well within the limits of Section V of the Sperry SPZ-500 Pilot Operating Manual, a vertical speed in excess of 6,000 fpm can be set. Other minor faults include: Turn knob should disconnect lateral mode and put the aircraft into a roll mode, pitch incorrectly sets vertical speed when VS is not selected, and initial selection of IAS causes the aircraft to pitch down to 500 fpm as opposed to holding current pitch then adjusting to maintain airspeed.

     While there are many areas in which the Carenado team did not model the avionics exactly like their real world counterparts, overall, Carenado’s S550 is more than capable for the average flight simulator enthusiast. The avionics are intuitive enough and offer some advanced capabilities. A full featured Flight Management System would have been preferred, especially considering Carenado’s usual option for installing third party avionics, however the Navigraph S550 Citation Extension Pack completely missed this mark. Fortunately, there are a number of community modifications that add more capable GPS or FMS products into the S550.

    Ken’s Test System

    Intel i7 4770K

    16GB RAM

    ViewSonic VP2365wb IPS Monitor, 23 IN

    nVidia GTX760 2 GB

    Western Digital Black 4 TB HD

    Windows 7 x64

    FSX + Acceleration

    Saitek x52 Pro Yoke with additional quadrant and rudder pedals, Creative 7.1 Digital Speakers

    Publisher:  Carenado

    Download:  357MB  + SP1 and SP2

    Platform: FSX/P3Dv2

    Format: Download


    Ken Goodpaster is a Certified Flight Instructor, Certified Flight Instructor – Instrument and Multi-Engine Instructor working for a major flight training corporation. Ken initially earned his Commercial Pilot’s certificate in 1991 while attending Northwestern State University. For the next 22 years, Ken served as a commissioned officer in the aviation branch of the United States Army. It was during this time Ken added Rotorcraft-Helicopter and Instrument Helicopter ratings to his certificates. As a King Air pilot in 2007 Ken attended the weeklong course at Universal Avionics learning the UNS-1 Flight Management System SCN 80X/90X. Currently Ken teaches pilots how to fly Universal equipped King Airs (200s, 300s, and 1900s) for his company.

    Line Oriented Flight Training #1 (LOFT01)

    Welcome to training in the Cessna Citation S/II and your first Line Oriented Flight Training period. FAA Advisory Circular AC 120-35C describes LOFT as conducted as a line operation and allows for no interruption by the instructor during the session except for a non-disruptive acceleration of uneventful enroute segments. As such, we will be flying a simulated mission taking off from Idaho Falls KIDA and landing at Jackson Hole KJAC.

    Today you will be showing proficiency in Start-up, Taxi, Take-off (STTO), climb, cruise, and RNAV (GPS) approach utilizing the Universal UNS-1 Flight Management System. As with any LOFT you are the Captain and I expect you to utilize your crew effectively to complete the flight while demonstrating good Crew Resource Management. Any abnormal indications and/or emergencies shall be handled in accordance with the approved Airplane Flight Manual or Quick Reference Handbook.




    Above you see a map of our flight route. That precipitation has been moving east toward Jackson Hole and its cooler in the Mountains. Jackson Hole’s Terminal Area Forecast for our ETA ±1 hour calls for winds out of the south, 3 miles visibility in snow and ceilings overcast at 1,500’. Idaho Falls, our alternate, is expecting winds out of the southwest, 5 miles in light rain, and ceilings broken at 3,500’.

    Here is your dispatch release:




    Here is the approach chart for Jackson Hole:




    Finally, here is the Idaho Falls ODP:




    On the ground at Idaho Falls preparing for the early morning departure.




    The best thing about a simulator is despite the bone chilling and damp morning in Idaho Falls preflight is a warm and dry affair. Once the exterior checks are complete, we perform the interior checks.

    The first step in firing up the UNS-1 is to accept the current position. Although the correct or was not shown during initialization, the box did find us at Idaho Falls. We will accept this position.




    Unfortunately, with the new Navigraph S550 Citation Extension Pack the flight plan can no longer be saved by our off-line planning software and loaded into the FMS. This is a shame as even in the real world using UNILINK and ARINC Direct we are able to plan our flight offline then download it via SATCOM direct into the FMS. We will have to hand jam the flight plan into the FMS.







    We selected the FPL mode button then inserted KIAD in the first line as our destination and KJAC in the second line as or arrival. Pressing the NEXT button displayed flight plan page 2/3. Since there is no standard instrument departure procedures out of KIAD we will skip the depart procedure. The Carenado Extension Pack then requires that we enter the arrival procedure next. We selected MENU and then 4R ARRIVE. Using 1L we enter Runway 19 as our landing runway then 4L to select the GPS R19. (In the real world FMS this is labeled as A RNV 19 G. The “A” prefix signifies that this is an advanced avionics are required for this approach and the “G” suffix signifies that the FMS will retain GNSS/GPS as part of the approach.)




    After we selected the approach we selected the TOCUD transition. We can now insert the remainder of our points, IDA and SABAT. Since the Carenado Extension Pack cannot enter airways into the FMS we request and are approved SABAT direct TOCUD.




     Lined up on runway 20 at Idaho Falls ready for take-off.

    Checking the performance charts for the S/II for our lightly loaded 13,000 lbs airplane Take-off power (N1) will be 100.4%, a rotation speed of 93 KIAS and we will require 3,830’ of runway for liftoff.

    Advancing the power levers the Carenado S550 comes up a little short on N1 producing 99.6% this morning. Giving it the old “it’s a sim” we release the brakes, rocketing down the runway. Although the Citation S/II pilot training manual states the aircraft will need a little convincing to rotate off the runway, this morning the airplane smoothly rotates climbing into the crisp morning air. When the Vertical Speed Indicator (VSI) and the altimeter, both indicate a positive rate of climb we call for gear up and continue the climb toward 11,000 feet. Normal take-off pitch is 10° to 12° and V2+10 (107 KIAS) comes quickly as we retract the flaps. By the time the after takeoff-climb check is complete the little S/II has already zoomed past 7,500’ allowing us to proceed on course, crossing IDA VOR and joining V385.

    We settle in at 15,000’ cruising altitude for today and check the charts again. Maximum cruise thrust speeds are 92.2% N1 that should give us 1585-pph fuel burn and a true airspeed of 342 knots. Setting 92.2% N1, the airspeed was flirting with our VNE speed of 276 KIAS from 8,000’ to 29,315’. We choose to back off our power slightly to 89% N1 for a comfortable 260KIAS, which translated, to 315 knots groundspeed. At the turn from SABAT toward TOCUD, we are seeing the clouds building at Jackson Hole.




    After crossing SABAT we are cleared direct to TOCUD. Since we remained low the defrost fan remain on the entire flight. The remainder of the checklist items is complete ensuring the cabin controller is reset to 7,000’ for landing. The approach checklist is read immediately after and we made the turn at TOCUD.






    Carenado’s Flight Management System does a poor job of predicting centerline to centerline turn at TOCUD and the S550 ends up over 1½ miles off course. We could have intervened manually, but part of today’s flight was automated systems doing what they are supposed to do.

    After ZIBIV the straight wing, stability of the Cessna S/II really pays off with the descent to 9,800. (Yes we preset that as soon as the Sperry SPZ-500 leveled us off at 11,000’ after DNW.) As with any procedure with multiple stepdowns, preselecting small things, such as altitude, makes the procedures flow so much easier. YUSGU is coming quick as we decelerated toward 140 KIAS and begun the before landing checks.

    As we leveled off at MDA the ground was barely visible in the snow fog and we searched desperately for any sign of the runway’s MALS lighting system. The quick reference landing charts topped out at 5,000’ and we anticipate a little over 2,800’ ground roll. The trick with this straight wing Cessna’s was to nail the VREF speed over the gate. As little as 10 knots fast could equal an extra 1,000’ of runway during the flare.

    2.8nm from RWY 19 slipped past at 7,400’ and the Visual Descent Point went with it. For this point on we would no longer be in position to make a normal descent to landing. We are now resigned to having to make a missed approach. Calmly we remind ourselves of the procedures: power – maximum, flaps – 20, positive rate of climb – gear up, VREF +10 – flaps retract. ZIMNU passes underneath the airplane quickly as we head out toward KICNE.

    Settling into the missed approach we remember that Carenado decided to not give us anyway to hold using the FMS. “Umm, Salt Lake Center, can you give us radar vectors back to Idaho Falls? Seems the manufacture didn’t give us the ability to hold at an RNAV waypoint.” What an embarrassing way to end an otherwise good flight.






    Video of FMS programming and approach at: https://youtu.be/japybf28xsE

    Video link KIDA – KJAC LOFT1 S550https://youtu.be/japybf28xsE


    Heart filled thanks to Ken Goodpaster for all the time and effort in preparing the Avionics section and the extraordinary KJAC approach and video.

    Thanks to Janek Bin in Germany for all the ISG1 mods specifically for the Carenado S550 and all the other special work building the ‘Info’ screen.  This is truly magical stuff.

    Thanks to Michael (CJJockey) for his review and editing of the checklists.  Michael is currently based in Abu Dhabi and flying CJ1 and CJ1+ equipment.

    Special thanks to our friend Bert Pieke for all his updates, fixes and mods that most of us consider necessary to properly fly and enjoy the S550.Also for the screenshots.

    Thanks to Carenado for building the S/II, S550 Citation II for our enjoyment and for providing the evaluation copies for these reviews.

    Special thanks to Ernie Alston for building the ISG, the installers, and for answering my questions.  Also for providing the Eval Copy of the ISG1 for the S550.

    Thanks to Steve Southey (JustanotherPilot), our friend down under for providing the Screenshot Gallery.  Make sure you zoom these up to full screen for some super enjoyment.

    Thanks to Aaron Swindle and SkysongSoundworks for building the optional HD soundset for the Carenado S550 and for providing one of the first ones for Evaluation for this review.

    Thanks to Flying Magazine and specificallyArchie Trammell for writing the article about why the Cessna Jet is so slow.

    Thanks to BC/A Analysis Team for their detailed reviews published in 1984 and 1986.Bits and pieces and large chucks of their published reviews were taken nearly word for word from these two printed articles:


     “B/CA Analysis: Cessna Citation S/II,” December 1984, page By John W. Olcott and Richard N. Aarons



    “Cessna’s Citation II and S/II in Head-to-Head Competition”, October, 1986, By Richard N. Aarons, B/CA published article.

    Originality, content, and ownership reside with the original authors and B/CA magazine.

    Thanks to J.Mac McClellan for his timely published review of the “Special” Citation II in the January, 1985 issue of Flying Magazine.  Photography by Paul Bowen.

    Thanks to Google Books for providing access to the Flying and AOPA Magazine covers that I used to make the collage of Citations on the Covers.

    And finally a special thanks to the Cessna Marketing Department for providing all those smart and intelligent full page Citation ads that you found throughout the review.

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