Cessna recently announced the newest member of their CitationJet line, the CJ4. As a general rule, Cessna errs on the side of caution and reliability. The CJ4 is no exception to this rule and thus has many similarities to its predecessors. Despite the high commonality, the CJ4 has some new features to offer in combination with the usual Citation level of quality and dependability.
The main alteration to the CJ4 is the addition of a new wing. It will be several feet shorter than the wing used in the CJ3, but with increased fuel capacity and less drag. The increased fuel capacity does not translate into increased range for the CJ4: its NBAA IFR range (with a 100 nm alternate) is 1,825 nautical miles, roughly 50 nautical miles less than the CJ3’s. Its maximum cruise speed falls in the range of .77 Mach, about .03 Mach faster than the CJ3’s cruise speed.
Another significant alteration to the CJ4 is the new engines, the FJ44-4s. The Williams International FJ44 series should be familiar to any previous owner of a private jet in the CitationJet line: the FJ44 has been used on every model thus far. The FJ44-4 engine is by far the largest of the series FJ44 series so far, with a fan diameter of 25.2 inches, about 2.3 inches wider than the next-largest engine in the series. The FJ44-4 engine produces the most thrust of the series, delivering 3,400 pounds of thrust on takeoff. The powerplants on the CJ4 allow it to climb to 45,000 feet and cruise at speeds up to 435 ktas. Performance on the ground is impressive as well: at sea level, ISA conditions, the CJ4 can take off in 3,300 feet.
The most notable change to the CJ4 is in the cockpit: the ProLine 21 Avionics suite dominates the cockpit with four 8×10 inch AMLCDs. These displays allow pilots to easily access broadcast graphical weather, approach plans, electronic charts, and other situational awareness necessities. In addition, Dual Control Display Units ( CDUs) are linked to the Collins FMS-3000 to reduce pilot workload. Autopilot and emergency descent modes kick in automatically when needed.
The cabin of the CJ4 is cleverly designed to give the impression of spaciousness by the use of seamless wall panels, indirect lighting, and mirrors. It measures 17.3 feet long, 4.9 feet wide which is 4 inches wider than a typical Citation Jet, and 4.7 feet high. The cabin is designed to seat six to eight passengers with a side facing 2 place divan and includes a fully enclosed lavatory. Baggage storage is available in a 65 cubic-foot external compartment. Passengers should appreciate the cabin entertainment which surpass the offerings of other similar private jets. On-board entertainment options include XM satellite radio, MP3 players with an on-board interface and entertainment management system, as well as HD DVD and CD players.
In short, the CJ4 is a solid addition to the CitationJet line. It comes with no unprecedented leaps in technology and no surprises. Fortunately for Cessna (and their ever-growing list of private jet customers placing orders for the CJ4), a lack of surprises in mid-air is a good thing.