CJ2+ Private Jet | Article

CJ2+ Private Jet

The CJ2+ is the fifth member of the popular Citation Jet series, a class of private jets that operates by the same high standards of performance, reliability, and economy as the businessmen that depend on them. These low-cost, reliable jets are possible only because of Cessna’s insistence on simplicity of design. The jets of the Citation series bypass many of the complexities of their competitors and increase performance and economy by using some of the most economic engines available.

The CJ2+ is the new, improved version of the CJ2, featuring an updated model of the FJ44 engine, a redesigned cockpit, an upgraded ProLine 21 avionics suite, and reduced fuel consumption. Notably, it’s MMO (maximum Mach operating number) increased from .72 to .737, an increase of about 10 ktas. This makes a big difference in the CJ2+ since it regularly operates at MMO once it reaches cruising altitude. There is no denying that the CJ2 was an extremely successful and popular jet in its time, but how does the CJ2+ measure up to the current market competition?

The CJ2+ was designed to compete with more expensive light jets such as the Premier IA. With a mere $137,000 difference in sale price and similar design goals, Premier IA and the CJ2+ make a fair comparison.

One of the most significant changes to the CJ2+ was the upgrade to the FJ44-2A-24 engines, which produce 2,490 pounds of thrust apiece on takeoff. The -2A-24 engines produce 190 pounds of thrust more than the Premier IA’s FJ44-2A engines, but are similar in most other areas. Despite having extremely similar engines and identical maximum takeoff weights, the jets perform much differently on the runway: the CJ2+ requires 3,360 feet to take off at sea level, and 5,180 feet to take off from a runway at 5,000 feet. The Premier IA requires an additional 432 feet under identical conditions at sea level, and an extra 1,708 feet for the runway at high altitude. Once in the air, the CJ2+ can climb to 37,000 feet in 15 minutes, 2 minutes before the Premier IA could reach the same altitude. The high speed and long range cruise speeds of the CJ2+ are significantly lower than the cruise speeds of the Premier IA, but the effect evens out when actual trips are calculated.

For a 600 nautical mile trip with four passengers and required NBAA IFR reserves, the CJ2+ would reach its destination in 1 hour and 35 minutes, 2 minutes before the Premier IA would arrive. The fuel used by the CJ2+ on such a trip, 1,459 pounds, is only a few pounds more than the Premier IA would use. As expected, the required runway length for the CJ2+, 2,666 feet, is significantly shorter than the Premier IA’s required runway distance of 3,202 feet. Overall, the trips would be somewhat alike, but the similarities end when range is the variable in question.

The CJ2+’s greatest strength, its range, is its competitor’s greatest weakness. The CJ2+ has an NBAA IFR range with four passengers of 1,570 nautical miles, a staggering 392 nautical miles more than the Premier IA’s range of 1,178 nautical miles. The CJ2+’s range to payload capabilities are similarly superior to the Premier IA’s: when flying with the maximum payload of 1,730 pounds and available fuel, the CJ2+ can fly 995 nautical miles. When the Premier IA is loaded to its maximum payload of 1,450 pounds, it can only fly 787 nautical miles. Thus, even though the Premier IA’s maximum payload is 280 pounds lighter than the CJ2+’s, it still falls short of the Citation’s range capabilities.

The cockpit of the CJ2 underwent some significant changes in its metamorphosis to the CJ2+. The fully integrated Pro Line 21 avionics suite includes a new FADEC and optional data link weather and electronic charts. Flight, navigation, and engine data were consolidated into three 8×10 inch LCDs, and dual flight guidance computers, FMS-3000, Skywatch HP TCAS I and Landmark TAWS are now standard features.

The CJ2+’s cabin is 69 cubic feet smaller than the Premier IA’s but is still large enough to seat eight passengers in its 246 cubic-foot cabin. Baggage volume for the two jets is similar: the CJ2+ can hold 65 cubic feet in an external compartment, and the Premier IA has space for 77 cubic feet of baggage, split between two compartments. Seats in the club section of the CJ2+ have folding tables, and every seat in the club section has a power outlet and access to a fax/data port.

Accommodations aside, the CJ2+ outdoes the Premier IA in many areas, including price: the CJ2+ currently sells for $6.068 million, $135,000 less than the Premier IA. Such a price difference is not significant enough to choose between the two jets, so the choice must be determined by performance, an area in which the CJ2+ surpasses the Premier IA. The smaller cabin of the CJ2+ is more than made up for by its economic design, engineering advantages, and superior performance.