Citation Sovereign

By By Fred George fred.george@aviationweek.com
Source: Business & Commercial Aviation

In the Middle East, there are eight aircraft based in Turkey and eight in Egypt, including five registered to air charter operator Smart Aviation and two with the Egyptian Air Force. One is operated by Arab Wings, a large air charter operator based in Amman, Jordan. Five aircraft are registered in China, including three operated as flight inspection aircraft. There also are three based in Australia, plus others in Malaysia. Four are based in South Africa and one is registered in Morocco. We could find none registered in India.

Operators say they carry four to five passengers, on average, and a typical mission is 500- to 600-nm long. They're comfortable flying the aircraft 2,600 to 2,800 nm, so they typically plan non-stop eastbound missions between the U.S. coasts and make one refueling stop westbound. While the aircraft has nearly 7 hr. of endurance, ATC climb and descent constraints and less than optimum routing can reduce range to 6 hr. or 2,400 nm equivalent still air distance.

Plan on burning 2,200 lb. the first hour, 1,800 lb. the second hour and 1,600 lb. during the third and subsequent hours and you'll land fat on fuel, they say.

Most corporate operators we contacted for this report say they fly the aircraft 350- to 400-hr. per year. Aircraft used by high net worth individuals and entrepreneurs typically have lower utilization. Fractional ownership and air charter aircraft may be used as much as 1,200 hr. per year.

Best Features

Runway and climb performance topped operators' list of favorite features. “It has ridiculously good takeoff performance,” says one pilot based in Southern California. “Spectacular runway per–formance,” says another. “It climbs like the space shuttle,” says Steve Driggers who flies s.n. 287 and 291.

On a typical 600-nm mission, for instance, operators can depart from a 3,100-ft. runway, climb directly to FL 430 and land in 1:27 while burning only 2,400 lb. of fuel, assuming standard day conditions and ideal ATC routing. Most people say they fly such missions at FL 400 to 410 and cruise at Mach 0.77 to 0.78, equivalent to 441 to 447 KTAS in ISA conditions.

Warm day performance is impressive. Sovereign can depart Toluca, Mexico (elev. 8,466 ft.) on a 32C day and fly six passengers to New York's Westchester County Airport, Winnipeg or San Francisco. On a 20C day, you can fly the same 1,200-lb. payload to Vancouver, B.C., Sydney, Nova Scotia or Lima, Peru.

Passenger comfort is another favorite feature, especially for operators upgrading from smaller Citations, Hawkers and Learjets. “Compared to our Learjet 45s, cabin volume is more realistic for the double club arrangement,” says another operator. Each club chair has 7-in. pitch, seat back rake, 3.6-in. track and swivel adjustments, plus aisle side arm rests that retract down to ease fore-aft cabin access. Each pair of facing chairs has a fold-out work table that extends from a pocket in the side wall.

Most aircraft also have a single, side-facing chair just aft of the forward, right-side galley. Some aircraft are fitted with a compact galley and a two-place divan. Others have no forward divan and a large galley that carries ample provisions for extended missions. And a few have a three-place, right-side divan in place of two of the facing chairs in the aft club section. The 9.3 psid pressurization system provides a maximum 7,250-ft. cabin at FL 470, the aircraft's certified maximum altitude. Most operators cruise at lower altitudes where cabin altitude is closer to 6,000 ft.


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