“They're just plain squirrelly compared to a CitationJet,” says Chris Wheeler, who flies s.n. 323. Stopping performance wasn't a problem for most people we contacted. “But the ABS [anti-skid braking] is outstanding,” Wheeler added.
Inconsistent temperature control throughout the cockpit and cabin is another concern voiced by many operators. They say it's difficult to modulate heating and cooling so that both pilots and passengers are comfortable. The aircraft has a single zone thermostat; therefore, heating and cooling airflows to the cockpit and cabin are difficult to modulate so that pilots and passengers are comfortable.
Most operators we contacted said they fly their aircraft single pilot all the time or most of the time. Some, however, said they always fly with two crewmembers when company guests or employees are passengers. A few said they only fly single pilot when they're solo or accompanied by immediate family members.
Most operators say their average missions are 1 to 2 hr. long, about 400 nm to 800 nm in length. The average for all operators responding to our survey is 573 nm. Many operators fly with three to four passengers on most trips. On such trips, they typically cruise in the high thirties or low forties. Total fuel burn ranges from 1,000 lb. to 1,900 lb., depending upon stage length. On smooth, dry runways, the CJ2+ needs less than 2,800 ft. for takeoff and landing on such short missions, assuming sea-level ISA conditions. Departing Sheridan, Wyo.'s 4,021-ft. field elevation airport on a 35C/95F day, the CJ2+ only needs 4,550 ft. of runway to fly such short missions.
Owner operators are comfortable stretching the aircraft out to its 1,500+ nm range with four passengers, in line with Cessna's published performance numbers for the aircraft. Flight department managers tend to be more conservative, preferring to fly not more than 1,000 to 1,200 nm. The difference between the two groups accounts for the 1,366 nm average for the survey. Cessna asserts that the aircraft can fly four passengers 1,538 nm and land with NBAA IFR reserves. Operators say they have faith in Cessna's flight planning guide numbers, but many simply want to arrive at their destinations with fatter fuel reserves to cover unforeseen contingencies.
Operators who fly their aircraft with two crew and whose aircraft have the optional right front side-facing chair in place of the full-size galley say they have to be careful about exceeding the forward center of gravity limit. Aircraft flown with two crewmembers should be loaded from rear to front, operators say.
Pilots say they usually climb directly to the low forties on long-range missions, just because they can cruise faster than at FL 450. First hour fuel burn is 1,100 to 1,200 lb. and then it drops to 800 to 900 lb. for the second and subsequent hours. Climbing to FL 450 results in fuel flows of 673 to 696 lb./hr.; however cruise speeds slow to 375 to 406 KTAS, depending upon aircraft weight and OAT. But flying at FL 450 is the only way to stretch range to 1,500 to 1,600 nm. Most pilots use 400-kt. block speeds for rough flight planning purposes.
The average annual utilization for operators in our survey is 225 hr. per year. Owner operators typically say they fly fewer than 200 hr. per year, making four to five trips per month. Corporate flight departments with full-time professional pilots say they fly the aircraft 300 to 400 hr. per year, usually between headquarters and outlying facilities. Most operators say their typical passengers are company employees traveling between business locations. Some also use their aircraft for family transportation, putting more net leisure time into fewer vacation days and weekends.
BCA uses Operators Surveys to check actual aircraft BOWs against the values supplied by OEMs for our May Purchase Planning Handbook. Cessna quotes 7,980 lb. as the average single-pilot BOW for the CJ2+. The average BOW reported by operators during our survey was 7,987 lb., a positive reflection on both the accuracy of advertised numbers and Cessna's integrity.
Our Report Card gives operators the opportunity to grade aircraft, training and product support in several categories. Owner operators tend to award the aircraft higher grades than flight department managers. (In the Report Card, 4.0=A; 3.0=B; 2.0=C; 1.0=D) Overall, the two groups give an A-/B+ to the basic Citation airframe, absent engines, avionics and systems. Owner operators moving up from less capable CitationJets generally viewed the aircraft more favorably than corporate fleet operators with other more capable, faster and more expensive aircraft.