Both groups gave high marks to the Williams FJ44-3A-24 turbofan engines. They said they're well matched to the airframe, providing sporty performance, fast climb times and excellent fuel efficiency. Just as importantly, the engines are very reliable according to survey respondents. Few, if any, operators have been grounded with engine snags. Two, though, say they have been grounded with FADEC malfunctions. However, Williams has since updated the engine computer software at no cost to operators.
Owner operators and corporate flight department managers give high marks to the Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 avionics suite, essentially a clone of the system installed in the CJ3. A few gripe that the displays have small font sizes and minimal use of color. Interestingly, only a smattering of respondents say they miss having synthetic vision PFDs, a feature offered on other Citations equipped with Garmin avionics. Cessna says it has no immediate plans to offer an SVS upgrade for the aircraft.
The full-feature FMS-3000 received praise. Some operators moving up from less capable systems said that initially mastering the system was challenging, especially as simulator training service providers don't offer a comprehensive Collins FMS learning course.
Operators gave the aircraft's traffic alerting systems mixed reviews. Aircraft fitted with the standard L-3 SkyWatch HP TCAS I system generally received lower marks than those upgraded with the optional Rockwell Collins TCAS II package.
The standard L-3 Landmark and optional Honeywell EGPWS TAWS boxes earned similar A-/B+ grades.
Most other airframe systems earned A- grades, with three exceptions. Operators say most systems are efficient, simple, reliable and easy to service. The most notable exception was the B grade given to the heating and air-conditioning system. Many operators say it just doesn't effectively provide a comfortable environment for the flight crew and passengers. They say it needs better airflow distribution and dual-zone cockpit/cabin temperature controls.
Secondly, some operators say wheel braking action is difficult to modulate smoothly. Asymmetric braking often results, a problem that's annoying to some pilots and unsettling for some passengers. Cessna upgraded the brake control valves and linkages midway through CJ2 production, prior to the debut of the CJ2+, but some operators say more work needs to be done. One operator said his pilots are on the alert for “crazy” brakes, alluding to their grabby response and asymmetric action.
And finally, some operators say the windshield bleed-air defog and ice protection system is noisy. They wish the aircraft had electrically heated glass windshields rather than bleed-air heated stretched acrylic transparencies.
Cessna's interior completion received a B+ grade. Grades for the exterior paint ranged from A to D, reflecting the continuing challenges experienced by Cessna's paint shop. Overall, though, aircraft paint earned an A-/B+ grade, so most operators are pleased with the paint work.
FlightSafety International earns higher marks for training than CAE SimuFlite. Operators say that SimuFlite makes do with a combined CJ3/CJ2+ flight simulator while FSI has dedicated CJ2+ boxes. However, some operators are willing to adapt to SimuFlite's CJ3 sim because they say recurrent training prices are 40 to 50% lower than FSI's.