Questions are asked about the origin of the Citation name and the many variants Cessna uses to name their line of business jets. “What are the differences between the various CitationJets?”, “Are all Cessna Jet Aircraft called CitationJets?”, “Why are there so many CitationJet models?” and “What’s the difference between a Citation and CitationJet?”. Clarification may be needed.
The very first Cessna business jet aircraft was delivered in January 1972. Although originally designated the Fanjet 500, the aircraft would be named after the 1948 Triple Crown winning horse “Citation”. As the company grew and more jet models were introduced, Citation became the Cessna Aircraft Company brand name for business jets and then different model names were designated. The original Cessna Citation became the Cessna Citation 500, Cessna Citation 501 and Cessna Citation I. The model names changed as the aircraft changed in either size, performance, avionics, etc. Cessna would go on to produce many different models and rotate between numerical names such as the Citation II, Citation V, Citation VII and Citation X to more original inspirational names such as the Citation Bravo, Excel, Sovereign and Encore.
In 1993, Cessna Aircraft Company delivered the first Cessna Citation model CitationJet which would become known simply as the “CitationJet” and eventually the “CJ”. The numerical model designation used by the FAA and in serial numbers is the CE525. It required a new aircraft type rating and pilots could train for single-pilot operations (CE525S) or as a crew flown aircraft (CE525). The CE525 type rating would, eventually, be used for all “CJ” model aircraft. The CJ became an instant hit in the marketplace. It featured direct operating costs, per mile, lower than the closest competing turboprop with operating altitudes up to 41,000 above weather and turbulence. Development of a laminar flow wing design and the fuel-efficient Williams jet engines made the CJ possible. Cessna produced this model from 1993 through 1999 with serial numbers 525-0001 through 525-0359. Then came the CJ1.
The CJ transformed into the CJ1 with the addition of an upgraded electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) from Collins Avionics and a two-hundred-pound gross weight increase along with several other minor upgrades and option changes. This model was produced from year 2000 through 2005 with serial numbers 525-0360 through 525-0558. Then the CJ1+ was introduced.
The CJ1+ was a significant upgrade for the C525 model featuring a fully integrated Collins Avionics cockpit, FADEC throttles, upgraded interior and slightly higher thrust engines. The result is a faster aircraft with increased payload capability and more sophisticated avionics. This model was produced from 2006 through 2011 with serial numbers 525-0600 through 525-0702. The original CJ line continued with the most advanced version yet, the Citation M2.
The Citation M2 was originally touted as the step-up aircraft for Citation Mustang owners. However, the M2 is based on the original CJ airframe and is still designated a CE525 type aircraft. It is a CJ at heart with many upgrades. This current production aircraft features Garmin G3000 Avionics, FADEC throttles, new interior, winglets, electrical system makeover and slightly higher thrust engines. This model was produced from 2012 through current production with serial numbers 525-0800 through 525-0902 and up.
Customers wanting to upgrade asked for more speed, bigger cabins and more range. Cessna answered with the Cessna Citation CJ2 designated as model CE525A. The CJ2 features Collins Avionics with speeds approaching 415 knots, 1,500 nm range, 45,000-foot ceiling, increased payload and a 33 inch longer cabin than the CJ/CJ1 yet has similar direct operating costs, per mile. It was an instant hit. The CJ2 was produced from year 2000 through 2005 with serial numbers 525A-0002 through 525-0243. The CJ2 would follow a similar upgrade path as the CJ/CJ1 with the introduction of the CJ2+.
The CJ2+ features an upgraded fully integrated Collins Avionics Cockpit, FADEC throttles, upgraded interior and better climb/cruise performance. The CJ2+ was produced from 2005 through 2014 with serial numbers 525A-0300 through 525A-0524. But what if you needed a little more range and a bigger cabin than the CJ2+. Cessna came to the rescue with an upgrade path to the Citation CJ3.
The CJ3, designated the CE525B, offers a two foot longer cabin and 200 nautical miles more range than the CJ2/CJ2+. The cockpits and cruise performance between the two aircraft are almost identical. However, the higher thrust CJ3 does have better runway performance. The CJ3 was produced from 2004 through 2014 with serial numbers 525B-0002 through 525B-0415. What’s next for the CJ3? How about a CJ3+.
The CJ3+ is the CJ3 airframe with an upgraded redesigned Garmin G3000 cockpit, FADEC throttles, electrical system makeover, cabin improvements and enhanced entertainment options. The CJ3+ was produced from 2014 to current production with serial numbers 525B-0416 through 525B-0484 and up. Onward to the final upgrade path offered by Cessna for the CJ family of business jet aircraft, the Cessna Citation CJ4.
The Citation CJ4, designated the CE525C, was introduced in 2010 as a continued upgrade path for the CJ family of aircraft owners. It featured significantly faster speeds, a slightly swept wing, higher thrust engines, Collins Proline integrated cockpit with four LCD displays and a longer cabin than the previous CJ models. The CJ4 was produced from 2010 to current production with serial numbers 525C-0001 through 525C-0207 and up.
There you have it. The Cessna Citation CJ line of aircraft explained. Starting with the original CJ, this family of aircraft has seen an impressive line of progression through the CJ1, CJ1+, CJ2, CJ2+, CJ3, CJ3+ and CJ4. These models are a tremendous success for the Cessna Aircraft Company and the Citation line of business jets. What’s next?
Author; Don Perry is President of AllJets, LLC. He previously worked for Cessna Aircraft Company selling new and preowned Citation aircraft from 1996 through 2012. He holds an ATP pilot license with a CE525S type rating.