The Citation Excel is technically a mid-sized jet, yet it still fits in the super light jet class – its cabin length is 18.7 feet and it can fly up to 1,961 miles (1,704 nautical miles) – but it can take off in 3,590 feet and climb to cruise altitude in just 18 minutes, performance statistics reminiscent of light private jets. At any rate, the Excel boasts excellent handling capabilities, reliable systems and consistent delivery of smooth, quick flights.
The Citation Excel’s cabin holds eight passengers in a cabin that’s quiet and draft-free due to the triple-sealed entry door and triple-pane windows. It is 5.7 feet high and 5.5 feet wide, which is about average for a midsized private jet. Details like fold-out tables and sliding headrests make the interior comfortable. There are several different seating arrangements to choose from, including one option with a three-person divan. An external compartment provides 80 cubic feet of storage space, along with some additional space in an internal closet.
This private jet can climb to its cruise level in just eighteen minutes and can cruise at 423 ktas. The Excel has a range of 1,907 miles (1,657 nautical miles) with four passengers. It can take off on runways as short as 3,590 feet – the shortest takeoff distance of any midsized jet.
The Excel outperforms competing private jets due in large part to its two Pratt & Whitney PW545 engines. They are designed with a high-pressure core to increase thrust to 3,804 pounds apiece. Increased air flow through the engine’s core allows the engines to operate at higher temperatures. A Teflon seal was added to prevent oil leaks, and the single-channel electronic control engine allows the pilot to configure fuel flow at the beginning of flight and leave the system to do the rest during flight. Manual fuel control remains available for emergencies.
The Citation Excel comes standard with two air conditioning systems to keep the cabin comfortable, even in the most extreme outside temperatures. A long-travel trailing link landing gear ensures smooth landings and taxiing. High-capacity carbon brakes give this jet powerful braking capabilities that other private jets of its size do not have. The brake wear is minimal and, like all other systems in the Excel, is extremely reliable.
Subtle design details exhibit Cessna’s custom of creating simple, high-performance jets. The frame is made from riveted, hot-bonded aluminum alloy, which reduces assembly cost but slightly increases drag. Any lessened aerodynamic capabilities are made up for by the unusually low position of the wing, which greatly reduces drag.
The Citation Excel was designed with the needs of the pilot in mind. The preflight check is easy to carry out and many flight systems only have to be set once after takeoff, then automatically adjust in flight.
The avionics system is probably the most pilot-friendly feature of the Excel. The engineers of the Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite realizes the importance of details like consolidating multiple displays into a few, easy-to-interpret ones and placing screens close to the controls to which they apply. All of the information needed is displayed on three sleek screens. The relevant controls are located directly on the screens’ faceplates to improve pilot hand-eye coordination and flight performance.
In short, the Citation Excel is a solid, reliable private jet that can take you anywhere a mid-sized jet can go at the cost of light-jet travel. Its comfort, performance, and reliability match Cessna’s high standards in private jet travel.