Cessna 525 Guide and Specs: The Modern Citation Jet

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The 1991 Cessna Model 525, also known as the CitationJet or CJ1, is considered the divider of waters in the classic Cessna Citation family. The jet was an evolution of the popular Citation II but underwent a significant redesign to adapt what was a sound design to the rapidly changing needs of the executive aviation segment towards the end of the 20th century.

Between 1971 and 1985, the Cessna Citation I, company designation Model 500, was a major player in the executive aviation segment. The Citation I had plenty going for and against it: it was a reliable, easy-to-fly aircraft with impressive short field performance for its class.

At the same time, it was plagued with relatively underwhelming performance as far as cruise speed, climb and ceiling went, and towards the end of its production years, the Model 500 was considered no longer viable by Cessna due to the sharp increase in prices for the Pratt & Whitney JT15D engines that had powered it from its inception.

The decline of the Citation I was not exactly a tragedy for Cessna’s business aviation team. From 1977, the company had been producing the Model 550, marketed as the Citation II.

This Model 500 derivative was considerably larger than its parent aircraft, being able to seat up to eight passengers, and, starting in 1984, it was also rated for single-pilot operations. If the ability to be flown solo helped put it on the map for pilot-owners, the capacity and associated costs of the Citation II made it too heavy on the wallet for that segment.

Cessna’s executives and engineers were not willing to give up on light jet owners just yet, and thus the story of the Cessna CitationJet series began.

Requirements and design goals for the Model 525 project were laid out with operators in mind. The aircraft was to seat four to five passengers, with a crew of one or two pilots, at the owner’s discretion. Operational costs had to be low to compete with the smaller Learjet offerings, with flight characteristics that made the transition smooth for new pilots, married to runway requirements on par with those for light piston twins.

Up until powerplant costs rose, these characteristics were what had made the Citation I so successful despite the performance woes. Still, Cessna was determined to put an end to the jokes about “getting bird strikes from behind” and the “Near Jet” or “Slowtation” monikers. As they had learned with Citation II, increasing performance without ballooning costs was a tricky balancing act.

The solutions found by Cessna’s engineers were to mate the aircraft to cheaper, less powerful engines but with an extensive structural redesign to make the airframe lighter and cleaner aerodynamically. The attempt was successful: the Model 525 cruised 29 knots faster than the Model 500, all while exceeding it in most parameters bar payload and approach noise while requiring less thrust!

The Model 525 was announced to the public at the 1989 National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) convention in Atlanta. Priced at $2.4 million, the company estimated sales of around 1000 units within the first ten years of production. The flight-testing program began in 1991, with FAA certification being completed by October 1992. At the end of the same year, the first CitationJets were delivered.

This was the beginning of a still-ongoing love affair between business aviation and the Model 525: this line has been in continuous production from 1991 until today and has spawned four other major variants, including a tandem-seat jet trainer for the US Air Force. In 2017, the CitationJet family blew past the 2000-unit mark, with sales growing steadily between years.

Cessna 525 / Specs

Cessna 525

The Cessna Model 525 CitationJet is a six-seat light semi-monocoque business jet with a cantilever wing and pressurized cabin. The aircraft’s structure improves on tried and tested elements from earlier Cessna Citation iterations.

The forward fuselage of the Cessna CitationJet is based on the Citation II’s, with the internal diameter of the passenger cabin being kept at 58 inches, much like the original Citation I. Cabin length on the other hand was shortened by 1 ft 6 in, with the loss of horizontal space being compensated by the lowered central aisle to add headroom and a rather spacious feeling for what factually is a small jet.

Out back, the tail section was redesigned from previous Citations in order to have a larger baggage area combined with easy access to pre-flight items such as the battery compartment and fire extinguisher bottles. Internal baggage capacity is 100 lbs across 4 cu bf, whereas the external baggage compartment fits 725 lbs within 54 cu ft.

The original Cessna CitationJet is powered by a pair of Williams FJ44 engines, one of the most compact turbofan engines in the market to date. The engines lack thrust reversers, but Williams added diverting paddles mounted to the fuselage by the exhaust nozzle. These work on the same principle as the traditional solution, except they have a much smaller footprint as far as weight and space are concerned.

The FJ44-1A turbofan fitted on the Model 525 has a 2.58:1 bypass ratio with a 16:1 overall pressure ratio and provides 1900 lbf of thrust per engine at ISA +7ºC, with a specific fuel consumption of 0.456 lbs/(hr lbf) (pounds of fuel per hour times pounds of force). The engine is also used on the Swedish SAAB 105 military jet trainer, also known as the SAAB Sk 60.

The supercritical wing was the result of a joint study conducted in partnership with Boeing and NASA, and it is combined with a T-tail arrangement. The airfoil profile on the Model 525 goes by NASA 0213 and brings on up to 15% better lift-to-drag ratio compared to the NACA 23000 used on the Model 500. The wing uses a ladder structure with chord-wise ribs over the front and rear spars, with an additional sub-spar supporting the landing gear.

A bleed air deicing system was installed in lieu of the deicing boots and fluids present on the Citation I and II, leading to lower weight without loss in efficiency.

To help retain the short field performance intended in the design requirements without requiring traditional thrust reversers, the CitationJet’s flaps system had a “ground flaps” position – after touchdown, the flaps are lowered to 60º to maximize drag and dump lift, while also automatically deploying the airbrakes.

Cessna’s focus on making the aircraft cheap to operate but with good performance shows on the details. To reduce interference drag, the wing and fuselage meeting point is covered by a large aerodynamic fairing, while the engines are mounted relatively high on the rear of the fuselage. Keeping up with industry trends, non-load-bearing sections such as the radome and wing root fairings are built using composite materials to reduce weight.

The cockpit of the initial Model 525 had its cockpit window size reduced compared to Citation I and II to reduce the temperature gradient between the flight deck and passenger cabin, mitigating the occurrence of drafts at higher altitudes. The instrument panel is fitted with Honeywell avionics, with a SPZ-5000 EFIS projected on two screens mounted on the left seat, an autopilot, Silver Crown radios, and a weather radar that outputs a color display.

Factory options for flight management were a KLN-900 GPS or a GNS-XSc FMS. The right seat is kitted out more modestly – standard six-pack instruments, coming in analog flavor, plus radio controls. The pilot also has a largely old-school dashboard out front, apart from the SPZ-5000 screens and the engine instruments on the panel centerline, outputting digital vertical tape readouts.

Cessna 525 / Prices

At the time of its introduction, the Cessna CitationJet was sold for 3.7 million in 1993 dollars with the standard avionics fit. The acquisition cost for the Model 525 family has remained rather stable compared to many of its competitors and even Cessna’s general aviation offerings.

Despite having new winglets, more powerful yet cheaper to operate engines, and a completely redesigned cockpit featuring the shiny Garmin G3000 avionics suite, the equipped price for a new Citation M2 in 2021 is $5.575 million. In fact, when factoring in inflation between 1993 and 2021, the cost of the Model 525 has gone down over time.

Cessna 525 / Performance and Handling

Cessna 525

When loaded with four passengers plus crew, the Cessna Model 525 more than satisfactory performance, even if it was a far cry from the up-and-coming speedsters that broke into the scene in the same decade, such as Cessna’s much larger but also far faster Citation X. Within its size and class, the CitationJet delivered exactly what operators needed to get somewhere within reasonable times and without breaking the bank.

Performance for the Model 525 family varies somewhat significantly depending on the version of the aircraft. Climbs on a Cessna CitationJet and CJ1 to the standard cruise altitude of FL370 take 25 minutes. For comparison’s sake, its successor Cessna CJ2 brings this number down to mere 15 minutes thanks to the improved Williams FJ44-2C, with a thrust rating of 2400 lbf each compared to 1900 lbf for the FJ44-1A installed on the first two iterations.

Rate of climb at sea level is of 3450 fpm, with a service ceiling of 41000 ft, maintaining sea-level cabin until 22027 ft.

Much like the majority of Cessna’s portfolio, the Model 525 is a docile flyer. The straight wing and responsive controls make it ‘feel’ like a Cessna, which is an immense help to pilots transitioning from other aircraft in their line.

Testament to this is the fact that, despite having a T-tail arrangement, the CitationJet lacks the stick pusher system normally associated with one for stall recovery. In fact, the Model 525 is so light that even in its early versions, it is perfectly capable of exiting a stall by simply applying more power.

Another example of this is the jet’s single-engine performance – flight testing demonstrated that it retains adequate rudder authority across the envelope in case of asymmetric thrust, which allowed Cessna to skip the installation of a rudder boost system. At maximum take-off weight, it can still sustain a climb rate of 568 fpm, which drops slightly to 540 fpm for the CJ1. The single-engine ceiling for the CitationJet and CJ1 is 23000 ft and 21200 ft, respectively.

An average flight on the Model 525 can be illustrated by the numbers. The take-off length for the CitationJet in standard atmosphere conditions is of 3080 ft, rising to 5000 ft at 25ºC. In zero-wind conditions, the aircraft can then fly out to 1100 nautical miles at 377 KTAS, including NBAA IFR reserves, with a required field length of 2465 ft to land.

The average fuel burn for the CitationJet is around 135 gallons per hour. The CJ1 boasts similar performance, with a slight penalty in runway requirements due to its higher gross weight. The CitationJet and CJ1 barely fall short of coast-to-coast trips in the United States in more concrete terms.

Cessna 525 / Maintenance Schedule

The Model 525 series is covered under Cessna’s ProAdvantage programs, which are extremely popular among operators. Maintenance reserves total around $684 for an original CitationJet and $670 for a CJ1.

Maintenance and inspection intervals for the Williams FJ44 engines are standard for all units in the family. The recommended time between overhaul (TBO) is set at 3500 hours, with a hot section inspection (HSI) at every 1750 hours.

Cessna 525 / Modifications and Upgrades

T are four major original Model 525 variants: the original CitationJet, the CitationJet CJ1, the CitationJet CJ1+, and the Citation M2. These aircraft differ in powerplant and/or avionics, among other changes.

Outside the scope of this article, but also worth mentioning superficially are the offshoots of the Model 525. The success of this line gave Cessna the confidence to aim bigger with it, leading to the Model 525A with three Cessna CitationJet CJ2 variants, the Model 525B covering the CJ3, and the latest, the Model 525C, also marketed as the Cessna Citation CJ4.

Somewhat unusual for a business jet, the Model 525 also spawned a primary jet trainer proposed to the United States Air Force and Navy in 1993. The prototypes, branded Model 526, had 75% parts commonality with the Model 525 and were fitted with zero-zero ejection seats arranged in a tandem configuration.

The tailplane had a conventional configuration instead of the T-tail, and the engines were mounted on the wing roots instead of the rear fuselage. The Cessna 526 did not go very far, but it showed how versatile the Model 525 design really is.

CitationJet

CitationJet

Described in greater detail above, the CitationJet is the baseline Model 525 variant powered by a pair of Williams FJ44-1A turbofans and equipped with Honeywell avionics. It has a maximum take-off weight of 10400 lbs, of which 3750 lbs is useful load. With full fuel, the CitationJet can carry another 530 lb. The first 359 Model 525 aircraft produced were built to this standard, with deliveries ranging from the end of 1992 to 1999.

CitationJet CJ1

CitationJet CJ1

The relative obsolescence of the Honeywell SPZ-5000 avionics outfitted on the original CitationJet had become clear, so Cessna introduced an upgraded version of the design focused mainly on the flight deck to meet their customers’ demands.

The original suite was replaced with the ubiquitous Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21, effectively taking the Model 525 from an EFIS to a properly said glass cockpit. Information was displayed to pilots in two large 8 x 10 in LCD screens – one primary flight display (PFD) and one MFD (multifunctional display).

The Pro Line 21 is driven by the AHC-3000 altitude and heading reference system (AHRS). This piece has a mean time between replacement (MTBR) of around 9000 hours, though a unit undergoing testing exceeded 16000 hours of continuous operation without issues.

Given the Model 525’s ability to be flown solo, Cessna left it up to the customer to decide whether they required a second PFD to be fitted on the co-pilot/passenger seat, with a price tag of $11815, with a second air data computer being included. If the option was primarily thought out for multicrew operations, the audience it found exceeded it by some margin.

Many owners, even those only interested in single-pilot operations, ordered the ‘dual’ option because of this second air data computer and its associated altimeter. This redundancy was a requirement for those wanting to tap into reduced vertical separation minimums (RVSM), which bring intervals down to 1000 ft over certain airspaces in Europe and over water.

The CJ1 was also slightly reworked to allow for a larger useful load of 675 lbs with full fuel, compared to 530 lbs on the CitationJet.

A total of 239 CitationJet CJ1 were delivered until the production line switched to the CitationJet CJ1+.

CitationJet CJ1+

CitationJet CJ1+

In 2005, Cessna began deliveries for the CJ1+. While the CJ1 with its new flight deck was a hit among customers, some still had qualms about the aircraft’s performance in certain aspects. To mitigate that, the CJ1+ replaced the Williams FJ44-1A on the CitationJet and CJ1+ with the new uprated FJ44-1AP turbofans packing a FADEC system.

Citation M2

Citation M2

Due to the commercial success of the CitationJet and CJ1, threatened by the emergence of the Embraer Phenom 100E, in 2011 Cessna brought about a comprehensive upgrade to the Model 525 airframe that kept it largely common with the first two models in the line, despite the CJ1 production having ceased by the time of its introduction.

While Cessna appreciated the Pro Line 21’s popularity among pilots with airline experience, to keep up with the competition the avionics suite chosen was Garmin’s much more modern G3000.

The FJ44-1AP engine was swapped by the improved FJ44-1AP-21. This change led to up to 15% increase in thrust in cruise settings, and 5% better hot-and-high performance. The new engines were also more maintenance-friendly, with a standard TBO of 5000 hours compared to 3500 on previous models. To help with performance, the wings were lengthened by 4 inches each to accommodate small winglets.

Flight testing of the Citation M2 showed excellent performance, even compared to the already powerful Citation CJ1+. In its latest iteration, this Model 525 cruises at 392 KTAS at FL400 while burning 740 lbs of fuel per hour, when loaded at 9646 lbs. Range grew to 1150 nmi plus NBAA reserves, and the Citation M2 can make the trip in only 2 hours and 49 minutes. Climbs to the service ceiling of 41000 feet are done in 24 minutes.

When the last Citation Mustang left the Cessna production line in 2017, the Citation M2 became the company’s main entry-level business jet offering.

Cessna 525 / Where to Find Replacement Parts

Cessna 525 Maintenance

Regardless of the variant, at the end of the day the Model 525 is a Cessna product that is still in production. This means it is part of what’s probably the world’s largest parts distribution chains in aviation.

Thanks to the sheer number of shops working with Cessna to maintain their business jets across the world, it is easy to find parts for any of the aircraft’s models on demand, and parts short on stock can be ordered and delivery in a very timely manner regardless of the aircraft’s location.

Cessna 525 / Common Problems

The Cessna Model 525 family has had a relatively smooth time in service, and most owners describe it as a great aircraft to have due to its trouble-free nature. As with most jets, however, there were times of crisis that prompted investigations and corrective action where needed.

One example came about in June 2008, where a Cessna CitationJet on a commercial flight had to ditch off the Washington coast. The reported cause of the accident was a runaway trim shortly after take-off, sending the jet into a 40º dive.

After repeated attempts failed attempts to remedy the situation, the pilot elected to ditch using whatever controllability was available. The aircraft impacted the water with wings level at a speed of 100 knots, and thanks to the pilot’s efforts, both he and the passengers managed to exit the aircraft safely without serious injury.

This incident triggered a thorough investigation and testing of components that make up the electric trim system on the Model 525, which found that the design of the circuitry associated had a possible single point of failure. This crash in particular was exacerbated by the lack of a warning system for runaway trim situations, which meant the pilot did not have enough time to adequately react to the problem using the prescribed checklist procedures.

One problem not exclusive to the Model 525 but to all single-pilot jets is pilot workload, particularly in the original Cessna CitationJet with the Honeywell EFIS. Almost all incidents and accidents involving Model 525 airframes were primarily caused by pilot error, either during flight planning or in the air.

The user-friendly interface of the Garmin G3000 fitted on the Citation M2 has done wonders to largely mitigate these issues, though the Pro Line 21 installed on the CJ1 and CJ1+ also helped reduce the type’s accident rate.

Cessna 525 / Insurance Options

As is the case with most high-performance aircraft, finding affordable insurance for the Model 525 family hinges heavily on the experience and qualifications of the pilot or pilots assigned to fly the plane.

According to aviation brokers BWI FLY, a standard CitationJet can have both liability and hull coverage worth $1 million each for between $8800 and $12600 per year. This is reliant on the pilot(s) having a commercial license, IFR, and multi-engine ratings, with 3000 flight hours logged, of which 1000 are in multi-engine aircraft and a minimum of 50 on the CitationJet.

In the case of the newer Cessna Citation M2, with a Garmin G3000 avionics suite and engines with higher TBO, this range drops to $6800-9600 annually thanks to the more reliable powerplant and lower pilot workload, which in turn reduce the risk of accidents and make the jet safer for pilots and insurers.

Cessna 525 / Resale Value

Due to their economic nature and ease of access for spares, the Model 525 family has retained good resale value since the first deliveries were made in 1992. A standard-fit CitationJet in nice shape commands around $1.5 million. The younger CJ1 units normally sell for anywhere between $1.8 million to $2.6 million.

Part of the reason why the Model 525 remains financially accessible is because of its more ‘vintage’ approach to equipment compared to some competitors, and therefore lack some modern luxuries that later became industry standard, like RNP approach capability and engines fitted with FADEC systems. For buyers, this essentially means that doing away with a few comforts makes the acquisition of economic, low-hour airframes possible.

Beyond the original kit, however, it is also possible to purchase a Cessna Model 525 and bring it into the 21st century while still spending less than one would on a competing jet with newer avionics out of the box. Depending on the suite and shop chosen, CitationJet owners have reported values between $3 and $4 million for aircraft and upgrades combined.

Cessna 525 / Owner Reviews

Owners and pilots of the Model 525 love the aircraft for the exact reasons Cessna expected them to. The CitationJet does not overpromise, choosing instead to deliver an honest, reliable jet with adequate performance and gentle handling.

Its reliability is a standout point for business customers, who know they can count on the Model 525 to take them to their most important meetings. Costs are a welcome feature too, as it has very predictable maintenance without many surprises at all.

Pilots enjoy the handling of the Citation 525 because it is gentle, forgiving, and this makes it a lot more comfortable to transition from different types, even piston-engine Cessnas like the Model 310.

Cessna 525 / Similar Aircraft

Phenom 100

The Cessna Model 525 competes in the light and very light jet segment, which means the competition faced by it has boomed since its introduction.

In recent years, it is broadly agreed that the main competitor of the CitationJet and its derivatives is Brazilian aerospace company Embraer’s Phenom line. The company’s current entry in the very light segment is the Phenom 100 family, which reached the market at the end of 2008.

The Phenom is a dangerous opponent due to its very modern design philosophy and what is arguably the best customer service culture in the business aviation market. Performance-wise, the Phenom 100 shares the Model 525’s bracket, and cost of acquisition plus operation land it on the same ballpark too.

Other aircraft vying for the same market segment include the 2003 Honda HA-420 HondaJet, easily identifiable by its unique overwing engine mount, and to an extent the Pilatus PC-24, though this leans more on the light jet definition, with higher capabilities but also a similarly higher price to purchase and operate.

FAQs

Question: Does the Citation M2 have a Toilet?

Answer: No. Due to the compact cabin dimensions, Cessna opted to forego a toilet in the Citation M2.

Question: Is a CJ1 single pilot?

Answer: Yes. Like all Model 525 and derivatives, the CJ1 can be flown by one or two pilots, as preferred.

Question: How Far can a CJ1 Fly?

Answer: The Cessna Citation CJ1 has a maximum range of 1290 nautical miles, including reserves.

Question: How Much Fuel Does a Cessna 525 Hold?

Answer: The fuel tanks for the Cessna CitationJet, CJ1, CJ1+ and Citation M2 all have the same capacity of 492 gallons.

Question: How Fast is a Cessna Citation M2?

Answer: As the fastest Model 525 version, the Citation M2 can reach 400 knots of true airspeed.

References

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