Cessna Citation 500 type certification marks 50 years

Yesterday marked the 50th anniversary of FAA type certification for the Cessna Citation 500, creating arguably the best-selling line of business aircraft products. It was on September 9, 1971 that the FAA awarded certification to the aircraft manufacturer Wichita, launching a line of light, midsize and super-midsize business jets for Textron Aviation which continues today.

Originally dubbed the FanJet 500 but later renamed the Citation, the jet was first delivered in January 1972 to American Airlines, which used the aircraft for the development of its training program. Powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT15D-1 engines, the Citation 500 was initially certified for two pilots and up to seven passengers, with a ceiling of 35,000 feet and a cruising speed of Mach 0.70.

The model’s price of $ 695,000 included ground and flight training at American’s Flight Training Center in Fort Worth, as well as a three-year warranty on the airframe and a one-year warranty on the avionics.

Production of the aircraft ended in 1985, with a total of 691 deliveries. But the legacy of the type continues today with the 560XL (Citation XLS +) model, which is a direct line variant of the Citation 500.

The type was also the first in a family of Citations which now includes not only the XLS +, but also the M2, CJ3 +, CJ4 Gen 2, Latitude and Longitude. In total, Textron Aviation issued 7,831 Citations which have accumulated more than 40 million flight hours.

Kevin A. Perras

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