Russ Meyer unveils renovation program for Citation Excel


Led by a trio of former Cessna executives, including longtime CEO and current Chairman Emeritus Russ Meyer Jr., CitationPartners breathes new life into one of the Wichita aircraft manufacturer’s most popular jets, the Citation Excel, as part of a new end-to-end renovation program called Citation Excel Aigle. Using help from Textron Aviation’s Wichita Service Center and Yingling Aviation FBO / MRO, CitationPartners’ goal is to produce one or more Excel Eagles per month.

The program, which was announced in late February, turns old NetJets airframes into a fully inspected aircraft with new Garmin G5000 parts, interior, paint and avionics. The introductory price on the first three Excel Eagles, as well as for orders taken before March 31, is $ 3.45 million. After that, the price increases to $ 3.59 million.

“No one has ever done a refurbishment program as long as we did when you look at what we do in the service center and then the interior, exterior and avionics,” said Meyer. AIN. “It really is a special deal and we believe the market will recognize this value.”

With over 1,000 Excel, XLS, and XLS + in the active global fleet, it made sense to select the popular mid-size cell for the program developed by CitationPartners, whose other principals are former Cessna CEO Gary Hay and the old Citation Mustang and CJ3 program. director Russ Meyer III.

“At Cessna, we had over 200 orders in our backlog before we delivered the first aircraft,” said Hay. AIN of Excel. “So that gives you an idea of ​​the market acceptance for the aircraft.”

Meyer added that not only did they choose Excel because of its popularity, but also because it remains in production as XLS +. part for an aircraft that is no longer in production, you better be prepared to wait for it and pay a lot of money for it, ”he said.

As part of the program, CitationPartners will integrate one of the more than 100 fractional Excels suppliers that NetJets has traded with Textron Aviation. At the aircraft manufacturer’s service center, the Excel will undergo many inspections, such as a 15,000 hour scheduled fatigue inspection, a special corrosion inspection and any other major inspections that will need to be completed within the next two years.

If these inspections reveal problems, the necessary parts or systems, such as wheels, tires, brakes, windshields and starter generators, will be replaced. “We felt that we needed Textron to be a partner because as the original manufacturer it is the only one that can do some of the inspections and authorize the aircraft for ProParts, among others,” Meyer said.

Once this work is completed, the aircraft will be moved on the runway at Wichita Eisenhower National Airport to Yingling, where the airframe will be dismantled, the interior replaced and the G5000 avionics installed. Yingling has had a decades-long relationship with Cessna, Meyer noted, and with a new paint facility and jet maintenance hangar, he has the capabilities to complete the aircraft, including its interior.

The interior renovation includes the replacement of the single seat in the forward cabin with a two-seater laterally oriented sofa. Plus, along with the interior, customers who order an Excel Eagle well in advance – four to five months – will have the flexibility to choose seat styles, cabin colors, carpets and cabinetry, as well as exterior painting. “Exactly like a new airplane customer,” Meyer noted.

Due to the refurbishment and extensive inspections, the Excel Eagles will also be integrated into ProParts airframe systems and Textron Aviation’s Avionics and PowerAdvantage engine maintenance programs without the need to write “a really big check. “for registration,” Meyer said.

Hay said an individual Excel operator making his plane what the Excel Eagle program would cost him $ 200,000 to $ 300,000 more than it would cost to buy an Excel Eagle. “Our plane is absolutely turnkey,” said Hay. “You buy it. You go in and you fly it. You don’t have to do anything except that.

All in all, Meyer hopes to end up producing one Excel per month. As it stands, the process on the first Excel Eagle took several months and it will probably be until late April or early May for the first to be ready for delivery. “It’s a process that will take us almost three to four months, certainly on the first two or three planes,” Meyer said.

GREAT TIME CELLS

Meyer acknowledged that some potential Excel Eagle customers might be deterred by the high time on Excel cells coming from NetJets, which he said last an average of 12,000 to 13,000 hours. But he notes that these planes have been professionally maintained while serving NetJets owners, often at a Citation service center. In addition, the Excel has been structurally and fatigue tested at 75,000 flight hours, the same requirements that Airbus and Boeing planes are tested for in the Part 25 transport category. “So 13,000 hours actually did no sense in terms of fatigue and structure, ”he said. “But that’s a factor for Textron to be involved in special inspections.”

Yet, based on CitationPartners’ research and meetings with potential clients, Meyer believes the time has come to unveil the program as the demand for used Excels is high and it seems to be getting stronger in part because of Covid-19. “One of the very few positive aspects of our pandemic-related business is that we believe the business jet industry is going to grow because a lot of people are not going to fly on airlines,” he said. declared.

If the Excel Eagle program works as expected, CitationPartners could do the same with the XLS and, later, other Citation models such as the CitationJet and the Sovereign. But first, Meyer added, “We want to put our feet on the ground and prove the process.”


Kevin A. Perras

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