The Cessna 500 Citation I is a turbofan-powered small-sized business jet built by the Cessna Aircraft Company in Wichita, Kansas. The Citation brand of business jets encompasses several distinct "families" of aircraft, and the Citation I was the basis for the first of these families. This family includes the Citation I and the Citation I/SP.
Design and development
In October, 1968, Cessna announced plans to build an eight-place business jet that, unlike its competition, would be suitable for operations from shorter airfields, essentially aiming to compete in the light-to-medium twin turboprop market, rather than the existing business jet market. First flight of the prototype aircraft, then called the FanJet 500, took place a little under a year later, on September 15, 1969.
Citation I series
After a longer-than-expected development flight test program, during which the name Citation 500 was tried, and a number of changes to the design, the finished aircraft was debuted with the new name Citation (Model 500) and received its FAA certification in September, 1971. The aircraft was powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1 turbofan engines. With fan engines, rather than turbojet engines such as powered the contemporary Learjet 25, and a straight, rather than swept wings, the Citation was over 120 knots (220 km/h) slower than the Lear 25 (max speed of 350 knots (650 km/h) compared with 473 knots (876 km/h) for the LJ25), which led to nicknames such as "Slowtation" and "Nearjet", and raised eyebrows in the aviation media. The Citation I had a maximum take-off weight of 10,850 lb (4,920 kg), and a maximum of 8 people on board.
In 1976, several product improvements were added to the aircraft in response to market pressures, including a longer span wing (47 ft 1 in vs 43 ft 11 in), higher maximum gross weight and thrust reversers, which made shorter landing fields available to customers. With these improvements came the name Citation I.
When production on the Citation I finally ended in 1985, 377 airframes had been built. The aircraft's position in the Citation product line was not filled until much later, with the introduction of the Cessna CitationJet.
Like the Learjets, the Citation I required a crew of two. But since the Citation was intended to be marketed against twin turboprops, which can be flown by a single pilot, this restriction limited its intended market. Cessna's answer was the Model 501 Citation I/SP, with SP referring to its certified single-pilot capability. The aircraft was first delivered in early 1977, and a total of 312 aircraft were produced, and production also ended in 1985. New York Yankees catcher Thurman Munson was killed in his Citation I/SP on August 2, 1979 while practicing touch-and-go landings.
- FanJet 500, the prototype for the original Citation family, first flew 1969-09-15.
- Citation I (Model 500) originally called the Citation 500 before Cessna finally settled on Citation I, by which time the design had changed quite a bit from the FanJet 500. The original Citation I was one of the first light corporate jets to be powered by turbofan engines. Production ceased in 1985.
- Citation I/SP (Model 501) single-pilot operations
- People's Republic of China
People's Liberation Army Air Force
Mexican Air Force
Venezuelan Air Force
Specifications (Cessna 550 Citation I)
Capacity: Five passengers
Length: 43 ft 6 in (13.26 m)
Wingspan: 47 ft 1 in (14.35 m)
Height: 14 ft 4 in (4.37 m)
Wing area: 278.5 ft² (25.9 m²)
Empty weight: 6,631 lb (3,008 kg)
Max takeoff weight: 11,850 lb (5,375 kg)
Powerplant: 2× Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-1B turbofan, 2,200 lbf (9.77 kN) each
Maximum speed: Mach 0.705 (465.3 mph) (above 28,000 ft (8,530 m))
Cruise speed: 357 knots (411 mph, 662 km/h) at 35,000 ft (10,670 m)
Stall speed: 82 knots (95 mph, 152 km/h)
Range: 1,328 NM (1,528 mi, 2,459 km) (45 min reserves, max fuel, 1,562 lb payload)
Service ceiling: 41,000 ft (12,495 m)
Rate of climb: 2,719 ft/min (13.8 m/s)
Wing loading: 42.5 lb/ft² (208 kg/m²)