On Balance . . .
Sovereign's class leading short field performance continues to make it the top choice for operators who use small general aviation airports, ones typically with 4,000 ft. or shorter runways. It also enjoys strong support from operators who need to fly eight passengers 2,700+ nm at the lowest possible direct operating cost.
“It's got great runway performance, it's cheap to run, it sips gas,” says Eliopoulos.
Some wish the airplane had a higher cruising speed and another 200 nm of range, making it better suited for non-stop east to west transcontinental U.S. missions. For them, the $18.2 million second-generation Sovereign, slated to enter service later this year, may be enough of an improvement to get them to trade up. Some, though, are eying other options, particularly the $20 millionLegacy 500, an aircraft that offers a wider, taller cabin with a flat floor, 20-kt. faster cruising speed and eight-passenger, tanks-full payload.
Perhaps's biggest selling point for the Sovereign is the firm's top ranked product support in this class of aircraft. “It's absolutely the best ever,” says LJ Aviation's Kilkeary. “Parts availability is superb,” says another operator.
But some caution that Cessna's “right sizing” of its workforce may have a negative impact in the future.
On balance, though, Sovereign appears to be the ultimate simple Citation, an everyday workhorse that consistently does many things well. While the light and midsize jet markets currently remain flat in the wake of the great recession, the long term outlook for Sovereigns is encouraging in the view of those who operate them.
Tap Here to read Fred George's Pilot Report on the Citation Sovereign from the September 2003 issue of BCA.