BCA uses Operators Surveys to check actual aircraft BOWs against the values supplied by OEMs for our May Purchase Planning Handbook. quotes 7,980 lb. as the average single-pilot BOW for the CJ2+. The average BOW reported by operators during our survey was 7,987 lb., a positive reflection on both the accuracy of advertised numbers and Cessna's integrity.
Our Report Card gives operators the opportunity to grade aircraft, training and product support in several categories. Owner operators tend to award the aircraft higher grades than flight department managers. (In the Report Card, 4.0=A; 3.0=B; 2.0=C; 1.0=D) Overall, the two groups give an A-/B+ to the basic Citation airframe, absent engines, avionics and systems. Owner operators moving up from less capable CitationJets generally viewed the aircraft more favorably than corporate fleet operators with other more capable, faster and more expensive aircraft.
Both groups gave high marks to the Williams FJ44-3A-24 turbofan engines. They said they're well matched to the airframe, providing sporty performance, fast climb times and excellent fuel efficiency. Just as importantly, the engines are very reliable according to survey respondents. Few, if any, operators have been grounded with engine snags. Two, though, say they have been grounded with FADEC malfunctions. However, Williams has since updated the engine computer software at no cost to operators.
Owner operators and corporate flight department managers give high marks to thePro Line 21 avionics suite, essentially a clone of the system installed in the CJ3. A few gripe that the displays have small font sizes and minimal use of color. Interestingly, only a smattering of respondents say they miss having synthetic vision PFDs, a feature offered on other Citations equipped with Garmin avionics. Cessna says it has no immediate plans to offer an SVS upgrade for the aircraft.
The full-feature FMS-3000 received praise. Some operators moving up from less capable systems said that initially mastering the system was challenging, especially as simulator training service providers don't offer a comprehensive Collins FMS learning course.
Operators gave the aircraft's traffic alerting systems mixed reviews. Aircraft fitted with the standard L-3 SkyWatch HP TCAS I system generally received lower marks than those upgraded with the optional Rockwell Collins TCAS II package.
The standard L-3 Landmark and optionalEGPWS TAWS boxes earned similar A-/B+ grades.
Most other airframe systems earned A- grades, with three exceptions. Operators say most systems are efficient, simple, reliable and easy to service. The most notable exception was the B grade given to the heating and air-conditioning system. Many operators say it just doesn't effectively provide a comfortable environment for the flight crew and passengers. They say it needs better airflow distribution and dual-zone cockpit/cabin temperature controls.
Secondly, some operators say wheel braking action is difficult to modulate smoothly. Asymmetric braking often results, a problem that's annoying to some pilots and unsettling for some passengers. Cessna upgraded the brake control valves and linkages midway through CJ2 production, prior to the debut of the CJ2+, but some operators say more work needs to be done. One operator said his pilots are on the alert for “crazy” brakes, alluding to their grabby response and asymmetric action.
And finally, some operators say the windshield bleed-air defog and ice protection system is noisy. They wish the aircraft had electrically heated glass windshields rather than bleed-air heated stretched acrylic transparencies.
Cessna's interior completion received a B+ grade. Grades for the exterior paint ranged from A to D, reflecting the continuing challenges experienced by Cessna's paint shop. Overall, though, aircraft paint earned an A-/B+ grade, so most operators are pleased with the paint work.
FlightSafety International earns higher marks for training than CAE SimuFlite. Operators say that SimuFlite makes do with a combined CJ3/CJ2+ flight simulator while FSI has dedicated CJ2+ boxes. However, some operators are willing to adapt to SimuFlite's CJ3 sim because they say recurrent training prices are 40 to 50% lower than FSI's.
In line with BCA's previous Citation Operators Surveys, Cessna's technical and parts support received very high marks. “It's A++,” declares Dr. Russell Boyd, who flies s.n. 480. “Cessna always has been very helpful,” says Kent Gillen, chief pilot for Chick-fil-A, which operates s.n. 319. “It's A+. It's extraordinary, truly one of Cessna's strong suits,” comments Chris Wheeler, who flies s.n. 323. “We've seen the company yank parts off of production line aircraft to support the customer.”
But some operators are concerned that Cessna's recent widespread staff changes, including those in charge of product support, may have an adverse impact. “I've experienced too many handoffs,” says Bagwell.
Williams International's product support receives mixed grades. Some operators rave about the firm's service, but others believe Williams' defense contractor history creates walls to communication with customers. “I give them a D grade. They're just too close-lipped,” says Nat Goldhaber, who flies s.n. 388. “The company is slow to respond, so I give it a C,” says Dan Gimbel, who flies s.n. 425. Yet, most operators were pleased with Williams' technical support, explaining the B+ overall grade respondents awarded the firm.
Rockwell Collins also received good grades for technical and product support. But a few operators said that spares were in short supply, especially LCDs and file server units.