Meyer and partners chose the Citation Excel as the aircraft for renewal because of its popularity as a midsize business jet, its performance, cost of operation, reliability and because it is still in production at Textron Aviation. The market is strong for preowned midsize jets. “We think our timing is really good,” Meyer said. “I think the product is going to be very, very well received.”
The Citation Excel is installed with the new Garmin 5000 avionics at Yinglng Aircraft, a long-time authorized Garmin dealer. FlightSafety also has installed a fully compliant G5000 Excel simulator at its Wichita facility.
The first Citation Excels come from fractional ownership company NetJets, which is trading in the jets to buy new. Each aircraft undergoes inspections and receives new parts and systems by the Citation Service Center. Yingling Aviation installs Garmin 5000 avionics, along with a new interior and exterior paint. Here the aircraft is being prepared to receive the Garmin 5000 avionics.
A New Paint Job
The paint of each Excel is chemically removed and the aircraft given a new paint job to look like a new aircraft.
The aircraft is inspected for corrosion and fatigue-tested and the door frame, wheel well, emergency exit frame, wing trailing edge and horizontal stabilizer, fuselage belly skin, lavatory service area are inspected. The engines and APU are borescoped.
The gear is removed and brakes and tires and other parts are replaced. The aircraft is production flight checked to the same standards as new Citations.
A Months-Long Transformation
The work to transform the Excel into a like-new aircraft takes about six months.
The first Citation Excel Eagle is expected to be delivered to a customer in May, Meyer said. CitationPartners plans to deliver one Excel Eagle per month. The price is $3.45 million for all orders received by March 31 for delivery in 2021. The cost increases to $3.59 million thereafter.
Russ Meyer, Cessna Aircraft chairman emeritus, his son, Russ Meyer III, a former Citation Mustang and CJ3 program manager, and Gary Hay, former Cessna chairman, have joined together to form CitationPartners, a program to renew pre-owned Citation Excels into the Excel Eagle.
The program includes an extensive “nose-to-tail transformation” of the popular midsize business jet. When work is completed, the aircraft will look like it’s come off the production line, Meyer said. The company expects to deliver the first Excel Eagle in May.
Molly McMillin, a 25-year aviation journalist, is managing editor of business aviation for the Aviation Week Network and editor-in-chief of The Weekly of Business Aviation, an Aviation Week market intelligence report.