A substantial package of improvements, including a new variant engine from Pratt & Whitney Canada, will see the 25 year history of the Citation 560XL extended in the form of the highly capable Citation Ascend.
This latest model is designed to bring an entirely new Garmin G5000 cockpit, improved performance and a more luxurious cabin to the midsize business jet market, and is expected to enter into service in 2025.
“Of the Citation family, there's none more flown than the Citation 560XL series. With an 560XL aircraft taking off or landing every two minutes somewhere in the world, this aircraft will be part of the most successful business jet family,” says Ron Draper, president and CEO, Textron Aviation. “On behalf of our teams, we are proud to announce the latest innovation in the Citation family; the new Cessna Citation Ascend. We asked customers what they wanted in the next evolution of this iconic aircraft, and we believe the Citation Ascend will deliver.”
The Cessna Citation Ascend will offer state-of-the-art Garmin G5000 avionics featuring the latest software and hardware, including autothrottle technology to reduce pilot workload and provide flight-envelope protection; three large, 14-inch ultra high-resolution displays with split-screen capabilities; standard dual flight management systems; synthetic vision to render obstacles like mountains or terrain; cockpit voice and data satellite transceiver to make satellite calls from the cockpit; new Garmin advanced weather detection and avoidance technology; and a second Iridium data radio and CPDLC to support customers with more direct routing between North America and Europe (as an option).
The aircraft will also feature many of the luxuries found in the bestselling Citation Latitude and flagship Longitude. Preliminary performance targets indicate a four-passenger range of 1,900 nm at high-speed cruise power, with an estimated maximum range of 2,100nm. Cruise will be at 441kts, and it will have the ability to climb direct to 45,000ft.
Design improvements on the aircraft deliver the ability to carry a higher combination of payload and fuel load while retaining access to short runways. With four passengers at high-speed cruise power, trips such as London City in the UK to Athens, Greece; Helsink in Finland to Porto, Portugal; or La Mole in France to Prague in the Czech Republic, will be possible. “The Cessna Citation Ascend builds upon more than 20 years of the 560XL series success in the market,” says Lannie O'Bannion, senior vice president, global sales and flight operations. “It's designed to outperform and take our customers further in style.”
The Pratt and Whitney Canada PW545D engines have been designed to deliver better fuel efficiency, increased thrust and longer time-on-wing. They use new materials and technology, including a more efficient high-pressure compressor, an enhanced single stage high-pressure turbine module and an upgraded exhaust mixer. The PW545D engines are also equipped with a full authority digital engine control (FADEC), enabling the new autothrottle technology and ensuring they operate at their maximum efficiency and with reduced pilot workload.
"The PW500 turbofan family has established itself as the engine of choice for light to mid-size business jets thanks to its proven safety, reliability and durability, attractive operating economics and comprehensive maintenance plans," says Nicholas Kanellias, vice president, general aviation at P&WC. "The PW545D is the latest engine in this family. We injected all we've learned from the more than 4,600 PW500 engines produced to-date, which have accumulated over 22 million flying hours. This new engine is even more fuel-efficient, offers greater thrust and an increased TBO of up to 6,000 hours for eligible customers."
Building on the success of the PW545C, the PW545D incorporates new materials and technology, including a more efficient high-pressure compressor for increased flow, an enhanced single-stage, high-pressure turbine module and an advanced exhaust mixer to reduce fuel consumption and noise. The new engine is also equipped with full authority digital engine control (FADEC) technology, which is included with many PW500 models. This enables the Citation Ascend to integrate new auto-throttle technology that simplifies control, maximises efficiency and reduces pilot workload. It can operate on blends of up to 50% SAF with conventional Jet A kerosene.
The engine supports digitally driven advanced health monitoring and diagnostics, in combination with the FAST (Flight, Acquisition, Storage and Transmission) system. With FAST, the engine's full-flight data is downloaded, stored and analysed by experts, enabling deep insights and predictive diagnostics to optimise engine performance and maintenance requirements. Customers with FAST installed who are enrolled in Pratt and Whitney's Eagle Service Plan (ESP) pay-per-hour maintenance programme may take advantage of the 6,000-hour TBO option.
The Citation Ascend will also include an unattended Honeywell RE100 [XL] auxiliary power unit (APU) with self-management and added bleed leak detection. The unattended operation capability of the APU allows pilots to prepare for every flight efficiently, including heating and cooling the cabin with less fuel and less noise.
There are improvements in the cabin too. With a fully customisable interior, customers can select from a range of standard and optional features to best meet their needs. The aircraft will include a flat floor to provide a new level of generous legroom and flexibility for passengers.
“The flat floor is a game changer when it comes to comfort,” says Christi Tannahill, senior vice president, customer experience. “The design gives passengers more room to swivel their seats, stretch their legs and comfortably move around the cabin.”
Textron Aviation designed the Citation Ascend seats based on customer feedback for ultimate comfort, placing passengers in an optimised seated posture. When designing their aircraft interior, customers can even select the level of cushion firmness. The aircraft has a standard seating configuration of nine passengers and will have a maximum seating capacity of 12 passengers. The main cabin seats will feature an electrically controlled release for swivel and tracking on the seat pedestal. Optional seat quilting, footrests and electrically controlled lumbar support make relaxing easy while side-facing seats will feature fold-down seat backs to provide additional in-flight accessible storage space.
Finally, for an even more enjoyable experience, customers will be able to wirelessly control the cabin lighting, temperature, window shades and onboard entertainment. They can also select an optional Bongiovi sound system.
The Citation Ascend will include all-new cabin windows that are nearly 15 per cent larger and offer more natural light with translucent and opaque shade settings, wireless shade control and optional lighted window rings to enhance the cabin's illumination and mood.
It will include standard GoGo U.S. Avance L3 Max Wi-Fi and optional U.S. Avance L5 Wi-Fi. The aircraft also offers optional Aviator 300 for Wi-Fi and worldwide calling.
The Citation Ascend will have power at every seat. With 19 standard USB charging ports throughout the aircraft, all crew and passengers will enjoy access to at least one charging port, first-in-class wireless phone charging and three standard universal outlets.
As part of the best customer experience, the aircraft will include an advanced acoustic treatment system to ensure a calm and peaceful flight, as found in the Citation Latitude. With sound levels similar to that of driving a car down the highway, passengers can engage in conversations, work or relax in an environment free of distractions. Customers will arrive focused, centred and poised for what's next in the Citation Ascend.
The aircraft also will include more standard equipment to support troubleshooting, such as an electronic engine chip detector, Pratt and Whitney's FAST box for full flight data acquisition, storage and transmission, LinxUs and LinxUs Air for in-flight diagnostics transmission, and Textron Aviation's aircraft recording system, tracking over 9,000 parameters during operations to support troubleshooting and trend monitoring .
Customers will enjoy a trifecta of superior warranties on the engine, paint and interior for elevated peace of mind, including five-year or 3,000-hour engine warranty, and two-year paint and interior warranties.
And there are design improvements based on two decades of feedback from customers in the field, like a new wingtip for cleaner lines and edges, all LED lighting and a pylon work light over the baggage area for easier loading at night. In addition, a new larger cockpit side window creates a modern ramp appeal.
Like all Cessna and Beechcraft turbine products, the Citation Ascend will be able to run on sustainable aviation fuel (SAF). Customers will have the option to take delivery of their aircraft with SAF and can refuel using SAF wherever available, including at the company's Wichita service centre.
The company is committed to conscious manufacturing and features sustainably sourced interior materials in the aircraft. Textron Aviation also utilises a robust recycling programme and industrial wastewater pretreatment plants. According to the company's energy supplier, Textron Aviation used 100 percent renewable wind electricity to power all of its Kansas-based facilities in 2022.
With more than 1,000 560XLs delivered throughout the past 25 years, fractional owners and charter operators consistently choose the Cessna Citation 560XL series for its unparalleled combination of performance, comfort, ease of operation, range of mission capabilities and favourable operating efficiencies. The company plans to amend the 560XL type certification of the aircraft, so that pilots can transition to the Ascend through a simple approved differences course, making training easier and more cost-effective for customers.
“Our talented team members at Textron Aviation have proven their ability to bring new industry-leading products to the market time and time again,” says O'Bannion. “We look forward to exceeding our customers' expectations again with the new Cessna Citation Ascend.”