Since its arrival to the business jet world in 1996, the Citation X has held the title of The Worlds Fastest Business Jet. With the capability to fly .92 Mach and achieve a range of approximately 2500nm at max payload, it quickly became a charter customer’s favorite “super mid-sized” aircraft. The X, like most business jets, held its value in terms of normal “industry standard” price depreciation into the early 2000’s. That changed for the worse when Cessna rolled out the Sovereign in 2004. From a cabin prospective, the Sovereign is a slower version of the X. From an operational perspective, the Sovereign has better runway performance, a newer avionics suite and lower hourly operating costs which proved to be very attractive to new buyers and early X owners. This caused an increase in pre-owned X’s on the market and the obvious decrease in prices. This steady decline increased after the 2008 global meltdown bringing prices to their current all-time lows. In my opinion, this presents a great buying opportunity for an aircraft with excellent operational capability and outstanding product support.
Winglet Technology and Cessna teamed to develop the winglets for the X. What did the addition of winglets do for the X? Let’s start with the easy part. Winglets make the X sexy as hell. They give the X a ramp presence that it always lacked next to Gulfstreams. The X always “looked” fast. A X with winglets looks “really fast”!
Operationally, winglets provide superior aerodynamic performance across a broad range of mach numbers and operating conditions. The shape reduces induced drag by optimizing lift across the span of the wing. The reduction in drag enhances numerous operational characteristics such as:
Increased speed at higher altitudes- up to 12kts at ISA and 20kts at ISA +10°C temperatures
Improved hot day/ high altitude takeoff performance
Higher initial flight levels- direct to FL430 @MTOW and ISA +10°C temperatures
Increased range capability- up to 220nm for 4 PAX NBAA IFR reserves and ISA temps
Reduced fuel consumption- up to 6% for high speed cruise flight profiles
Reduced operating costs due the reduction in technical stops because of the increased range
Finally, the most important benefit is the enhanced resale value. The addition of winglets bumps the X into a performance market that has little competition at its current price levels. Currently, early model X’s with average total times are on the market for $5.5-6.5 million. These aircraft are all on Rolls Royce Corp Care or JSSI coverage for the engines and some are on Proparts giving the operator the ability to budget his hourly costs easily and effectively. The winglets cost approx. $590K installed and can be done at Cessna Owned Service Centers bringing your total capital acquisition costs to $6.1-7.1 million. You will not find another aircraft on the market at those prices that can match the X (with winglets) operational capabilities and hourly cost. Don’t even get me started on the ramp presence!
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