Textron Celebrates 50 Years Since Citation’s Inaugural Flight

More than 7,500 Citations have been built to date.

the first cessna citation jet
The original jet was known as the Fanjet 500.Textron Aviation

There will always be a soft spot in my heart whenever I see an ancient Cessna Citation sitting unnoticed by most on an FBO ramp. The CE-500 was the first type rating I ever added to my ATP certificate a few decades ago. While the cockpit, indeed the entire aircraft, appear rather ancient by today's standards, that Citation II I flew for a charter company was built like and acted much like a Chevy Suburban does on land. There seemed to be little that could or did go wrong with the aircraft and it always brought everyone home safely. ATC often referred to the airplane as a "slowtation," because of its 340-knot flight-planned speed. A good day found us cruising at FL350. Attempt to climb to altitudes much higher, and the Citation quickly ran out of steam. But it was still a jet.

Textron Aviation and people around the world who remember the Citation 500's first flight on September 15, 1969, last week celebrated 50 years of Citation history. The new jet back then, originally known as the Fanjet 500, was launched by Cessna in October 1968 based on its experience creating the T-37 "Tweet" line of military jet trainers for the U.S. Air Force. The Citation series has flown more than 35 million flight hours spread amongst more than 7,500 airframes.

Ron Draper, Textron Aviation's CEO said, "The same vision that led to the creation of the original Citation 50 years ago still guides us today." The current Citation business jet family consists of seven models with seating from 7 to 12 passengers. The Cessna Citation M2 has been transformed for 21st century operations, while the Citation CJ3+ and Citation CJ4 share the Model 500 design heritage.

Textron Aviation's midsize business jet family includes the Citation XLS+, the Citation Sovereign+ and Citation Latitude, which is the industry's most delivered model in the category three years in a row. All offer transcontinental range, enhanced technology in the cabin and cockpit and superior performance.

Textron Aviation's newest aircraft, the Citation Longitude, is designed to elevate passenger expectations in the super-midsize class by delivering the quietest cabin, a lower cabin altitude (5,950 feet/1,814 meters), more standard features and a comfortable, bespoke interior. With seating for up to 12 passengers, including an optional crew jump seat, the Longitude features a stand-up, 6-foot tall flat-floor cabin with amenities that maximize in-flight productivity.