Cessna Citation III

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Citation III / VI / VII
Cessna 650 Citation III, Wheels Aviation AN1469360.jpg
Role Business Jet
National origin United States
Manufacturer Cessna
First flight May 30, 1979 (III)
Introduction 1983 (III)
Produced 1983-2000
Number built 360: 202 III, 39 VI[1], 119 VII[2]
Program cost $240 million (1983)[3]
Unit cost
III: $8.1M, VI: $6.7M, VII: $9.75M (1990)[4]
Developed into Citation X

The Cessna Citation III (Model 650) is an American business jet with 2,350 nmi (4,350 km) of range produced by Cessna and part of the Citation Family Announced at the October 1976 NBAA convention, it made its maiden flight on May 30, 1979, received its type certification on April 30, 1982 and was delivered between 1983 and 1992. The cheaper Citation VI was produced from 1991 to 1995 and the more powerful Citation VII was offered between 1992 and 2000, 360 of all variants were delivered. An all new design, it had a 312 sq ft (29 m²) swept wing for a 22,000 lb (10 t) MTOW, a T-tail and two 3,650–4,080 lbf (16.2–18.1 kN) TFE731 turbofans. Its fuselage cross section and cockpit were kept in the later Citation X, Citation Excel and Citation Sovereign.

Design and development[edit]

Viewed from below, showing wing sweep
The 650 has a T-tail and two turbofans

In 1974, Cessna studied a long range model 700 stretch of its original Citation I powered by three JT15Ds called Citation III, with a 17,500lb gross weight, a 8,000lb empty weight and a 7,500lb fuel capacity leaving 2,000lb for the occupants, and targeting 1978 deliveries.[5] This would have gave it a transcontinental range.[6]

Cessna announced the 10 to 15 passengers, $2.5 million Citation III at the Fall 1976 NBAA convention.[7] Scheduled for 1980, the model then presented had a cruciform tail and a cockpit similar to previous Citations. As the proposed three-engined Models 600 and 700 timing was inadequate, it would be powered by two TFE731 and would be lifted by a supercritical 35° swept wing. Its maximum cruise was targeted for 470kn, the long-range version had a 19,300lb gross weight and would cover 3,000 nmi. The programme was to cost up to $50 million to launch.[8]

In 1978, it had a specific cockpit and a T-tail, the wing had an area of 312ft² (29m²) and an aspect ratio of 8.94, the ER version targeted a MTOW of 18,300lb (8,301kg) and an empty weight of 9,400lb (4,264kg).[9] Assembly of the first production aircraft began in January 1979 and the first prototype made its maiden flight in May.[10]

The second prototype first flew in April 1980. By July, certification was put back by six months and first deliveries were scheduled 11 months later than originally planned. $40 million were spent on R&D and $25 million for certification, for a total spending of $150 million by first delivery including tooling.[11] By October, the two prototypes had logged 400 hours in 372 flights and FAR-25 certification was expected in April 1982 with first deliveries in October. The initial late 1982 production rate of one per month should grow to seven per month by 1985.[12]

The FAA approved its type certificate on April 30, 1982.[13] The aircraft is flown by a crew of two and it can seat up to 13 passengers but a typical corporate interior will seat six to eight passengers.[10]

It was developed in seven years for $240 million. The first production model, owned by golfer Arnold Palmer, set time to altitude aircraft records of 12mn 1s to 12,000m (39,350ft), and 23mn 43s to 15,000m (49,200ft), and an airspeed record from Gander Airport to Paris le Bourget in 5h 13mn, averaging 429kt.[3] Production continued for nine years until 1992, with a total of 202 Citation IIIs being built.[1]


Citation IV: cancelled stretch[edit]

In 1988 Cessna studied a 4 ft (1.2 m) stretch, longer range Citation IV to better compete with the BAe 125 with new engines, either Garretts or Pratt & Whitney PW300s. At the time, the 473kt, 2,385 nmi range Citation III was selling for $6.125 million.[14] Cessna launched the $8.8 million Citation IV at the October 1989 NBAA convention in Atlanta. It was expected to fly in early 1992, to be certified at the end of the year and to enter service in mid-1993. Powered by Garrett TFE731-4s, wingspan increased by 10% to 58.7 ft (17.9 m) and wing area was up almost a quarter. Fuel capacity increased from 7,330 to 8,700 lb (3.32 to 3.95 t), max takeoff weight attained 24,000 lb (10.9 t) and the cabin was 38 in (97 cm) longer. Performance was increased and it had a 2,710 nmi (5,020 km) transcontinental range.[15] In 1990, Cessna cancelled the bigger, longer range and more expensive Citation IV to offer the cheaper VI and more capable VIII.[4]

Citation VI: lower cost[edit]

For $1.4 million less than the $8.1 million III, the Citation VI has a standard interior and was to be delivered from April 1991.[4] It first flew in 1991 and 39 were built before it was discontinued in May 1995.[1]

Citation VII: upgrade[edit]

For $1.65 million more than the III, the Citation VII has more powerful engines to improve the payload-range and hot and high performance.[4] It first flew in February 1991 and was certificated in January 1992.[1] In 1996 Executive Jet Aviation ordered 20 for its Netjets fractional ownership programme. After the launch of the $12 million Citation Sovereign due for certification in the third quarter of 2003 and first delivery for the first quarter of 2004, the final Citation 650 was set to roll off the assembly line on 15 September 2000,[16] 119 were built.[2]


Spanish Navy Citation VII, doors open

Military operators[edit]


Specifications (III/VI)[edit]

A TFE731-4R of a Citation VII

Data from Frawley[1]

General characteristics

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 6-9 Passengers
  • Length: 55 ft 5 in (16.90 m)
  • Wingspan: 53 ft 6 in (16.31 m)
  • Height: 16 ft 10 in (5.12 m)
  • Wing area: 312 sq ft (29.0 m2)
  • Aspect ratio: 9.17
  • Empty weight: 11,810 lb (5,357 kg) operating empty: 12,200lb (5534kg), VII: 11,720lb (5316kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 22,002 lb (9,980 kg) VII: 22,450lb (10,183kg)
  • Powerplant: 2 × Garrett TFE731-3B Turbofans, 3,650 lbf (16.2 kN) thrust each VII: 4080lbf (18.2kN) TFE731-4R


  • Maximum speed: Mach MMo Mach .851 (491 kn; 909 km/h)[13]
  • Cruise speed: 472 kn; 543 mph (874 km/h) max, VII: 476kn (881km/h)
  • Range: 2,348 nmi; 2,702 mi (4,348 km) 2 crew and 4 pax, VII: 2220nmi (4110km) with 6 pax
  • Service ceiling: 51,000[13] ft (16,000 m)
  • Rate of climb: 3,805 ft/min (19.33 m/s) initially, VII: 4,442 ft/min (22.57 m/s)

See also[edit]

Related development

Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era


  1. ^ a b c d e Gerard Frawley. "Cessna Citation III, VI & VII". The International Directory of Civil Aircraft – via Airliners.net.
  2. ^ a b "Cessna 650 Citation VII specs". Aviation Safety Network. 23 July 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Citation III enters service - Flight test". Flight International. 18 June 1983.
  4. ^ a b c d "Corporate aircraft buyers'guide". Flight International. 21 Nov 1990.
  5. ^ "Third engine for citation". Flight International. 14 Nov 1974.
  6. ^ "Cessna looks ahead". Flight International. 5 Dec 1974.
  7. ^ "NBAA Convention News looks back". AIN online. October 5, 2001.
  8. ^ "Cessna plans three-stage Citation development". Flight International. 2 Oct 1976.
  9. ^ "Citation III to fly in May". Flight International. 7 Oct 1978.
  10. ^ a b "Citation III: technical description". Flight International. 24 Nov 1979.
  11. ^ "Citation III certification delay explained to customers". Flight International. 26 July 1980.
  12. ^ "Big business at Kansas City". Flight International. 11 Oct 1980.
  13. ^ a b c "Type Certificate No. A9NM" (PDF). FAA. June 16, 2015.
  14. ^ "Citation's new range". Flight International. 8 Oct 1988.
  15. ^ "Cessna steals NBAA limelight". Flight International. 14 October 1989.
  16. ^ "Citation VII assembly comes to an end". Flight International. 19 Sep 2000.
  17. ^ Yanez, Roberto; Rodriguez, Alex (February 2018). "Flotilla de Aeronaves". Air International. Vol. 94 no. 2. pp. 78–83. ISSN 0306-5634.

External links[edit]