Textron Aviation recently announced the newest Cessna Citation business jet in the legendary 560XL series — the Cessna Citation Ascend. Unveiled on the eve of this week’s European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition (EBACE), the Citation Ascend is designed to bring an entirely new cockpit, improved performance and a more luxurious cabin to the mid-size business jet market. Attendees will enjoy access to a new Citation Ascend mock-up debut during the show. Currently under development, the aircraft is expected to enter into service in 2025.
“Of the Citation family, there’s none more flown than the Citation 560XL series. With a 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,” said Ron Draper, president and CEO, of 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.”
Whether flying for charter services, personal transportation or corporate flight departments, the Ascend is designed to lead the market in performance and cabin experience.
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
Second Iridium data radio and CPDLC to support customers with more direct routing between North America and Europe (optional)
The Citation Ascend will give operators versatility and flexibility to accomplish any mission, now and in the future. Customers will also enjoy many of the luxuries found in the bestselling Citation Latitude and flagship Citation Longitude. This is made easier with a common Garmin cockpit, an important feature for customers who operate multiple Citations.
The Citation Ascend will offer Pratt & Whitney Canada PW545D engines designed to deliver better fuel efficiency, increased thrust and longer time-on-wing. The engines 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 a reduced pilot workload.
Preliminary performance targets indicate:
A four-passenger range of 1,900 nm at high-speed cruise power (with an estimated maximum range of 2,100 nm)
Cruise at 441 kts
And the ability to climb directly to 45,000 ft
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, customers will enjoy trips such as London City, UK, to Athens, Greece; Helsinki, Finland, to Porto, Portugal; or La Mole, France, to Prague, Czech Republic.
“The Cessna Citation Ascend builds upon more than 20 years of the 560XL series success in the market,” said Lannie O’Bannion, senior vice president, of Global Sales and Flight Operations. “It’s designed to outperform and take our customers further in style.”
The Citation Ascend will 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.
As customers walk up to the Citation Ascend, they will appreciate its sleek design and modern features. The company worked with a Customer Advisory Board of owners, pilots, mechanics and passengers throughout the design process to better understand what they seek in the ultimate aircraft experience.
With a fully customizable 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,” said 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 optimized 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% 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.
To keep customers connected at all times, the Citation Ascend 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 Citation Ascend will offer all the best features of the 560XL series, and elevate the experience for both pilots and passengers,” Tannahill added. “We designed the aircraft based on customer feedback and there’s nothing else like it.”
The Citation Ascend is designed to improve upon the 560XL series' best-in-class maintenance intervals. Textron Aviation expects the aircraft to offer the following for customers enrolled in the company’s PowerAdvantage program:
18-month or 800-hour airframe maintenance intervals
6,000 hours between engine overhauls
3,000 hours hot section inspection
The aircraft also will include more standard equipment to support troubleshooting, such as:
Pratt & Whitney’s FAST™ box for full flight data acquisition, storage and transmission
LinxUs and LinxUs Air for in-flight diagnostics transmission
Textron Aviation’s Aircraft Recording System tracks 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
Two-year paint and interior warranties
Finally, the aircraft will include 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.
The Citation Ascend will give customers more of what they need to keep their aircraft operations running smoothly and efficiently.
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 Center.
The company is committed to conscious manufacturing and features sustainably sourced interior materials in the aircraft. Textron Aviation also utilizes a robust recycling program and industrial wastewater pretreatment plants. According to the company’s energy supplier, Textron Aviation used 100% 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,” said O’Bannion. “We look forward to exceeding our customers’ expectations again with the new Cessna Citation Ascend.”
The company is already seeing strong aircraft demand and is taking orders for the Ascend. EBACE attendees can preview the Citation Ascend interior mock-up at Textron Aviation booth T-26 during the show.