The popularity of the Cessna Citation 500 and Citation I pioneered the success of the world’s largest family of corporate jets. The company was the first among the three American aircraft giants to produce jet-powered transport. By the year 1968, Cessna had announced that they were developing an aircraft which will be capable of taxiing in short runways. The original prototype that they had come up with was the FanJet 500. It had its maiden flight on September 15,1969. This was powered by a pair of Pratt and Whitney JT15D turbofans found on each side of of the aft fuselage.
Developments were made over the years, and soon enough, this was redubbed as the Citation family of jets. Among the improvements made for this aircraft were having a longer nose, an increased tail area, a longer wingspan, a higher maximum gross weight, and added thrust reversers which allowed for flight in shorter landing fields. The Citation I was originally called the Citation 500. This was the first light corporate jet to be powered by turbofan engines.
Like the other aircrafts produced by competition, the Citation jets needed a crew of two people. However, the main idea for the Citation planes was that it should be marketed against twin turboprops, which were planes flown by only a single pilot. As a result, this had restricted the target market to which the aircraft was built for.
Cessna’s answer to this need was the Model 501 or the Citation I/SP, where SP stands for “single pilot.” It was the single-pilot version of the turbofan powered business jets. The planes were first introduced in the market during 1977, and were known for its ability to run at short airfields, run at modest speeds, all at low costs. 312 planes were produced, and production finally ceased by 1985. The final model had utilized the JT15D-1B engine variant of the Pratt & Whitney engines.
The Citation I/SP’s single-pilot configuration allowed for an extra passenger in the flight. This plane, however described as having a “tight cabin,” was able to fit six passengers. It has a full-width lavatory, and a small galley. In terms of design, it is a short-to-medium range aircraft, with twin turbofans, and can be described as a low-wing monoplane.
The Cessna Citation jets offered quality performance at a reasonable cost. It was able to operate in short landing fields which were accessible only by turboprop and piston planes, but was cost-efficient in terms of fuel, and traveled at modest speeds. This has proven indeed that Cessna is indeed one of the giants in the production of aircrafts such as these.