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In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we’ll provide information on a selection of Pre-Owned business jets in the $2.0-3.7m price range for the purpose of valuing the pre-owned Cessna Citation Encore. We’ll consider the productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size- and cover current market values. This field of study includes the Hawker 400XP and Learjet 31A/ER.

The Citation brand of business jets encompasses several distinct ‘families’ of aircraft- and the Citation V (Model 560) was the basis for one of these. The Model 560 family includes the Citation V (1989 to 1994)- the Citation Ultra (1994 to 1999)- the Citation Encore (1999 to 2006)- and the Citation Encore+ (2007 to present).

As stated- our featured aircraft is the Citation Encore (Model 560)- which is essentially an upgrade from the Citation Ultra (whereas the Ultra utilized two Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-5D engines- the Encore uses a pair of PW535As- and offers an improved trailing-link landing gear- more fuel payload- updated interior and improved systems). This aircraft is RVSM ready from the factory. (For reference- the Citation Encore+ that has been in production since 2007 incorporates FADEC and redesigned avionics over the Encore).

The data contained in Table A is published in the B&CA- May 2010 issue- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. Potential operators should focus on payload capability: here- the Citation Encore ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 905 pounds is greater than the Hawker 400XP- but half that of the Learjet 31A/ER at 2-000 pounds.

According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the Citation Encore- at 307 cubic feet is almost the same as the Hawker 400XP at 305 cubic feet - both being greater than the Learjet 31A/ER at 261cuft- see Chart A.

As mentioned previously- the Cessna Encore aircraft has two PW535A engines offering 3-400 pounds of thrust each. The Hawker 400XP aircraft has two JT15D-5R engines offering 2-965 pounds of thrust each and the Learjet 31A/ER aircraft has a pair of Honeywell TFE731-2 engines offering 3-500 pounds of thrust each.

Using data published in the May 2010 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2009 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our aircraft. Jet A fuel cost used from our source publications was $4.25 per gallon at press time for those issues- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

Chart B which details ‘Cost per Mile’- compares the Cessna Encore to its competition factoring direct costs and with all aircraft flying a 1-000nm mission with an 800 pound (four passengers) payload. The Cessna Encore shows a cost per mile comparison at $3.16 per nautical mile- which is less expensive to operate than the Learjet 31A/ER at $3.74. However- when compared to the Hawker 400XP at $2.68- the Cessna Encore is more expensive to operate.

The ‘Total Variable Cost’ illustrated in Chart C- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense- and Miscellaneous trip expense. The total variable cost for the Citation Encore at $1-248 per hour is more expensive to operate than the Hawker 400XP at $1-116 but less expensive than the Learjet 31A/ER at $1-602 per hour.

The points in Chart D center on the same group of aircraft: Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA 2010 Purchase Planning Handbook and Vref. The productivity index requires further discussion in that the factors used can be somewhat arbitrary.

Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors.

1. Range with full payload and available fuel;
2. The long range cruise speed flown to achieve that range;
3. The cabin volume available for passengers and amenities.

The result is a very large number so for the purpose of charting- each result is divided by one billion. A computed curve fit on this plot would not be very tight- but when all business jet aircraft are considered the “r” squared factor would equal a number above 0.9. Others may choose different parameters- but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size.

After consideration of the Price- Range- Speed and Cabin Size- we can conclude that the Citation Encore as shown in the productivity index Chart D is very competitive with the other aircraft in the field of study. The entire Cessna Model 560 family of aircraft are illustrated on the chart showing the index improvement from the Citation V- the Ultra- the Encore right through to today’s in-production Encore+.

Table B contains the retail prices from the May 2010 Vref edition for each aircraft. The prices shown are for the last year of manufacture. The number of aircraft in-operation- percentage “For Sale” and the average number “Sold” over the past 12 months are from JETNET. As shown in the table- the Citation Encore has the lowest percentage of the in-operation fleet “For Sale” at 8.4% (seller’s market). From April 2009-April 2010- the Citation Encore averaged 1.4 sales per month.

The majority of the Citation Encore aircraft in operation by continent are located in North America (86%)- followed by Europe at 9%- as shown Chart E. These two continents account for 95% of the Citation Encore aircraft in operation around the world today.

Finally- the airport performance of the comparative field is illustrated in Table C- and we can see the Citation Encore has the shortest airport landing length of all the aircraft in this field of study.

Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are other qualities such as terminal area performance- and time to climb performance that might factor in a buying decision- too- however.

All-in-all- the Citation Encore fares well against its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Citation Encore aircraft- which started delivering in 1999- will continue to do very well in the pre-owned market.

For more information: Michael Chase is president of Chase & Associates- and can be contacted at 1628 Snowmass Place- Lewisville- TX75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.com

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