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Cessna Citation Mustang

A focus on the pre-owned Entry-Level jets. by Michael Chase

In this month’s Aircraft Comparative Analysis- we will compare information on a selection of pre-owned business jets in the $1.7-3.6m range for the purpose of valuing the pre-owned Cessna Citation Mustang that has been in production from 2006.

We’ll consider the usual productivity parameters - payload/range- speed and cabin size- and cover current and future market values. The field in this study includes the Eclipse 500 and Embraer’s Phenom 100.

The Citation Mustang (Model 510) first flew on April 18- 2005- achieving FAA Type Certification by September 8- 2006 to become one of eight new Cessna Citation models introduced into the marketplace in the past five years.

Offering four passenger seats in the aft cabin- and seating for two in the cockpit the Mustang also comes equipped with a lavatory It is approved for single-pilot operation- day/night operations- Visual and Instrument Flight Rules (VFR/IFR) including RVSM- and is certified under 14 CFR Part 23 commuter category regulations for a higher level of safety. The Mustang can operate at a certified ceiling of 41-000 feet and has a short landing distance with four passengers at 2-126 feet.

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW615F engines- the Citation Mustang utilizes the Garmin G1000 avionics system.

Production of one of our comparative field the Eclipse 500 - was halted in mid-2008 due to lack of funding. Eclipse Aviation then filed for bankruptcy- and closed its doors. Since then- Eclipse has come under new ownership during 2009 with a long-term goal to renew production currently targeted for the first half of 2011. In the meantime- as suggested by Chart A (left)- the Citation Mustang will likely take over the largest segment of the market for now. It’s still at this time marginally held by the Eclipse 500 by just 4%.

The data contained in Table A (left) is published in the B&CA- May 2009 issue- but is also sourced from Conklin & de Decker. As mentioned in past articles- a potential operator should focus on payload capability as a key factor. The Mustang’s ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’ at 600 lbs compares to 580 lbs for the Phenom 100- and 502 lbs for the Eclipse 500.

According to Conklin & de Decker- the cabin volume of the Citation Mustang at 144 cubic feet is the smallest compared to the Eclipse 500 (160 cubic feet) and the Phenom 100 (208 cubic feet)- as shown in Chart B (bottom left).

As mentioned previously- the Citation Mustang is powered by a pair of Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F engines each offering 1-460 lbst. Both of the competitor aircraft are also powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada engines. The PW617F-E powerplants utilized by the Phenom 100 each offer 1-695 lbst- while the Eclipse 500’s two PW610Fs each offer 900 lbst.

Using data published in the May 2009 B&CA Planning and Purchasing Handbook and the August 2009 B&CA Operations Planning Guide we will compare our aircraft: The US-wide average Jet-A fuel cost published in the August 2009 edition was $4.25 per gallon at press time- so for the sake of comparison we’ll chart the numbers as published.

Chart C (top right)- which details ‘Cost per Mile’- compares the Mustang to its competition factoring direct costs and with all aircraft flying a 1-000 nm mission with an 800 pound (four passengers) payload. The Mustang at $2.01 cost per mile is less than the Phenom 100 at $2.06 but greater than the Eclipse 500 at $1.69.

The ‘Total Variable Cost’- illustrated in Chart D (middle right)- is defined as the cost of Fuel Expense- Maintenance Labor Expense- Scheduled Parts Expense- and Miscellaneous trip expense. The total variable cost for the Mustang at $606 is less than either the Eclipse 500 or the Phenom 100.

The points in Chart E (bottom right) center on the same aircraft. Pricing used in the vertical axis is as published in the B&CA August 2009 Operations Planning Guide 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. The examples plotted are confined to the aircraft in this study. 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 Mustang as shown in the productivity index Chart E- is productive within its comparative field.

Among the highlights in a direct comparison- the Cessna Mustang: offers a greater ‘Available payload with Maximum Fuel’- has a lower variable cost and has the shortest landing distance.

Table B (overleaf) contains the average retail prices from Vref for each aircraft with the latest model produced with the price year in parentheses.

The average speed- cabin volume and maximum payload values are from Conklin and de Decker and B&CA Magazine. The number of aircraft in-operation- percentage ‘For Sale’- and the number ‘Sold’ over the past 12 months are from JETNET as of the end of September 2009.

The major based-at locations for the Mustang fleet is unsurprisingly in the United States- where 55% of the fleet (131 of a total 238) resides- as shown in Table C (overleaf). 60 are based in Europe- and 25 in South America.

Within the preceding paragraphs we have touched upon several of the attributes that business aircraft operators value. There are- of course- other qualities such as airport performance- terminal area performance- timeto- climb performance- and maximum transition altitude levels that might factor in a buying decision- too.

The Cessna Citation Mustang fares well among its competition- so those operators in the market should find the preceding comparison of value. Our expectations are that the Mustang will 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- TX 75077; Tel: 214-226-9882; Web: www.mdchase.aero

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