The highly popular Cessna 500 Citation and 500 Citation I pioneered the entry level light business jet market, and their success formed the basis for the world's largest family of corporate jets.
Cessna became the first of the big three American manufacturers (Piper, Beech and Cessna) to develop a jet powered transport. In October 1968 Cessna announced its plans to build a new eight place jet powered business aircraft that would be capable of operating into airfields already served by light and medium twins. Dubbed the Fanjet 500, the prototype flew for the first time on September 15 1969. Soon after the new little jet was named the Citation.
A relatively long development program followed, during which time a number of key changes were made to the design including a longer forward fuselage, repositioned engine nacelles, greater tail area and added dihedral to the horizontal tail. In this definitive form the Citation was granted FAA certification on September 9 1971.
Improvements including higher gross weights and thrust reversers were added to the line in early 1976, followed shortly after by the introduction of the enhanced Citation I later that same year. Features of the Citation I were higher weights, JT15D-1A engines and an increased span wing. A further model to appear was the 501 Citation I/SP, which is certificated for single pilot operation. The I/SP was delivered in early 1977.
Production of the Citation I ceased in 1985, its place in the Citation line left vacant until the arrival of the CitationJet (described separately) some years later.
Direct developments of the Citation were the Citation II (now Citation Bravo) and Citation V (now Citation Ultra Encore).
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