The all new Cessna Model 650 Citation III was designed as a high performance, mid size long range corporate jet to supplement the much smaller Citation I and II.
Development of this very different Citation began in 1978. As it evolved, the III had little in common with the previous Citation models other than the name. The new design featured a swept supercritical wing optimised for high speed long range flight, new Garrett TFE731 turbofans, a Ttail, and a new fuselage.
The new jet made its first flight on May 30 1979 with a second prototype flying on May 2 1980. Certification was granted on April 30 1982, first customer deliveries occurring the following year. The Citation III set two time to height records for its class in 1983 and a class speed record by flying from Gander to Le Bourget in 5hr 13min.
Production improvements to the Citation III were first proposed in the cancelled Citation IV. This model was announced in 1989 and was to feature longer range through greater fuel tankage, and better short field performance. In its place instead Cessna developed the Citation VI and VII. The Citation VI was offered as a low cost development of the III with a different avionics package and a standard interior layout, with customised interiors unavailable. First flight of the Citation VI took place in 1991 but only 39 were built when production was wound up in May 1995.
The Citation VII meanwhile features a number of improvements including more powerful engines for improved hot and high performance. The first Citation VII prototype flew in February 1991 and the type was certificated in January 1992. The Citation VII remains in production as the only member of the Citation III/VI/VII currently available new build.
A recent significant customer for the Citation VII was Executive Jet Aviation which ordered 20 for its NetJets fractional ownership scheme for delivery from 1997.
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