The Cessna Citation CJ4 and the Nextant 400XT are among the top two newest light jet competitors in the business aviation industry. Each has its own characteristics that make it unique while both jets offer modern amenities that clients expect from manufacturers.
The Cessna Citation CJ4 is a stretched and enhanced version of the CJ3 which offers exceptional performance and payload capacities while maintaining the modern interior comfort that could be found in previous models. It was unveiled in October 2006 and the first flight took place in May 2009.
The Nextant 400XT was certified a few years later, in October 2011. Its design was based on the success of the BeechJet 400A. The manufacturer's mission was to create a new, affordable aircraft and to do it for half the cost of a comparable new light jet.
Interiors of the CJ4 and Nextant 400XT
The cabins of both aircraft are similar in width at 4 feet 10 inches for the Citation CJ4, and 4 feet 11 inches for the Nextant 400XT. Both have an interior height of 4 feet 9 inches but the CJ4 is almost 2 feet longer. The typical seating configuration of the CJ4 includes 6 club seats and a 2-seat side-facing couch in the front of the cabin. The Nextant 400XT has a few seating configurations with the typical format being a 3-seat couch opposite the galley and 4 club seats. A belted lavatory is able to accommodate an 8th passenger. The two aft-facing seats can fold flat, and the forward couch can be extended outward to provide a larger sleeping surface.
The cabin of each aircraft has its own Cabin Management System. The Citation CJ4’s system enables passengers to control the lighting and window shades. The regulation goes from sheer mode, which allows some light, to complete blackout mode. Each seat has an AC power port and HD monitor standard. The passenger entertainment system generally includes Wifi and a HD Blu-Ray player. The dual-zone environmental system allows each set of seats to control its temperature. The Nextant 400XT has similar features including the large HD LCD monitors in each seat, along with a separate cabin temperature and lighting system control. The flat floor design, rarely seen in light jets, is a great addition to the 400XT.
The CJ4 has 77 cubic feet of luggage capacity. It can fit up to 1,200 pounds of luggage or 5 full-size golf bags. The Nextant 400XT falls behind in this category with only 26.4 cubic feet and 788 pounds of payload, but an in cabin closet brings the total volume to 53.2. Both aircraft cabins offer similar luxuries expected by today’s private jet flyers, but the CJ4 is clearly the winner with the longer cabin and greater payload capacity.
Performance of the Citation CJ4 and Nextant 400XT
The aerodynamic and performance features of each aircraft are an important factor in determining the acquisition costs, operating costs, and long-term maintenance of the aircraft. The designers of the CJ4 developed a new wing and engine design, along with a greater sweep of the leading edge wing at 12.5 degrees. This added aerodynamic sweep helps reduce drag at higher speeds, which helps to lower fuel costs due to the lower fuel burn. The Nextant's jet designers implemented 60 engineering changes to the aircraft in comparison to the Beechjet 400A but kept many of the same features that made the Beechjet such a successful aircraft.
Both aircraft are equipped with Williams FJ44-3AP turbofan engines. They are not only 32% more efficient than previous engines but also quieter, more reliable, and more fuel-efficient. Both aircraft can cruise at 45,000 feet and have the same range of just over 2,000 nautical miles. The CJ4 cruises at a maximum speed of 453 knots, while the Nextant 400XT can reach 460 knots. Also, both jets have excellent short-field takeoff and landing capabilities. The CJ4 requires only 2,700 feet for landing and the Nextant 400XT needs below 2,900 feet. Finally, the maximum fuel capacity is 1,200 pounds for the CJ4 and 788 for the Nextant 400XT.
Both aircraft have been successful to each manufacturer and have been enjoyed by customers alike. The Nextant 400XT offers roughly the same performance as the CJ4, but for half the operating cost. From a customer standpoint, the extra luggage payload, larger luggage compartment, and extra 2 feet of cabin length give the CJ4 the edge, despite the lower operating costs associated with the Nextant 400XT.