The Cessna Citation II, also known as the Model 550, is a prominent figure in the world of private jets. First introduced in the late 1970s, this aircraft quickly gained popularity for its reliability, efficiency, and versatility. Whether you’re a seasoned aviator or a first-time buyer looking to invest in a private jet, understanding the features, performance, and history of the Citation II can provide valuable insights. This blog delves into everything you need to know about this iconic jet, from its specifications and performance to its cabin amenities and maintenance considerations.

History and Development

The Cessna Citation II was developed as an upgraded version of the Citation I, aimed at addressing the growing demand for a more capable and spacious private jet. The aircraft made its first flight on January 31, 1977, and entered service in 1978. It was designed to offer improved performance, greater range, and enhanced passenger comfort compared to its predecessor.

The Citation II was part of Cessna’s broader strategy to dominate the light jet market. Over the years, it underwent various upgrades and modifications, including the introduction of the Citation Bravo, which featured updated avionics and more efficient engines. The Citation II remained in production until 2006, with over 700 units delivered, making it one of the most successful models in Cessna’s history.

Specifications and Performance

Airframe and Design

The Citation II features a straight-wing design with a T-tail configuration, typical of many Cessna jets. Its airframe is primarily constructed from lightweight aluminum alloys, providing a balance of strength and weight efficiency. The aircraft has a length of 47 feet 3 inches, a wingspan of 51 feet 8 inches, and a height of 15 feet.


The Citation II is powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-4 engines, each producing 2,500 pounds of thrust. These engines are renowned for their reliability and fuel efficiency, contributing to the aircraft’s operational cost-effectiveness. The Citation II has a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of 14,100 pounds and a maximum range of approximately 1,998 nautical miles, making it suitable for short to mid-range flights.


The Citation II boasts impressive performance characteristics for a light jet. It has a maximum cruising speed of 403 knots (464 mph) and a service ceiling of 43,000 feet. The aircraft’s fuel capacity allows for non-stop flights between cities such as New York and Miami or Los Angeles and Denver, offering significant flexibility for business and leisure travel.

The jet’s takeoff distance is around 3,300 feet, and its landing distance is approximately 2,200 feet, enabling it to operate from smaller airports with shorter runways. This capability provides access to a broader range of destinations compared to larger jets.

Cabin and Comfort

The Citation II’s cabin is designed to provide a comfortable and productive environment for passengers. It typically accommodates up to eight passengers in a standard configuration, with seating arrangements that can include a combination of club seating, forward-facing seats, and a side-facing divan.

Cabin Dimensions

The cabin measures 16 feet 8 inches in length, 4 feet 8 inches in width, and 4 feet 9 inches in height. While not as spacious as some larger jets, the Citation II’s cabin is well-appointed and optimized for comfort during flights of up to three hours.


Passengers can enjoy a range of amenities designed to enhance their in-flight experience. The Citation II features a private lavatory, a refreshment center, and ample storage for carry-on luggage. Some models are equipped with entertainment systems and Wi-Fi connectivity, providing additional convenience and productivity options.

The cabin’s pressurization system maintains a comfortable cabin altitude, even at higher cruising altitudes, reducing passenger fatigue on longer flights. The aircraft’s soundproofing measures ensure a quiet cabin environment, allowing for conversation and relaxation.

Avionics and Technology

The Citation II’s avionics suite has evolved over the years, with many aircraft being retrofitted with modern systems to enhance safety and operational efficiency. Early models were equipped with basic analog instruments, while later versions featured more advanced digital avionics.

Modern Avionics Upgrades

Common upgrades for the Citation II include the installation of GPS navigation systems, weather radar, and traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS). Many operators also opt for glass cockpit displays, such as the Garmin G600 or G1000, which provide pilots with enhanced situational awareness and flight management capabilities.

Autopilot and Flight Management

The Citation II is typically equipped with a dual-channel autopilot system, which assists pilots with maintaining altitude, heading, and speed during various phases of flight. The aircraft’s flight management system (FMS) allows for efficient route planning and navigation, further enhancing the safety and efficiency of operations.

Maintenance and Operating Costs

One of the key advantages of the Citation II is its relatively low operating costs compared to larger jets. The aircraft’s efficient engines and straightforward design contribute to reduced fuel consumption and maintenance expenses.

Maintenance Considerations

Regular maintenance is crucial to ensuring the Citation II’s reliability and safety. The aircraft is subject to routine inspections and overhauls, including checks on the airframe, engines, avionics, and other critical systems. Operators often work with certified maintenance facilities to perform these tasks, ensuring compliance with regulatory requirements and manufacturer guidelines.

Operating Costs

The Citation II’s operating costs can vary depending on factors such as fuel prices, maintenance schedules, and usage patterns. On average, the hourly operating cost is estimated to be between $2,000 and $2,500, which includes fuel, maintenance, crew salaries, and other expenses. These costs are generally lower than those associated with larger, more complex jets.

Market Value and Resale

The Citation II has maintained strong market value over the years, thanks to its reputation for reliability and efficiency. The aircraft’s resale value is influenced by factors such as age, total flight hours, maintenance history, and the presence of modern avionics upgrades.

Buying and Selling

Prospective buyers should conduct thorough due diligence when purchasing a Citation II, including reviewing maintenance records, conducting pre-purchase inspections, and evaluating the aircraft’s overall condition. Working with experienced brokers and consultants can help navigate the complexities of the acquisition process.

For sellers, maintaining comprehensive and up-to-date maintenance records can significantly enhance the aircraft’s resale value. Investing in modern avionics upgrades and interior refurbishments can also make the aircraft more attractive to potential buyers.


The Cessna Citation II remains a popular choice among private jet owners and operators, thanks to its blend of performance, comfort, and cost-effectiveness. Whether used for business travel, personal flights, or charter operations, the Citation II offers a reliable and versatile solution for a wide range of aviation needs. By understanding the aircraft’s specifications, features, and maintenance considerations, prospective buyers and operators can make informed decisions and maximize the value of their investment.

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