Cessna Citation X vs. Gulfstream: What You Need to Know

cessna citation x

If you’re in the market for one of the fastest midsize private jets available today, look no further than the Cessna Citation X or the Gulfstream G650. Both are capable of reaching Mach .9, which is just short of breaking the sound barrier.

What is even more impressive is that the first Citation X was released in 1996 and, to this day, still holds the title as the fastest private jet in the midsize cabin category. While these two aircraft don’t compare in terms of size or range, they are equals in terms of speed.

What is a Midsize Jet?

Before comparing the Cessna Citation X vs. Gulfstream, it’s important to understand how these two seemingly different aircraft fall under the same category. By definition, a midsize jet typically offers a range of about four to five flight hours, with a range averaging around 2,800 nautical miles. Some mid-size jets (like the Gulfstream) can handle a coast-to-coast flight without fuel stops, while others (like the Citation X) require a quick fuel stop along the way. Either way, midsize jets are ideal for relaxed coast-to-coast flying.

Midsize jets are ideal for passengers who are planning on longer range travel and require additional luggage space. Compared to lighter jet options, midsize jets typically allow for up to 7 passengers, meaning they’re small enough to be cost efficient but large enough to accommodate a group comfortably.

The average cabin height averages around 5’ 8” with a width of about 5’ 9”. Length typically ranges between 17- to 21-feet.

Cessna Citation X Specs

The first Cessna Citation X made its maiden flight in December of 1993, and was fully released to the market by 1996. The Cessna Citation X iterated on the widely popular Citation 650 series, with some important improvements to speed and pressurization.

What made the Citation X so groundbreaking was that, historically, Citations were known for being slow. Originally built for practicality and solid handling, they built a reputation overtime for being slow aircraft. With the release of the Cessna Citation X, that reputation quickly went by the wayside.

The first Citation X was delivered to pro golfer and longtime Cessna customer, Arnold Palmer, who set a speed record with his Citation X in September of 1997. His Cessna Citation X flew 473 knots on a 5,000 km closed course.

In 2002, the Citation X was iterated on even further with upgrades to increase the thrust by 5%, a 400 lb increase in maximum take-off weight, and improved Honeywell avionics.

General Characteristics of the Cessna Citation X

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 12 passengers
  • Length: 72 ft. 4 in.
  • Wingspan: 63 ft. 7 in.
  • Height: 19 ft. 2 in.
  • Wing Area: 527.0ft²
  • Aspect Ratio: 7.8:1
  • Empty Weight: 21,600 lb.
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 35,700 lb.
  • Power: 2 x Rolls-Royce/Allison AE 3007C or 3007C1 Turbofan

Cessna Citation X Performance Specs

  • Max Speed: Mach .935
  • Cruise: 604 mph at 35,000 ft.
  • Speed: 10,700 m
  • Range: 3,216 nmi
  • Service Ceiling: 51,000 ft.
  • Rate of Climb: 3,650 ft/min
  • Takeoff Distance: 5,140 ft.
  • Landing Distance: 3,400 ft.

Gulfstream G650 Specs

Gulfstream began the G650 program in 2005 and announced it to the public in 2008. When it was announced, it was announced alongside the statement that the new model would become Gulfstream’s largest, fastest, and most expensive business jet on the market—and it was.

The G650 took its maiden flight in November of 2009, and the test flight for a maximum operating speed of Mach 0.925 was completed in May of 2010. By August 2010, the G650 had hit a maximum speed of Mach 0.995 during a dive as part of a 1,800 flight test program.

By December 2012, the first Gulfstream G650 was sold to American entrepreneur, Preston Henn.

General Characteristics of the Gulfstream G650

  • Crew: 2
  • Capacity: 18 passengers
  • Length: 93 ft. 8 in.
  • Wingspan: 99 ft. 7 in.
  • Height: 25 ft. 8 in.
  • Max Takeoff Weight: 99,600 lb.
  • Power: 2 x Rolls-Royce BR 725 A1-12

Gulfstream G650 Performance Specs

  • Max Speed: 516 kts
  • Cruise: 488 kts
  • Range: 6,520 nmi
  • Service Ceiling: 51,000 ft.
  • Rate of Climb: 3,570  ft/min
  • Takeoff Distance: 5,858 ft.
  • Landing Distance: 4,167 ft.

Winner Aviation is Here to Help

At Winner Aviation, we are a Factory Authorized Service Center for Cessna Textron Aviations single engine piston aircraft up through Cessna Caravan 208B. We also have extensive experience inspecting and maintaining Gulfstream aircraft.

If you need help choosing which aircraft may be right for you, we have a pre-purchase inspection checklist that you can follow to help make your decision even easier. Or, if you’re looking for a qualified and experienced MRO to help with your scheduled maintenance events, contact our maintenance team today.

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