Over the last last month or so, I was fortunate enough to fly several legs on a variety of types of private jets. As such, I thought I would do a write up on each type and compare and rank them. The three aircraft discussed in this post are the Cessna Citation X , the Hawker 800 and the Cessna Citation Sovereign. Obviously they were all great rides, and it is always fun to hear the engines spool up, rip down the runway and take-off with a fighter-jet like climb rate, all while looking out the front of the cockpit.
Cessna Citation X
The Citation X is a sexy bitch. There’s no other way to say it. If you like speed, you’ll love this airplane. It’s the fastest private jet in the skies, and will get you within a whisker of the speed of sound. On the first leg in the X, I spoke briefly with our crew. The Captain had flown F-4 Phantom II’s in the Air Force post-Vietnam and then gone on to fly 747 freighters. The Co-Pilot (Who I believe was also technically a Captain) had flown A-6 Intruders for the Navy in Vietnam and then been a 747 Captain for Northwest. Between the two of them they had over 80 years of flight time…I felt we were in pretty good hands. The crew told me on a hop last week, with a favorable tailwind, they had the X up to mach 0.97. It’s a real kick in the pants. There are seats for 2 pilots and 8 passengers in the cabin configuration we rode in. Very comfortable seats, almost enough space in the fuselage for yours truly to stand upright (at 6’4”) and basically anything you could ever want from a jet. Now I haven’t flown in a Gulfstream, a BBJ, or an Saudi’s 747’s or private A380, but for my money, the Citation X is as good as it gets. Absolutely love everything about this airplane.
Another fine airplane. It’s tough and kind of ridiculous to ever complain about flying private, but after the Citation X, the Hawker is definitely a step down. There is seating for 2 pilots and probably about 6 passengers (we only had 4 plus too much luggage). Unlike the Citation X which accommodates nearly all the bags in a luggage hold, a lot of your luggage will be strapped in next to you or on the couch in the back of the Hawker. The height clearance in the cabin is also much lower, which translates to lots of hunching over. Still a fantastic airplane though, and in chatting with the Captain while on our initial descent she couldn’t stop gushing over how much she loves flying the 800.
Cessna Citation Sovereign
We ended up in the Sovereign by accident. A Hawker 800 had been sent for us, but upon arrival some M/X issues grounded it, so they needed to send a replacement plane. While you never like to hear about mechanical issues, who can complain about being upgraded to a larger aircraft? Not me. At first glance, the Sovereign looks a lot like the X. This is of course because they are related and made by the same manufacturer. The main difference you notice is the lack of absurdly large engines strapped to the side of the fuselage. The cabin layout inside the Sovereign is nearly identical to the Citation X, and from the interior you might have a tough time figuring out which model you’re in. However, the Sovereign’s max speed is listed at mach 0.80, while the X is listed at 0.92 (a speed which it often exceeds). It’s certainly a very comfortable way to get around, but it won’t get you there quite as quick as the X, and let’s face it, I just really, really love that airplane.