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Aircraft Review : Citation CJ4 Proline21 by Netavio


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Aircraft Review : Citation CJ4 Proline21 by Netavio

 

Did you know that the Citation by Cessna is named after a racehorse? Well it is, the first Cessna jet was originally called the FanJet 500, but a 1948 Belmont Stakes races winner, and a horse then went on to becoming the 8th Triple Crown champion was called Citation, and the horse was known as fast, easy to handle and good at running long or short distances on hard or soft surfaces. And so in 1970 the Cessna Chairman Dwane L. Wallace honoured his memory by renaming the FanJet 500 as the Cessna Citation, The Citation Mustang also means that Wallace loves his horses.

 

The Citation family is long and extremely complicated. The lineage started with the small Citation I prototype flying on September 15, 1969, and produced until 1985, developed into the 1978-2006 Citation II/Bravo, the 1989-2011 Citation V/Ultra/Encore and the CitationJet since 1993. The standup Citation III/VI/VII was delivered from 1983 to 2000; its fuselage was reused in the Citation X/X+ delivered from 1996 to 2018, the Sovereign from 2004 to 2021 and the Excel since 1998. The Mustang was a Very Light Jet delivered from 2006 to 2017 while the flat floor fuselage Latitude has been delivered since 2015 and the larger Longitude from 2019. The mind boggles on how to keep track of all the variants...  This aircraft is part of the CitationJet/CJ/M2 series that was developed from the Citation ll, launched in October 1989, the Model 525 first flight was on April 29, the CJ4 is the most modern of that series and officially known as the Model 525C.

 

The CJ4 is a stretch that was launched at the October 2006 NBAA conference. Its wing design comes from the moderately swept wing of the Citation Sovereign, Its cabin is 21 inches longer than the CJ3 and can seat up to nine people plus one in the cockpit (10).

 

This is the first release on the X-Plane simulator of an aircraft by Netavio. We will however set up the expectations here early. The CJ4 project was created and focused on not the X-Plane simulator per se, but as a learning and training tool for Citation pilots, so the focus here is on the systems (Proline 21) and the flying characteristics of the aircraft, it is a simulator for a certain commercial use, but giving us (X-Plane) the chance to also access the aircraft. This Citation is not the first of the series available for X-Plane, as that is the Carenado Cessna Citation ll S550, of which I really liked a lot, but this CJ4 is a far more modern interpretation of the Citation Series.

 

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First impression was that the CJ4 looked bland. But look closer and the detailing is actually very, very good. Notable is the not so much the dense frame, as in areas the straight line points on the curvatures are sometimes noticeable, and the lo-res (72dpi) textures really don't help.

 

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However the details are very good as are the limited NMLs, it is obviously a clean aircraft skin, and that aspect comes over very well.

 

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For a first time model, then this Citation is very, very good...  but we have to note the high price category the aircraft is placed in, and quality has to be a forefront at this level...  however the Citation passes, but only just.

 

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The PBR reflections are again, good, but you have to work to get them. The tall tail is nicely rendered, but you are overall missing that oomph you expect at this extreme level.

 

The distinctive laminar flow, supercritical wing of the CJ4 Citation is well represented, it was developed with NASA and Boeing and uses the NASA high-speed 0213 airfoil profile, that sustains natural laminar flow over 30% of the upper surface for 10-15% better lift-to-drag ratio than the larger NACA 23000-series wing of the Citation 500. To maintain the wing's laminar-flow qualities and reduce weight, icing protection, the wing is provided with a ducted bleed air system rather than the deicing boots or fluid deicing systems used on earlier Citations.

 

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Again the vents, wing access hatches and aerofoil details are very good as are the lower wing fences and the vortex generators are well seen. Notable are the excellent navigation (strobe) light assemblies. Again the lo-res textures don't help in bringing out the desired detail, which is obviously modeled here, they are 4K in size, but a low 72 dpi.

 

Glass is okay in a sense, nicely tinted, and the reflections are fine, however the glass doesn't seem to have a real depth or quality about it and worse is that at some viewing angles the cockpit glass actually disappears? The aircraft shadows have a habit of (annoyingly) bouncing on and off the screen as well, very early X-Plane in that regard.

 

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The CJ4 uses the Williams FJ44-4A with 3,600 lbf (16 kN) thrust, the engine was released in 2007, and is a hi-tech fan of larger diameter than the -3 unit. The pods are quite nice, and the intake and certainly the excellent exhaust is excellent in detail and realism, however the pods non-ultra detail is missing, notably the exhaust outer ring, the modeling is again not dense enough.

 

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Main trailing link under carriage is excellent. Great assembly and link detail with all the required hydraulic piping. Brake and hub assemblies are again first rate, I like the metal shock absorber pistons. Well internal is fine, but very odd is the right gear door that is not attached to the gear assembly, it cuts through the wing as well?

 

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Nose wheel assembly is very simple, but again well done, but again the rear cover door is not attached to anything?

 

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Currently there are no menus for the Netavio Citation, but they are noted as coming...  You can open the external doors and hatches, but currently it is a messy system of using the X-Plane key commands Doors #1-#10, it wastes 20 key commands to open and close one static element option and the nine door options in; Engine and Pitot Tube Covers On-Off, Front Cabin Entry Door,  Rear Emergency Exit, Rear Luggage Door, Front Luggage Door(s), Battery Access Door, Brake Service Door, External Power Receptacle, Hydraulic Service Panel and the SPR Access Panel (Single Point Refueling)... there are no chocks or external GPU (Ground Power Unit).

 

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All the access doors for the Battery, Brake, Hydraulic and SPR panels are excellent with great internal detail. Main cabin door is very nicely modeled as well with folding out stairs, however the door and stair animation is a bit too fast and not very authentic or realistic, the stairs don't just unfurl, but just quickly flip out?

 

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Cabin

From the off you have two cabin layouts to choose from. The darker (default) more executive layout is noted as the "Signature Edition" or light coloured cabin noted as the "Limited Edition". You have to change over the "Cabin.obj" provided in the "interior design" folder.

 

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The cabin fit-out is extremely nice, with a lovely dark maple burl wood veneer side moldings, cup holders and details, the "Limited Editions" lighter lower half, gives the cabin a more airier feel than the heavier darker maple wood.

 

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...   seating layout is a club four with two chairs set behind, and two seater divan in a cabin space that is just over 290 cubic feet, allowing for a width and height of nearly 5ft both ways. The entry door is a solid 4ft tall, and baggage is allotted more than 75 cubic feet of space.

 

There is a table on the right side, and a toilet in the rear, on the opposite side is the Rear Emergency Exit panel. Interior modeling is actually extremely good, for a first time effort, as is all the interior fittings.

 

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What is missing in here are the active elements? We are very used to a lot of animations in Private Jet cabins, and the missing animated folding tables, working switches and moving window blinds are here all noticeably absent...  even the rear lavatory doors are fixed (open) to the users embarrassment? as is the missing cockpit to cabin divider.

 

Cockpit

Like with a lot on this aircraft, the first view is quite deceiving. The panel looks flat and even bland to the eye...  but we will get to that in a moment.

 

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In reality it is a very nice office, and actually very well presented by Netavio...  the quality and the detail are in here as the materials look initially flat, so you have to look deep for it and you are certainly rewarded...  the Pilot and Co-Pilot seats are sensational, beautifully done with lovely padded diamond inserts, detail and leather trim with nice stitching that is really well done, the seatbelts are also sensational with excellent webbing and everything is highlighted by the wooden trim and the cavernous white canvas headlining...  it is seriously nice in here.

 

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Note there are no (currently) any pilots, the folded up armrests are also non-animated, sadly.

 

The instrument panel is pure Citation, but it also takes all the realism out of the cockpit...  non-reflective, both for the actual panel and the glass, it is just a flat light absorbing grey monolith, and very dated X-Plane in feel...

 

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...  it maybe authentic, and the pilots will say "It is really like that" and they do , but it feels half completed in this dull state...  even if the display glass was realistically reflective it would have helped, but the instrument panel looks and feels totally flat? so everything else which is really well done in here is not being highlighted either.

 

Like the yokes, which are excellent in shape and detail and note the lovely "Citation" logo. They come with a Transponder Ident (Identity) button, AutoPilot sync button, Elevator Trim, Up-Down button, and a Push to Talk button for Pilotedge (All have to be configured in the X-Plane Config menu and joystick menu). THe idea is for flight sim users to configure their physical flight controls: joysticks, yokes and throttle unit buttons to mimic the actual CJ4 flight controls for enhanced realism of flying the real aircraft.

 

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You can (thankfully) hide and toggle the Yokes by pressing "Y" on your keyboard.

 

You are very aware of the cockpit's shape and feel...  the curve and the very Citation view forward and to the side, it actually takes a little getting used to, but it does certainly reflect the aircraft's personality....  power on!

 

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Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 Emulation

The main feature and the focus of the Netavio Citation CJ4 is the replication of the Rockwell Collins Proiine 21 avionics system. It is also very much set up for the home builder or static simulation setup for Citation training and proficiency. The system will also have (soon) scalable vector graphic displays and the hardware CDU-3000 panel to be also released... independent displays will also be able to be moved to external monitors or even networked computers is also on the cards... so a lot of what you see here, is still a "Work in Progress".

 

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It is Rockwell Collins four monitor display system, with a PFD (Primary Flight Display) and MFD (Multi-Functional Display on each side for the Pilot and Co-Pilot. None of the displays currently pop-out.

 

PFD (Primary Flight Display)

The displays are controlled by two panels in the DCP (Display Control Panel) Upper and the CCP (Cursor Control Panel) via the inner button, the same CCP access is also via two buttons lower DCP panel.

 

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Basically each control panel does the same thing in the same way, with selection, then adjustment with the three-tiered knob, which can be tricky to use as the three sets of manipulators are spaced very close together, and to relate to the realism, only one side moves that direction of the manipulator, but makes adjustments very slow and twiddly. The DCP controls the display settings and the CCP controls the the display settings of the MFD.

 

PFD - Primary Flight Display. The Proline PFD is split with the Artificial Horizon top and the Horizontal Situation Indicator lower. Artificial Horizon, Speed and Altitude tapes, bank roll scale and roll pointer, Vertical Speed markers, Pitch markers, ILS bars and AOA (Angle of Attack) guide. Lower display is the COM1/COM2, ATC1, RAT ºC and UTC (Time).

 

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PFD options brings up a PFD MENU. Press PFD MENU button for the tab and press ESC to hide (really a back button). The Menu is set in three layers...

 

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...    top is the HSI FORMAT; ROSE, ARC and PPOS (Present. Position Map)

 

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Centre boxed selection is the CONTROLS selection;  NAV-SRC (nav-selection), and (Map) Range.

 

Third selection consists of seven option selections; BRG SRC, CONFIG, MAP SYMBOLS, OVERLAYS, REFs, TAWS and BARO SET.

 

BRG-SRC (Background Screen) is the selection of pointers for both PTR 1; FMS1, VOR1 and ADF (1), PTR2; VOR2 and ADF (2)

 

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CONFIG (Configuration); covers three options. Top is the Baro Pressure IN or HPA, but it can be very hard to read in the PFD? (arrowed above)

 

Second line option is the selection of the Fight Director bars in either a V-Bar (arrowed below) or a X-PTR format...

 

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Last line covers the AOA (Angle of Attack) in three modes; OFF, ON and AUTO, that in AUTO in declutters the scale and pointer when not in departure or approach phases of flight.

 

MAP SYMBOLS; Is the map background symbology for display on the FMS PPOS and PLAN (for example, nearest airports) and X-Plane default.

 

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OVERLAYS; That covers the TERR/WX and TFC (TCAS overlays)

 

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REFS (References); there is a very good selection of adjustable vRefs available, V1, VR, V2 - VRF, VAP and VT (Target Speed), these are shown in the Speed tape, plus by the Vertical Speed when required. The MINIMUM options include OFF, BARO or RA (Radar Altitude) and shown upper right (arrowed) in the HSI.

 

TAWS Terrain Awareness Warning System; Options include G/S (Glideslope) CANCEL, FLAP OVRD (Override), TERR INHIB and STEEP APPROACH

 

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BARO SET; This not like the above Baro type setting in REFS, this an altitude change from the set BARO pressure to the STD (Standard) pressure.

 

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DCP...  that is the full menu, but the DCP panel also allows for short cuts to the various menu options. NAV changes NAV-SRC, FRMT Changes FORMAT, TERR/WX activates TERR WX option, TFC - Activates the TCAS overlays, REFS opens the References menu and the TAWS opens the Terrain Awareness Warning System menu. You can also push the BARO knob between the BARO and STD pressure settings as in the BARO SET above).

 

FD - Flight Director

Activating the Flight Director Flight Guidance System (FGS) displays that show on each PFD are the FGS mode/data fields and the Flight Director (FD) command bars, and gives you again the twin options of both the Single-Cue (V-Bar) or Split-Cue (Crosshair) command bars, and both can be adjusted in the FLT DIR Menu. Switch on the left FD (Pilot) and you single control, switch on the right (both) and both FD's (Dual) are activated.

 

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MFD - Multi-Functional Display

The lower section of both left and right MFDs have the same HSI instrument as the PFD,

 

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The menu access is different (slightly) as if you press the CCP button on the upper DCP you get both UPR MENU and LWR MENU options in the MFD(s)...

 

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...   however press the UPR MENU or LWR MENU buttons on the lower DCP(s) and you get the same UPR/LWR menu options, but directly.

 

UPR (Upper) MENU, is the FORMAT menu, with OFF, FMS TEXT, CHECKLIST and SYSTEMS 1/2 listed (But only currently SYSTEMS 1/2 works).

 

LWR (Lower) MENU is the same as the PFD "FORMAT" menu, with the same with ROSE, ARC and PPOS selections, plus one more with TCAS (both screens not separately). And the NAV-SRC (VOR1/VOR2/FMS) are the same as well. MAP SYMBOLS are also available. SYS Test does not work, and L PFD MENU is the action to bring up the PFD MENU in the PFD.

 

Top section of the MFD has in the left side Engine and Data information, on the right MFD side top there is a  CAS (Crew Alerting System), Red - Warning alerts, Yellow - Caution alerts, Blue - Advisory alerts. There is a full list of CAS Messages in the provided Avionics manual.

 

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Lower left MFD is the; Cabin - Altitude, Rate, Diff (PSI), Destination Elevation (FT). Right lower MFD covers GS (Ground Speed), TAS (Airspeed), RAT ºC, SAT ºC and ISA ºC.

 

Engine and Systems

There are four pages for the Engine and System information EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System)...  the two main pages these are selected via the ENG button on the lower DCP, press twice for the secondary page.

 

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Page 1 (larger) covers, N1%, ITToC (Interstage Turbine Temperature), N2, Oil Pressure, Oil Temperature, Fuel (Flow) PPH (Pounds Per Hour), Fuel Temperature, Fuel Quality (LBS)...  on the right side is the Aileron, Rudder and Elevation Trims, and Flap position 0-15º-30º. Page 2 (smaller) covers the same readouts as above but in a smaller text form, and less the Fuel Flow and Temperature indicators.

 

Secondary information pages are activated via the SYS button on the lower DCP, Page one (SYS 1) includes DC Electrics, Battery, Oxygen Pressure (PSI) Hydraulic Pressure (PSI) and the Fuel Flow (PPH) and Fuel Temperature. SYS 2 page is again the Aileron, Rudder and Elevation Trims.

 

Pilot left side panels cover; Top left Communications Panel, and lower Electrical Panel. Shelf left to right covers; Oxygen Supply, Oxygen Control, Hydraulic Shut-off, Fuel Boost, Fuel Transfer, Cockpit Temp, Pilot Fan and Climate Control....  Engine controls cover FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) Reset, and Ignition (Manual) and finally the Pressurisation panel.

 

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Co-Pilot right side is quite blank, but items that can be selected are upper right the Co-Pilot's Communications Panel, lower left Co-Pilot MIc, TAWS, CKPT (Cockpit) SPKR (Speaker) and COMM 1 tune. Cabin; Fan, Co-Pilot Fan and Cabin Temp are all accessible. ELT and Quartz (Flight Hours Meter) are both right.

 

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Centre Panel is the authentic backup primary instrument or "Electronic Standby Instrument System" (ESIS) Model GH-3000, with Artificial Horizon, Heading and Speed Altitude tapes, lower is the Landing gear selector and display. There is also the elevator trim warning light above left of the backup instrument.

 

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Currently the Citation uses the default (crappy) X-Plane FMS system (noted here as the "Control Display Unit" (sic)), but it is customised to fit in with the Citation panel layout and actually quite authentic to the real layout, but don't expect a lot from the actual FMS flightplanning or any of the set up in say custom systems, it is bog standard.

 

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FGP - Flight Guidance Panel

Center glareshield is the FGP - Flight Guidance Panel, that provides the autopilot, yaw damper control and flight guidance mode selection.

 

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The layout is pretty much the standard system layout but authentic here, but it is nice to use. Note the AOA (Angle of Attack) monitor mounted on the centre windshield.

 

Centre Console

The centre console is nicely done with the Twin-Throttles with active TO/GA (Takeoff-GoAround) switch (note the switch again has to be configured in the X-Plane "Joystick Config Menu"). Citation CJ4 is not actually equipped with Auto-Throttles, therefore the TOGA switch commands the Flight Director in TO or GA mode.

 

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Top centre console is the Lighting panel for; Instrument, Exterior, Passenger and Pulse lighting. Below is the (FADEC) Engine Run/Stop buttons. Left is the "Speedbrake" first stop and Ground Spolier second stop lever and right the Flap lever, Throttles have IDLE-CRU (Cruise)-CLB (Climb) and TO (Takeoff) markings. Lower or rear console is the Engine Ignighters, Aileron and Rudder trims, and secondary Elevator trim Nose Up or Nose Down.

 

Lighting

The CJ4 lighting is, well....  not very good at all. Internally the current set lighting is bad even by X-Plane default standards. You can adjust the instrument text and highlights and that is actually very good, as to also adjust (all not separate) instrument Proline displays. But it all ends there. There are three roof adjustment knobs, one each for the pilot and co-pilot, the one in the middle is the main cockpit lighting. But it works like this, twist any side light and the cockpit goes bright, so even adjusting the other side, just makes it even brighter... no subtlety there, the centre (Dome/Storm?) does not work at all? The cabin has only the basic strip lighting. All the knobs are very hard to turn (manipulators).

Even at the lowest cockpit setting it is bright in here, when in reality you should be sitting in the dark with only the instrument lighting in your face? My problem with this is making approaches at night. This aircraft is promoted as a Pro or even study simulation for pilot qualifications, but this night lighting would be a nightmare for approach flying in the dark, the cockpit is simply too bright. To convey a professional tool then even the basics have to be right, this is in the X-Plane screen context of course, not in a physical environment.

 

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Worse was that the cockpit would flip to a full absolute brightness mode (of which I guess would be the overall cockpit brightness (Dome/Storm) selection), but then flick suddenly back to the earlier brightness setting for no reason...  I would hate to do night approaches in this aircraft if that kept happening? There are roof mounted spot or cockpit brightness lights, all four of them in two front and two rear, but they don't work?

 

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External lighting

Is not much better either...  granted the Navigation and Strobe lights are not actually that bad, top tail beacon is passable as well. There are both taxi and landing lights, but they are not focus tuned, so either set on, it does not make much difference...  there is a tail light button that works in the cockpit, but no tail lighting.

 

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Flying the Citation CJ4

Starting up the two Williams FJ44-4As is a very simple affair, press the ignition button behind the throttle (per engine), then press the Run/Stop button (per engine), and the FADAC does all the engine start up procedure for you, the N1 output settles down around 22%

 

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I really like the throttle slider indicator in the N1 output (arrowed) it gives you a perfect readout to the aircraft's thrust selection, secondly is the Trim indicators which are also nicely positioned and visible. Note on the green takeoff trim zone, in most cases you would set the takeoff trim more neutral or at the centre of the green band, but I found that is the wrong setting as it gives you too much nose up, and yoke long forward position to climb out cleanly, so you set the pitch trim to the top or high of the green band to get a more lower takeoff pitch, but you sort of have to adjust this trim to the aircraft's weight and personal preference.

 

I am not going to go into the sounds on this review, because for one...  they are only currently a default standard set of sounds with no spatial awareness or movement. And two...  a full custom FMOD sound package is currently in development and should be available in a month or so, but oddly at this basic level I don't mind them. Engine particle effects are very good as well.

 

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I found you only needed one engine thrust wise to taxi nicely, two even with a little bit of throttle was a bit too much...  the single throttle input gave you nice control over the speed.

 

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You hold the brakes while, pushing up the throttles to 100% or the noted TO position (arrowed below), you feel the thunder of all that 7,200 lbf (32 kN) of thrust building up behind you... 

 

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...   obviously when you release the brakes the aircraft is going to jackrabbit out of the starting blocks! It goes forward sprightly and very quickly! There is a lot of control needed with such a "bang out of the gates" takeoff roll, you need a steady hand on the yoke and a lot of firm pressure on the rudder pedals, and at 160 knts and you pull back into a 10º pitch up when you feel the aircraft come alive.

 

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All the development focus was on this aspect, in the Citations handling and it's feedback back to the pilot. And yes the CJ4 certainly delivers big time in this characteristic...  as you are very aware of the feedback of the aircraft through the controls and your movement actions.

 

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Max climb-rate is 3,854 fpm (19.6 m/s), but the CJ4 easily can mislead you in wanting to climb more in the higher pitch if you let it, so you have to very aware of controlling not only the pitch (10º is recommended), but in the throttle power band as well, in that it can suddenly start to slide away from you in the climb. Then if you only slightly reduce the pitch and then the speed can run away quickly on the other side of the power band, so it takes skill to hold the CJ4 in the centre of the two forces, but get the balance right and the whole experience is very fulfilling.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 19.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 20.jpg

 

So you are trimming the aircraft early, to control the pitch and keep it within it's boundaries...  it is all about the trim in here.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 18.jpg

 

...   again throttle thrust position is important, but the N1 readout does change to help you with selecting the right power setting, and where to set your throttle position, those power markers are invaluable. Weight and balance of course is important, that I why I would have liked a "Weight & Balance" page with this aircraft, with the correct weights and fuel loads, as that would be critical in the way you handle the aircraft in each takeoff and initial climb. The thrust settings are all laid out to get the best performance out of the aircraft in TO (Takeoff), CLB (Climb) and CRU (Cruise).

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying TO.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying Clb.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying Crz.jpg

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 21.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 22.jpg

 

It is very important to have set the aircraft up correctly at the right altitude, heading and speed before turning on the AP (Autopilot), if you don't the transition from manual to servo, it can be abrupt and not very clean, the aircraft will climb or descend to find it's level, unless set (almost absolutely) correctly or even exactly before hand with the trim. 

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 23.jpg

 

You can climb hard and fast at first, 2000+ fpm, but taper it off the higher you go, and you go up a long, long way. 45,000 ft (13,716 m) is the ceiling, but you always usually aim for 40,000ft to 42,000ft. Max cruise speed is 451 kn (835 km/h) and the range a fair 2,165 nmi (4,010 km) and just slightly better than the Phenom 300 at it's 2,010 nmi (3,723 km) range.

 

I love Citations. The Carenado 550 was brilliant, and this CJ4 is just as lovely in the air, they just really a great aircraft.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 24.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 25.jpg

 

Coming down from such an extreme altitude feels like the Space Shuttle on it's return to earth through the atmosphere...  looks like it as well.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 26.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 27.jpg

 

The CJ4 can carry a 987 lb (448 kg) payload with full fuel, cruise up to FL450 and takeoff from 3,410 ft (1,040 m) field on a standard day. Block speeds are 410–420 kn (760–780 km/h) and it burns 160 US gal (610 L) of fuel per hour. Maintenance is set at $269 per hour for labor and $370 per hour for parts excluding the engine maintenance plan is $317 per hour for a 5,000 h TBO. But you don't have to worry about that as X-Plane is maintenance free...  By June 2019, early models are $5.5-5.8 million for resale and up to over $7 million for later ones and 300 have been built.

 

Speedbrakes are tiny small, so don't rely on them too much, as they do drain off the speed, but not heavily. Then be ready to catch the speed at the bottom of the descent or freefall, get it right, and the transition can be smooth.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 28.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 29.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 30.jpg

 

Under the autopilot there is a full 30º bank, but a ½ bank is also available. Flap speeds are noted in the vRef (speed ribbon), so you know the right speed for the flap position, so many tools here in this Proline21 and it is all very authentic.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 31.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 32.jpg

 

On approach I could easily find the right effiecent speed balance to keep the aircraft neat and on the horizonal line. Approach (Full 30º Flap) is around 160 knts...  

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 33.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 34.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 35.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 36.jpg

 

...   reducing to around 135 knts (50 N1%) when in the chute (ILS Slope) and 122 knts final, nose slightly pitch up.The high glareshield makes it hard to see the start of the runway, so you have to sort of guess your actual landing point, Southampton's (EGHI) short Rwy 20 1,723m (5,653ft) runway doesn't help either.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 38.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 37.jpg

 

Over the threshold and the throttles are set to idle and the Citation will settle nicely, no dramas...   just clean and neat...

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 39.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 40.jpg

 

....  there are no thrust-reversers (although the very early Citations, did have internal reversers), but the brakes will easily rub off the speed quickly with the low landing speed. Once at taxi speed, then a slight nudge of one of the throttles keeps the speed flowing, and then the runway turn off is easy.

 

CJ4 - Citation_Flying 41.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 42.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Flying 43.jpg

 

There is no doubt to where the development has been the most focus on this Netavio CJ4, it is in the flying and handling characteristics, and for that the Citation is absolutely spot on, it is a lovely aircraft to fly, but it does have it's workload in getting it perfectly right at each point of the flying phases, that is also a big reward, as you feel your input into the aircraft is being valued... overall the flying aspect is a very good and a satisfying experience.

 

Liveries

There are nine liveries, and most are a variation of the stripe theme. But most are good, except for the odd Stars and Stripe version, and dark unusual Carbon livery. Blue Wind is the default (top), a detailed Paintkit is also provided (Photoshop)

 

CJ4 - Citation_Livery White wind.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery Black Red.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery Blue.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery Carbon Black.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery Carbon White.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery Red.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery White Blue.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery White Sliver.jpgCJ4 - Citation_Livery White wind 2.jpg

_______________

Summary

We have to be very clear here on the focus of this aircraft from Netavio. It is a Project (could you call it "Project CJ4"?). It is not intended as a direct X-Plane product, but for running a Citation training system, and mostly an external system or training hands on physical tool. So the focus is totally on those elements, not on the X-Plane elements, as the system is only using X-Plane as the vehicle.

 

Strangely the Cj4 in some ways it comes across initially as a real X-Plane development, and something we had mainly ten years ago, it looks and even feels that way in many aspects. It is then truly a pure X-Plane development, made by enthusiasts, for a purpose, and we as users are being allowed in to sample the system, at a price of course.

 

So that makes reviewing such a product (is it a product) very hard, because we come from the angle of X-Plane quality, features and basically what you will get for your money. But as the developers have released and are collecting payment for a so called X-Plane product, we have to also take that aspect into account. To note also, these are not X-Plane developers either, again the project focus is on another frame altogether.

 

Modelling is good, oddly it looks average in the light, but the details are very much in there when you go deeper, in fact in areas the modeling and design is very good, internally and externally with loads of hatches and access doors. But oddly in some areas it is also and critically average, mainly with the really old feeling instrument panel, it feels very dated, ruining the actual excellent finer details of the cockpit, cabin is very nice, but overall missing the goodies and the toys we like, as in mostly the missing animated areas, in fact all the animations also feel basic and not very realistic, manipulators are hard to use in most critical areas. Even using the animations is also very dated and relegated to setting up X-Plane commands, and other required settings also requires basic X-Plane command setups.... so you can see where this is all going, great, even perfect for a home built Citation cockpit, but not as an interface for a simulation user, we are all basically an after thought...  but then again X-Plane was not the focus of the project either.

 

Digging deeper the internal lighting is really, really average, as is the missing menus and sounds are static and default sourced, oddly all I would think would be a requirement in training and the correct setup of the aircraft no matter on a computer or a physical setup. Developers have noted they are addressing these areas.

 

The project's main focus was the reproduction of the Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 avionics, and it is very, very good and has excellent system detail (oddly again no pop-up displays, and in areas extremely hard to read), but also noted are coming scalable vector graphic displays and a hardware CDU-3000 panel to also be released soon. The CJ4's flight performance, handing, dynamics and feel are absolutely spot-on, and even the aircraft feedback is excellent, shows were the development focus areas are with a reason, it is a professinal training aid after all, so the Netavio Citation CJ4 is a dream and a complex machine to fly...  just like the real thing.

 

Complex, conflicting from an X-Plane users point of view, the Netavio Citation (Training Aid?) is in extremes all over the place, but the core of the aircraft is very interesting and quite deep...  is it one to make a future investment in? overall I am going to say yes, as even the announced coming of changes that are extremely interesting, but this is at it's core an X-Plane project for a commercial outcome, certainly interesting, certainly worth the commitment, but with a few changes to more the X-Plane aspect, would I think even rebound better for the commercial side in making the Citation CJ4 an impeccable aircraft and in time one to really savor.

___________________________________

 

X-Plane Store logo sm.jpg

 

Yes! the Citation CJ4 Proline21 by Netavio is now available from the X-Plane.Org Store here :

 

Citation CJ4 Proline21

Price is US$49.95

 

Features Include:

NETAVIO quality 3D model
  • Detailed exterior, cabin and cockpit design
  • 3D model includes a good balance of 3d polygons for fast frame rates on laptop computers
  • 2 luxurious passenger cabin design options 
  • Functional baggage doors as well as battery, GPU, hydraulic, and fuel panels
  • 4K PBR textures by acclaimed Digital Artist David Rencsenyi, (Star Wars Episode VII)
  • 8 gorgeous 4K liveries included
  • Paint kit included
  • Smooth and VR friendly avionic panels, animated switches, knobs, flight and throttle controls
High Resolution Aerodynamic model
  • Aerodynamic flight model accuracy within 2 % of actual aircraft flight performance at high altitude and within 5% at low altitudes, adjusted for X-Plane's atmospheric limitations 
  • Performance taken from in flight measurements, flight data recorders and further calibration with aircraft performance tables
High Resolution Engine Performance model
  • Engine performance fine-tuned precisely to emulate Williams FJ44-4A
  • Engine performance data taken from in flight measurements, from engine start, takeoff, climb, cruise thrust settings profiles up to max certified altitude of 45,000 feet
  • Custom FADEC driven engine thrust ratings, 
  • Accurate startup sequence, ITTs, fuel flows calibrated per cruise altitude
  • Custom EICAS, Engine Indication and Crew Alerting System 
High Resolution Avionics
  • Super sharp 4K avionic displays
  • Avionics using XLua plugin offering one of the highest refresh rates possible with minimum GPU resources
  • (a solid 30 fps achieved on Apple’s new M1 MacBook Air with mid graphic settings)
Realistic Rockwell Collins ProLine 21 Emulation
  • Custom DCP (Display Control Panel), CCP (Cursor Control Panel), FGP-3000 (Flight Guidance Panel)
  • Custom PFD Menu Items and MFD Menu Items faithfully reproduced
  • Accurate Vspeeds, Baro, HSI modes and PFD format settings 
  • Climb, Pitch, FLC, Nav and Approach modes as per ProLine 21
  • Dual Rockwell Collins CDU-3000’s enabling simultaneous operations of FMS Navigation and Radio Tuning pages with auto-sync like the real unit - perfect for single pilot flying
  • Optional mouse, scroll-wheel for data input
Aircraft System Deep Emulation
  • L3 Avionics, Electronic Standby Instrument System (ESIS) Model GH-3000
  • Custom Electrical and Hydraulic systems  
  • Accurate flaps, speed-brakes and ground spoilers logic, actuation and effects on aerodynamic performance 
  • Accurate anti-icing and pressurization settings
  • Realistic CAS, Crew Alerting Systems 
Sounds
  • The aircraft uses X-Plane sounds. No custom sounds at this time
Extras
  • Complete set of aircraft documentations
  • ProLine 21 Avionic Tutorials and Quick Start Guide
  • PilotEdge & ForeFlight app compatible
  • Ongoing refinements and avionic features development
  • Excellent proficiency tool to prepare and review for the actual CJ4 initial type rating and yearly recurrent rides
  • Perfect tool for scenario based training, to practice SOPs, Emergency Memory Items, Checklist flows
  • ProLine 21 familiarization and Jet transition course preparation
  • Excellent IFR tool to demonstrate modern avionics and autopilot automation during different phases of flight

 

Requirements

X-Plane 11

Windows, Mac or Linux
4 GB VRAM Minimum - 8 GB+ VRAM Recommended
Download Size: 812 MB
Current and Review version : 1.05 (June 1st 2021)
 

 

Installation and documents:

Download is 744Mb. Installation size in your Aircraft folder is 869Mb.

 

There is no AviTab support

 

Cabin interior can be switched via an .object change, provided in the "Interior design) folder.

 

Documents
Extensive Manuals are provided that includes all system and feature details, Emergency and Standard checklists, Warnings and Performance Charts and full Weight and Balance charts (real documents).
  • CJ4 Limitations FLT OPS 1.0.pdf
  • EULA Netavio 1.0.pdf
  • 4. CJ4 Emergency Checklist 1.01.pdf
  • 3. CJ4 Checklist 1.01.pdf
  • CJ4 Limitations 1.0.pdf
  • CJ4 Opening External Panels Instructions.pdf
  • CJ4 Weight & Balance 1.01.pdf
  • CJ4 Cabin Interior Design Options.pdf
  • 2. CJ4 AVIONICS 1.01.pdf
  • 1. CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE 1.02.pdf
  • CJ4 Performance 1.0.pdf

________________________________________

 

Aircraft Review by Stephen Dutton

10th June 2021

Copyright©2021: X-Plane Reviews

 

Disclaimer. All images and text in this review are the work and property of X-PlaneReviews, no sharing or copy of the content is allowed without consent from the author as per copyright conditions) All Right Reserved
  

Review System Specifications: 

Computer System: Windows  - Intel Core i7 6700K CPU 4.00GHz / 64bit -32 Gb single 1067 Mhz DDR4 2133 - ASUS GeForce GTX 1080 8Gb - Samsung Evo 1TB SSD 

Software:   - Windows 10 - X-Plane 11.53

Plugins: Global SFD plugin US$30.00 : Environment Engine by xEnviro US$69.90 : RK Apps XPRealistic v2 - US$34.99

Scenery or Aircraft

- ELLX - Luxembourg Findel Airport v2.1  by JustSim (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.95

- EGHI - Southampton Airport by PilotPlus+ (X-Plane.OrgStore) - US$19.95

 

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