A plane that had, in some ways, un unexpected success: the Carenado rendition of the Citation II S550 reviewd for you by Tommaso Felici and Francesco Biondi
The Cessna S550 Citation S/II is an upgraded version of the Cessna 550 Citation II and is a low-wing jet plane powered by two Pratt & Whitney Canada JT15D-4B turbofans proving 2,500 lbf (11.12 kN) each. It’s equipped for IFR flying with and FMC or with a pair of GNS430/530 or GTN650/750 and many models are also certified for RVSM operations.
Before going further into the topic, I would like to ask you all to tell how you are finding our reviews. How we can improve them, and if they are helpful in the comments below. Thanks!
Anyway, let’s talk about this great rendition that Carenado released for the Cessna Citation, one of the most famous business jets in the world (and me and Francesco also tried to represent it in X-Plane), that had a lot of success through the community.
It’s not easy to professionally talk/review the flight model of a jet plane if you have never tried it directly, but I can tell you my impression based on my experience and on performance data provided.
Since now I’ve not been a big fan of Cessna Citation series planes, especially the first ones like this, because they ever seemed to me too old style and a little bit ugly, BUT when I tried the Carenado rendition my opinion changed definitively: this aircraft is awesome, has some incredible performances, it can climb at +4000ft/m with full power and with autopilot it’s capable of steep turns that can be disabled with the bank limiter button on the autopilot. This aircraft also has a maximum ceiling of FL450 that will allow you to fly higher than most liners just like most business planes do.
I’ve tested this plane during a lot of flights mostly IFR but also one VFR. In each trip and flight phases I’ve found it very realistic and very performing exactly as I was expecting from such aircraft.
Also landing and take-off seemed very realistic to me, it’s necessary to know the aircraft to fly it correctly, it’s obvious, but it’s behavior it’s what you would expect in terms of performances attack angles and so on…
This datas, confirm the increased quality level of the last Carenado products, more advanced and less standardized as the old ones were.
Flying this plane in particular gives a great feeling, because the plane acts just like in the way you expect it, in the way you control it.
Note that, if you compare the Citation to the Phenom 100 that Carenado released not so long ago, you will realize how different the flight model was developed, even though we are talking about two business jets (Carenado faithful users will catch what I am writing).
Last but not least, the physical model of a business jet it’s not that easy to develop, considering how this category of plane fly. So, good points for Carenado.
Flight model mark: 9/10
Carenado stands for eye candy, and their latest product can’t be less.
I am really surprised, anyway, on the performance that I get with this model. Honestly it’s not a GA with not many polygons, the 3D model of the Citation requires a lot of hard work (talking for personal experience).
I would have expected a product dedicated to high end PCs, or a compromise between a sharp 3D and great textures. But it’s not what Carenado did.
The textures are done very well, just look the quality of glass, wood and leather.
I like also the choice of Carenado to design a plane without G500/G1000 instrument system, because in my opinion the good old analogic instruments have a different fashion on little planes and they reduce the workload, but this is agreeable.
So, owning the Phenom 100, I have to say that I was quite surprised from the choice of releasing a S550, but they definitely made a massive, and gorgeous, work on this model, but there are some textures in the cabin that could have been done in higher definition.
Design mark: 8/10
Talking about systems this aircraft is quite classically equipped, so no big screens here, but It’s not the classic equipment of the Cessna Citation, It’s a quite new one with two small screens (PFD and ND) for each side plus a bigger central one for route display (similar to the newer NDs). I found this configuration very comfortable to use and very precise. It’s just gorgeous if you got a little bit bored from all the modern technologies in B737s and A320s. The lateral navigation of this model can be managed via the default FMC in the pedestal or via the optional GTN750 from RealityXp (that I don’t own, so It’s untested). My choice would be to use it with the FMC that even if it’s not close to the real one (as the one in the model is the X-Plane default fmc) can be similar in functions as both are pretty basics.
The general systems of this aircraft, even if are not at a study level, are very well done and will let you perform every operation easily and without too much troubles: they just do what you tell them to do. Also, autopilot is very precise and easy to be used, it gave me a sensation of comfort, made me feel that I can thrust the system that I will be able to get out of a bad situation easily and that flying online I would have no problem in executing any controller request. It’s not something that every aircraft gives me, and I liked that this one did.
Systems mark: 8/10
This is something that I really appreciated on this aircraft.
Sound are definitively well done and will make you feel there, in a very immersive simulation.
I’ve really liked some particular sounds like the spoilers one when deployed, It’s not something that every aircraft simulates, as it’s not easy to replicate accurately, while in the real life they are usually quite noisy.
As stated, before sounds of this aircraft will not disappoint your expectations and will became a key feature of the product. Try yourself and let us know if you agree!
Sounds mark: 9/10
You should have understood that I focus a lot on documentation. I think it’s just fundamental to anyone who’s looking for realism in our favourite flight simulator.
As stated for the PA-34, the documentation provided is rich of pictures, and helps you to fly the plane smoothly (with Normal and Emergency Procedures, EFIS manual, performance tables and references).
I also appreciate that they included a manual for the X-Plane’s FMC.
But, reading the documentation of an aircraft, I would like to understand also how a system works physically.
So, to be clear, I wish a manual that says: “This is a switch. A switch interrupts one wire. If you set the switch to “ON” position, than the edges of the wire touch each other and the electric power lights up the fuel pump“. Perfect if integrated with a graphic as Airbus does.
Again, if you look for something like this, google is your friend, “DOCUMENTATION” folder is not.
Documentation mark: 7.5/10
I was maybe too evil with the documentation mark, but that’s my personal idea.
The plane is more than valid, if you then buy the GTN750, it becomes possibly the most realistic business plane available so far.
Anyway, you have to like business flying, otherwise it’s useless to have this Citation in your hangar.
Like a Ferrari is built to go fast, this plane is conceived to fly long distances at high flight level with crazy ground speed. It’s not totally enjoyable on short hauls.
The pleasant part is the VFR certification that brings more versatility to this add-on (even though I still believe what I wrote above).
For sure the S550 is a very well developed plane, that has great performance, what else?
Final mark: 8.5/10
Try it yourself here. A big thank you to Carenado for feeding us with a review copy in order to be one of the first blogs to write about this wonderful piece! Anyway, we were not influenced by this, as you can realize flying.