The Cessna Citation XLS is a modest aircraft compared to others in the mid-size business jet category. Nonetheless, it is favored by many for being a reliable aircraft that is also capable of high performance. The passenger and baggage capacity are somewhat limited for a mid-size jet (9 passengers and 62 cubic feet, respectively), but those traits are not what this aircraft is best known for.
The Citation XLS wasn’t designed to be the fastest of its kind, but the engineers at Cessna still believed that achieving optimal speed was highly necessary if the company wanted to gain a foothold in the business traveler market that was then dominated by fast corporate jets. Thus, much of the aircraft’s structure utilized lightweight composites instead of aluminum, and bonded metal surfaces were fitted instead of riveted skin to further streamline the airframe and reduce drag. When the CIII was first introduced in 1983, no other mid-size business jet came close to matching its 2,920-mile range and 468-knot cruise speed. It even set time-to-climb and overall speed records in the mid-size jet category.
Although the Citation XLS has long since been outclassed by other aircraft with regard to range, it continues to be a preferred business jet for having struck that ideal balance between cost, comfort, and performance. It may not take you coast-to-coast nonstop, but if you and 8 other people are only flying from New York to Miami, wouldn’t you rather have an aircraft that could get you there much faster?