Some Cessna planes do not look like they could take you places. But you might be in for a surprise when you find out how far can a Cessna fly?
Many factors determine how far a plane can fly, including plane design, fuel capacity, and even the weather. Most Cessna propeller planes like the 172 Sky Hawk have a range under 1000 miles. Some Citation jets on the other hand can fly upwards of 4000 miles in favorable conditions.
Most Cessna planes seem to be built to carry more weight over shorter distances. There are some Cessna planes that can go transatlantic. Yes, you can fly from New York to London on a Cessna. The company's modern jets can fly over 4000 miles in one go without needing a stopover.
According to Textron Aviation, which is the company responsible for making Cessna planes, each of their plane models is designed to have a different range. Planes that are built for training purposes usually have smaller range as they are seldom required to fly intercity. The Citation Business Jets on the other hand have capabilities of flying thousands of miles without needing to stop over.
How Far Can A Cessna Fly?
What Determines Range?
On November 9, 2020, Singapore Airlines SQ23 took off from Singapore. The Airbus A350-900 ULR flew halfway across the globe, covering a distance of 9530 miles. The nonstop flight landed in New York at JFK International 18 hours and 50 minutes later, setting a global record.
Some planes are designed to fly long-haul, while others are best suited for short flights. There are many factors, including aircraft design, that determine how far a plane will fly. If we go into the details of airplane range here, we could fill books. But in simple terms, here are some factors that influence range.
Larger airplanes like commercial jets have huge fuel tanks. For example, the Airbus A380 can gulp down 82,000 gallons of Aviation Fuel until it begins to feel full. This is one reason that the beast can carry 850 passengers for 9000 miles.
For comparison, a Cessna jet has a fuel capacity of 2,200 gallons. The smaller fuel tank is one of the many reasons why small jets have limited ranges.
Simply put, more fuel on board means that the plane can fly for a longer time and ultimately reach longer distances.
If you are looking to carry more load on your aircraft, it will require more power. Given that the amount of fuel is already static due to tank capacity, the compromise will come in range. If we compare two identical aircraft in the same conditions, the heavier one will have a shorter range.
If you ever wondered why they have caps on the amount of luggage you can carry as a passenger, now you know that more weight means additional costs.
There is one thing that all engines have in common: flooring them will cause them to burn more fuel. All things constant, if you decide to fly at a higher speed, your plane will burn more fuel, and given the fixed capacity, you will cover fewer miles in a full tank
Since planes fly in the air, the air around them can have great impacts. Moving air, which we know as the wind, can be the greatest friend or foe when it comes to range.
Tailwind is appreciable since it pushes the plane, reducing the burden on the engines. With less fuel consumption per hour, the plane can fly longer distances using the fuel saved.
Conversely, a headwind requires the engines to push out extra energy to maintain the speed. This means burning more fuel and reducing the range of the plane.
The Propeller Family
Cessna has been producing propeller planes for over a hundred years now. It has established itself so well that new aviation fans label every plane with a propeller on its nose as a Cessna. Most of the time, they are right because Cessna has produced hundreds of thousands of propeller planes in over a century. Let us look at some of the most popular ones.
Cessna 172 Sky Hawk
By far, the most famous Cessna plane, the 172, has been in production since 1956. Over 43,000 units have been produced to date and still counting. It can easily be dubbed as the most produced aircraft.
With technological development over more than half a century, this single-engine plane has a range of 800 miles. That is enough to get you from New York to Chicago nonstop.
As discussed previously, the range is dependent on several factors. For the plane to achieve the 800 miles range, it needs to be flown at 55% power at 12,000 feet.
Cessna 208 Caravan
The Caravan has been under production since 1986 and continues to be produced today. With a larger cabin, it can seat nine passengers in addition to the pilot. In addition to the passengers, it also has space for their luggage and can carry up to 9 bags.
With adequate space and its sturdy build, the plane is a good choice for short-haul passenger flights or even small cargo operations. If you have ordered something on Amazon and had it delivered a few days later, chances are the Caravan carried it.
In perfect conditions, this aircraft can fly 530 miles and attain speeds of up to 202 miles per hour. If you want to go on a little vacation from California to Vegas with your friends or family, better turn the key in your Cessna 208 Caravan; you will not regret it.
Cessna Sky Courier 408
Although still under production, this plane has won the confidence of many multi-aircraft companies. The launch customer for this aircraft, FedEx, has ordered fifty Sky Couriers with Textron Aviation.
This plane will come in two configurations depending on the customers' needs. It can be designed as a passenger aircraft carrying up to nineteen passengers or a cargo aircraft with a capacity of three LD3 sized shipping containers.
With twin turboprop engines, this plane is designed to reach over one thousand miles and speeds above 350 miles per hour.
Many reputable companies have put their trust in this model from Cessna. With all the technology and amenities added to this aircraft, it will not disappoint.
The Citation Family
The Citation family comprises business jets. Since the first jet flight in 1972, Cessna jets have logged over 35 million flight hours, and more than 8000 Citations have been delivered. It is safe to say that as of today, Cessna has the largest business jet fleet.
Cessna Citation M2
The M2 is the smallest jet that Cessna still produces today. It was launched in 1989 and has gone rigorous development over the years. With the latest variant introduced in September 2011, Cessna markets the M2 as an entry-level jet.
Despite its small size, the plane can still carry up to six passengers in addition to one pilot. It also has a baggage compartment to hold decent amounts of luggage.
The small jet has a maximum range of over 1700 miles and can attain a top speed of 460 miles per hour. Impressively, this jet can cruise at an altitude of 41,000 feet along with other, much bigger planes.
Cessna Citation CJ3
Citation jets are designed to offer maximum performance without compromising on economic efficiency. The CJ3, launched in 2002 as the sixth generation of these jets, does exactly that. The CJ3 is designed as powerful and fuel-efficient on the outside and is comfortable and stylish on the inside.
This aircraft is designed to carry up to nine passengers and has three baggage compartments. All these compartments are accessible from the cabin during the flight
The CJ3 has a range of 2,000 miles and can reach a top speed of 475 miles per hour. It has a maximum cruising altitude of 45,000 feet, making it easy to avoid any turbulent winds and stay above many thunderstorms.
Cessna Citation Longitude
The Longitude is the flagship aircraft for the Citation lineup. It was announced in 2012, made its first flight in 2016, and the first one was delivered in September 2019. It is currently the largest aircraft that Cessna is producing. It falls in the super-midsize aircraft category.
The jet provides luxury and comfort for up to twelve passengers at a time. The cabin is spacious, with a height of six. The passengers can easily walk around. The large luggage compartment can easily be accessed mid flight without any difficulties.
The plane has a range of 4000 miles, making it one of the few Cessna jets that can go transatlantic. With speeds above 530 miles per hour, all your trips will seem to become shorter on this plane.
About THE AUTHOR
Alex has logged close to 400 hours on his own Piper Cherokee and enjoys bush flying as it offers a chance to test out his skills in difficult situations. His favorite trip, and one he makes regularly, is to the Red Deer Forestry Airstrip.Read more about Alex Costa