Citation Excel and XLS Avionics – Update Existing or Upgrade to G5000?

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By Conrad Theisen – Director of Avionics Sales, Elliott Aviation

As one of the most popular midsize jets ever built, the Citation 560XL includes the Citation Excel, XLS, and the current production model, the XLS+. Together, this fleet consists of over 900 airplanes. For the purposes of this discussion, we are focusing on the segment of the market that is approved for a Garmin G5000 installation, the Citation Excel and XLS.

Citation 560XL airframe entered the market in 1996 as the Citation Excel. The airframe combines midsize comfort and performance with the flexibility typically only found in a light jet. It can easily operate out of 4,000-foot runways and direct climb to 41,000 feet. These aircraft were equipped with Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics.

In 2004, Cessna delivered the upgraded version of the airframe, the XLS+. This upgrade also has Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics but has upgraded PW545B engines to provide increased performance.

Extending the Life of Your Aircraft

Both the Citation Excel and XLS operate on an avionics suite that is over 25 years old. While airframe technology hasn’t significantly changed since the mid-90’s, avionics has seen many significant upgrades that allow for safer operation and reduced pilot workload. Although keeping the current avionics makes sense for some operators, combining the popularity, strong support network, and excellent parts availability of the Citation Excel and XLS, upgrading to a Garmin G5000 can significantly increase the useful life of the airplane.

Past and Upcoming Avionics Updates for the Citation Excel and XLS

The largest avionics update that many operators have needed to make in recent years is ADS-B compliance. For operators that kept their Honeywell avionics, they either updated their system to accommodate the Honeywell ADS-B option, or they had Elliott Aviation’s ADS-B STC, which included Garmin GTX-3000 transponders. Customers equipped with either option are still facing many upcoming updates. These include database updates, FAA Data Comm, CPDLC (Domestic and Link 2000). If your aircraft is equipped with Elliott Aviation’s ADS-B STC that includes Garmin GTX-3000 transponders, however, you qualify for a $50,000 credit toward the installation of a Garmin G5000 in your aircraft.

What Happens in a G5000 Upgrade? How Low Can it Be? How Long Does it Take?

The Garmin G5000 in the Citation Excel and XLS replaces all existing avionics including the autopilot. The system has three 14” LCD displays and give operators the latest avionics technology including WAAS/LPV, synthetic vision, engine indication, XM weather, MFD range rings and synthetic vision. During the installation, the interior of the aircraft is removed so we can replace all existing avionics wiring, from tip to tail with all new wiring harnesses, which are built in Elliott Aviation’s wiring harness shop. All of the heavy existing Honeywell equipment gets replaced, including all avionics in the nose of the aircraft, as well as the cockpit CRT displays. The new instrument panel is then installed, which includes touchscreen controllers. After the interior components are completed and checked out by a quality control technician, we start the delivery process. This includes ground familiarization and a test-flight with your crew and one of Elliott Aviation’s checkout and delivery experts.

Depending on equipment, a standalone Garmin G5000 installation in a Citation Excel or XLS is around $500,000 and can be completed in Elliott Aviation’s guaranteed four-week downtime. Want to find out more, click here to visit our G5000 page.

How Can I Properly Maintain My Current Avionics?

The best option for operators that want to maintain their current avionics is by utilizing aftermarket avionics. Aftermarket avionics is equipment that is working as removed. By utilizing this option, you can get high-demand parts like the DU-870 and the DU-1080 without the high cost and waiting periods of repair or exchange. Keep in mind that by maintaining your current avionics, you are still likely to need additional updates to your system to accommodate for the upcoming mandates previously mentioned.

More G5000 Retrofits Than Any Other Dealer

At Elliott Aviation, we have installed more Garmin G5000 systems in Citation Excel and XLS airframes than any other dealer. Elliott Aviation offers an industry-leading, $3,000 per day, four-week guaranteed downtime on all Citation Excel/XLS Garmin G5000 installations, with a maximum $15,000 credit. We also offer our customers free ground familiarization using our in-house G5000 demonstrators. In addition, we have one-stop-shop capabilities including paint, interior, maintenance, avionics, and accessories.

Garmin G5000 installations for the Citation Excel and XLS can be completed at Elliott Aviation’s headquarters in Moline, IL, or their Des Moines, IA location.

About the Author:

Conrad Theisen is Director of Avionics Sales for Elliott Aviation, having been with Elliott since 1996. He started his career as an Avionics Installer and was promoted to Avionics Manager in 2001. In 2009, he led the Customer Service and Project Management teams for all in-house aircraft. He joined the Avionics Sales team in 2012. You can reach him at ctheisen@elliottaviation.com