What are the differences between a Citation CJ3 and a Citation CJ4?

What are the differences between a Citation CJ3 and a Citation CJ4?

June 08th, 2016
By Robin Eissler

What are the differences between a Citation CJ3 and a Citation CJ4?

At first glance, the Citation CJ3 and CJ4 look more similar than different.  The airplanes have similar performance numbers and similar-sized cabins.  Owners of both airplanes love the reasonable operating costs, reliability and versatility of the airplanes.  However, the CJ4 does have some significant design differences that clearly show it’s a more modern design with advanced technology.


 Starting with the airframe, the basic designs of the airplanes are quite different.  The CJ4 has a slightly swept wing which helps produce the additional speed.  Also, the CJ4 has larger flaps and ground spoilers.  The CJ4 cabin is 21” longer and it has an additional 6.5 cu. ft. of baggage space.  The door on the CJ4 is the improved Mustang-style door that is easier to operate and slightly wider.  Cessna also moved the gear on the CJ4 inboard giving it better control on the ground.  The CJ4 also offers single point refueling (not available on CJ3) and an externally serviceable lav (after serial # 525C-0100).  One of the biggest improvements on the CJ4 over the CJ3 is the electrically heated windshield which replaced the bleed air heated windshield on the CJ3.  The new design makes the cockpit quieter.



The CJ4 features a Williams FJ44-4A engine with 3400 lbs of thrust vs the FJ44-3A, 2780 lb of thrust CJ3 engine.  The TBO on the -4A is 5,000 hours as opposed to 4,000 hours on the -3A engine.



The most significant difference in the avionics systems of the two airplanes is the addition of the fourth tube LCD display on the CJ4.  In addition, the CJ4 offers Emergency Descent Mode on the autopilot/flight director system that will descend the airplane in the event of a rapid cabin decompression.  The CJ4 also offers a more robust radar system, the Collins RTA-4112 Multi Scan WX Radar, instead of the previous WXR-800 that was installed on the CJ3s.


There are quite a few options on the CJ3 that come as standard equipment on the CJ4:


Option                                                      CJ4                CJ3

DBU 5000 Database Loader                     Std                  Avail 2009 & later

Bose Headset Jacks                                    Std                  Option

Enhanced Diagnostic System                   Std                  Std 2009 & later

Integrated Electronic Checklist                Std                  Option

Edge to Edge EFIS Displays                     Std                  Std 2009 & Later

WAAS                                                            Std                  Std 2009 & Later

TCAS-II                                                         Std                  Std 2009 & Later

Dual Collins Mode S Transponders         Std                  Std 2009 & Later

Mark VIII TAWS (Class A)                          Std                  Class B System

CVR                                                                 Std                  Option

02 Bottle Manual Shut Off                         Std                  Not Available



The general layout of the aircraft cabin is very similar on the two airplanes.  An updated design on the airframe allows for an additional 2” of flat floor space on both sides of the CJ4.  In addition, the environmental system in the CJ4 has three evaporators in the cooling system instead of two in the CJ3.


The CJ4 cabin can be outfitted with a forward two-place divan, which is a no-charge option.  This provides nine passenger seats and is a very desirable configuration on the airplane.  The CJ4 updated cabin offers more modern seat design with stowable armrests, electric window shades and the Collins Venue cabin management system.  The CJ4 also offers more options for iPod connectivity, DVD/media hard drive and includes Universal 110 VAC outlets.



Perhaps the biggest difference between the CJ3 and CJ4 are the things you can’t see, but rather experience.  The Citation CJ4 cruises at speeds of 415-450 kts, making it quite a bit faster than the CJ3 at 390-420 kts.  Although the max range of both aircraft are very similar (2165nm of the CJ4 and 2040nm on the CJ3), the CJ4 offers almost 600 lbs more payload at fuel full than the CJ3.  This difference makes some trips (such as four passengers from Orlando to Phoenix) non-stop in the CJ4, instead of one-stop in the CJ3.


Which one is right for you?

Both the Citation CJ3 and CJ4 are capable of carrying 4-6 people 1,000 nautical miles.  The CJ4 is a better option for passenger loads that routinely exceed 6 people and for distances that exceed 1,000 miles.  The price difference between similar year model airplanes is currently about $1,000,000 more for the CJ4.  However, since the CJ3 fleet is a little older than the CJ4 fleet, the entry level price point can be as low as half that of a CJ4.


Jet Quest is one of the top resellers of both Citation CJ3s and CJ4s.  If you are considering purchasing one in the near future, give us a call!