Recently, I had the opportunity to produce a video featuring the Citation 560XL family all side- by-side on a sunny, yet crisp Spring morning at Centennial Airport just outside of Denver, CO. Parked next to each other were a 2001 Excel, a 2004 XLS, and a 2012 XLS+. I had been told that it was difficult to tell the difference between these three airplanes on the ramp, but now I had the opportunity to see it for myself.
At first glance, the airplanes looked exactly the same with the exception of the striping and tail numbers. Then I started walking closer toward the airplane and started to notice the subtle differences between the three airplanes. After three long hours of tedious filming, missing my speaking lines, and getting cut-off due to loud props and jet engines (go figure, we were at an airport), these differences have been forever seared in my memory.
1. The nose cone
The first, and most striking difference, obvious once you know to look for it, was the XLS+’s elongated nose cone. The nose cone is the same as that which is on the Citation Sovereign, whereas the nose cone on the Excel and XLS are short and stubby. The change improved airflow separation and thus reduced drag. This also means the XLS+ is eight (8) inches longer than its siblings: Excel/XLS overall length = 51ft 10in; XLS+ overall length = 52ft 6in.
2. Landing gear fairings
The second most “easily” identifiable difference (easy, of course, now that I know) is the main landing gear fairings that exist on the XLS and XLS+, but are absent on the Excel. The fairings are shallow and located inboard of the main landing gear struts, so when retracted, the fairing provides smoother airflow in and around the area where the gear is stowed in the wing.
3. Hydraulics reservoir and gauges
Then finally, I witnessed first-hand the most subtle of differences that I had read about: the hydraulics reservoir and gauges. On the XLS and XLS+, there is a separate access door just forward of the battery door on the left side of the fuselage near the trailing edge of the wing.
There are many more differences between these three aircraft than this, many that can dramatically affect the value of these jets, so shoot me a note or call me if you’d like to know the secrets. firstname.lastname@example.org, +1.512.410.0295.