The Netavio Citation CJ4
To go into depth and tell you what a Cessna Citation CJ4 business jet is, is not so difficult, but to explain who or what Netavio is, will cost a bit more time, so lets start with that first.
Greg Gineys, president and owner of Netavio, is an active Cessna CJ4 pilot. His passion has always been flying, computing and flight simulation. Netavio stands for NETwork AVIOnics. The company first started as an avionic research and industrial design company.
The idea of separate avionic display units linked together via a network connected to a flight simulation platform for very high realism. Each avionic node would run independently of each other, releaving the flight sim computer to focus on rendering the outside world, aerodynamic aircraft perf. model and engine performance model. This design approach enables one to built very high fidelity flight sims !
You don’t see this often that an active pilot leads a team of developers around him who are able to model the Citation CJ4 with all its features. Then Greg spent hundred of hours flight testing it, and fine tuning the aerodynamic performance and engine model until it felt highly accurate and realistic in all phases of flight.
As highlighted to me by Greg, the modeled Citation CJ4 doesn’t come with all kind of 2D popup DUs or options to change certain settings. It doesn’t have the integrated AviTab at this moment and it also doesn’t include an external GPU (Ground Power Unit) object. As Greg explained during the many Skype sessions we had, this modeled Citation CJ4 is a “consumer version” so it will initially offer a taste of what it feels like flying the Citation CJ4, interacting with the in-house developed and modeled ProLine 21 avionics. Using during different phases of flight the start procedure, practicing check lists, operational flows and SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) and so on. I’ll come back later to why the modeled Citation CJ4 doesn’t have 2D popup windows yet and why it has also no AviTab.
The Real Cessna CitationJet/CJ/M2 Series
The Cessna CitationJet/CJ/M2 series are light business jets built by Cessna and part of the Citation family. It was first launched in October 1989, the Model 525 first flight was on April 29, 1991, FAA certification was awarded on October 16, 1992, and first delivery happened on March 30, 1993. Powered by two Williams FJ44s, it uses the Citation II’s forward fuselage with a new carry-through section, wing, and T-tail.
The basic CitationJet model was updated into the CJ1/M2 variants; additionally, CJ1 was stretched into the CJ2/CJ2+ delivered from 2000 to 2016, then further into the CJ3/CJ3+ delivered from December 2004 and finally into the CJ4. It first lifted off on May 5, 2008, from McConnell AFB in Wichita, Kansas and first deliveries started in 2010.
“The six-seat CitationJet is a monoplane with a cantilever wing, a retractable tricycle landing gear and a pressurized cabin. The jet uses the Citation II’s forward fuselage, a new carry-through section, a new laminar flow, supercritical wing developed with NASA and Boeing, and a T-tail. Powered by two 1,900 lbf (8.5 kN) Williams FJ44s, the 10,000 lb (4,500 kg) aircraft has a trailing link undercarriage for smooth landings and can be flown by a single pilot. Range is 1,500 nmi (2,800 km) with four passengers and it can cruise at 437 kn (503 mph; 809 km/h) and a max service ceiling of 41,000 feet.”
“The first CitationJet to have a swept wing. It is based on the Citation Sovereign design. The wing is unusual because it has a very noticeable sweep — 12.5 degrees — of the leading edge but a straight trailing edge. Wing sweep reduces drag when an airplane is flying at Mach .70 or faster because the sweep makes the slipstream behave as though the wing were thinner than it actually is. In general, a swept wing gives up some low-speed lift and can produce unpredictable behavior at the stall. The CJ series of jets is rightly noted for low speeds on takeoff and landing, and docile stall behavior, and Cessna didn’t want to give any of that up, so it split the difference by sweeping only the leading edge.”
“However, the performance of the new wing is more complicated than just its leading-edge sweep angle. The airfoils are proprietary to Cessna and continuously change shape along the span of the wing to optimize performance at each station. The trailing edge of the wing is absolutely blunt and squared off. The edge itself is about half an inch thick and seems to defy what is logical about how a low-drag wing should look. When you run your fingers under the trailing edge, you can feel a subtle concave hollow ahead of the trailing edge, a design that Cessna has sought to protect. The unusual shape of the trailing edge cut overall drag in testing but was most effective in drag reduction during climb. I am constantly amazed by how such seemingly insignificant shape changes can alter the performance of a wing.”
“To qualify for the maximum Mach operating limit (MMo) of .77, Cessna dived the CJ4 to Mach .84, and the experimental test pilots reported that the dive test was one of the smoothest they had conducted. The wing seemed ready for even more speed, but the trim forces trying to push the nose back up reached the test limit.” Courtesy of Flying.
“The CJ1 range is only 1,127 nm. The CJ4 has a range of the 2,165 nm way more range then the entry level CJ1, faster cruising speed 451 Kts, Higher Altitude FL450 … with very powerful, Williams Engines. (3,621 lb of thrust) The CJ4 has the highest thrust to weight ratio in the light jet category !”
As being an active CJ4 pilot, Greg realized that for Citation pilots to stay proficient at home or during prolonged periods of non flying activity caused by the pandemic, something is missing or when it’s not completely missing it’s very expensive to train themselves in “practicing procedures”. Of course, active CJ4 pilots can rent hourly sessions at FlightSafety Intl. on their Flight Simulators in addition to yearly recurrent training.
Greg decided it was time to innovate and that a real need existed for a portable CJ4 ProLine21 procedure trainer that could run on a mid range Laptop computer and could be used to practice and learn the aircraft and the advanced avionics systems.
Netavio is also developing a Pro version for the professional flight simulation market and for Citation jet owners, operators and their pilots.
The Pro version features a desktop avionic console including high resolution displays with vector based ProLine 21 graphics including all related panels and additionally to this the hardware components in a way that real licensed CJ4 pilots can train themselves on the CJ4 or in a similar fashion on the Citation models CJ1, CJ2, CJ3.
The Professional training tool will offer vector based scalable graphics software. These vector based Proline 21 images are scalable to any size without loosing quality and sharpness, something typical to vector based drawings. It’s already extraordinary that the current sold Netavio CJ4 X-Plane consumer version comes with 4K bitmaps for the Proline 21.
Back to Greg’s idea; for pilot procedure training there’s not really a need to have an stunning external 3D model since for active pilots there’s no need for, but Greg and his X-Plane team managed to create a 3D model that looks great, offers high FPS (Frames Per Second) thus a nice balance between the amount of polygons versus frame rate output although some small items are missing. I must immediately add to this that I’d informed Greg about a couple of things I found and hopefully these small “issues” are solved with future updates.
Netavio also plans to offer high quality flight simulation hardware, built and certified to AS9100 Aerospace and ISO 9001 quality standards of the Proline 21.
Their first product, a CDU-3000 keypad unit that could be connected via USB-C to a Mac or PC for a competitive price and very important, it could even qualify for installation in full motion Level D flight sims, certified to FAA standards.
What to Expect?
On behalf of Greg from Netavio, your personal reporter Angelique van Campen is pleased to offer you this comprehensive review. The Netavio Citation CJ4 version 1.05 was review on macOS Big Sur version 11.4 and X-Plane 11.53r1. Additional specifications can be found at the end of this review.
Are you ready?
What’s Not Included
The modeled Cessna Citation CJ4 doesn’t come yet with any additional features. In case you don’t know what I mean with additional features I mean no dedicated Weight and Balance popup window like you see often with other developers, no options to change cockpit features for low PCs like disabling DU reflections, no window reflections and so on. It also offers no GPU (Ground Power Unit) object, no push-back options, also no possibility to change on-the-fly the livery, not able to enable/disable ground objects via a popup window and so on.
Not that this is a problem that it is not included, but it is fair to let you and you may yourself judge about it if these features are important for you or not. Weight and Balance uses the standard XP interface and same for switching liveries. That the Citation CJ4 doesn’t has yet an AviTab option, that’s a bit up to the developer if he wants to include this in his model or not. I want to make clear that the AviTab is a freeware plugin and not related to the Netavio product itself.
The “what’s included” is more important since it deals with the programmed and modeled systems and or textures. I will go deeper into this later, but it’s worth to tell you that the modeled Proline 21 avionics system is dedicated programmed and textured by Netavio. That the bitmaps used for the Proline 21 DUs are 4K instead of the regular 2K bitmaps although you see that other developers are also switching to use 4K textures instead of the regular 2K. And yes, these are 4K bitmap textures for the cockpit instrumentation. Just to highlight; 4K bitmap textures are already used for a while for the external aircraft textures, but 4K for instruments or DUs can be hardly found.
This also means that the Netavio’s Proline 21 avionics system is unique since Laminar Research only offers the Garmin G1000 known as the X1000, and that’s it. In other words, the modeled Netavio Proline 21 is completely build from scratch. Then it’s also worth to tell you that the Auto Pilot, the FMS (Flight management System), engine power management; are all dedicated developed by the Netavio team. Even the wing supercritical profile is developed in-house for this Cessna Citation CJ4.
By the way, the Collins Aerospace Proline 21 FMS 3D CDUs (Control Display Unit) are dedicated modeled and simulate by the Netavio team however, for the time being the 2D popup FMS CDUs are the Laminar Research CDUs. According to Greg this 2D CDU graphics will also be upgraded to emulate the Collins Aerospace Proline 21 FMS formating. For the time being the overall functions between the original Collins CDU and the LR CDU are very similar.
So this “what’s included” section has a lot of impact on the whole Netavio Citation CJ4 since, as far as I can see, many systems are dedicated developed and a lot more is in the pipeline.
Installation and Manuals
The installation of the Netavio Citation CJ4 is straightforward although I hope that with future updates Netavio will decide to include in their Citation CJ4 package a kind of automatic updater like we know from Skunkcrafts or the updater from STMA.
That said, you can buy the Netavio CJ4 from X-Plane.Org, unzip it and copy and paste the unzipped package in the X-Plane Aircraft folder. That’s all folks! The package comes with a paintkit (can be found in the documentations folder – PAINT KIT.psd) and 8 liveries.
The Manuals folder comes with the following Acrobat documents:
– CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE 1.02
– CJ4 AVIONICS 1.01
– CJ4 Checklist 1.01
– CJ4 Emergency Checklist 1.01
– CJ4 – Cabin Interior Design Options
– CJ4 – Opening External Panels Instructions
– CJ4 Limitations 1.0
– CJ4 Limitations FLT OPS 1.0
– CJ4 Performance 1.0
– CJ4 Weight & Balance 1.01
– EULA Netavio 1.0
Let’s highlight some manuals. Perhaps two are important right now. I’m talking about the CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE and the CJ4 AVIONICS.
The startup guide is first needed to familiarize yourself a bit with the installation, recommended X-Plane rendering, cockpit layout, configuring the flight controls, engine start procedure, lighting, flaps and speedbrakes and perhaps the most important part of this document is the quick flight tutorial. It’s not really tutorial where you depart from airport A to airport B, but more a tutorial about important phases like the takeoff, how to deal and program the FMS CDU and how to make different approaches however, what is completely missing in the quick flight tutorial is how to initiate a descent and what to keep in mind or how to calculate things.
In the avionics manual you find everything that has to do with the Proline 21 Avionics System. Since this is the heart of the cockpit, it’s worth it to read it.
The Performance and the Weight & Balance manuals are nice and for the serious simmer important although I personally would love to see that it also comes with examples how to calculate or find things in a table. The same applies for the weight and balance manual. I think the W and B manual is nice, as real as it gets I would say, but as it is presented in this way I hardly believe it’s used. As it is now, simmers will use the default X-Plane W and B function.
The other manuals speak for themselves.
I could write that all small business jets looks like each other, but a closer look tells me that the real Cessna Citation CJ4 and Embraer Phenom 300 differ a lot, but when you compare other Cessna Citation jets with each other, you see some similarities. When you compare the modeled Citation CJ4 with drawings or photos you can’t miss it. And it must be said that from a distance the Netavio Citation CJ4 looks gorgeous.
And, let me say something about weathering or scratches or dents. All CJ4 close-up photos I’d seen show me always gorgeous very well maintained CJ4s. Although not all CJ4 aircraft are privately owned, they mostly look as new. They are clean and kept clean so you hardly find a real CJ4 that has weathered paint or scratches. That said, the modeled Netavio CJ4 are all coming with liveries that look as factory new and compared to the real CJ4, I think this is also correctly painted/simulated. Besides that, it’s also something what the developer wants.
As mentioned before, there’s no popup window that allows you to select panels and/or doors to open/close them. That said, when I want to do my inspection, I would like to open all panels and doors or exits. The only door that can be opened from the inside/outside is the passenger door. Click near the EXIT handle and the door opens. As of this moment, the door travel time is way too fast, but I’d informed Greg already about this and with the next update this will be modified to a more realistic opening/closing speed.
For all the other panels, doors or exits to open/close, you need, for now, assign these via the X-Plane keyboard configuration menu. All possible animations can be found at page 39 of the CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE. A bit of extra work, but you have to do it only once. Netavio will offer in a future update this opening/closing of panels and doors via a popup window or in another way.
My Citation CJ4 Inspection
Time to start with my walk-around inspection. I’ve assigned all the panels/doors as described on page 39 of the STARTUP GUIDE and ready to start. I start, as usual, at the nose of the CJ4. With the opened front luggage panels I also have an internal look in the fuselage nose luggage section. Lucky that the interior of this area is also covered with textures. The NLG (Nose Landing Gear) with wheel assembly is modeled with eye for details although not every component is added like for example the wiring, but overall I’m happy with it.
For the screenshots of my walk-around inspection I’d used a new livery named T1 Surfair that belongs to the updated Citation CJ4 package 1.06. Besides the T1 Surfair livery, version 1.06 comes with a couple of more liveries; T2 Tesla, T3 Red, T4 Silver and T5 Tuxedo.
Depending on the livery you’ve chosen, you see the rivets of the Alu skin plates more or less, but some rivets/screws are missing like the ones around the cockpit windshield panels. I’d informed Greg about this and hopefully this will be included in the next update. I doesn’t cost any frame rates, it only cost a bit of time to add them. As mentioned before, the liveries are all showing you a clean and brand new Citation CJ4 which is in my humble opinion for this business jet correct.
With the passenger door opened and the stair extended I also have a quick look in the cabin. If you don’t like the high glossy look of the wooden interior or not, real photos showed me the same. It’s not my personal taste, but it is as real as it gets, but later more about the internal modeled virtual cabin.
With the passenger door opened and the stair unfolded, I come to the conclusion that many details are visible like for example the locking indicators although not operative, the door locking pins and although these aren’t animated, they aren’t forgotten. You may think that the internal door cover looks a bit weird, it is in real also a plastic creme colored cover, so it’s correctly modeled. On the inner creme colored door panel there’s also the instruction and text decal, but these aren’t readable. Is that a problem? Not at all, but just to let you know. The unfolded stair may look basic – not covered with photo-real texture material – but in real it’s also a basic stair so I can’t complain since tiny details aren’t forgotten.
Via the LH wing leading edge I walk towards the wingtip. I’ll check out the MLG (Main Landing gear) when I’ve checked the wing trailing edge, so no worries that I’ve forgotten it. What I do notice is a highly polished circle on the outside fuselage wall underneath the 3rd passenger window. after checking real photos it turned out to be a light unit. Since within this polish circle nothing is modeled, I informed Greg about it, but he was already aware of it and should be solved with the first update.
As I noticed when walking along the LH fuselage and looking over the wing structure, and knowing that the skin is made of Aluminum panels riveted together to the ribs, I hardly see anything of this. Although Cessna tries to create as smooth as possible aluminum skin since it saves fuel due to air resistance, I must say that I’d expected to see a bit more the rivets and skin plates.
The wing leading edge is a clean Aluminum and polished part that’s heated whenever needed by the anti-icing system. Therefore no paint, and glossy. Is it correct? It is perfectly modeled! Arriving at the wing tip I spot the presence of the navigation and strobe light unit but a small note; I find the overall tip construction with components a bit too much rugged in reducing the amount of polygons. A bit more polygons would give the overall a bit nicer shape, and yes, I know, it’s partly my personal opinion and Netavio 3d designers shaved down the amount of polygons in favor of the frame rates.
Via the wing trailing edge I move towards the fuselage and engine inlet, passing the aileron with the static dischargers, and the FLAP linkages. These FLAPS are actually hinged and when extended, they are hinged down which is totally different then the FLAPS of the larger commercial aircraft that have mostly a Fowler flap system. Although not extended for my walk-around inspection, the AFT wing structure also houses the speedbrake and ground spoiler panels.
What I like about the engine inlet and exhaust are the well modeled inlet fan and turbine exhaust. I only hope that – which is clearly visible on real photos – the 3D modeler will add the rivets to the engine cowling and to the NML file. I do see the different skin plates, but no rivets or whatsoever. Real photo’s confirm that this should be visible.
When reaching the tail I got a couple of problems. I need a stair else I can never inspect the T tail and then in particular the horizontal stabilizer with elevators. Before I forget it; the RH aileron has a trim tab, the LH aileron has no trim tab, and further on, the rudder has a trim tab as well as both elevators. I didn’t look it up yet, but I’m sure these are trim tabs and not balance tabs. All the trim tabs move and animate via the cockpit center console, secondary trim switches or via the yoke trim switch.
Anyway, I’ve got my stair so I’m able to inspect the elevators and horizontal stabilizer. Although the overall is well modeled, the “horn” on the front of the vertical stabilizer is in my humble opinion also a bit too rugged and I hope that also for this, that with a future update a bit more shape can be given to the horn. And yes, I know what Greg told me and I also know that using too many polygons will reduce the frame rates.
Via the RH tail, engine and wing I return to the nose, but before I reach the front of the CJ4, I need to check how the MLG is modeled. And I can tell you that it’s full with tiny details like the wiring, the brake lines, the main gear strut, the MLG actuator, the brakes, brake wear pins and so on. Personally I would love to see a bit more dirt on the MLG and brake assembly since this clean, that’s only when it’s brand new and not used, but OK, that’s a personal taste. That the decals on the front of the shock absorber are blurry, is something that doesn’t bother me. The overall gear looks great.
Before I continue to the virtual cabin and cockpit, I would like to inform you that the issues I found like the polished circles with nothing in it, the up-side-down NO STEP on the top of the wings near the fuselage, the fuel filler caps, are all addressed by Greg and passed forward to their 3D graphics designer. That said, I hope that all these external issues are solved with the next update.
It’s time to move inside and check out how the virtual cabin looks like and the 3D cockpit.
The Virtual Cabin
With the passenger door open, you can literally walk into the virtual cabin. By the way, you’ve got two possibilities how the virtual cabin looks like. Let me first show you two examples of the virtual cabin with on the left-hand side cabin version I and on the right-hand version II.
You will find the description how to achieve this in the “CJ4 – Cabin Interior Design Options” Acrobat manual. It’s a matter of taste what you prefer. The virtual cabin looks as real as it gets. Period! I compared the modeled virtual cabin with real photos and I must say that it’s in real also a full leather interior, with polish Maple burl wood and carpet on the floor. A note from Greg; “It’s actually just birdseye maple burl veneers for now, all around. Birdseye Maple has a rare characteristic found in hard maple trees. Only about 1 percent of all maple trees contain the Birdseye Maple. Sycamore and other rarer exotic wood veneers are planned for a future update.”
So yes, I’m happy with what I see, but the modeled cabin doesn’t come with any animations, at least, I tried with my mouse to click on several “expected” parts, but nothing happened. That said, you can’t store the table for takeoff and landing, the window curtains aren’t animated or actually, I didn’t see any curtains, and in the galley no drawers or doors are animated. I think I also missed the lavatory unless the Citation CJ4 isn’t equipped with it.
Just to make this clear, for me a virtual cabin is nice, and that’s it. I’m more interested in a well modeled cockpit and how real aircraft and navigation systems are modeled, but I know for some simmers the virtual cabin is important for them too. Therefore I highlighted my virtual cabin checks, but keep in mind what the Netavio team had in mind that this CJ4 was initially to be a tool for active Citation CJ4 pilots to train themselves in procedures. To do that, you only need the Proline 21 avionics systems and flight model to be simulated, not a complete cabin. So their design goal was and still is to model a high quality Proline 21 navigation system.
Modeled Daylight Cockpit Conditions
I still remember the moment I got from Greg the first CJ4 package to check it out. The first thing I noticed – I don’t know all the interiors of these business jets – was the very basic grey look of the instrument panels, the glare-shield, the creme colored sidewalls and the basic grey pedestal till I searched the Internet for real photos and guess what, it’s looks exactly as it is in the Netavio Citation CJ4 cockpit.
Impressive isn’t it?
What said before , ignore the lighting on the photos between the real versus the modeled CJ4. It’s always difficult to get the same image lighting and composition, but instead look to the sidewall, the armrest, the grey instrument panel and pedestal as well as the black glare-shield. That all the panels I see as well as the Collins Proline 21 DU frames are brand new without any weathering or used spots is partly as it is in real, but on the other hand, I personally would love to see some weathering or used spots, in particular around knobs.
This is a business jet with a base price of $10,195,000, so I can imagine that the owners and their pilots are trying to keep this aircraft as clean and new as possible. Therefore it doesn’t surprise me that the modeled Citation CJ4 looks as new.
The overall cockpit is modeled with eye for all the tiny details you can image. Let me give you some examples; the red guards over the switches, the text on the LH and RH circuit breaker panels as well as the circuit breakers which are by the way, not animated so no function is assigned to them. Although you probably won’t look to these, but the screws on the control column are awesomely modeled, but there’s more. The text every found in the cockpit is razor sharp and for example the buttons on the CCP (Cursor Control Panel) are modeled as real as it gets. Try it yourself and have a close look to these buttons, your finger rests inside the button. I know, it’s just a small details but great to see.
That the cockpit looks so “clean” has to do with the large DUs of the Proline 21 Avionics System. The Proline 21 comprises the PFD (Primary Flight Display), MFD (Multi Function Display), belonging CCP and DCP (Cursor and Display Control panels), the FGP (Flight Guidance Panel) and the Collins CDUs (Control Display Units). As with package version 1.05 non of the Proline 21 components have 2D popups except for the Collins CDUs although these popups are the default Laminar Research MCDUs.
According to Greg; “Collins DCP, CCP and FGP popups are in the making and will be made available later this summer for the consumer edition.”
Besides the Proline 21 equipment, there’s not much more in the cockpit. Ok, you find several switching panels beneath the PFDs and MFDs, on each side the ACPs (Audio Control Panel) and of course the pedestal with the engine throttles, engine controls, speedbrake and flap control, trims and external and internal lighting. I noticed while exploring the cockpit panels and systems that not everything is animated/simulated. Some examples; the non animated circuit breakers, the cockpit voice recorder panel, the ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter), some items on the CCPs and the Auxiliary Gear Control PUSH/PULL covers.
Further on I must say that the pilot seats are well modeled including the pilots harness, however the pilot seats are not covered with sheep wool, but just leather and honestly, I’m also not sure if all CJ4 pilot seats are covered with sheep wool. The floor carpet looks pretty realistic as well as the pedals. The pilot seats have no animation like for example controlling the arm rest. Talking about animations; the sun visors in this Citation CJ4 package version 1.05 are currently not animated. So you can’t control them with your mouse, they are in the stowed upright position.
To remove the CJ4 control yokes and columns you can simply use the default X-Plane keyboard command “y” key or you do this via X-Plane menu Flight – Toggle Yoke Visibility.
Some final words about the cockpit lighting and the ProLine 21 integral DU lighting. The panel integral lighting and the DU lighting is controlled via three rheostats from the pedestal, situated just below the two Collins CDUs. As expected, the LH and RH PFD-MFD rheostats are not independently configured. In real they do, but in the modeled CJ4 they aren’t when you dim the LH PFD-MFD, the RH PFD-MFD are dimmed too and visa versa. The middle rheostat controls the avionic panels backlit integral lighting. Very nice to see.
On the ceiling I found three rheostats, they are intended to control the cockpit flood- and map lights. What I couldn’t figure out is what ceiling bulb is doing what. I’m also not sure if the ceiling bulb are actually working. One thing is working for sure and that is the lighting itself.
Summarizing ; a clean and well modeled cockpit with eye for all kind of tiny details although a bit of weathering around knobs or the most common buttons would be an idea.
Using the Proline 21
I could include “Using the Proline 21” in one of my flights, but since it’s something new and completely modeled in-house by Netavio, I find it a good idea to discuss it a bit in more detail. To do that, I use the Acrobat checklist which is a part of the package. The real Collins Proline 21 does have a build in electronic checklist, but this feature is not yet implemented. According to Greg it will be available soon. I couldn’t find “yet” a clist text file what can be used in combination with the XChecklist plugin from Sparker. If a clist becomes available when still writing this review, I let you know.
So for now I need to use the included checklist which is by the way a full extraction from the Section III – Operating Procedures Normal Procedures. The checklist included is actually an approved TC – FAA abbreviated version for commercial operators.
I also noticed and when you select the BAT to ON, all Proline 21 Avionics System components are directly powered except the CDU’s. I found this a bit odd since powering all these DU’s, and associated computers will cost a lot of electrical power. I also noticed that the attitude info on the PFD (sphere) and HDG on the NAV MAP on the lower section of the PFD and MFD are already active. After checking this YouTube movie (youtu.be/swLwahgaxoQ) I noticed that the reality is different. So I decided to contact Greg and ask him how to see this. According to Greg “the modeled CJ4 has a kind of AHRS (Attitude Heading Reference System) auto align instantly on power up and isn’t yet simulated as it is in real.” This will be a part of the Pro version.
I could describe everything I see on the PFDs, and the MFD and related control panels, but this is very well documented in the CJ4 AVIONICS 1.01 and CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE 1.02 manuals. The AVIONICS manuals explains in great detail everything you need to know about the PFD and possible settings or changes while the STARTUP GUIDE is actually a quick flight tutorial, but it also explains in-depth how to use the FMS CDU for basic VOR and FMS navigation. Further more, it contains an example how to create and thus enter manually a flight plan, but you can also load a flight plan made by yourself. Remember that Netavio’s flight plans should be saved in the X-Plane 11 default fms format.
I mentioned it before, but for now the created Proline 21 Avionics System has no 2D popups except for the CDU, but that shows you the default X-Plane 11 MCDU. “Collins DCP, CCP and FGP popups are in the making and will be made available later this summer for the consumer edition.”
“The Pro version will offer in addition PFD, MFD and CDU popups with scalable vector graphics that can run on separate displays and computers all linked to the main flight simulation PC, thus reflecting the “NET – AVIO “ motto.”
Ok, back to where I started.
With the BAT switch ON, the Proline 21 PFDs, MFDs and the Standby Flight Display are powered and systems are aligned. This means the PFD sphere is correctly positions and HDG info is available. The lower half of the PFD and MFD shows the NAV MAP ROSE mode. When the AVIONICS switch is placed in ON – the DISPATCH switch position is not modeled – the CDU’s are powered as well as that the instrumentation cooling fans are started which can is noticeable due to the sound they produce.
Notice that when you use the left-hand DCP (Display Control Panel) you’ll also see the same changes happening on the right-hand PFD. Example; when you click the LH (RH) DCP NAV button you switch between VOR1, VOR2 and FMS, that this also happens on the RH (LH) PFD. Normally this shouldn’t be the case, but Netavio has chosen for this in the consumer version not to split the indications on the Captain and Co-Pilot PFDs and MFDs. This will be for the Pro version, but there’s according to Greg also another reason for this approach. First of all, the Citation CJ4 is certified to fly in a single pilot configuration and splitting all it would mean a significant negative impact on the frame rates since more calculations are needed.
Another example; when you click the LH (RH) DCP PFD MENU button a popup window appears on both PFDs and allows you to change the look of the lower PFD part (NAV MAP). You can either select the ROSE, ARC or PPOS (Present Position) This is done with the middle selector knob by placing your mouse on the left or right till you see a small arc. When you’ve set what you want – ROSE, ARC or PPOS – you confirm your change by pressing the knob. When you place your mouse a bit further from the selector knob, a large arc will be visible and this allows you to move from the FORMAT to the CONTROLS section. And again, all changes you do on the LH (RH) PFD are mirrored on the other PFD.
This behavior is basically the same when you use the CCP (Cursor Control Panel), but now you control what you see on the MFD. Only exception on the MFD is the upper part of the LH versus RH MFDs. The RH MFD shows CAS (Crew Alerting System) information while the LH MFD shows you in the upper section EICAS (Engine Indicating and Crew Alerting System).
When you’re familiar with e.g. Boeing aircraft you recognize this. EICAS and CAS shows the crew what system needs your attention, or your immediate action or just to inform you that a system is in the ON position. When you’re familiar with Airbus aircraft which we call ECAM (Electronic Centralized Aircraft Monitoring) then you see again some similarities however, ECAM is a way more advanced crew alerting system then EICAS with CAS.
I mentioned already the non split system of the PFDs, MFDs and their control panels. The same is also for the FGP (Flight Guidance Panel). When you select on the left-hand side of the FGP the FD (Flight Director) button, the V-bar appears on the left-hand and right-hand PFD, so also no split function. When you don’t like the V-bar or not used to it and prefer the regular ROLL and PITCH cross bars, then select from the DCP the lower section CONTROLS – turn the outer knob to CONFIG, then press the button, select the outer ring to FLT DIR where it shows V-BAR. Then turn the inner knob to X-PTR and click the button once more. You’ve changed the FD indication from V-bars to a ROLL-PITCH cross bars.
Although this is just one example, this is how you can change functions on the PFD or MFD. When you want to go one step back, press on the DCP/CCP the ESC (escape) button.
While playing around with the Proline 21 panels I noticed that several buttons on the CCP are not operative. Just to give you an idea; on the CCP the DATABASE, NAV DATA, CHART, CKLST, ZOOM, MEM1-2-3 etc. buttons aren’t functional. Most likely this will be active in the Pro version, to be released later. The panel above the FGP known is the reversionary Switch Panel it isn’t simulated in the consumer version.
I think this is it for the moment regarding the functionality of the cockpit panels and the Proline 21 Avionics System. For sure I’ll come back when I do my flight.
First, you and I will create a flight plan. I could do that by entering waypoint by waypoint in the CDU, but you can also create a flight plan via one of the many online or offline flight planning programs. You can use Simbrief, or the offline Little NavMap program, but you can also use SkyVector.
I asked Greg for a flight plan which he flew not long ago from Canada, via the Azores, Portugal, Spain to France. Although this flight wasn’t flown with a Citation CJ4, I see it as a challenge flying it once more for this review however, the review will only cover the flight from the Azores to France. Actually, the flight plan for this sample flight will be as follows: LPLA – REGLA1B – REGLA – H121 – BAVAS – 39N020W – GUNTI – XANEL – PESUL – ADORO – UL155 – ZMR – UN976 – DGO – UL176 – CEGAM – UL176 – SSN – UP181 – URUNA – R10 – SAU – T19 – LASVO – LFSL
This means that we depart from LPLA (Lajes Field or Lajes Air Base – Azores) and fly to LFSL (Brive–Souillac Airport) which is an international airport located 13 kilometres south of Brive-la-Gaillarde, a commune of the Corrèze department in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region of France)
As you can see in the above flight plan a SID (Standard Instrument Departure) is already added. Normally a “clean” flight plan doesn’t come with a SID or STAR (Standard Terminal Arrival Route). A clean flight plan only consist of the departure and arrival airport connected with waypoints, VOR/DME- or TACAN stations. Depending on mainly environmental conditions, ATC decides which runway is in use and based on this you decide which SID will be used. In this case I use for my departure from LPLA SID REGLA1B. Check out the following screenshot.
As you can see, I’ve also chosen runway 33 for my takeoff which means that I use SID REGLA1B and not REGLA1D since 1D is for runway 15. An additional note when you add a SID to your flight plan. You first assign the runway and then the SID. Later on, in flight when you decide to use a STAR, you then first assign the STAR and then the runway, so the other way around.
Using SkyVector – LittleNavMap – Onboard CJ4 FMS CDU
Many options are possible as previously explained. It’s not really my task to explain all possible options and how to create a flight plan, but I would like to highlight a few. The first one which is used for real flight planning is SkyVector. When you’ve used it before, then I assume you have an account. Please register for SkyVector, it’s free, and it allows you to save flight plans and send them you your given email address. When you’re new to SkyVector, then this URL will help you understanding how SkyVector works.
Anyway, perhaps the biggest disadvantage of SkyVector is that you can only save your flight plan in “fpl” format. That’s nice, but not for us since we need a flight plan with format “fms” since that’s what is needed for the Netavio CJ4. To convert the “fpl” file to “fms” format you need to search for X-Planetools.Com. Surf to this website and click the “Convert Online Flightplans” button and enter the data from your SkyVector flight plan. When you’re new to this online program, scroll to the bottom and check out the YouTube movie “Using Flight Plan Converter”. At then end you will save it to fms format.
Another possibility is using the offline and therefore the downloadable package from Alexander with his Little Navmap. Since the flight plan is known, you’re basically doing the same as what I did with the SkyVector program. You enter your departing and arrival airports including all the waypoints. Then save it within Little Navmap and export the created flight plan as X-Plane 11. A note to this is that try to keep your AIRAC cycles for the CJ4 and Little Navmap up-to-date. Actually, you don’t keep the CJ4 NAV Data Base (DB) up-to-date, you need to keep the X-Plane 11 AIRAC up-to-date since the Netavio doesn’t use an own AIRAC DB.
In case you’re not sure if both X-Plane and the Little NavMap are using the same AIRAC cycle, you can check the cycle or dates in the Netavio CJ4 as follows. Via the build in CDU at the STATUS page, click LSK1L or when the startup page of the CDU is available, then via the IDX keyboard button and then LSK1L. The INDEX or STATUS page doesn’t show you the AIRAC cycle number but only the dates from/to. For Little Navmap you go to the Scenery Library and find on the second line of the menu which AIRAC cycle is installed.
The Flight – Introduction
I explained already in my previous sections about the use of the included Netavio checklist, so no need to start all over again with this, but it makes sense that we need to follow the checklist before I’m able to start the engines and additional steps. By the way; Greg and his team are working to include an electronic checklist in the Proline 21 which will be soon available via an update, so that’s good news, right?
Back to the checklist. You could do it all via the checklist, but an additional look in the Quick Flight Tutorial (STARTUP GUIDE) is also a good idea. You either print this Acrobat document or you load it to a tablet or iPad or second monitor if applicable.
Before I forget it, I would like to share with you the following regarding the data entered in the CDU. You can’t enter the TO speeds in the CDU. This can be done in two ways. First the easiest way. Click the REFS MENU button on the DCP. The V Speeds popup window appears on the PFD. The second way is done via the DCP PFD MENU button, followed by CONTROLS (turn the outer ring of the knob till) – REFS and then click the center of the knob.
A new popup window shows you the TO speeds. When the cyan (sea blue) square is at for example V1 you can change the value of the V1 by turning the inner knob in a clockwise or counter clockwise direction and so on to the next VR and V2. When you’re done, click the ESC button on the DCP as much as needed till the popup window is out of view.
The other thing I would like to highlight is that you shouldn’t forget to enter your cruising altitude. Since the clock function (ET button on the DCP) of this writing isn’t functional yet, times can be read from the FMS CDU PROG page unless you’ve forgotten to enter your cruising altitude. You enter your cruizing altitude as follows; on the 3D build in Collins CDU via the FLPN button, followed by LSK 6R (VNAV>). Enter in the scratchpad the value, either 280 ore 28000 and click LSK R. When you use the 2D popup Laminar Research MCDU, you click the CRZ button, enter the value in the scratchpad and select again LSK R. According to Greg “the ET or clock function becomes soon available too”.
The Flight – Engine Start and Taxi
As in the previous section said, you can, no you must use the checklist item by item, but it’s also a good idea to read the engine start procedure in the CJ4 STARTUP GUIDE section “Starting the Engine – Quick Flight Tutorial”. You’ll notice that the engine start is quiet easy and very straightforward. Since the Williams engines are dedicated modeled by Netavio, I could say that there’s not much to monitor since the FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) takes care for everything including problems during the engine start, but let’s not make it too complicated for the first time and lets hope the engines will start normally. The steps in the quick flight tutorial are well documented, so I’d expect no problems.
Oops, what did I say .. no need to monitor the engine parameters during engine start? Yes I did, but the steps to follow do say that in case the ITT (Inlet Turbine Temperature) approaches 1000 degrees C or no N1 rotation with 25 percent N2, you need to abort the engine start. Knowing FADECs on large commercial engines I can imagine that the FADEC is faster in detecting failures like these two above then humans are, but that’s my personal opinion.
Just a side note; on page 11 of the STARTUP GUIDE is written the abbreviation of FADEC namely Full Authority Digital Electronic Control however, I know from my own experience that it stands for Full Authority Digital Engine Control. Although it’s just a small item to highlight, I ask Greg about it and we both check several manuals and it turned out the Williams Engines and Cessna speak about Engine Control while Collins speaks about Electronic Control. Who’s right, who’s wrong? Not so important, but now you know a bit the background who uses what.
After both engines are started and stabilized the AFTER START CHECK list follows. Number 3 of the list says “External Power” should be disconnected however, unless I’m wrong, the current CJ4 doesn’t come with a DC GPU (Direct Current Ground Power Unit) 3D object. This is literally taken from the real checklist but not “yet” implemented in the modeled CJ4 package. This part of the checklist is directly followed by the Taxi Checklist. I guess that item 9 (Trims … 3/Set) is a basic item for general purposes and I assume it refers to the stabilizer position.
The takeoff briefing is, as it can be in real, something you have to do alone. Not that I know all what to do, but basically you know for yourself that an engine failure before V1 means abort the TO. An engine failure after V1 means continue with the takeoff, accelerate to VR and rotate, positive rate , Gear Up and maintain an airspeed of V2 (monitor for this the PFD V2 indication), minimum flaps up when clear of obstacles and then accelerate to V2 +10. Then address other emergency procedures – set squawk code to 7700 and level off. Wait for further instructions. But I’m also aware that when you fly offline, you’re free in what you do, but give it a try to rehears these things before the takeoff.
But there’s more you need to do. When you choose to follow a SID, what and how to fly following the your flight plan or did ATC give you instructions to maintain a runway heading and an initial altitude. I know, in real you can’t make any mistake, on your X-Plane sim PC is all a bit easier, but try to strive to reality! Taxiing from the apron parking place to runway 33 goes well. I didn’t notice any weird things, so nothing to worry about.
The Flight – Takeoff, Climb
After you’ve verified your takeoff speeds, you’re ready to go. Check once more the checklist and prepare yourself for what has to be done after takeoff. When aligned with the runway, click the HDG button on the FGP so the HDG bug on the NAV MAP aligns with the runway. You can also set a certain V/S (Vertical Speed) on the FGP which gives you the possibility to set the AP while climbing out and where the AP maintains then the selected HDG (runway heading) and V/S. Don’t forget to enter already your first level-off altitude.
And yes, you set your altitude on the FGP while the output – the value you selected – can be seen on the PFD. Mostly ATC – I know, you’re perhaps flying offline – will tell you to maintain the runway heading, climb out to a certain altitude and when you’re lucky you may resume to your own navigation which is in my case following the flight plan. But it’s also possible that you’d entered a SID (Standard Instrument Departure) in the flight plan and filled it when flying online and you’re allowed by ATC to follow this before connecting to the first actual waypoint.
Are you ready for the takeoff?
The CJ4 isn’t equipped with Auto Throttle so you manually need to advance the throttles till the N1 shows around 100 percent. As I mentioned before, there’s no Auto Throttle, but there’s a TO/GA button on the throttles. This can be used and mapped to a keyboard – joystick key to set the FD to a pitch up to +10 deg for takeoff. I’ll explain you later with some screenshots how to change the FD (Flight Director) V-bars with the PITCH-ROLL bars. It’s a matter of taste what you like.
I have ATC clearance or when offline, nobody is on the runway, V speeds are shown on the PFD, I have no CAS messages (Crew Alerting System) on the RH MFD, and checklist is done so I’m cleared for takeoff.
I set the NAV MAP on the PFD to ROSE while on the MFD I’d set the ARC or PPOS. You may also select on the PFD the ARC, but not PPOS. Using the FMS for my flight, I noticed that it’s very difficult to see the very thin magenta line on the MFD with FMS active. Oops, that’s confusing, right?
When you set the NAV mode to FMS you see both on the PFD and MFD the thick magenta lines. When you’d selected also on the MFD the ARC mode, then the thin flight plan magenta line can’t be seen anymore due to the thick FMS magenta line, however when you set the MFD to PPOS, then the thick magenta line (referring to the HSI magenta needle) is gone and what’s left is the thin magenta line of the flight plan. It’s still difficult to see, but better then having also the FMS CDI magenta line in view. According to Greg “Yes, PPOS mode is not approved in real life for navigation on the PFD. It’s against SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures) because you could loose situational awareness. You can put it on the MFD. but never allowed on PFD!”
Anyway, the takeoff goes well. It’s not difficult to maintain the CJ4 on the runway and while monitoring the PFD speeds, I gently pull my flight stick or whatever hardware you’re using to get a pitch up of roughly 10 degrees by following the FD V-bar or PITCH bar. The only problem for now is that things aren’t so easy to see on both the PFD and MFD, in particular on the MFD. I mentioned this also before that the Pro version will have popup windows which will be scalable.
When you have a stable climb, trim the CJ4 and don’t click the AP button yet. Try to fly the CJ4 manually, either by following the SEL HDG or when you click the NAV button on the FGP, the FD will tell you in which direction you need to steer to go into the direction of the flight plan. When the CJ4 is trimmed you’ll notice that it follows the intended flight path as expected. While climbing out, reduce the throttles to the CLB detent, and if you wish, you can engage the AP, but it stays important that you keep on monitoring the IAS on the PFD since there’s no control of maintaining the IAS unless you’re using the FLC mode.
When you’re AP is engaged, you either fly in HDG HLD (Heading Hold) and V/S mode or in NAV (FMS connected to the AP) and V/S or PTCH mode. As said before, when you fly offline, you’re as free as a bird which means you can set NAV and V/S and let the CJ4 climb out to the first assigned altitude you’d entered before at the FGP.
A note about when to engage the AP. In the following manual (see URL below) from the Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association I found a note that the AP is not engaged before 300 feet AGL (the height Above Ground Level). Interested in this link? Check it out via this URL.
Perhaps you’ve seen it already on my previous screenshots, and I wrote it before, the CJ4 has no Auto Throttle which means you can’t set an IAS. Oops, let me go one step back.
As said, I’m climbing out, leaving the Azores behind me, to my first assigned altitude which is 8000 feet or FL (Flight Level) 080. I climb out with the AP engaged in NAV and V/S. The V/S is set to 1800 feet/min and I try to maintain a IAS of 250 knots, assuming that the GEAR is retracted and FLAPS retracted if you had them set to 15 degrees. Actually, the FLAP handle has three positions; 0 (retracted and used for takeoff), 15 (used for approach or takeoff) and 35 (landing) degrees, but it should be noted that the FLAPS aren’t really needed for TO when the runway is longer then 5000 feet.
Ok, still with me?
I leave the FGP settings as previously described till the CJ4 levels off at FL080. Since I’m still below FL100, I need to maintain a maximum IAS of 250 while above FL100, I can increase my speed to 300 knots. Ok, I’ve leveled off at FL080, and following the flight plan since I’m in NAV mode with on the PFD and MFD the magenta FMS lines. My PFD shows the ARC or ROSE while the MFD shows me the PPOS which gives me a better look of the flight plan.
I will not maintain FL080, so I enter FL190 as second cruise level on the FGP, and click the FLC (Flight Level Change – vertical climb/descent mode) button. Besides that, I enter an IAS with the Speed knob below the FLC button. You see this on the PFD which IAS you’ve entered. The CJ4 will climb again with “a” vertical speed and maintains the selected IAS as set on the FGP. While the CJ4 starts climbing to FL190, monitor your IAS. If it drops below the entered value, apply a bit more thrust and do that gently since the Williams engines respond quickly. Before reaching FL190, I change the altitude to my final cruising level which is for this flight FL280.
A quick rehearsal regarding the different modes that can be used. I used V/S (Vertical Speed) and FLC (Flight Level Change), but you can also use PTCH mode. Actually, the PTCH mode enables you to set the PITCH bar or V-BAR to a certain pitch angle above the horizon. Added by Greg “PTCH mode enables you to set V-BAR pitch angle above the horizon, then on take off you would climb at +10 deg or +12 deg for certain departures. Then you switch to FLC mode to accelerate to 240 -250 KIAS and then level off according to your departure procedure.”
Just to clarify; the PTCH function is not a button or whatsoever on the FGP. The PTCH mode is activated the moment you select the V/S wheel to UP/DOWN when in FLC mode or by pressing the VS button twice. When you turn the V/S wheel, the vertical speed needle moves and stops depending how much you’ve turned the wheel. On the PFD you can clearly see you’re in the PTCH mode.
Further on I used during my climb the HDG SEL/HLD modes and NAV which is actually the known LNAV mode although not mentioned in that way in the CJ4. Perhaps you’ve noticed that the FGP also has a VNAV button, but this one is in the CJ4 not used during climb, but only during the descent and approach however, as of this writing – June 2021 – this Auto Flight function is according to Greg left out because of …..
- VNAV implementation is sometimes accurate, sometimes it’s way off. It is waiting for the FMS/NAV SDK to know how and when the triangulation calculation steps in for starting the TOD descent.
- to reduce complexity for now, use of VNAV mode isn’t required in the flight testing.
- Netavio wanted to make the simmer feel at home with all the different modes and to master them.
The Flight – Cruise
When the CJ4 reaches FL280, it levels nicely off, the FLC function on the FGP disables, ALT HLD becomes active and the speed or Mach value should be maintained manually. The Mach value is shown directly under the PFD SPD scale. I try to maintain a Mach value of 0.7.
As you can see in the section “Flight Preparations” I fly a long time above the Atlantic with no VOR/DME stations available. This means that tuning a VOR/DME station on the main land (Portugal) isn’t useful. I could tune for a VOR/DME on the Azores, but that’s not very useful except that it can be used as a reference. In other words, I’m a bit tuck above the Atlantic, I don’t see much, and what I see are some clouds, and when I’m lucky I see the Atlantic below me. Greg on the other hand advised and he’s right in this that when you want to learn to fly IFR you’d better “yes, full IFR in the clouds, and you set your ceiling at 200 feet AGL so you fly from point to point focusing on IFR procedures and break visual at the decision height on an ILS then it’s very satisfactory when you see the runway markers or lights through the fog.”
Although this part of the flight – cruising – seems a bit boring, it’s also a good moment you fiddle around with all the Proline 21 adjustments. That said, I try out all the popups on the PFD and MFD. I discussed this before, on the DCP (the display panel for the for PFD) and CCP (the display panel for the for MFD) you can change for some items the look. By the way, but I’m sure you’ve seen that yourself, you can also make the necessary changes on the MFD via the DCP CCP button. Try it yourself!
I noticed while relaxing a bit the following while cruising and was wondering why I have the AOA (Angle Of Attack) display on the PFD. While I had a chat with Greg he told me that “the AOA display is not used for navigation really, so we never use it. Actually, it is only used during the flare.”
Suppose you see during your flights the AOA display and wondering why it is there, then please check out the following. Click on the DCP the PFD MENU button. Turn the outer ring of the knob till the cyan square is at the CONFIG position. Then click/press the center of the knob and a new popup appears. The third in line shows that the AOA display is always ON by default, right? Next, turn the outer ring till the cyan square is at the AOA line, following by turning the inner ring till the AUTO is active. All is set, but to remove the popup window on the PFD you click the ESC button twice on the DCP.
During my flight I could play a bit with VOR/DME stations, but as long as I’m still above the Atlantic, there’s no VOR/DME station till I reach the coast of Portugal, but perhaps I can give it a try before. When I’ve passed waypoint XANEL, and on my way to waypoint PESUL, I could tune for reference VOR stations like LIS (Lisbon 114.80), FTM (Fatima 113.50) or VIS (Viseu 113.10). Now we now this, how can we achieve this?
Via the DCP click the PFD MENU button. With the middle knob on the DCP outer ring turn the outer ring to BRG SRC (Bearing Source). Then press the knob and select for BRG PTR 1 (Bearing Pointer 1) VOR1 and do the same for BRG PNT 2 but then VOR2. Then click the ESC button twice. Irrespective if you have the ROSE or ARC mode, you’ll notice that the NAV MAP shows now the bearing to VOR1 (single pointer) and VOR2 (double pointer). Remember that this shows you the bearing to these VOR/DME stations. This way no DME – if applicable – information is shown. This DME information will only be available when you change from FMS NAV mode (magenta) to VOR1 (green) or VOR2 (yellow). Check out the following movie I compiled for you.
What else can I add to this cruise flight?
At a certain moment I was wondering where to find the amount of fuel, at least, where to find it on the MFD. When you know it, it’s easy else you’re looking for a FUEL button on the CCP or whatsoever, which doesn’t exist.
On the LH MFD you see the expanded or compressed ENGINE parameters with the FUEL quantity in LBS. So not in kilograms. Ok, but is there a way I can see it in kilograms since I’m not used to pounds. On the CCP I click the UPR MENU, but no sigh that I can change the LBS to KG. I could ask Greg, but it looks like that for now the FUEL QUANTITY indication is only available in LBS and not in KG and not changeable.
Finally I’m approaching Portugal although on the following screenshot I’m still lots of miles away from it, but soon I’m crossing the coastline and heading for waypoint ADORO and then it goes quickly. After waypoint ADORO, the FMS will tune and use the VOR/DME stations ZMR – DGO – SSN which lies at the border with Spain and France. That said, when approaching ADORO, I can manually tune VOR1 for ZMR (117.10) and VOR2 for DGO (112.60).
Tuning for these previous mentioned stations works flawless. If you use it also to navigate then just turn the CRS knob on the FGP. I keep the FMS active as it was/is and therefore the flight plan stays connected to the AP which means I only see VOR1 and VOR2 needles on the PFD NAV ROSE, just as with older aircraft the needles at the RMI (Radio Magnetic Indicator).
It’s going now quite well I must say. While I’m typing these words (seriously), I’m approaching VOR/DME ZMR, and then according the flight plan I’m heading for the next VOR/DME which is DGO. After I’ve passed VOR/DME ZMR, I tune VOR1 for SSN (117.90).
The moment I passes VOR/DME ZMR, and the CJ4 is heading for VOR/DME DGO, I click the HDG knob to sync the HDG bug with the current course.
According to the FMS, the TOD (Top Of Descent) is 260 NM ahead of us while my end destination LFSL 362 NM, so I’m getting close. Normally I would have installed for Spain and France ortho textures from respectively SpainUHD and ZonesPhoto for France, but this time I tried to concentrate myself on the Netavio Citation CJ4 and forget the real world outside.
On the other hand, I did use real weather on my flight, so right now it doesn’t make much difference on this altitude, but I’m wondering what to expect when descending and how the weather will be at my destination. That said, as of this writing I’m 55NM from DGO and try to find out some METAR data from LFSL. The METAR reports 120930Z AUTO VRB03KT CAVOK 26/16 Q1022 NOSIG. Runway is 29, with a headwind of 1 kts and a sidewind of 2 kts.
There’s of course much more to try out or to explore in the 3D cockpit. Try it and don’t be shy. The Netavio CJ4 won’t bite!
The Flight – Descent
For my descent I first want to descent to FL180, then to FL100, and finally to 3000 feet, but FMS also shows me when I’ve reached my TOD (Top Of Descent) and thus ready to descent. I can rely completely on my FMS, but as I mentioned before, VNAV isn’t operative yet and the only other available “pitch” modes are V/S, FLC or PTCH, so some calculations are a good habit. That said, I will calculate for myself when it’s a good moment to start the descent. This means that the distance to start for this, assuming I go for a 3 degrees descent angle, will be around 300 Nm while my vertical speed will be 1500+ feet/min. This range depends on your actual GS (Ground Speed) because when the GS is higher, then the feet/min is also higher. See the rule of thumb in the next paragraph.
More information can be found at this dedicated IVAO <a href=”https://mediawiki.ivao.aero/index.php?title=Top_of_descent_calculation” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Top Of Descent Calculation page, but when you do a search for “descent calculation aviation” many other sites or calculators pop up, perhaps this one is also nice. Another easy and quick calculation is, we go for a 3 degrees descent angle which is normal and we go for a V/S of 1500+ feet/min then we do the following calculation. Subtract FL280 – FL180 equals 10.000 feet x 3 equals 30.000 divided by 1000 equals 30 Nm distance. A rule of thumb calculation for the V/S we need to achieve this is done by using the ground speed (GS) x 5. An example; when your GS is 310 then your vertical speed will be 310 x 5 = 1550 feet/min. Again, these calculations are all rule of thumb!
So at my TOD I start my descent by selecting a V/S of 1500 feet/min and enter the intended FL180. Remember, keep on monitoring your IAS while descending. You could use FLC in the descent too to control IAS, set to barber pole value then power to idle.
While monitoring the descent, I also have a look to my approach and the landing at LFSL. Since I’m flying offline, I’m free to choose either runway 11 or 29. I’ve decided to go for runway 29 unless wind conditions decide you have to land on runway 11 and therefore I’m able to use the ILS and thus the APR (approach mode) button on the FGP.
As you can see on the following screenshots, I’ll go for STAR LAVRA1A which means that I delete from the flight plan the last waypoint which was LASVO. If I really fly the whole STAR depends in real if ATC orders you to follow this and that HDG. You never know what will happen, but for now it’s more important to know what could be possible. So STAR LAVRA1A consist of the waypoints LAVRA – RATRA – BSC. At IAF (Initial Approach Fix) BSC I have to be at an altitude of 3000 feet, confirmed that I have entered the right runway 29 which has an ILS-DME of 109.95, identify BVC and a runway heading of 294.
This seems to be the theoretical part of planned approach since it turns out that selecting the intended STAR, the CDU refuses to allow me to enter this STAR because it says “INVALID ENTRY”. Lets assume for the moment that it’s me and that I do something wrong. Anyway, I continue to fly to waypoint LASVO, and then I switch to the HDG mode. I was able to enter the intended runway 29 for LFSL in the CDU so the runway frequency should be OK, but to be sure I also enter the ILS frequency in the CDU. Looking to the above, there’s a need to correct myself and that is that I made the mistake, this after a Skype session with Greg. I had to enter first the STAR and then the runway. I did it the other way around.
I start me descent with a V/S of 1200 feet/min and you should know now, while descending, monitor your speed which I will keep at 290 kts.
When passing VOR/DME and waypoint SAU, it’s roughly 60NM to LAVSO. According to the FMS I have to be at LAVSO at 7800 feet, so lets round it to 7500 feet, but I need to keep in mind that I need to be at 3000 feet at IAF BSC. That shouldn’t be a problem as far as I can see.
I’ve passed waypoint SAU, heading for the last waypoint LASVO and leveled of at FL100 as well reducing my speed to 250 kts. See you at the final section.
The Flight – Approach, Final and Landing
LASVO is according to my FMS 62NM out. Right now I’m at FL100 and I need to go to 7839, but said already before, I’ll descent to 7500 feet. That said, a difference of 2500 feet. Not much isn’t it? I can start already with the decent, but that’s way too early, so I wait till I’m about 40NM out of LASVO. Then I descent to 7500 feet with a V/S of around 500 feet/min. Don’t forget to set the new altitude on the FGP to 7500 feet. Then click the V/S button, set the 500 feet/min – double check it also on the PFD – and the CJ4 gently descents.
After LASVO I set the BARO already to 30.2 InchHG which equals the 1022 you and I saw on the METAR. This is perhaps very easy or I missed it, but no idea how to change this value from InchHG to HPA. I start a further descent to my initial altitude of 3000 feet. Steps to follow; set the new altitude in the FGP and double check it on the PFD, set the V/S by clicking the V/S button and turn the wheel to “a” V/S on the FGP. And again, monitor your IAS which I kept at around 220-225 kts.
One of the problems, it’s with every review the same, is making the right and good looking screenshots, but at the same time I also need to fly even if the AP is still connected. When you only need to fly and concentrate on the approach and no need or no attention is needed to make screenshots in and outside, it’s much easier.
Anyway, I managed the descent to 3000 feet, I’m actually flying parallel to the runway on a heading of 110 so on downwind, then I turn to base, and finally, oops, a little bit passed the center of the LOC (localizer) to final. I also noticed I’m a bit below the 3000 feet, but that isn’t really a problem. It will only take a bit later till the GS (Glide Slope) signal is picked up.
I switch on the PFD from FMS to VOR1 with the NAV button on the DCP since I’m no longer using the flight plan, and as previously written, I’ve tuned for VOR1 ILS 109,95 so the green VOR pointer shows me everything related to the ILS which is the LOC ID and the distance to the LOC beacon.
When turning to FINAL, I click the APPR button on the FGP which locks for the ILS runway 29 LFLS. The PFD gives on the speed tape my speeds for F15 (APPROACH FLAPS 15) and F35 (LANDING FLAPS 35). The moment the GS signal is picked up, I select GEAR down followed by FLAPS 35 provided I’m at or below the indicated speed on the PFD.
At final approach I disconnect the AP and being a bit surprised what happened. You may expect that the Citation CJ4 is trim, but the moment the AP was disconnect, the CJ4 made almost a dive, ok, a small dive. Something I didn’t expect unless it normal, but it surprised me. As with every PFD, the deviation for the LOC and GS are shown. As it looks now, I’m perfectly synced with the LOC and GS.
Since the ProLine 21 AP doesn’t come with FLARE or ROLLOUT, I need to activate my GROUND SPOILERS myself with the SPEEDBRAKE handle and move it fully backwards. Now I see also how this is modeled and I know what Greg told me that the 3D model is of less importance due to the consumer model and being designed as training device for real CJ pilots, I sincerely hope that the 3D modeled improves e.g. the SPEEDBRAKE/GROUND SPOILER panels and the wing trailing edge.
Sounds and FPS
During the many Skype sessions I had with Greg the “sounds” sections come on our path. According to Greg “Real sound is recorded from the avionics systems, but since all the buttons have silicon dampers, clicking sound of these buttons is limited. Also the engines can’t be heard much from the cockpit in real thus also in the simulator. Some of the real CJ4 sounds are very similar to the default sounds, and therefore some default sounds are used instead.”
Frame Rates aren’t a problem at all. Greg uses a Mac Book Air with M1 Apple Silicon and with mid range X-Plane Rendering settings reached easily in the cockpit 30+ FPS (Frames Per Second) and externally even higher FPS. I, working, reviewing and testing the Netavio Citation CJ4 on an iMac Pro with almost every rendering slider maxed out, 30+ internally and 60+ externally is no problem, so no issue with this aircraft at all.
In my humble opinion a perfect quality business jet for the serious flight simmer for modern and older PC’s or Macs. Check out the following screenshots I made for you including my X-Plane rendering settings. The screenshots are made on macOS Big Sur, but when I had made them on my Apple bootcamp Windows 10 SSD then I would see even higher frame rates.
I would like to add on note regarding the FPS. At the X-Plane.Org store you can read that Greg gets on his Apple MacBook Air with Apple Silicon roughly 30+ frame in the cockpit and around 60 frames outside. Please keep in mind that this depends on your rendering settings and your hardware and thus Your CPU and GPU. Greg’s rendering settings are lower then mine and not all rendering options exist on Greg’s MacBook Air, so see the FPS in the above screenshots as what’s possible.
Virtual flight impression LFBZ to LFSL
Update: June 17th 2021.
Adding a flight impression from the French airport LFBZ (Biarritz Pays Basque Airport) to LFSL (Brive–Souillac Airport). Perhaps you recognize LFSL since I used this destination already in my first flight from the Azores to France. My wish was to make another flight, but not one by typing text and screenshots, but by flying it, recording it and with comments, uploading it to our YouTube channel. The flight is not that long, but long enough to do all the preparations and to show you a couple of things.
I’m aware that the movie isn’t perfect. I discussed a couple of things with Greg from Netavio but due to the size of the original compiled movie, I couldn’t share it before. Anyway, it should give you a good impression of a typical flight although not perfect.
With such a comprehensive review you and I could ask ourselves “is there a need to add an in-depth summary or not?”
Personally I think not, but to keep it like this, is also not my style, so let me see what useful info I can add in this summary section.
But first I would like to thank Greg Gineys from Netavio for his time and effort in answering my questions and thoughts and believe me, we had a lot of Skype discussions, but it was worth my time, it was worth my hours writing this review for You, my readers and the simmers from Netavio and X-Plane.Org.
I mentioned this somewhere in the beginning of this review that the current Netavio Citation CJ4 is a consumer version with certain limitations although Greg promised that updates, improvements and other features will become available soon. Additionally Netavio is also busy with a Pro version. How and when this Pro version of the CJ4 will be released, that will be announced later.
The Netavio CJ4 project started as a consumer product with superior eye for realism in respect to the modeled aircraft systems, engine FADEC and ProLine 21 Avionics System. In other words, a perfect “tool” for real Cessna Citation CJ4 pilots to train themselves. Along the way – since the introduction – of the Netavio CJ4 Greg told me that his 3D graphics designer has started with improving the 3D cockpit, cabin and external textures. The virtual cabin and cockpit panels have had already a remaster, except for cabin animations before release. Via Skype Greg also informed me that his designer is now busy improving the external aircraft textures including the issues I mentioned in the review.
I ask my always the same question; did I cover everything of this modeled Cessna Citation CJ4 or did I mention every item that needs to be improved? For sure not, but what I know is “how real are the modeled avionics and engine FADEC systems, how easy does it fly, and does it reflect the real Citation CJ4”. The answer is AS REAL AS IT GETS. Not that your personal reporter and long time reviewer Angelique is a certified and licensed Citation CJ4 pilot, but Greg is and Greg’s initial approach was and still is different … making a realistic training tool for real CJ4 pilots. This means you must model and create a Citation CJ4 that behaves as real else otherwise no real and certified CJ4 pilot will use it to train him or her on the CJ4.
Further on I would like to bring the following to your attention; the Netavio forum. Greg created at X-Plane.Org a dedicated Netavio forum that offers all kind of ins and outs of the real Cessna Citation CJ4, real movies, real background system information, VR support, Netavio company info and much more, so worth for you as new CJ4 simmer to check out this dedicated Netavio CJ4 forum.
For this review, I used besides the payware Netavio Cessna Citation CJ4 package version 1.05 the following payware and freeware packages:
– Freeware CJ4 DAC Jet International C-GLUV livery
– Payware Orbx TrueEarth US North California
– Payware Just Flight Global Traffic for macOS
– Freeware FlyWithLua NG 2.7.28
– Freeware FlyAGI Tweak Utility 1.15
– Freeware SAM Suite
– Freeware Little Navmap
– Freeware online website SkyVector
– Freeware online website X-Planetools.Com
No more words to say. More information can be found at the Netavio website and of course at the dedicated X-Plane.Org Netavio Citation CJ4 store page. As of this writing, the Netavio Citation CJ4 cost you 49.95 USD.
Feel free to contact me if you’ve got additional questions related to this impression. You can reach me via email Angelique.van.Campen@gmail.com or to Angelique@X-Plained.com.
Angelique van Campen
|Add-on:||Payware Netavio Citation CJ4|
|Publisher | Developer:||X-Plane.Org | Netavio|
|Description:||Realistic rendition of Citation CJ4 (version 1.05)|
|Software Source / Size:||Download / Approximately 909MB (unzipped)|
|Reviewed by:||Angelique van Campen|
|Published:||June 15th 2021|
|Hardware specifications:||- iMac Pro
- Intel 3GHz Intel Xeon W / 4.5Ghz
- Radeon Pro Vega 64 16368 MB
- 64 GB 2666 MHz DDR4
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- 1 internal shared 1TB SSD (Bootcamp Windows 10)
- 1 external 2TB LaCie Rugged Pro SSD (Big Sur 11.x)
- Saitek Pro Flight System X-52 Pro and X-56 Rhino
- Honeycomb Alpha Flight Controls
- Honeycomb Bravo Throttle Quadrant
|Software specifications:||- macOS Big Sur (10.15.x)
- X-Plane 11.5x
Thank you for this review.
When I’m back from a short trip to Denmark/Sweden, I’ve promised myself to do an “updated” review of tihs CJ4.