The Cessna Citation Mustang and Eclipse 550 are two extremely popular Very Light Jets.
Both are ideal for short hops between cities, with each aircraft able to fly non-stop for over 1,000 nautical miles.
However, despite the popularity of the Cessna Mustang and the Eclipse 500/550 aircraft, neither aircraft is in production anymore.
The smallest aircraft that Cessna currently produce is the Citation M2, a significantly larger aircraft. Additionally, Eclipse Aerospace no longer produces the 550.
But let’s take a look at the similarities and differences between these two aircraft to help you decide which one will suit your needs better.
In order to aid in this comparison we will be using our Premium service comparison feature, which you can learn more about here.
As ever, performance is the first metric to compare between these aircraft.
The Cessna Citation Mustang is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW615F engines, with each engine capable of outputting 1,460 lbs of thrust. This results in a total thrust output of 2,920 lbs. As a result, the Mustang is capable of cruising at 340 knots.
However, in order to eke out the maximum range from the Cessna Mustang it has a long-range cruise speed of 319 knots.
In comparison, the Eclipse 550 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney PW610F engines, with each one outputting 900 lbs of thrust. This, therefore, results in a total thrust output of 1,800 lbs.
Despite having less powerful engines, the Eclipse 550 has a maximum cruise speed fo 375 knots. A significant difference compared with that of the Mustang.
Moreover, the long-range cruise speed of the Eclipse 550 is an impressive 330 knots.
Despite the higher cruise speed, the Eclipse 550 is more efficient with its fuel burning just 55 gallons per hour compared with the 95 gallons per hour of the Cessna Mustang.
These are extremely impressive figures for both aircraft, especially considering the fuel burn rate of the majority of other private jets.
Both aircraft are capable of reaching 41,000 feet, however, the Mustang is able to get there quicker with a 3,010 feet per minute rate of climb. In comparison, the Eclipse 550 has a climb rate of 2,575 feet.
When it comes to the range of these aircraft, the Mustang just outperforms the Eclipse.
The Citation Mustang has a maximum range of 1,343 nautical miles (1,535 miles), compared with the maximum range of 1,125 nautical miles (1,295 miles) of the Eclipse 550.
These figures mean that both aircraft are able to fly non-stop from New York to New Orleans. However, the Mustang is able to go slightly further flying non-stop from New York to Houston.
Of course, these figures are assuming perfect conditions and minimum weight.
Therefore, if we use the Compare Private Planes Premium service, inputting 4 passengers significantly reduces the range of both aircraft.
With 4 passengers onboard, the Eclipse 550 can no longer fly non-stop from New York to New Orleans. Moreover, the Mustang will fly just shy of Houston from New York.
If we adjust the start location to London, the Eclipse 550 is able to fly non-stop to North Greece, while the Mustang can cruise all the way to Athens.
Again, if we input 4 passengers, the range of the Eclipse 550 drops significantly, with the Mustang no longer able to reach Athens.
As you would expect with such small and light aircraft, they do not need a lot of runway space to get in the air.
The Cessna requires at least 3,110 feet of tarmac to take-off and 2,380 feet to land.
In comparison, the Eclipse 550 requires a minimum runway length of 2,433 feet to get in the sky and 2,790 to land.
The benefit of a shorter take-off and landing distance is that more airports can be accessed, therefore increasing the operational capabilities of the aircraft. Therefore, you can reach smaller airports that are closer to your final destination, consequently reducing your overall travel time.
There are some circumstances where a difference in landing distance of 320 feet may make a difference. However, in the majority of cases the operational capabilities won’t be affected too much.
When it comes to the interior dimensions of these two aircraft, they are, as you would expect, small.
These are two of the smallest cabins on the market.
The Citation Mustang measures 9.81 feet in length, 4.49 feet in height, and 4.59 feet in width.
In comparison, the Eclipse 550 measures 12.34 feet in length, 4.17 feet in height, and 4.66 feet in width.
Typically, the benefits of a taller cabin are that it makes it easier to move around during the flight. However, given the size of these aircraft, you won’t be moving during flight. Moreover, there isn’t really anywhere to travel to!
Therefore, the cabin height is less important for these aircraft.
Width, however, is always beneficial no matter the size. The wider the cabin the more shoulder room available and the wider the seats. Additionally, it allows for a wider aisle.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Eclipse 550 is the aircraft with the wider cabin, albeit not by much.
When it comes to the interior of these two aircraft there isn’t much of note.
Both aircraft are capable of carrying up to 5 passengers, with a typical configuration for 4 passengers. This is because the 5th passenger would be sitting in the first officers seat up front.
The Mustang has a more ‘typical’ configuration for a private jet with club seats, whereas the Eclipse 550 is laid out more like a car.
One area where these aircraft also differ is the altitude that they are able to maintain a sea-level cabin to. The Mustang can maintain a sea-level cabin up to 21,280 feet, whereas the Eclipse 550 can maintain sea-level pressure up to 21,500 feet.
However, in practice, it is unlikely that any passenger will notice or appreciate that 220 feet difference.
An important difference between these aircraft, however, is the toilet facilities. Primarily, the Eclipse 550 has no toilet available. The logic is that the majority of flights are so short that passengers will not need the toilet and can just use the facilities on the ground.
In comparison, the Mustang has what is known as an emergency toilet. This is a chemical toilet behind a curtain at the front of the cabin that is to be used in, as you would guess, emergencies.
Cessna Citation Mustang
Although the interior cabin is relatively small compared to larger options on the market, it uses its available space efficiently and stylishly. Ergonomic seating is comparable to many larger models including fully-reclinable leather seats with AC power supply, storage space consoles, retractable work tables, and comfortable armrests.
Additionally, the Mustang has an impressive amount of storage space for a jet of its category boasting 57 cubic feet (or 620 lbs) of external baggage volume.
If you are looking for the ideal entry-level jet for one to three passengers, the Mustang is an incredibly cost-effective, comfortable, and efficient choice for short-range trips. While the Mustang isn’t capable of going coast to coast, it’s a breath of fresh air for those who know where they need to go and want to get there quickly.
It excels at state-to-state travel and luxury vacationing with recessed walls to accommodate ski transport. The Mustang is incredibly fast, incredibly affordable, and incredibly innovative. It can carry four passengers.
Cessna Citation Mustang
The spacious cabin of the Eclipse 550 business jet can carry five passengers in a tandem seating configuration.
It is equipped with leather seats, an Iridium phone, onboard oxygen generation systems, LED lighting, a cabin pressurization system, and a Wi-Fi-based cabin entertainment system.
The Mustang’s cost to charter starts at around $2,500 an hour.
The Eclipse 550 is one of the economical jets available for charter flights from and to New York, with a wide range of availability in several major aviation markets. The cost to charter this jet starts at around $2,600 an hour.
Charter costs will vary based on the year of make/model, schedule, routing, passenger & baggage totals, and other factors.
Therefore, in terms of renting either a Cessna Citation Mustang or Eclipse 550, you can expect to pay pretty much the same.
When it comes the cost to purchase one of these aircraft, they are relatively similar.
When these aircraft were new, the initial list price as $3.35 million for the Mustang and $3 million for the Eclipse.
Amazingly, both aircraft have held their value extremely well.
If you were to purchase a 2015 model of each aircraft, you would still be paying more for the Mustang but not by much.
A 2015 Citation Mustang would cost you $2.85 million, with an equivalent year Eclipse 550 setting you back $2.33 million.
However, the Mustang will hold the value better, having an annual depreciation rate of 5.2%, whereas the Eclipse 550 has an annual depreciation rate of 9%.
Therefore, if you were to sell both aircraft in 3 years, the Mustang would have an estimated value of around $2.4 million, while the Eclipse 550 would have an estimated value of around $1.7 million.
Again, all data is courtesy of Compare Private Planes Premium.
So, which aircraft is right for you?
Ultimately, the Eclipse 550 is going to be cheaper to own and operate, primarily thanks to its lower fuel consumption.
However, there is a reason that the Mustang is such a popular aircraft, it is very capable for what it is. Additionally, it holds its value extremely well.
Additionally, given that Cessna still exists and supports the Mustang, you will likely have an easier time maintaining the aircraft into the future.
The Eclipse 550 does put up a worthy fight and you will be happy with either of these aircraft for your short missions.