However, when you put these two aircraft side-by-side which one comes out on top?
Firstly the performance data will be assessed. Factors such as cruising speed, range and runway performance will be discussed. Next the interiors will be analyzed. Finally the costs – both charter and purchase – will be compared.
The maximum cruise speed of an aircraft is a factor that is easy to understand and easy to compare. Additionally, the cruise speed of an aircraft is important to consider when traveling serious distances.
The Phenom 300E beats out the CJ4 in this regard. The 300E has a cruise speed of 464 knots while the CJ4 has a cruise speed of 451 knots.
Will you notice at 13 knots difference when you are in the air – most likely not. Will you always be flying at these speeds when in the cruise? Again, probably not.
Cruise speeds will vary depending on weather conditions, range optimization and other factors.
However, it is an important metric to consider when flying often and flying far.
For example, say you are flying a distance of 2,000 Nautical Miles – roughly the distance from New York to Las Vegas. In the Phenom 300E this would take 4 hours and 18 minutes. In the CJ4 this would take 4 hours and 26 minutes. Of course, eight minutes is not a significant difference. However, what if you made this journey twice a month (i.e. a return journey). This, in theory, would result in over 3 hours of time saving over the course of the year.
The next factor to consider is the maximum range of these aircraft.
This metric swings favorably towards the CJ4. The Cessna Citation CJ4 has a maximum range of 2,165 Nautical Miles. The Embraer Phenom 300E, on the other hand, has a maximum range of 2,010 Nautical Miles.
Again, much like considering the cruise speed, is 155 Nautical Miles more that significant. For range, more so than cruise speed, the answer is yes.
The difference between these two range figures is the difference between being able to fly New York to Los Angeles non-stop.
In terms of these pure range figures and placing them on a map, measuring the distance as the crow flies, the distance is significant. If you need to fly from New York to Los Angeles, the Phenom 300E absolutely can’t do it without needing to refuel.
Take Off Distance
Take off distance is an important factor to consider when you are flying out of smaller airports.
In the simplest of terms, the shorter the take off distance, the more flexible the aircraft. So here shorter is better.
The take off distance champion here is the Phenom 300E with a minimum take off distance of 3,209 feet. The CJ4 has a minimum take off distance of 3,410 feet.
Much like take off distance, landing distance is an important factor to consider. While the landing distance may seem irrelevant as the values are smaller than the take off distance, it plays a useful role.
Of course, wherever you land you will need to take off. Therefore, take off distance will be more important in most scenarios.
However, a shorter landing distance can be extra beneficial in some scenarios. For example, say you are landing at an airport with two runways – one long and one short. Next imagine that the shorter runway is closer to the ramp. If the aircraft can land on this shorter runway, it is an easy way to knock time of your journey. Even if that time saved is just 5 minutes, it is significant in the long run.
Much like take off distance the Phenom 300E claims this round. The Phenom 300E is able to land in 2,212 feet, nearly 1,000 feet shorter than the Cessna. Speaking of, the Cessna Citation CJ4 has a minimum landing distance of 3,209 feet.
Both aircraft are able to carry up to ten passengers. However, as you will see in the next section – this capacity isn’t necessarily equal.
The interior is where the comparison starts to get subjective. Some people will prefer the 300E over the CJ4. Some the other way round.
The 300E has an extremely modern interior as deliveries of the aircraft started in 2018. It is, therefore, a more modern aircraft than the CJ4 which has been produced since 2010.
Embraer updated the interior of the 300E based on the feedback received from customers about the previous generation Phenom 300. Everything in the cabin has been updated, from tables to window shades, seats to ceiling panels. The new seats of the 300E feature retractable armrests and thigh supports, along with tracks which allow seats to pivot away from the side walls. Proximity activated controls, adjustable lighting and touchscreen monitors help to make the aircraft one of the most advanced light jets in the sky.
Cessna, on the other hand, have taken a different approach with the CJ4. All the seats within the cabin swivel, track forward and back, inboard and outboard. The refreshment center features a divided ice drawer, coffee container, disposable cup dispenser and snack storage.
Furthermore, the Phenom 300E has a lower maximum cabin altitude of 6,600 feet versus the CJ4s maximum cabin altitude of 7,800 feet. For both aircraft these figures are when flying at their maximum cruising altitude of 45,000 feet. The benefit of being in an aircraft with a lower cabin altitude is that it makes it a more comfortable environment to be in.
Additionally, when comparing the cabin dimensions, the 300E is bigger where it counts. While the CJ4 has a slightly longer cabin by 5 cm, the 300E is wider and taller. Crucially, this means that there is more shoulder room in the 300E. Additionally, the increased height makes the cabin easier to move around.
Therefore, comparing the aircraft interiors objectively based off interior features, dimensions and figures, the Phenom 300E comes out on top.
The charter cost is where the CJ4 starts to catch up with the 300E. The Cessna Citation CJ4 is estimated to cost $2,800 per flight hour. Conversely, the Embraer Phenom 300E is estimated to cost $3,150 per flight hour.
If you wish to learn more about the hourly cost of private jets then check out this article.
Both aircraft cost roughly the same if you were to purchase them. The basic list price for the Phenom 300E is $9.45 million, compared with $9.7 million for the Cessna Citation CJ4.
So, Which is Best?
Naturally, everyone has their own preferences. However, in most scenarios the Embraer Phenom 300E comes out on top.
The 300E can fly faster, in and out of smaller airports, has a more modern interior, larger interior and is less expensive to purchase.
However, the CJ4 has a greater range and is cheaper to charter.
Ultimately, in an apples to apples comparison, unless you require the additional range, the Phenom 300E is the aircraft to go for.