Cessna’s Citation Mustang is here at Oshkosh and the company is keen to highlight its appeal to both the owner-pilot and the corporate flight department.
It is the first of the VLJs to enter service and Flight Daily News took the controls to see how much of an improvement the twin-jet might be.
Simplicity is the key to making an easy step-up and the Mustang does that with its Garmin G1000 integrated avionics. The design offers easy access to all the systems. Demonstration pilot Curt Epp says: “It is owner-operator friendly”, and adds that the maintenance hourly plan helps. “They know how much it’s going to cost.”
But what is it like, making the jump up to piloting a jet? Epp says: “If you have G1000 experience, then the transition is easy. You will still need to put the work in for the type rating, but the biggest difference is that you need to think 100 miles ahead of the airplane instead of 20. Someone that has flown only steam gauges and not really high performance will struggle, but it is possible.”
All the controls the pilot needs are in front of him and, adding to the simplicity theme, is the automatic ice boots. “This doesn’t need an ice detector, because the boots are on a timer. They’ll inflate and then rest for two-minutes and will go round the whole airplane in sequence,” explains Epp. “During certification the FAA made us fly for an hour in icing conditions and then climb to 41,000ft for stall tests.
“There are some leading-edge vortex generators and this means that the stall characteristics are benign,” continues Epp. “This is designed for the ‘average Joe’.”
But it isn’t just owner-pilots that find the Mustang useful. Lawrence Peet, manager Mustang business development, says: “It’s ideal for companies to use for flying lower and middle management – especially with those using the regional airlines. They can use the airplane to bring customers to them. And the cost is rapidly becoming similar to that of a walk-up first class ticket but the real benefit is the time-savings. Sales staff won’t be stuck somewhere and miss that call.”
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