Flying the Cessna 208 Caravan with Kris. The Caravan had just come out of it’s yearly annual inspection in Aurora, Illinois and she came along for the adventure. We drove up from St Louis and after paying for the inspection and doing a very thorough preflight we started the airplane and took off for St Louis. Unfortunately, during part of the trip the low level turbulence was really bad and she almost got sick. She toughed it out and we continued on the flight. We were in a race to beat thunderstorms that were quickly approaching the Spirit of Saint Louis airport from the west. This video includes the ATC radio communications and the cockpit view of the landing.
This is the 2nd half of our 3 day trip to Fort Myers Page Field in the Cessna Citation Excel. On our non flying day we visit sanibel island and the it’s lighthouse. On the third day we depart Ft. Myers for St Louis. Our passengers were running behind and by the time we were taxing our jet to the runway, thunderstorms were already developing to the north of the airport. We had lots of traffic right after takeoff and were being immediately vectored to the north and started deviating to avoid the cells. There’s lots of good footage of the cockpit view during takeoff, landing and en route. I’ve included the ATC radio communication with our aircraft as well as the other airplanes in the area.
I’m posting these vlogs to share what life is like as a corporate pilot flying private jets. Enjoy the ride.
This is a flight to the Fort Myers Page Field airport in the Cessna Citation Excel. The Excel is a twin engine medium size private jet with a range of 1,700 nm. It carries 9 passengers and cruises at 420 kts. This is a vlog style video of what it’s like to work as a corporate pilot.
This is more of an aviation vlog format for the flying video with a mix of flying, ATC and travel. Our flight started with takeoff on pretty day from the Spirit of St. Louis airport. Enroute we encountered some interesting cloud formations we flew through. Once we start our descent into the San Antonio area the weather clears again, and you get a good view of the area. San Antonio approach vectors us for a visual approach to runway 13 right and the Tower clears us to land. We taxi to the FBO which is Million Air and after securing the aircraft we are treated to fresh cookies.
We have one free day in San Antonio which we use to tour the Alamo and then have lunch on the River Walk. Day three starts of with a dense fog but it clears, and we get delayed so that we eventually takeoff at night. The departure ATIS at the end of the video has an interesting NOTAM referencing a laser strike on an aircraft.
The Cessna Citation Excel is a turbofan-powered, medium-sized business jet That seats eight passengers. It has a range of approximately 1,900 nm and cruises at 410 kts.
A very short repositioning flight in the Cessna Citation Mustang from the St. Louis Lambert Airport to the Spirit of St. Louis Airport. As I taxi onto the runway for takeoff, the airport diagram is displayed on the MFD for easy reference. Once On the runway the synthetic vision shows the runway and center line stripes on the pilot Flight Display. This is so accurate that our position several feet right of the center line as seen through the windshield is accurately displayed on the PFD. The takeoff is on runway 30R and the landing at Spirit Airport is on runway 8R. Straight line distance between the two airports is only 15 nautical miles which makes for a very busy single pilot trip. As soon as I level off, ATC confirms I have Spirit in sight and I’m cleared for the visual to 8R. This was a Saturday afternoon so there isn’t much ATC radio traffic.
“Sentimental Journey” is a beautifully restored Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress. Operated by the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa Arizona and it’s been a favorite at airshows around the country. At airshows she attends, guest can purchase rides or take a tour through the aircraft. Classified as a heavy bomber by the Army Air Force during World War II the G model of the B-17 can be easily identified by its distinctive remotely operated chin turret. Over 8,600 B-17G’s were built during the 2nd world war. This one was built by the Douglas Aircraft Company in 1944 and upon completion was assigned to the pacific theater of operations. For several years after the war it was a photo reconnaissance aircraft in the pacific. It was then converted to a remotely operated drone for monitoring of A-bomb testing in the pacific Atolls. Afterwards, it ended its military career and was retired to Davis Monthan air force base for salvage. Before being scraped, it was purchased by a private company, converted into a water tanker and started a new career as a fire bomber. In 1978 she was donated to the Commemorative Air Force in Mesa Arizona. They restored it to its original B-17G configuration and the restoration project was completed in 1985. Instead of OD green paint it was given a bare aluminum finish. The nose was painted with a pinup of Betty Grable and the aircraft was named “Sentimental Journey”. To see where “Sentimental Journey” is today, go to flightaware.com and type in her registration N9323Z.
Boeing B-17G Specifications:
Crew of 10
Armament 13 .50 caliber Browning M-2 machine guns
Maximum bomb load 8,000 lbs
Powered by four Wright Cyclone R-1820-97 supercharged radial engines 1,200 horse power each
TAS at 25,000 ft. 287 mph
Maximum takeoff weight 64,500 lbs.
Service ceiling 35,600 ft.
Range 3,750 miles with Bomb bay tanks
Fuel 2,780 gallons/burn 200 gal hour
A year of charter and corporate flying in the Cessna Citation Encore, Citation II, Citation Mustang. Citation Excel and the beechcraft King Air 350. This is a representative video of a year of flying with cockpit views of takeoffs and landings.
The Pima Air and Space museum has over 300 aircraft on display at its 120-acre campus in Tucson, Arizona. One of the world’s largest aviation museums, Pima is also the world’s largest privately funded aviation museum. It receives no government funding and much of the restoration work is done by volunteers. It is located adjacent to Davis Monthan Air Force Base which is home to the 309th Aerospace maintenance regeneration group (AMARG). Davis-Monthan is the world’s largest aircraft restoration and storage center and the only aircraft storage center for the US Government. It is also home to over eighty A-10 Thunderbolts (Warthog) ground attack aircraft. During our visit it seemed like every five minutes another flight of A-10s made the pattern and passed over the museum. As an aviation enthusiast this actually added to the experience.
At Pima, docent-led walking and tram tours are available. The tram tour takes about an hour and was well worth the six dollar ticket. Docents are retired aviators and well versed in the history and facts surrounding these aircraft. Our guide was a retired Air Force pilot who had actually flown one of the aircraft on display. A few of the aircraft you’ll see are an SR-71 Blackbird, Convair B-36 Peacemaker, B-52 Stratofortress, and a Convair B-58 hustler.
To see the Davis-Monthan “boneyard” a guided bus tour is available. For seven dollars this tour takes visitors from the Pima Museum for an hour long tour in the “boneyard”. The tour takes you through an active Air Force base therefore visitors are required to have a government issued picture ID. Approximately 4,000 aircraft are in storage here. Most are either in storage for use at a later time, waiting to be recycled, or providing parts to aircraft that are currently being used. On the tour you can see row after row of once front line aircraft that for one reason or another are being slowly disassembled to keep other aircraft flying. One thing that stands out is the vinyl covering that’s used to cover the cockpits and other areas of the aircraft. This is done to reflect the sun and keep the temperature in the aircraft lower to protect its more sensitive components. If you have the time both tours are well worth doing and a fantastic deal for the price.
N288FE a FedEx Boeing 727-200 cargo jet named Michelle, is stuck in the mud at Cahokia Airport. This retired three engine cargo jet, built in 1979 was first operated by Ozark Airlines, then Pan Am, and eventually was converted to a freight hauler and operated by Federal Express. When fedEx retired it from service in May of 2013 they donated it to the St Louis Downtown Cahokia Airport for Fire Fighter training. Its final flight was to CPS where it was left by its three man crew. Later, as it was being towed to the northwest corner of the airport, it sank into a muddy field. At an empty weight of 98,400 lbs the soft ground it was being moved on to could not support the aircraft weight. It came to rest with the main landing gear sunk in the field and the nose gear resting on a city street. In the video A hawk is perched on one of the main wheels seemingly assessing the fate of this poor old bird. A week later and after some digging, the wheels of this airplane were pushed on to sheets of plywood and it was pushed further into the field to clear the road. Boeing built 1,831 of these aircraft which served as both passenger and cargo jets.
N288FE Boeing 727-2D4
Power Plant 3 Pratt and Whitney JT8D-15 engines
15,500 lbs Thrust each
Maximum Takeoff Weight 184,800 lbs
Empty Weight 98,400 lbs
Maximum Fuel Capacity 8,090 gal
Maximum range 1,700 nm
Maximum Cruise speed 0.9 Mach
Service ceiling 42,000 feet
Length 153 ft 2 in
Wing Span 108 feet
A Beechcraft King Air 350 takeoff on runway 25 at Eagle County Regional Airport (EGE), Colorado. Also known as the Eagle/Vail airport it’s ranked number eight on the History Channel’s show Most Extreme Airports. The factors that placed Eagle on this list are a higher elevation of 6,540 feet, steeply rising mountainous terrain on all sides, downhill sloping runway, unpredictable weather and challenging approach and departure procedures. All of these factors make Eagle a very challenging airport for both experienced and novice aviators. On a cold clear day Eagle is a joy to fly into, the sweeping mountain vistas are breathtaking. Unfortunately, add a little weather or loose an engine on a hot day and this airport is suddenly not the fun lunch stop you planned on. Due to the mountains the approaches have what at first seem like fairly high minimums of 3 miles and 1,790 feet. But don’t forget if a snow squall suddenly blooms over the mountain, the runway can disappear in an instant. Ask yourself what if I lose an engine after doing a missed approach or on the departure procedure. Can my aircraft maintain the required 13% climb gradient required to climb to a safe altitude. Mountain flying can be greatly rewarding, just be sure you check your aircraft’s single engine climb performance or get some instruction in mountain flying before flying into your first mountain airport.