Flying at night has its own rewards and challenges. On a clear winter night the view can be spectacular. At other times darkness and restricted visibility can increase pilot workload or cause disorientation. On this night we were treated to a spectacular view of Nashville Tennessee. Unfortunately video doesn’t capture the beauty that many pilots are treated to in the thin cold air at flight levels or flying over city lights on a clear winter night. This night we approached Nashville from the west just as the first bands of pink broke on the horizon. While on a wide downwind on the north side of the field Nashville approach cleared for the visual approach to runway 31. This route takes you over a large unlighted area to the east of the field which in the dark appears as a large void. The void is actually the J Percy Priest Reservoir. During night flights especially in poor visibility it’s easy to get disoriented or lose track of how high you are above the ground. In order to ensure adequate ground clearance the aircraft is flown at a minimum safe altitude(MSA) till its flight path intersects with a Visual approach slope indicator (VASI) or electronic glide path. This ensures that the airplane maintains a safe obstacle free flight all the way to the surface of the runway. On this flight there wasn’t a VASI so the ILS was used to back up the visual approach for terrain clearance. An ILS provides an electronic vertical path to the runway which displays on the pilots attitude indicator. Unfortunately, Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT) accidents while avoidable have been happening since the dawn of powered flight. The FAA places great importance in CFIT training for pilots which is reflected in the training at pilot training centers Like FlightSafety. The best way to avoid CFIT is training, standard procedures, and good situational awareness.
A Cessna Citation CE560 takes off from Spirit of St. Louis airport (SUS) at sunset, climbs out over st Louis and makes a night Landing at Nashville International Airport (BNA)on runway 31. The middle of the video during this IFR flight is a night view of the aircraft cockpit.
Flying a private jet doesn’t mean you’re totally isolated from the airline world. At larger airports General aviation service providers, called FBO’s or Fixed Based Operators provide a variety of services to arriving and departing private aircraft. FBOs may occupy one side of the field and the airline terminal the other. At smaller airports these FBOs are often the only business selling services such as fuel, maintenance, or hanger space. Even though they may be operating on the same airport, for security reasons, private aircraft are not allowed to pick up or drop off passengers at the airline terminal. But, you may see an airliner like a Boeing 737 or an Airbus 320 in airline colors parked on the general aviation ramp. This often happens when extra space is needed for parking or the airline may be doing a special charter like flying a sports team. Often FBOs will drive passengers from private flights to the terminal or back. If an aircraft is going to be on the ground for an extended period or needs to be picked up from a service center, pilots need to be repositioned. In these cases the company will buy airline tickets for the repositioning crew. All of the video from inside 737s was taken during crew repositioning flights. Many of the airline takeoffs and landings in this video were taken from general aviation ramps. Takeoff and landing by various airliners.
The Cessna Citation Excel, also known as the 560XL, is a comfortable highly reliable medium-sized private turbofan jet manufactured by Cessna Aircraft in Wichita, Kansas. In its design of the Citation 560XL Cessna blended it’s previously popular designs by using a shortened Citation X standup cabin attached to a Citation V wing and tail. They then added the highly efficient Pratt & Whitney Canada PW500 turbofan to power this roomy business jet. For easy landings, trailing link landing gear was added to give the pilot the ability to make those glassy smooth landings over and over again. In its standard configuration it has 8 plush passenger seats and a fully enclosed lavatory. During its production run 308 were built then Cessna switched to building the 560XLS with upgraded PW545B engines with even better performance. In the Excel cockpit pilot work load is reduced by the integrated Honeywell Primus 1000 avionics suite and Full Authority Digital Engine control for the engines. To set engine power the flying pilot simply advances the throttles to the appropriate detent and the FADEC system adjust all engine parameters for the requested power setting. This aircraft is a top of the line performer with its straight laminar wing and large turbo fan engines. it can take off in 3,590 feet and climb to cruise altitude in just 18 minutes. This airplane is easy to fly and great for short runways and high altitude airports like Eagle and aspen. Maximum takeoff weight 20,200 lbs Cruise speed: 435 ktas Range: 1,700 nm Service ceiling: 45,000 ft Rate of climb: 3,500 ft/min
Video is of a Cessna Citation Excel 560xl takeoff, landing, cockpit and interior cabin.