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 trip in the Cessna Caravan starts at the Spirit of Saint Louis Airport with a short hop to the St, Louis Downtown airport. Then a quick turn and flying on to the Chicago/Aurora Municipal Airport. The landing at Aurora includes the Live ATC radio communications and the pilot cockpit view.
The Cessna Caravan is a large single engine turboprop that only requires one pilot. It’s a fun easy to fly airplane that can carry a large load and cruises at 170 kts. It’s also a great performer on short and unimproved landing strips.
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 was a two day trip that involved flying two very different airplanes. One was a single pilot light jet with advanced avionics and the other was an older midsize Citation business jet. The plan was for me to fly the Cessna Citation M2, a single pilot private jet, to the Raleigh-Durham International airport for a pick up and be back in St Louis in time to fly the Citation XLS to the Chicago Midway airport. I would fly the Citation XLS back the next day. Unfortunately, the return time was an hour before the XLS flight. So, just to be on the safe side, I arranged for a part-time captain to be ready to fly the trip if it looked like I wouldn’t be back in time for the departure. I was really glad I had setup a contingency plan because as soon as I checked on with st Louis approach I head the XLS being handed off St Louis approach to Chicago center. I had missed the connection by 45 minutes. Fortunately, as a precaution, I had already purchased an airline ticket to the Chicago Midway airport. As soon as I shut down I secured he aircraft and jumped in my car getting to the St Louis airport in time to catch my Southwest Airlines flight to Chicago. The other Captain was flying back on the Airlines later that evening. I made it to Chicago, checked into the hotel and was ready for the return flight the next afternoon. This video is that two day trip with ATC, cockpit views and takeoffs and landings. Enjoy and safe travels.
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.
Flying the Citation M2, the newest version of the Cessna Citation Jet. The M2 is an absolute pleasure to fly. It’s an upgrade of the original CJ that has six passenger seats and is powered by the dependable Williams FJ-144 engines. It cruises at 400 knots and has the original service ceiling of 41,000 ft. The instrument panel has been completely redone and is now dominated by the three panel Garmin 3000. The new Garmin avionics are incredibly capable but, require a steep learning curve. FlightSafety is now requiring any pilot upgrading to the M2, who doesn’t have previous Garmin 3000 experience, to take a one time two day course on the avionics suite. Half the switches are gone and the systems they controlled are now selected and managed through the Garmin touch controllers, GTU’s. This isn’t always a plus. Now instead of just flipping a fan switch, you have to flip through a couple of pages to get to the selection option. The avionics master switch has been removed and when you turn on the battery the avionics come on. This is an odd adjustment if you transitioned from aircraft that would drain the battery in ten minutes if everything is powered up. The avionics now have their own full size battery. Systems are powered by the original battery. With the loss of both generators, and both batteries fully charged, you now have one hour till the total loss of avionics power. A properly managed electrical failure in this airplane is almost a non event. You still have one full panel in front of the pilot providing all the required information. Some of the other changes are the removal of one of the engine fire bottles, no inverters due to the fact that all lights are now LED’s and all equipment requiring ac power have integral inverters. The aircraft now has little winglets I like to call them stubies but, they are more for marketing appeal than anything else. Cessna had originally planed to provide the M2 with an option for an electric windshield but, recently announced that they had discontinued any plans to do so. In this video we go out for some training before picking up our clearance to Punta Gorda Florida. Some of the basic weights are maximum ramp weight 10,800 lbs., Maximum takeoff weight 10,700 lbs, maximum landing weight 9,900 lbs. Maximum fuel is 3,296 lbs and fuel burn is 800 the first hour then 700 lbs and 600 lbs.
During the climb out we get a good aerial view of the St Louis Lambert Airport and end the trip with a cockpit view of our landing at Iowa City Airport. In the descent, it’s a little bumpy due to summer thermals and as we turn into the sun for our landing on runway 25 the haze seems to reduce the visibility by half. This trip was flown in a 1974 Citation 500 that had much of the original avionics in the panel. The 500 was the original light business jet and this one was still running on steam gauges. It had no thrust reversers or anti-skid and was equipped with an emergency drag chute.
This aircraft was definitely old school, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get the job done. The Drag chute release was on the floor between the pilots. When the pilot pulled it up to arm the chute for landing it looked like he was applying a large automotive hand brake. In the possible event off brake failure, the pilot could deploy the drag chute and bring the aircraft to a stop. the drag chute eventually disappeared from later citations. The Citation 500 was the first of the straight wing Citations built by the Cessna aircraft corporation. It was designed to compete not against the faster Lear jets but in the rapidly expanding business turboprop market. With a maximum takeoff weight of 11,500 lbs., a straight wing and turbo fan engines it could operate out of smaller airports and was much more fuel efficient than other corporate jets.
The down side was that it lived up to its nickname of the “slowtation”. With a cruise speed of 345 knots, It was over 100 kts slower than the Leer Jet. The 500 is powered by two Pratt & Whitney JT15D-1 turbofan engines that produce 2,200 lbs. of thrust each. It has a range of 1,250 nm and a maximum altitude of 35,000 ft. The 500 was only in production for five years then Cessna added thrust reversers, lengthened the wings and renamed it the Citation I.
A Cessna Citation Mustang CE-510 Very light jet (VLJ) makes a visual approach and landing to runway 31 at the Nashville, Tennessee airport. Once cleared for the visual approach we follow a Boeing 767 visually to the runway. In this case, a wake turbulence encounter while following the heavy 767 is a very real concern. Its wake vortices are an invisible hazard and flying into the vortices of an aircraft of the size of the Boeing can cause the temporary loss of control or worse for a smaller aircraft. Our strategy to deal with this possibility is to stay above the wake vortices of the preceding aircraft. These vortices sink at 300 to 500 ft per minute and can last up to 2 minutes before dissipating. Since we can’t actually see these spinning horizontal tornado like columns of air that come off the wingtips of the heavy we stay one dot high on the glide slope as we descend to the runway. There is a fair amount of air traffic control communications in the video. Another interesting thing about the video is that this landing is just before the sun comes up. You can still see all the airport lighting and the two bright flashing lights on the approach end of the runway are the Runway End Identifier Lights (REIL’s) their purpose is to aid in identifying the end of the runway at night when the runway is surrounded by bright city lights.
A Cessna Citation 510 landing on runway 26L at Spirit of St Louis Airport. The Citation Mustang is a single pilot light jet with a fairly low landing ref speeds. For this landing the aircraft was at a weight of 7,500 lbs., the ref speed was 91 kts and the required landing distance was only 2,380 ft. The maximum landing weight is 8,000 lbs. In the video it was a little bumpy on final and you can see that the pitch tends to vary a little more than it does on other aircraft. I think this may be due to the relatively short coupling of the wing and fuselage and would probably be more noticeable to pilots transitioning to the mustang from larger aircraft. Over all, the Mustang has the feel of a sports car and is a good short field performer. Here are a couple of takeoff performance examples at the maximum takeoff weight and high temperature.
Max takeoff weight of 8,645 lbs and Flaps-15
Airport elevation sea level, no wind and temperature +40C
Takeoff distance required is 4,440 ft
Max takeoff weight of 8,645 lbs and Flaps-15
Airport elevation of 5,000 ft., no wind and temperature +20C
Takeoff distance required is 5,020 ft