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.
A pre-dawn arrival and landing in a Cessna Citation Mustang at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. O’Hare is the world’s 2nd busiest airport and flying single pilot in this airspace can be a challenging experience. I arrived before 6:00 am so avoided the peak traffic times but even so, approach was very busy with airline traffic entering the terminal area. This was evident by the high number of ATC radio calls and the approach controllers request to maintain a higher than normal speed to the marker. No problem for the Mustang, which can slow rapidly. There’s no speed limit on the speed brakes and the gear extension speed is 250 Knots. Pull the throttles to idle, extend the speed brakes, drop the gear and your decelerating towards the outer marker like you just dropped anchor. In the center of the instrument panel on the Multi-Function Display (MFD) you can see how helpful the G1000 moving map display is for situational awareness. On the flight plan page I flip through various approaches to 27L and select and load the 27L ILs approach. With all the city lights on the ground it can be very difficult to visually identify and maintain the landing runway. The course line and all the approach fixes are presented on the MFD map and greatly aid in identifying the airport and the runway. More than one seasoned pilot has started his turn towards the airport and rolled out on the wrong runway. Once cleared for the visual approach the map display is great for confirming you’re on the correct course to the assigned runway. The lighting on runway 27L consist of an ALSF2 Approach Light System leading to the runway, a 4 light PAPI Precision Approach Path Indicator to the right of the runway for visually maintaining the glide path, and at the far end of the runway the pulsing white lights across the runway are hold short lights for use in land And Hold Short Operations LAHSO. Unfortunately, with an early morning summer takeoff I picked up lots of bug splats on the windshield which are visible in the video.
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
A Hawker Beechcraft Super King Air 350 turboprop on the localizer 25 approach, lands at the Eagle County Regional Airport, also known as the Vail/Eagle Airport, in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. On this flight we are in and out of snow showers and pick up a little ice on the airframe before landing. With a field elevation of 6,540 ft Eagle airport (EGE) is a high elevation airport surrounded by mountains and is on the History Channels list of the top 10 most dangerous airports. This king Air 350 cockpit video starts with a picture of the actual FAA Instrument procedure chart for the approach. Due to the high traffic flow during the ski season the FAA often institutes a slot system for aircraft arrivals and departures. During theses time reservations need to be made no more than 72 hours in advance with the FAA’s e-STMP system and the ramp is often crowded to capacity with private jets. LDA/DME RWY 25 Eagle County rgnl (EGE)
A Cessna Citation II, CE-550, departs the Tampa International Airport(TPA) and repositions to the Orlando Executive Airport(ORL) in central Florida. Shortly after takeoff and during the turn to the east the citation passes over McDill air Force base which is only about 5 miles south of Tampa. This is a short repositioning flight at 11,000 feet and for most of the flight we’re in and out of the lower clouds. There is some Air traffic Control communication in this video but it’s hard to hear due to the background noise generated by the defog fan. Once in the terminal area we’re cleared for the visual approach to runway 7 behind another airplane doing pattern work. After the lowering the landing gear the aircraft about to land is directed by Tower to go around and this air plane can be seen climbing in front of the Citation II.
A Cessna Citation II landing on runway 17C at Dallas DFW. This video has lots of Air Traffic Control communications. After checking in with Dallas approach the radio traffic is pretty much nonstop till aircraft shutdown.