Stepping Up to a Jet

An increasing need for speed propelled Antoine Leblond into the Citation M2

Get more out of flying by taking the next step

Upgrading from a single-engine turboprop to a jet with two engines brings more of everything you want—more speed, more space, more confidence, more quiet. It also means additional training, certifications and added costs. For Antoine Leblond, a software engineer from Seattle, Washington, the investment in time, effort and money was well worth it.

Leblond learned to fly ten years ago, and since then has owned and operated three different aircraft—a single-engine Beechcraft® Bonanza® A36, Socata TBM700 and a recently-acquired 2014 Cessna® Citation® M2® jet.

“I always wanted to fly, and I always felt like I never had the time. Finally, 10 or so years ago, I realized that if I’m ever going to do this, I should just carve out the time to do it,” he said.

A need for speed

Although Leblond enjoyed flying his Bonanza, he wanted to fly longer legs, so he opted for a single-engine turboprop, the TBM700. A short time later, an increasing need for speed propelled Leblond into a Citation M2.

Travel from Seattle to San Francisco

  • *Travel from Seattle to San Francisco (0 Knots wind)

“The TBM, in some sense, was a game changer for me. It was an airplane I could really travel in. Once you start traveling, you start finding yourself wanting more speed, more room, more range and the ability to get over more weather. And, in Seattle, I travel up and down the coast a lot. In the winter, in the TBM, I got beat up by the headwinds when flying north back home. I found myself realizing that another 100 knots or so of speed would make a really big difference. That’s one of the biggest reasons why I moved up the to the Citation M2.”

With the jet’s range and faster speed, Leblond and his family can now travel greater distances. “Because of the speed, we’re more inclined to travel cross-country. I did West Coast to East Coast trips in the TBM, but it’s a bit far for that aircraft, especially heading westbound with the headwinds,” he said.

More space, more comfort

Second to speed, Leblond wanted a more comfortable cabin for his family, especially for the longer trips. The jet provided the additional room, comfort and features they needed.

“The idea of having more comfort with more space in the cabin and it being quieter, as well as not having to wear a headset in the cabin, that’s all very compelling to me and to my family, in particular. The fact that it’s a more comfortable airplane is a big deal. It’s probably a bigger deal for my family of four, for sure. The first question they all ask is, ‘Is there a lav in it?’” he said.

More confidence

For pilots flying over water and mountains, the redundancy of a second engine translates into added confidence. Two engines give the aircraft the power to climb higher for a smoother ride over some adverse—even dangerous—weather, which was especially important to Leblond.

“When you start flying cross-country, you end up crossing a lot of weather. Being able to fly higher is a huge benefit. There’s a lot of weather at 30,000 feet when you’re in a TBM that you won’t see at 40,000 feet in a Citation,” he said.

Doing the research

Even though Leblond immediately liked the Citation, he didn’t immediately make a decision. He did his homework, researching aircraft options, specifications, performance and features—something he strongly advises every pilot to do. Eventually, Leblond narrowed his choices down to the Cessna Citation M2 and the Embraer Phenom 100.

“I think in the end, though, the performance numbers on the M2 were just clearly better, especially for the same price range. The M2 also has all the latest generation avionics,” he said.

Leblond also suggests pilots consider more than the aircraft’s features and performance, and look to who will provide the service and support.

“Cessna has such an amazing reputation for its customer support and its service infrastructure. That’s such a big piece of owning an airplane that it seemed like a no-brainer, frankly, to go with the Citation,” said Leblond.

“I highly recommend a demo flight. Once you fly a jet, you will immediately want one. The performance of these things is phenomenal. They’ll blow you away—the comfort and the quietness and the fact that you realize that they’re actually quite easy to fly.” Antoine Leblond, Seattle software engineer and Citation M2 owner

Understanding the cost

Before buying any aircraft, it’s important to understand the fixed and direct operating costs. Operating costs generally pertain to using the aircraft and includes maintenance, repairs, fuel and landing fees. Fixed costs are associated with acquisition and ownership—the purchase price, taxes, insurance, hangar fees, training and avionics data services. Moving from a propeller aircraft to a jet can increase these costs, so owners should understand each cost and budget accordingly.

“When you buy a jet, you might look at the fuel burn and say, ‘Wow, that’s almost twice what I was burning in the TBM.’ But you do have to look at what you’re getting in terms of value. You’re going faster, so you’re covering more miles more quickly. In the end, there’s not a huge difference in terms of operating costs,” said Leblond.

“Even if it is more, it’s entirely worth the benefits that you get out of it—more speed, being able to fly higher, having two engines, more comfort. You have to ask yourself, ‘What do I want to get out of the aircraft?’”

Type training

Many pilots worry about the leap from a single-engine turboprop to an aircraft with jet engines. Once training is underway, the concerns generally fade, which is what happened to Leblond.

“In terms of the training and the systems, it’s not that big of a leap. In some sense, it’s not nearly the leap that moving from a Bonanza to the TBM was. Yes, the systems are more complicated and the airplane obviously is substantially faster, but I think it feels like a normal transition from most turboprops to smaller jets,” said Leblond, who has more than 1,500 hours of flight time.

“From my Bonanza to my TBM to my Citation, they’ve progressively gotten easier to fly. There’s less to manage in these bigger, faster aircraft. The systems are just much more automated. In the Citation, the FADEC makes engine management almost trivial. The operation is remarkably straightforward.” Antoine Leblond, Seattle software engineer and Citation M2 owner

Many pilots consider flying a turboprop good preparation for jet operation. “You’re dealing with the ATC system and other operational issues similarly—just things are happening a little faster in the Citation. Generally, the systems in jets are so well designed that they’re actually fairly straightforward airplanes to fly,” said Leblond. “If you can fly your TBM comfortably, you can absolutely fly one of these Citations comfortably. No question.”

When pilots move up to a jet aircraft, the Federal Aviation Administration requires additional training that goes beyond the scope of their initial licenses and aircraft training. To operate his new Citation, Leblond earned the type rating specific to his model. It’s also the rating most CJ pilots hold, a single pilot CE-525S. He chose to train in Wichita, Kan., at FlightSafety International, one of the best-known and well-respected aviation training companies in the world.

After a little more than two weeks, Leblond had a solid understanding of his jet's operation, along with a proper type certification.

“One of the biggest challenges of the transition is finding the time to fit in your training. The class was really, really good, and I really enjoyed it. The quality of the training was head and shoulders above what I’ve done in the past. The training program, the instructors, the material, the facilities, the simulators—all of it was very high quality and a very pleasant surprise,” said Leblond.

Sizing up insurance

Once jet pilots have their dream aircraft, they should protect themselves and their assets with insurance. The process for buying coverage on a jet is much the same as that for a piston or turboprop aircraft.

“Probably the most important thing is to have an established relationship with an insurance broker who knows your history and can represent you well to underwriters. The process is fairly straightforward. They’ll shop you around to different underwriters and see what they’re willing to do in terms of coverage, premiums and how much dual time they require,” said Leblond.

Underwriters require new jet pilots, even those with multi-engine aircraft experience, to log a minimum number of flight hours with mentor pilots—usually about 50 hours. Pilots who want to move directly from a non-complex, single-engine piston aircraft to a jet will likely need more than that.

“They all require some type of dual or mentor-pilot time as part of the transition process, which is fine and reasonable. Every underwriter will offer different things. You have to decide what works best for you,” said Leblond.

Leblond says the required dual time is invaluable to his training and the transition process.

“I get to learn from pilots who have thousands of hours of flight time. They have so much experience to share. That’s another reason to choose the Citation over the Phenom. There are so many people with all this amazing experience flying Citations—that’s a byproduct of the size of the fleet and the fact that the airplane has been around for a long time,” said Leblond.

“I love that there are a lot of people out there who I can go to, to do mentor piloting, to learn about the airplane. There’s just this great infrastructure built around these airplanes out there now. It’s a fantastic way to start your Citation jet ownership.”

“The Citation Jet Pilots owner’s group is a fantastic resource. A significant part of the ownership experience of these airplanes is owed to the quality of that group.” Antoine Leblond, Seattle software engineer and Citation M2 owner

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525 Type Rating Advantage

Earning the 525 type rating puts you behind the yoke of three Citation jets

The ease of a turboprop to jet transition

Book manufacturer Chris Kurtzman had thought about trading in his single-engine turboprop for a jet for quite a while. His TBM 700™ served him well for a decade, but he was ready for more range, more speed, more weather-topping capability and more comfort. When Kurtzman saw the Cessna® Citation® M2® “it just felt right,” he said.

More importantly, Kurtzman liked the aircraft, which is based on the CJ™ platform, required a 525 type rating. If he earned the 525 rating, Kurtzman knew he would be immediately rated for Cessna’s entire CJ series.

“I looked at other aircraft, but I chose the M2 because of the 525 type rating. It goes along with Cessna’s other products and allows me to easily move up to bigger, faster jets in the future,” said Kurtzman, a 20-year pilot with more than 3,000 hours.

He primarily uses the M2 for business travel. With the company’s headquarters in Minnesota; printing operations in Ohio, Maryland and California; offices in Illinois and Maryland; and customers spread out across the country, Kurtzman typically flies weekly to keep up with it all and quickly respond to customers’ needs.

For the move from single-engine turboprop to jet, Kurtzman anticipated a learning curve, but he was pleasantly surprised with how well his TBM’s Garmin avionics prepared him for the transition. The TBM also provided experience with pressurization.

“It was a much easier transition to the jet than I expected. The M2 is an easy jet to fly with the Garmin™ (G3000™) avionics platform. The FADEC (full authority digital engine control) handles a lot of the operations for you. It simplifies flying,” said Kurtzman, who also previously operated a Beechcraft® Bonanza® and Baron®.

Kurtzman spent 16 days at FlightSafety and flew dual time with a mentor pilot, making his total training for the jet less than three weeks.

“It took less mentor pilot hours than I expected, and the insurance ended up costing less on a per-haul basis than my TBM. The M2 is a great airplane, and I’m really happy with how the transition went,” he said.

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Citation M2: Delivering on the Voice of the Customer

Citation M2 offers more range and speed for single pilot operators

More range and speed for single-pilot operators

The Citation® M2®, which received FAA certification in December 2013 and EASA certification in June 2014, includes advanced winglets, avionics, cabin and cockpit restyling, and new engines. In short, it’s everything Mustang® owners want in their next airplane.

“We still do the same basic trips, but the increased range and speed allow us more options than we had before.” Paul Welker, M2 owner

That piqued the attention of Paul Welker, a Mustang owner since 2009. As the founder and CEO of Sunridge Properties based in Mesa, Arizona, Welker and his brother Brian develop commercial real estate projects with an emphasis on the hospitality sector. With projects spanning from office to industrial, development and ownership, the business routinely requires travel to locations across Arizona, Utah, New Mexico and Colorado.

Welker was drawn to the M2 because it retained everything he liked about his Mustang yet offered added benefits. “We still do the same basic trips, but the increased range and speed allow us more options than we had before,” said Welker. “We can put more people on board for our shorter trips if we need to, and the speed has been a bigger plus than we anticipated.”

As one of the earliest deliveries following certification, Welker and his team were among the first to experience added cabin comforts, including space for up to seven passengers. The cabin environment is customizable and features advanced in-cabin technologies like adjustable lighting and inflight Internet connectivity.

With new Williams FJ44-1AP engines, the M2 can achieve a maximum cruise of 404 ktas, a maximum range of 1,580 nm and a 24-minute climb to FL410. As much as Welker enjoys the comforts of his cabin, it’s the M2’s performance that stands out for him. “This is one of the biggest pluses we have enjoyed. It climbs to altitude quickly, even when it’s hot. We are regularly truing out about 410 (ktas), even with ISA +5 and higher.”

The M2’s performance, combined with Cessna’s commitment to constantly incorporating owner feedback and providing exceptional service, made the light jet the best choice for Welker and Sunridge Properties, “Cessna takes care of anything that is needed, and that is one of the main reasons we went with the M2. Our Mustang experience was very good, and the M2, thus far, has been even better.”

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Earning a Jet Type Rating at 65

Richard Nernberg earned his jet type rating and took off in three Citation jets

Confidence, hard work offer pilot more freedom

Richard Nernberg, an attorney whose Pittsburgh-based company acquires and builds apartments, has owned and piloted nine aircraft during the last 35 years. In 2000, he accomplished a goal a majority of pilots would think impossible. He transitioned from his Beechcraft® King Air® B200 to a Cessna® Citation® CJ1®, a jet designed for single-pilot operation. The reason some questioned his decision was because of his age. He was 65 when he decided to earn his jet type rating.

“Sixty-five is kind of late in the day to earn a jet type rating. The whole idea was filled with a great deal of trepidation,” said Nernberg.

Even so, Nernberg looked past his apprehension. Confidently, he purchased the CJ1 before earning his jet type rating.

“I’m not computer literate. I hope you believe me when I tell you I don’t know how to turn on a computer. While I’ve heard of YouTube, I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what Google is. I have no idea what any of these things are,” he said.

“Now, imagine trying to fly a jet aircraft, which is all computerized, without having any knowledge of computers. So, it was with a great deal of nervousness that I went about going through flight school and doing what I had to do.”

“I decided I would dedicate myself one way or another to achieving my goal. Slowly but surely, I mastered the program.” Richard Nernberg, who earned his jet type rating at age 65

To earn his jet type rating and be eligible for insurance, Nernberg attended training at FlightSafety International in San Antonio, Texas. He also took an additional two weeks of flight training in the jet by a private instructor.

Moving up to larger jets

Nernberg later traded his CJ1 for a CJ2+®. Then, in early 2014, he moved to an even larger aircraft, the CJ3®. Comparing the two moves—first from the CJ1 to the CJ2+ and then from the CJ2+ to the CJ3—he said the first was more difficult than the second. The reason: he was more familiar with the computer-based technology the second time around.

“The CJ3 was very simple. It’s nothing more than a larger version of the CJ2+. The CJ2+ took a lot of my energy because it has a great deal of technology in avionics that I was completely unfamiliar with, particularly the flight management system. Without a thorough knowledge and competency of the system, the airplane can’t be flown. It’s the brains of the airplane. Dinosaur pilots like me have no familiarity with this sort of thing,” said Nernberg. “I consider myself competent at it now, and moving from the CJ2+ to the CJ3 was a pretty simple matter.”

Ultimate freedom

It’s been more than a dozen years since Nernberg first earned his jet type rating. He’s as excited to fly his Citation today as he was back then. To Nernberg, flying offers the ultimate in freedom.

“For anybody who values freedom and independence, there is absolutely nothing on this Earth like flying in a private airplane—even if it’s a single-engine airplane, let alone a magnificent piece of equipment like the CJ3,” said Nernberg, who uses his jet extensively for business and pleasure.

“If you put a globe in front of me and point to where you want to go, within an hour that airplane can be fueled up and on a ramp. I don’t need to call and make a reservation. I don’t need to do anything. We’re ready to go anywhere, anytime. What other piece of equipment in this world can provide that kind of freedom and excitement?”

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Faster, Farther and Higher

Stepping up from piston to turboprop to jet

The thrill of long-term aircraft ownership

The excitement of earning a private pilot’s license often drives—or in this case, flies—new aviators to add more hours to their logbooks. At some point, many pilots find themselves thinking about going faster, farther and higher.

That’s exactly what happened to Ron Boyer, who owns and operates several car dealerships in Portland, Ore., and Denver, Colo. For Boyer, flying started as a necessity, to easily bridge the long distances from his relaxed, semi-retirement in Palm Desert, Calif., to his businesses and homes in other states.

“I still visited my dealerships frequently to keep an eye on things, but I hated the commercial flying experience. I had always wanted to learn to fly, so I visited the Palm Springs Flight School in September 2004. After 17 touch-and-gos on my discovery flight, I was hooked,” he said.

Single-engine starter

Boyer took to flying immediately. Even before his second lesson, he purchased a Beechcraft® Bonanza® A36 and a soon-to-be-built Bonanza G36.

“I love new, state-of-the-art anything. I had researched and knew I wanted a glass cockpit, but the airplane I wanted wouldn’t be ready for another 12 months. I bought a round-gauge Beechcraft Bonanza A36 with a guaranteed buyback upon delivery of my new G36 Bonanza,” said Boyer, who took delivery of his G36 a year later.

“I loved the glass cockpit and the Garmin® equipment, and after only 80 hours of time on my G36, I wanted to go faster, farther and higher without stopping. I decided on a Columbia 400 (later renamed the Cessna® TTx™). It was a G1000, turbocharged, FL250 beauty that cut 1.5 hours off my typical trip.”

Moving to multi-engine

With his Cessna TTx, Boyer traveled a triangle — Denver, Portland, Palm Desert — with legs ranging from 650 to 860 nm. The single-engine, low-wing aircraft let him build time and gain experience. Some pilots decide to stay with single-engine aircraft, because they are comfortable with fewer controls in the cockpit and don’t want to spend the time and money to earn a multi-engine certificate. Like most single-engine operators, however; Boyer wanted more.

“The single prop worked, but it wasn’t fast enough, and I had to be extremely cautious of the weather,” he said.

Boyer wanted a Citation Mustang® but was apprehensive of jumping to a jet from his turbo-charged Cessna, so he decided on middle ground.

“I found a 250-hour King Air® C90GTi®. The twin-engine turboprop had a Pro Line 21 glass cockpit, was pressurized, and approved for flight into known icing. Now I had to learn to fly it,” he said.

Boyer earned his twin-engine rating, then headed to FlightSafety in Wichita, Kan. for the King Air C90GTi initial type rating training.

“It was two weeks of great training. I found a knowledgeable instructor and flew with him for 100 hours in the King Air before I soloed it, as required by my insurance company. I put 270 hours on that airplane and got a good knowledge of turbine aircraft,” said Boyer.

Looking back, Boyer said the transition to turboprop isn’t always a necessary one, “I know a lot of pilots wanting to fly jets are intimidated to make the jump and feel they have to make a stop at a turboprop along the way. Not so. It is much easier and fun to fly jets.”

Becoming a jet vet

Ambitious pilots like Boyer dream of flying a jet. They want the power, distance and speed that come with jet propulsion. Even to a turboprop pilot, jets can feel a bit intimidating. Very light jets make a great first step, because they’re often approved for single-pilot operation.

“I always knew I wanted to fly jets and go faster, farther, higher. Here we go again. I must admit I was apprehensive about taking the jump,” said Boyer, who sold his King Air and started researching jets.

“I always dreamed of flying a Citation Mustang. In 2011, during one of Cessna’s demo tours through Portland, I decided to take a ride. The demo pilot let me sit left seat for the 45-minute flight, and I was totally impressed and amazed. With 500 hours of Garmin® G1000® time from two previous airplanes, I immediately took to the avionics. It was like an automatic transmission. I could just fly the airplane and let FADEC (full authority digital engine control) handle the engines.”

Boyer ended up purchasing a new Cessna Citation Mustang High Sierra Edition. It took him 17 days of training at FlightSafety in Wichita to gain his initial type rating for the aircraft. Previous experience with the Garmin G1000 glass cockpit eased the transition into the single-pilot Mustang.

“The Mustang is such a pilot-friendly aircraft. I could go fast on long trips yet slow down to single-engine aircraft speeds of 85 to 95 KIAS to land. That ‘scary jet thing’ went away real fast,” said Boyer. “I loved my Mustang”.

Boyer’s insurance company required 50 hours with a type-rated pilot. One of Citation’s top demonstration pilots, Jeff Brollier, flew the required time with Boyer in just one week.

Boyer loved his Cessna Mustang, but it wasn’t long until he wanted even more. Some 250 hours later, he was eyeing Cessna’s newly-announced Citation M2®, a light business jet equipped with Garmin’s G3000 digital integrated flight deck.

“So, I put one on order. As it happens, I have a very good Citation sales rep who called me with an amazing idea. Why not skip over the M2 and get a brand new CJ2+? He was absolutely right. I traded in my beloved Mustang and took delivery of my new 2013 Cessna Citation® CJ2®+,” said Boyer, who attended training in Wichita for a third time.

He now holds two single-pilot type ratings—CE510S and CE525S. Boyer’s logbook also includes more than 1433 hours of total flight time in aircraft and simulators—433 hours in single-engine, 400 hours in turboprops and more than 600 hours in jets.

“Getting a type rating is nerve racking because it is so intensive, but it is also the most fulfilling, exhilarating and rewarding thing I have ever done. Would I do it again? Absolutely. As I became hooked on jets, I realized this would be a long-term thing,” said Boyer.

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Aircraft Built and Backed by Experience

More than 80 years of certified knowledge and experience

Cessna is a pioneer in the aviation industry. More than 80 years of certified knowledge and experience go in to designing, building and certifying Cessna aircraft - a legacy we've carried in to our modern designs.

Michael Thacker, senior vice president, Engineering, said: "Cessna designs and tests its aircraft to five lifetimes, more than the FAA requires because of the rigorous standards we hold to ourselves and that our customers hold us to."

And, with a company-owned service network with more than 21 facilities around the world, jet owner pilots have support no matter where they fly.

"Cessna has such an amazing reputation for its customer support and its service infrastructure. That's such a big piece of owning an airplane that it seemed like a no-brainer, frankly, to go with the Citation," said Antoine Leblond, Citation M2 owner pilot.

See all our service locations →

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Become a more proficient pilot with a jet type rating

After flying his TBM for more than one thousand hours, John Springthorpe finally attained his ultimate goal—a jet type rating.

More training offers more fulfillment, more fun

Springthorpe calls the aircraft he’s owned for business "time machines." Instead of going through airport security and waiting through airline delays, he says having access to general aviation gives him his life back.

On paper, John Springthorpe didn't look like the kind of guy who was ready to move from his single-engine turboprop to a single-pilot jet. He had been flying his TBM850 for five years, logged more than 1,000 hours in it and was on the board of directors of the owners' association. Springthorpe's company even prints the group's magazine. Still, the businessman and pilot wanted more from his aircraft and himself.

"I started thinking I'd like to do something faster, higher," he said. "That's what everybody thinks about. But I was really drawn to the added proficiency it takes to be good at flying a jet aircraft."

He says he didn’t want to assume too much about his skill level, so he began his transition deliberately. He first brought up the idea to his instructors during his recurrent training. Based on the proficiency Springthorpe had already demonstrated in his turboprop, they said he was capable of earning a jet type rating.

With the help of a friend who had a Citation® Mustang®, Springthorpe earned his first type rating and flew a total of 60 hours, including two major trips. He knew he was ready to make the move permanent and decided to buy a jet.

"There's not a pilot alive as they're progressing through their flying career who doesn't think, 'Boy, I'd like to fly a jet.' Anybody who tells you differently is lying to you." John Springthorpe, Citation® M2® pilot

"I’d been all over the world in my TBM and felt pretty comfortable in it. I felt like that comfort level was possible, with practice, in a different airplane."

But being such an active member of the TBM owners' group made the decision tough for him and his wife.

"Part of the thing that delayed me in making my choice was I didn't want to give up the social aspects of it," the former board of directors member recounted. "It was a struggle for my wife and I, perhaps more so than anybody would ever believe. It's supposed to be about the airplane, but this was a community we had become part of."

Still, he wanted to be a more proficient pilot, and owning and flying his own jet was the best way to do that.

After taking delivery of his Citation M2®, it took just five months for Springthorpe to log his one hundredth hour in it. Most of those trips were for work between his home in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, and offices in Alabama, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Arizona. His most memorable early trip was the one he and his wife took to Europe, proving becoming a better pilot is as fun as it is fulfilling.

Springthorpe's first roundtrip tour of Europe in his Citation M2

"You get to demonstrate your professionalism on every single flight," explained Springthorpe. "The M2 is not hard to fly. That's probably the biggest surprise to someone who's never been in a Citation before. It's not hard to fly a jet, but you have to be precise. That perhaps is the personal challenge that exists every time you get in the cockpit."

Springthorpe's transition was ideal. He's becoming the pilot he always wanted to be and is already entertaining thoughts of more speed and greater range. But most importantly, he's still talking airplanes every chance he has with friends, old and new.

Springthorpe's aircraft progression

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Mobile service network keeps Houston business flying

At home, on location, always ready

As a real estate developer, Stuart Fred crisscrosses the country in his Cessna® Citation® CJ4®, visiting his company's luxury class, multi-family apartment projects spread across 10 states. Since its inception in 1984,the Bomasada Group has completed more than $1.5 billion of asset transactions in new real estate developments, construction, acquisitions and dispositions. It's meant thousands of hours in the air for Fred.

“The airplane is a wonderful business tool. It allows me to mobilize and move my company’s personnel and myself quickly and efficiently around the country to our various projects,” said Fred, who has logged more than 8,000 hours.

While Fred's aircraft rarely requires unscheduled maintenance, he appreciates having access to the MSU fleet. Technicians can make necessary repairs on the ramp while he conducts business nearby.

In addition to the CJ4, the longtime Citation pilot has owned and operated a CJ, CJ1®, CJ2+® and CJ3®. To keep customers like Fred flying, Textron Aviation offers an extensive network of service capabilities, from 21 company-owned service centers with on-call ground teams, to a team that flies parts and technicians where needed, to ground-based fully equipped Mobile Service Units.

“Cessnas are well-built airplanes," said Fred, who pointed out his aircraft have rarely been AOG. "But when they do, and I’m not near a service center, I like knowing a Mobile Service Unit can be dispatched to get me up and running and back on my way,” said Fred.

“When I landed in Ogden, Utah a couple of years ago, I experienced a nose wheel bearing failure. The airplane was AOG. With a quick call to Wichita, Cessna dispatched a Mobile Service Unit. Those guys were at the aircraft in a matter of hours with a new nose wheel assembly. They installed it on the airplane, signed it off, and it was done.”

Textron Aviation’s Mobile Service Units are stocked and ready for inspections. The teams also perform RVSM checks and engine, tire and brake service on customers’ aircraft.

Fred appreciates the convenience of the Mobile Service Units beyond AOG service. Based in Houston, his closest Textron Aviation Service Center is in San Antonio. Calling the MSU for routine maintenance allows Fred to concentrate on his business.

“If I have to move the airplane to San Antonio, I either have to fly it myself or hire a crew. If the maintenance requires more than one day, that means an overnight stay or an airline flight home and back. The direct and indirect operating costs add up fast,” said Fred, who says aircraft owners should also factor in the value of their time.

“Instead, I can easily schedule the work when it’s convenient for me and have them come to my hangar. I never have to leave my office. The cost to have this done by the MSU is basically no different than going to San Antonio, and the added benefit is I don’t have the cost of relocating the aircraft.”

Fred likes to equate Textron Aviation with another company famous for its exceptional customer service and attention to detail.

“When you visit a Disney property, the experience is incredible. It’s the same with Cessna. They know you by name, and you know them. You have a personal relationship, which is really critical because you’re flying an airplane that not only transports yourself, but also family, friends and business associates. Because of that, I want the work performed by the best, and in my opinion, that’s a Textron Aviation service center or MSU.”

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