Jets are often considered a business tool enabling companies to grow efficiency and expand reach. But sometimes those tools do more than take a businessperson to several meetings a day or home for dinner. Often, jets connect people in a deeper sense, especially when a generational love of flying is involved.
Father and son Eugen and Patrick Stieger, based near Lake Constance in St. Gallen, Switzerland, are both qualified pilots on their CESSNA CITATION MUSTANG aircraft. Eugen inspired Patrick to start flying and Patrick secured his solo license with the aircraft at the age of 19. The Mustang jet helps them share experiences far beyond family holidays.
“My dad’s passion for flying meant I’d been around aviation since I was very young. We both love model aircraft, for example,” explains Patrick. “Then, one day he suggested trying for my private pilot license [PPL], which I did in Miami when I was 17. That’s when my journey in general aviation really began.”
Eugen also developed a passion for aviation as a young man and as a 16-year-old he helped a friend rebuild two crashed Dornier Do 28 twin-engine utility aircraft into one airplane that could fly again.
Having flown Cessna aircraft for many years, including a twin-engine 303 and 414, Eugen moved to a Mustang jet in 2013.
“The Mustang is much easier to operate and more comfortable than aircraft I had flown before,” says Eugen. “It’s a fantastic jet, significantly quieter inside than the propeller planes I flew, and we’ve never had any issues that couldn’t be easily resolved. The reliability standards are especially important when I’m so often flying with my family.”
Together, Eugen and Patrick have enjoyed many travels in their Mustang jet, not least a 10-day tour of the United Sates in 2019 that included visiting the Cessna team and facilities in Wichita, Kansas.
Patrick particularly remembers flying to the United States over Greenland, saying: “It’s an epic experience when everything you can see all the way to the horizon is white. At first you think you are looking down on clouds and then you realize it’s one huge glacier.” Patrick remarks that flying with his Dad is “quite a bonding experience because in the cockpit you have to be very straight about everything, you have to trust each other and you get to know each other really well. I feel very grateful to be able to fly with my Dad and to share this wonderful passion together. It was an amazing journey from learning how to fly my Dad’s model airplanes to flying a Cessna 152 to now a C510 and always with the great support from my Dad.”
Eugen says family travel is his priority when flying the Mustang jet, but he uses the aircraft for domestic and international business trips too, in his role as CEO of Stieger Software. “The Mustang isn’t necessary for my corporate travel, but it’s fun! So I’ll fly to Bratislava four or five times a year on business, for example, but it’s more important to me when I fly with the family to our house in the south of France, five or six times a year.”
Eugen remarks that it is a great pleasure to share this hobby with his son at auf Augenhöhe, eye level.
What will the future bring for Eugen and Patrick? There are certainly no plans to change aircraft. Why not? “For me, the Mustang is a perfect plane,” concludes Eugen.