On March 15th, 2007 my friend and I had the privilege to fly on a Cessna Citation Mustang.
Date: March 15th, 2007
Airport: Hobby Airport (KHOU)
Aircraft Type: Cessna Citation Mustang 510
Serial Number: 3
Registration Number: N403CM
Max TAS: 310 Knots
This Cessna Mustang is the third off the production line and is the only demo plane available to the public right now. It is tagged Experimental because of a glitch with the avionics on the G1000 system and i believe it will need to fly 50 additional hours with no problems before it can be 'untagged' as experimental. The glitch on the G1000 system was a very rare case. On a particular test flight the pilots was issued vectors into an airport but while flying that route ATC changed their approach procedure and that particular procedure caused the G1000 to malfunction shutting the entire system down. The crew landed safely after declaring an emergency.
This trip was a demo flight and was flown by a Private Buyer and a Cessna Sales Pilot. Accompanying us on the trip was my friend and I with a Cessna Sales Executive.
Right now the Mustang has received 250 or so orders with 150 of them sold outside of the United States. The earliest delivery time if the Mustang was bought on March 15th was 4th quarter of 2009 but it can be expected that it be pushed to first quarter 2010 due to supplier production delays. Adjusted for inflation a plane for delivery in 2009 will cost approximately $2.9million USD.
The Mustang is much bigger then what people would consider a VLJ with beautiful Pratt and Whitney engines.
These are Pratt and Whitney PW615F turbo fan engines producing 1,460lbs of thrust each.
As you can see the Mustang is still tagged as experimental because of the avionics glitch and this tag should be removed soon.
On November 9 2006, the Mustang was officially certified to fly into known icing conditions. To allow the Mustang to fly into icing conditions and to meet FAA requirements, Cessna has placed pneumatic boots on the leading edge of the wing and vertical fin to prevent ice buildup in flight.
Common in the GA and Biz Av industry are LED lights in the interior and exterior of the jet. The strobes and navigation lights are now all powered by LEDs. These LEDs are guaranteed for life by Cessna and they will replace them for free if they burn out or are inoperative.
The interior of the aircraft is very plain other than a table and cup holders. There are headphone jacks for XM satellite radio which Cessna hopes to have implemented on their newer aircrafts. At the back passengers will have a LCD screen to view and choose the XM radio channel of their choice in the future.
I can say that the spaciousness of the Mustang far exceeded my expectations and the Cessna salesmen said that it was very common for potential clients to common on how much more space than they expected. On photos and what we've seen at mockups, the leg room and distance between the two passengers seem to be very limited. But in actual fact, the leg room is very generous. A larger than average man was seated across from the 6"2 salesmen and there was still at least 10" of space between knee to knee.
Two chairs with the backs facing the cockpit are able to recline up to about 160 degrees. With a handrest and reclining chairs they are very comfortable allowing passengers to easily fall asleep.
Temperature inflight was great even when we boarded in the Texas heat. There is a advanced cooling system where prior to the flight or prior to passenger boarding, the pilot can activate the cooling system where a fan at the back of the cabin will draw out extremely cool air and flood the plane with cool air and Cessna claims it can cool the entire cabin within minutes.
The pressure system on board is excellent too when we descended from FL410 back to 14,000 ft there was very little change in pressure in the cabin from feeling. My ears popped once and thats bout it. Cessna claims that at FL410, the cabin pressure is at 8,000ft.
There is a small storage drawer compartment for drinks, ice, charts and snacks. There is also a lavatory right behind the cockpit and is not an authorized seat.
We took off from Hobby Airport in Houston, Texas. The power of the PW engines can be easily felt with a strong push into your seat. We filed for FL340 and for a trip over the coast and onto Corpus Christi. The Mustang has a 1300nm range which is a far fetched range according to the sales men who said that the newly published range will be in the mid 1100s.
The mustang features 3 Large LCD screens powered by a Garmin G1000 System with 2 PFDs and 1 MFD.
The MFD can display everything from weather, traffic, terrain, engine performance, nav details, E-Charts and much more. Cessna has confirmed that their MFD will support Jepp Charts within this year. So far they only are available with the government issued charts. With Jepp charts the airplane position will be displayed in relation to the charts.
There are also dual flight data computers which integrate with a three axis auto pilot system to give pilots a great deal of relief of work. A keypad featuring alphabets and numbers will ease the input of information into the G1000 system. Instead of turning knobs through the entire alphabet like most Garmin GPS like the 430 or 530, you can just type it in which will make the workload of pilots a lot easier.
All autopilot controls are featured on the glare shield with a MCP (Mode Control Panel) which will control all the altitude, and heading settings for the autopilot system.
The flight took us straight to 35,000 ft where the pilot was able to demonstrate the ease of maneuverability even at high altitudes and how the plane responded to turbulence, and high wind speeds.
After a few maneuvers it was straight up to FL410 where we pushed the performance of the Mustang to its limits. We made multiple maneuvers at FL410 and at 41,000 ft we pushed the GS to up to 370kts.
The most magnificent thing about the Mustang for a aviation geek is the fact that throughout the entire flight you can see the PW Engines spinning. On what aircraft can you actually have a direct view into the heart of a jet engine in flight!
This is only possible thanks to extra large Gulfstream like oval windows to give a great view of the wing and the engines. At 41,000 ft the view was beautiful with nearly unlimited visibility. These large oval windows are supposedly the largest windows in the VLJ competition. There are chessy paper covers that slide down and covers the entire oval windows as shade. They are no where near the quality of a Gulfstream shade made out of fine leather material with a gold plated handle.
After a 2 hour test flight we were heading back to Hobby and at FL410, you would think that we'll have a hard and long trip down back to the ground. Guess again with advanced spoilers and air brake systems (top and bottom wing design) the spoilers can be deployed at any speed and at any altitude. The spoilers are on both sides of the wings and can slow the plane instantaneously. Passengers will easily feel a jolt in the cabin when the spoilers are deployed at FL410 and can hear the sound of the drag the wing is producing. The test pilot claims he has once tried nose diving from FL360 with no passengers with the spoilers out and the IAS did not reach the red line, very impressive.
En route to Hobby Airport, we did a short flyover through Downtown Houston. The day was spectacular CLR skies and 10sm visibility.
The Minute Maid Stadium and Toyota Center are clearly visible.
On final into Hobby the plane automatically pops up the airport diagram and approach charts on the MFD:
And before you know it you're back on the ground from FL410 in a time span of less than 15 minutes.
Comfort wise, the plane is excellent and i feel that no VLJ will come close to the Mustang soon. The Eclipse's cabin is significantly smaller and the Adam jet is as well. The closest competitor i feel to the Mustang will probably be Embraer's Phenom 100 which is due for first flight in 2009 and probably no demo flights till 2011. I will definitely take that plane for a flight once it is released.
The flight was excellent, sound was very minimal and the plane performed great through turbulence. with a ceiling of FL410 the plane can easily fly over any obstacles it may meet whether its thunderstorms or any other wx situations.
Performance was great at take off, cruise and landing.
The cockpit's PFD and MFD were integrated excellently and a ease to fly even if you just started flying glass. Upon purchase of the aircraft Cessna will train you at Flight Safety for 2 weeks giving you a Mustang rating in addition to glass transition course.
Hope you liked the trip report and as promised the video:
Note: Jerry Seinfeld popped out of nowhere on a Netjets Citation X all by himself
Gulfstream Planeview Cockpit: "why have hundreds of buttons when a CCD does the same thing and more?"
Very, very cool report. I fly a 767 for a living, but having something like a Mustang for my personal use is my ultimate dream. Maybe someday when I make that big sale on a novel... or screenplay... Thanks for the look inside.
[Edited 2007-03-21 08:52:29]
One smooth landing is skill. Two in a row is luck. Three in a row and someone is lying.
The closest competitor i feel to the Mustang will probably be Embraer's Phenom 100 which is due for first flight in 2009 and probably no demo flights till 2011. I will definitely take that plane for a flight once it is released.
Actually, EIS for the P100 is 2008. First flight should be this summer. The P300's EIS is 2009.
I've seen estimates of up to 300 Phenoms (-100s & about 10 -300s) delivered by the end of 2009.
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat
BTW, one thing to notice is how much smaller they look in reality compared to the the images put out by Cessna. I'd expect the same from Embraer. And makes you wonder about the Eclipse. . . much too small?
"If goods do not cross borders, soldiers will" - Frederic Bastiat