Tuesday, February 28, 2012

I'm sitting in Terminal 3 at Toronto Pearson right now, waiting to catch a Westjet flight to Calgary. That's where our new plane is, and I'll be flying her home tomorrow. I'll take lots of pics and videos on the return run so you can see how awesome she is.

In the meantime, here's a video from last night, when I saw my boy Nolan laugh for the first time. He really keeps things in perspective for me - I mean, I like my new plane, but I love my little boy more than life itself. And so will you once you see this clip!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Yeah, it's been a while. Wanna know why? Because I have been stupid busy, that's why. What have I been busy with?

Before I answer that, let's talk airplane history for a second. The Citation II (which I fly)was upgraded and became the Citation Bravo, which was then expanded and turned into the Citation V, which was then upgraded and turned into the Citation Ultra.

How is this relevant? Well, we have sold my beloved C550, but we will continue to operate her for the new owner, and with the proceeds (and a whack of additional cash) we bought a Citation 560 Ultra!

Here's the wiki on the Citation 560 series

Here's a link to the actual plane we bought, serial 496

The Ultra is essentially 2 generations newer than the straight Citation II which I have been flying, and the Ultra we bought is 17 years younger, so it has lots of new features, which I'll be detailing over the next while.

The most noticeable ones are: It's about 90 knots faster, meaning we will true out at 430 knots at 40,000'. The airplane climbs a lot faster as well, and the level of automation is significantly increased. The engines produce a lot more thrust at 3045 lbs each instead of 2500 lbs on the II, and though they burn 200 gallons of gas per hour instead of 150 on the II, the extra speed means we actually have a net savings on fuel burn, especially when we fly into a headwind. The plane is about 2 feet longer, meaning more leg room for the pax in the back, and there are lots of upgrades to the interior (bigger food/beverage system, CD audio system, sat phone for pax, etc) It is quieter, and it can fly further, meaning we can head west for a fair distance without it being a whole ordeal.

Cosmetically, the airplane has an extra passenger window, the washroom has a real door instead of a curtain, the seats are fully rotating and pretty luxurious, the wing has a sweepback for the first few feet, and there is no tail de-ice boot (apparently Cessna noticed that the tail never actually accumulates ice on the 550 models and realized that there's no need for the boot, so they removed it)

Our parent company is expanding, and that means more flights to more locations, some of them a fair distance away. They own a lot of stuff in Arizona and California, and with the Ultra we will be able to save a few hours on each trip, so the time saving is significant.

Oh, the plane has EFIS as well, which means we watch tv screens up front instead of looking at analogue instruments.

Basically, it's a lot more airplane, and I'm really looking forward to learning the ins and outs of Ultra flying.

The process has been a pretty intense one, as our purchase of the Ultra was contingent on the sale of our II. Synchronizing those transactions likely took years off my life, but the cheque for the II cleared yesterday, so I'm confident enough in the process that I'm allowing myself to post this. I'm so excited!

I'm gonna detail most of the process in upcoming posts, because I sure learned a lot and I think that some of it is pretty valuable experience. For now, I'm gonna crack open a beer and relax for the first time in a month. Not to sound too high on myself, I have earned it! :)