Citation Jet pilots gather for annual conference
Over 450 members of the Citation Jet Pilots (CJP) Owner Pilot Association flew to California’s Jacqueline Cochran Regional Airport (KTRM) for the organization’s annual meeting in Indian Wells this week. About 120 quotes landed at KTRM, hosted by FBO host Desert Jet Center. The conference started on Wednesday and will continue until tomorrow.
“We continue to grow with record numbers,” said Trent Corcia, who took over as CEO of CJP on June 1. “We have almost 1,400 members and some 900 citations listed in our database. “
CJP members come to the annual event not only to meet friends and learn more about CJP sponsor partners and exhibitors, but also for the safety sessions that are the hallmark of the association, including including accompanying training for non-pilots flying with Citation owner-pilots. The hard work of members, especially those who received the CJP Gold Standard Safety Award for recurrent training, is paying off because “we have had no accidents or incidents this year,” said Charlie Precourt, a former Space Shuttle Astronaut, Citation Owner and Chairman of the CJP Safety Committee.
The rest of the Citation fleet has suffered 51 occurrences in the past year, including three fatal accidents. “As a group, we are safer than the rest of the Citation operators,” he said. “Let’s continue like this. Notice to insurers [that excellent safety record]. “
Textron Aviation President and CEO Ron Draper kicked off the CJP conference, highlighting recent growth in customer flights (turboprop and jets), up 20% from pre-Covid levels. Draper recently became a Citation pilot, obtaining his type rating on the CitationJet CJ3 + at the FlightSafety Learning Center in Wichita.
“It’s crazy what a year makes a difference,” he said. “Last year we reduced production. We had a reduction in manpower. We anticipated at the time that there might be a positive return from the market, but we did not expect to that kind of v-shaped snapback that we’ve seen, and it started in the fourth quarter of last year. About a year ago around this time, it started in the second-hand market and has continued to be increased throughout the year. “
Used planes are “swallowed up,” Draper said. “So all the charter companies are looking for more elevators because they are at their wit’s end with the phones ringing. [off the hook]. It has been a solid year for the entire industry.
Over the past year, Textron Aviation has introduced upgrades to many products, such as the King Air 260 and 360 and Gen2 versions of the CJ4, M2 and XLS +, and Draper explained that these upgrades and d ‘others are part of a new “mix” strategy. The pace of upgrades had slowed down because the engineering team had mainly focused on completing new jets, such as the Citation Latitude and Longitude. “We try to regularly refresh existing products as we release new products or major upgrades,” Draper said.
The CJP conference continued with its annual Safety Standdown, led by Precourt, as well as breakout sessions on operations, engines and avionics for each CitationJet model, as well as the Citation 500 series.