Top Guns: The Marketplace for Owner-Piloted Citation Jets

SPONSORED CONTENT — In the high-flying world of single-pilot business jets, jetAVIVA brokers Mickea Smith and Denise Wilson stand out. Smith, based in Fort Worth, is an aviation professional with commercial, multi-engine, seaplane and instrument ratings, and she’s one blink away from earning her 525 type rating.

Denise has been flying professionally for 25 years and holds type ratings in eight different jets, including the CE-525S. Very experienced in the world of turbines, Denise founded a charter company, a maintenance company and built an FBO.

In other words, Mickea Smith and Denise Wilson are the real deal, and they are now laser-focused on Cessna Citations. Mickea manages the CJ, CJ1 and CJ1+ line, and Denise focuses on the M2, CJ3 and CJ3+ Citation variants. As AVweb deploys its new classifieds section this week we wanted to learn more about this intriguing market segment, so we called the experts.

First, a little background

Half a century has passed since the Citation I rolled out of Cessna’s manufacturing facility in Wichita Kansas. The aircraft hit the sweet spot for many corporate flight duties in terms of speed, handling, endurance and price. The CitationJet, or CJ, line was introduced in 1993, reinforcing the important element of single-pilot operation, which adds efficiency for the right kind of owner willing to focus on well-structured training.

Pilot Mickea Smith manages the line of pre-owned CJ, CJ1 and CJ1+ aircraft at jetAVIVA.

“A single-pilot CJ1 adds simplified systems through better integration of the autopilot, flight management systems and flight director,” says Mickea. “Nevertheless, the CJ1’s handling is tame enough that it’s a direct step up from high-performance multi-engine pistons or turboprops,” she says.

“It’s for pilots who have always dreamed of owning and flying their first jet,” she says, then curbs any inflated expectations.

“There will be a minimum of 25 hours of SOE (Supervised Operating Experience) issued as a requirement by the FAA if the CE-525S is the pilot’s first type rating. Ultimately, the minimum requirements for single-pilot operation will be dictated by your insurance company, and much of it will depend on the experience level of the pilot,” she says. The Collins Pro Line-21 found on the CJ1s is still “business jet avionics,” she says, and will take some time to master.

Avionics aside, one of the main selling points of the CJ1 series is the line’s Williams FJ-44-1A turbofan engine, with 1,900 pounds of takeoff thrust and a range of 1,485 nautical miles.

“In terms of the current market, let’s look at the numbers,” says Mickea. “From June last year to June this year, there were 29 CJ1 sales worldwide. There are only seven currently on the market, and the average price has increased by 53%.

“With the stock market downturn, there is talk of a slowdown in CJ1 sales, but the numbers haven’t reflected that yet. However, it’s a dynamic market, and it changes every day. On time Currently, a used CJ1 will cost between $1.6 and $2.2 million.While inventory is slowly rising, we don’t expect further appreciation, and now is the time to sell to maximize the price of sale.

Turbine pro Denise Wilson brings decades of experience to her coverage of the M2 and CJ3 ranges at jetAVIVA.

The M2 Gen 2 with G3000

Similarly, Mickea’s colleague, Denise Wilson, saw upward pressure on prices for Garmin G3000-powered Cessna M2 jets with the performance-enhanced Williams FJ-44-1AP engines.

“Future prices for the M2 have been hard to predict lately, but we’ve seen earlier serial number planes go from $2.8-3.0 million to nearly $4.0 million, and newer Used M2s have reached around $5.2 million in the past year.There are more buyers than sellers, which has increased the price significantly.However, as more and more sellers decide to take advantage of current selling prices and as more inventory becomes available, we expect less price appreciation in the coming months.Now is the time to sell if you want to maximize your selling price.

Yet, says Denise, even owners who are heavily leveraged in the stock market aren’t talking about selling, unless it’s to capitalize on the sale for more than they bought their plane. jetAVIVA also sees a steady influx of aviation newcomers and wealthy individuals entering the used jet market.

Conclusion: If you are a seller, as we watch the barrel of high inflation and a market sell-off, you may not see these once-high prices for some time. If you are a buyer, we happen to know a few qualified jet brokers who would love to hear from you.

The AVweb Classified System coming out soon. You will find single aircraft listings, multiple broker listings, aviation jobs, and parts and service listings. Early registrants get the first two months free, and the clock starts June 30. Watch for more analysis of aviation market segments in AVweb Flash five times a week.

Kevin A. Perras