More than 350 Cessna Citation business jet owners, pilots, and enthusiasts attended the 2014 Cessna Citation convention Jet Pilots Owners/Pilots Association (CJP) last September, held at the historic Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, West Virginia. The three-day convention, which also hosted more than 100 Citations at nearby Greenbrier Valley Airport (LWB) in Lewisburg, marked CJP’s most successful annual owner event since the organization’s first gathering in 2009.
Informative Presentations and Interesting Speakers
CJP events traditionally host a wide range of dynamic speakers, and this year’s Convention was no exception. At the beginning of the event’s second day, Textron CEO Scott Donnelly told attendees that he welcomed the opportunity to meet with CJP members, and he shared his perspectives on both the state of Cessna’s parent company and the numerous markets in which it competes.
“Hopefully what you’ve seen over the last few years is a significant commitment to this industry and business in terms of where we’re going with new product programs,” he said during his September 19 keynote address. “It has been a tough cycle, but one where we’ve committed to being in better shape coming out of it.”
Following his presentation, Donnelly took several questions from the audience. He also polled attendees about what they would most like to see in future generations of Citation aircraft, with greater range the most popular response.
Other speakers throughout the convention included former NASA astronaut Charlie Precourt, Jacksonville Center controller and NATCA representative Luke Alcorn, Radar Training International founder and president Erik Eliel; aviation attorney John Yodice; and aeromedical professional Dr. Quay Snyder.
On the show’s third and final day, USAF Col. Mark Tillman gave a rousing, well-attended presentation on “Flying Air Force One,” including anecdotes about being on the flight deck of the storied U.S. presidential aircraft in the hours following the 9/11 attacks.
Another hallmark of all CJP owner events is an emphasis on safety. Day Two focused on “Operating Your Citation,” with a host of seminars dedicated to the very latest operating tips and procedures for both legacy and newer-model aircraft, as well as the engines and avionics systems used throughout the Citation line. Educational sessions devoted to addressing operational concerns, learning more about aircraft avionics and systems, and analyzing pilot performance, provided open and honest forums for members to discuss matters affecting their flight operations.
First-time attendee Rick Schwartz, who purchased his first Citation (an M2) in January 2014, noted that these sessions represented “a great time to ask all the questions that you may be afraid to ask, and you’ll get great, frank answers.”
This year’s event also marked the first “Show Me Your Citation” interactive event at LWB, with approximately a half-dozen Citation owners displaying their aircraft and answering questions from current and prospective Citation owners.
Russ Meyer Citation Library Update
Without question, the largest single initiative currently underway by CJP is the creation of the Russ Meyer Citation Library (RMCL), an innovative, one-stop online resource for CJP Members wanting to learn about the safe operation and maintenance of their aircraft. Convention attendees heard an enthusiastic and informative update about the program’s progress, including the announcement of a partnership between CJP and the Prescott, Arizona campus of Embry Riddle Aeronautical University to speed the library’s development.
ERAU faculty member Randy Rehbach, who will oversee the project on the university side, said this cooperation offers his students “a couple of really good synergies,” including introduction of a business aviation perspective. “The Russ Meyer Citation Library will be about sharing information and gaining knowledge, and that’s also what Embry Riddle is about,” he added.
Continuing a tradition that began in 2009, CJP Regional Director and jetAVIVA CEO Cyrus Sigari provided attendees with an overview on the state of the marketplace for Citation aircraft, and sales trends throughout the globe, during an informative session that also demonstrated the buying power that Citation owners represent around the world.
“We have a substantial number of airplanes represented just by the folks here in this room, from about $350 million to upwards of a half-billion dollars’ worth of planes,” Sigari told attendees. “This room moves the market. The decisions you make have an impact on all the other guys out there.”
Opportunities to Relax
and Enjoy Time with Friends
Ahead of the show’s start on September17, attendees had the opportunity to enjoy one of the Greenbrier’s five championship courses at the CJP Golf Tournament. Attendees also enjoyed many fine-dining options and member events, including a Welcome Reception, hosted by ProFlight, and the first-day Member Dinner, sponsored by Cessna at nearby Kate’s Mountain Lodge. Throughout the show, attendees and their guests were able to partake in tours of the Greenbrier property – including the historic “Bunker” under the resort, created to protect government officials in the event of a national crisis – as well as wine tastings, cooking lessons, and a variety of sporting activities.
On the event’s second day, attendees enjoyed a “New York Wine Experience” provided by acclaimed Napa vintner Chuck Wagner, of the Wagner Family of Wine, followed by dinner and the opportunity to bid on a diverse range of fine items in a silent auction. Proceeds from the auction benefited CJP programs
Palmer Inducted to CJP Hall of Honor
The convention came to a close on September 20 with a gala dinner, featuring the induction of golfing legend and accomplished aviator Arnold Palmer to the Citation Jet Pilots Association Hall of Honor. Palmer joined Cessna Chairman Emeritus Russell W. Meyer Jr. and veteran Cessna engineer Bruce Peterman in the esteemed ranks of aviators receiving the highest distinction bestowed by CJP.
“Without aviation, I probably never would have had the success I’ve enjoyed over the years,” Palmer said before the induction ceremony. “To be able to tell all these pilots – who are far better than I am in flying [Citations] – how much fun I’ve had, and what it has all meant to me, is a wonderful honor.”
For 2015, CJP will bring its annual convention to The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs, Colorado on September 9-13.Visit www.citationjetpilots.com and email email@example.com for more information.
Freelance aviation writer and sport pilot Rob Finfrock serves as the Editor of CJP’s bimonthly newsletter, “Flight Levels.”