On Tour With A New Citation M2
Every true adventure begins in the imagination. Picture this: you love to see the world, experience different cultures, have your mind changed by new ways of seeing things. Africa, the home of great lions, graceful giraffes and elusive leopards, has irresistible appeal. You haven’t even imagined yet that a hippo will be bathing in the river outside your colonial tent while you rest after a day of safari. And you see yourself wandering the through the ghostly city of Prague, with the imprint of centuries of change in Europe, and you want to do it all in style.
The real promise of travel is the gift of faith that it bestows, faith in the unknown; after all, you do have the keys to a brand-new Citation M2, purchased in March 2014, and 2,000 jet-flying hours. Our pilot had previously flown a Citation Mustang with the Garmin G1000-based cockpit. His earlier-acquired C525 type rating needed only some differences training to reactivate, bringing him up to speed on the M2’s G3000 touch-screen suite.
Our adventurer had made similar trips to Europe and South America, with his steadfast girlfriend, co-owner, companion and co-pilot, shared with friends who came along for various legs of the journey. Thus, the enterprising pair set out in May, for a series of remarkable self-guided travels over the next four months. Three separate itineraries were developed, with interspersed multi-week breaks so they could airline home for business. In all, 72 hours of Citation M2 flying was accomplished during 10 weeks of dedicated travel, a great way to learn the airplane’s newly-found capabilities.
The Trips Begin
His business and personal pursuits had made many contacts in other countries, friends he could rely on during the course of his travels. The first leg of the summer’s M2 adventure was from Orlando, Florida up to Brunswick, Maine, followed by a flight northeast to Goose Bay, Labrador, the jumping-off point for the trip across the Atlantic. With accommodating winds aloft, the hop to Reykjavik in Iceland was accomplished easily and the M2’s first European landing was made in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. After some sightseeing, the jet was flown to historic Biggin Hill airport outside London, where it would remain while duty called the owners home.
A fortnight later, the odyssey resumed with a well-planned African sortie, accompanied by two friends. The initial outbound was a 100-minute hop to Prague, leading them to stops in Aqaba, Djibouti and on to Nairobi, Kenya. Radio communications provided some good entertainment for the pilots during the early stages of the Africa leg. Thick Arabic accents and dialects often had the two airmen asking each other, ‘Did you get that?’ There were several ominous long silences from ATC, leading up to the crew asking ‘Do you have radar contact with Citation?’ The rapid return answer of ‘No!’ had them squawking 1200 at Flight Level 390 with no radar coverage!
After a safari with Internet and phone service, the flight proceeded to Victoria Falls, located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and to Johannesburg, South Africa. It was then on to Cape Town, before retracing the southbound hops, back northward to Djibouti, Somalia.
The excitement of the African trip was measured by this narrative, shared with us by the co-owner: “Animals strolled across my “window” every day: our tent was situated along the river and a hippo would sun on the bank every day. He brought along his crocodile friend, and I looked forward to seeing them both. During the dark African night there was rustling of bush alongside our tents as lions passed close by! The daily game drives were always exciting with knowledgeable safari guides taking us with a few yards of adult elephants with their young, viewing beautiful cheetahs and lions. A spectacular hot-air balloon flight in the early dawn hours had us gliding silently over the Mara Plains, providing a grand view of herding game from above. The African sunsets were spectacular. We had a grand time, and all of us agreed to return soon.
“Leaving the Mara Reserve was bittersweet, but we had to move on. Spectacular Victoria Falls, or Vic Falls, as it is affectionately known, is 300 feet taller than Niagara’s drop and is shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Royal Livingstone Hotel sits right on the river, and we shared our day with zebras casually grazing by the swimming pool while monkeys played mischief just outside our rooms, while impalas and giraffes strolled the grounds. A walk through the park pathways within yards of the falling waters left incredible impressions of mists and rainbows.
“Cape Town: What a beautiful cosmopolitan city, surrounded by dramatic scenery and magnificent ‘Table Mountain’. It’s all about food, fashion, and beautiful people. A short drive took us to several great vineyards where one gapes at the surrounding vistas and dines in ultimate style. Another highlight lay in store with a helicopter tour of the city, flying over the dramatic countryside to circumnavigate the Cape of Good Hope from above. We enjoyed several days together exploring magnificent Cape Town”.
After the return stop in Djibouti, and Luxor, Egypt, the route led across the Mediterranean Sea to Mykonos, Greece. After a stop in Bologna, Italy, it was time to return the M2 to temporary storage in London for another work break.
Upon returning to London, the M2 was taken to St. Petersburg, Russia, then to Stockholm, Sweden, Oslo, Bergen and Molde in Norway. From there, it was time to recross the North Atlantic to Keflavik, Iceland, with a stop at Akureyi on Iceland’s north coast. After crossing to Greenland to land in the fjord at Narsarsuaq, the travelers flew up Greenland’s west coast to Nuuk and Ilulissat. Stockholm was such a great city to visit that it will become their “go to” stop in the future. And with friends in Iceland and Greenland, they were able to experience volcanos in Iceland and glaciers in Greenland. Stunning sites in both countries. Then it was time to head back to North America, landing at Goose Bay and reentering the U.S. at Brunswick, Maine. A side trip to Newport was made before returning to Sanford, Florida in early September. What an Odyssey!
From a certification standpoint, the Citation M2 is a Cessna 525, the same model designation that was used back in 1993 with the original CitationJet, later becoming the CJ1 and CJ1+. With the appearance of the CJ2 and CJ3 and the Mustang light jet, there began to be little marketing justification for the smallest CJ, and it was phased out the line.
However, it soon became evident that a gap existed between the entry-level Mustang and the CJ2. The CJ1 would be too expensive to build in its original form, but with some pricing concessions the 525 airframe could be revived as a step-up from the Mustang, to be called the M2. What was changed? For starters, the Collins ProLine 21 flight deck was exchanged for a Garmin G3000 suite, which involved much more than just a different supplier. The CJ1+’s ProLine gear was remotely located in the nose bay, while the G3000 hardware goes mostly in the cockpit; this caused a rearward shift in C.G., so a slight ballast may be required up front when flown by a single pilot. With normal loads, there’s no need for ballast if some baggage is loaded in the nose. A nose-mounted auxiliary battery was made available to power up the M2’s avionics before starting.
The M-2’s Williams FJ44-1AP-21 engines are rated the same as the CJ1+’s FJ44-1AP, but FADEC enhancements boost thrust at altitude by 10%, and the overhaul cycle of 4,000 hours was a 500-hour increase from the previous engine, to eventually be raised to 5,000 hours. No thrust attenuators were needed for ground operations.
Externally, the M2’s major visual distinction from the CJ1 is the addition of a set of small winglets; the engine pylons were also reclocked. These, along with more usable thrust, boosted max cruise speed to 405+ knots and brought maximum range up to 1,400 NM. As with the earlier CJ’s, bleed air windshield heat remained, supplemented by an alcohol spray bar for the left side, and the hot wing was retained, with pneumatic boots on the horizontal stabilizer.
An aft lav, with solid doors, is an option for the M2, with a belted seat. New LED lighting is used in the M2 cabin, along with the optional Clairity wireless entertainment system. Up front, the center pedestal is slimmer, compared to the CJ, and the instrument panel was slightly tilted.
Overall, the Citation M2 represents a good value and a good step-up choice for Mustang owners seeking more of everything. Embraer’s Phenom 100 was the obvious reason Cessna chose to offer a gap-filler model in the Citation line. The M2 has become an excellent option for the owner/pilot looking for a light jet upgrade
The owner of the spanking-new Citation M2 had done his homework and had employed the resources of Air Journey’s trip-planning department, which he calls his “Guardian Angel”.
The Rocket Route flight planning website is an excellent help in Europe, he told us. His best resources, however, were a long list of friends and business contacts from previous travels, always available to lend a hand in their locale. American Express’ travel agency does a great job of finding accommodations in Europe, he said. He also reported that the Honeywell AeroWave internet service on board the M2 worked well, at a reasonable cost.
With prior experience and planning, and with the capability of the new Citation M2, a multi-continent excursion is possible and practical.