NBAA Convention News

Cessna delivers first Mustang in Europe

 - September 21, 2007, 6:31 AM

The first Citation Mustang to be delivered to a European customer arrived in Europe earlier this month when British-based entrepreneur and pilot Jane Howell landed at the London-area Farnborough Airport on September 5, having flown the new light jet across the Atlantic from Wichita. The next few months will see growing numbers of Mustangs delivered across the Pond, with Europe now accounting for more than 140 of the 350-strong order backlog for the new type.

Howell will base her Mustang at Milan Linate Airport, where an authorized service center will support the aircraft. She will fly it herself on a single-pilot basis on frequent personal and business trips within Europe.

Cessna’s first European Mustang customer told NBAA Convention News that she initially evaluated the rival Eclipse 500 very light jet. However, she decided against it because of concerns she had about the aircraft’s avionics package and her assessment of the ability of the new manufacturer to support the product over the long term.

“I wanted a high degree of technical reliability and all the help that the pilot gets from the cockpit systems,” she explained, adding that Cessna’s product support network in Europe was another key factor in her purchase decision. Howell added that before the arrival of the new-generation very light jets, even relatively small models such as the Citation CJ1 would have been too large for her requirements.

According to Trevor Esling, Cessna’s vice president for international sales, owner-pilots and privately owned companies account for about half of the Mustang’s European customer base. The jet also has proved popular with charter operators such as London Executive Aviation, which is set to receive 10 of the model.

The first Mustang built to the type certification requirements of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is to be delivered to a German client next month. Other pending deliveries are heading for Italy, Spain, France, Portugal and several eastern European countries. The aircraft completed EASA certification in May, having achieved U.S. approval earlier this year.

By July 2008, a Mustang full-flight simulator is to be available in the FlightSafety International (FSI) Learning Center at Farnborough. The installation of this unit has been delayed by the need to meet strong demand for pilot training in the U.S. Howell earned her type rating with FSI in Wichita and is being supported by the company’s pilot mentor program to help her transition from the turboprop and piston aircraft that she has been flying for the past 20 years.

The $2.7 million Mustang seems especially good value to European customers, who are benefiting from the strength of their currencies against the U.S. dollar. Esling said that the jet’s short-field performance (2,390 feet minimum runway length for landing at maximum weight) is well suited to providing access to smaller airports in Europe and so avoid congestion and high charges at the larger gateways.