11:29 PM

This time, it’s no joke.

Last April 1st, I got caught up in an Internet April Fool’s joke about Wal•Mart selling the Eclipse 500. My inbox exploded, and I was jabbed a good one. Maybe it was the quote from Vern Raburn in the story that sold me.

So this past week, I heard from a reliable (but anonymous) source that Sam’s Club – sister chain of Wally World – was going to announce this Saturday, October 7 that they would be selling a very special Cessna Mustang.

Like The Who sang back in “the day”…I wasn’t about to get fooled again.

Well guess what…it’s true this time. For $2,734,600, you can go online and buy the Citation Mustang Jet package, which includes:

• Lifetime Advantage Plus Membership to Sam’s CLUB.
• The Citation Mustang, S/N 510-0002 (the first Mustang built that will be available to the public.
• Private jet transportation to Cessna Headquarters to select exterior and interior options
• Private jet transportation to pickup your new Cessna Citation Mustang Jet in Q4 of 2007
At first, I was still a little skeptical. After all, this whole deal is way, way out in left field for “normal” online sales. Sure, maybe Neiman-Marcus might try this, but Sam’s Club? They do what they do very well – sell things cheap in large quantities – but business jets? Someone was yankin’ my chain…had to be.

I needed some validation, so to the internets I raced, where I found this on PR Newswire:
BENTONVILLE, Ark., Oct. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Sam's Club, one of the nation's largest membership warehouse clubs announced it will make available Cessna's Citation Mustang Jet for $2,734,600 complete with a rare lifelong Membership to the Club as part of its Once-in-a Lifetime packages for the 2006 holiday season. The highly in-demand jet will be on display at the company's Home Office at 8th Street and Walton Blvd. Saturday, Oct. 7, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

So when this story breaks big time next week, World of Flying readers will know it is not an urban legend, although I suspect the mainstream media will have some fun with it. And to the guys and gals at Sam’s Club who pulled this off – major hat tip to ya’…this may well be the retail scoop of the century.

UPDATE 1: Aero-News Network is rightfully taking credit for spawning this idea back on 4.1.06. Now, if the Pope starts taking flying lessons, or if a Russian aircraft carrier is parked in the Pacific and begins serving as a mid-point bizjet refueling station enroute to Hawaii, I believe I may start asking the ANN people for lotto numbers or maybe the winner of the 2007 Super Bowl.

UPDATE 2: This Sam's Club/Cessna Mustang story is all over the Internets this morning, so it looks to be true. The actual, real, only way to tell however is for someone to go to downtown Bentonville, AR at 8th and Walton this morning from 730A - 10A and shoot a photo of the Cessna Mustang that Sam's says they'll be parading through town. If anyone gets that shot, come back here and email me the pic so I can post it using the link in upper right corner right below my profile - dp.

UPDATE 3: O.K., I can now put a name to this story. Here is a quote from the local Benton County, AR paper: “The Cessna takes us to a whole new level,” said Scott Williams, vice president of e-commerce for Sam’s Club. “ We are always trying to come up with new and exciting and unexpected values for our members. This Cessna just took it to the next level.”

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