I’ve been sitting on this for a few weeks, but now that it’s been released on Cessna’s corporate website, I can finally post this story.
On November 1, I was lucky be one of the first writers to sit down across the desk from the man who now holds the keys to the very first Cessna Citation Mustang to be delivered. Grinning widely, Kent Scott of Scott Aircraft, based at Fresno – Yosemite International Airport (FAT), told a tale of how he acquired the Mustang.
I had never met Kent before our chat, but anytime I can get face-to-face time with a former 747 Captain, I’m there. So with my wife Julie, we sat quietly mesmerized as Kent told us about his plans to shake up the Fresno aviation community as soon as Mustang No. 1 – his new baby – touched down at FAT.
First a little background: My history with FAT goes back about 40 years. I was born and raised in Fresno, and I hung on my first airport fence at the arrival end of FAT’s 29L. I learned to fly at FAT where I flew my first pattern that required sandwiching a Cessna 150 Aerobat in between“a flight of F-16s” and a UPS Boeing 767. I have actually rented planes for my flight training in a second story office literally right above Kent’s desk.
The facility where Scott Aircraft is located also seems familiar, because its previous owner, the late Bob Purcell, was my ad agency’s first aviation client. Bob helped us break into the aviation market, so it was especially sweet to be back there on previously home turf listening to a very proud new business jet owner talk of soon taking ownership of what will become known as a very historic Citation Mustang.
As he talked about his aggressive but very attainable developments at FAT and Fresno Chandler Executive Airport (FCH), I soon realized that this man is a valuable commodity in our aviation community – a forward thinker. Kent has big plans to bring FAT and FCH out of the holding pattern the two fields have been stuck in for three decades...and the centerpiece of that transition is Citation Mustang No. 1.
The value of owning the very first of any model – especially one as sexy as the Citation Mustang – is obvious, because there can only be one No. 1. Sure, No. 2 is just as beautiful as No. 1, and No. 3 flies just as fast as No. 2. But when it comes to flat out bragging rights, there simply is nothing finer than saying you own No. 1.
Mustang No. 1 will be going out for 10 months as a Cessna demonstrator before arriving back at FAT and Scott Aircraft for good. It’s a sure bet that Kent will still be smiling when it returns, mostly because of what his new jet can do:
The six-place Citation Mustang has a top speed of 340 KTAS (nearly 400 miles per hour), a range of 1,150 NM and a service ceiling of 41,000 feet. It needs just 3,110 feet for takeoff, and lands in just 2,390 feet.I came away with this interview with a much higher level of respect for the Cessna Citation line, and in particular, for the Mustang. Kent made it easy to understand how the $2.7 million price for the Mustang represents a great value, and how the versatile new design deserves to join the global fleet of more than 4,500 Citations, the largest fleet of business jets in the world. Talking bizjets with Kent is entertaining because he easily delivers non-stop figures comparing the Mustang to the Eclipse 500, the Hondajet, the Adam A700, the Phenom 100, the PC-12 or the Piperjet. And while some of it wasn’t pretty – often even blunt – it was however, all quite true. The guy just makes a great spokesman for the Mustang, which may answer the question of how he ended up owning No. 1.
A poster of my dream bird, the Cirrus SR22 GTS, hangs in my office, and those who read this blog regularly know that my life will not be called complete until our SR is hangered down the street at EUG. My agency is growing along with the aviation business community as a whole, and there’s a day coming – maybe in 2007 or early 2008 – when we’ll need that Cirrus to call on clients and visit grandkids throughout the West.
But every so often, dreams of owning a plane like the Mustang creep into my thoughts. That wild excursion into fantasyland always end the same – with the realization that the six things that stand in my way between the anticipation of wanting a Mustang and the sheer elation of owning one are these Powerball numbers: 3, 5, 23, 41, 44 and 1.
It’s a little too early to break specific news of what Kent Scott has planned for Fresno’s two airports. But trust me when I say that if you want to catch a glimpse of what the future of flight training looks like, keep your eye on Fresno. It will be electrifying, it will be bold, and it will be very, very exciting.