Citation organization embodies the pride, professionalism and passion of Citation ownership.
by Dianne White
After taking delivery of his new Citation Mustang in 2008, John Hayes knew he still had much to learn. Hungry for real-world knowledge, he sought the counsel and company of other Mustang owners who, just like him, were flying a jet for the first time. It didn't take long for this small group of members to realize they wanted something more than a list of e-mail addresses and phone numbers.
"Having been involved in the formation of the TBM owner's group, a number of us who now operate Citations saw the value of having an owner's organization. So a core group of us decided to move forward with creating one," said Hayes.
What started as a loose group of pilots with common concerns and interests has now evolved into a formidable organization for Citation owners. Called the Citation Jet Pilots Owner Pilot Association, this new group has developed a robust Web site, regional events, and an annual convention that attracts hundreds of Citations, aviation luminaries and A-list speakers.
Run by owners for the benefit of owners, the organization (known informally as CJP) has attracted more than 300 Citation drivers representing the gamut of the jet series — from early 500-series to Mustangs through the Citation X. While the core members are Citation owners themselves, CJP is also open to corporate Citation pilots, those considering the purchase of a Citation, and Partner companies, such as Garmin, FlightSafety, ProFlight, Pratt & Whitney, Canada and others. Cessna, which has supported CJP since its inception, is a Platinum Sponsor and has actively participated in every major event, as well as provide an open channel of communication between its members and the factory.
CJP prides itself on offering a wide range of resources tailored to the needs of Citation owner-pilots. The Web site features an active forum where members can ask questions, share insights and gain wisdom from others all in the spirit of operating and maintaining their aircraft with the utmost safety and efficiency. There are also downloadable pilot information manuals and performance charts, and maintenance info. Most importantly, the organization gives members the opportunity to connect with other owner-pilots.
"The mission is to create the ultimate owner experience for Citation owners," added Hayes. "While the primary focus is on helping all of us operate our Citations with the utmost professionalism and safety, there is a tremendous social and camaraderie aspect."
In addition, CJP has negotiated significant savings for a number of services and products essential to operating a Citation. For example, members receive $500 credit for parts and service from Cessna, a $750 training credit at ProFlight, a $500 discount at FlightSafety and $300 toward any product or service from Jeppesen. There are also discounts available from several insurance underwriters as well.
Small Group, Big Vision
In March 2009, the group held its first formal gathering at the Carlsbad, Calif., airport and featured a combination of educational and social events. The overwhelming response to that event confirmed what the core group of members suspected: there is a tremendous need for an owner's group within the Citation community.
"In addition to several excellent educational presentations, we also spent some time talking about our goals for the organization," said CJP founding member Ronnie Morgan. "With that, we had a blueprint from which to grow. I think it has succeeded way beyond our initial expectations."
One of the first goals was to hold an annual convention along with regional events that would feature a combination of educational and social opportunities. The 2010 Annual Convention, held over three days in Colorado Springs, Colo., drew more than 70 owner-pilots. In subsequent years, the convention has continued to grow in popularity, due in large part to the excellent line-up of speakers and seminars.
Last year, aviation legend and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) Chairman Emeritus Tom Poberezny joined the group as its convention and marketing director. With his guidance, CJP pulled off its biggest convention yet: more than 100 Citations lined the ramp and 300-plus pilots, companions and industry representatives were in attendance.
This year, CJP holds its annual convention in Tucson, Ariz., with hundreds of Citations on the ramp at the Tucson International Airport (KTUS). Focused on the theme "Pride, Passion and Professionalism," the four-day event features speakers including Robert A. "Bob" Hoover, Congressman Sam Graves, Cessna Chairman Emeritus Russ Meyer, Jr., and Black Diamond Jet Team member Jared Issacman.
A full slate of educational seminars covers a wide gamut of topics, from engine care, to training strategies to avionics tips and techniques. The ever-popular companion training program teaches non-pilot companions the basics of airmanship and radio communication followed by a two-hour training session flying their actual Citation. Each evening features a different social event, including a western-themed kick-off bash, a Cessna-sponsored hangar party, and a fundraising auction.
The culmination of the convention is the CJP Hall of Honor, which recognizes the contributions of Cessna Citation heroes and legends. This year, Citation design master and retired senior leader Bruce E. Petermen will be inducted into the CJP Hall of Honor during a special dinner ceremony led by inaugural inductee Russ Meyer.
CJP sponsors at least two regional events each year, bringing Citation owners face-to-face for a weekend in a unique venue. In years' past, the group has visited the home of the NASA's astronaut training program at Ellington Field in Houston, toured the Paul Allen aviation museum in Seattle, took in Kermit Weeks' private aircraft collection in Sanford, Fla., enjoyed an exclusive Napa Valley Wine Train tour, and went behind the scenes at Bell Helicopter in Dallas.
The regional events typically mix in Citation-specific educational sessions and plenty of time for members to exchange ideas and insights about operating their aircraft.
"CJP strives to produce worthwhile and unique events in which we can learn, laugh and enjoy the company of fellow Citation enthusiasts. Whether it is Napa, Tucson or some future venue, we all leave with new knowledge, renewed friendships and great memories," said CJP Chairman Ed Turley.
Over the course of four short years, CJP has gone from a small online email exchange group to a full-fledged organization with a multitude of benefits, top-tier events and opportunities for members to exchange ideas and interact. However, the core mission of the organization is unchanged: to help like-minded Citation owners operate their aircraft in a safe, professional and efficient manner while fostering new friendships.
The organization also has become an important conduit between owners and companies that support the Citation fleet, most importantly Cessna. Going forward, CJP will continue to promote strong communications with suppliers to ensure the most up-to-date information is in the hands of operators.
"We own Citations because they are productivity tools. But we also have a passion for flying and strive to operate our aircraft with the highest standards of safety and professionalism," said Mark Aloe, CJP president. "CJP not only brings people together who share common goals, but it has introduced me to great people who I would have never met otherwise. For me, CJP is the best part of owning a Citation."
Any Citation owner-pilots, prospective owners, or distributors, are welcome to join this exclusive organization.
CJP Vision Video