Anyone ever fly in a small plane? What should I expect?

My wife and I are taking a Citation X up to the grand canyon for a wedding in August. I am not an anxious flier, but I have never been in a small plane before. Is there generally more turbulance? How high do they usually go? I’m guessing not 37k feet.
We met the pilot and his wife at a neighborhood association board meeting…We’ve become quite good friends. I asked him about booking a charter with his plane and he said no problem. So we are going to make a 4 day weekend out of it. We pay for fuel and he pilots the jet. Not bad…
What should I expect? Any techical lingo would be appreciated so I can actualyl have a conversation with the guy enflight.

I thought I would be able to help you out with some info, until I read the word “jet.” I learned to fly a single-engine prop plane many years ago, but jets are completely out of my league.

Well, I’ve flown in all manner of planes, and the only difference between a small jet and a larger one is the size, pretty much. A business jet like that will be outfitted more nicely (sometimes MUCH more nicely) on the interior than a regular commercial passenger jet, though, so you should be pretty comfortable.

Ask him if flying jets saves him a lot of money on prop wash.

:smiley: :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:

A Citation X is a business jet, albeit one of the smaller ones. Think of a limousine you can get up and walk around in, with a great view out the windows. You’ll love it.

I can verify the interior is very nice. Leather et al. I’m getting excited… So turbulance is the same then?

Whats prop wash?

Expect a more “intimate” experience than in an airliner. Takeoff and landing will be more immediate, more sports car and less greyhound bus, albeit a bus with turbofan engines. Relax and you’ll have some fun. You’re getting a sweet deal. You’ll find this little plane gulps a fair amount of fuel but the total cost of operating the plane is much higher.

Using the lingo that Hyperelastic suggests will endear you to the pilot. He might even ask you to to to the avionics shop and get a tube of relative bearing grease.

Where are you flying from? Scan some maps and figure out your likely flight path and see if you can spot some landmarks along the way. I do something similar when I fly commercially which is every week for me. I f I get a window seat I take my GPS and mark a waypoint when I see an odd landmark then I can reference it to a bigger map at home.

If you want some real lingo ask him what the flight profile will be. That is the description of what altitude you’ll be at during segments of the flight.

Did you ever see a plane with a dirty prop?

That’s a great idea. I am flying from Cutter Aviation off 24th street - you know the place with the oldest Tower in Phoenix. You can see it from I-10…

Holy crap, I’m jealous. That is so cool! The Citation X is the fastest sub-sonic civilian aircraft in the world. It’s not exactly small, either - it’s considered a medium-sized business jet.

How much will the fuel run you, if you don’t mind me asking? Is the pilot the owner, some rich guy who likes to fly around, or does he work for some kind of charter company?

Make sure to take and post pictures!

I know it well. At my last job we used to fly out from there to our mines in Morenci and Silver City New Mexico.

Prop wash. Were you ever a boy scout? Did you earn a snipe hunting badge? It’s one of those screwing with the new guy things. Prop wash is the wind produced by an airplane’s propellor which can blow runway debris, people and planes around if you aren’t careful when you run up an engine. If you can convince a guy to go get a bucket of propwash or jetwash you know you’ve set the hook firmly in his cheek. Other favorites in the aviation community:

Relative bearing grease, get the Moly kind not lithium.
Fifty feet of flight line
A box of padeyes

Anyone have any more?

A Citation X should be able to get higher than a commercial jet, I’d think. Your trip may not be long enough to get that high for any length of time. Just set back and enjoy the ride, if the pilot is experienced at bizjet trips, he should know how to make the flight as comfortable as possible.

Looking at the Citation X performance page, the fuel flow (depending on altitude) looks like about 2000 lbs/hr (average). Seems like jet fuel is about 7 lbs/gal, so that’s roughly 285 gallons/hr. Not sure what Jet A is running, but fuel costs shouldn’t run too much more than $400/hr. Luckily, you can go about 500 miles/hr.

I used to fly in a Citation business jet from time to time with a company I used to work for. It is a VERY nice way to go, since the thing I hate about flying isn’t the flying itself, but the time spent at the airport. The only tricky part was the bathroom. That thing was so small that it took the skill of a contortionist to even take a quick pee.

As far as capabilities go, I found it to be very similar to regular jet travel, just with a neater, sportier feel. The highest altitude I’ve ever been was in this same Citation jet, where we actually went just a smidge over 45,000 ft for a couple of minutes to avoid really tall thunderstorms.

Sounds like you are in for big fun.


Well the jet itself takes roughly 1900 gallons of jet-fuel at 4.18 a gallon it’s going to be slightly on the expensive side. Granted we are not going to use anywhere near that much fuel, so we only have to pay for what we use.

He ownes the jet - he’s retired USAF - and now he just flies charters out of Cutter Aviation, mainly business charters all over the US. As you know the Citation 10 is a pretty big plane, his range is quite far.

Oh man, I was way off on my guestimate of price per gallon!

Still though, those things cost nineteen million dollars brand-new, and they’ve only been around for fifteen years or so. Where did he get the cash?

You’ve either got turbulence or you don’t. One nice thing about the jet you’ll be flying in is that it’s certified to go pretty high, so you may be able to rise above it (so to speak) if you encounter it.

I don’t ask him questions like that. But judging by his home and lifestyle, I’d say he’s pretty well off.

As for the turbulance, we are only going 400 miles, hopefully we won’t hit that much.

Yep - Years ago (God, it was 30 years ago! :eek: ) I worked for Delta, loading and unloading DC-9s. In addition to prop wash, flight line, and padeyes, rookies were sent for “bin extenders” or “bin stretchers.”