If the jet has already been started then a non-pilot should have no trouble taxiing it. Larger aircraft have an actual steering wheel, called a tiller, on the Captain’s (left) side of the cockpit, however, the Citation is probably small enough that it uses the more conventional method of steering with the rudder pedals. Another method of steering involves applying gentle pressure to the toe brakes, located at the top of the rudder pedals under your toes. The initial pressure directs hydraulic fluid to steer the nose wheel, additional pressure applys the brakes.
I’m sorry I can’t say for certain what method the Citation or a similar jet would use.
Sure, if someone has landed the aircraft, then all the good guy need do is jump in to either pilot’s seat, smoothly advance the (two) throttles to get moving, bring the power back to idle to maintain taxi speed, and then apply pressure to the brakes (on the rudder pedals) to stop. Anyone with one arm; two legs, including feet; and at least one functioning eye can do it :).
Some people might not be pilots, but may be familar enough with airplanes of various sorts to taxi successfully. Such individuals might include (but not be limited to) line personnel at airports (perhaps the hero had a summer job at a smallish airport servicing aircraft including small jets when he was in high school or early college?), mechanics, and people who are friends/relatives of pilots who might mention/discuss/show how such things are done. An observant passenger might also see the how pilot of such a plane moves it on the ground and be able to imitate it later, assuming the cockpit area is visible to passengers.
I believe that somebody who is not used to steering using the rudder pedals will be unlikely to be able to maintain a straight line or to follow a desired curve. For example, when attempting to turn off the runway onto a taxiway, he is very likely to overshoot. This problem will be worsened by poor speed control - he will add power to get going, but will not realise the need to reduce power to maintain a reasonable speed in the taxi, and will end up fighting the engines with the brakes to try to slow down. Attempts to use the toe brakes will further impede the accuracy of the steering.
In summary, I think that the person may well be able to successfully vacate the runway without injury or damage, given a basic theoretical knowledge of the controls, but is also quite likely to end up on the grass, weaving from side to side and trying to regain control of a speeding aircraft. Either way, it is likely to be quite a hair-raising experience for everyone involved.
His chances will be better if it’s a big airport with wide runways and taxiways.
What hibernicus said. The taxi process, particularly on a jet vice a prop, is pretty weird compared to operating any other vehicle. All the controls are unfamiliar and some are downright counterintuitive.
It isn’t rocket science; I could teach anybody here to do a decent job in 10-15 minutes.
But without an expert to give you pointers & help at first, your first all-solo effort would be a drunken meander very likely to end up in the grass. As hibernicus also said, the smaller the airplane and the larger the airport the more room for meandering without getting off the pavement.
8-10 seat plus pilots with a toilet and baggage compartment according to the OP.
Personally I think that most people would have a fair bit of difficulty taxiing, but some people wouldn’t, some people have a natural apptitude for things like that.
I don’t think it stretches the imagination too far to have a non-pilot taxi a small business jet. It would be a lot more realistic if he’d done a few lessons towards his PPL and/or had someone on the radio to talk him through it.
I’d always assumed that a novice would tend to ‘undershoot’; i.e., turn too early. Jets tend to have the mains very far back from the cockpit, vs. a GA piston aircraft. I’d imagine that he would get the nose to the turnoff and turn, letting the mains go through the grass/gravel/dirt and taking out a light or two. Is my assumption wrong?
But I would suggest you find a geek friend who has Microsoft Flight Simulator and ask them to let you spend half an hour playing around with the small planes on the ground.
It would let you get a good feel for what’s involved. And if necessary you could work into your screenplay that the main character is a nerd who’s played so much MSFS4 he could fly a jumbo…
On which note, **LSLGuy **(or other passing pilot), can you comment on how realistic the latest version of MS Flight Sim are? The only person I know who takes it seriously is a fanatic and swears it’s dead-on, but he’s a mechanic not a pilot…
Problem is, as I see it, is that the controls for MSFS may not have any relationship to what’s actually on the airplane. I mean, MSFS has keyboard commands available as an option, and I’ve yet to see an airplane cockpit with “CTRL-F” for flap deployment. As just an example.
I haven’t played the latest version of FS but IME they are about as realistic as a good car driving game. Everything looks right, the physics are all there, the important controls work properly, but you are still sitting in an immobile chair and staring at a 17" screen. There is no feeling, and flying is all about feeling and motion IMO.
There are user built add-ons for FS that are very good. I once saw a Dash-8 add-on that had the vast majority of cockpit controls (airconditioning, lights, cabin pressure, engine fire extinuishers etc) working. It looked very realistic and had more detail than I imagined a FS could. But still, you flew it with a Wingman joystick (or whatever), everything was presented on a small screen in front of you, and you can’t feel what the aircraft is doing. That renders the FS essentially useless as a training device.
They can be useful for practicing instrument approaches, but that’s advanced stuff and their benefits are limited.