No, I’m not actually changing my name. Maybe if I was piloting a Lear, that’d be a different story. But I got to go on a maintenance flight on one of our jets, a Lear 60. I fell in love with it! It is one cool airplane!
At my company, they like to send employees on flights in the jets so we can better understand what our pilots and customers are experiencing on a daily basis. It is required for dispatchers in Part 121, but not in Part 135, so I’m very glad my company still likes to do it. I had found a great flight just around the area and went to my boss to ask if that was an appropriate flight to get my initial familiarization flight on. He agreed and said it was good catch, and sent me and the other new guy on the flight.
We ended up having a full house with two crew scheduling people and two people from another department on board, oh and a mechanic. It can seat 7 and we had 7. I know in a Cessna Citation CJ 2 that would be a bit of an issue. It’s similar to a Cessna 172, you can have all the passenger but not enough fuel or enough fuel but a butt in all the seats. Lear 60, we could fit everyone and the fuel we needed. It probably wasn’t full though, it was just an hour flight.
There were some delays, not sure why. But my co-worker and I sat at the nice FBO waiting, I was quite fine with that. Finally we got under way after a quick taxi to the runway. Oh man, can these tiny jets climb! It was crazy how high we got by the end of the runway. I loved it! I’m used to my 152 climbing maybe at a 1000 fpm, if I’m lucky or an airliner with a bunch of baggage and people. We got up to FL380 probably in 15 minutes, that’s higher than a 737-300 can go!
People started checking out the front and talking to the pilots. I couldn’t wait to go up there. I asked them a lot about the airplane. It’s service ceiling is FL510, but I asked if it could really ge t up there. Of course not. The high 40s is where it stops normally. I was also interested in what I could do to help them out more and was glad to have a good interaction with them.
The rest of the flight I enjoyed in back. Again, I’ve sat in the some Citations and my head would almost hit the ceiling sitting down. Not this one! It was very comfy. I can see why people would pay $7,000 to fly in the back of one of these. Though, I think being in the front would be way better.
The Lear 60 is amazing, but they have TINY wheels, which makes them impractical for us. If loaded heavily, they barely land on 5,000ft of runway. If the runway is wet, that’s not possible. The tires get hot too and have a tendency to blow up. I’ve learned every private jet seems to have a downside. These planes are in maintenance a lot because of their issue.
We landed back at the airport. It was great flying over where I live and getting to see the things I (somewhat) recognize now. I got the lay of the land a bit better, but I just really enjoyed my first experience in a private jet. We can ride on empty legs and you bet I’ll be taking advantage of that again in the future!
I’m really enjoying my new job and starting to get the hang of it. More updates to come!