Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Gillespie - Salt Lake City / Cessna Citation X (N726YL) / IFR

Inspired by some family events, I decided to make a round trip in one of my Citations between Gillespie Field in El Cajon (San Diego) and Salt Lake City. Gillespie (KSEE) is a general-aviation airport that can accommodate bizjets; I had Scotty beam my Citation over to the airport.

I was mainly interested in how quickly the trip could be made by air. By car, it can take up to 16 hours or more to reach Salt Lake City from San Diego. I was confident that a Citation could beat that, but I wasn't sure by how much. Commercial flights take about an hour and fifty minutes to make the trip, but the Citation is a lot faster.

I filed the most direct route I could, and I had my preflight and most other things finished by the time my virtual relatives came out to the airplane. At 0006Z, they were aboard, and five minutes later we were airborne.

Things went quite well, except for the approach. The inbound localizer frequency for runway 35 (which I had requested because it is right next to several FBOs) had changed—I don't know when—and I only discovered this while trying to get established. After the flight, I updated the airport in MSFS, but during the flight I had to try to look up the old frequency in order to make my approach. I finally gave up and requested a visual approach, since the weather was fine.

Total elapsed time for the trip was 1:24. Air time was just 84 minutes. We burned 3722 pounds of jet fuel with just two people on board, so the total cost of the flight was a good $6000 or so, but that's the price you pay for speed.

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