We usually fly our aircraft as a two crew set-up; my brother Michael and I fly it at least once or twice a month. This could be just a few sectors or sometimes several long sectors. We chose a Cessna 441 because it has the range and speed that we need at a reasonable cost.
We fly from the UK to the US several times a year and on those trips we regularly manage the North Atlantic non-stop going east. That saves time and fuel as we are RVSM-certified. All of our trips are business related. We export our products all over the world, and the availability of our aircraft at a moment's notice is invaluable to further our business in Europe and the US. We manufacture pharmaceutical intermediates, which means we have to visit our customers on a regular basis. One of our main markets is the USA. A typical trip there starts on a Saturday morning when we depart our base in Scotland. Our first stop tends to be Greenland, from there we can make New York or any other airport on the east coast quite easily. The following day we position ourselves on to the west coast where our first meeting on the Monday takes us. We then tend to go all over the US and usually end up for our final meeting on the Friday in Miami, Florida. The following day we fly Goose Bay in Canada non-stop, followed the next day non-stop back to Scotland. Usually on that sector we still have 1.5 hours of fuel left in the tanks. With business growing, it looks like we will need to fly further east and a lot more south in the future.
Our Conquest II is standard with no additional tanks. At 35,000ft we have a range of 2,400nm. The fuel flow at standard ISA works out at 320lbs/hour. Total fuel on board is 3,200lbs and cruising speed is 290kts. It's a good job we have a pee tube on board!
One of our most memorable flights was when we needed to go to Sao Paulo in Brazil. The aircraft performed faultlessly and the sectors from Brazil to Europe via the south Atlantic were an absolute pleasure. Sao Paulo to Fortaleza followed by Sal in Cape Verde followed by Faro and then back to Scotland. We did this two years in a row. I do all planning myself and look after maintenance which is done in Grand Junction, Colorado.
We have in the past looked at other types of aircraft, including jets, but there is nothing out there that will outperform our Conquest II at the relatively low operating cost we are used to.
Personally, my worst experience as a pilot was flying a Cessna Citation II from Geneva to Prestwick and flying over Lockerbie some 20 minutes after the fatal Pan-Am flight went down. I remember seeing the flames as we passed over the top. That sight will stay with me forever. Stephen Klinge, Klinge Chemicals