CJP 2021: Convention Begins with Thanks, Kudos and Enlightening Discussion

Nearly 425 CJP members, Companions, partners and others were on hand to celebrate the return to an in-person annual gathering, following last year’s virtual convention necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. CJP CEO Trent J. Corcia was equally pleased to welcome members back, in person, once again.

Photo by Peter Stratton

Photo by Peter Stratton

“I’ve been attending CJP’s annual conventions since 2016, that great one back in New Orleans,” Corcia added, referring to his previous position with CJP Platinum Partner FlightSafety International. “You’ll be amazed at the activities CJP has been working on over the last year.”

“On behalf of your board of directors, we want to extend our warm, warm welcome,” added CJP Chair Randy Broiles on opening day of the 2021 CJP Convention in Indian Wells, CA. “Judging from our welcoming reception last night, CJP has not forgotten how to have a convention!”

Textron Aviation Working Through Pandemic Recovery

CJP’s own “Captain Dave” Miller then hosted a much-anticipated sit-down interview with Textron Aviation CEO Ron Draper that touched on the company’s product development cycle and its efforts to meet surging demand for Citation aircraft.

Photo by Peter Stratton

Photo by Peter Stratton

“It’s crazy what a difference a year makes,” Draper said. “Last year, obviously in the middle of the pandemic, we were slashing production [and] cutting the business trying to preserve cash. We did anticipate at the time that there might be a positive market coming back, but we didn’t expect this kind of V-shaped snapback that started in Q4 last year.”

Although he was coy on possible new aircraft in the pipeline (“you have lighted cupholders [on the newly-unveiled Citation M2 Gen2 and XLS Gen2] but I was thinking more of an M3 or CJ5?” Miller noted) Draper drew cheers from the audience for noting Textron Aviation sources almost all its parts from North American providers. That has helped the company avoid the worst of the current supply chain crisis, although it hasn’t been completely immune.

“With flight hours up 20 percent, we are starting to see some capacity constraints in our supply base,” Draper acknowledged. “We are seeing some problems in consumables, wearables and high use things like tires, like brakes. With all that flying going on, they just empty the entire supply chain, and our suppliers are working to keep up with that.”

Draper also promised improvements to software upgrades to existing models. “We spent a lot of company engineering R&D dollars getting the [Model 680A Citation] Latitude and [Model 700] Longitude out,” he said. “The tradeoff was that we weren’t getting upgrades out on the rest of our products.”

Perhaps not unexpectedly, the very first audience question concerned possible reintroduction of the C510 Citation Mustang. “Our Mustang owners love their aircraft,” Draper said, “but while a wonderful, wonderful airplane, it was not much of a moneymaker for us.” He also pointed to Textron Aviation’s newly-introduced Refresh Collection program to revitalize older C510s, as seen in a video played during the session featuring David and Patty Miller and their refurbished N520BE (below).

CJP FL SEPT 21 - Larry King Hangar Dinner 0921i David Miller Mustang

Miller closed the discussion by thanking Draper for Textron Aviation’s continued strong support for CJP. “At the rate you’re growing, I’m wondering when you’re going to buy us,” Draper replied, to audience laughter. “Fourteen hundred members… At some point, you can just buy us and then launch whatever products you want!”