CJP 2022: Tips for Flying Your Citation Internationally

Flying your jet across the ocean and over international borders may seem a daunting challenge for even accomplished Citation pilots. On Day Two of CJP 2022, CJP members and around-the-world pilots Larry King and John Springthorpe shared their experiences with flying their jets internationally.

CJP Convention 2022 - Intl Flying

“I’ve had the privilege and the pleasure of flying my airplane to more than 100 countries in the world,” said Springthorpe, CJP’s Treasurer and a Director. “It has been a tremendous blast for me. This has been my retirement activity for a good while, and the CJ3+ is certainly a great way to be doing it.”

“We’ve traveled to 23 countries around the world over 72 days,” added King, who serves as chair of the CJP Aviation Community Services Committee (formerly Philanthropy) and flies a Citation M2. “We’ve also done South America – 33 days, eight countries – and Eastern Europe, to places that at the time I’d never even heard of!”

Certainly, such trips can involve a significant amount of pre-planning to account for differences ranging from extra fees for fuel, handling, overflights and ATC services, to extra trip insurance coverage and planning for an alternate landing airport that may be several hundred miles distant.

“We can fly almost anywhere here in this country and think okay, well, there’s always another airport nearby,” Springthorpe said. “Think about your alternate and how far away it might be, particularly if you’ll also have a customs requirement.”

King encouraged first-time international pilots to plan a destination closer to home. “Lots of folks in CJP fly to Mexico,” he said. “If you’re on the [CJP member] forum, you can see a lot of information about that.”

Canada is another option, particularly as that country has finally eased COVID restrictions. “The Caribbean also has a lot of destinations that are possible and open to you,” he said. “I also listed Alaska, though it does require some planning and thought about how you’re going to get there and what you’re going to do.”

With some experience in your logbook, flights to Europe, the Middle East and Africa are all possible, “if you’ve got the right kind of airplane – and most of us do – and you’re willing to put in the planning and effort it takes to do it,” King said.

Both men also encouraged pilots to take things slow. “Break it into bite-sized pieces,” Springthorpe cautioned. “We feel like 3-5 hours of flying per day is a limit, followed by three nights at the location. No takeoffs before 9:00 am, no flying into weather and no night flights.”

ATC phraseology is another consideration, even if English is the international language of aviation. “My understanding is there are about 200 words the controllers have to learn to do their jobs,” he added. “I would encourage you to use standard phraseology.”

That said, King reassured attendees, “there’s just two places in the world that I cannot understand ATC. That’s Thailand and Alabama.”

Photo by Stratton DV Imaging