By CJP Executive Administrator and COO Cheryl Hardy and Cyrus Sigari, CJP Industry Director
An enthusiastic group of 75 Citation pilots, owners and enthusiasts descended upon Park City, UT from January 15-18 for the first CJP Regional Event of 2015, where they we were greeted with warm hospitality by the wonderful folks from the area. A beautiful blanket of snow beckoned CJP Members to ski, snowmobile, snowshoe, shop, or just relax and enjoy the spectacular views of the slopes.
The event kicked off with a gathering on the Mountain Terrace of the St. Regis Deer Valley Resort, where event host and CJP Member Chuck Brady greeted members. During the fireside reception, Members were measured for a custom-made set of “Soul Poles” they could take with them as souvenirs from the gathering.
CJP Members then enjoyed dinner at the J & G Wine Vault of the St. Regis, where they rekindled relationships and made new friends while enjoying the wine selection from CJP Platinum Partner, Jenny Wagner of Wagner Family of Wines.
Friday morning, the group gathered for breakfast and enjoyed presentations from featured guest speakers Col. Paul Strickland and Col. Matt “Jethro” Dana.
Strickland, who currently flies Boeing 737s for Southwest Airlines, earned his call sign “Sticky” as a lieutenant in the U.S. Air Force in which he served 24 years as an officer and fighter pilot. Sticky was selected to fly with the USAF Thunderbirds aerial demonstration team as the #4-slot pilot in 1991. Dana retired from the Air Force in 2014 as the Commander, HQ Utah Test and Training Range, Hill AFB Utah. Prior to that, he was the Vice Commander of the 35th Fighter Wing, Misawa Air Base, Japan.
Friday evening, CJP Members were treated to a lovely dinner and private concert at the home of Scott Ernest, President and CEO of Textron Aviation. It was a wonderful evening for all.
The following morning, attendees enjoyed breakfast and a presentation by guest speaker Larry Lee. He spoke about his “Close Encounter in Reno,” a mid-air collision between his Aero Vodochody L-39 Albatros and a second L-39 as both aircraft travelled at 400 MPH, just 50 feet above the ground during the Pylon Racing School in preparation for the Reno Air Races. Lee shared details of the experience, including an extraordinary emergency landing.
After some free time, CJP Members gathered for lunch at the Silver Lake Lodge on the mountainside, where they also prepared for a Private CJP Ski Race on the Slalom Course with 12-year member of the US Ski Team and three-time Olympic Skier, Heidi Voelker.
After a fun afternoon on the slopes, Members headed to the Empire Canyon Lodge for a Fireside Dining Experience where, again, they enjoyed a fine selection of Wines by the Wagner Family.
To top off a great day on the slopes, and the close of another amazing regional event, attendees enjoyed two very special guest speakers. Mark Baker, president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) spoke about his appreciation for CJP, especially as he now flies AOPA’s CJ3 single-pilot to several AOPA functions and events. Baker stopped over in Park City on his way back to Frederick, MD following the 12th annual “Living Legends of Aviation” awards in Beverly Hills, CA, where Baker received the Harrison Ford Legacy in Aviation Award.
In a surprise appearance, the event’s second speaker was FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, who discussed regulatory issues of particular importance to CJP Members including the upcoming debate on reauthorization for the agency. He also spoke about regulation of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and offered his thoughts on issues raised by CJP Members, including concerns about certification for Reduced Vertical Separation Minima (RVSM) operations.
Like Baker, Administrator Huerta also expressed his appreciation for CJP, stating he was very impressed with the organization and with Members’ engagement on matters affecting light jet pilots and operators.
As the event drew to a close, Members reflected on another great CJP regional gathering… and began to look forward to the next CJP Regional Event, coming to New Orleans April 30 – May 3 during the 17th Annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. Watch for additional details in the coming weeks about this exciting event, and we hope to see you there!