In the first of our new series Cabin Talk™ we visit with Doug Robinson our newest SJ30 operator. Doug is based in Freemont, Nebraska near Omaha. He has now been operating N7SJ for a little over two months with flights to the East and West coasts and Mexico.
Let’s catch up with Doug:
Can you provide a little background on your business and previous business aircraft experience?
Doug: My family has had a seeds business since 1888. Over the decades it evolved into a row crop (corn, soy beans) seeds business focusing on hybrids. I graduated from college and joined the business in 1969. My father and I started a new brand, Golden Harvest in 1972 and with my brother who joined in 1978 we built the business to hundreds of times its original size before industry changes required us to sell in 2004. We continue to farm the land we used for seed production when we owned the company.
I have owned two airplanes; an Embraer Phenom 100 and a Clifford modified Citation SII 550. We fly mostly in the US, Canada, and Mexico and use the planes mostly for leisure.
What led you to the SJ30?
Doug: My partner in the Phenom had taken a position in the HondaJet but the production dates kept getting pushed back. When we finally had a chance to fly on it, the HondaJet was closer to the Phenom in performance than to our Citation SII. My pilot and I had seen this SyberJet at the Orlando NBAA show and thought that it might be more suited to our needs. Single pilot, fast, efficient and with the ability to extend to Hawaii and Europe if we should have an interest.
Now that you have several trips using the SJ30 under your belt how has your experience been?
Doug: I think the strongest differentiation the SyberJet has over other aircraft in this class is sea level pressurization. It's hard to convey the extra energy I have at the end of every SyberJet trip compared to a conventional aircraft. The speed, the ability to fly high (47 or 48,000 feet is easily attainable), and the efficient Williams engines all add up to low fuel costs per mile and less time in the air than competing aircraft. The two seats in the rear, the "owner seats", are the most comfortable in its class. My 91-year-old father agrees.
As a small company with only seven aircraft flying, SyberJet does not have as many hours experience in the air as some of the aircraft competes with. We occasionally experience some little glitches. Nothing that is compromising safety, but we've had to reboot the avionics, etc. That will be needed to be ironed out.
To get the speed, pressurization and efficiency to the highest level SyberJet's designer specified a tube that is a little smaller than is popular in the current market. The forward toilet is great for a pilot owner, but does require passengers to close two doors instead of one.
The build quality of the SyberJet is truly old school in the best way. Part of that is probably necessary because of the high pressurization but it means a lot for maintenance, lifespan of the airplane, and the pride of ownership of something that is truly beautifully made. Our current demo has a few squawks that will need to be attended to if you want to convey this appropriately when we demo the airplane to prospective buyers.
Where do you typically fly?
Doug: I often fly to California, Florida, Maine, but have also made trips to Central America and Alaska. I'm semi-retired so travel is important to me and my grandchildren are in Maine and I like to see them as often as possible.
And what would be your favorite feature of the SJ30?
Doug: To summarize the attractive features, at least for me, of the SJ30 are, sea level pressurization, fastest single pilot aircraft, low-cost per mile, fantastic range, build quality, and the satisfaction of flying an aircraft that attracts attention and interest. If I have one favorite thing it's definitely sea level pressurization; no other plane matches that and the anti-fatigue benefits are noticeable. My second favorite thing would be the speed and ability fly over weather and other air traffic -- just getting there fast!
Quick note from the SJ30 cockpit:
Scott: Scott Erickson has flown for numerous airlines, cargo airlines, and business aviation aircraft including a Phenom 100 and Clifford modified Citation SII 550 for Mr. Robinson. He holds type ratings for the B727, B737, CE500, CE510S, CE525S, CE560XL, CVA340, CVA440, DA10, DC9, EMB500, EMB505, LR60, and LRJET and the SJ30.
After flying the aircraft at 47,000 ft on one of his first flights after his training he remarked “I have never seen anything even come close to flying this nice in skinny air (ed: reference to high altitude)…. truly amazing!”