Plane & Pilot
Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Owners’ Analysis: Eclipse, Mustang & Phenom


What better method is there of analyzing the current field of light jets than asking owners?


With bug speeds at typical landing weights down around 95 knots, the Mustang can operate easily into any strip of 4,000 feet or more. "The carbon-fiber brakes are great, so we really don't miss the lack of thrust reversers," Maudru remarks.

The only negative on the airplane isn't really a complaint. "We'd love to have an extra 200 nm of range, but if we did, we'd probably want still another 200 nm," the pilot laughs. "For our company right now, the Mustang is almost ideal. I can't imagine a better airplane for our missions."

Embraer Phenom 100
In 2006, Ron Gruner of Boston, Mass., decided he was ready to step up to a jet. He had been flying his friendly Cessna 195 for 2,000 hours, and his travel needs dictated that he consider something faster and more comfortable. Gruner had a vacation home in Naples, Fla., and the 1,050 nm trip back and forth was just too time-consuming in his classic Cessna.

"The Sun 'n Fun Show in Lakeland is well-known for showcasing many of the best aircraft in general aviation," says Gruner, "and in 2006, I dropped in to see what might be my next step." Gruner was especially interested in the SOCATA TBM-850, the Eclipse 500, the Cessna Mustang and the Phenom 100.

LEFT: Ron Gruner's Phenom 100 over Maine. RIGHT: Nancy Gruner with instructor Ben Marcus after Nancy's third annual Pinch Hitter Course.

A serial entrepreneur involved in the computer and internet industries, Gruner had utilized a number of aircraft for corporate travel. He stopped by the Eclipse booth at the Lakeland show, and though he was impressed with the technology, he felt the cabin was too small for his needs. He had the same opinion of the TBM-850. "They were both very exciting machines, and the build quality was impressive, but the lack of an onboard lav disqualified them both for our applications.
The Phenom 100 spoils you in almost every respect," says Gruner. "As far as I'm concerned, its performance puts it at the head of the pack.
"I visited the Cessna Mustang display, and that airplane was very attractive, plush and comfortable, and fitted with a raft of automatic systems," Gruner explained. "The FADEC system was especially impressive." Trouble was, the cabin didn't seem quite large enough for the CEO's needs.



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