Pilot Jeff French loves his companyâ€™s Citation Mustang. He also loves the Garmin G1000 avionics suite that comes on the Mustang as standard equipment. And with 5,500 flight hours under his belt, the company pilot for Sunridge Hotel Group really loves his recent Garmin Synthetic Vision Technology (SVT) upgrade.
â€œNinety percent of the time, I fly them to where their hotel properties are; most are in smaller towns, like Roswell and Clovis, N.M.,â€ French says. â€œThey arenâ€™t very accessible by airline. Or if you can get there, itâ€™s expensive and inconvenient because youâ€™re going to have to connect from somewhere and you spend the whole day.â€
â€œSo the airplane works perfectly,â€ he continues. â€œItâ€™s cost-effective because itâ€™s efficient, and the leg lengths are usually around 500 miles. You can typically fill it with passengers and be on your way.â€
French, 50, began his aviation career as an aircraft mechanic for Northwest Airlines and stayed there for 18 years. He began flying on his own in 1990, learning to fly in Cessna 150 and 172 single-engine aircraft after a co-worker introduced him to general aviation.
â€œHis father owned a couple of airplanes. I went flying with him and he kind of gave me the bug. I went out and got my private pilotâ€™s license. I took a leave from Northwest for six months and went to school up through my flight instructor ratings.â€
After returning to Northwest and instructing for a while, French flew freight at night on his days off to build multi-engine time. He took another leave of absence from Northwest and flew for United Express, â€œuntil they wouldnâ€™t give me any more leaves of absence.â€
Desert, Mountain, Remote and BusyÂ
Today, as an experienced business jet pilot, most of Frenchâ€™s trips are out and back, dealing every day with barren desert, mountain terrain, remote runways and busy airports. So, situational awareness is essential. Thatâ€™s where Garminâ€™s G1000 SVT add-on, accomplished at the Mesa Cessna Citation Service Center, makes life for pilot and passengers easier and safer.
â€œThis is the best system I have used by far. It displays the information in a very user-friendly format, and I like the SVT synthetic vision a lot. When I fly into Provo, and thereâ€™s a lot of terrain, it pictorially shows the terrain and obstacles on the PFD along with the traffic,â€ French says.Adding Real Time to Database
SVT utilizes a highly detailed terrain and obstacle database to re-create 3-D visuals that add traffic in real-time. When flying in challenging terrain, Garmin SVT depicts hazardous terrain with red or amber colors to get the pilotâ€™s attention. This feature increases safety and decreases the chance of Controlled Flight Into Terrain (CFIT).
â€œOn the MFD you only see your traffic in one-dimension, where itâ€™s just flat on the screen. The SVT just makes it a lot more clear where to look for the traffic because it shows up on the PFD where it is in relation to you altitude-wise, and gives you a better idea what direction to look,â€ French says.
â€œThey do a lot of flight training at Gateway, and thereâ€™s always traffic in the area. Sometimes theyâ€™ll get a little ways away from the airport, and they stop talking to the tower. With all these guys out there buzzing around, it is good to know exactly where theyâ€™re at to keep from running into them.â€
French appreciates the software installation performed by the Mesa Citation Service Center. More than that, he gives the crew there high marks.
â€œThe Mesa service center is just absolutely great to me. I canâ€™t say enough about the service we get there. They just go out of their way to take care of us.â€
He has his ATP, CFI, IIMEI and an A&P license. And French is type-rated in the 500 Series Citations, the Mustang, Eclipse Jet and Jetstream 4100. Married for 16 years, he has three boys, ages 4, 9, and 11. The family lives in Que
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