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Cessna broke into a totally new unexplored field in the late-sixties with the introduction of the first pressurized, air-conditioned aircraft with conference seating with the introduction of the Cessna Golden Eagle.
A derivative of the Cessna 411, the 421 had geared engines too which made it very quiet in the cabin. The idea of a business machine that provided airline creature comforts in a compact package was new, and the introduction of the 421 in 1968 was truly cutting edge for Cessna. Business travel was a new concept and there were few alternatives that could provide the comforts we were getting accustomed to having.
A quiet pressurized cabin that had air-conditioning, the 421 was an instant success. With 375 HP turbo-charged engines, it could fly above most storms and give a smooth ride with unheard of speeds, cruising speeds of 220-250 mph. The other aircraft manufacturers could not come up with anything that held a candle to the 421 and so the Golden Eagle was literally in a class by itself.
Over time, the Golden Eagle was refined, with a longer wing, stretched cabin, long baggage compartment nose and revised instrument panel, the 421 of the 70’s was truly a traveling machine that was miles ahead of the competition.
In 1976 Cessna took the wing of the newly introduced Cessna Citation 500 jet aircraft and mated it to the cabin of the 421. It changed the high altitude performance overnight as well as increasing cruising speed with the same engines, the Golden Eagle was not quite happy cruising at 20,000’ in a comfortable 5000’ cabin. The introduction of a hydraulic landing gear gave it simplicity with good engineering design. The 421 was coming of age and had evolved into a truly refined traveling machine.
Avionics upgrades, revised seats and a host of minor changes kept the newer 421C’s a tad different than its predecessors. Unfortunately, the 421 was a handcrafted aircraft that took a lot of labor to build and while it made a very strong and durable aircraft the cost to produce was getting very high.
The advantages of the reciprocating engines were still there, great fuel economy regardless of how far or how high you flew, you could count on 40 gallons per hour.
Time has not come out with many refinements to the 421C design. Fuselage strakes improve longitudinal stability and main landing gear Speed Covers improve climb, cruising speed and high altitude performance. Tuned fuel injectors further improve fuel efficiency and the 421C now can get 7.2 miles per gallon, a 20% improvement from the original design in the late 70’s.
Today’s energy concerns still keep the Golden Eagle in high regards with the aviation community providing fuel-efficient comfortable cabin-class seating for up to 7 passengers at speeds from 230-260 mph getting very good fuel efficiency.
The mechanical reliability of the design has not changed and there are many pristine 421C’s flying today with Swiss watch reliability and safety.
To date, the 421 series aircraft still has the best safety record of any cabin-class pressurized twin-engine ever produced, which says a lot about the whole design and aircraft reliability.
The availability of the Cessna 421 in the Bay Area for public use is minimal, most are privately owned sitting in private hangars. The availability is limited to Premiere Aviation, which offers leasing in 25-hour blocks. Cost for this usage is equal to or LESS than operating costs as reported recently in the Twin Cessna Flyer survey.
The ability to operate in/out of airports that are 2500’ allows using smaller airports close by, so getting aboard is extremely easy and convenient.
Silicon Valley and computer industry businesses can use Palo Alto or San Carlos where there are no lines or waiting, parking is a stone’s throw from your aircraft and the ability to drive right up and unload if you desire.
Marin County residents will have a sign of relief to know they can stay on the north side of the Golden Gate Bridge and fly out of Gnoss field in Novato and fly direct to their destination, avoiding the dreaded drive to Oakland or San Francisco airports.
East Bay residents/businesses can use Livermore, Hayward and Oakland North field (where there are no lines security checkpoints and a high-end private terminal for private planes only.
South Bay residents/businesses can use Reid Hillview or San Jose private terminals. Again the terminal is private planes only so there are no lines, parking is adjacent to the terminal and a true “hassle-free” experience.
While we cannot buy time, we can buy time-saving and the ability to fly in/out of smaller airports closer to your work, home or final destination, which greatly reduces time spent getting from point A to B as well as reducing the stress of operating in/out of busier airports. While the aircraft is not a jet, it provides jet time efficiency for 500 miles or fewer trips which encompass 90% of most business/personal needs.
Private terminals at all the airports allow easy access to the aircraft, being able to load/unload baggage and people conveniently. High-quality personnel at the airports give a feeling of self-worth and dignity, normally only reserved for Fortune 500 operators of business aircraft.
Leasing a plane gives the flexibility of aircraft ownership without the headache of maintenance or high fixed costs while enjoying the main benefits of direct routing, private cabins and terminals, and flexibility of one’s time schedule. Having access to the Golden Eagle will give customers an efficient, safe way to save time and reduce travel stress while greatly improving one’s use of available time, which we know is in short supply.
Personal point to point travel is here to stay with many cost-effective alternatives to ownership available to the public than ever before. www.noplanenogain.org and www.nbaa.org are great sources for insight into business aviation and how it can be used to improve your lifestyle and quality of life without breaking the bank in the process.
The key to travel efficiency is to utilize the best options available to you that fulfill the mission or goal or object needed without overdoing it. A major advantage or leasing or charter is you can have many different aircraft available to use for different missions without investing into an acquisition.
While turbine jets are great they are just not very efficient on short trips (less than 500 miles). In addition, they just do not save that much time and require airports with longer runways, so the real time savings may be less than originally thought.
Enjoy whisper-quiet cabins created by our engineers that allow normal conversation in the conference seating configuration; less noise is less fatigue.