All other functions are handled by the G1000 avionics system, which has a keyboard mounted just aft of the power levers, or you can use the knobs on the display units to enter data. Even the cabin pressurization system is controlled via the G1000 by entering the landing field elevation. That's it. No other pressurization management is required for the rest of the flight. The flight guidance panel is mounted on the center of the glareshield, exactly where it should be so you can see it without looking down.
Even though the Pratts are fadec controlled you start them like conventional engines, moving the power levers out of cutoff as the N2 speed spools up. Thanks to fadec the engine idle speed is very low, so low that it takes added power to taxi unless the Mustang is very light. The low idle speed also reduces landing distances and does away with the need for thrust attenuators that Cessna used on the original CJs.
Two of the most difficult design issues in a new jet are getting the nosewheel steering and brakes right, and the Mustang came out very well. The steering is purely mechanical through the rudder pedals and is smooth and precise, and pilots will master it the first time out. The steering system is an all-new design with the shimmy damper built into the mechanism, so nothing protrudes from the strut.
Cessna had initially considered using manual brakes on the Mustang, like those used on piston twins and turboprops where the pilot supplies the muscle by pushing on the pedals. But the Mustang is a jet, and Cessna decided that it deserves jet-type powered brakes complete with antiskid and locked wheel protection. The antiskid system detects impending wheel lock and releases brake pressure momentarily to prevent a skid and loss of brake effectiveness. The locked wheel protection prevents hydraulic pressure from reaching the brakes until the wheels begin to spin on landing. If a pilot mistakenly lands with his feet on the brakes, the system automatically allows the wheels to spin before brakes are applied so the tires don't blow. This is standard stuff in a jet and the Mustang has it.
With four total people onboard and full tanks, Mustang number two-which has a full interior and all standard equipment, and is representative of the final airplane-weighed 8,600 pounds. Cessna has not set a maximum certified takeoff weight yet, but is holding to its promise of a full-fuel payload of 600 pounds, which is what we had, so it looks like the empty weight will be somewhere around 5,600 pounds including one pilot.
Runway performance data collection on the Mustang was not yet complete so we didn't know a precise runway requirement for our takeoff, but testing so far shows the 3,120-foot guarantee is on target. And it's important to know that the runway requirement in the Mustang, as in all jets so far certified, is for a balanced field, meaning there is enough runway to stop if an engine fails before V1 decision speed, or to continue the takeoff with certified minimum engine-out climb performance if the engine quits above V1 speed. That's another reason Cessna insists on calling the Mustang a light jet, not a very light jet, because not all of the so-called VLJs anticipate being able to meet balanced field requirements that have been standard in jet airplanes. Takeoff speeds are pretty well determined and on a hot day in Wichita, at near maximum weight, they were 93 knots for V1 decision speed and VR rotation speed, and 97 knots for takeoff safety speed, the airspeed you fly if an engine fails at liftoff. The en route single-engine climb speed was 97 knots, all astonishingly low numbers.
There really isn't much to say about my first takeoff in the Mustang except that it flies exactly as I expected, with medium control force and very positive response in all axis. Initial climb rates were close to 3,000 feet per minute at around 120 knots indicated, but I accelerated to a more reasonable 170 to 175 knots where it held around 2,000 fpm.
The first leg of the flight was the short hop down to Independence, Kansas, where the Mustang will be assembled and completed. The production line there is filling up with several Mustangs already looking like airplanes, not just parts. The assembly tools equal the most advanced Cessna is using for its other Citation production in Wichita and, in general, allow the airplane to be built from the outside in. The tools hold the major skin sections in the exact desired final shape while the ribs, frames, stringers and so on are added to the inside, guaranteeing exactness on the outer finished airframe. The wing is assembled and tested in one complete piece. The fuselage is built in three sections, with most of the plumbing and other systems installed before the sections are joined. All of the components and subsections of the Mustang are built in Wichita and shipped to Independence for assembly. My first landing in the Mustang was at about 8,300 pounds, which will almost certainly be at or above the final maximum landing weight, which had not yet been determined. Vref final approach speed, which is a function of stall speed that has been set, was 93 knots, undoubtedly the highest Vref anybody will see in a Mustang. My first landing worked out great, even though I was at least 10 knots fast on short final. I don't approach that slowly in my Baron so it was hard to make myself fly that slow, but I turned off at the midpoint of Runway 35, a distance of 2,750 feet using moderate braking, so it looks like the guaranteed landing runway distance of 2,610 feet is in the bag.
Departing Independence without adding fuel, we weighed 8,240 pounds and takeoff speeds were 90 knots for V1/VR and 94 for V2. The air temperature aloft was hot, starting at 18º C above standard at the lower altitudes, but the Mustang turned in a solid climb of more than 2,000 fpm through 20,000 feet, and I was level at FL 300 in 17 minutes after takeoff, and the air temp there was 11º C above standard. During climb the power levers are left, logically enough, in the "climb" detent, and it says climb on the N1 engine gauges. There is no need to adjust power at any time, and the engines were in perfect sync of temperature, fan speed and fuel flow all the way up. The climb profile speeds had not yet been established, but I held 175 knots decreasing to 160 at 30,000 feet. The maximum rate of climb airspeeds will almost certainly be lower, but the speeds I used made a comfortable deck angle and produced nice results. Once level I allowed the Mustang to accelerate in climb power for a minute or two, and then pulled back to the maximum cruise detent. True airspeed settled in between 341 and 344 knots with fuel flow at 680 pph. Air temp was still 10º C or more above standard so the Mustang clearly makes its speed guarantee of 340 knots.