Cessna Mustang

Delivering the Blink Jet

When the Blink Jets are delivered from the Cessna factory in Kansas, they have to fly 4,878 statute miles to reach their base in the UK.

The flight plan takes them from Wichita (Kansas) to Buffalo (New York), onward to Goose Bay (Canada) before heading out over the Arctic Circle.

They stop at Narsarsuaq (Greenland) and Keflavic (Iceland), making a final quick stop in Dublin (Ireland) before touching down at the CSE Citation Centre Bournemouth for finishing touches.

These photos were taken in Narsarsuaq, Greenland during the delivery of G-FBLI and G-FLBK in November 2008. Captain Dougie Gass and Captain Andrew Collicott piloted these first flights alongside test pilots from Cessna.

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Summer in the Skies

This summer has been the busiest yet for Blink.  We’ve flown to all the corners of Europe, and set up summer bases in the the south of France, Sardinia, and the Balaerics to better serve your flight requests.  Our crew have been snapping away everywhere they go, which allows us to share with you some of the views you can enjoy at 41,000 feet onboard Blink.

Click on any of the images to find out more about where they were taken.

Interview with Blink’s Director of Engineering

Engineering an exceptional product

The latest Citation to emerge from the Cessna drawing board is evolutionary, not revolutionary. But at $2.6 million for a well-equipped jet, the Mustang breaks the price barrier for entry into the exclusive jet set.

Cessna has a 35-year track record of manufacturing business jets with good performance, reliable systems and exceptional handling characteristics. Its twin engine Mustang is no exception, as we at Blink can testify, having now established the market’s largest fleet of 7 Mustang jets. And if we ever need the support, we’ve got a European network of Cessna Service Centres to call.

So does this mean than Ian Finch, Blink’s Head of Engineering, has the easiest job in the company? Find out more in our monthly interview:

What attracted you to Blink?

I was interested in joining Blink as I felt it was a company I could work with and enjoy building the maintenance department of a growing fleet of aircraft.

How does Blink compare to previous companies where you’ve worked?

After working with many business aviation companies of various sizes, I found that Blink has a strong team dedicated to the progress of the company and most noticeably a dynamic approach to the promotion of the company and making Blink a strong member of the business aviation market.

What are the principal responsibilities you have as Head of Engineering?

Primarily, I manage the maintenance needs for our aircraft, monitor regularity and safety requirements ensuring we operate to all requirements and that the aircraft are maintained to the latest manufacturers and authority recommendations.  I also arrange support to aircraft at any location when minor maintenance requirements come up outside of the larger base requirements.

What are the main challenges of the job?

With a fleet of aircraft moving in all directions across Europe, it’s the travelling between aircraft which takes up a reasonable part of my time.  However, there are some perks that come along with the travel…I’ve had the privilege to visit locations that I never would have seen in a different line of work.

How important is Blink’s relationship with Cessna?

The Cessna service centre network and field support is an exceptional asset to Blink. 24 hour technical support and maintenance facilities at key locations make supporting ‘in service aircraft’ possible throughout Europe.  Over my 15 year career maintaining Cessna products, I have built good relationships with the Cessna technical teams across Europe and in the US and have always found a professional attitude and high regard for customer support.

Can you tell us the most difficult experience you’ve yet had at Blink, in your role?

The M25…every week, here’s looking forward to the end of the roadworks.

We hear you build hovercrafts in your spare time – can you tell us more?

Yes, as a hobby I take part in hovercraft racing, I enjoy taking time out a few weekends through the summer to get away with my family and meet up with friends, and of course building the craft, engine and ducted fan is all part of the fun for me.

The Interview is the second in a monthly series of interviews with key members of the Blink team. If you have have a question that you would like to ask a member of our team, please contact us.

Blink, and your children are there

Flying is fun

For kids, plane rides are a grand adventure, a fascinating and fun experience. For parents, flying with children can be an adventure of a different type: dealing with crying children, baggage restrictions, long queues, and unpredictable delays can be quite an ordeal.

There is, however, an alternative where both parents and children of all ages can enjoy the journey, making the process of getting from A to B an enjoyable experience for all.

Blink’s air taxi service is ideally suited to families, with children of all ages, travelling together. We’re here to bypass all the hassle involved in flying commercially – the busy road to the major airport, the queues at the departure gate, the intrusive security controls, the frequent delays, lost bags, and the occasional but ruinous cancellations.

Children of all ages

With Blink, you just need to get to a small local airport and we’ll have you and your family and belongings up and away in 15 minutes. And that includes the kids – whatever the age. Babies under 24 months can sit on parents’ laps, and for those older, a car seat does the job. Strollers, prams and small cots all fit in the back. Just sit back and enjoy the ride – and let the kids get to work on their latest masterpiece…

Blink’s Captains are ready to show youngsters around the Mustang’s super-sophisticated dashboard, and to point out wonderful sites from the window as we swoop up into the sky. We’ve got snacks and drinks too, and we’ll make sure we pack crayons and paper.

Important child related facts

  • Babies under 2 years old may sit on an adult’s lap; each adult flying may carry a baby, up to a maximum of 5 passengers (adults + children)
  • Car seats are required for children over 2 who do not yet fit into a real seat with a seat belt; you can bring your own or Blink can provide a car seat
  • Strollers, prams, and buggies fit easily in the luggage hold, while baby care bags, toys and other items required in-flight are welcome inside the cabin
  • Blink is committed to your safety at all times, and ensures that necessary child-sized safety equipment is onboard when children are flying

The Blink Flight Services team is available to answer any questions you may have about travelling with children.  Simply contact us via phone, email or online form.

Interview with Blink’s Chief Training Captain

Blink’s trained up

Blink has left nothing to chance when it comes to safety: brand new aircraft from Cessna, the world’s leading manufacturer of private jets; highly experienced captains recruited directly from the most successful commercial airlines; and operational directors with proven track records at the highest echelons of the aviation industry. This week the spotlight is on Graham Howard, Blink’s Chief Training Captain.

With over 16,000 hours flight time and 34 years as a British Airways Pilot – culminating as BA’s most senior 777 training captain, Graham has huge aviation experience and knowledge. He has an intimate understanding of Blink’s Citation Mustang avionics – which are in many ways more advanced that those in most modern aircraft. By conveying that to Blink’s pilot cadre, he is equipping Blink’s air taxi service to reach more than 600 airports across Europe.

Why is your role at Blink important and what are its most challenging aspects?

The competence of our pilots underpins the most important aspect of Blink’s mission statement, namely Safety and Security.  My job is to ensure that all Blink pilots are competent and are able to demonstrate such competence in their respective roles.

How does your experience in the commercial aviation industry help you in this role?

My many years of experience with British Airways enable me to readily switch between the two essentials of training and facilitation: training in order to impart new knowledge, facilitation to allow the individual to develop skills and behaviours.

How rigorous are training standards at Blink?

Blink pilots undergo the same checking regime as airline pilots.  In some ways the training at Blink is superior to that of a pilot in a large airline, as the emphasis is on actual flight rather than simulator testing.

In what ways does your contribution create a better experience for Blink’s customers?

Competence breeds confidence!  On Blink aircraft the customer interacts directly with the Flight Crew.  The knowledge and confident demeanour of Blink pilots transmits to our passengers, creating an atmosphere of warmth and security, so enhancing the travel experience.

How do the Mustang’s avionics compare with modern jet airliners?

The Mustang’s avionics compare very favourably with those of the airliners that I have flown.  Are you aware that only the very latest types, such as the B777, are fitted with GPS as standard? Using GPS, the geographical position of the Mustang can be fixed to within 10 feet!  Combine this with the ability to superimpose this position on a terrain map of the Earth, then add in the relative positions of other nearby aircraft and you have a very powerful tool to aid the pilot’s situational awareness.

What is your favourite Blink destination?  Where do you like landing the most?

I really don’t have a favourite destination, all cities have their own unique flavour and culture.  Home is the best place to land.

Why did you want to become a pilot?

The complex interface between man, machine and the environment fascinates me.  I think it probably always will.

If you could fly any plane in the world, what would it be?

As I have flown many “big jets” the Mustang suits me fine.

What is the first bit of advice you give to younger pilots?

Remember what it was like when you were learning to fly.

What do you enjoy about flying that keeps you in the cockpit after 16,000 hours?

The people, the freedom, and the self reliance.

This is the first in a series of interviews with key members of the Blink team.  If you have have a question that you would like to ask a member of our team, please contact us.

Blink Jets in the snow at Blackbushe Airport (BBS/EGLK)

With cold temperatures and snow across Europe, Blink jets also get covered in snow and ice.  Here are some pictures of two of our planes covered in fresh snow while parked at Blackbushe Airport (BBS/EGLK), just outside of London.

The Blink operations team works incredibly hard to ensure that as long as the airports are open, the Blink fleet is ready to fly.  As a client, you will not see our aircraft in this state, so we hope you enjoy the glimpse of the untouched snowy aircraft below.

Thanks to Steve Pickering, Blink’s Ground Operations Manager, for taking these pictures.  If you enjoy this, be sure to check out Blink’s other photos and videos.

Blink Jets on Airport Webcams at Salzburg and Samedan

Some airports across Europe, such as Salzburg (SZG/LOWS) and Samedan (SMZ/LSZS) have webcams pointed at their aprons and runways.  Last month in December 2009, Blink flew to both these airports.  The Blink Flight Services team was able to spot our aircraft at both these airports in the slide show below.  Both Salzburg and Samedan airports provide easy access to popular ski destinations.

If you enjoy this, be sure to check out Blink’s other photos and videos.

Photos of the Blink Jet – Exterior and Inside

We’ve been working on uploading more photos to our Flickr account. Two new slideshows are available which showcase the external views of our beautiful Blink-colored Cessna Citation Mustang jets and the spacious 4-person cabin and interior.

We encourage you to take a look.

If you enjoy this, be sure to check out Blink’s other photos and videos.

Blink Cessna Mustang Approach & Landing into Guernsey (GCI/EGJB)

A smooth approach and landing onto Runway 27 at Guernsey Airport (GCI/EGJB) at sunset.

Blink takes delivery of our 5th Cessna Mustang G-FBKA

Cessna has completed the assembly and build of Citation Mustang 510-0096 which has become G-FBKA, the 5th plane to join the Blink fleet.

Thanks to Cessna, we can watch as 510-0096 is assembled at the Cessna factory in Kansas. You’ll see the arrival of pieces of the fuselage, their assembly together, the joining of the wings, and the assembly of the Garmin 1000 based flight deck.

Once the plane has been assembled and tested by Cessna, the Blink team heads to out to Kansas to further inspect the plane, take delivery of the aircraft, and depart for the journey from Kansas back to London.

Featured in this album are:

  • Chris Allan – Blink First Officer
  • Ian Finch – Blink Director of Engineering
  • Warren Hazelby – Blink Air Safety Advisor
  • Joe O’Rourke – Cessna Customer Account Manager

If you enjoy this, be sure to check out Blink’s other photos and videos.