Sunday, September 22, 2013

Cessna Leader of Worldwide Sales

A Conversation With 
Cessna Sr. Vice President Kriya Shortt

by Dianne White

When CEO Scott Ernest looked to find a new leader for Cessna’s global sales effort, he didn’t have to search far. In May, he appointed long-time Cessna veteran Kriya Shortt to the position of senior vice president of worldwide sales.

Kriya started her career at Cessna in 1996 and has worked in many customer-facing roles throughout her career. She has held positions in customer service, account management in sales and marketing, contract management and delivery. After serving as a sales manager for Citation sales in Arizona and California, she became the regional vice president of sales for the southwestern United States. She most recently served as vice president of sales for Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) based in Geneva, Switzerland.

On the eve of the CJP Convention, we sat down with Kriya to talk about Cessna’s outlook for the Citation market, her priorities for the Cessna sales team and her enthusiasm for CJP and the upcoming convention.

Flight Levels: First of all, congratulations on your new position.  Now that you're back in the States, where are you spending the majority of your time?

Shortt:  Thanks Dianne – it’s great to be home although a bit bittersweet to have left Europe. Your question is a great one. I’ve spent most of my time in Wichita and traveling in the field. The highlights have definitely been interacting with our customers and prospects both at EAA AirVenture and LABACE in Brazil. I’ve also spent a significant amount of time working with my team to communicate my strategic vision and to help them win deals.

Flight Levels: Could you share with us your priorities for Cessna's sales efforts going forward?

Shortt:  That’s simple. I’m here to ensure our sales team is competing in every deal out there and to welcome customers to the Cessna family every chance we get. To accomplish this, my priorities are fairly straightforward: 1) to maximize value for our owners and prospects and 2) to demonstrate that Cessna intensely appreciates our customers. As we work to maximize value, we do so by respecting the important balance between providing a fair deal and maintaining pricing integrity. Strong residual values are vitally important to us and to owners.

Secondly, keeping your needs at the forefront means always listening – both to what customers like and desire in our products and service as well as taking notice of those areas in which you feel we have room for continued growth. As a 17-year Cessna team member, I embrace our unique family culture of which our customers are an important part.  I don’t ever see that leaving my DNA and I am working with my team to ensure it’s ingrained in all we do.

Flight Levels: Coming out of this protracted economic downturn and resulting shifts in the marketplace, has Cessna's market focus changed?  Is the company committed to the light jet segment going forward?

Shortt:  Our focus continues to be meeting the needs and expectations of our current and prospective customers as well as the anticipated needs of future and/or competitive entrants into our various segments.  In fact, our annual R&D spend is extremely aggressive despite the protracted downturn because we believe so passionately that new products are key to long-term success. Cessna is the global market leader for business aircraft today and this is a position we intend to hold well into the future.

With respect to the light jets, we’re all about continuing our historical strength for the owner-flown segment through innovations that hold significant appeal for our valued customer base. The M2 was built, after all, with this group in mind. It is fair to say that we are fierce about retaining our customers and will continue to listen to their needs as we look to future offerings for the light jet segment.

At the same time, Cessna is expanding its horizons. Customers around the globe tell us that cabin size and range matter, and as a result, we are continuing to invest in the midsize category (in which Cessna has always had a strong presence) with the addition of the Latitude and in the super midsize with the Longitude.  With both of these additions customers have options to continue with the Citation product line or enter it for the first time. Make no mistake, we’re here to win.

Flight Levels: Are you seeing signs of recovery in the light jet segment? 

Shortt:  We all want to see the big watershed moment we can point to as the trigger of strong recovery. In reality we see glimmers both in terms of new aircraft sales inquiries as well as the upticks we notice in the pre-owned transactions. We can’t lose sight of the fact that Cessna continues to be the market leader in total numbers of transactions. And, we continue to recognize a fair price (i.e. Vref retail) for our pre-owned aircraft as we understand the impact deep discounting has on residual values. We are committed to our current owners by offering them the maximum value possible when they consider upgrading their current aircraft to a new aircraft, specifically because the market has proven confidence in the residual value of a Citation.

Flight Levels: How is market responding to the Citation M2?

Shortt:  It has been amazing. Thank you to those of you who are current order holders!  We are excited to begin deliveries in early Q4 and have added aircraft to the production schedule for 2014 given that we were in a “no availability” situation.  As we know no one wants to wait to get the latest, greatest plane!  We will have our M2 demonstrator at the CJP annual convention and we do have the availability to offer demos … let us know if you are interested!

Flight Levels: Cessna has enjoyed a strong relationship with CJP since its inception.  How do you view Cessna's role with CJP going forward?

Shortt:  Having been invited to join the first conceptual meeting in Tracy Forrest’s hangar during NBAA 2008, then the first convention the following spring in Carlsbad, and a number of conventions thereafter, I can truly tell you that I love this group of Citation owners. The sales team and leadership holds firm in the belief that CJP members are our best brand ambassadors. There really is no greater means to appeal to prospective owner pilots than having them interact with our current owners.  It’s my goal to help my team better understand the CJP organization – to that end you’ll see a number of new faces at this year’s convention. The whole team is ready and excited to embrace a new era of collaboration!

I’m incredibly grateful for the advocacy to prospective owners, but there continues to be more opportunity for the CJP group to have an influential voice in the industry. I’m excited to hear about some of the plans the current board has for expanding and growing the organization in this direction.

Flight Levels: In what ways is CJP a conduit to Cessna's understanding and interaction with its Citation customer base, especially as it relates to product improvements?

Shortt:  Your voice is key to Cessna’s success and we’ve leveraged CJP members on multiple occasions to vet out a number of product improvements and/or feedback.  Just look at the M2 – our Mustang owners told us they wanted to go further and faster with more seats (and a real lav) and Garmin avionics. Fast-forward 36 months and the M2 is coming to market in a big way.  In addition we asked the group for input last year when looking to establish the various interior color schemes for the M2. 

Moving up the product line, Cessna is working with a global group of Citation owners to ensure our Latitude and Longitude aircraft embrace a strong voice-of-customer presence throughout the certification and production cycle.

Flight Levels: How are you going to be personally involved with CJP?

Shortt:  Well to start, I’m looking forward to greeting our members on arrival in Tucson on October 2!  On an ongoing basis, I’m looking forward to rekindling friendships domestically and expanding new friendships throughout the rest of the world!  I want our owners to know that I’m available to meet with them anytime and as a voracious learner, I’m looking forward to learning more about their business and needs when it comes to aircraft ownership - I’m even going underground to see Mark Aloe’s operations later this month!

Flight Levels: What is Cessna involvement in the upcoming 2013 Convention?

Shortt:  Cessna is looking forward to significant participation at this year’s convention.  In addition to greeting our owners on arrival, a number of the U.S. sales and leadership team will be present throughout the show along with our focused and dedicated service counterparts.  I’m also excited about the event Cessna will host Thursday evening. We have the opportunity to celebrate our newest products - specifically the M2, Sovereign and CJ4 – and our partnership for the upcoming Citation Special Olympics Airlift. The evening will showcase some of our owners who are in the business of winemaking by offering a wine pour to celebrate the evening.  And, of course, a number of Cessna’s Senior Leadership Team will be on hand to visit with our owners and friends.

CJP Convention Update

Exciting Times for CJP!

by Tom Poberezny

This is a busy time of the year for CJP. We just completed a successful regional event in Napa, CA, while adding 12 new CJP Lifetime members. They will be recognized, along with the eight Founding Lifetime members, at the 2013 CJP convention in Tucson.

The convention is just a week away.I have shared with you, on many occasions, information concerning the seminars and various activities ( One of the most important presentations will be made on opening day, Thursday, October 3. CJP President, Mark Aloe, will be sharing with you CJP's "Vision for the Future." In just a few short years, the organization has grown, not only in terms of members, but also in the quality and depth of benefits, such as events, web site, exchange of information, and networking.  

The “vision” presentation will include a specially prepared video and an opportunity for members to ask questions and discuss CJP's future. For those members who are unable to attend the convention this year, a follow-up presentation will be provided through the CJP newsletter and web site.  

But why read about it when you can get the information first hand. It is not too late to register! Come on down to Tucson and be a part of a great convention.  

NBAA Safety Standdown

NBAA2013: Single-Pilot Safety Standdown Helps Prevent Accidents, Save Lives

Citation Mustang owned by CJP member Jeff Greenberg

Like any experienced pilot, CJP member Jeff Greenberg understands the ultimate value of aviation safety training and education is in the number of accidents prevented and lives saved.
“I can count, unfortunately, on more than one hand, the people I have known who are no longer here, who were killed in aircraft accidents,” said Greenberg, who runs an aviation leasing and commercial real estate business. “The way you keep that from happening is by staying sharp and staying on top of things. Safety seminars, like the Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, are a big step in that direction.”
This year’s Single-Pilot Safety Standdown, sponsored by Cessna, will be held on Oct. 21, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Nevada, the day prior to the official opening of NBAA’s Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2013).
NBAA’s Single-Pilot Safety Standdown draws upon the actual experiences of pilots, placing an emphasis on peer-to-peer information sharing and education. Safety-themed sessions will focus on issues specifically affecting single-pilot operations, including emerging technologies in cockpit information, decision-support systems to enhance operational safety, emerging benefits from operational data analysis and medical scenarios that uniquely effect single pilot operations.
“I’m kind of a junkie when it comes to this kind of thing,” Greenberg said. “I adjust my entire show schedule around the safety seminars and all the educational classes NBAA offers.” Greenberg earned his private pilot’s license in 1978 and holds numerous pilot certificates, including multi-engine, and commercial ratings, and he said he can’t recall missing an NBAA-sponsored Single-Pilot Safety Standdown.
For anyone planning to attend, Greenberg said the sessions always feature an impressive array of speakers.
“They provide good handouts, but a lot of it is just about taking an interest,” he said. “The more people we can get to do that, the better our safety record will be.”

Who's In Charge?

In Severe Weather the Pilot Always Holds the Trump Card

by Jeffrey Robert Moss “MossY”

Judgment: That is a key attribute that a pilot flying single-pilot must possess. As a mentor, you want to see that the pilot will do the best of his or her ability to make good decisions in all areas of operations. Weather plays into this. In the fall, winter and early spring we get see pilot’s ability to deal with icing. The late spring and summer, it’s thunderstorms. One thing we pilots know is that flying into a thunderstorm can kill.
I spent my twenties hanging out on Boeing 747-400 and 777 flight decks. I often asked my friends and colleagues how to deal with ATC. I can remember going into JFK on a B744 from Vancouver with a NY Approach controller firing out an instruction to descend super fast; it was coming so fast we couldn’t catch it and then he then went “break…” and moved on to the next aircraft. My pals were forced to pull a trump card.  They squawked 7600, yes that’s right, lost comm code. Sure enough that got the controllers attention who then issued us our next directive slowly so that we could understand it. Yes, I have had to use that one going in and out of Teterboro over the years. 

One of the times the relationship between controller and pilot becomes somewhat strained is during times of bad weather. First, you have to put yourself in the shoes of the controller. They are bound by Letter of Agreements between facilities and own airspace both vertically and laterally. If the system falls apart, there can be devastating consequences. So they have to conduct themselves with a code of order. No order, and the entire system falls apart.

In early August I was flying with a CJP member for mentoring. The pilot, already typed single-pilot, was now getting real-world experience.  No more flying in his comfort zone. Our flight was from Mackinac Island to Stewart, New York. We stopped at Alpena County Regional to get fuel (No fuel at Mackinac Island).  For the quick 1h20m flight we filed FL410, primarily because thunderstorms were bubbling up and I wanted to get up as high as I could to keep a watchful eye. 

Talking to Cleveland Center they stopped our climb at FL330. As we looked ahead we could see we were heading straight for large towering cumulous. My pilot-in-training asked the Center for higher who came back with a strong authoritative voice and said, “Higher, forget it, in fact, I’m going need you down at FL270.”

After discussing with my pilot, I told him to tell the controller, “Unable and we really need FL410, now.”

The controller then said “Forget it pal.” I took the radio and said “Center, if you want us to declare an emergency for weather, we are quite happy to do so, but we need FL410 because currently there are thunderstorms over our destination airport and all paths leading to that airport.” The controller immediately cleared us to FL370 and told us take up whatever heading we needed to the left. That was the end of it. After five reroutes, we safely arrived at Stewart and parked the plane at the service center.

Photo taken out the window of the Citation Mustang right after the emergency was declared to override the controller.

Fast forward three days later. On our way to drop off one of our passengers at Fort Worth Mecham (KFTW), Regional Approach tried three separate times to get us to fly into the cell, and each time we advised unable. We went 30 miles out of our way to stay visual with the rapidly developing storms and found ourselves in perfect position to shoot the ILS.  An American Airlines MD80 was right behind us, and the controller vectored him into the cell and the minute he entered I looked out of the left window of the Mustang, to see him enter the cell (as I said to myself, “good luck pal!”) and a huge bolt of cloud-to-ground lightning emanated out. The American Airlines pilot started yelling at the controller “get me out of here, right now!”  I turned to my pilot-in-training and said “That is why we didn’t go into that.” But needless to say it took some serious convincing to the controller that we would not go into the cell.

Now we are on our last leg home after being on the road in mentoring for six days. We had already flown this route twice! You’d think this would be a piece of cake, right? Yeah, good luck with that! We are cleared to San Marcus airport (KHYI) via the BLEWE3 Arrival. Problem was at 6 pm the atmosphere was exploding with boomers. Temperature that day in Texas was close to 100, tons of humidity, unstable atmosphere and guess what you get? Big time boomers! They had developed along the later portion of the arrival with cells over the final approach course of the destination airport as well as near Austin Int’l our alternate. 

However, toward the east and south, it was severe clear. We came up with a quick game plan to stay visual and used weather radar and XM WX to the max. As we briefed the STAR we noted there is a note for pilots to expect to cross SEWZY INT. at 13,000. As soon as we loaded it into the G1000 VNAV we recognize that the controller may issue that clearance shortly so we decided to get ahead of it. Pilot keys up and says “Houston Center, Citation 1HH would like to maintain FL220 due to weather.” 

KHYI BLEWE3 STAR (Not for Navigational Use)

The controller immediately came back and said “No way, in fact, Austin needs you at 13,000 at SEWZY, so cross SEWZY at and maintain 13,000.” The pilot immediately came back and said “Unable, due to weather we need to maintain FL220.” The controller then in a very nasty authoritative voice says, “I’m not going to tell you again, descend and maintain 13,000 now!”

Pilot said, “Sir, we need to maintain FL220 due to storms in front of us we do not wish to descend into the cells.” The controller replied, “Are you refusing to comply with an ATC issue instruction”.  That’s when I turned to him and said “my radios!” 

I keyed up from the right seat this time and said, “Sir, we have a dynamic weather situation in front of us with storm popping up all over our flight plan route. If you are unable to work with us in the interest of safety, then we will be forced to declare an emergency for weather.”

The controller replied with “What?! You are refusing to descend, really?” 
I then keyed up and said “Citation 1HH is now declaring an emergency due to weather, we are maintaining FL220 and we will let you know shortly what heading we are going to fly as a vector around cells.”  The controller then keyed and said “Standby… Errr.” 
About 90 seconds later the controller said, “Citation 1HH Austin Approach says you can do whatever you want!” I replied with, “Okay, so let’s confirm, are you now willing to work with us so that we can have a safe conclusion to this flight, or do we need to remain under emergency status and do this on our own?” He replied with “No need for emergency status sir, whatever you need, we will help you.” I then said “okay, cancel emergency status, and right now we need a 180 heading due to weather and we are maintain FL220.”

We then found a good safe path and descended in visual conditions and some light rain to the Intermediate Fix on the RNAV 17 approach and had a safe conclusion to our flight.  Needless to say the next morning we were up early filing our NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reports.

One of my Boeing mentors taught me no one wins in a pissing match, both personally or in business. In the flying world when a controller and a pilot get into a pissing match, the pilot always wins because they always hold the trump card: the ability to declare an emergency for safety to override the controller.

Jeffrey Robert Moss “MossY” is the 2010 National CFI of the Year, Master CFI and an Instructor/Mentor Pilot on the Citation Mustang, M2 and CJ Series as well as Phenom 100/300, Premier IA & Eclipse 500/550. He is widely regarded as a subject matter expert on Garminology, iPad and transitioning single-engine piston pilots directly in single-pilot jets.  His company has online video courses for pilots on the G1000 and iPad.