Travel: Very Light Jets are getting ready for delivery

img Flightdeck One of the latest innovation in aviation are the so called “Very Light Jet” (VLJ ) claiming to start a revolution in air travel.

At cost of less than current piston engine business planes they bring reliability and comfort of jet travel to a new group of customers. VLJs have also been praised for their potential to become the new air taxi for business travelers – with travel cost in the range of 2-3 business class tickets – some companies have already ordered hundreds of them to start such services in Europe and the US. In difference to “normal” jet charter these services will sell by seat. So next time you queuing up for two hours at an airport and when you feel like on a bus during rush hour after you’ve been squeezed into the cabin like cattle, you know there might be alternatives just around the corner.

VLJs are defined by the NBAA as single-pilot jets that weigh 10,000 pounds or less. They cost half as much as the most inexpensive business jet now in service, generally have two engines, five to six passenger seats, and most of them are getting new automated cockpits that will make flying them much easier and most likely also saver. These new jets can land on runways as short as 3,000 feet, compared with the 4,000 or 5,000 feet required by the smallest jets now being flown which opens up more than 5,000 small, underused airports in the United States as destinations.

Just keep in mind that currently on shorter range travel up to 500 miles your average travel speed with an airliner through major hubs is around 80 miles per hour. This calculation takes into consideration time needed to get to these airports plus check in and out procedures. If you’re rich enough not to waste time VLJs might be for you – but wait some of them already have waiting lists far into 2009.

There are a few new companies entering this emerging market expected soon to be a billion dollar industry. Let’s have a look at the contestants. Below are the – in our opinion – stronger players that have planes ready for delivery. Several more are in the pipeline, with some of them already flying and others still being design.

Almost all the web sites listed offer lots of images, videos and wall papers to help you with your purchase decision. And Wal-Mart – through it’s Sam’s Club – is already offering two of the planes so Attention Wal-Mart shoppers: Today one of these could be yours for just about USD 1.6 millions

img Eclipse 500 small

Eclipse 500

Eclipse Aviation that has started the boom of VLJs is the creator of the Eclipse 500. Vern Raburn, who founded Eclipse Aviation in 1998, is well know for his success in the IT industry. Eclipse Aviation says they have already collected more then 2,500 orders.

The plane has received its FAA certification in July 2006. Max. cruising 370 knots, up to six occupants, 41,000-foot ceiling and range of 1,125 nautical miles.

This plane is yours for about USD 1,528,000. Wal-Mart has announced that it will sell Eclipse 500s at selected locations.

Expected delivery during 2007.
More information at the Eclipse Aviation web site

img Embraer Phenom 100 small

Embraer Phenom 100

Brazilian commercial and executive jet manufacturer is expanding its jet line with two smaller models – the Embraer Phenom 300 and 100

The smaller Phenom 100 has a price tag of about USD 3,053,000, a larger cabin than most his competitors, max. cruising 380 knots, up to six occupants, 41,000-foot ceiling and range of 1,160 nautical miles. It has not received its FAA Flight certification yet.

Expected delivery during 2008.
More information at the Embraer Executive Jets web site

img Cessna Mustang small

Cessna Citation Mustang

Another VLJ available through Wal-Mart for USD 2,734,600. This is the usual standard price for the plane, but the plane is available for 2007 delivery while Cessna is sold out until 2009. Sam’s Club is offering only one plane (lifetime membership to Sam’s Club included).

The Mustang is a six-passenger jet that will weigh around 8,000 pounds, cruise at 340 knots and have a ceiling of 41,000 feet. In difference to the other VLJs it’s a downward extension of Cessna’s Citation jet line. FAA certified the plane in September 2006.

Expected delivery during 2007.
More information at the Citation Mustang web site

img HondaJet small


HondaJet is expanding Honda’s mobility products from motorcycles and automobiles into planes.

Specifications for the HondaJet known so far are: max cruise at 420 knots, max. 2+6 occupants, ceiling of 43,000 feet and flight range of 1,180 nautical miles.

Honda now has started taking orders, with targeted mass production from 2010.

More information at the HondaJet and the Honda World web site

img Adam A700 small

Adam A700

The A700 is targeted at the new air-taxi and commercial customer market. For this its carbon-fiber composite construction provides additional storage space and cabin room.

Max. cruising 340 knots, up to eight occupants, 41,000-foot ceiling and range of 1,100 nautical miles at max cruise. It has not received its FAA Flight certification yet.

Yours for about USD 2,266,000

Expected delivery during 2008.
More information at the Adam Aircraft web site

img D-Jet small

Diamond D-Jet

Diamond’s D-Jet differs from the other VLJs show here that it comes with only one engine. It is the cheapest of these planes but with a 1351nm range, 315 knots max. cruise speed, 2+3 seating also smaller, slightly slower and it can not fly as high up as the others.
For about USD 1,383,000 you will get a jet many pilots might enjoy flying themselves.

Expected delivery during 2008.
More information at the Diamond Aircraft web site

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One Response to “Travel: Very Light Jets are getting ready for delivery”

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