Very light jet
|Very light jet|
|The Eclipse 500 was heavily marketed as a very light jet|
A very light jet, entry-level jet or personal jet, previously known as a microjet, is a category of small jet aircraft approved for single-pilot operation, seating 4-8 people, with a maximum take-off weight of under 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg). They are lighter than what is commonly termed business jets and are designed to be flown by single pilot owners.
In December 2010, AvWeb's Paul Bertorelli explained that the term very light jet is not used in the aviation industry anymore, "personal jet is the description du jour. You don't hear the term VLJ—very light jet--much anymore and some people in the industry tell me they think it's because that term was too tightly coupled to Eclipse, a failure that the remaining players want to, understandably, distance themselves from."
Target market 
VLJs are intended to have lower operating costs than conventional jets, and to be able to operate from runways as short as 3,000 feet (914 m) either for personal use or in point-to-point air taxi service. In the United States the Small Aircraft Transportation System is aimed at providing air service to areas ignored by airlines.
Florida-based air taxi provider DayJet, which on October 3, 2007 began its Eclipse 500 service, planned to operate more than 1,000 of the VLJs within five years, and had stated in mid-2007 that it planned to operate 300 Eclipse 500s serving 40 regional airports in the Southeastern United States by the end of 2008. DayJet ceased operations on September 19, 2008.
Although many models are under development or awaiting certification, just three have so far made deliveries to customers:
- Cessna Aircraft Company delivered the first ever production VLJ, the six-seater Citation Mustang on November 23, 2006. They have now delivered at least 400 to customers.
- Eclipse Aviation, delivered 260 of their Eclipse 500 aircraft - the first on January 4, 2007. The company suffered from a series of problems and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on November 26, 2008, and then Chapter 7 liquidation in February 2009. An investment by Sikorsky Aircraft is expected to bring an updated model currently called the Eclipse 550 into production in the future.
- The Embraer Phenom 100 has made 199 deliveries.
As of 2010, business jet sales were suffering due to the on-going late 2000s recession. The General Aviation Manufacturers Association reported in November 2010 that third quarter business jet sales were down 20.3% over the same period in 2009, with light jets suffering the most.
Interior amenities 
When these smaller jets were first mooted, there was much interest in the fact that they would not have a lavatory on board, with articles discussing the matter in the New York Times and items on NBC Nightly News. Some manufacturers argued that for short flights of 300 to 500 miles and 40 to 80 minutes' duration the lavatory issue was not a problem and air taxi service companies said that it was not a concern for most of their passengers. Despite this, the Eclipse 500 had the option of an electric flush, remove-to-service lavatory with a privacy curtain - at the expense of one passenger seat, The Adam A700 has a 7-seat configuration with rear lavatory with a privacy curtain. The Cessna Mustang also has an emergency toilet, but it is located between the cockpit and cabin.
See also 
- Bertorelli, Paul (October 2009). "VLJ? What VLJ". Retrieved 2009-10-22.
- Bertorelli, Paul (December 2010). "Can Eclipse Make It?". AvWeb. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
- Mardiat, Ed (undated). "Need to Know - Light Flyer - What is a Very light Jet?". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Pike, John (November 2009). "Very Light Jet - VLJ". Retrieved 2009-11-11.
- Mini-Jet Revolution, or Dot-Com with Wings?, David Noland, Popular Mechanics, June 2007, accessed 2010-03-04.
- Croft, John (May 2006). "Very Light Jets: Boom or Blip" (PDF). Aerospace America (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- Aboulafia, Richard (2006-03-13). "March 2006 Newsletter". Retrieved 2007-02-27.
- "Very Light Jets Enter Fractional Market". Halogen Guides Jets. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
- Trautvetter, Chad (2006-11-23). "Cessna Beats Out Eclipse In First VLJ Delivery". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "Smaller, faster, cheaper new jets may transform flying". USA Today. Associated Press. 2006-01-19. Retrieved 2006-09-26.
- "Cessna Citation Mustang Cleared for Flight Into Known Icing Conditions" (Press release). Cessna Aircraft Company. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- General Aviation Manufacturers Association General Aviation Statistical Databook & Industry Outlook, 2010
- General Aviation Manufacturers Association General Aviation Statistical Databook & Industry Outlook, 2009
- Huber, Mark (2006-10-17). "Eclipse targets hefty initial production run". Aviation International News. Retrieved 2006-12-12.[dead link]
- "Company second in U.S to deliver light jets". Associated Press. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-01-16.
- "Eclipse Aviation files for Chapter 11". Financial Times. 2008-11-26.
- Raburn, Vern (2006-11-27). "Eclipse Aviation Customer/Investor Update 11-27-06". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- "Eclipse Aviation Receives Production Certificate" (Press release). Eclipse Aviation. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-29.
- Grady, Mary (November 2010). "Report: GA Sales Continue To Drop". Retrieved 9 January 2011.
- Garvey, William. HondaJet flight testing is underway Aviation Week, 30 December 2010. Accessed: 9 January 2011.
- Sharkey, Joe (2006-08-29). "Big Battle in Small-Jet Skies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
- Di Piazza, Karen. "No Throne Room on Eclipse VLJ: Real Issue or Media Hype?". CharterX. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
- The VLJ (Very Light Jet) Market 2006-2017
- Evaluating the Efficiency of a Small Aircraft Transportation System Network Using Planning and Simulation Models (2006)
- Nationwide Impacts of Very Light Jet Traffic in the Future Next Generation Air Transportation System (NGATS) (2006)
- A Transportation Systems Analysis Model (TSAM) to study the impact of the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) (2005)
- An Integrated Model To Study The Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) (2003)
- EBACE 2006 Show preview (series of articles), Flight International, April/May 2006
- Time for an Eclipse?, Aviation Week, April 2006
- VLJs fly in the face of critics, Aviation International News, March 2006
- Flight Interview: Vision of Eclipse Aviation's Vern silences the sceptics, Flight International, March 2006
- Dawn of the VLJ, Flight International, May 2005
- JetBird targets the mass affluent - EBAN - September, 2006
- JetBird featured on Forbes.com, May, 2007
- Transportation Systems Analysis Model - TSAM is a nationwide transportation planning model to forecast air taxi demand in the United States.