Very light jet

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The Eclipse 500 was heavily marketed as a very light jet

A very light jet, entry-level jet or personal jet,[1] 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).[2][3][4] They are lighter than what is commonly termed business jets and are designed to be flown by single pilot owners.


After a flurry of interest in the Small Aircraft Transportation System (SATS) and air taxi markets in the early 2000s, the VLJ sector underwent significant expansion. Several new designs were produced, such as the Embraer Phenom 100, the Cessna Citation Mustang, and the Eclipse 500. However, following the late 2000s recession the air taxi market underperformed expectations, and both Eclipse Aviation and air taxi firm DayJet collapsed. In December 2010, AvWeb's Paul Bertorelli explained that the term very light jet has lost favor in the aviation industry, "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."[1]

Target market[edit]

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.[5][6] 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,[7] 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.[3] DayJet ceased operations on September 19, 2008.[7]


Many models are under development or awaiting certification, while others have failed.[8] Just three have so far made deliveries to customers:

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,[19] with light jets suffering the most.[20]

Industry analysts PMi suggest that 1,700 VLJs will be delivered between 2013 and 2020, compared to 1,000 delivered up to 2013.[21]

Interior amenities[edit]

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[22] and items on NBC Nightly News.[23] Some manufacturers argued that for short flights of 300 to 500 miles (480 to 800 km) and 40 to 80 minutes' duration the lavatory issue was not a problem[22] and air taxi service companies said that it was not a concern for most of their passengers.[23] 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, and the proposed Adam A700 design had 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. The Embraer Phenom 100 offers a fully enclosed lavatory with a solid door. The 2015 Honda HA-420 HondaJet has a full lavatory at the rear of the aircraft with flushing toilet, full sink and closing door as the best lavatory in the very light jet class.[24]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Paul Bertorelli (December 2010). "Can Eclipse Make It?". AvWeb. 
  2. ^ "What is a Very light Jet?" (PDF). BenchMark (3) (Burns & McDonnell). 2005. p. 18. 
  3. ^ a b David Noland (20 May 2007). "Mini-Jet Revolution, or Dot-Com with Wings?". Popular Mechanics. 
  4. ^ "Very Light Jet - VLJ". 
  5. ^ Croft, John (May 2006). "Very Light Jets: Boom or Blip" (PDF). Aerospace America (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  6. ^ Aboulafia, Richard (2006-03-13). "March 2006 Newsletter". Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  7. ^ a b "Very Light Jets Enter Fractional Market". Halogen Guides Jets. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  8. ^ Cox, Bill. "The Day Of The Personal Jet" Plane & Pilot Magazine, 1 May 2008. Retrieved March 2015.
  9. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (2006-11-23). "Cessna Beats Out Eclipse In First VLJ Delivery". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  10. ^ "Smaller, faster, cheaper new jets may transform flying". USA Today. Associated Press. 2006-01-19. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  11. ^ "Cessna Citation Mustang Cleared for Flight Into Known Icing Conditions" (Press release). Cessna Aircraft Company. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  12. ^ a b General Aviation Manufacturers Association General Aviation Statistical Databook & Industry Outlook, 2010
  13. ^ General Aviation Manufacturers Association General Aviation Statistical Databook & Industry Outlook, 2009
  14. ^ Huber, Mark (2006-10-17). "Eclipse targets hefty initial production run". Aviation International News. Retrieved 2006-12-12. [dead link]
  15. ^ "Company second in U.S to deliver light jets". Associated Press. 2007-01-05. Retrieved 2007-01-16. 
  16. ^ "Eclipse Aviation files for Chapter 11". Financial Times. 2008-11-26. 
  17. ^ Raburn, Vern (2006-11-27). "Eclipse Aviation Customer/Investor Update 11-27-06". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  18. ^ "Eclipse Aviation Receives Production Certificate" (Press release). Eclipse Aviation. 2007-04-26. Retrieved 2007-04-29. 
  19. ^ Grady, Mary (November 2010). "Report: GA Sales Continue To Drop". Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  20. ^ Garvey, William. HondaJet flight testing is underway Aviation Week, 30 December 2010. Accessed: 9 January 2011.
  21. ^ "ANN Daily Aero-Briefing 27 November 2013" Aero News / PMi, November 2013. Accessed: 1 December 2013. Original report
  22. ^ a b Sharkey, Joe (2006-08-29). "Big Battle in Small-Jet Skies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  23. ^ a b Di Piazza, Karen. "No Throne Room on Eclipse VLJ: Real Issue or Media Hype?". CharterX. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  24. ^ "HondaJet Lavatory - Toilet". Retrieved April 25, 2015. 


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