Very light jet

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The Eclipse 500 was heavily marketed as a very light jet, and was one of the first of its kind to enter the market

A very light jet (VLJ), entry-level jet or personal jet,[1] previously known as a microjet, is a category of small business jets seating four to eight people and often with a maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) of or under 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg),[2][3][4] although the Embraer Phenom 100, HondaJet and Cessna Citation M2 are all slightly over. VLJs are considered the lightest business jets and are approved for single-pilot operation.

History[edit]

The first small jet-powered civil aircraft, the 1950s Morane-Saulnier MS.760 Paris, has been retroactively suggested as being the first VLJ, as it seats four with a single pilot and is smaller than modern VLJs. The production of MS.760 differs from modern business jets in having a sliding canopy for cabin access rather than a door; a six-seat version with an enclosed cabin and a conventional door was canceled after a single prototype was built.[5][6]

Two unbuilt Cessna aircraft of the 1950s and 1960s would have met the definition of a VLJ. The first was the 407, a four-seat civil version of the T-37 jet trainer proposed in 1959; however, the 407 never progressed past the mock-up stage due to insufficient customer interest. The second was the Fanjet 500, which had an MTOW of 9,500 pounds (4,310 kg) and a single pilot as originally envisioned in 1968; however, as the aircraft evolved into the Citation, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration demanded a second pilot and various design changes, resulting in an MTOW of 10,350 pounds (4,690 kg).[6]

Other attempts to create small jet aircraft in this class in the 1970s and 1980s were the Gulfstream Aerospace FanJet 1500[6] and the CMC Leopard.

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]

Single-engine designs were popular in the mid-2000s, before the global financial crisis diminished the market appeal of the category. Most of those projects, which included the Piper Altaire, Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 400 and VisionAire Vantage, were all shelved. As of 2016, the only maintained aircraft are the Cirrus Vision SF50, which was type certified that year and put into production, and the Stratos 714, which at the time expected certification in 2019. Single-engine VLJs are expected to compete with single turboprop aircraft.[7]

Two VLJs in history have won the Collier Trophy, known as the most prestigious aerospace engineering award in the United States — the Eclipse 500 (in 2006) and the Cirrus Vision Jet (SF50, in 2018).[8]

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 (910 m), either for personal use or in point-to-point air taxi service.[9][10] 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,[11] 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.[11]

Production[edit]

The Cirrus Vision SF50 is the only single-engine VLJ currently certified with the FAA

Many models are under development or awaiting certification, while others have failed.[12] Six have so far made deliveries to customers:

The Cessna Citation Mustang was the first production VLJ, first delivered in November 2006,[14][15][16] and the Cirrus Vision SF50 is the first single-engine production VLJ, beginning deliveries in December 2016.[17][18]

Business jet sales were suffering due to the 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 analysis from PMi suggested that 1,700 VLJs would be delivered between 2013 and 2020, compared to 1,000 delivered up to 2013.[21]

Deliveries[22]
Year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 Total
Cessna Citation Mustang 1 45 101 125 73 43 38 20 8 8 10 7 - - 479
Embraer Phenom 100 - - 2 97 100 41 29 30 19 12 10 18 11 11 380
Eclipse 500 1 98 161 - - - - - - - - - - - 260
Cessna CitationJet/M2 - - - - - - - 12 46 41 38 39 34 34 244
Cirrus Vision SF50 - - - - - - - - - - 3 22 63 81 169
Honda HA-420 HondaJet - - - - - - - - - 2 23 43 37 36 141
Eclipse 550 - - - - - - - - 12 7 8 6 - - 33
Total 2 143 264 222 173 84 67 62 85 70 92 135 145 162 1706

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[23] and items on NBC Nightly News.[24] 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[23] and air taxi service companies said that it was not a concern for most of their passengers.[24] 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 seven-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.[25]

List[edit]

  In production
  In development
  Homebuilt
  Completed
  Dormant/canceled
  Demonstrators
Aircraft Seats MTOW Cabin
Height
Engines Max.
Cruise
Max.
Range
Specific Range
@ LR TAS[26]
Unit
Cost
Deliv. First flight status
Cirrus SF50 5-7[27] 6,000 lb 4.1 ft FJ33 305 kn[28] 1,275 nmi[28] 0.863 nmi/lb @ 259 kn $2.38m[29] 169[22] 3 Jul 2008 delivered since 2016
Honda HA-420 6-8 10,700 lb 4.8 ft HF120 422 kn[30] 1,437 nmi[30] 0.663 nmi/lb @ 360 kn $5.25m[31] 150[32] 3 Dec 2003 delivered since 2015
Citation M2 6-8 10,700 lb 4.8 ft FJ44 404 kn 1,550 nmi 0.626 nmi/lb @ 323 kn $4.7m[33] 244[22] 29 Apr 1991 delivered since 1993
Phenom 100 6-8 10,703 lb 4.9 ft PW617F 406 kn[34] 1,178 nmi[34] 0.626 nmi/lb @ 340 kn $4.495m[35] 380[22] 26 Jul 2007 delivered since 2008
Flaris LAR01 5 3,300 lb 4.0 ft 1× FJ33[36] 380 kn 1,730 nmi $2 m 5 Apr 2019[37] in development
Stratos 714 4 8,421 lb 4.8 ft[38] PW535 415 kn 1,500 nmi $3-3.5m 21 Nov 2016 in development[a]
FLS Microjet 1 659 lb PBS TJ-100 278 kn 200 nmi $0.1895m Jan 2011
SubSonex 1 1,000 lb PBS TJ-100 220 kn 300+ nmi $0.135m 10 Aug 2011
Viper Jet 2 5,100 lb J85 430 kn 800 nmi $0.48-0.65m Oct 1999 kits not produced
Citation Mustang 6 8,645 lb 4.5 ft PW615F 340 kn 1,167 nmi 0.641 nmi/lb @ 319 kn[39] $3.35m[40] 479[22] 23 Apr 2005 2006-2017 deliveries
Eclipse 500 6 6,000 lb 4.2 ft[41] PW610F 370 kn[42] 1,125 nmi[42] $2.15m[43][44] 260[45] 26 Aug 2002 2006-2008 deliveries
Eclipse 550 6 6,000 lb[46] 4.2 ft[46] PW610F 375 kn[42] 1,125 nmi[42] 1.040 nmi/lb @ 334 kn[39] $2.9m[43][44] 33[22] 2013 2013-2018 deliveries[b]
Adam A700 5-7 9,350 lb FJ33 340 kn 1,200 nmi $1.9 m 28 Jul 2003 2008 bankruptcy[47]
Comp Air Jet[48] 8 8,900 lb AI-25 320 kn 1,250 nmi $1.2 m 10 Jul 2004 2006 last update
ATG Javelin 2 6,900 lb FJ33 530 kn 1,200 nmi $2.995m 30 Sep 2005 2008 halt[49]
Diamond D-Jet 5 5,115 lb FJ33 315 kn 1,350 nmi $1.89m[50] 18 Apr 2006 2013 suspension
Eclipse 400[51] 4 4,480 lb 1x PW615F 345 kn 1,250 nmi $1.35m[52] 2 Jul 2007 2009 bankruptcy
Epic Victory 3-5 5,500 lb FJ33 320 kn 1,200 nmi $1m 6 Jul 2007 2009 bankruptcy[c]
Epic Elite 7 7,701 lb FJ33 390 kn 1,600 nmi $2.35 m 7 Jun 2007 2009 bankruptcy[c]
AVCEN Jetpod 7-8 6,750 lb 16 Aug 2009 2009 crash[d]
PiperJet 7 7,000 lb 1× FJ44 360 kn 1,300 nmi $2.20m[54] 30 Jul 2008 2011 suspension[e]
S-33 Independence 9 7,500 lb 5.0 ft FJ33 415 kn 2,000 nmi $3.945m [55] 7 Jan 2006 2006 crash[f]
Sport Jet II[56] 4-5 5,250 lb 1× JT15D 380 kn 1,000 nmi $1.20m 12 May 2006 2006 crash[g]
Vantage 6 8,200 lb JT15D 350 kn 999 nmi $1.65 m 16 Nov 1996 2003 bankruptcy[h]
Honda MH02 6 7,937 lb JT15D 353 kn[57] 5 Mar 1993 1998 deregistration
Williams V-Jet II 3,800 lb FJX-2 300 kn 13 Apr 1997 2001 donation
Aircraft Seats MTOW Cabin
Height
Engines Max.
Cruise
Max.
Range
Specific Range
@ LR TAS[26]
Unit
Cost
Deliv. First flight status
  1. ^ Slightly stretched into the Stratos 716X, first flight July 2, 2020, sold in kit before type certification which would need at least $100-150 million
  2. ^ Company announced in March 2017 that production would phase out as it prepared development of the Eclipse 700
  3. ^ a b Epic Aircraft went into bankruptcy in 2009 and its assets were bought in April, 2010 by Aviation Industry Corporation of China who are restarting Victory production and certification as of July 2010.[53]
  4. ^ owner and founder died during first flight crash
  5. ^ Development suspended indefinitely on October 26, 2011
  6. ^ No update on certification date from company. In 2009 Spectrum announced that new S-40 Freedom project will be first for certification and production
  7. ^ Second Pre-Production Aircraft was being built in production 2011, accepting orders.
  8. ^ VisionAir bankrupt and liquidated 2003, design developed into EV-20 Vantage Jet project

Notes[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. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-12-22.
  3. ^ a b David Noland (20 May 2007). "Mini-Jet Revolution, or Dot-Com with Wings?". Popular Mechanics.
  4. ^ "Very Light Jet - VLJ". GlobalSecurity.org.
  5. ^ Jerram, Mike (October 2010). "Morane-Saulnier Paris: the very first Very Light Jet" (PDF). General Aviation. International Council of Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associations. Retrieved 17 April 2020. Think the VLJ is a modern phenomenon? They’ve been around for almost 60 years, says Mike Jerram
  6. ^ a b c Olcott, John W. (5 May 2006). "Turbine Pilot: VLJ Deja Vu". aopa.org. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Retrieved 17 April 2020. More than 50 years ago, before Eclipse Aviation President and Chief Executive Officer Vern Raburn was born — and obviously decades before he envisioned the Eclipse 500... — the concept of relatively light aircraft powered by jet engines and flown by a single pilot emerged.
  7. ^ "Getting personal with single-engined jets". Flight Global. 21 July 2016.
  8. ^ "Collier Trophy". National Aeronautic Association. Retrieved 11 July 2018.
  9. ^ Croft, John (May 2006). "Very Light Jets: Boom or Blip" (PDF). Aerospace America. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2006-12-02. Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  10. ^ Aboulafia, Richard (2006-03-13). "March 2006 Newsletter". Retrieved 2007-02-27.
  11. ^ a b "Very Light Jets Enter Fractional Market". Halogen Guides Jets. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-13.
  12. ^ Cox, Bill. "The Day Of The Personal Jet" Plane & Pilot Magazine, 1 May 2008. Retrieved March 2015.
  13. ^ Stephen Trimble (11 May 2017). "Cessna rolls out last Mustang after genre-defining run". Flight Global.
  14. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (2006-11-23). "Cessna Beats Out Eclipse In First VLJ Delivery". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  15. ^ "Smaller, faster, cheaper new jets may transform flying". USA Today. Associated Press. 2006-01-19. Retrieved 2006-09-26.
  16. ^ "Cessna Citation Mustang Cleared for Flight Into Known Icing Conditions" (Press release). Cessna Aircraft Company. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-29.[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Cirrus Earns Vision Jet Certification". AOPA. 2016-10-31. Retrieved 2016-12-20.
  18. ^ "Cirrus delivers first Vision jet, unveils new facility". Retrieved 20 December 2016.
  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 Archived December 3, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ a b c d e f General Aviation Manufacturers Association (2020). "2019 Databook" (PDF). Retrieved 20 February 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  23. ^ a b Sharkey, Joe (2006-08-29). "Big Battle in Small-Jet Skies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  24. ^ a b Di Piazza, Karen. "No Throne Room on Eclipse VLJ: Real Issue or Media Hype?". CharterX. Archived from the original on September 29, 2007. Retrieved 2006-11-29.
  25. ^ "HondaJet Lavatory - Toilet". Retrieved April 25, 2015.
  26. ^ a b "Purchase Planning Handbook 2019" (PDF). Business & Commercial Aviation. Aviation Week Network. June 2019.
  27. ^ "Cirrus Jet Specifications PDF" (PDF). Cirrus. 2008-10-22. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2009-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-18.
  28. ^ a b "We Fly: The Generation 2 Cirrus Vision".
  29. ^ "CIRRUS VISION JET G2 CERTIFIED". 16 January 2019.
  30. ^ a b "Introducing HondaJet Elite" (PDF).
  31. ^ "I checked out Honda's $5 million private jet, one of the cheapest in the world, and saw just how much your money gets you".
  32. ^ "Honda Aircraft a livré son 150ème biréacteur HondaJet". 3 April 2020.
  33. ^ "Cessna Citation M2". BJTonline. 7 November 2016.
  34. ^ a b "Phenom 100EV" (PDF).
  35. ^ "OSHKOSH: Embraer unveils improved Phenom 100 Evolution".
  36. ^ "FLARIS LAR 1 | Installing the engine in the Flaris". www.flaris.pl. Retrieved 2016-05-31.
  37. ^ "FLARIS LAR1 took off".
  38. ^ "Stratos 714 Light Business Jet".
  39. ^ a b "Purchase Planning Handbook 2016" (PDF).
  40. ^ "Controller.com - Can We Help You Find Something?". www.controller.com.
  41. ^ "Eclipse 500".
  42. ^ a b c d Pew, Glen (2006-12-06). "Eclipse Addresses Delays And Performance Guarantees". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-12-12.
  43. ^ a b Niles, Russ (May 2008). "Eclipse Goes Ahead With Single, Hikes Price Of Twin". Retrieved 2008-06-02.
  44. ^ a b "Eclipse Aviation aircraft for sale at GlobalPlaneSearch.com". www.globalplanesearch.com.
  45. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-06. Retrieved 2011-07-02.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  46. ^ a b "Eclipse 550".
  47. ^ "A700 Adam Jet Chosen by Magnum Jet" (Press release). Adam Aircraft Industries. 2006-10-16. Archived from the original on 2006-12-12.
  48. ^ "Comp Air Jet in Limbo". 18 April 2007.
  49. ^ "ATG Halts Javelin Program". AVWeb. 2007-12-19.
  50. ^ "Diamond D at GlobalPlaneSearch.com". www.globalplanesearch.com.
  51. ^ "Eclipse ECJ". Airventure. 2007-07-23. Retrieved 2007-07-23.
  52. ^ "Eclipse Aviation aircraft for sale at GlobalPlaneSearch.com". www.globalplanesearch.com.
  53. ^ Grady, Mary (July 2010). "New Epic Owners At Oshkosh". Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  54. ^ "Piper aircraft for sale at GlobalPlaneSearch.com". www.globalplanesearch.com.
  55. ^ [1]
  56. ^ http://www.sportjetair.com
  57. ^ "Honda MH02". Archived from the original on 2012-10-21.

References[edit]

External links[edit]