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 business jet approved for single-pilot operation, seating 4-8 people, often with a maximum take-off weight of under 10,000 pounds (4,540 kg),[2][3][4] although the Phenom 100, HondaJet and Cessna Citation M2 are slightly over. They are the lightest business jets and can be flown by single pilot owners.

History[edit]

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 programs : the Piper Altaire, Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 400 or VisionAire Vantage were shelved and the only maintained are the Cirrus Vision SF50 since Cirrus was bought by CAIGA and the Flaris LAR01. They would compete with single turboprop aircraft.[5]

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.[6][7] 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,[8] 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.[8]

Production[edit]

Many models are under development or awaiting certification, while others have failed.[9] Five have so far made deliveries to customers:

The single engine Cirrus SF50 should be certified and delivered in the fourth quarter of 2016.

Very light jets, 4 pax mission[19]
Model Price Pax Length Span int. L int. W Engines Thrust MTOW Range Cruise Fuel/nmi var./hour[20]
Cirrus SF50 $2.0M 4-6 30.9 ft 38.3 ft 9.8 ft 5.1 ft 1 FJ33 1800 lb 6,000 lb 714 nmi 278 kn 1.6 lb $662
Eclipse 550 $3.0M 4-5 33.5 ft 37.9 ft 10.0 ft 4.7 ft 2 PW610 1800 lb 6,000 lb 825 nmi 317 kn 1.17 lb $889
Citation Mustang $3.4M 5-5 40.6 ft 43.2 ft 9.8 ft 4.6 ft 2 PW615 2920 lb 8,645 lb 963 nmi 301 kn 1.73 lb $1,015
Phenom 100E $4.2M 5-7 42.1 ft 40.4 ft 11.0 ft 5.1 ft 2 PW617 3390 lb 10,582 lb 1,050 nmi 324 kn 1.87 lb $1,152
HondaJet $4.5M 5-6 42.6 ft 39.8 ft 12.1 ft 5.0 ft 2 HF120 4100 lb 10,600 lb 1,065 nmi 361 kn 1.86 lb $1,135
Cessna Citation M2 $4.5M 7-7 42.6 ft 47.3 ft 11.0 ft 4.8 ft 2 FJ44 3930 lb 10,700 lb 1,174 nmi 369 kn 1.99 lb $1,395

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,[21] with light jets suffering the most.[22]

Industry analysts PMi suggest that 1,700 VLJs will be delivered between 2013 and 2020, compared to 1,000 delivered up to 2013.[23]

Deliveries[24]
year 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 1172
Citation Mustang 1 45 101 125 73 43 38 20 8 8 462
Eclipse 500 1 98 161 - - - - - - - 260
Embraer Phenom 100 - - 2 97 100 41 29 30 19 12 330
Cessna Citation M2 - - - - - - - 12 46 41 99
Eclipse 550 - - - - - - - - 12 7 19
HondaJet - - - - - - - - - 2 2

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[25] and items on NBC Nightly News.[26] 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[25] and air taxi service companies said that it was not a concern for most of their passengers.[26] 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.[27]

See also[edit]

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. 
  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. ^ "Getting personal with single-engined jets". Flight Global. 21 July 2016. 
  6. ^ Croft, John (May 2006). "Very Light Jets: Boom or Blip" (PDF). Aerospace America (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics). Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  7. ^ Aboulafia, Richard (2006-03-13). "March 2006 Newsletter". Retrieved 2007-02-27. 
  8. ^ a b "Very Light Jets Enter Fractional Market". Halogen Guides Jets. 2007-11-02. Retrieved 2007-11-13. 
  9. ^ Cox, Bill. "The Day Of The Personal Jet" Plane & Pilot Magazine, 1 May 2008. Retrieved March 2015.
  10. ^ Trautvetter, Chad (2006-11-23). "Cessna Beats Out Eclipse In First VLJ Delivery". AVweb. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  11. ^ "Smaller, faster, cheaper new jets may transform flying". USA Today. Associated Press. 2006-01-19. Retrieved 2006-09-26. 
  12. ^ "Cessna Citation Mustang Cleared for Flight Into Known Icing Conditions" (Press release). Cessna Aircraft Company. 2006-11-09. Retrieved 2006-11-29. 
  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. ^ "Purchase Planning Handbook: 2016 Business Airplanes" (PDF). Business & Commercial Aviation. Aviation Week. May 2016. 
  20. ^ Variable costs only excluding capital, annual costs and crew : fuel, maintenance, reserves, misc. "Hourly operating costs of 45 jets compared". Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. 16 November 2015. 
  21. ^ Grady, Mary (November 2010). "Report: GA Sales Continue To Drop". Retrieved 9 January 2011. 
  22. ^ Garvey, William. HondaJet flight testing is underway Aviation Week, 30 December 2010. Accessed: 9 January 2011.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "2015 General Aviation Statistical Databook" (PDF). General Aviation Manufacturers Association. 2016. 
  25. ^ a b Sharkey, Joe (2006-08-29). "Big Battle in Small-Jet Skies". The New York Times. Retrieved 2006-12-12. 
  26. ^ 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. 
  27. ^ "HondaJet Lavatory - Toilet". Retrieved April 25, 2015. 

References[edit]

External links[edit]