Buying a personal jet is a matter of clear thinking
Put your modesty aside for a minute. You wouldn’t mind owning a very light personal jet, would you? Imagine taking a quick trip to Las Vegas without first having to stand in sweaty queues at the airport and then getting a seat next to your not-so-favourite kind of person. You just get on and go. Quickly.
Imagine the response of your friends when you invite them along. Imagine the respect.
The question is, which personal jet? Most of the jets built for private use are expensive to buy and maintain. Of course, you can use a prop-driven aircraft but they simply don’t have the wow factor of jets.
When it comes to very light jets, you’re exactly spoilt for choice. But take out your wallet and have a look at what’s available.
Honda has a nice small jet, the HA-420. It is only 12.99 m (42 ft 7 in) long, with a wingspan of only 12.12 m (39 ft 9 in). Yet, it can cruise at 378 kn (700 km/h; 435 mph) and has a range of 1,009 nautical miles (1,869 kilometres; 1,161 miles). More importantly, it can carry a crew of two and up to 6 of your friends, including all the beer and Jack Daniels they’ll surely be bringing along.
The price of the Hondajet? At this time of writing, around $4.5 million.
OK, you’re heard! You want something a little less, how shall we say, over-the-top. Yes, it does make sense to rather spend more of the budget on the beer.
Cessna Citation Mustang
So how about the Cessna Citation Mustang? It costs a little over $3 million. And that “Mustang” in the name sounds real macho.
The Citation Mustang is slightly bigger than the Hondajet but seats the same amount of passengers. It is slower than the Hondajet (340 kn, 630 km/h, 390 mph) but it can take more beer… and a little further too, up to 1167 nmi (2,161 km; 1,343 mi).
Still more beer rather?
Listen, at this stage you have to take into account that other very light jets like the Cessna Citation M2 and the Embraer Phenom 100 cost more-or-less the same as the Hondajet. And keep in mind that the quoted prices are without any optional extras – but bottle openers might be included.
Don’t even consider the bigger light jets like the Beechcraft Premier, other Cesna jets and the Learjets. They cost double the price of the very light jets. In short, they’re basically for people who either/or have large families and big egos and/or do not drink a lot of beer.
Eclipse 400 and Eclipse 550
The ideal personal jet for you would have been the Eclipse 400. It had a length of 8.84 m (29 ft), a wingspan of 10.98 m (36 ft), had a cruise speed of 330 kn (612 km/h; 380 mph) and a massive range of 1250 nmi (2,315 km; 1,445 mi).
Sure, it could only seat three passengers but you could always leave one pilot at home and still bring at least three friends. And you could bring almost as much beer as the other jets could take.
There’s one problem, though. As said, it “would have been” the ideal personal jet for you. It probably would have been cheaper than those already mentioned and it really did look cute. The past tense is used because the producer of the Eclipse 400 had their wings clipped in 2009 and the new owners, Eclipse Aerospace, shelved the 400. They did, however, bring out the Eclipse 550.
The Eclipse 550 has a length of 10.21 m (33 ft 6 in), a wingspan of 11.51 m (37 ft 9 in) and fly your friends and all the necessary beverages at 374 kn (292 km/h; 430 mph) to a dream destination up to 1125 nmi (2,084 km; 1,295 mi) away.
If you’re picking pennies at this time, at least the Eclipse 550 costs a few dollars less than $3m.
It has good reviews too. As AIN Online’s Matt Thurber said, “Make no mistake, the Eclipse 550 is not a toy; it is every bit as sophisticated as many larger jets.”
A matter of clear thinking
You’re absolutely correct! Buying a personal jet is a matter of clear thinking. There is no reason in the whole wide world why any sane person would want to spend more on a personal jet than on beer.
Considering that the search for the perfect personal jet started with $4.5m it is clear that a personal jet should not cost more than $2m. Ideally, you’d want to spend even less on the aircraft. Ideally, something like $1.5m. Thus, ideally something like the Flaris LAR 1.
Compared to the other very light jets the Flaris is tiny, with a length of only 8.32 m (27 ft 4 in) and a wingspan of a mere 8.68 m (28 ft 6 in). It also weighs less than half of what the others weigh. Yet, it can carry one crew – ideally a pilot, of course – and four passengers. Furthermore, it has a cruising speed of 378 kn (700 km/h; 435 mph) and, incredibly, a cruise range of 1728 nmi (3,200 km; 1,988 mi). This is a miracle private jet. When this little beauty goes into production, it could blow the competition away.
However, the Flaris LAR 1 is still under development. Certification is anticipated for 2018. So, sit back, open another beer and relax; there is a solution.
Cirrus Vision SF50
Thinking clearly, at the moment, when planning to purchase a personal jet there is only one realistic choice. The Cirrus Vision SF50.
It costs $2m.
It has a parachute! A parachute for the whole plane. See the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™). You don’t have to leave the beer behind in case of an emergency. How awesome is that?!
It has a length of 9.4m (30.9 ft), a wingspan of 11.68 m (38 ft 4), a cruising speed of 300 kn (345 mph; 556 km/h) and a cruising range said to be around 955 nmi (1,770 km; 1,100 mi). Stall speed with flaps up is a remarkably low 67 knots.
It looks like a personal jet! Well, it looks like the Eclipse 400, actually, but that’s what’s also right about this sexy jet.
It seats two up front – one for a pilot, obviously – and four passengers plus it has another little seat for a case of Jack Daniels or two cases of beers strapped in with the safety belt. Perfect.
Beer on a plane
Since the difference between a beer and a pee is only 5 minutes, you need not worry: all these personal jets have onboard toilets.