Pilot Journal
Thursday, May 1, 2008

The Day Of The Personal Jet

No one can guess if the personal jet market will be as robust as many entrepreneurs think, but here’s a look at the current and projected crop of contenders

personal jetsIt’s a new world. VLJs and personal jets are on their way. Despite naysayer predictions, Eclipse Aviation is actively marketing its model 500 twin jet, with more than 100 aircraft completed and 50 delivered (as of mid-February), and there are at least another 10 models of small jets set to debut in the next three years.
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Gross weight is 5,500 pounds against an empty weight of 2,700 pounds. In keeping with Epic’s catch phrase (“Fill the tanks, go the distance, leave nothing behind”), the Victory sports a 900-pound full fuel payload, enough to handle five people plus small baggage or four with burglar tools. Full fuel is estimated to provide a 1,200 nm range.

Schrameck has set max cruise at 320 knots with an economy setting of 250 knots, so the Victory should perform in the middle of the personal jet class. If it’s certified, the Victory may be available as early as the third quarter of 2009. Answer to the big question? Probably about $1.4 million.

Turboprop Alternatives
If you’re determined to buy an airplane with something out front to pull it through the sky (rather than push it from the rear), there are several turboprop singles that offer performance nearly equal to that of the personal jets. The TBM 850 carries six in a luxurious cabin at roughly the same speeds as some of the entry-level jets, and the Piper Meridian, Pilatus PC-12 and Czech Ibis Ae270 are only slightly off the pace. In other words, for the pilot/owner with $1 million to $2.5 million to spend, the options are about to become practically unlimited.


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