Light Jet Aircraft
Many airplane enthusiasts argue that the term “very light jet” is improperly used (conversely the term “entry-level jet” should be used instead), thus creating the confusion with “light jets” which are significantly heavier than the former.
While very light jets are a different type of plane than the conventional light jets, the private jet industry often gets skewed with aircrafts from both categories. Very light jets are smaller than typical business jets, generally weighing less than 10,000 pounds.
One of the popular VLJ’s is the Eclipse 500, which has small twin turbofan engines and a maximum speed of 370 knots (426<br>mph/685 kmph). The Eclipse 500, can travel approximately 1,125 nautical miles and seat 4-5 people and 1-2 crewmembers. Due to financial difficulties, the production of the Eclipse 500 was halted in 2008 when Eclipse Aviation entered bankruptcy.
Light jets are more expensive than VLJs, but are more widely used in the private airline industry. Light jets can seat more people and have slightly longer travel distances compared to their VLJ counterpart. Light jets, like the Cessna Citation II, are larger and faster than the Eclipse 500. The cruise speed for the Citation II is approximately 465 mph with a range of 2000 nautical miles. This light jet can hold about 8 passengers and 2 crew members.
Very light jets are economical choices for businesses or individuals who have short distances to travel or who are using rural airports. Very light jets are less expensive costing half of what the typical business jet costs. The average cost being around $1.5 million, compared to the $4-8 million, which can be paid for a light jet.
Most light jets have a lavatory that is classified as either full or partial. Very light jets, due to their small size, generally do not have a lavatory to use. The reason being is that such jets are used only for maximum flights of around 90 minutes.
The “very light jet” category is still in use today and most companies in the industry still use it. While this category is growing, it remains to be seen whether it will ever be able to compete with the members of the “light jet” category.