A private jet for a million US dollars? Considering a Gulfstream G6 cost US$65 million, you can begin to see why it might be difficult to produce a private jet for US$1 million. In the early 2000s, I was one of the attorneys representing Safire Aircraft. They, along with several other manufactures, tried to bring to market a US$1 million private jet. That has long been considered the holy grail of private jet aviation. Tried but never achieved, a private jet for this price would mean people who regularly fly first class would now consider owning a private jet as an alternative. Unfortunately, Safire ran out of money before they could achieve their goal and no one has managed to build a private jet for US$1 Millon. However, there are 3 manufacturers who are making inexpensive very light jet aircraft at close to that amount. They are:
The Eclipse 500 was originally announced with much fanfare as an under US$1 million personal jet aircraft with six seat capacity. It has four passenger seats and seating for two in the cockpit (rated for single pilot operation). Manufactured by Eclipse Aviation in Albuquerque, New Mexico, deliveries began in 2006 and the price quickly rose to over US$2 million. Lack of an in-cabin lavatory/toilet became a major sticking point with many customers.
206 aircraft had been delivered when the company ceased production in 2008. Currently there are plans to restart deliveries this year with the updated Eclipse 550, which will be priced at slightly less than US$3 million, making the Eclipse still the lowest priced very light jet aircraft on the market. Range with four occupants is 1,125 nautical miles (nm), Max Altitude is 41,000 ft, Cruise Fuel Flow is a low 59 gph and Max Cruise Speed: 375 ktas/430 mph.
Cessna Citation Mustang
The Citation Mustang is a twin engine jet manufactured by Cessna Aircraft Company in Independence Kansas. It is priced at US$3.29 million, with six seat capacity including four passenger seats and seating for two in the cockpit (rated for single pilot operation), and it includes a lavatory/toilet.
It was the first very light jet to be fully FAA certified, receiving its certificate in September 2006 and has outsold all other very light jets. Range with five occupants is 1,155 nm, Max Altitude is 41,000 ft, Cruise Fuel Flow is 100 gph and Max Cruise Speed is 340 ktas/391 mph.
Embraer Phenom 100
The Phenom 100 is a twin engine jet manufactured by Embraer, a Brazilian company with an assembly plant in Melbourne Florida. The Phenom 100 is currently priced at US$4.4 million, with eight seat capacity including six passenger seats and seating for two in the cockpit (rated for single pilot operation), and it includes a lavatory/toilet with a fixed door.
Range with seven occupants is 1,178 nm, Max Altitude is 41,000 ft, Cruise Fuel Flow is 77 gph and Max Cruise Speed: 390 ktas/449 mph.
There are several other manufacturers that you may want to follow at this price range which have announced plans to deliver inexpensive jet aircraft in the near future. These include the Cirrus Vision SF50 single engine jet with seven seat capacity and an anticipated price of approximately US$2 million and the Honda HA-420 twin engine HondaJet with eight seat capacity and an anticipated price of around US$4.5 million.
Like the Safire, no manufacturer seems to be able to deliver the US$1 million jet anytime soon. But, as the price of private jet aircraft comes down and the hassle of commercial flying goes up, becoming the owner of a private jet is more attractive than it has ever been before.
Daniel Novela is a corporate lawyer at Novela Law who assists clients worldwide in the purchase and registry of their aircraft, yachts, real estate and businesses.