LVJ: Which One?


#1

This is not meant to be totally extensive but to cover the main aircraft.
A/C Range MaxCruise Seats Cost/Hr. Price
ECL5 1280 375 KTAS 4 $302 $1.3 million
FA10(used) 1920 492 KTAS 4-7 $835* $1.5 million (about)
CitationJet 1300 389 KTAS 4 $675* 2 million< CMustang 1300 340 KTAS 4 ___ $2.4 million
D-Jet 1012 315 KTAS 4 N/A $850,000

*Estimated from PQ. I changed gas to $4.5 instead of like $2.

No one of the aircraft is the best. It totally depends on what you want. You can check out operating costs at PlaneQuest.

The Eclipse 500 has good airspeed and range for its operating costs. It only seat four passengers. But then again it’s a LVJ. That seems to be the average seating for LVJs. I think the Eclipse 500 is a well rounded aircraft. It’s an good airplane for a good price.

The Falcon 10/100 are very fast and have a long LVJ range. Its operating costs are high but worth it if time>money.  For flights from Seattle to LA, about 900 nm, it would take 2 hr.  It seats 6 so you can take extra CEOs along.  If I had $1.5 million for a jet and the money to fly it, It would be my number one choice. (I like the high airspeed.)

The D-Jet is a cheapest jet around by far (in $100,000s).  By June 2006 economics it should sell for around $927,000.  It is very slow and its range way less (in the 100s of nm) than competing models. From Seattle to LA it would take 3 hr.  I sure its operating costs are less than the Eclipse if not the same.  Its turbofan is the one Cessna uses on the Citation V.  

I do not have very many stats on the Citations so I won't say to much.  I just ordered a brochure from Cessna on the Mustang.

I gonna do one for turbocharged props and turboprops too. This one is Jets only. :wink:

Which aircraft would you choose and why. Would it be for pleasure, business, or something else. Let’s hear it from all you out there.

I’d take the Falcon because of its airspeed, range, and it seats 6.


#2

One thing before I start…

It’s VLJ, not LVJ. Just a head’s up. (Very Light Jet = VLJ)…

I’d go the the Eclipse 500.

I’d originally go for the C525 (CJ1), but upon further review the Eclipse 500 has much more bang for it’s buck.

The EA50 has an hourly cost less than half that of the CJ1, with only 20nm less range, about the same amount of interior space, and for nearly $1M less…Talk about a deal!


#3

There was a pretty article in AOPA magazine about the Socata TBM850. Its not a jet, though. Its a single engine prop that goes 315TAS at FL260 (its ideal altitude) It supposedly will be cheaper to operate, yet get there equally as fast as a VLJ. This claim is based on the presumption that the VLJs as a whole will be operating mainly in the mid FL200s. This will most likely be true on the coasts of the US. VLJs will NOT be able to keep pace with the airliners up in RVSM airspace. So, unless alternative routes are established for VLJs up at altitude, VLJs will be hanging out with the props down in the 200s (the props getting better gas milage down there of course).

With that said, I can’t wait for the VLJ captains to itch their way up to the FL370 and then wonder what the vector for sequencing is with the B752 going twice as fast. I’ll bash the airlines all day long, but even I’ll admit thats not fair service having to slow down an airliner 200 knots just so some rich guy can fly at the altitude he wants in his private jet becuase the company promised him he could. Oh, and im sure he filed direct TEB becuase he has a GPS that can. Ask our friend Don Brown about that one :slight_smile:

DM


#4

I would have to agree with deltamike. As a 135 operator of a Piper Meridian, I can attest to the fact that ATC doesn’t like it that I only go 272KTAS at FL280.

I recently had the opportunity to sit in SN005 Eclipse Jet. It is still in test config., and as such, has no interior and three seats. Without the interior and one seat in the “pax” cabin, I was amazed at how small it was. I asked the test pilots how many seats were going to be installed for production – the answer is 4. The interior of the Meridian is larger than the Eclipse, and I have clients who lament they wished the Meridian had a larger interior.

I asked the test pilots how far up they have had that SN – they told me FL390. I asked the speed, and they told me what their IAS was – 145 KIAS. Do the math, and that is roughly 300KTAS depending on temperature. As Deltamike pointed out, and I also subscribe to the assertion that ATC will simply not allow that – with RVSM, there are more airliners in the 30’s than ever before. ATC will vector and/or change the altitude of the slower aircraft. The reality is that the aircraft will be flown somewhere between FL260 and FL320, with the more direct routes flown lower than higher.

This is the one thing that many are leaving out of the equation. No one has publicly planned the what if scenario that deltamike and I paint here. This will significantly reduce their range. If, however, they want the range, the Eclipse will be good for a pilot and maybe one passenger (not unlike the Meridian!).

Another consideration – if all of the VLJs make it, and all of the numbers ordered are actually delivered, it will have an extremely negative consequence to the GA pilots in the user fee debate. The airlines argue that we are not paying our share. If these VLJs are flying in the 30’s, slowing down traffic, and taxing ATC resources, the airlines may just get their wish.

Quite frankly, there are already great planes out there that do what the VLJs promise. The air taxi idea is said to be revolutionary. How so – what do I do? What do my competitors do? Air Taxi has been around for a very long time. I just hope that these dreamers out there actually use some math skills and figure out that there are some nice King Airs, Meridians, TBMs, and Caravans out there that can do the jobs and are cheaper to purchase (most of them at least) than new VLJs.

Just my two cents worth…of course, I might be short…


#5

Yea, what he said.
I agree with all of that. I’ve sat in the Eclipse before and it is indeed tiny. I know it would be WAY too small for any of the clientle that we fly in the Pilatus, and much too small for any of the customers in my wife’s company in the Caravan.
I’m not saying that they will not sell. I’m not saying that all of the (many) companies advertising deliveries of the eclipse won’t do well. What I am saying is that I dont think it will be such an industry-changing mechanism as so many dreamers think. However, as I’ve said before, only time will tell. Best of luck to 'em I say. (looking for a pilot?)


#6

Ahhhhhhh… NO! The Eclipse is more cramped than the Mustang. Talk to cfi, he’s been in one. The cabin height of the Eclipse is 47 inches (that’s less than four (4) feet) and the Mustang’s is 54 inches. The Mustang is still small, but nowhere like the Eclipse.

Headlines! FlightAware Times
CessnaCitationX predicts the future!

[prediction]I think Eclipse after the 500 will not do that well in the long run. But they will do great in the short run. [/prediction] Eclipse was founded because of an idea, the VLJ. If the 500, VLJ, or Vern leave Eclipse, the company might not do very well unless its gets out of the “its the idea that makes a company” mentality. Because, as I said the 500/VLJ is why Eclipse exists. If the 500 declines so does Eclipse Aviation. Starting a company off with a good idea can be negative because the company exists for the idea. If the idea dies, so does the company. The companies fate can be tied with the idea. The greatest thing about the company is itself. Then ideas can come and go without limiting the company. You guys see what I mean? Here are some examples next to each other. 3M to Norton. Ford to GM. Boeing to McDonnell Douglas. GE to Westinghouse. IBM to Burroughs. Proctor & Gamble to Colgate. Sony to Kenwood. Walt Disney to Columbia. All the companies I mentioned first (i.e Boeing) started with the company as the ultimate creation. The companies mentioned last (i.e. McDonnell Douglas) started with a GREAT idea. Now you see the reasoning behind my prediction. Read “Built to Last Successful Habits of Visionary Companies” by James Collins and Jerry Porras. I HIGHLY recomend the book. Also read the reviews on Amazon. Scroll down to get to them.

If we where to compare Eclipse with Diamond in 20 years, I think Diamond will come out ahead.

It’s kinda funny that a business person named Jim, started a company, VisionAire, and in 1996 came out with a single engined VLJ (VA-10). It carried 6 pax over 1000nm with operating costs just $416. To make a short story short, the company went out of business.

Six years later, a business person named Vern, started a company, Eclipse Aviation, that came out with a twin VLJ. It takes 4 pax 1280nm with operating cost just above $300 before gas went through the atmosphere. To make a short story short, the company is VERY successful so far selling almost 2500 aircraft.

Any comments on this wierd occurance. See more on the VA-10. You’ll have to scroll down three-quarters of the way down to get to the article. And here too.


#7

Pretty good article in Flying Magazine about VLJ’s and their potential impact on aviation.

He makes a good point about the huge success of the Caravan and how it has sold less than 2000 in 21 years. Why would we expect VLJ’s to fly out the door by the thousands.


#8

With a ever growing family, my FIL and I are anxious to see what Piper comes out with.

FIL friend has one of the Diamonds on order (#27 on the list), but with all the delays, may dump it and get an Eclipse or wait to see what Piper comes up with.

Personally, once all the kinks are worked out, I see the bottom of the turbos, like the Meridian, possibly King Air, dropping out. JetProp conversions probably won’t change much, since it is an upgrade, and for the most part, cheaper than buying a Meridian or something of that sort.


#9

Not really. I thought so at first. See my post above and this article from Flying Magazine. The Mustang is different from the Eclipse. You’re confusing large cabin VLJs and small cabin VLJs. The large cabin VLJs are more money. But it’s worth the extra cash. If I was really worried about cash, I’d buy a used Falcon 10/100. Which is a WAY better deal than the Eclipse. One thing I like about the Eclipse is its cute.

Measure 47 inches and see if its high enough for you to sit in. The Mustang’s 54 inches is not great but 47 is unseatable.


#10

You keep referring to the Falcon 10 as a vlj but it is technically not one. From Wikipedia: (A Very Light Jet (VLJ) is a small jet aircraft approved for single-pilot operation. With a maximum take-off weight of under 10,000 lb (4,540 kg), they are lighter than corporate aircraft and seat between three and six passengers.) Falcons are great airplanes (I fly a 2000EX) but with a max gross of about 18000# the 10 doesn’t quite qualify.

Dan


#11

Sorry about that. :cry: For about the same price of a VLJ, you can buy a used Falcon 10. The Falcon 10’s figures are WAY better than ANY VLJ, Mustang or whatever. Ya I like the Falcons too. Do you fly for a charter company like Netjets, etc? Does the FA10 require two pilots or have a single pilot certification something? I know the VLJs are like the latter.


#12

Yes it is possible to get single Pilot Certification on the Falcon 10.


#13

The Falcon’s are all two pilot airplanes. The 10/100 has a MTOW over 18,000 lbs, a high speed cruise well over .80 and control switches all over the cockpit so it is not exactly set up to be either single pilot or a VLJ.