Go Back   Airline Pilot Central Forums - Find your next job as a Pilot > >
Corporate Corporate operators
 

Welcome to Airline Pilot Forums - Connect and get the inside scoop on Airline Companies

If this is your first visit, be sure to check out the FAQ. Join our community today and start interacting with existing members. Registration is fast, simple and absolutely free.


User Tag List

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-02-2005, 12:29 PM   #1  
APC co-founder
Thread Starter
 
Freight Dog's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2005
Position: 747-400 captain
Posts: 1,380
Default Article on Very Light Jets

Very Light Jets- The New Air Transport Technology

Bill Strait
Founder, www.palmbeachairlines.com

Planning our vacations and business travel will likely include another exciting option in the near future.

National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA) Fact Book 2004 reports that 30 out of the 550 commercial airports account for 70% of all air travel. Our skies are crowded around major airports and the air traffic control system is strained. NBAA also reports that there are 5300 available satellite airports in the US that could be used by small jets. "Microjet" air transport technology is on track to solve many of these problems.

Very Light Jets (VLJ's) go by many other names including Microjets, Personal Jets, and Minijets. Their manufacturers are scheduled to begin deliveries worldwide within the next eighteen months. Reporting advance sales of thousands of these new planes, the customers are air-taxi fleet and charter operaters, private owners, owner/ pilots, and fractional providers.

Thanks to the entrepreneurial efforts of airline veterans including a team headed by Donald Burr, founder in 1980 of People Express, we are all headed for a new way to travel between the smaller satellite airports. On March 29, 2004 Burr and son Cameron along with some powerful friends, made a Securities and Exchange Commission filing for iFly.

The on demand air-taxi business is presently the exclusive domain of the extremely upscale traveler. iFly plans to offer VLJ air-taxi services throughout the country. The reported pricing plan of iFly is to provide a $3 to $4 a mile travel experience. This fare structure would compare to retail first-class on most flights.

The aircraft at the heart of this breakthrough technology have twin engines, glass cockpits, and seats four to nine passengers. Their range is 1000 miles or more and they fly at a speed of 340 to 380 knots and up to FL410. Most manufacturers are seeking single pilot operational certification but all of them will likely be flown with a crew of two.

VLJ's are considered a new category of plane because they are all powered by a newly developed, small power plant. The new turbofans produce 700 to 1700 pounds of thrust and weigh 100 to 200 pounds. These engines were developed in response to NASA's General Aviation Propulsion Program (GAP) program. GAP ran from 1996 until 2002 and promised to deliver an array of vastly improved performance-to-price ratio General Aviation engines.

NASA and Williams International participated in the turbine portion of the GAP cooperative agreement and developed the FJX-2 turbofan. This prototype engine weighed 85 pounds and ultimately produced over 700 pounds of thrust with a thrust-to weight ratio over 8.2, the highest in commercial turbofan history! The FJX-2 engine program inspired the development of the GE/ Honda HF118, Pratt & Whitney Canada PW615F, and Williams International FJ33-4 which are the production models for the Microjets.

The aircraft are in various stages of construction. Adam Aircraft Industries A700, Cessna Mustang, Eclipse 500, Honda Jet and others are at the starting line. Which manufacturers will win the high-stakes race?

What about our future vacations and business travel? Will we be comfortable in these small Microjets? Will our kids miss running up and down the aisles and harassing the flight attendants? Will our spouses complain about the size of the bathroom? Stay tuned!
Freight Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-09-2006, 08:12 PM   #2  
APC co-founder
Thread Starter
 
Freight Dog's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Feb 2005
Position: 747-400 captain
Posts: 1,380
Default

thread bump
Freight Dog is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2006, 08:13 AM   #3  
Gets Weekends Off
 
daytonaflyer's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Position: Jump
Posts: 273
Default

Yeah, I've been interested in the very light jets (VLJ's) and the SATS program for about 4 years now. It'll be interesting to see how these airplanes perform in the real world. Unfortunately if they CAN offer competitive pricing and service to local airports, they may significantly hurt the airline business...Just what we need.
I guess we could all fly VLJ's, but what would the salary be for a captain of a 6 seater VLJ; around $30,000? Maybe $10/hr for FO's?
daytonaflyer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-13-2006, 04:46 PM   #4  
Gets Weekends Off
 
FuelJetA's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Posts: 117
Default

I don't see VLJs as a very positive development and I could be wrong, but I think it will prove to be a niche market. I say this b/c they may go high and go fast but as far as useful load, they leave something to be desired. You get bags or range, but not both. The VLJ market in my opinion will be an owner flown market plagued with drama. As far as 135 VLJs...I think the people who can afford to charter one would prefer to go first class on something big or charter a real jet (like a Beech 400 with a proven safety record.) Also, the VLJ market scares me a bit in terms of support including build quality. I saw 505EA which is an Eclipse Prototype. I think it inspires the wannabe jet pilot more than those who know what it's all about. I was VERY unimpressed with the build quality. It sort of looked home built (not a good way.)

Call me a doubter...but I doubt it.
FuelJetA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 04:55 AM   #5  
Gets Weekends Off
 
FuelJetA's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Posts: 117
Default

Nobody? I thought this would be a hot topic!
FuelJetA is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 06:57 AM   #6  
Self Employed.
 
SkyHigh's Avatar
 
Joined APC: May 2005
Position: Self-employed, C-150 CA
Posts: 7,105
Default Eclipse

The Eclipse is kind of weak but some of the others look like formidable vehicles. I think that some of the aim is to entice owner/pilots, but I don't insurance companies will allow it.

Hopefully they will be certified as single pilot. A company might be more willing to pay a livable wage if they are only paying for one pilot. If that pilot were also an A&P then maybe it could be a great job.

The LVJ's might provide a new job source for all the furloughed or unemployed jet pilots that are out there. I know that I sure hope so.

SkyHigh
SkyHigh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 08:07 AM   #7  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Pilotpip's Avatar
 
Joined APC: Jun 2005
Position: Retired
Posts: 2,925
Default

Insurance minimums for something like a cessna 340 are extremely high. A customer at our flight school purchased one, spent a ton of money on the avionics, and ended up with a really nice aircraft. He needed to log 150 hours dual in it, as well as going to a systems course like flight safety offers. I can't even begin to imagine what the VLJ insurance mins are going to be like.

Also, there are already a number of single-pilot aircraft out there that already fill this mission. CJ's, the Raytheon Premere, and I would even argue that a King Air 200 can be considered (range alone makes it faster than some of these VLJs in a long flight). In four years fueling at an FBO I have rarely seen any of these aircraft without two people in the front. It's often cheaper to pay some timebuilder 30k per year than it is to insure for single pilot ops.
Pilotpip is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 08:10 AM   #8  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Oct 2005
Position: EMB135BJ SIC
Posts: 205
Default

A lot of furloughed and unemployed jet pilots have/will find jobs outside aviation. I would bet this would be a smaller but prevelant market similar to corporate and fractionals today.

It is a cheap means for a pilot/owner to get jet performance at an affordable price. Notice that before the eclipse, mustang, and other VLJ's a "cheap" jet could not be had for $3mil. and definitly not factory new as these will be. Though small, this will be a family/business personal transport aircraft.

How are people that currently buy first class tickets going to weigh the security ease with the cramped cabin, slower (cruise speed), less range, no bathroom, and limited inflight services. If anybody has been inside a early series lear, there isnt a whole lot of room for sprawling out. The biggest benefit will be direct flights to and from small non-serviced (or connecting service) airports.

It seems good in theory but for the money, I'll take off my shoes to enjoy the first class service on the struggling airlines if they take the same route.
U-I pilot is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #9  
Gets Weekends Off
 
Joined APC: Mar 2005
Posts: 1,559
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Pilotpip
Insurance minimums for something like a cessna 340 are extremely high. A customer at our flight school purchased one, spent a ton of money on the avionics, and ended up with a really nice aircraft. He needed to log 150 hours dual in it, as well as going to a systems course like flight safety offers. I can't even begin to imagine what the VLJ insurance mins are going to be like.

Also, there are already a number of single-pilot aircraft out there that already fill this mission. CJ's, the Raytheon Premere, and I would even argue that a King Air 200 can be considered (range alone makes it faster than some of these VLJs in a long flight). In four years fueling at an FBO I have rarely seen any of these aircraft without two people in the front. It's often cheaper to pay some timebuilder 30k per year than it is to insure for single pilot ops.
I read an article on the status of most of the VLJs, and I think most will require some type of training just to purchase the jet- although I guess you could always purchase one used in a few years and get around that, I do think insurance companies will require a bit of training and quite a bit of dual logged.
I guess I have mixed feelings. I do think there will be a new nitch out there for pilots with jet time flying these, but you might also have a bunch of people with more bucks than brains running out and getting these things, then tooling around in them when they shouldn't be. We shall see.
Blackhawk is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-16-2006, 08:16 PM   #10  
ubermich
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default

i don't see what the market is other than changing the 100 dollar hamburger into the million dollar hamburger. Can you fly one with ski equipment to tahoe or aspen? i guess you might end up seeing some corporate guys with some if the have a destination that they frequently have to visit, but that market is already there. The range isn't good enough on them for the average vacationer to bother. They might hurt the airline industry a little, but not anymore than the pain in the ass security has.
  Reply With Quote
 
 
 

 
Reply
 



Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On


Related Topics
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
FedEx Coporate Jets ryane946 Cargo 10 07-13-2010 06:46 PM
MD-11/10 Safety Article Nitefrater Cargo 70 03-26-2009 05:24 PM
Net Jets Aircraft ryane946 Fractional 5 06-08-2006 10:29 AM
Net Jets info... JetPilot01 Fractional 18 03-21-2006 01:27 PM
Jets' near-miss prompts rule rethink Lori Clark Major 1 03-25-2005 12:22 AM


All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:46 PM.


vBulletin® v3.9.3.5, Copyright ©2000-2019, MH Sub I, LLC dba vBulletin
User Alert System provided by Advanced User Tagging v3.3.0 (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2019 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Website Copyright 2000 - 2017 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands

Search Engine Optimization by vBSEO 3.6.1