Today’s new private jet aircraft offer the very latest in-flight deck technologies to enhance safety and reduce pilot workloads, while efficiency advancements in airframe design deliver higher cruise speeds resulting in longer distances between city pairs. All of this aerospace engineering produces exceptional performance; however, the real reason anyone buys in this market segment is so those who relax in the luxury of today’s private-jet cabins can enjoy an air-travel experience as good as it has ever been. We’ll look at a selection of the top makes and models of private jets available today—keeping in mind the wide range available.
Honda Motor Company founder Soichiro Honda has said, “We aim for 120 percent product quality because if 99 percent of the products we make are perfect, the customers who become the owners of the remaining 1 percent will surely consider their products 100 percent defective.” That core company philosophy is demonstrated exquisitely with the HondaJet Elite, a superbly constructed private jet from a company that has been known to produce human-mobility products that have defined what “dependable” can mean.
Two examples of leading-edge engineering that are evident throughout the HondaJet Elite are the over-the-wing engine mount, which moves the noise from the two GE Honda HF120 engines away from the cabin, and the natural-laminar-flow wing and fuselage nose that reduce drag. This combination produces a maximum cruise speed of 422 ktas, and the full Garmin G3000 avionics system plus high-end seating for up to eight people with a private lavatory makes the Elite a top choice for many buyers.
If versatility is near the top of your mission wish list for a new private jet, the Pilatus PC-24—”the Super Versatile Jet”—will certainly check off that box. The PC-24 delivers the expected Swiss-made quality, and that high level of workmanship is evident in their jet offering. The PC-24′s cabin envisioned by BMW Designworks features quick-change reconfiguration of the interior for different missions, and the large aft cargo door allows loading of larger objects. Add in the PC-24′s single-pilot-certified advanced cockpit environment for operations on unpaved grass or gravel runways, and you have an aircraft that carries the Pilatus name proudly.
The Vision Jet G2 from Cirrus is a wise choice for many owner-pilots moving up from light twins or high-performance single-engine aircraft. The Vision Jet’s modular seating can easily be adjusted or removed to create 28 different cabin configurations, while the Cirrus Perspective Touch panel by Garmin creates a flight-deck experience overflowing with the kind of innovation that has propelled the maker to be a leader in the single-engine piston space. The now-certified Safe Return emergency landing system—based on Garmin’s Autoland—locates the nearest suitable airport for landing, and the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System contributes to the same high level of safety found on Cirrus’ piston models.
A pair of refined jets from Embraer are solid players in the light-jet space. Embraer’s entry-level Phenom 100EV delivers flight-deck and cabin amenities usually found on much larger jets, making the model a smart choice as a first owner-flown jet. The elegant cabin features a fully enclosed rear lavatory, while the flight deck rewards the pilot with an ingenious touch-controlled system based on Garmin’s G3000 avionics suite.
Embraer’s Phenom 300E takes all the innovation found in the 100EV to the next level, delivering Mach 0.80 speed and the advanced Prodigy flight deck with FAA data communications and other features typically found on the flight decks of larger business jets. A generous airstair leads passengers to a well-appointed cabin that includes the Lufthansa Technik Nice HD cabin-control system. Embraer’s optional Bossa Nova-edition interior won best interior design at the 2019 International Yacht & Aviation Awards in Venice, Italy.
It is almost easy to overlook the incredible performance from Gulfstream’s G500 as you become lost in the cabin of this clean-sheet business jet. Divided into three living sections to sleep up to eight or seat up to 19 people, the G500 cabin presents the exquisite quality of materials you expect when buying a Gulfstream. The 14 windows and a low cabin altitude in cruise produce a peaceful environment to arrive alert. Up front, the G500′s Symmetry Flight Deck features 10 touchscreen displays to enhance operational efficiency as this Gulfstream cruises at up to Mach 0.90.
Check out more: 2020 Flying Buyer’s Guide
Gulfstream’s G600 is a step up from the G500, with longer range and a maximum operating Mach speed of 0.925, a number that has earned the G600 at least 22 world speed records so far. Pilots fly with reduced workload behind the Symmetry Flight Deck as an enhanced flight-vision system allows authorized pilots to land without natural vision in low-visibility conditions. Inside a spacious cabin awaits an interior as good as it gets with award-winning seats, while fine leathers and elegant textiles complete the cabin that sleeps up to nine and can seat up to 19.
Cessna launched its highly successful Citation series of business jets in 1972, and the family has evolved over the years to include two exceptional jets available today: the Citation Latitude and Citation Longitude. Now produced by Textron Aviation, the Latitude offers a well-appointed cabin with a flat floor and 6 feet of headroom to create a larger-jet feel, and touchscreen Garmin G5000 avionics on the flight deck and efficient Pratt & Whitney PW306D1 engines offer plenty of performance to carry up to nine extremely pleased passengers.
Textron’s Citation Longitude is the new super-midsize offering in the Citation family, having just received FAA type certification in 2019. The company’s engineers have built just about everything owners and pilots love about modern business jets into the Longitude, including a highly customizable layout with low cabin altitudes at cruise and a state-of-the-art airframe design that allows the Longitude’s two Honeywell HTF7350 engines to achieve 483 kias maximum cruise speed. The Longitude delivers a quiet ride through “best-in-class” soundproofing, in a cabin enhanced by an advanced wireless cabin-management system that lets passengers control everything from window shades to cabin temperatures from their mobile device.
In the long-range, large-cabin business-jet market segment, it is hard to beat the combination of performance and passenger comfort built into Dassault’s Falcon 7X and 8X. Both models feature the line’s signature tri-jet-engine configuration, providing vastly increased performance for high-and-hot conditions or operations in and out of smaller airports. The flight deck of the 7X draws on the military lineage of Dassault’s Rafale and Mirage 2000 programs by offering a digital flight-control system, providing small-jet agility married to an airframe/engine package that gives owners superb long-range capability of an up to 5,950-nautical-mile range. However, when it comes time to land, the 7X approaches at a standard VREF of just 104 knots and can be stopped in 2,070 feet.
Dassault Aviation’s top-of-the-line Falcon 8X delivers more cabin space and range than the 7X, with the same advanced digital flight-control system as the 7X and a panel featuring the Easy flight deck, which Dassault called “the most intuitive man-machine interface in an airplane.” A complete redesign of all major structures and systems went into the 8X, resulting in a new internal wing architecture that provides more room for fuel without reducing passenger space. The three powerful Pratt & Whitney PW307D engines shorten transcontinental routes, making nonstop trips such as from Colorado’s Eagle County Regional Airport—with an elevation of 6,547 feet—to Geneva a reality.
There are many reasons Bombardier’s Challenger 350 has become a top choice of corporate flight departments and charter operators worldwide. This popular super-midsize jet offers a flat-floor cabin design loaded with every environmental and entertainment comfort feature passengers expect. For the Challenger 350 owner, features such as longer maintenance intervals, low parts cost and outstanding dispatch reliability make this a smart choice when return on investment is a critical mission consideration.
Bombardier’s new Learjet 75 Liberty redefines the iconic Learjet brand with a Part 25-certified light jet that gives owners the expected combination of standard features, exhilarating performance and enhanced safety that has allowed the Learjet to endure for decades. The Vision flight deck with a synthetic-vision system is based on the Garmin G5000 avionics suite for reduced pilot workload, and seating for six with plenty of legroom in two suites plus optional high-speed internet connectivity and an enclosed lavatory will draw the attention of buyers in this market segment.
This story appeared in the November 2020, Buyers Guide issue of Flying Magazine