Many pilots enjoy talking about fuel economy because it is among the factors in aviation over which we have some degree of control. Carefully adjusting power settings and other elements of our flight profiles can cut fuel expenses significantly.
It also pays to consider fuel consumption when buying an aircraft. Like cars, some airplanes seem to sip fuel while others guzzle. More so than with cars, though, finding an airplane with a minimal appetite for fuel often comes with compromises that affect your mission or even scuttle it altogether.
Using information from operating handbooks, manufacturers’ data, pilot reports and industry analysts, including Conklin & de Decker and others, we compiled the following list of light jets and their fuel economy in nautical miles per gallon.
Cirrus SF50: 6.0 nmpg
It took a while to certificate the unusual Cirrus single-engine jet, but many feel the wait was worth it in order to have a jet that nearly doubles the fuel economy of some turboprops.
HondaJet HA-420: 4.2 nmpg
Honda definitely brought some of its economy-car experience to the jet market. Its HA-420 is among the fastest light jets but manages to keep the fuel burn reasonable.
Embraer Phenom 100: 4.0 nmpg
Embraer’s decades of experience building economical military trainers and regional jets translated well to its Phenom series, which set a high bar in the small-jet category.