Villiers Guide to Private Aircraft
It can be confusing knowing which private jet is best suited to the journey you might have in mind. With so many different categories of aircraft, and several highly respected manufacturers, you might be wondering where the differences lie and how the various aircraft perform relative to one another.
We thought that it might be helpful to provide a basic guide to the differing categories of private jet, and equally to the aircraft within those categories, in order to clear up any confusion!
We hasten to add that each aircraft on the market will have its individual strengths, and the below is merely a guide based on our own humble opinion…
Very Light Jets
Nimble, cost effective, and ideal for short hops and flights of up to 2 hours, very light jets (VLJ’s) are the most recent classification of private jet and are able to land on short runways and comfortably carry 4-5 passengers.
|Citation Mustang||Embraer Phenom 100||Honda Hondajet|
|Speed||483mph/ 777kph||449mph/ 722kph||483mph/ 778kmh|
Our vote for best VLJ narrowly goes to the Phenom 100, which compared with what in our view are its closest competitors, the Cessna Citation Mustang and the new Hondajet, has the better package of range, efficiency, and take-off weight.
The competition heats up in the Light Jet category, with a number of manufacturers staking a solid claim, including Bombardier, Cessna, Embraer and Hawker Beechcraft. Light jets are fast, efficient, and are able to access a far greater number of local airports than Medium to Super Midsize business jets, and are ideal for flights of up to 4 hours.
|Embraer Phenom 300||Citation CJ4||Learjet 45XR||Hawker 400XPR|
|Speed||521mph/ 839kph||519mph/ 835kph||533mph/ 858kph||539mph/ 866kph|
In the light jet category, we feel that the Bombardier Learjet 45XR just has the edge over the Cessna Citation CJ4, thanks largely to its improved take-off weight, comparable speed, and aesthetic design.
Medium or Midsize jets are the workhorse of the business jet world, suitable for longer range flights usually of up to five hours, or for shorter flights with higher passenger numbers. There are a number of aircraft competing in this category, all of which are excellent, including:
|Embraer Legacy 600||Hawker 850XP||Learjet 85||Gulfstream G280||Citation Sovereign|
|Speed||518mph/ 834kph||515mph/ 829kph||541mph/ 871kph||528mph/ 850kph||529mph/ 852kph|
In our humble opinion, despite having a slightly lower passenger capacity than some of its competitors, the Gulfstream G280 wins the crown for Midsize Jets, with fantastic range and fuel efficiency as well as a healthy take-off weight.
Super Midsize Jets
Once you are in to Super Midsize jets, you tend to gain many of the advantages of Large Cabin and Global Jets in terms of range but at a more competitive price and in most cases with a lesser capacity in terms of passenger numbers. These aircraft are great for flights of six to eight hours and have short intercontinental range. Included within this category are:
|Gulfsream G450||Challenger 605||Hawker 4000||Falcon 2000LX||Citation X|
|Speed||561mph/ 903kph||542mph/ 872kph||554mph/ 891kph||530mph/ 852kph||604mph/ 972kph|
Whilst we can highly recommend any of these aircraft, in our view the Gulfstream 450 is without doubt the vehicle of choice in this category. With a superb range, incredible speed, and large cabin, we just cant find it in ourselves to look beyond this exceptional aircraft.
Large Cabin / Global Jets
Leaving aside converted and privately owned commercial airliners, Large Cabin / Global Jets are the ultimate in private aviation and offer the greatest range, comfort and capacity to businesses or individuals. These aircraft are fully intercontinental, offer full sleeping arrangements, have galleys as standard, and are quite simply the only way to fly if you are looking for the best.
|Global 6000||Falcon 7X||Gulfstream 650|
|Speed||590mph/ 950kph||559mph/ 900kph||562mph/ 904kph|
How can you choose between these three extraordinary aircraft? Each offer the maximum in creature comforts, and wherever you are heading your arrival is bound to turn heads. Thanks to its truly remarkable range however, we feel the Gulfstream G650 just pips its competitors to the post. We should add that the advent of the Global 7000 next year, with its improved range and speed, may well in our view tilt the balance back towards Bombardier.
*In all of the above the capacity displayed is maximum capacity in a high density configuration. Speed is maximum speed under optimum conditions, as is range.