The market for very light jets (VLJs) will be worth $2.52 billion over the next five years, according to a new study by UK-based consultants PMI Media. The report’s author, Philip Butterworth-Hayes, expects six VLJs will make it into service: the Adam Aircraft A700, Cessna Citation Mustang (the first of the breed to receive FAA certification), Diamond D-Jet, Eclipse 500, Embraer Phenom 100 and HondaJet.
While business aircraft are one of the most important tools of investment bankers and venture capitalists, investing in new aircraft designs doesn’t appear to be on their radar this year. According to a report issued last month by the National Venture Capital Association (NVCA), investors plan to increase their funding pools by about 10 percent over last year.
The last time used-jet offerings reachedthe current level, the number of aircraft on the market was on an ascent, whereas this time around the market continues a three-year trend toward lower ground, solidifying pricing as the trajectory dips further. It has been nearly five years since the pre-owned jet inventory held fewer than 1,600 aircraft for sale, and the reduction comes amid an ever-increasing fleet of aircraft.
Cessna’s Citation Mustang on September 8 became the first very light jet to be fully FAA type certified. Its P&WC PW615F engine was FAA certified on the same day. See page 20 for a program update and page 58 for the first pilot report since the Mustang got its papers.
The dawn of the very light jet (VLJ) is nearly upon us, with the first, the Eclipse 500, set to receive FAA certification in June. Hot on the heels of the Eclipse VLJ is Cessna’s Citation Mustang and 10 other potential competitors.
According to Cessna Citation Encore+ program manager Lynn Young, the program is on track to reach FAA certification in the third quarter. An Encore+ prototype that has been fitted with one of the FADEC-equipped Pratt & Whitney Canada PW535B turbofans has been flying since February, logging 40 hours over 20 flights at press time.
Cessna Citation 560 Ultra, Upland, Calif., June 24, 2006–The pilot of the Aero Charter Services Citation Ultra canceled his IFR clearance when he saw Cable Airport (CCB), his destination, and crashed while landing on Runway 24. The airplane went straight down the runway and stopped about 200 yards beyond the end. It hit trees and rough, uneven ground and came to rest upright, on a heading of 145 degrees.
Cessna CitationJet 525, Old Bridge, N.J., July 17, 2005–The NTSB blamed the crash of the Cessna CitationJet on the pilot’s improper preflight planning, which resulted in an overweight landing.
Cessna began function and reliability (F&R) flight-testing on the Citation Mustang early last month, the last step before gaining type certification from the FAA, a goal now clearly in sight. EASA approval is expected in the second quarter next year.
It’s going to be a photo finish between the Eclipse 500 and Cessna Citation Mustang in the race for full FAA type certification (TC). Yesterday, Cessna completed the 150-hour function and reliability testing, the last major hurdle before TC.