Spaerleeonsolent170122 Img 6770 Resize

The Best Small Private Jets: Short on Takeoff, Long on Appeal

Share this:

The best small private jets are a combination of impressive short field performance, lower operating costs, and comfortable interiors.  One or two occasionally drop in at our local airfield, Solent Airport.  They are guaranteed to turn heads and grab attention from other aviators and aviation enthusiasts alike. 

When it comes to private aviation, the allure of small private jets is undeniable. Offering a blend of luxury, efficiency, and cutting-edge technology, these jets are the epitome of modern air travel, though they by no means have the monopoly.  They need to be excellent to lure operators away from their turboprop rivals. 

What Makes a Jet “Small”?

When it comes to aircraft, the term “small” when referring to jets isn’t just about physical size. It encompasses a range of factors including capacity, range, weight, and intended use. 

1. Maximum Takeoff Weight (MTOW): The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and other international aviation authorities often categorize aircraft based on their MTOW. Small jets typically have a MTOW less than 20,000 pounds.

2. Passenger Capacity: As you can probably guess, small jets are designed to carry fewer passengers than their bigger siblings. They typically accommodate between 5 to 8 passengers, although some can carry up to 10 or 12, especially in denser configurations.

3. Range: Small jets are optimized for shorter to medium-haul flights. Their range can vary from 1,000 to 3,000 nautical miles (nm), making them ideal for domestic flights or inter-country flights in regions like Europe.

4. Cabin Size: Many small jets boast surprisingly spacious cabins. The cabin height might require passengers to duck slightly, and the general feel once settled inside is that it’s cozy, not spacious.

5. Runway Requirements: One of the advantages of small jets is their ability to operate out of shorter runways. This allows them access to smaller, regional airports.  Some can even land on grass airstrips as long as the ground is firm enough. 

6. Single Pilot Operation: With compact glass cockpits, some small jets are legally certified to be flown by a single pilot.  This means that some owners operate a single-pilot business jet, in which the pilot is a business associate or they fly it themselves. 

7. Purpose and Design: Small jets are often designed with specific purposes in mind, such as business travel, medical evacuations, or transporting small groups. Their design emphasizes efficiency, flexibility, and convenience.

8. Cost: Small jets are more affordable than their larger counterparts, both in terms of acquisition and operational costs, and that means cheaper flights for air charters of any kind.  Neverthe

9. Engine Configuration: While not exclusive to small jets, many in this category, especially Very Light Jets (VLJs), might have just the one engine. 

10. Amenities: The small cabin size means there are fewer amenities aboard. While they prioritize comfort, features like full galleys or stand-up cabins require the amount of space that only larger jets can provide.   

In essence, while the term “small” might imply limitations, small jets are marvels of modern engineering, offering a blend of efficiency, convenience, and luxury. They cater to a niche in the aviation market, serving those who value time and flexibility without the need for the extended range and amenities of larger jets.

Save hours of time.

Ensure your time and money is well spent by comparing over 250 jet card programs with one tool.

Cirrus SF-50 Vision Jet: Cirrus Airframe Parachute System

The Cirrus SF-50 Vision Jet is a single-engine, very light jet designed and produced by Cirrus Aircraft. Launched in 2006, it was certified and entered service in 2016, becoming the first civilian single-engine jet to achieve this. The aircraft is recognized for its unique design, featuring the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS) which provides enhanced safety by allowing the entire plane to descend safely in emergency situations.

Best Small Private Jets - Cirrus Sf-50 Vision
By Ian Haskell. Cirrus SF-50 Vision at Solent Airport

Eclipse 550: The Evolution of the Eclipse 500

Building on the legacy of the Eclipse 500, the 550 offers an improved Pro Line 21 avionics suite and performance. This jet is designed for those who prioritize efficiency and comfort.  Like the Honda HA-420, this is one of the smallest private jet aircraft. However, production has now ceased so they will become a rare sight as the years pass.

Best Small Private Jets - Eclipse 500 At Solent Airport
By Ian Haskell.. Eclipse 500 At Solent Airport

HondaJet HA-420: A Unique Design in Aviation

The HondaJet HA-420 stands out with its over-the-wing engine mount design. This single-pilot jet is sleek and efficient, boasting a cruise speed that rivals many in its class. Its spacious cabin and advanced avionics make it a favorite among private jet owners.  It’s certainly an unmistakeable sights, and one of the smallest light jets.  

Hondajet Ha-420
By Sergey Ryabtsev

Embraer Phenom Series: Brazilian Excellence

Embraer, a renowned aircraft manufacturer, offers the Phenom 100 and 300 series. The Phenom 100EV is perfect for those looking for a light business jet with a spacious cabin. On the other hand, the Phenom 300 offers more range and cabin space, making it one of the best light jets in its class.

Embraer Phenom
By Ian Haskell. Embraer Phenom At Northolt

Cessna Citation Series: A Legacy of Performance

The Cessna Citation series, especially the M2, is known for its advanced avionics and improved performance. With a top speed that impresses and a cabin designed for luxury, it’s no wonder the Citation is a favorite in the private jet world.

Cessna Citation M2
By Alf van Beem – Own work, CC0

Learjet 70/75: The Modern Face of a Classic

The Learjet series by Bombardier continues to impress with the 70/75 models. These jets offer modern amenities, a spacious cabin, and performance that rivals much larger private jets.

Learjet 70/75
By Markus Eigenheer from Genève, Schweiz – G-ZHTH Learjet 75 LJ75 c/n 45-540 > BZE, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Pilatus PC-24: The Super Versatile Jet

The PC-24 is unique in its ability to land on both paved and unpaved runways. Its spacious cabin and advanced avionics make it a top choice for those looking for versatility in a private jet.

Pilatus Pc-24
By Stephan Widmer – 15.06.17_0326, CC BY-SA 2.0,

SyberJet SJ30: Speed and Range Defined

Known for its high speed and long range, the SJ30 is a marvel in the world of small private jets. Its cabin is designed for comfort, and its performance is unmatched in its category.

Syberjet Sj30
By Sergey Ryabtsev – Russian AviaPhoto Team

Diamond D-Jet: Single-Engine Efficiency

The D-Jet by Diamond Aircraft is a testament to the efficiency of single-engine jets. It’s ideal for shorter trips and offers a comfortable cabin for its passengers.

Diamond D-Jet
By RuthAS – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,

Stratos 714: The New Kid on the Block

The Stratos 714 aims to redefine the VLJ category with increased range and speed. The prototype first flew in 2016 but the current status is uncertain.

The bottom line is:

  • Small private jets offer a blend of luxury and efficiency.
  • The HondaJet HA-420 is known for its unique design.
  • Embraer’s Phenom series is a testament to Brazilian excellence in aviation.
  • The Eclipse 550 builds on the success of its predecessor.
  • Cessna’s Citation series continues to set the standard in private aviation.
  • Learjet’s modern models offer unparalleled luxury.
  • The Pilatus PC-24 is the epitome of versatility.
  • SyberJet’s SJ30 is all about speed and range.
  • Diamond’s D-Jet showcases the power of single-engine design.
  • The Stratos 714 is a promising new entrant in the VLJ category.

Whether you’re in the market for a jet or just fascinated by them, the world of small private jets is as dynamic as it is exciting. From sleek designs to powerful engines, these aircraft are truly the best in their class.

Ready for takeoff?

Efficient and luxurious travel during which your wants and needs are parmount.

Pilatus PC-12 vs Cessna Citation M2

The best private jet might not be what you expected, and would need to outclass the Pilatus PC-12, a common sight at many regional airfields. 

While the Pilatus PC-12 NGX is a turboprop aircraft with a longer range and the ability to carry more passengers, the Cessna Citation M2 is a jet aircraft with a faster cruise speed. The prices of both aircraft are quite similar, with the PC-12 NGX being slightly more expensive. The choice between the two would depend on specific needs such as speed, range, and passenger capacity.

Pilatus PC-12 NGX:

  • Manufacturer: Pilatus
  • Aircraft Type: PC-12 NGX
  • Base Aircraft Price (USD): $5,350,000
  • Max Cruise Speed (ktas): 290 knots
  • Max Range (nm): 1866 nautical miles
  • Useful Load (lbs): 3692 lbs
  • Total Seats: 8 (including cockpit)
  • Standard Cabin Seats: 6
  • Max Cabin Seats: 9
  • Flight Deck: Honeywell Primus Apex
  • Engine: PT6E-67XP with 1200 horsepower

Cessna Citation M2:

  • Manufacturer: Cessna Citation
  • Aircraft Type: M2
  • Base Aircraft Price (USD): $5,150,000
  • Max Cruise Speed (ktas): 404 knots
  • Max Range (nm): 1400 nautical miles
  • Useful Load (lbs): 3810 lbs
  • Total Seats: 8 (including cockpit)
  • Standard Cabin Seats: 6
  • Max Cabin Seats: 7
  • Flight Deck: Garmin G3000
  • Engine: FJ44-1AP-21 with a thrust of 1965 lbs

The Pleasures and Advantages of Traveling in Small and Very Light Jets

The world of aviation has seen a significant shift in recent years, with the rise of small private jets and very light jets (VLJs) taking center stage. These aircraft, often referred to as the “best small private jets in the world,” offer a unique blend of luxury, efficiency, and convenience, making them the preferred choice for many travelers. In this article, we delve deeper into the pleasures and advantages of traveling in these jets, especially for domestic flights in the USA and inter-country flights in Europe.

Why Small Private Jets are the Best for Business and Leisure

The smallest private jets and light jets are not just about luxury; they’re about maximizing time, efficiency, and the overall travel experience. For business travelers, time is money. The ability to hop onto a jet tailored for business, equipped with a spacious cabin, advanced avionics, and the amenities of a larger jet, is invaluable. These jets are designed with the business traveler in mind, often equipped with facilities to conduct meetings, workstations, and even satellite communication for uninterrupted work.

Moreover, the pleasure of traveling in a private aircraft, be it the sleek Cirrus Vision Jet or the powerful Cessna Citation CJ4, is unparalleled. The spacious cabins, often adorned with luxury fittings, ensure that travelers can relax and rejuvenate, arriving at their destination fresh and ready.

Domestic Flights in the USA: The Rise of Small Aircraft

In the vast expanse of the USA, domestic flights are a necessity. However, commercial airlines often don’t cater to the specific needs of travelers. Enter the world of private jets. With the ability to access smaller airports, these jets offer unparalleled convenience. No longer do travelers need to commute for hours to reach a major airport. With jets available for charter, one can easily book a flight from a nearby local airport, drastically reducing travel time.

Moreover, the rise of empty leg flights has made private jet travel more accessible. These are flights that are returning empty after dropping off passengers or heading to another location to pick up passengers. They’re often available at a fraction of the cost, making private jet travel affordable for many.

Europe: Country to Country in a Flash

Europe, with its close-knit countries, is the perfect playground for small private jets. Traveling from France to Germany or Spain to Italy is made effortless with these aircraft. The Embraer Phenom series, for instance, is a popular choice for such flights, offering both luxury and efficiency. The ability to bypass long customs and immigration queues, coupled with the convenience of choosing one’s schedule, makes private jet travel in Europe a preferred choice for many.

Moreover, the light jet market in Europe is booming. With aircraft companies constantly innovating and producing jets tailored for short-haul flights, travelers are spoilt for choice. The Honda HA-420 Hondajet, with its unique over-the-wing engine mount, is a testament to such innovation.

Helpful Tips for Prospective Small Jet Travelers

If you’re considering booking a private or semi-private flight, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Research: Look into the various jets available in the category you’re interested in. Whether it’s the luxury jets like the Learjet or the smaller Cirrus Vision SF50, knowing your options helps.
  • Cost: While private jet travel is often associated with luxury, options like empty leg flights can make it more affordable.
  • Amenities: Ensure the jet you’re booking offers the amenities you need. Whether it’s a lavatory, a spacious cockpit, or facilities to conduct business, your comfort is paramount.
  • Safety: Aircraft operators have to meet stringent safety standards.  Rest assured that you’re probably at more risk driving to the airfield than you are when using private jet charter.  

Best Small Private Jets: Conclusion

The world of small private jets and VLJs is dynamic and ever-evolving. With aircraft manufacturers pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, travelers are the ultimate beneficiaries. Whether it’s the sheer pleasure of flying in a jet with a luxurious cabin, the efficiency of bypassing major airports, or the convenience of setting one’s schedule, small private jet travel is here to stay.

Share this:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply