With very light jets (VLJs) expected to enter service by this time next year, turboprop singles are now meeting the contender face-to-face in the marketplace. It was bound to happen, given that the two different classes of airplane have similar range capabilities, cabin volume and acquisition costs.
Like the overall U.S. economy, the business aviation industry is still exceptionally strong, as reflected by the healthy number of new business aircraft in the works. There are now 31 business jets in development, in flight-test or certified within the last 12 months.
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.
Diamond’s Williams FJ33-powered D-Jet didn’t fly as planned in October, but the first flight appears to be right around the corner. According to Diamond North American president Peter Mauer, the proof-of-concept D-Jet (S/N 001) is nearing completion at Diamond’s London, Ontario facility and will roll out next month.
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.
The Diamond D-Jet (S/N 001) single-engine very light jet flew for the first time on April 18 from London International Airport in Ontario, Canada, home of Diamond’s North American division. The company said the one-hour six-minute flight “went according to plan, with the evaluation of 19 test points.” After takeoff at 5:08 p.m.
Following initial flight-testing in late April, the Diamond D-Jet single-engine very light jet resumed flight testing after installation of its data acquisition system and minor modifications to the engine inlet fairings. In a series of flight tests conducted in late June, the speed and altitude envelopes were progressively expanded from 170 knots and 12,000 feet to more than 280 knots and 25,000 feet.
Diamond has increased the price of the single-engine D-Jet from less than $1 million to $1.36 million, nudging the $1.5 million tag for the Eclipse 500 very light twinjet. The increase is due to the manufacturer’s including previously optional items as standard equipment. Diamond also announced a new option for the very light jet single: a BRS recovery parachute.
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