Inside one of the world's cheapest and most efficient private jets
While there's nothing affordable about flying private, there are services and aircraft types that are less expensive than others. For instance, you can save by flying semiprivate and sharing jets with strangers.
One of the cheapest private jets on the market today is the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet. The base model starts at about $2 million and operating costs are relatively reasonable given its light weight and that it can be flown with just one pilot.
Verijet, a charter company that exclusively flies the Cirrus Vision Jet, recently invited TPG for an inside look at the plane at its new Northeast base in White Plains, New York. Here's what you need to know about the plane.
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The Vision Jet can be easily spotted by its V-shaped tail, which reduces noise and provides a smoother ride.
There's also just a single engine that sits atop the main body of the plane.
The single-engine design allows the plane to burn a quarter of the fuel of a similar light jet, meaning lower costs and less carbon emission. It also allows the plane to land in smaller airports that might not be accessible with bigger jets.
Related: This company wants to make small-group private jet travel more efficient
Inside, the cabin almost feels like a luxurious SUV. It's 5.1 feet wide and 4.1 feet tall and offers seating for up to five adults (including the pilot) and two children spread across three rows. All seats are forward-facing, so there's no playing footsie with other passengers.
The seats in the second row have ample legroom and a generous recline. All seats offer easy access to built-in USB ports, power outlets, cup holders, overhead lights and air vents.
Similar to an SUV, there's no bathroom or galley on board. However, there is a 22-inch entertainment screen that drops down from the ceiling. It can be used for working or watching movies, but AvGeeks will likely prefer to entertain themselves with the massive windows. The windows don't have shades but are UV tinted.
More importantly, the plane offers a slew of unique safety features. With the Safe Return system, the plane can land itself at the nearest airport with the press of a button. If things go really wrong, there's also a parachute, designed to bear the weight of the entire aircraft, that can be deployed by pulling a red lever on the ceiling. Other features include an infrared camera for increased awareness when flying at night and in bad weather.
Related: Honda wants to build the first transcontinental light jet — and it’ll only need 1 pilot
The plane has a maximum range of 1,275 nautical miles, but averages around 950 miles. That's enough to fly between city pairs like New York and Chicago, Boston and Atlanta, and Phoenix and Dallas. It cruises around 350 miles per hour and has a maximum altitude of 31,000 feet, allowing it to fly above bad weather. These specs are slightly below the HondaJet, but that plane costs roughly twice as much.
Verijet offers flights on this plane at a simple flat rate of $3,250 per hour, including fuel. It has bases in Florida, California and New York and doesn't charge repositioning fees within its service areas. The company stands out for making all flights 100% carbon-neutral at no extra cost.
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