Which Are The World’s Fastest Private Jets Of All Time?
Anyone in business knows how true the old adage “time is money” is. So, it’s no wonder that when global business travel is needed, there is an increasing push for faster flying times.
High-flying business executives want not just more comfortable travel when they opt to fly by private jet, they also want to reach their destination in the fastest time possible to be as efficient with their time as possible.
That is one of the main reasons why private jet designers and manufacturers are now involved in an industry race to build private aircraft capable of flying at times which can rival their bigger commercial counterparts.
Demand is also being met with breakthroughs in technology which mean that privately-chartered aircraft now have the capabilities of reaching speeds once only possibly in larger jets.
Designers and technicians are always trying to come up with the next big thing in the private aviation industry. The challenge they face is to ensure they are not hampered by the restrictions on how fast a plane can go as a result of its weight.
Many jet designs have already managed to be hugely successful in creating aircraft which can compete on not only speed but also the cost of a journey.
Here are the speediest private aircraft in the world.
The current world champion
As the industry stands at the moment, there is no private aircraft in use which can surpass the speed capabilities of the Cessna Citation X+. While no private aircraft has yet broken the sound barrier, Cessna’s Citation X+ has come very close, with the capability to hit a fastest speed of Mach 0.935 or 1,154kph.
However, even the Cessna model would have a way to go to beat some of the fastest aircraft speeds after recorded. The aircraft which has recorded the fastest ever speeds while being manned by a human crew is NASA’s X-15 which reached incredible speeds of more than 7,408.8kph.
But that is still nothing compared to the fastest spaceship ever, which was the Parker Solar craft. The probe reached mind-boggling speeds of 692,019kph. That would certainly make business travel fast as it would be capable of flying from the US to Japan in less than 60 seconds.
In terms of commercial planes, the Tupolev TU-144 is credited with flying at the fastest times ever, having gone supersonic at 2,420.2kph.
Other super-speed ways of getting from A to B
Of course, taking a flight isn’t the only option for getting from one place to another at speed. If you wanted to take a car to get to your next business trip, the fastest option would be the Venom F5 model from Hennessey, which has recorded speeds of 484.4kph, or Mach 0.392 if you want to compare it in aviation terms. Of course, there would always be a risk of being stopped by traffic police. Meanwhile, the electric Roadster developed by Tesla is capable of similar speeds with its top speed recorded as Mach 0.325 or an estimated 402.3kph.
For train travel, China still can boast that it has the record with its Maglev, or magnetic levitation line, which connects the international airport in Shanghai to the Metro interchange. The Maglev is capable of reaching Mach 0.348 or 429.7kph. It may be rivalled by the Hyperloop, which is in development and which has achieved estimated speeds somewhere around the 0.377 mark, or 466.7kph.
Back to the air and while helicopter travel is generally thought to be best for short journeys rather than for speed, the Eurocopter X which is the world’s speediest helicopter is actually capable of 0.382 or 471.5kph.
To compare that to the world’s military might, the cruise missile which has recorded the fastest speeds is the BrahMos, which can be launched to reach Mach 7 speeds or 8,643.6kph. Meanwhile, it may be smaller, but in terms of weaponry, it is still mighty. Created by Remington Arms, the world’s speediest bullet can reach Mach 3.68 or 4,548kph.
How the world’s fastest private jet compares with its rivals
It’s clear that not even the Citation X+ could compare with the speed of a bullet or a cruise missile, but it can certainly compete with competitor speedy private jets. Here is how the Cessna Citation X+ measures up with its rivals.
Cessna Citation X+
Starting with the Citation X+, Cessna’s private jet was created by Kansas-headquartered Textron Aviation which was formed following a business merger in 2014. It has an impressive range of around 6,259.8km and it is capable of flying with a maximum load which can total 36,600lbs. But while these specs are undoubtedly awe-inspiring, they don’t come cheap. A Cessna if you bought it while new would cost in the region of $23m.
Another giant of the private aviation world, Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, operating under the General Dynamics umbrella has created a jet with the capability of reaching Mach 0.925, so it isn’t far away from the speed of the Cessna above. However, even though it is not quite as speedy, it is much more pricey. A Gulfstream would set you back in the region of $53m. However, it does have more than enough space for 18 people to travel, as well as a one person or two-person crew. It also has a bigger range as it is capable of travelling 9,200km.
Cessna Citation X
Coming in at third on the list is the Cessna Citation X+ predecessor, the Cessna Citation X. This is still a very speedy option with Mach 0.92 capabilities. It can comfortably fit 15 passengers, which needs to factor in two crew and can manage to travel a range of 5,686km. However because it has relatively high production costs, it still has costs similar to the more impressive Citation X+ model.
Dassault Falcon 7X
Moving onto France for the fourth jet here, the Falcon 7X is capable of hitting a Mach 0.9 speed. It can accommodate 15 people in total, which includes the two crew and has an extensive range of up to 11,019kph. However, this is the most costly aircraft on the list so far with an estimated price of $54m.
For those looking for the private jet with the biggest potential range, the Gulfstream G650 holds the answer with a travelling capability of 13,890km. The compromise here is that it is deliberately built with a bulky weight of some 10,300lbs. While this makes sure it can stay the distance for longer trips, it does mean that it can only fit in 10 people despite its size and heavy weight.
Bombardier Global 600
This craft, which is made by the Canadian firm Bombardier Aerospace, has the largest cabin space so far, making it the popular choice for larger business groups. In total, it can take 23 people, including a crew of four. It isn’t too far short in terms of speed when you look at its rivals as it can manage Mach 0.89. It also has a decent range of 11,112km. However being able to carry large passenger numbers also comes at a large price. This is among the priciest private aircraft currently on the market, it comes at a cost of $73m.
Dassault Falcon 2000LX
Another Falcon model from Dassault, the Falcon 2000LX is capable of reaching speeds in the range of Mach 0.85. It also has an impressive reach of up to 8797km. This model is also another option for those travelling with larger passenger numbers as it can fit 21 people in total, including a crew of two. To buy a 2000LX would cost in the region of $33m.
Dassault Falcon 900LX
The final Dassault jet here before finishing up the top ten with another from Cessna, the Dassault Falcon 900LX is very similar in speed and distance capabilities as its sister model the 2000LX. However, this is smaller when it comes to cabin space with the capabilities of journeying with 12 people, including two members of crew. Despite its smaller cabin size, it does not have a smaller price. It costs another $10m on top of the Falcon 2000LX costs as a result of higher build specifications and a higher load capability.
Cessna Citation Longitude
The final one on the list is another from Cessna. While it does not have the same speeds as Textron Aviation’s other Cessna models, the Citation Longitude is still capable of a Mach 0.84 top speed. It has a distance range which hits a maximum of 6,482km. It is one of the smaller jets in terms of cabin space, but it can still fit 10 passengers and two crew on board. This one costs in the region of $27m. For more information about the top speeds which private aircraft are capable of, take a look at this piece on the fastest commercial airliners in the world.
The speediest private planes from the 1980s until the present day
Of course, private jets needed time in development as well as time to evolve in order to reach the speeds they can today. While the demand for private aircraft and, therefore, the development of private aircraft really began in the 50s and 60s, it wasn’t until the 80s that private jet design started to develop at the pace necessary to create the jets we see today.
One of the early private aircraft was the Falcon 900 from Dassault which was first launched in 1984. The Falcon 900 is the earlier predecessor of the popular Falcon 2000 which came along eight years later and quickly won popularity among business passengers.
However, it wasn’t until 1995 that the private jet which made the next breakthrough in terms of how fast it could travel came along. While the Cessna Citation X was on designer drawing boards five years earlier, it wasn’t actually available for sale until 1995. Despite popularity among VIP and business travellers, Textron Aviation took the decision to stop producing the Cessna Citation X after making 338 units. The final Citation X came off the production line in 2018. However, its legacy definitely lives on as there are still estimated to be more than 300 Citation X’s still flying passengers around the globe.
Also in the 90s, Bombardier Aerospace started to create its Global Express jets. While the series was introduced to the market in 1993, it didn’t actually start flying passengers until three years later. It continued to develop its speedy Global Express 6000 and went on to introduce an improved model in 2006.
In the meantime, Dassault Aviation was not resting on previous successes. It unveiled its new Falcon 7X to the world in 2001 at the renowned industry showcase in Paris, although potential passengers had to wait until 2005 to take a flight on the new model.
At around the same time as Dassault was developing the 7X, General Dynamics was preparing to launch one of its most famous models, the Gulfstream 550 which was introduced in 2002. The Gulfstream 550 immediately won fans because of its wide range of 12,500km. It also didn’t compromise much on speed despite being built in a robust way to cover more ground as it could still reach top speeds of some Mach 0.85. However, Dassault continued to design and develop its Gulfstream models, coming up with the Gulfstream G650; its speediest private plane. The G650 is renowned for creating one of the most comfortable experience for its passengers. The G650 continues to enjoy widespread popularity, with more than 300 of the model manufactured and sold.
While the G650 was infiltrating the market as the then speediest private jet available, Textron Aviation was not resting on its laurels. The firm’s designers were hard at work on making the Cessna Citation X better. Simply named as the Citation X+, the newly-improved model burst onto the market as the fastest private aircraft on the planet back in 2012. The jet was commercially produced from 2013 onwards and, up until now, there are around 30 of these currently in operation. It remains, up until now, unrivalled when it comes to speed.
Gulfstream wasn’t to be outdone, however, and continued to improve its model range by revealing the G600 and the G500 after listing to passengers’ feedback that they would not only like to be able to travel faster, but that they would also like a bigger cabin space so that larger groups could travel together in comfort. The models continued to be improved with the G650 and the G650ER which promise lower flight costs as a result of improvements which have been made to the fuel efficiency of the craft, but they do come at higher initial investment costs.
Cessna continued to develop its own private jets in order to give passengers greater flexibility, with its new Cessna Citation Longitude being developed and then launched to the public in 2012. The inaugural flight for this model was in 2016.
How development of private jets was accelerated
Just as at one time, the idea of flying hundreds, if not thousands, of miles in a hunk of metal with wings would have seemed like an impossible dream, the thought of one-day being able to travel in a private jet at one point seemed pie in the sky.
When the private aviation industry was in its infancy, there did not seem to be enough demand to sustain it and the speed of development in terms of technology was painfully slow. At one point, it seemed that the private jet dream simply would not get off the ground.
However, it was really the advancement in military aircraft technology which led to the push needed for private aircraft in the early days. At first, the early private aircraft really resembled military aircraft, with the Learjet 23 widely considered to be the very first private aircraft. Others including the North American Sabreliner and the Lockheed Jetstar has taken to the skies in earlier years. However, boasting a top speed of 903kph and able to reach distances of 2945km, the Learjet 23, which was launched in 1963, was a much more impressive option than anything which had come before. As a result of its popularity, Learjet is still a term often used for private air travel even if the jet in question is a completely different make and model.
It was with the introduction of the Learjet that business travel as we know it was completely redefined. However, the Learjet certainly wasn’t without its problems. The first prototype of the Learjet crashed after its engine failed. However, that early prototype went on to be developed into a successful private jet which was capable of carrying four passengers.
After Learjets failure turned to success, other aviation industry players started to want their own piece of the private jet market. Since then, private jets have come a long, long way, both in terms of design and use. As business continues to be played out on a global market, business leaders as well as A-listers and politicians need a way to get across the world quickly, more often and more conveniently. As a result, the development of private jets continues at a pace which could not have been imagined during the early days of private air travel.
Some of the biggest players in the private jet industry
All of these private jet designers and manufacturers have featured in the history of the private jet or the top 10 speediest jets. Let’s now take a look in more depth at some of the best known companies in the private jet industry.
In the 60s, Dassault Aviation decided it did not want to be outdone by the Learjet 23. Drawing on its military design background, Dassault came up with the Falcon 20 to carry up to 12 business passengers. It immediately gained popularity for its fast cruising speeds, as it was capable of reaching up to 417 knots as well as for its decent range meaning it could travel for 3,555km. While Dassault designed the Falcon 20 with the business passenger in mind it has also been used by rescue services including the US Coastguard and by FedEx to take long-distance packages to its clients.
After the Falcon 20 proved successful, Dassault decided not to go back to the drawing board but to build on what it had already done well, launching models including the 7X and the subsequent Falcon 10. This did not have the same capacity, but boasted faster speeds and greater distance capabilities.
The competition between the Falcon and the Learjet was part of the reason that private jet design advanced so quickly, with companies determined to outdo each other in terms of the speed and distance their jets could travel.
After the Falcon 10 was launched successfully onto the market, and into the skies, Dassault went on to introduce the Falcon 50 in the 70s. The Falcon 50 was really designed to meet customer requirements to be able to fly on trips from one side of the US coast to the other without the need for touching down. At the time, Dassault’s Falcon 50 was alone in being a private plane which could regularly take on this transoceanic task while still meeting safety requirements.
Dassault had improved on its earlier models by changing the design of the jet’s wings. It also flew with three engines which meant that the Falcon 50 could achieve an impressive travelling distance of 5,830km. The US stretches for some 4,313km, while travelling at a speed which topped 870km. But Dassault didn’t stop there. It went on to showcase an improved design of its Falcon 50 when it unveiled the new Falcon 50EX in the 90s which could travel at a Mach 0.75 maximum.
The French company continued to tinker with the design of its popular Falcon 50 in order to meet even further demands for more range as well as requests from passengers that they would like to be more comfortable on their journey. In response, Dassault came up with the Falcon 900 and also the Falcon 2000. These were built with a wider body along with increased ceiling heights for the cabin to give passengers more space and comfort, while the three engine design along with the already improved wings allowed passengers to fly around the world not only in more comfort, but also with greater speed and distance capabilities.
Dassault became renowned for the way it used computers to not only design but also to analyse existing designs and come up with improvements. This cutting-edge design process as well as the use of 3D design techniques enabled Dassault to create the Falcon 7X. This was the most advanced aircraft for private use that the company had come up with so far. It borrowed in its design from military craft and featured systems which made the flying process much easier for its pilots. It also broke new ground by being the very first business plan to use technology known as fly-by-wire which vastly improves the control a pilot has.
Moving onto another behemoth of the private jet industry, Gulfstream Aeropace. At one point, Gulfstream fell under the umbrella of the Grumman Aircraft Engineering Corporation, but decided to go its own way so it could put all its energies into the development of private jets at the time they were starting to become recognised as a viable idea back in the 50s. By the time the 60s came, the firm had launched its Gulfstream II in response to both its earlier rival the Learjet and also the developments at Dassault. Gulfstream’s offering took to the skies three short years after its rivals’ jets. The Gulfstream II was a twin-engine model which was capable of reaching a maximum speed of 935km. It could also manage a good range of 4876km. That meant that it overtook the Dassault Falcon 20 model in terms of how fast it could go, but also how far.
Buoyed by its success, Gulfstream pressed on with its designs and improvements and launched its Gulfstream III. At the time of its launch in 1979, the firm’s Gulfstream III proved itself to be a record breaker, breaking new ground as the earliest private aircraft to manage the flight over both the north and south pole. It was also faster than the Falcon 50 created by Dassault, as it could manage speeds of up to 1049.5km and also could manage a distance of 6925.8km.
This was followed up just two years later with the company’s Gulfstream IIB. This new, improved craft took on board the design of the firm’s Gulfstream II by using the basic wing and fuselage designs, albeit with improvements and modifications. The Gulfstream IIB could reach a speed of up to 926km as well as being capable of travelling for 6593km. It could carry a total of 14 people, including two crew members.
One of the private jets which has most captured the public imagination was to follow in 1987. The Gulfstream IV featured an impressive-looking cockpit entirely made from glass which not only gave it a distinctive design, but also increased visibility for pilots. The new jet could reach a speed of up to 926km just like the Gulfstream IIB. It could also carry a total of 15 people including two members of crew. A decade later the Gulfstream V and the new Gulfstream IV-SP hit the market to much acclaim. The Gulfstream V private jet featured powerful engines created by Rolls-Royce, which meant it could reach speeds up to 941km. This could carry more people in its cabin space, where there was room for 16 people on top of the two members of crew.
With the beginning of a new century, Gulfstream enjoyed even greater success. Two years after the new millennium, Gulfstream revealed that it had been concentrating on private jets which were capable of huge ranges in a bid to meet business demand to travel further. Both the G500 and the G550 were unveiled in 2002 as well as the G300, which was designed as a mid-range jet, and the G400 which was designed to cover a lot of ground. At the time, Gulfstream was not so caught up in going further that it forgot about the comfort of passengers. Gulfstream made aviation history again by becoming the very first private jet to be able to provide internet with ultra-fast speeds to its fliers. This was vital to business travellers who needed to work on their journey. Four years later, Gulfstream launched yet another new model, the G650 which features a much bigger cabin space to improve passenger comfort, as well as being able to travel for longer, and at a speed which could reach 1,142kph.
One of the biggest players in the private jet industry was a fairly late-comer to the market, launching its FanJet 500 at the end of the 60s. However, its innovative design captured a gap in the market as a result of a design featuring wings which were long and straight, meaning that the newly-launched Cessna model was able to touch down in airports much smaller than those used for commercial flights. It also kept fuel economy in mind by using turbofan engines, which is what inspired its name.
This design particularly came into its own where airports were smaller or where there was less space to land. Because it had a longer wingspan, it was also able to climb quicker to reach its desired altitude. It could also have a greater variability of angle when it came to making a landing. When there was a ban on providing fuel to the US as a result of the Arab-Israeli War in 1973, the FanJet500 gained even greater market share because it did not use as much fuel. This popularity came even though it could not go as fast or as far as its rivals. But, its consumers decided at the time that they had to prioritise fuel economy. Eventually, however, its business travellers decided that they needed to place the speed of travel and how far they could travel ahead of cost savings.
To continue to stay relevant within the market, Cessna unveiled its Citation 501/502 in 1976. This showed the company had listened to its customers, as the new aircraft was capable of reaching 643.7kmh as well as covering a distance of 2092km. Pilots praised the flight controls of the Citation 501/502 as they made control much easier. The cabin space was also improved, meaning the jet had the capability of carrying up to eight passengers.
This was followed up a year later with the 550 Citation II, which further increased capacity in terms of not only speed but also the number of people it could carry. The new model could travel at a speed of up to 708kmh as well as having a range of 2735.9km. A total of 11 passengers and crew were able to travel in comfort. Cessna then released its 650 Citation III in the early 80s, which could accommodate more people. This craft allowed 15 passengers to travel together with top speed capabilities of 853km. This was a craft which could also manage to take its passengers from coast to coast across the US.
In the mid-80s, its Citation S/II came on to the market. A variation of the 550 Citation II, this was followed up by another newly-improved version in 1989, the 560 Citation V, which was marketed at business travellers who preferred more space in the cabin, as well as being able to travel with more luggage. Modifications were made to improve the design of the aircraft’s wings as well as how the engine performed, with the results showcased when later incarnations of the earlier aircraft were launched as well as its 650 Citation VI and VII which were introduced in 1990.
However, Cessna made a real breakthrough into the market seven years later when it unveiled its 750 Citation X; a craft which was capable of flying 15 passengers and reaching top speeds which hit Mach 0.92. The new Cessna also featured an aesthetically-pleasing cockpit which was all glass as well as having improvements to its engines and also the design of its wings.
Whereas once, the Cessna was seen as the craft to take if you were looking to save money but didn’t mind compromising on speed, the Citation X meant that Cessna was able to turn its reputation around. Not only could the new jet compete on speed and distance but it was also more affordable than many of its rivals. Cessna went on to fly its Citation X+ which was its best business aircraft to date. The tail and wings had been improved to enable the Citation X+ to travel at speeds of up to 0.935. It also featured improvements to its avionics to make flying an easier experience for its pilots, and more room in the cabin to improve passenger comfort.
Bombardier entered the private jet race late in comparison to its rivals. It only unveiled its first jets in the 90s, although what it did reveal was a series which was able to make transatlantic flights. The Bombardier Challenger series became a serious rival to the likes of Dassault, Cessna and Gulfstream and it fast-tracked itself further into the market by purchasing Learjet. It went on to build on the earlier successes of Learjet with the launch of Learjet 70/75, which is capable of reaching Mach 0.8 as well as travelling a range of 3815km. Seven people are able to travel in comfort.
Bombardier then unveiled its Challenger 350, which can carry 10 passengers at speeds reaching Mach 0.83 and for a range of 5,926.4km. Later in the same year, 2014, its Challenger 650 was introduced which just had the edge on its predecessor, being able to get up to Mach 0.85. It could also travel a range of 7,408km. It could carry a further two passengers. Now, the Global 6000 can boast it is one of the manufacturer’s most popular jets, not least because it can take 16 passengers at once while traveling at up to Mach 0.89 for a range of 11,112km.
The fastest private aircraft in the world in more depth
We’ve already taken a quick look at the fastest private jets on the market. Now let’s look in more depth at each of the fastest models.
Cessna Citation X+
There’s no faster private aircraft in the world right now than the Cessna Citation X+, although that might soon change. It’s speed is the result of designs for its fuselage and wings which have been improved through the years, taking what worked with its predecessors and making the design even better. Engine performance is also better and improved flight controls enable pilots to fly in an easier, more efficient way.
The fuselage of the Citation X+ has been designed so that it is circular. Meanwhile, the nose design enables greater flexibility when it comes to choosing an angle for landing. While bird hits can be a problem for small planes, the windshield of the aircraft is heated electrically and the pilot can control the defogging mechanism from inside the plane, which means it is not so vulnerable if hit by a bird at speed. Meanwhile, both the tail and the wings of the Citation X+ are also heated to stop ice building up on the plane’s mechanisms. The wing design is a cutting-edge supercritical aerofoil which increases the speed possible, while the sweptback design of the wings also prevents drag while improving stability. All of that makes for a smoother, faster ride which is almost capable of reaching the speed of sound.
Plus, passenger comfort has definitely not been forgotten. Because the wings of the aircraft sit underneath the plane instead of going through the fuselage as in many other designs, passengers have more space. There’s also a large wingspan which means that the Cessna can climb quickly as well as being able to reach more impressive cruising speeds once it reaches the desired altitude. The design offers a stable flight as it controls moments where the plane may pitch. Meanwhile, the fly-by-wire system gives pilots improved control of the craft.
Cessna has always been famous for its fuel efficiency and, even though its newest model is super speedy, it doesn’t forget about costs. The engine system is smart enough to control the ignition and fuel mixture effectively and automatically so that it only uses the fuel it needs to. This optimizes the engine’s performance no matter what the different flying conditions.
The speedy Cessna Citation X+ gets its power from turbofan engines which are Rolls-Royce created. The AE3007C2 engines have improved technology and a better thrust when you compare them to the engines of the Cessna models which came before. All of this means that the aircraft can travel for 6408km without the need to refuel. The greater speed enjoyed by its Citation X+ can be put down to the lightness of the airplane when you compare to rivals made by Dassault or Gulfstream.
When it comes to the technology available to the pilot in the cockpit, improved avionics mean that the crew can immediately see what terrain they are flying over, what the weather is doing on the flight route and the other traffic in the sky. There is also a 3D screen to give a better perspective of terrain. If the crew is flying in poor light or through clouds, the X+ uses a sophisticated system called LinxUS Air Work which helps to flag up any problems, meaning the pilot can quickly make adjustments.
Of course, passengers don’t want to concern themselves about what is going on through in the cockpit. Their flying experience has been improved since earlier incarnations of the Cessna models through the use of more legroom between seats as well as the ability to stand up in the cabin to stretch, and better entertainment technology onboard. Vital to ensuring business travellers continue to fly with Cessna so they can work while on their journey, there is also the capability to use the internet to send email messages as well as making calls from the air. The Cessna travels at Mach 0.935, which is faster than any private jet on the market, so far, and can also save time for business flyers as it is capable of landing on shorter runways at smaller airports than other jets. All of this comes in at a cost of $23m.
Both of these Gulfstream models feature a number of design features, including supercritical aerofoil on the wings as well as a sweptback wing design to improve speed and to make flying a smoother experience. Both private jets also have a big wingspan which means they are quickly able to get up to their preferred altitude where they can reach cruising speed. The impressive wingspan also offers other benefits as the Gulfstream G600 and 500 have the capabilities to come down to land on shorter runways than commercial aircraft, which could enable business travellers to land closer to their final destination. Designers have used composite material not just in the fuselage but also in the wing in order to make sure the jet is not too heavy to fly at speed.
These craft are also designed with pilots in mind, featuring all-glass cabins for greater visibility when landing. Both jets are run on engines made by Rolls-Royce. Gulfstream has opted for the BR725 engine which is custom-made especially for the company’s jets. Just like the Cessna above, the G600 model features a flight control system using fly-by-wire technology which can be used manually by the pilot and when the autopilot switch is on. To further improve control for pilots, there is also an infrared camera to help the pilot see better when flying and landing in dim conditions or at night. The system makes flying easier for pilots through the use of avionics which means the pilot has the data needed in his or her forward vision while 3D imaging technology sets out the terrain, which is particularly useful when flying in cloud or poor light. All of this technology makes landing easier and safer.
It goes without saying that business travellers and VIPs travel by private jet not just because of convenience but also because of the personal service they receive. This is taken a step further by the cabin designers at Gulfstream who have come up with a system which can be changed around depending on whether a meeting needs to take place in the plane, or whether passengers are simply relaxing and enjoying the entertainment options. Passengers can also use their iPhone or Android smartphone to change the atmosphere in the cabin to improve their comfort and experience, operating lights, air-conditioning, the window blinds and the onboard entertainment. They can also keep an eye on where they are in the world and the estimated time to their destination. This comes at a cost of some $65m, which is almost triple the price of the Cessna.
Cessna Citation X
The earlier sister of the X+ is still impressive in its own right. The Citation X was a turning point for Cessna in terms of the designs showcased by Textrol Aviation. It also has a wing design with sweptback features as well as supercritical aerofoil to allow for greater speeds without any drag. The winglets included in the design mean that the Cessna Citation X can still perform at its best even when cruising at high altitudes or at high temperatures.
The Cessna Citation X takes its power from AE3007C engines designed by Rolls-Royce, although these were changed to Rolls-Royce’s AE307C2 for the newest incarnation, the Cessna Citation X+ to allow for further improvements to performance. Just as with the Cessna Citation X+, the earlier model utilizes a system known as FADEC which allows for cost savings as a result of greater fuel-efficiency. It also makes sure that the aircraft stays within what the engines can cope with while aiming for faster and further journeys.
The avionics suite available to the pilot is not as technologically advanced as the system in the X+ but it still boasts impressive features such as alerts and warnings when too close to the ground or when there is other traffic in the air. The crew uses an iPad in the cockpit so they can keep track of their distance, the approach they will make into the airport as well as traffic patterns. If they need to, they can also access the aircraft’s manuals by using their cockpit iPad.
For passengers, the cabin can be configured in a number of different ways. There is also vital Wi-Fi which can be used by passengers onboard so they can continue to speak to colleagues and clients even while they are in the air. The aircraft is also renowned for offering a smooth flight as it is able to quickly climb to the optimum altitude to minimize turbulence for its passengers. The Cessna Citation X is in the same price range as its successor, coming in at around $23m.
Dassault Falcon 7X
Just like the Cessna and the Gulfstream models above, the Falcon 7X utilizes an angled wing design to allow it to reach an optimum high altitude, and to reach higher speeds, but still enabling it to slow down to the correct speed for a safe landing. The aerodynamics of the aircraft are also further improved through the use of leading-edge slats along with Fowler flaps. The Dassault models using three engines to ensure that it can not only travel at speed, but that it can travel the distances required by its business clients. All of this is powered by a turbofan engine which offers good fuel efficiency as well as thrust capabilities.
This is another craft which offers its pilots fly-by-wire controls. Meanwhile, the jet takes inspiration from its military counterparts with a control which is akin to those seen in military planes. This allows the crew to easily control their direction of travel. Meanwhile, there is a flight control operating on a digital system to make sure the flight is as smooth as possible. This option would cost around $54m.
There are many similarities between the G65ER and the G600/500. All models use the same designs for both their fuselage and their wings, and they also have the same system to manage their cabin. Pilots also have the advantage of the control offered by its fly-by-wire system. While the earlier incarnation of this model, the G650 used BR725 engines from Rolls-Royce, the G650ER sticks with Rolls-Royce but uses BR725 A1-12 engines. The newer model also has a system of auto-throttle which helps pilots to cope no matter what the weather conditions and visibility.
The G650ER boasts plenty of top sec technology in its cockpit to make flying easier and safer for pilots and passengers. There’s advanced vision technology which means the flying experience is better during hours of darkness and poor visibility. The amount of work a pilot has to do during the flight is also reduced as a result of the HUD display he or she has access too. This is one of the lower cost private jets available, with a price tag of around $27m.
Bombardier Global 6000
To make sure it can compete with its rivals when it comes to the cost of fuel, the Global 6000 has been specifically manufactured with carbon fibre which is lightweight. Meanwhile, the design of both its wings and its fuselage give the craft impressive aerodynamics. Like its rivals above, the Bombardier Global 6000 has been created with wings are angled for better performance as well as supercritical aerofoil to reduce drag. Other notable elements are an angled T-shaped tail which helps to improve the stability of the Bombardier Global 6000 as it travels at fast speeds.
In the flight deck, pilots have a range of technology onboard, including a touch-screen display and a system which can flag up as well as isolating any problems which arise. It also has not one, but three systems which are used to manage the flight, including a warning which enables the avoidance of any other air traffic as well as emergency transmitter. Meanwhile, the cabin has been set up with the business traveller in mind, as an office in the sky. There is internet which is capable of high speeds in case passengers need to catch up on work as well as the Airshow SX system which provides entertainment if passengers are able to find a few moments of relaxation. The systems at their fingertips also allow passengers to control lights, temperature and other atmosphere variables, as well as being able to keep track of where their flight is on a map of the world. This is one of the priciest private aircraft on the market with an estimated price of $73m.
Moving from one of the priciest private jets to purchase to one of the more affordable, the G650 has a number of features which are designed to improve the stability of the flight and minimize turbulence for passengers. These include the kind of angled T-tail feature also utilized by rivals as well as winglets and other flaps which help to keep the Gulfstream G650 stable. The design of the wings, which sit below the fuselage mean that there is greater room in the cabin, so passengers can stand up and stretch.
There are also bird hit resistance measures including an electric windshield on the cockpit which is all glass. Other safety features include the PlaneView display which allows pilots greater visibility as well as providing flying date. The craft is powered by engines created by Rolls-Royce. In this case, the chosen engines are the BR710C4-11ss which have been designed with not only performance but also fuel economy in mind. Pilots also have a system offering enhanced vision at their fingertips in case they are flying in dim light or visibility is affected by the weather. Devices with cursor control have been designed by Gulfstream engineers to make sure that pilots can easily see all flight data needed.
There are also further improvements which were made in comparison with earlier models from Gulfstream, including 3D graphics for pilots, which is particularly useful for remaining aware of terrain even in poor, or zero-visibility if the craft is flying through poor weather conditions or clouds. For passengers, work can carry on as usual, just as if they were in the office, as the jet offers a range of communication devices and vital work tools including Wi-Fi, the ability to make phone calls and to print off important documents. It means that business people are able to keep up-to-speed with the latest information, which is vital if they are heading to a meeting straight after getting off the plane. This model would cost an estimated $27m.
Dassault Falcon 2000LX
Designed with a wider body than some rivals, the 2000LX has been designed to provide comfort for the eight passengers it can carry. While the Falcon 7X features a system using three engines, this model, the 2000LX used two PW308 engines which use the turbofan system for greater fuel efficiency. The wings of the plane have a design which is double-swept for better aerodynamics along with stabilizers designed to provide greater stability in the air as well as a smoother landing.
Many pilots particularly like flying the Dassault Falcon 2000LX because of the flight management system which is onboard in the cockpit. The technology means that crew members can easily create their navigation plan because they can track where they might come up against challenging terrain. The pilot can also keep track of how the engine is performing as well as having peace of mind that there are manual safety systems on board including flashlights as well as a magnetic compass. This jet comes in at a mid-range price of around $33m.
Dassault Falcon 900LX
Another incarnation of the Falcon, the 900LX opts for the three engine power configuration. Together, the three engines offer thrusts equivalent to around 5,000lb. These are combined with a throttle which automatically adjusts to different flying conditions. This is one of the private aircraft with a generous capacity as well as a bigger cabin area for its passengers.
As well as the cabin space being large, the cockpit for the crew is also large, and because of its all-glass design, it offers good visibility for pilots. It also has a defogging system which allows crew to clear the windscreen from the cockpit. Like other private jets, it has a swept-back wing design as well as winglets. These combined with a generous wingspan mean that the jet enjoys good take-off capabilities and is able to quickly reach flying altitude without suffering too much drag.
Using similar equipment on the flight deck as the 2000LX, the 900LX has its own version of the Honeywell Primus Epic system which means that pilots can ensure they are well aware of the weather conditions on their route as well as checking other air traffic. There are cursor control systems, which are similar to those used by military aircraft as well as 3D imaging technology charting the terrain they are flying over. The price of this private jet is in the mid-range, at an estimated $43m.
Cessna Citation Longitude
Each of the Citation Longitude’s engines has a thrust which is the equivalent of 7,600lbs. This engine capability together with the Citation Longitude’s impressive wingspan give it speed and distance ranges to compete with its rivals. In terms of design, it’s no surprise that the design of the wings as well as the tail is similar to the other models in the Citation range.
Flight safety systems are in place including a system which detects ice and alerts the pilot if there is any build up either outside or inside the cabin. Pilots are also able to use both fly-by-wire and brake-by-wire systems for control as well as having the Garmin G500 avionic technology designed by the company at hand with its enhanced vision capabilities and touch-screen control. Inside, the cabin has been designed with a flat floor which makes moving around easy and it is also easy to get to the baggage in the plane. Like other Cessna models, this is relatively inexpensive when compared with others on the market, coming in at a price of around $27m.
What affects the price of a private jet?
There is a huge difference between the cost of private jets, with some private aircraft costing just over $20m while others cost upwards of $70m. So why is there such a gulf between prices? A number of different factors will impact what you will pay for a private jet including when the jet was first designed and whether the design is still relevant to modern-day needs as well as how fast a craft can travel, and the distance it can travel without needing to stop to refuel.
Other factors which will impact the cost of a private plane include the initial cost of the materials used during manufacturing as well as the cost of labor to actually make the plan. The reliability of the plane will also come into play as well as the ongoing running costs and how easy it is to repair the jet if needed and to find parts. Customers will also want to know whether a period of maintenance is included in the price and whether the company they are purchasing from is committed to ongoing research. Outside factors will also need to be considered such as the brand values of the jet company, the preferences of clients at the time and the overall dynamics of the private aviation market.
Fastest private jets in the near future
In just a few years, the private jet industry is set to take another leap forward. While the Cessna Citation X+ is not far off being able to sly at the speed of sound, the private aircraft in future years will have the capabilities to fly at hypersonic speed, or at the very least at supersonic. Clients continually demand faster jets to get across the globe faster and the response to this has already been clear with the Cessna development of the company’s Citation X along with the newer model, the Citation X+.
There is already the NASA developed X-plan which has the capability of flying at more than Mach 1, and private aircraft makers are looking to this as inspiration for their own designs of the future. Already, the Global 6000 made by Bombardier is almost reaching a speed of sound. Already, the firm has announced greater moves forward in terms of the ultra-long range possible with its new Global 7000 as well as the Global 8000. Meanwhile, its rivals are continuing to try to claim the crown for the fastest private jet or the aircraft capable of travelling the furthest. All of the major private jet makers are looking to ensure that their aircraft can reach supersonic or even faster hypersonic speeds to meet the demands of their customers. Already, private aircraft are very close to reaching the speed of sound travel times, so it won’t be long until they manage to surpass it.
Private jets that are currently at the concept stage
While speed and range are the key parts of any private jet design, the big players in the industry are also carrying out research on a number of technologies of the future. Just as the car market is looking into driverless cars, electric cars and unmanned vehicles, so too is the aviation industry. Aircraft designers are also looking at how they can blend the wings of a craft into the body. Research into pilotless private planes is gaining steam, not least because it would cut costs needed to pay pilots’ wages as well as the cost of layovers at hotels when they are waiting for clients or have reached their maximum safe flying time. Currently, investment in new pilots and crew is growing as demand for private jet travel continues to grow. However, by coming up with private jets which are able to fly themselves, the air industry hopes to not just cut costs but also to improve safety records by taking away, or at least reducing, the possibility of human error.
On top of these over-reaching aims, designers are continuing to work on designs which should make private jets more efficient. One idea is to blend the aircraft wing into its fuselage. The concept should increase speed, range and fuel efficiency by reducing drag. Meanwhile, focus on the environment means that electric jets are also a big research topic as the industry tries to come up with a solution to criticism about how it is harming the environment. A number of prototypes are currently in development from NASA as well as private companies. However, they are facing the same challenges as electric cars which is to ensure that the aircraft has a big enough range. Plus, aircraft running on solar panels won’t be able to travel in the hours of darkness in inclement weather. They can’t have a spare battery onboard because of the extra weight that would entail.
Aircraft designers are also looking to rocket engines to find inspiration, in combination with what already works well for standard private plane engines. By marrying the two, they hope they would be able to take private jets to higher altitudes as well as being able to go supersonic. Current designs have had some success, but the problem comes in trying to slow a supersonic jet down fast enough so it is able to land on existing runways. Taking ideas from the technology in use in the military which allows aircraft to take off vertically could solve this problem.
The technology of the future
Private jet designers and researchers now have an easier job when it comes to building as testing their designs in the lab as a result of developments in 3D printing. Newer, lighter materials are also expected to be used in an increasing amount in jet designs, with composite replacing the likes of aluminium and titanium to reduce the weight of private jets. This reduction in weight as well as more efficient engines should result in jets with the capability of being able to fly faster and for a greater range.
Not only this, 3D printing technology can have a big impact on the cost of labor and also the time it takes for a plane to come from design to development to flying. This could also mean that the private aircraft of the future look very different from how they do now. But, for most business travellers, speed really is of the essence and if private jet manufacturers can come up with a viable supersonic or even hypersonic option, it could significantly change the face of business travel.
Already, the world has seen supersonic commercial aircraft in operation including the iconic Concorde design and also Tu-144. However, Concorde was retired following the crash in Paris in 2000 when passenger numbers failed to recover. Designers have now taken up the mantel once more of attempting to develop safe supersonic and hypersonic technology. NASA researchers are also continuing to look at new ways to achieve the speed of sound without the noisy issue of sonic boom.
These private jets of the future will be supported by new smart airports where the chance of human error is reduced in air traffic control. Another idea in development is a taxi hailing scheme for private jets, although there would have to be improvements in traffic control for that to work safely.
The challenges faced by the private jet industry
You only have to look at the furore caused by the British royal family, politicians and celebrities flying by private jet to realize the challenges faced by the private jet industry by environmentalists and worldwide carbon emissions targets to realize that a cleaner way of air travel will be in demand in the future. Just as renewables are being used by cars and in the creation of electricity, this could be a solution for private jets but further research will have to be carried out to come up with a way of ensuring aircraft can perform at speed with renewable fuel. Prototype aircraft engines which work with electricity are not able at the present time to meet demands for speed or distance and the weight added to a craft by solar panels and batteries is also a problem.
Other fuel being considered is hydrogen or nuclear, which is already in use by the Navy. Nuclear could provide a way to go supersonic, but there are major concerns about what would happen in the event of a crash as well as how airports would manage to refuel using radioactive material. Even a minor incident could have far-reaching consequences. Combining nuclear fuel with reactors capable of withstanding a crash could be the answer.
As artificial intelligence continues to be used in other industries, the technology is being mooted for private jets too in a bid to significantly reduce costs. However, there are major worries about whether jets could fall victim to hackers, meaning criminals could potentially manage to get control of a plane. There are also worries about what would happen in the event that AI technology failed during a flight. In reality it is likely that AI will be combined with a smaller human crew.
There is one thing which is certain. The demand for private aircraft is continuing apace and with demand, the race continues among the major aviation industry players to find ways to go faster and further to ensure that their clients can travel the world in a way which is speedier, cheaper and more comfortable than anything which has gone before.