Fair use quote:
The Adam jet and competitors from Eclipse Aviation and Cessna Aircraft are designed as easy-to-fly, stable jets, with similar approach and landing speeds as propeller-plane pilots are used to. The hope is that less experienced pilots can now step right into jets, with about two weeks of training. These planes even use cockpit instruments that are the same as what's being installed today in propeller planes.
They are also cheaper than today's existing business jets. The Cessna Mustang costs about $2.6 million, 50% less than the cost of the smallest Cessna Citation. The Adam A700 has a sticker price of $2.25 million. The Eclipse 500 is just $1.5 million. Already, Eclipse has orders for more than 2,500 jets. That's double the number of jets Cessna has delivered in the past six years. Both Cessna and Eclipse expect to begin delivering jets late this year or early next year; Adam has further to go on winning Federal Aviation Administration certification.
More VLJs are coming. Embraer Aircraft Holding, a Brazilian maker known for its regional airline jets, has taken more than 235 firm orders for its small jets, which won't start flight testing until the middle of next year. Honda Motor is getting into the airplane business with a HondaJet, a prototype of which has been flying since December 2003. Diamond Aircraft Industries of Canada unveiled a five-seat "personal jet" in July priced at $1.4 million. Cirrus Design, maker of a hot-selling sleek propeller plane, is studying a single-engine jet with a safety parachute for the entire plane. Price: $1 million, Cirrus hopes.
further in the article:
One drawback to the small jets is that with full fuel tanks, each plane can carry only about 700-800 pounds of passengers, pilots and suitcases. That means a golf foursome had better be pretty skinny, without much luggage. If you're going only 600 miles, however, you can fill the tanks halfway and have 1,300 pounds or more of people and payload -- plenty to take the family to the coast for the weekend, or several executives to a customer that otherwise might be a 10-hour drive or a daylong hassle of connecting airline flights and rental-car drive.
further still the author notes that using the lav on any of the aircraft requires giving up a lot of privacy.
On my first landing in the Mustang, I fell into the typical jet trap and got a little low, then pushed the throttles forward and experienced the jet delay in power. A propeller can throw more air over wings instantly, creating lift. But a jet engine has a lag -- the turbine spools up, creating more thrust and pushing the plane forward to get more air over the winds. Takes a few seconds.
When the thrust kicked in, I found myself speeding up too much. I crossed the runway threshold a bit too fast, so the plane floated just a few feet off the ground. The jet bounced, sparking deep pilot depression until I reminded myself that even though I have 650 hours in my logbook, this was my first jet landing (except for some simulator work), and I've been on plenty of airline flights where the pilot bounced the landing. By the fourth landing, I've learned to slow the airplane down and ease it onto the runway.
As easy as it seems, there is a lot to learn. The FAA is concerned about inexperienced pilots and is taking a hard look at the training programs offered to be certified to fly these new jets. (I flew with company pilots in command.) Traditionally, pilots have hundreds if not thousands of hours of experience before they fly jets. But these planes can be bought by brand-new pilots who may never have flown a jet.
The Adam A700 isn't as polished as the Cessna. The avionics in the cockpit are not as fully automated -- there is a bit more to think about. The Cessna feels very Cadillac Escalade; the Adam more GMC Yukon Denali.
The Eclipse 500 doesn't have as wide a wheelbase as the other jets, so it's a bit more tipsy on landing. But what's most remarkable is the landing speed -- you cross the runway threshold at 90 knots -- about the same as my Cirrus. Slower speeds make it easier to land smoothly, and likely will prevent accidents like running off the end or the side of a runway.
I cut out a bit to keep with the "fair use" requirements." If you can get a copy of the WSJ or have an electronic subscription, I found it an interesting read.