In the 21st century, size matters. It could be the size of the display of your average phone or the size of a private jet being flown under the command of a billionaire, everyone wants bigger. However, the main issue is that greater size often comes with a cost, a literal one in most regards. For a larger jet, you are looking to pay many times more. So, the main question eventually starts to condense into one thing. What is the greatest return that you can get on your money? For us, the relevant topic is jets, and thus the sweet spot in terms of the best return possible is in super midsize jets. This family of jets is for passengers who want to experience the luxuries that come with a larger jet. These luxuries can be a bigger cabin that has seats that go all the way back and cabin management systems that are able to manipulate each detail of the cabin at the touch of a few buttons. However, the cost will still be much less than the amount required to run a long-range jet.
In the era of work-from-anywhere, these jets are also able to provide an environment suitable for productivity for long periods of time while in the air. The titans of industry that buy these jets don’t have all the time in the world. In fact, their days are mapped out to the precise second with their army of secretaries making sure that not even a moment passes where potential value is lost. Jet manufacturers understand their customers and thus have made sure that super midsize jets can turn into capable offices when in need. These jets can often accommodate about 9 people and can also stay in flight for about 7 hours on average. Their ranges are quite a bit higher than their lighter brothers and that makes them ideal for international travel as well. They are usually between 21,000 and 40,000 pounds in terms of takeoff weight. This is a space that is rather well contested with all the renowned private jet manufacturers making an appearance in this category.
A name in the industry that evokes a feeling of class and perfection, Gulfstream is in many ways the ‘it’ brand of the private jet industry. In the same way a Rolls Royce is considered the pinnacle of car manufacturing, Gulfstream is a narrative more than a company. It’s the myth that surrounds this venerable name that makes it all the more enticing for buyers. Equipped with 2 Rolls Royce jet engines, the Gulfstream G280 will take you to your destination at a ridiculous maximum cruise speed of 0.85 Mach, the closest to traveling at the speed of sound that you are going to get. We can babble about the numbers forever, and talk about the roomy yet efficient interior space distribution that enables it to seat 10 passengers in a variety of different configurations. However, the real genius of the Gulfstream G280 is very much etched into its character. It is in the things that are rather hard to define, things much more esoteric than simple numbers. The exterior is classical Gulfstream, with its almost-German sense of efficiency. What’s even impressive is that it is certified for short runways which only speaks to its ability in terms of handling steep-approach operations. The revitalized engine technology also translates into levels of fuel efficiency that have seldom been seen for a jet of this size, something that we all ought to be striving toward as the environmental question is slowly going to become more and more daunting as the years go by. Overall, the G280 is a dream in its realization, it’s the last hurrah of the childish impulse to get what you want right that very second. The price stands at $25 million by the way.
From the rather classy wall street feel of Gulfstream to the American ingenuity of the Cessna, we have come a long way. Known as one of the more economical options in this class (with even ‘economical’ coming in at a cool $18 million), the Cessna Citation punches above its weight in terms of numbers. It has a range that is over 3200 nautical miles. Equipped with Pratt and Whitney PW306D turbofan engines, the Citation is able to carry a large body that has a 22-meter wingspan. The cabin height comes in at 5 feet and 6 inches and can seat about 12 passengers. However, the real object that you are buying into is the pedigree of the jet series itself. The Citation series which is more like a family at this point has had 8000 units sold since its introduction in 1972. Now, 1972 is a long time ago. It’s half a century ago. This was when Led Zeppelin was the biggest band in the world and Robert Plant had not lost his voice yet. It was when the biggest concert in the US only had 50,000 attendees. In many ways, it was the golden age of American culture and thus the Citation, a relic that has been redressed many times over the years in order to keep up with the times, still carries that swagger that was once the defining aspect of Americana. What’s even greater evidence of the American-ness of the Citation is that the Sovereign is indeed under the use of the Marine Corps as well. This not only speaks to the trust that the American people still have in the Citation but also its sheer dependability. It is extremely popular with charter companies as well. In fact, two-thirds of the entire fleet of the Citation Sovereign was under the use of NetJets, coming in at about 44. If you are willing to look into the used market, this jet can be had for about $4-9 million which is a tremendous value considering the rates that people are willing to pay for new jets.
This jet has a very interesting history that has to be chronicled. The story begins in 1981, British Aerospace first started the developmental program to improve the British Aerospace 125-700 series. After a grueling period that lasted two years, the new aircraft was ready. Christened the name BAe 125-800, this aircraft was an improvement over its predecessor in almost every way. The cockpit windscreen had undergone a massive overhaul and the rear fuselage fairing was also modified. The thrust also got a massive boost from 3700 lb to 4300 lb. The new aircraft was also much more aerodynamic, something that reduced drag by a large margin. These improvements made sure that the aircraft would become a big success. In 5 years, British Aerospace had sold 200 units of the 800 series. In 1994, Raytheon acquired the rights to this jet and formed a new entity called the Raytheon Aircraft. In March 2007, the aircraft wing of the Raytheon business was diverted to Hawker Beechcraft Corp. The swansong of this wonderful aircraft eventually become the 850XP. It was in many ways the perfect way to bid goodbye to a long and successful run. It included winglets which made sure that its operating range was increased by nearly 100 nautical miles. The interior went under a big overhaul which made sure that that aging aircraft still had some tricks up its sleeve. Essentially, this improved version of the Hawker 800 filled the holes that were left by the departing Hawker 1000. After the 2013 bankruptcy of Hawker Beechcraft, the remainder completely ended the business jet range which included this legendary aircraft as well. In today’s market, a late-era 900XP can cost about $6 million while a 1980s-era aircraft will cost you less than half a million. This perfectly surmises the madness of this aircraft. Going through several ownership tenures, this aircraft was the only constant with units being sold consistently and a fanbase being built around the world that would be willing to argue about the greatness of this aircraft for years to come on internet forums and chat rooms.
It might seem a bit unfair that Gulfstream will make the list twice, but these are the perks you get when you are the king of the hill. The G700 is the epitome of the super midsize jet. Its sets itself apart from the rest of the pack with a frankly insane 7500 nautical miles of range. Moreover, it can carry about 19 passengers at once. The oval windows of this G700 signify its relation to the Gulfstream name and make sure that the aircraft is recognizable anywhere in the world. To put its insane range into perspective, this aircraft can fly from Perth in Australia to London in England without taking a single break. These 2 points are quite literally on opposing edges of the world and this aircraft can fly between them without breaking a single kerosene-induced sweat. Add to these amazing specifications the ability to really make the aircraft your own by way of the five distinct cabin configurations and you have got a formula for success that is rather hard to beat. Powered by Rolls-Royce engines again, this aircraft is equipped with new winglets that play a major role in boosting its insane range. In fact, this aircraft is 10 feet longer than the G650. This is where the biggest of these big numbers comes in, the price at $75 million, making it many times more expensive than other entries on this list. The cabin itself is 57 feet long and 6.2 feet high and 8.2 feet wide. Being able to carry 19 passengers with 10 in a sleeping arrangement is rather impressive as well. The technology is also completely pioneering as well. The fly-by-wire controls are completely mechanical-free with no mechanical controls between the pilots and the flight surfaces.
Dassault Falcon 8X
Dassault is able to provide something that no other jet manufacturing company can boast of. That is a connection to the military jet family that runs extremely deep in the DNA of the Falcon 8x. This means that the flying experience of this magnificent aircraft is more reminiscent of a stripped-down fighter jet than anything else. This can be best seen in the fact that it is cleared to fly even in low visibility, something that a stealth fighter jet will be required to do. The swept-wing design speaks volumes about the athletics of the aircraft more than words can. However, this doesn’t mean that this jet is a slouch in terms of the passenger experience. There are 30 different layouts that the buyer can choose from. In fact, 16 passengers can be seated in this aircraft with a mammoth range of 6450 nautical miles making sure that a non-stop ride between London and New York is barely a challenge for this aircraft. This jet can be best understood as the aircraft for the customer who wants excellence but is still not willing to splash out the $75 million that the G700 will require. This is reflected in the cost as well, with the jet being significantly cheaper than the Gulfstream G700 at $58 million. Lastly, it is a trijet, which means that it has 3 jet engines powering the aircraft. A feature that is only possessed by one more aircraft, the Falcon 900.
So, these are the super midsize jets that have taken the world of private jet aircraft by storm. As you can see yourself, there is quite a bit of variety, with cheaper aircrafts being less than half the price of the more expensive aircraft in this list. This is due to the fact that this is one of the more crowded classes in the jet industry, meaning that most manufacturers have multiple aircraft competing in the same segment, vying for even an iota of the attention that the customer is able to bestow upon these beasts.