In the world of cars, there are many different size classifications that are there in order to make the distinctions between different types of cars very clear. There are compact sedans like the Corolla. There are midsize sedans like the E-Class by Mercedes and then there are full-size sedans like the 7 series by BMW. You could buy an SUV, a hatchback, or a crossover SUV (which is very popular these days). If you are the sporty type, you could buy a sports car (which in and of itself is just an umbrella term). You have coupes, grand tourers, supercars, and hypercars. As you can clearly see, there are too many classifications for us to go through today. The point is the fact that there are a lot of cars in the world and there are many ways in which they are classed. They will be classed according to their size, weight, and power.
Thankfully, the classification of private jets in that sense is much easier. A private jets capacity is its most important feature as it’s the limit of people you can legally fit into a private plane. Today, we will be going through different types of jets and mostly focusing on their passenger capacity.
Very Light Jets
The smallest types of private jets that money can buy you, very light jets are known for being the most economically efficient jets that you can buy. Since they burn a lot less fuel than their bigger brothers, their private jet charter cost tends to be much more affordable. Another area where they shine is accessing airports with shorter runways where a larger jet won’t be able to land.
However, the biggest downside of these jets is generally their range. Even the most capable jets in this class are not capable of exceeding 1300 nautical miles in terms of their range. However, their passenger capacity which is certainly their biggest feature is not so bad. They can generally fit anywhere between 4 to 7 people depending on the configuration of the interior as well as the options that the owner has selected. They can generally be piloted by a single pilot and don’t have a crew compartment where the staff will reside. These are absolutely ideal for people who have flights that are shorter than 3 hours. If you intend to put a lot of nautical miles on your aircraft, a VLJ is a very good option considering its cost-effectiveness.
Small Light Jets
The distance between small light jets and very light jets is not that much when you consider the specifications on paper. However, the fact that SLJ’s have more room to play with, there is a considerable distance when it comes to luxury features. The biggest upgrade is the fact that they can have ranges that are in excess of 2400 nautical miles, giving them a healthy advantage over VLJs when chartering a plane over long distances.
Although you will still not have the room for a cabin attendant on most small light jets, you will have the room for a lavatory which is certainly a much more important feature in my books. In terms of size and passenger capacity, small light jets don’t really offer much of an upgrade, with even the biggest of the jets in this class going up to only 8 passengers. Since they are not that much larger than VLJs, they also have the added advantage of being able to land in runways that are too steep for larger aircraft. So, if you are going to land on a mountainous runway, you better have a light jet on your side.
Super Light Jets
Blessed with the moniker ‘Super’, these are the kings of the light jet world. One of the biggest issues with light jets is that they can often feel too cramped to truly feel comfortable. This jet class was envisioned just so this particular issue could be addressed. They are a decent bit bigger than even SLJs. Aircraft such as the Gulfstream G100 or the Phenom 300 are some of the most popular in this particular class. The G100 is able to seat 9 people in a particular configuration while the Phenom 300 is able to seat a whopping 11 people. In fact, the Phenom 300 can be piloted by a single pilot, making it the fastest private aircraft that can still be operated by a single pilot.
They are still able to land on small runways which opens up passengers the option of using smaller private airports allowing them to avoid the crowds that are always present at major airports. While these jets are certainly a big jump from classes below them, they are also considered to be great value by people in the jet industry as they open you up to ranges that are close to 3000 nautical miles at a reasonable cost.
Midsize Jets are when you really start to get in the serious leagues of the private jet aviation industry. These are some of the most popular jets used for private jet charter. Some of the most powerful jets in this league are able to perform even transcontinental flights. For international businessmen who have to travel far across the oceans, these jets become simply the bare minimum. Most midsize jets will offer you a capacity of about 10 passengers. However, the real difference is not the number of passengers that the jet can take on. It is how the experience will be presented to them that really makes the difference.
Their seats are spaced much more appropriately, the cabin is generally of a much more appropriate height, and you can enjoy more creature comforts like entertainment systems, stand-up cabins, refreshment centers, and seating that is much more luxurious than your average light jet. Prepare to expect a lot more when it comes to prices as well. A new Gulfstream G150 used to cost nearly $16 million when it first came out in 2006. Today, one in decent condition will burn a hole in your pocket equivalent to $3.6 million. Remember that an older plane will have higher running costs as well.
Super Midsize Jets
Super midsize jets can be described most honestly as an incremental improvement over just midsize jets. Interestingly, they have much larger interior space as well as an enhanced range that takes them over the 3500 nautical miles hump. Gulfstream 200 and the Bombardier Challenger 350 are generally considered to be some of the most highly equipped aircraft in this particular category. In terms of passenger capacity, some of the bigger jets like the Citation Sovereign from Cessna are able to take 12 passengers at once.
The other big way that they differ from jets that are smaller is the improved technology on board. You can fully expect to control every little aspect of the cabin from your Cabin Management System. The avionics also take a big jump. This is mainly due to the fact that these jets are quite a decent bit larger in size, making the need for better flight controls the immediate priority. You can also expect to be given the option of opting for one of many different configurations, some of which are configured for passengers that need to sleep. In this class, the increases in the levels of luxury are readily apparent.
Their name is taken from the fact that they are much heavier than midsize jets of even the biggest type. This is due to the fact that there is so much more onboard. You can expect a lot more legroom to really stretch your legs, the seats are much more comfy and much larger in size as well. In fact, an average heavy jet will be able to provide you with two people in your crew who will have a separate compartment. They can then match the experience with all of your express requirements. This is where everything starts to turn into an orgy of big numbers. The bigger jets in this class can have as many as 19 passengers at once. The range is much more enhanced at a massive 4000 nautical miles.
One has to understand one thing that is most important with heavy jets. It’s not about none of the numbers that are being touted around. It’s not about the range or the passenger capacity. It is about the experience itself. When you are sipping your favorite wine which your attendant poured in your glass and looking out the windows in your sofa seat, it just all feels right.
Ultra-Long-Range Heavy Jets
In terms of private jets, these are the big boys. The most important way in which they differ from normal heavy jets is their range itself. While heavy jets are generally made for continental flights, these jets are supposed to be able to take the challenge of being able to fly from one corner to the other without a single issue. This is what makes them awesome. The cabin space simply takes a massive jump. Instead of sofa seats, you can have lie-in beds and luggage areas so large that people can just sleep in them.
The range itself crosses the golden number of 6000 nautical miles. In terms of passenger capacity, there really isn’t much of a difference from heavy jets. However, it is completely about how those passengers are handled. In these jets, you need an entire team just to get the jet off the ground. In fact, distinct living spaces inside the jets are also a common feature that most of these jets possess. The Gulfstream G5 series aircraft have separate lavatories for the passengers and the crew. If you are an evil billionaire, you are probably flying around in one of these.
The passenger capacities of jets are a very interesting question. Even a relatively small light jet can put 11 passengers together while even the biggest heavy jets which cost many times what a humble light jet would cost can’t really go above 20 people. The question that I am sure you immediately asked yourself was the justification for such high prices if there isn’t a proportional increase in jet capacity.
The answer is that the experiences that these jets provide are so different. Remember that you can fit 5 people in a Corolla but 4 people in a Rolls-Royce would be on another level of comfort and class.