All Aviation Articles By Caitlyn Bruszewski

The 5 Most Expensive Private Jets on the Market in 2020

While multiple modes of transportation are available in the United States, business aviation ranks among the most important for companies and the affluent alike. The demand for private jets stems not only from the comfortability provided by the aircraft but also from its ability to help reach a variety of markets. Seen as more of a business tool than simply an aircraft, private jets offer a space that can easily be utilized as an office, conference room, or even a bedroom dependent on the user's needs.

Private aviation also represents one of the most luxurious modes of transportation available. Those who can afford the cost of owning and operating a jet see it as more than just an expensive aircraft, they see it as a portrayal of their social status.

From athletes to movie stars, A-list celebrities desire an A-list aircraft to travel in. The cost of this class of aircraft can range from tens of millions to hundreds of millions of dollars. And no, that does not include the cost of operating the jet.

Of course, the amenities of aircraft held to such a high standard come with a hefty price tag. Here are five of the most expensive private jets on the market.

 

 

Gulfstream G650ER  - $71 million


Courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace

 

 

The Gulfstream G650ER boasts a price tag of $71 million. With a range of more than 7,500 nm and a striking interior made from luxurious leathers, elegant wooden veneers, and handcrafted stonework, its no surprise that Jeff Bezos, founder of Amazon, would make the G650ER his private jet of choice.

Currently, the G650ER holds the record for the farthest fastest flight in business aviation history, allowing it to set new standards for comfort, functionality, and safety. It is one of the fastest civilian aircraft in the world at its highest speed of 607 miles per hour.

The spacious cabin is also designed to be the quietest in business aviation. Sixteen panoramic oval windows fill the cabin with natural light and stunning views of the world below.

Elon Musk is a tech giant with a net worth of $41.1 billion as of 2020. Musk lives in a world surrounded by advanced technology, and he expects his G650ER to be the same. On the inside, this private just is equipped with advanced fly-by-wire technology and streamlined displays of the PlaneView II flight deck to increase safety and reduce pilot workload. The cabin is even entirely customizable and can be controlled using a smartphone app.

 

Bombardier Global 7500 - $72 million


Courtesy of Bombardier

 

The Global 7500 is one of the world’s largest and longest-range business jets on the market. Known for its luxurious interior, the Global 7500 is easily worth its price tag of $72 million.

With an industry-leading 7,700 nm range, a top speed of Mach 0.925, and exceptional short-field performance, the 7500 is practically unrivaled. If the allure of the words “ultimate long-range private jet” don’t entice you, then maybe the full dining table, luxury window seating, and private bedroom will.

Niki Lauda, a Formula 1 world champion, was one of the first to receive the Global 7500. Though a loyal client of Bombardier for many years, Lauda particularly liked the Global 7500 due to its elegant design and abundance of natural light. This jet can be hard to find, with few on the market today.

Unlike any other business jet on the market, the Global 7500 features The Nuage seats, the first new seat architecture in business aviation in almost 30 years. Designed with the intent to bring the comfort of luxury home seating into the cabin, the seat offers three key features unavailable on any other seat in business aviation: deep recline, floating base, tilting headrest.

Bombardier Pũr Air is offered on the Global 7500 with an advanced HEPA filter that captures up to 99.99% of allergens, bacteria, and viruses while completely replacing the cabin air with fresh air in as little as 90 seconds. Available exclusively on Global aircraft, Bombardier Pũr Air delivers cleaner air with better humidity and quicker heating and cooling than 100% fresh air only systems.

Bombardier’s Global 7500 has become the first in business aviation to receive an Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) from the International EPD System based in Sweden. The EPD allows for full environmental transparency about the Global 7500, such as CO2 emissions, noise, water consumption, and other environmental impact indicators. Bombardier believes this aircraft will help cut down on the environmental impact of aviation, and they’re not afraid to prove it.

 

Dassault Falcon 8X - $59 million


Courtesy of Dassault

 

The Dassault Falcon 8X is an amazingly fast aircraft, capable of flying at a speed of 0.90 Mach to a distance of 6,450 nm without refueling. Improved wing design and new powerplant make this business jet 35% more economical than any other ultra-long-haul aircraft on the market. The Falcon 8X has a suggested retail price of $59 million.

While the Falcon 8X has a lower cost than the other four aircraft on the list, there are many unique amenities on this private jet that make it one of the most expensive on the market. For instance, its unique three-engine scheme helps to shorten transoceanic routes. The 8X gets you where you are going faster.

Bill Gates, the co-founder of Microsoft, is no stranger to the world of private jets. In fact, he owns at least 3 private jets as of today. Gates just had to get his hands on the Falcon 7X, the predecessor to the 8X due to Dassault’s reputation for having the most advanced jets on the market. He’ll undoubtedly be looking for an upgrade to the 8X before long.

Offering the longest cabin in the Falcon family, the Falcon 8X will become your personal penthouse at an altitude of 41,000 ft. More than 30 stunning cabin layout options are available, each including seating areas, kitchens, crew compartments, and showers.

The latest technology is at your fingertips in the Falcon 8X with the ability to control its functionality from anywhere in the cabin through your Apple device. You can even call up a virtual moving map of any area around you by simply pointing your iPad in the desired direction.

 

Boeing Business Jet MAX 8 - $85 million


Courtesy of Boeing

 

The BBJ (Boeing Business Jet) MAX 8 is a state-of-the-art, $85 million airliner turned private jet. The interior is an astounding 1,025 square feet. That means space for you and 49 of your closest friends. The sky is the limit on the different configurations, including a master suite with a California King bed, a walk-in closet, and a master bath with a double-size shower and heated marble floors.

The BBJ MAX 8 has a range of 6,640nm and can cruise at an airspeed of 449 kn (832 km/h). Despite being larger and more capable than previous models of BBJ aircraft, the BBJ MAX has a 13% lower fuel burn and lower emissions, thanks to its CFM LEAP-1B engines and advanced winglets.

An interior cabin concept presented by Boeing for the BBJ MAX featured a ‘spaceship sleek’ design, including starlight detailing on the cabin ceiling. With the generous cabin space offered by this business jet, it allows you to create an office or home in the sky.

It's understandable why Steven Spielberg, famed film director, and producer, would choose the BBJ as his personal aircraft. With a net worth of $3.6 billion, he could easily own multiple of these private jets. However, he chooses to share ownership with fellow film producer and good friend Jeffrey Katzenberg.

While capable of offering luxurious seating for 50 people, the majority of clients opt to accommodate less. Instead, they take advantage of the space and implement board rooms, dining rooms, or master suites to get much-needed rest.

Boeing also offers a special panoramic window as an option on the BBJ MAX 8. Measuring 4.5 feet by 1.5 feet, the window allows a generous amount of natural light into the cabin, while at the same time offering beautiful views of the ground below.

 

Airbus ACJ320neo - $95 million


Courtesy of Airbus

 

Coming in at an astounding base price of $95 million, the ACJ320neo changed the game for airlines and is now making waves in the private jet industry. This private jet delivered lower operating costs and increased efficiency than previous Airbus A320 models. New engines and aerodynamically friendly sharklet wingtips aid in reducing fuel consumption and providing additional range.

Considering it has the widest and tallest cabin in the industry at 3 times the space of a large traditional jet, it only makes sense that the elite of the elite would seek out this aircraft for business use.

With private jet owners spending many hours on the aircraft, they must find time to relax during the flight. Airbus offers the Melody Cabin, focusing on providing an attractive environment that is both quieter and better adapted to providing sound and vision in a “home cinema” setting.

What truly sets the ACJ320neo apart from the commercial model is right within the name, with “Neo” being an acronym for new engine option. These new engine options include the Pratt & Whitney PW1100G-JM and the CFM International LEAP-1A.

The ACJ320neo’s head of state, VIP interior can seat 25 passengers and 6 crew with an approximate range of 6,000nm, connecting city pairs such as London and Beijing as well as Moscow and Los Angeles.

 

These private jets were created with the elite in mind. Across the world, they represent wealth and power to socialites and business owners alike. Functioning as more than just a mode of transportation, these aircraft act as apartments, offices, entertainment spaces, and more for the wealthy. Needless to say, it’s expensive to be rich.

GlobalAir.com Challenges You to Step Up for the FBOs (#FBOchallenge)

With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to take hold of the aviation industry, now is the time to support each other. Specifically, we need to support our Fixed Base Operators (FBOs) on the field. These FBOs are the backbone of the aviation industry.

From the time an aircraft arrives at an airport, the FBO is responsible for fueling and maintaining not only the aircraft but the pilot. Often pilots are provided complimentary treats and coffee from the FBO on the field.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many FBOs have had to cut down on their hours and staff at the airports. For those who do so much for our industry, we are challenging you to give back to them.

GlobalAir.com will be providing lunch for the employees and staff at Louisville Executive Aviation on Bowman Field (KLOU) as a thank you for all of their hard work during the pandemic. The staff continues to work to service aircraft coming into the airport as well as maintaining those within the hangars.

We are challenging you to do the same!  Say a big thank you to your local FBOs as they work tirelessly to keep the airport going during this time. Say thank you by tipping after a full-service fueling, providing lunch or baked goods for your local FBO, sending cards of appreciation, or posting a message of encouragement on their social media pages!

Times are uncertain for the aviation industry and the world, but spreading kindness and saying thank you to those who work hard in our industry is important!  Join #FBOchallenge and spread the word.

First Post-Restoration Flight for Ultra-Rare Airco DH.9 WWI Bomber

The world's only original airworthy WWI-era bomber, Airco DH.9 E8894 took to the skies over Duxford, Cambridgeshire following a 15-year restoration effort with Retrotec Ltd. in England on May 13th, 2019. (photo by George Land)

 

warbirdnews.com

 

The Historic Aircraft Collection’s extraordinarily rare, WWI-era Airco DH.9 light bomber took to the skies over Duxford Aerodrome on May 13th, 2019 for its first post-restoration flight following fifteen years of dedicated conservation and restoration at Retrotec Ltd. in Westfield, East Sussex. The aircraft hadn’t flown under its own power for the best part of a century, and it is currently the only original WWI bomber flying anywhere in the world!

The DH.9, designed by the legendary Geoffrey de Havilland in 1917, was essentially a larger, modified variant of his very successful DH.4, with which it shared significant components. It was intended to fly at 15,000′ and had an internal bomb bay; a first for British designs of the day. Although it had a sound pedigree, the aircraft’s Achilles heel was its powerplant, the Siddeley-Deasey Puma, which delivered at best 230 of the promised 300 HP promised. Added to this already near-fatal shortcoming, the engine was so unreliable that many DH.9s (and often their crews) were lost to engine failure. Even so, the Aircraft Manufacturing Company Ltd. (Airco – a forerunner to de Havilland) built four thousand or so DH.9s, although a good number of the later variants, like the DH.9A, used the far more reliable and powerful Liberty V-12 or the Rolls-Royce Eagle Mk.VIII powerplants. Despite the type’s inauspicious beginnings, DH.9s and their variants served in more than twenty military air arms across the world, and a good number ended up with civilian operators as well. They soldiered on in every corner of the British Empire well into the 1930s, with the last flight believed to have taken place sometime in 1937.

Although Airco built several thousand DH.9s, only a handful still survive. Just three DH.9s were known to exist, none of them in the UK, before Guy Black confirmed the existence of a further three examples in India during the late 1990s. These three had been Imperial Gifts from the British in India to the Maharaja Sir Ganga Singh in Bikaner, Rajasthan, although it is doubtful they ever flew with their new owner. Black found that two of the DH.9s lay dismantled in the now-disused elephant stables within the maharaja’s fortress, while a third example had been crudely put back together for display. After a lengthy period of negotiation, Guy Black was able to acquire the two stored examples, which formerly served in the Royal Air Force as D5649 and E8894. Their service histories are presently unknown, other than that both of aircraft spent time at a storage depot in Biggin Hill, near London, England during early 1918; Guy Black believes that neither of them flew in combat during WWI.

Both airframes were in understandably poor condition, and without engines, but would form the basis for one airworthy and one static example for display in England. It was clear that almost all of the wood would need to be replaced in any airworthy restoration, so in order to preserve as much original material as possible for the ground-bound example, Black chose D5649 for static restoration as its woodwork was in the best condition… albeit suffering from further indignities and damage at the hands of the team in India charged with preparing them for shipment back to England. In the years subsequent to their arrival in England, the restoration team scoured the earth looking for original parts, not to mention drawings and manufacturing details. Following decade-long sympathetic conservation, Retrotec completed D5649 for display in 2015. This example was originally built in Hammersmith, London at Waring and Gillow, a furniture factory impressed into war work, and now she was complete again following decades of decay. She now sits proudly in the Imperial War Museum’s Airspace hangar at Duxford Aerodrome.

Due to the lack of any original drawings, and Guy Black’s determination to produce as authentic a restoration as possible, E8894 took more than fifteen years to restore. One stroke of luck came when Guy Black realized he had a complete set of DH.9 wing struts in his collection that he had acquired before starting the project. He also found a significant collection of DH.4 drawings in the Smithsonian’s archives in the USA, which provided useful data for the project since many DH.4 parts migrated to the DH.9 design. But the biggest problem was locating an appropriate, period engine to power the aircraft. Since the Siddeley-Deasy Puma was never used on any other production aircraft, for obvious reasons, it has become exceedingly rare, with just a handful or so rebuildable examples still in existence, and none available for acquisition. However, Guy Black was able to locate an even rarer Beardmore Halford Pullinger (BHP) engine within the Canada Aviation & Space Museum’s collection in Ottawa, Canada. Interestingly, the BHP was used in the early examples of the DH.9 before Siddeley-Deasy took up its production as the Puma. Rushed into production, there were many design faults, but one of them seemed so egregious as to be unbelievable. The connecting rods had their part number and inspection stamp crudely whacked into them at precisely the same spot where most of the failures seemed to occur. As a result, the restored engine incorporates newly manufactured con-rods, sans the troublesome stampings, so they should be more reliable than the originals. Retrotec conducted the first engine runs with the BHP powerplant mounted in E8894 during October 2018. There is a wonderful video available below which should give our readers a good idea of what this ancient engine sounds like…

 

 

The first flight took place at Duxford on May 13th, and our very own George Land was on hand to record the details. George reports the details as follows…

“After many years of painstaking labor, the dream became reality when in October of 2018 E8894’s first engine runs occurred,  followed by ground testing and taxi runs that November.

Finally on May 13th, 2019, we were lucky to witness the first flight of an authentic DH.9 in many long years when test pilot Dodge Bailey, who is one of the most experienced vintage biplane pilots in the UK, finally felt that everything was in order for a test flight. He took E8894 into the air using an into-the-wind, cross-field take-off on the grass from the west end of RAF Duxford for the first time. 

After numerous circuits of the airfield at differing heights, Dodge Bailey took the DH.9 on a run down the field in front of the tower before bringing the historic WWI bomber around for a safe cross-field landing and a successful conclusion to her first flight following restoration.

Since then, a number of flights have taken place and it is hoped that the first public display might take place during the Flying Legends air show at Duxford on July 13th.”

 Obviously, given the nature of its engine, the DH.9 will only fly occasionally, but it is marvelous to see it flying again; a tangible link to our collective past that is all down to the perspicacity of Guy Black and the ingenuity and hard work of all those at Retrotec Ltd. and HAC. As some will know, the Historic Aircraft Collection, and their restoration arm, Retrotec, have a prodigious reputation for unusual and complex restorations. These include a unique survivor of the Hawker Fury interwar biplane fighter, perhaps the most beautiful biplane ever built… at least to your editor’s eyes… and a Hawker Nimrod Mk.II (a navalized Fury) to name a few. Currently, they are working on the resurrection of de Havilland Mosquito NF.36 RL249 for another client.

 

DH.9 E8894 sitting outside Hangar 3 at Duxford Aerodrome before another test flight on June 15th, 2019. The aircraft was scheduled to have its first public display on June 22nd, however, this had to be postponed. (photo by George Land)
 

 

The Chocks Master

 

The Chocks Master

by Moreno Aguiari of warbirdnews.com

 

Over the decade or so of my being an active member of the warbird community, one of the things I have enjoyed the most has been the opportunity to meet some amazing people along the way. So many of them are among the unsung heroes of the movement; the vital volunteer army that helps bring success each year to events such as EAA AirVenture or Sun ‘N Fun.

 

One of these special guys I’m talking about is Dave Jackson, a longtime EAA and Warbirds of America member and a volunteer at both AirVenture and Sun ‘N Fun. I met Dave four years ago when a mutual friend asked me to bring him a WWII era 1 and 3/4″ stencil machine. I learned that Dave uses these stencil machines to create custom artwork that he paints onto aircraft chocks.

Why would one do that, you ask? Well, have you ever been to Oshkosh during EAA AirVenture and visited “Warbird Alley” – the area of the airport ramp where all of the warbirds are parked? If so, have you ever noticed that the aircraft is held in place by beautiful chocks, custom painted for particular occasions or anniversaries? Well, those chocks are the product of Dave’s year-long effort to add an extra degree of historical coolness to the ramp, celebrating the aircraft we all love so dearly.

 

The chocks Dave Jackson made for the D-Day Squadron

 

During the most recent Sun ‘N Fun show, I had the opportunity to sit down with Dave for an interview to get a little more insight into how he goes about creating these marvelous aircraft chocks. We hope you enjoy hearing more….


MA: How did you get involved in aviation?

Dave: My parents’ house was near the Muskegon airport in Michigan, and I could see the airport beacon from my bedroom. I remember DC-3s and DC-6s flying in and out of the airport and that’s where it all started for me. I passed my passion to two of my sons that are now professional pilots; one flies F/A-18F Super Hornets for the US Navy and the other one is a former regional airline pilot.

MA: How did you start making custom chocks?

Dave: It’s pretty interesting… when my middle son Ryan was in college at the Florida Institute of Technology pursuing his Aviation Degree and working for Basler Turbo Conversions in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, he was asked to build chocks for the company’s airplanes. The local carpentry company gave him a bunch of 6″x6″ wood and off he went to build the chocks. He cut them to specs, painted them yellow and applied the stencils. He brought a couple of chocks home, and I was very pleased with his work. Fast forward to the same summer and my neighbor decided to install a fence around his pool. At the end of the job, I picked up a bunch of 4″x4″ [wood] of about a foot and a half long and brought them in my garage with the idea of building chocks for my aviation and pilot friends. As time went on, I primarily made chocks for warbird owners, active and retired military pilots.

 

 

MA: When did you actually start making chocks for events?

Dave: The first chocks I made were for the 1993 AirVenture (then called EAA Fly-In), so I have been making chocks for more than 25 years. I started with very simple chocks, then chock after chock… I started sanding them, smoothing the edges, improving the paint and the stencil’s quality. I tried to improve them every year.

MA: How does the creative process work?

Dave: I always come up with my own theme. I do research about anniversaries and important events for each year, and then I go to work.

 

 

MA: What are the most special chocks you have made?

Dave: One of my favorite sets of chocks were those I made for Susie Parish, founder of the Kalamazoo Air Museum. Susie, besides the pink P-40, used to have a T-34 Mentor of the same color. In 1997, I knew she was going to make AirVenture with her T-34, so I made chocks for her airplane… I didn’t know Susie, but I made the chocks for the airplane anyway. On Saturday night during the warbird banquet, she stood up and said, “I don’t know who made these pink chocks for me, but this was the best present I ever received!” A few years later, I made the chocks for her P-40 and delivered them to her at the museum. When she died, the museum decided to hang the P-40 from the ceiling in the museum’s atrium, and my chocks ended up in the cockpit of the airplane. To this day, the chocks are still there!”

The ‘Remembering Program Chocks’ are also very special to me. This is a program that I started two years ago to help honor those volunteers or pilots who passed. It is a nice way to remember our fellow friends. This year I started making the chocks to honor the WASP.

 

An example of one of the Remembering Program Chocks

 

MA: What type of wood do you use?

Dave: After much trial and error, I have determined that the white pine tree is simply the best wood, as it is soft enough that it can be modeled with ease, and more importantly, it doesn’t crack. The pinewood, being easy to work with, allows me to produce everything from mini chocks, which I use to gift people with, to big chocks for larger airplanes like the C-47 and bombers.

 

Dave signs every custom chock alongside his A-4 logo.

 

MA: What are the steps to finish and paint the chocks?

Dave: After a good sanding, I apply the primer and then I spray paint them. I have four stencil machines, a 1/4″, a 1/2″, a 3/4″ and now a 1 and 3/4″. For special designs, usually, I search the internet for images,  print them and transfer the subject to the stencil paper.

MA: Can you tell us what you are planning for Oshkosh this year?

Dave: The WASP chocks are going to be new this year. The main new design is the one dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the Boeing 747 and since AirVenture plans to have six or seven 747, I plan to make the 14″ chocks for all the airplanes.


Many thanks again to Dave Jackson for sitting down with me to discuss his creative process. And for those of you interested in meeting him in person, Dave will be easy to spot at every major EAA event – in fact, he drives a cool Blue Angels-themed golf cart equipped with afterburners and arrestor hook! Please make sure to stop him and shake his hand – you never know, you might walk away with some special chocks!

 

The author (R) with Dave “El Chocko” Jackson (L) during EAA Sun ‘N Fun 2019.

 

The Big Four: the aircraft that shaped private jet travel

Business jets have created a world of opportunity for businesses and high wealth individuals around the world, allowing them the ability to fly themselves or send predominant staff to places that commercial flights can’t reach. They allowed these executives to attend imperative meetings and be home for dinner. The social status of owners increased as well, showcasing to others that they were long on financial resources and short on time. 

The following are four aircraft that changed the world in regards to time efficiency, business productivity, and social status.  What is most interesting is that all four originated from military contracts with the intent of being quicker and more efficient than predecessors.

 

Lockheed JetStar – L329
Deliveries: 202 (1961-1980)

 

Lockheed created the L-329 as a private venture to meet a United States Air Force (USAF) requirement, which ultimately shaped it into the world’s first business jet design.

The JetStar was one of the largest aircraft in its class, seating ten plus two crew. It was the first corporate aircraft to allow a person to walk upright in the cabin.  It can be distinguished from other small jets by its four engines, which are mounted at the tail and the “slipper” style fuel tanks fixed to the wings to accommodate the increased fuel consumption from two extra engines. 

Although it was not the primary Air Force One aircraft, VC-140B’s did carry Presidents Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan while they were in office and used the Air Force One call sign while aboard.

Elvis Presley owned two JetStars at different times, the second being known as Hound Dog II. Reportedly he paid $899,702.60 for the aircraft on September 2, 1975.

 

North American Sabreliner 40
Deliveries: 137 (1959 – 1974)

 

The Sabreliner was developed in the mid-1950s by Los Angeles-based North American Aviation as an in-house project. North American offered a military version to the USAF in response to the Utility Trainer Experimental (UTX) program.  Because no other companies competed for the UTX, North American Aviation won the contract by default. 

This was the world’s first executive aircraft to run on a twin-jet system. It was named Sabreliner due to its similarity of supercritical and swept wings and tail to the North American F-86 Sabre jet fighter. It also included innovational slats.

Over 800 Sabreliners were produced, 200 of which were T-39s, military variants used by the USAF, United States Navy, and United States Marine Corps. Deriving itself from the F-86 Sabre, the Sabreliner is the only business jet authorized for aerobatics. The cockpit windows had topside “eyebrows” that provided a distinctive recognition feature for the aircraft.

Sabreliner was sold to Rockwell International and renamed as the Rockwell Sabreliner. In 1981, Sabreliner production came to a close.  In 1982, Rockwell sold the Sabreliner division to a private equity firm which later formed Sabreliner Corporation.

 

Learjet 23
Deliveries: 101 (1964-1966)

 

Among the first, and best known, private jets was the Lear Jet 23 (later renamed Learjet). This jet’s small size and economically fast operation made it a staple in the fleet of captains of industry, celebrities, and other wealthy members of society across the world.

The Lockheed JetStar and North American Sabreliner had been on the market before the Learjet 23 was produced, but its ability to climb higher and faster than its competitors made it the first civilian, jet-powered light aircraft.

The aircraft was beyond its time in terms of performance: 518 MPH cruising speed, 562 MPH (488 knots) maximum speed, 6,900 feet-per-minute rate of climb, 1,830-mile range, and 45,000-foot ceiling. According to the Smithsonian Institution, the Model 23 could out-climb an F-100 Super Sabre to 10,000 ft.

The man behind the Learjet was William “Bill” Powell Lear, Sr., who was inspired by the Swiss P-16 fighter jet prototype. Lear established the Swiss American Aviation Corporation (SAAC) to produce the passenger version: the SAAC-23 ExecuJet. After moving the company to Wichita, Kansas, he renamed it the Lear Jet Corporation. 

Essentially, Bill Lear wanted a small aircraft that could perform like a jet airliner and carry its five passengers and two pilots at 500 MPH for distances of 1,500 miles or more. While the aircraft performed like a fighter, it also had the accident record of one. The Model 23 was demanding to fly, even for experienced pilots. It was unrelenting of pilot errors, leading to 23 Learjet crashes in only three years with four of those resulting in fatalities.  The fleet was only made of 104 aircraft, meaning you had a 22% chance of crashing each time you flew in one.

Lear recognized the problem and introduced the Model 24 in 1966, with improved two-speed handling qualities. The accident rates improved as new models continued to be put on the market, but these rates were still much higher than other corporate jets of the time.

 

Dassault Falcon 20
Deliveries: 512 (1965-1991) including 20C, 20D, 20E and 20F

 

In December of 1961, French aircraft designer and head of Dassault Aviation, Marcel Dassault, provided the approval to work towards the production of an eight to ten seat executive jet/military liaison aircraft that could fly 500 mph+, which was initially named the Dassault-Breguet Mystère 20.

This low-wing monoplane drew upon the aerodynamics of the transonic Dassault Mystère IV fighter-bomber and was equipped with a pair of rear-mounted Pratt & Whitney JT12A-8 turbojet engines. Later upgrades to the airframe include Garrett TFE-731 engines.

Directly selling the aircraft wasn’t a viable option, so they settled on Pan American World Airways as the US distributor. The aircraft were distributed in America under the name Fan Jet Falcon, later becoming popularly known as the Falcon 20.  In total, Pan American placed orders for a combined total of 160 Falcon 20s. Other major orders were soon placed by several operators, both civil and military; amongst these included the French Navy, the United States Coast Guard, and Federal Express.

During the late 1960s and early 70s, aviation businessman Frederick W. Smith was seeking an ideal aircraft with which to launch his new business, Federal Express, commonly known today as FedEx. The Falcon 20 had a strong fuselage, making it the ideal aircraft for cargo operations.  The first packages to be carried by FedEx were in a Falcon 20 on April 17, 1973. Within a decade, the company was using 33 of the twinjets in its air express network.

Dassault went on to sell more than 500 Falcon series aircraft until 1991. The French company continues to be a major player in the market today with its lineup of twin- and three-engined designs.

 

These private jets began as ideas on a crumpled piece of paper in the corner of a desk. No one could have known just how impactful they would become. Across the world, they represent wealth and power to socialites and business owners alike. It is because of these aircraft that the private jet industry is stronger today than ever before.

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