So you want to enjoy a career as a pilot? There are a number of possible job categories. What most commonly comes to mind is airline pilot, military pilot, fractional jet company pilot, cargo pilot, corporate pilot, agricultural pilot, etc.
Have you ever thought about piloting a private business jet? Probably not, because these “microjets,” are just recently being introduced. The FAA expects their use to triple over the next decade.
The arrival of these very light and jets could make corporate planes affordable to more companies and air-taxi services at er airports. The jets cost as little as $1.5 million USD, compared to $2.4 million USD for the cheapest corporate jets.
The first of these new jets, the Eclipse 500, is expected to be certified by the FAA later this year after a safety review. The FAA said it expects microjets to be popular enough to drive up use of privately operated jet aircraft by more than 10% a year over the next 12 years. By 2017, the agency estimates these twin-engine jet aircraft will log 9.6 million flight hours, up from an estimated three million last year.
By the end of 2006, it is predicted by the FAA that 100 very light jets will be in operation, increasing by 400-500 additional aircraft each year, and reaching nearly 5,000 by 2017. Both the FAA and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association’s predictions are similar.
“If the microjet and air-taxi phenomena are successful, it could mean great new travel choices,” says Gerald Bernstein recently in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Bernstein is a partner in an aviation consultancy in San Francisco and Washington.
The new jets may also mean viable air-taxi service. DayJet Corporation, Delray Beach, FL, has ordered 309 Eclipse planes and plans to start flying point-to-point service later this year, according to Chief Executive Ed Iacobucci.
Another advantage to microjets is their ability to fly into , underused airports with minimum runways. The Eclipse, for example, needs only 2,200 feet of runway for take off or landing. This opens up community airports. There are approximately 19,800 landing facilities in the U.S.; commercial airlines, which need much longer runways, utilize only approximately 500 of these.