When it comes to selecting a private jet for a mission, one of the most critical elements is how far it can fly.
Given that one of the primary reasons to fly by private jet is to save time, an aircraft that requires fuel stops is usually out of the question.
Therefore, it is important to know the maximum non-stop range figures for private jets, to enable an informed choice.
Below is a graph detailing the maximum range for all private jets.
The aircraft listed below date back to 1967, the year that deliveries of the Gulfstream GII began. Additionally, included in this data set are two of the newest aircraft, the Dassault Falcon 6X and Gulfstream G700.
However, there are a variety of factors that will impact and reduce the actual, real-world numbers.
Very Light Jets (VLJs)
Taking a closer look at each aircraft category allows for greater analysis of range figures.
Within the Very Light Jet category, we have the aircraft that are typically used to carry up to 4 passengers short distances.
These aircraft are mostly used for quick hops between cities, typically under 1 hour. For example, London to Paris.
Looking at the maximum range of light jets, a far greater discrepancy between the aircraft with the largest range and the aircraft with the smallest range is far greater.
Moreover, given that the light jet category is far more established than the VLJ category, we see a greater age range of aircraft. The oldest aircraft on this list is the Cessna Citation I, with deliveries having started in 1971.
However, the bulk of light jets have a maximum range that is around the 2,000 nautical mile mark. A distance that is just about New York to Las Vegas.
Unfortunately, given that there are a series of variables that will reduce the range of aircraft, it is unlikely that a light jet will actually be able to make the New York to Las Vegas mission without needing to refuel.
Of course, there are some aircraft with significantly less range. Aircraft such as the Beechcraft Premier I and Cessna Citation CJ1 have range figures that put them closer to the VLJ category of aircraft.
Much like when looking at the range figures of light jets, some medium jets are better suited to the light jet category (based off range figures alone).
However, unlike light jets, there isn’t a significant group of medium jets with similar range figures. The graph below demonstrates a far more varied set of range figures.
At the lower end of the scale, we have the Cessna Citation VII, with a maximum range of 1,700 nautical miles. And then, at the top end of the scale, we have the Gulfstream G200 with a maximum range of 3,394 nautical miles.
Additionally, the age of these aircraft varies significantly. The oldest aircraft on the list is the Dassault Falcon 20F-5BR, with deliveries having started in 1970.
This runs all the way up to 2019, when deliveries of the Embraer Praetor 500 began.
And finally, the large jets. This is the group with the most aircraft, the oldest aircraft, the greatest range and the biggest difference in range between aircraft.
Starting off with age. The oldest aircraft within the large jets category is the Gulfstream GII, with deliveries having started in 1967.
Next, let’s look at outright maximum range figures. At the bottom end of the scale we have the Bombardier Challenger 850. This is a large aircraft that can accommodate up to 15 passengers. However, it can only fly a maximum of 2,546 nautical miles non-stop.
And then, at the top of the scale, we have the Bombardier Global 7500. An aircraft that can cruise non-stop for 7,700 nautical miles. This, theoretically, allows the aircraft to fly non-stop between Los Angeles and Singapore.
This, therefore, results in a difference of over 5,000 nautical miles between the large jet with the largest range and the smallest range.
Of course, there is a common grouping of large jets, with most being in the 3,500 – 4,500 nautical mile range group.
Variables Affecting Private Jet Range
However, much like when viewing the average fuel burn of private jets, these figures must be taken with a grain of salt. This is because there are a variety of factors that will impact the maximum range of the aircraft. And, unfortunately, all factors will decrease the figures stated.
The following factors will all negatively impact aircraft range:
- Speed & Altitude
- When flying at higher speeds, drag increases. Therefore, more power is needed to maintain a higher speed. As a result, manufacturers often provide a long-range cruise speed in order to provide the best balance between speed and range.
- The highest you go, the less dense the air. Therefore, less effort is needed to push through the surrounding air. However, in order to get higher, more thrust is needed to climb to the optimum high altitude. More thrust results in increase fuel burn. Increase fuel burn results in less range.
- Passengers & Baggage
- Passengers and baggage result in increased weight. Increased weight results in increased drag. Increased drag results in more thrust required. The more thrust needed, the more fuel is used. The more fuel used, the lower the aircraft’s range.
- Approximately a 10% increase in aircraft mass requires a 10% increase in thrust. This then translates to a 5% decrease in range.
- Wind can be a blessing and curse. When cruising with a tailwind, range will be optimum. However, when cruising with a headwind, more thrust is needed to push through. Therefore, range will significantly decrease.
- Of course, wind conditions are hard to predict when you are booking your flight. Therefore, a safety margin will always need to be factored in when planning a private jet flight.
Given the large number of private jet models available, there is more than likely an aircraft that will fit your mission well.
Just because an aircraft is bigger doesn’t necessarily mean that it will have better range than a smaller aircraft. However, the general figures show that the larger the aircraft, the greater the range.
Additionally, range figures for private jets range from the 1,000 nautical mile range all the way up to 7,700 nautical miles.