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BOARDROOM GUIDE - Medium Jet Value

Among the genius aspects of private aviation- the broad spectrum of options stands as a remarkable achievement. Neither too big nor small (and not too expensive)- Medium Jets can be just the right fit for many an operator.

Dave Higdon   |   1st November 2010
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Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
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Medium Jets Value:
Not too big- not too small - just right for some.
Among the genius aspects of private aviation- the broad spectrum of options stands as a remarkable achievement. Neither too big nor small (and not too expensive)- Medium Jets can be just the right fit for many an operator.

From Entry Level Jets (under 10-000 lbs take-off weight) through Light Jets and on to the heady realm of the VIP-configured airliners- something undoubtedly exists that will accommodate your requirement for speed- range and capacity – especially for capacity.

Of all the business jet categories- none does more to balance capability with utility than the Medium Jet segment (loosely defined by aircraft with a maximum take-off weight between 20-001-40-000 lbs allowances are made for aircraft weighing more as a result of upgrades on their original models); no segment provides more options- either.

Medium Jets- as their label indicates- fall between the Light Jet and Large-Cabin Jet segments in numerous ways- while leaning closer to the Large-Cabin segment in several specific areas. Not too big- not too small- nor too expensive: Medium Jets can be just the right fit for many an operator.

A smaller Medium Jet can only improve incrementally on the cabin space of the largest Light Jets- while the largest Medium Jet could dwarf the volume of that same Light Jet model. Medium Jets also tend to cruise at the upper-end of the private jet speed range – between Mach 0.78 and Mach 0.85 - with one Medium Jet- Cessna’s still best-in-civil-aviation Citation X- capable of cruising at Mach 0.92.

If there’s a contest to identify a give-back element to the Medium Jet segment- most would opt for runway flexibility. And that’s only fair. Runway requirements for Medium Jets are generally longer than the average length needed by a Light Jet. But Medium Jets typically can use a significant percentage of the secondary airports serving most of the 150 largest metropolitan areas in the U.S.

In general the average Medium Jet can reach most of the U.S. non-stop from almost anywhere in the U.S.- thanks to their legs-capability. Medium Jets typically can fly from several hundred miles to more than 1-000 miles farther than the Light Jet average.

That range capability also gives the crew the flexibility to string together a sequence of stops that total the same distance. Using the latter approach makes it possible for a Medium Jet to cover multiple stops and get home at the days’ end – without buying fuel along the way.

This capability to avoid refueling on a multi-leg trip is called “tankering”- and it makes the Medium Jet a more-suitable solution than a Light Jet for the operator who regularly needs to fly 2-000 nautical miles or more on a leg – or who may cover that much in a day or two flying multiple legs.

While on average faster than the Light Jet average- a Medium Jet’s superior speed generally provides only a few minutes of gain on the typical Business Aviation trip of 350 to 500 miles- but the difference will be notable on legs as long as the average Light Jet’s typical maximum range.

There’s no disputing the advantages of space in the comfort equation- particularly when applied to longer trips. That is ultimately where the Medium Jet’s basic advantage comes into play. Medium Jets deliver plenty of added space and comfort over the typical Light Jet – but at costs still significantly below those of the Large Cabin segment.

Indeed- Medium Jets generally can match their Large Cabin kin in terms of speed and- to a point- range - while providing reasonable office amenities that are competitive with most larger aircraft. It is little wonder that the Medium Jet segment is the biggest selling- deepest segment across the business aircraft market.

The Medium Jet Retail Price Guide overleaf represents current value published in the Aircraft Bluebook - Price Digest. The study spans model years from 1991 through 2010. Values reported are in USD millions.

Each reporting point represents the current retail value as published in the Aircraft Bluebook by its corresponding calendar year. For example- the Learjet 60 values reported in the Fall 2010 edition of Bluebook show $3-500-000 USD for a 1993 model and $3-600-000 USD for a 1994 model- and so forth. Aircraft are listed alphabetically. With the reader’s knowledge of aircraft- equipment- range and performance- the following guide allows the reader to determine the best value for consideration.

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