- 01 Apr 2022
- Mike Chase
- Jet Comparisons
How do the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ and the Embraer Phenom 100EV compare? What is the appeal of each model, and just how much of a step-up exists between the entry point into jet ownership and the next rung on the ownership ladder? Mike Chase explores…Back to Articles
Over the following paragraphs we’ll consider key productivity parameters for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ and the Embraer Phenom 100EV (including payload, range, speed, and cabin size) to establish who each jet caters for.
Just how much of a jump exists between single-engine private jet ownership and twin-engine jet ownership in terms of cost and performance? We’ll seek to explore this question over the following paragraphs.
Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+
The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ is a low-wing cantilever monoplane made of composite material and powered by a single Williams FJ33 turbofan mounted above the rear fuselage, introduced to provide an ideal entry into business jet ownership. The aircraft has a V-tail design, and the original Cirrus Vision Jet model entered the market in 2016.
In addition to being the first single-engine private jet, the Cirrus Vision Jet is also the first to be equipped with a Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS).
Cirrus upgraded the original Vision Jet with the G2 in 2019, with new features including a higher maximum operating altitude, autothrottle, and upgraded avionics. Modifications to the engine also gave the G2 an improved climb and a slight increase in cruise speed at 28,000 feet. From 2021
Cirrus rolled out the G2+, featuring optimized engine performance for expanded mission capabilities along with Gogo inflight WiFi. With 20% more performance during takeoff, increased range, and better hot and high airport performance, there are 107 Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ jets in operation worldwide, according to JETNET.
North America has the largest fleet percentage (83%), followed by Europe and South America (8% each), accounting for 99% of the world’s fleet.
Embraer Phenom 100EV
The Embraer Phenom 100 is a twin-engine entry level jet which began deliveries in 2008. Similar to the Vision Jet, the Phenom 100 has seen a couple of upgrades over the years, including the Phenom 100E (2013-2017) and the Phenom 100EV, which remains in production today.
The Phenom 100EV offers a Prodigy Touch flight deck featuring touchscreen avionics based on the popular Garmin G3000 suite. For the 100EV upgrade, the powerplants were improved with Pratt & Whitney Canada’s PW617F1-E model enabling greater speed, a 15 percent boost in thrust, more range, and a faster rate of climb.
At the time of writing, there were 55 Phenom 100EV business jets in operation worldwide, with (53%) of the fleet based in the North America, 20% in South America, and 11% in Asia (84% of the fleet total).
When comparing business jets, an important area for potential operators to focus on is payload capability, and especially the ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’. Table A shows the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ has an ‘Available Payload with Maximum Fuel’ of 180lbs – significantly less than the 647lbs offered by the Embraer Phenom 100EV.
Table A: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Payload Comparison
As shown in Chart A the cabin height for the Phenom 100EV (4.9ft) is greater than that offered in the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ (4.1ft), while the jets both offer 5.1ft cabin width. At 11.5ft, the cabin length of the Vision Jet is longer than the Phenom 100EV (11ft).
Chart A: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Cabin Comparison
Nevertheless, the Embraer Phenom 100EV offers greater overall cabin volume than the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ (212cu.ft versus 170cu.ft). The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ provides seating for six, including one crew, while the Embraer Phenom 100EV offers up to seven seats, plus one crew.
In terms of baggage space, the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ provides more internal volume (24cu.ft vs 10cu.ft), but externally the Embraer Phenom 100EV has double the capacity (60cu.ft vs 30cu.ft).
Using Duluth, Minnesota as the start point, Chart B shows the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ has a range of 622nm with four passengers and available fuel, which is 470nm less than the Embraer Phenom 100EV at 1,092nm.
Chart B: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Range Comparison
Note: For business jets, ‘four Pax Range’ represents the maximum IFR range of the aircraft at long range cruise. The NBAA IFR fuel reserve calculation is for a 100nm FAR Part 23 or 200nm FAR Part 25 alternates. This range does not include winds aloft or any other weather-related obstacles.
As mentioned, the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ utilizes a single Williams International FJ33-5A engine, producing 1,846lbs thrust. This single engine burns 49 gallons of fuel per hour (GPH).
By comparison, the Embraer Phenom 100EV has two Pratt & Whitney Canada PW617F1-E engines providing 1,730lbs thrust each. These have a fuel burn of 99GPH.
Cost per Mile Comparison
Chart C details ‘Cost per Mile’ for the two jets, factoring direct costs and with each flying a 600nm mission with 800lbs (four passengers) payload. Given the differences in fuel burn, it’s not surprising that the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ has a 38% lower cost per nautical mile ($2.52) compared to the Embraer Phenom 100EV ($4.06).
Chart C: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Cost per Mile Comparison
Variable Cost Comparison
The ‘Variable Cost’, illustrated in Chart D, is defined as the estimated cost of fuel, maintenance labor, scheduled parts, and miscellaneous trip expenses (e.g. hangar, crew and catering). These costs DO NOT represent a direct source into every flight department and their trip support expenses.
For comparative purposes, the costs presented are the relative differences – not the actual differences, since these may vary from one flight department to another. The Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ ($446/hr) has a much lower variable cost than the Embraer Phenom 100 EV ($979/hr) – a difference of $533 (54%).
Chart D: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Variable Cost Comparison
Table B contains the 2022 new prices (per B&CA) for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ and the Embraer Phenom 100EV ($2.98m and $4.495m, respectively). There is a difference of $1.515m in purchase prices.
Also, listed are the long-range cruise speed and range details (per the OEMs and B&CA), while the number of aircraft in-operation, the percentage for sale, and the average sold are from JETNET.
At the time of writing, there were three out of 107 Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ units ‘for sale’, representing 2.8% of the fleet. By comparison, there were two of 55 Embraer Phenom 100 EV ‘for sale’ (3.6% of the fleet).
Using JETNET’s data, we can see the average number of new and used units sold per month over the previous 12 months were eight for the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ versus two for the Embraer Phenom 100EV.
Table B: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Market Comparison
Aircraft that are owned and operated by businesses are often depreciable for income tax purposes under the Modified Accelerated Cost Recovery System (MACRS). Under MACRS, taxpayers can use accelerated depreciation of assets by taking a greater percentage of the deductions during the first few years of the applicable recovery period.
In certain cases, aircraft may not qualify under the MACRS system and must be depreciated under the less favorable Alternative Depreciation System (ADS), based on a straight-line method meaning that equal deductions are taken during each year of the applicable recovery period. In most cases, recovery periods under ADS are longer than the recovery periods available under MACRS.
There is a variety of factors that taxpayers must consider in determining if an aircraft may be depreciated, and, if so, the correct depreciation method and recovery period that should be utilized. For example, aircraft used in charter service (i.e. Part 135) are normally depreciated under MACRS over a seven-year recovery period, or under ADS using a twelve-year recovery period.
Aircraft used for qualified business purposes, such as Part 91 business use flights, are generally depreciated under MACRS over a period of five years or by using ADS with a seven-year recovery period. There are certain uses of the aircraft, such as non-business flights, that may have an impact on the allowable depreciation deduction available in any given year.
The US enacted the 2017 Tax Cuts & Jobs Act into law which originally enabled some taxpayers to deduct up to 100% of the cost of a new or pre-owned aircraft. As of January 1, 2023, that deduction was reduced to 80%.
Nevertheless, ‘Transportation Property’ described in the Internal Revenue Code (IRC) §168(k)(2)(B) and ‘Certain Aircraft’ described in IRC §168(k)(2)(C) will have a one-year delay in the phasedown. Thus, such property may still be eligible for 100% bonus depreciation if placed into service in 2023.
Table C depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-model Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table C: Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Meanwhile, Table D depicts an example of using the MACRS schedule for a 2022-model Embraer Phenom 100EV in private (Part 91) and charter (Part 135) operations over five- and seven-year periods.
Table D: Embraer Phenom 100EV Sample MACRS Tax Depreciation Schedule
Asking Prices & Quantity
There were three Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ jets listed for sale on the used aircraft market at the end of November 2022. Two had asking prices, one at $4.2m and the other at $3.9m. The other unit invited inquiries.
Additionally, two Embraer Phenom 100EVs were available on the used market with one listed at $4.3m and the other inviting inquiries.
While each aircraft serial number is unique, the Airframe Total Time (AFTT) and age/condition will cause great variation in the price of a specific aircraft – even between two aircraft from the same year of manufacture. The final negotiated price remains to be decided between the seller and buyer before the sale of an aircraft is completed.
The points in Chart E center on the same aircraft. The pricing used in the horizontal axis is as published in B&CA magazine. The productivity index requires further discussion since factors used can be somewhat arbitrary. Productivity can be defined (and it is here) as the multiple of three factors:
Others may choose different parameters, but serious business aircraft buyers are usually impressed with price, range, speed, and cabin size.
Chart E - Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+ vs Embraer Phenom 100EV Productivity Comparison
The Embraer Phenom 100 EV offers significantly more available payload capacity with full fuel, greater speed, and slightly more cabin volume and range than the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet G2+, hence it’s greater level of productivity.
This naturally comes at a greater cost. Per B&CA data, the cost of a Phenom 100EV is $4.495m versus $2.98m for the Vision Jet. Lower hourly variable operating costs (54% difference) and a lower cost per mile (38%) will also add appeal to operators.
In producing the Vision Jet, Cirrus manufactures a very successful aircraft, as borne out by its popularity on the market (averaging eight new/used sales monthly for the past 12 months). The lower costs have enabled more owners to enjoy the benefits of turbofan aircraft ownership, and many of these will eventually seek to move up the ownership ladder into a jet with more capability as their mission needs expand, and they can justify the additional cost.
It is hoped that by comparing the two jets, this article helps highlight where owners might begin considering whether a move-up is necessary or not, in line with their mission need. Ultimately, prospective buyers of one of these Very Light Jets would have to weigh their capabilities carefully against their specific need to determine which one is the best fit for their flight operations in the next few years.
For several years now, the Phenom 100/100E/100EV and the Vision Jet have been popular models at the lighter end of Business Aviation. We see no reason why this would change anytime soon.
Ultimately, there is plenty for a prospective buyer to consider when deciding which performance criteria is better suited to them in an aircraft. Both business jets offer great value in the market today.