If you are on the market to buy a single-pilot jet, there are a lot of great options worth considering, but which ones are the best?
Flying private is the ultimate way to travel but paying for a large flight crew can be expensive and requires a lot of organization, which is why so many people opt for single-pilot jets. However, each single-pilot jet is going to vary in specs and features, so you should weigh out all of your options carefully when choosing the right aircraft for your needs.
The best single-pilot jets are the Cessna Citation CJ3+, HondaJet, Cessna Citation CJ4, SyberJet SJ30, Eclipse Jet, Embraer Phenom, Cessna Citation M2, Cessna Citation M2, Pilatus PC-24, and the Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1.
Whether you are flying for business or pleasure, having a private plane ready to go makes traveling so much easier. You can skip lines at the airport, avoid bookings, and never experience a cancellation ever again. There are a lot of great jets that simplify air travel and you can fly in style wherever you go with the right plane on call. However, owning a private jet also implies that you can expect some extra expenses. The aircraft alone can cost quite a bit but you also have to keep in mind that you have to pay for your crew. Keeping a pilot on your payroll can add up, but having two will increase your expenses considerably. You can mitigate the costs of owning a plane by purchasing a single-pilot jet. These aircraft are easier to manage and cheaper to maintain, which is why a lot of people prefer to keep things simple and buy single-pilot jets.
After extensively private planes, I have been able to gather enough information to determine the best single-pilot jets on the market. My research has indicated that each single-pilot jet is going to vary in specs and performance, which is why you should weigh out all of your options carefully when making decisions.
Cessna Citation CJ3+
The Cessna Citation CJ3+ is a true standout among single-pilot jets. Cessna is a manufacturer that has made a name for itself as being one of the best in the industry. The Citation CJ3+ is the ultimate single-pilot jet that delivers speed, comfort, and reliability.
This aircraft has an impressive range of 2,040 nm, which is guaranteed to get you just about anywhere around the country on just a single tank. In addition, the maximum speed of the CJ3+ is 416 ktas which is very solid for a single-pilot jet of this size.
Cessna designed the Citation CJ3+ to be as comfortable as possible - with a luxurious interior that is perfect for personal and business use. The seats are equipped with a feature to extend and recline so that passengers can truly unwind while traveling. In addition, there is plenty of space on board so that you never feel claustrophobic or cramped.
Cessna also offers the interior in a number of different styles so that you can select an aesthetic for your aircraft based on your tastes and preferences. If you are not satisfied with one of Cessna’s designs, you can always work with a designer to customize the interior however you want.
The Cessna Citation CJ3+ is a great plane for casual air travel, as well as corporate business use. The 9-passenger capacity offers plenty of room to invite guests on board and is a perfect vessel for business meetings.
From a pilot’s perspective, the Cessna Citation CJ3+ is equipped with every safety feature that one could ask for, with an impressive in-flight system that enables the aircraft to pretty much fly itself. The Garmin GFC 700 powers the Citation CJ3+ autopilot system, which makes piloting intuitive and safer.
Although most people think of Honda as a car manufacturer, the Japanese company is also highly regarded for its new line of jets. The HondaJet is a small single-pilot jet, which is one of the main reasons why a lot of people select this aircraft.
Most single-pilot jets can seat anywhere from 6 to 10 people and take up a considerable amount of space. This requires more upkeep and maintenance costs, and it can complicate storage as well. The HondaJet was designed specifically to be a compact single-pilot jet and to have all of the essentials that you could ask for while in the air.
The HondaJet is a 4-seater aircraft and it can be either a single-pilot or dual-pilot jet depending on how it is configured. If you deice to configure their plane to be a single-pilot, then you open up another seat for a passenger in the cockpit. The average distance that you can hope to get out of the HondaJet is about 1,200 nm, which is impressive for a jet of this size.
The performance and handling of the HondaJet are superb across the board. This aircraft was designed to deliver performance, comfort, and efficiency, which it has achieved with flying colors. One key characteristic to take notice of when evaluating the HondaJet is that the engines are mounted above the wings rather than below. This is a rare design that very few planes have but Honda claims that it improves the performance of the aircraft.
If you are considering the HondaJet, you have two different models to select from - the HondaJet and HondaJet Elite. The Elite variation naturally has some added features that are not available in the standard HondaJet. These mainly have to do with flight performance, as well as an increased range, which is a great option for anyone who wants to maximize flight distance.
Lastly, the HondaJet is equipped with a very impressive sound system. When you travel by air in your HondaJet, you can enjoy superb sound quality - designed to make your inflight experience memorable every time that you get on board.
Cessna Citation CJ4
Cessna designed the Citation CJ4 to be the ultimate single-pilot aircraft. Much like the other Citation jet from Cessna, the CJ4 shines in virtually all categories that you could hope for. The intention with the design of this aircraft was to build a plane that could be operated by a single pilot - while at the same time pushing the performance of the aircraft to that of a mid-sized plane.
The Cessna Citation CJ4 is a high-performance plane that can reach speeds of up to 451 ktas, which is about as fast as jets of this classification get. Once you are in the air, you have a range of nearly 2,200 nm. With these kinds of inflight capabilities, you can travel around the country optimally without needing to refuel. The range of the Cessna Citation CJ4 also means that you can reliably use this aircraft for international travel.
Inside the cabin, you can seat as many as 10 passengers. A lot of corporations utilize the Cessna Citation CJ4 for this very reason. However, the increased passenger capacity also makes this an excellent jet for personal use, as you can plan trips with friends virtually anywhere in the world.
Cessna also designed the Citation CJ4 with comfort in mind. You have an impressive selection of interior options and you can also work with a designer to make your own customizations. Once you are on board, you can enjoy the Cessna Citation CJ4’s seats which fully recline - taking comfort in the sky to a whole new level.
The temperature controls of the Cessna Citation CJ4 are fantastic. You have a separate temperature environment for both the cockpit as well as the cabin so that you can modify the indoor climate the way you see fit.
In addition, Cessna designed the Citation CJ4 with state-of-the-art avionics. The pilot controls are world-class and this is a key reason why an aircraft of this size can be operated by just a single pilot. The cockpit is equipped with a Rockwell Collins Pro Line 21 with intuitive controls and enhanced weather tracking - all adding to the safety of the aircraft.
This is one of the best single-pilot jets that money can buy and you can enjoy the comfort and dynamic range of a mid-sized aircraft - without the operation costs of one.
If you want a single-pilot jet that can give you the longest range and fastest speed possible, you should put the SyberJet SJ30 at the top of your list. This aircraft is designed to reach an incredible range of 2,500 nm and a maximum speed of a whopping 486 ktas.
The SyberJet is an impressive aircraft, to say the least, and its flight performance capabilities speak for themself. It is important to note that the SyberJet can only reach this range when speed is not maximized. The SyberJet SJ30 can only deliver its 2,500 nm range when speeds are kept below 436 ktas. With that being said, even 436 ktas is still faster than some of the other jets that we have mentioned on our list.
With these numbers in mind, you can technically get from New York to San Francisco on just a single tank. There is virtually no other single-pilot jet that can deliver this kind of performance, which is why the SyberJet SJ30 is one of the most efficient planes that you can buy.
The interior cabin is comfortable and luxurious, making your air travel speedy and enjoyable from start to finish. There are also independent temperature controls for both the cabin and the cockpit so that you can modify the climate of each part of the aircraft. The SyberJet SJ30 can seat up to 6 passengers, which is the perfect medium between a larger single-pilot aircraft like the Cessna and a compact option like the HondaJet.
When you see the Eclipse Jet’s design, you could easily mistake this plane for being a Vision Jet from Cirrus. However, One Aviation designed this aircraft to perform even better with an impressive flight range and altitude capacity that trumps a lot of the competition.
The Eclipse Jet is slightly bigger than the HondaJet and features 6-seats for passengers. This is a single-pilot jet but it does have two engines - meaning that you will need to find a capable pilot with proper training. The inflight capabilities are excellent and the handling is smooth and reliable. All in all, this is a top-notch single-pilot aircraft that is perfect for business and pleasure air travel.
Once you are in the air, you can take the Eclipse Jet to an altitude of 41,000 ft. The aircraft also has a solid range that enables it to fly to distances of up to 1,100 nm. You will also enjoy the comfort that you feel while in the air, as The Eclipse Jet was designed with a luxurious interior.
If the specs and performance of the Eclipse Jet are lacking for your tastes and needs, then you can opt for the improved version that is soon to come out, which will feature a better range and increased performance.
Embraer is a Brazilian aircraft manufacturer that has been on the rise in recent years. This aerospace company has an impressive line of jets that continue to become more and more sophisticated with every release.
The Phenom series features a variety of luxurious jets that are regarded for their performance capabilities. The Embraer Phenom 100 and 300 are both single-pilot jets with excellent performance and comfort.
Each plane has its own qualities but they ultimately share many of the same features - especially for performance and in-flight capabilities. The Embraer Phenom 100 is slightly smaller and can seat as many as 7 passengers. Whereas the Embraer Phenom 300 can seat as many as 10.
This is a very popular aircraft among corporations. The level of comfort and flexibility to have a single-pilot operate the plane makes this a dynamic aircraft that is both comfortable and reliable. If you want to get to where you are going quickly, the Embraer 300 is considered to be one of the fastest single-pilot jets that money can buy - with an incredible top speed of 464 nm.
Cessna Citation M2
Cessna’s Citation series is an impressive line of jets and the M2 model is one of the best planes on the market. Much like the CJ3+, the Cessna M2 can also be operated by just a single pilot, which considerably lowers your operating costs.
The Cessna Citation M2 offers comfort and performance, which is why this is a very popular plane for charters, as well as business and personal use. The maximum distance that the Cessna Citation M2 can reach is roughly 1,500 nm - with speeds that can surpass 400 ktas.
One key distinction between the Cessna Citation M2 and the CJ3+ is that this variation is a bit smaller. The Cessna Citation M2 can only seat up to 7 passengers. While this may be a drawback for corporate businesses that need to transport a larger number of people, this is a major selling point for anyone that does not need the extra space.
You need to keep in mind that a larger plane is going to be considerably more expensive to look after. The Cessna Citation M2 strikes the perfect balance between a single-pilot jet that may be too small for some (like the HondaJet) and too large (like the CJ3+). This will make managing your aircraft easier and cheaper down the line.
However, despite the smaller cabin, you still have world-class inflight performance. The Cessna Citation M2 handles incredibly smoothly and is a very dependable plane overall. In addition, if you value comfort, Cessna has made its Citation M2 available with a number of different interior design styles. You can select from one of Cessna’s pre-made designs or customize your own based on your tastes.
The Pilatus PC-24 is a one-of-a-kind single-pilot jet. This aircraft has superb performance and in-flight capabilities that shatter the bulk of the competition. You can get up to speeds of 440 ktas in this aircraft and you can reach distances of up to 2,000 nm - enabling you to travel to most places around the country on just a single tank of gas.
The Pilatus PC-24 can also seat as many as 11 passengers, which enables you to transport a lot of people for business and pleasure. A lot of corporate industries buy the Pilatus PC-24 for that very reason, as small single-pilot jets rarely offer enough passenger space. In addition, the increased seating capacity of this aircraft makes it perfect for anyone who wants to take friends on trips, if you are traveling for personal use.
With that being said, what really makes the Pilatus PC-24 standout among just about every other single-pilot aircraft is its rugged capabilities. Pilatus designed this plane to be able to handle ‘off-road’ terrain so that you can land on just about any runway. Not only can the Pilatus PC-24 take off and land on paved runways but also on dirt, which opens up your options for where you can fly.
This is often one of the biggest selling points for this aircraft as you can travel to more than 10,000 different locations around the world. Just about every other single-pilot aircraft that we mention will not be able to achieve this and will always require a paved runway. If your intentions for flying are solely business, this is usually not a major factor.
However, if you like to travel by air, the increased flexibility and destinations that you have access to make the Pilatus PC-24 a very attractive aircraft. In addition, Pilatus claims that their single-pilot jet can take off on runways that are just under 3,000 ft long, which means that you have even more options for where you can take off and land.
The rugged nature of the Pilatus PC-24 does not imply that the interior of the aircraft is anything but luxurious. This is a comfortable plane that was designed with all of the essentials that you would want out of a top-notch single-pilot jet. The Pilatus PC-24 is equipped with a leather interior and wooden cabinets to make the plane aesthetically pleasing to the eye and to the touch. All in all, you really can’t go wrong with the Pilatus PC-24.
Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1
Beechcraft is a world-class aircraft manufacturer that has an impressive lineup of private planes, but the Ratheon Beechcraft Premier 1 is the only single-pilot jet that the company has ever released. This compact plane can seat 6 passengers and has a comfortable interior that makes it perfect for corporate and business use.
The actual passenger seating is technically 6, but if you are operating the aircraft with a single-pilot, you can have as many as 7 people on board (not including the pilot), if you utilize the co-pilot seat.
The Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1 was first introduced in the early 2000s and it continues to prove itself as being one of the best single-pilot jets ever made. Although production of the Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1 has halted, a lot of these jets continue to be bought and sold to this day.
The range of the Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1 is lacking for long-distance travel if you want to avoid fuel stops. You can get as much as 1,100 nm out of a single tank with this single-pilot aircraft. However, for most business purposes, this is an adequate range and you can still fly to just about anywhere around the country with just 1 or 2 fuel stops.
The interior of the Raytheon Beechcraft Premier 1 is comfortable and the flight performance is smooth and reliable. All in all, this is a very solid single-pilot jet from Beechcraft and is perfect for anyone looking for a compact plane.
About THE AUTHOR
After spending years watching every video I could find about flying, I finally scratched the itch and got my pilots license. Now I fly every chance I get, and share the information I learn, here.Read More About Joe Haygood