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A Brief History of Private Jets

Friday 2 July 2021 Blog

Private jets are very common nowadays. Nearly everyone knows what private jets are and how they work. It's also relatively easy to charter a private jet on your own, so they're accessible to almost everyone.

Chartering a jet now is as simple as visiting Fast Private Jets and booking your jet!

But it hasn't always been like this. A few decades ago, there was no such thing as private jets or even commercial jets!

To see how private jets have evolved into what they are today, let's go through a quick rundown of the history of private jets.

The first Private Jet Concepts

Dr. Hans von Ohain and Sir Francis Whittle created the first plans for private jets in the 1930s. They had their small race to get private jets to the market. It was won by Ohain, who was the first to get a private jet to take off successfully.

At this time, propeller flights were also being tested. After lots of research, testers discovered that propeller flights were better for short distances and jet propulsion flights were more suitable for longer distances.

In the early stages, private jets were a very private affair indeed! The technology was very new, and only a few jets were available on the market.

New technology in minimal quantities meant the price of these jets was very high. Each jet costs about $1 million! So, of course, only a few families could afford this. So private jets were only available to the richest in communities.

The first official Private Jet

The first official private jet was the Lockheed Jetstar in 1950. The jet accommodated ten passengers with two crew members. 

At this stage, private jets still weren't very popular. Most people didn't have access to them because there still weren't many available. Also, there was still no such thing as a private jet charter or renting private jets at this stage.

The market took off when Bill Lear created the Learjet 23 in 1963. This was an even smaller jet that could only house 4-6 people. But this little jet was perfect for speedy flights.

Its lightweight design, modeled after German military jets, meant it had an incredible top speed of 561 miles per hour. This made it so much faster than the Jetstar and any other private jets on the market.

The Learjet 23 is still a popular private jet to this day as flights from this jet are still being offered.

Gulfstream enters the market

This era of private jets set the standard of luxury and comfort seen in many modern jets today. In 1966 Gulfstream added the Gulfstream II to the market.

This jet was a lot bigger than any other jets available, and any jets are seen before. It could take up to 19 passengers and offered a very comfy flight for passengers. 

Although it wasn't as fast as the Learjet 23, it made up for its overall flying experience. The jet had much more space for passengers, which means longer flights were much more enjoyable.

It also had a much more extensive range and could fly around 4000 miles before needing to refuel. A more extensive flying range means the jet wouldn't have to stop at connecting airports to refuel. You could fly straight to your destination resulting in shorter flights.

More competition enters

In 1968 and 1977, two prominent companies entered the private jet market- Embraer and Boeing.

Embraer's first jet was named the Bandeirante Twin-Turboprop. Their first jet was very successful as it was equipped with a Turboprop engine. These engines are lighter weight than jet engines, so the jet's takeoff performance was outstanding. 

The fuel efficiency of the jet was excellent, meaning flights were cheaper because less money had to be spent on fuel.

Embraer's history in the private jet market has been an excellent one. It's still one of the largest private jet manufacturers to this day.

Boeing was a very successful commercial jet company before entering the private jet market. They specialized in much larger planes and added this feature to the private jet market.

They did this by converting their 747 models into VIP versions made especially for private jet services.

The Modern Era

From 1990 to today, the private jet industry has focused on innovation and changing the system of private jets so more people can use them.

In 1990, business jets were born. This is where private jets started mainly being used for high-class executives and managers using private jets to get around the world a lot faster.

1990 also saw the birth of fractional jet ownership and private jet charters. With fractional ownership, you own the private jet for certain parts of the year or a limited number of flights in a year. People could now use private jet services without buying an expensive jet all by themselves.

Private jet charters also made private jets more accessible. Instead of buying your jet, you could book flights and rent a private jet for the same service but at a much lower price.

From 2000 onwards, there has been a period of innovation in the industry. Gulfstream introduced the longest-range private jet in 2008. The Gulfstream G650 had a range of almost 13,000 km. You can get nearly anywhere in the world on one tank.

Gulfstream unveiled the fastest private jet in 2019. The Gulfstream G700 offers a top speed of 1142 km/h!

Boeing revealed their landmark jet with the 747-8i. This is currently the largest private jet in operation, with a capacity of over 400 passengers.

The history of Private jets is a relatively short one, and it's only been 71 years since the first official private jet! 

But in this short time, private jets have involved from something exclusively for the rich to a very convenient system that everyone can use to save time on flights.

With all the innovation in the past few years, you can be sure the future for private jets is very bright. Companies are already in the process of making all-electric jets, supersonic jets, and maybe even space travel!

Do not hesitate to contact us for any additional information, we will be glad to hear from you and to provide you with the needed assistance. 

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