Flying Car vs. Very Light Jet

May 23, 2016

For business travel, the Very Light Jet (VLJ) market has been getting lots of attention. Per, this class of jet is typically marketed to small and mid-sized companies in the US. As the class depicts, these jets are very small, compared to the larger private jet cousins. They may hold 2-4 passengers and require 1-2 crew. Many companies employ professional pilots to fly their corporate jets.

While every business is unique and its travel needs are unique as well, two factors that people always consider are the purchase price and the cost to operate a particular aircraft. Numerous articles in business and aviation publications discuss this very topic, citing statistics for competing jets in their class.   Operating costs are broken down into Hourly Operating Costs, which includes fuel, maintenance (parts and labor), insurance and several other factors that give you how much it costs to operate the aircraft on an hourly basis.

Let’s take the Cessna Citation Mustang, a very popular VLJ. Purchase price for a new one is about $2.75M. Cessna has published their calculations of operating costs as $855.00 per hour. If you are hiring a corporate pilot and possibly co-pilot, this would obviously increase the operating costs.

Flying cars, as a business tool, while not nearly as frequently discussed, could very well be an attractive alternative in the not so distant future. For businesses with multiple offices in nearby cities, having a flying car at each office could be great option.  This would allow people to fly (and drive) where and when they need to, instead of all having to compete for the use of their one corporate jet. If the jet is being used by one office, none of the other offices can have access.

The Switchblade Flying Car, which seats 2, has an estimated purchase price of $150,000. That means a business could buy 15 Switchblades for less than the cost of one Cessna Mustang.  What about having the staff to pilot those flying cars? A company might consider investing in training some of their staff as Private Pilots, at least one person in each office that has a company flying car.  Figuring in the costs of this training at about $8,000 per person, the company would still be way ahead in terms of their bottom line.

The Switchblade uses unleaded automobile gas, as opposed to pricy Jet A fuel. While its operating costs have not yet been fully determined, a conservative estimate would be $70.00 per hour. And remember, there will be no rental car fees at the destination airport. With a flying car, you have your “wheels” with you at all times. Another advantage of a flying car is that you can land and take off at any small/regional airport, whereas in a jet your choice of airports is more limited due the longer runways they require.

Future minded people, who think outside the corporate jet box, may just surprise us with how well they can maximize the benefits of using flying cars for business.  Only time will tell.

–  Frank Jones

Switchblade, Samson Sky, Skybrid, and Skybrid Technology are trademarks or registered marks, and are used with permission on these pages.

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