Those magnificent men in their flying machines. We’ve all wanted to join them up in the skies, commanding our own destiny above the clouds. And now, thanks to various innovations, there are now more options for private aircraft then ever before. So before you head straight to the likes of Learjet, consider these aerodynamic marvels.
Should you have always fancied yourself as something of a Maverick or Iceman, but don’t want to go through all that palaver of becoming a naval aviator, the good people at Saker are taking orders for what promises to be a private jet fighter, the S-1.
Claiming to be the fastest civilian aircraft in production, the S-1 will hit 1.1 Mach – one mile every six seconds (the Gulfstream G650 has a maximum speed of Mach 0.935) and cruise at 0.95 Mach.
Requiring no specialist flight training, the Saker S-1 tandem two-seater is powered by two Williams FJ44-4 engines and is designed to take-off and land from runways as short as 457m and climb at 12,000ft/min to a ceiling of 45,000ft. Maximum range? Some 1,600 miles, but external fuel pods can be added to increase the range to 2,200 miles. Amazingly, Saker says the S-1 is so efficient it boasts an operating cost of $2 per nautical mile, using 20 per cent less fuel than competitors – so at least running costs will not break the bank. Speaking of which, you can pre-order an S-1 now for between $5 million to $7 million, and we heartily recommend you go for the option of ejection seats. Expect to be taking delivery by 2019.
Of course, something a little more practical might be in order. If so, look no further than the new Flaris LAR 1. A hit at the 2013 Paris Air Show, the €1.5m jet single engine personal jet can reach top speeds of 435 miles per hour and fly distances of up to 1,730 miles.
The all-composite design is extremely lightweight – at just 1,500kg this is the lightest jet on the market – and allows for a very low take-off weight with a cabin that seats four. The wings can be detached in only five minutes, so no hangar is required. The tech inside the LAR 1 is impressive too, with an avionics suite made by Garmin as well as a ballistic parachute hidden in the nose cone so if something does go drastically wrong you can supposedly safely float to ground.
Lastly, if you want to get really teched up, try the UK-made e-Go plane for a much more reasonable £50,000. The design’s build is inspired by concepts used to produce the monocoques for Formula 1 cars, while the large front screen affords a stunning view. The lightweight design features an engine that weighs a mere 23kg and lets you achieve 60mpg with garage forecourt fuel.
That engine is a high-tech Wankel, a compact rotary engine that runs very smoothly, with low vibration for optimum fuel efficiency and a smooth ride. Be warned though, if you are on the larger side it might be time to hit the gym as the e-Go is only fit for a pilot weighing 60kg to 100kg, up to 1.93m in height. But the best thing is you could be flying this particular magnificent machine this very year. The sky’s the limit.