Top 10 most influential business jets of the last century


For a few years Flying Easy has been discussing important current and historical innovations related to commercial aviation. When we delve into business aviation, we must select aircraft that in some way, shape or form, have made a lasting impression on the other side of the industry.

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Although the title says “jet”, two turboprop aircraft are on this list because of their popularity. And as a disclaimer, due to the nature of “Top 10” lists, everyone has their favorites, and you may not agree 100% with some of the choices below. Feel free to add yours in the comments!

1 Grumman Gulfstream I

With its first flight in August 1958, the name “Gulfstream” was born when the Grumman Gulfstream I took to the skies.

A Gulfstream GI turboprop aircraft is about to land.

Photo: Gulfstream

Although it wasn’t until the Gulfstream came into its own, this purpose-built turboprop aircraft not only launched one of the most successful commercial aircraft to date, but was also very influential to corporate aviation in general. Industry.

2 Lockheed Jetstar

The first proper commercial jet took flight in September 1957 (one year before the Gulfstream I and with jet engines), this aircraft was equally a game changer.

A US Air Force Lockheed Jetstar was standing in front of the hangar.

Photo: US Air Force

Part of the Skunk Works, known as one of the most spectacular military aircraft projects ever built, this early Quadjet corporate jet is unique in that it went from approval to first flight in just 241 days.

3 Larjet 23

Often cited as the third of the first true commercial jets, this relatively small production launched the LargeJet family in the booming corporate jet industry.

Learjet Model 23 parked at the airport.

It became a well-known name among private airline aircraft, and although the brand was incorporated into Bombardier and their aircraft were more or less competitive in the market, it undoubtedly left its mark in business aviation.

4 Dassault Falcon 20

This aircraft has long been popular in the industry. Not only was Dassault’s first commercial jet to launch the esteemed Falcon family of aircraft, the Falcon 20 is also responsible for getting FedEx off the ground. It came in just a few years before Federal Express was founded, and the business jet fits the bill perfectly.

Federal Express Dassault Falcon 20 parked at the airport.

And the Falcon 20’s legacy lives on, with the Falcon lineup including the most capable corporate jets and FedEx becoming one of the world’s largest shipping companies.

5 Cessna 500 Quote I

While some say the Citation X/X+ should be here based on performance, without the Cessna 500 Citation I, those airplanes wouldn’t be flying.

A Cessna 500 quote I parked at the airport.

In the year With nearly 700 examples built during a production run from 1971 to 1985, the 500 helped firmly position Cessna in the commercial aircraft market, formerly known as a general aviation manufacturer.

6 Bombardier Challenger 600 series

Originally developed by Canadair from the Lear concept (LearStar 600), the Challenger 600 series aircraft became the first widebody business jet, marking the beginning of a new trend in the private industry for modern and prestigious aircraft.

A Bombardier Challenger 600 series aircraft is parked at the airport.

The Bombardier Challenger 600 took off for the first time in 2011.

7 Bombardier Global Express

First unveiled in 1991 and taking to the skies five years later, the Global Express set a new standard with a range of 6,700 NM at Mach 0.80. Powered by a pair of Rolls-Royce engines (the model varies by aircraft variant), the Global Express series evolved into the Global 7500/8000, which, when delivered twice, became the industry leader in many respects. years.

Bombardier Global Express is taking to the skies.

Although the original Global Express featured the largest cabin in business aviation when it was first introduced, the Gulfstream G650 surpasses…

8 Gulfstream G650

Redefining new territories for business aviation, the G650/ER matches the Bombardier Global 7500 in many performance metrics. The longest commercial aviation flight (ER version) holds the current record and travels at Mach 0.925, but is ahead of schedule for the Bombardier jet.

A Gulfstream G650 flying above the clouds.

Photo: Gulfstream

The work Gulfstream did to build the G650 will eventually be surpassed by the G800, which boasts an incredible 8,000 nautical mile range.

9 Boeing BBJ 737-700

In the year In the mid-1990s, Boeing’s first purpose-built commercial aircraft quickly inspired the core lineup of Boeing Business Jets and Airbus Corporate Jets.

A Boeing 737-700 business jet was parked at the airport.

Various sources state that the Boeing and Airbus corporate jets were nearly delivered at the same time, although Boeing’s plan appears to have come first. Either way, customers can now purchase business and personal variants of the commercial aviation giant’s popular products.

10 Pilates PC-12

The world’s largest single-engine private jet and Rob Report’s “Swiss Army Knife” of aircraft, the Pilatus PC-12 is small but mighty. A versatile and reliable option, it first took flight in 2011.

Pilatus PC-12NGX taxiing to the highway.

In the mid-2000s, it took a new form as the PC-12NG “next generation” and in recent years, it has become the more luxurious PC-12NGX. It may not be as large as some of the larger aircraft on this list, but the Pilatus PC-12 occupies a special place in light private and commercial aircraft, which is still an important part of the industry.

Sources: Robb Report, National Air and Space Museum, Gulfstream, Airbus, Pilatus, Dassault, Bombardier, FedEx, FlightGlobal


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