The Evolution of Private Air Travel

Is there anything more luxurious than flying around the world in a private jet? After all, being able to charter a private jet is a dream to many travelers. You can skip airport security, relax in complete privacy, and take those iconic Instagram photos to make all your followers green with envy.

And while flying a private jet may give you instant VIP status, it’s not a new concept. In fact, private jets have evolved over the years and changed the way society views airplanes and travel in general.

The Beginning of Private Air Travel

If you think about it, the first private jets can be actually be traced back to the early days of aviation. When airplanes were first introduced in the 1900s, there was only room to sit the pilot and possibly one other passenger. And at this time, being able to have access to a newly designed plane and a pilot license was indeed a luxury.

In the 1920s, airplanes were designed with closed cabins and extra seats to carry more passengers. And while air travel was previously reserved for World War I veterans, emergency rescue pilots, and farmers, the desire to pilot an aircraft was growing in popularity.

Wealthy businesspeople were now able to charter planes for long-distance journeys. Or in other cases, to destinations that were not served by a commercial airport.

Designing a Comfortable Private Jet

Over the next few decades, the rise of the Piper Club, Cessna Airmaster, and Beechcraft planes continued to increase. After World War II, the design of the private aircraft slowly began to change to adapt to more modern tastes.

Planes were designed to be safer and were equipped with navigation systems and pressurized cabins. And since it was essential to communicate to air traffic control, a small radio communication system was installed.

And it wasn’t long before long-distance flights started to take off. So most importantly, the private planes were built with lavatories onboard.

Nowadays, private jets are fitted with a variety of comforts and luxuries. With custom leather and wood interiors, marble bathrooms with showers, even king-size beds, you won’t even feel like you’ve left home.

The Rise of the Business Private Jet

Although early planes could only accommodate a few passengers, it wasn’t until the 1960s that the concept of private travel started to emerge. And despite the handful of private jet companies on the market, it was Learjet that changed the future of private air travel.

The Learjet 23 was built in 1963 and was designed to be the first high-speed business jet. Flying 561 miles per hour, the Learjet 23 could shuttle up to eight passengers at a time.

And in 1966, Grumman’s Gulfstream II took things a step further. This aircraft was built with a larger cabin that could fit 19 passengers. Setting the standard for modern-day private jets, the Gulfstream II could fly for 4,000 miles nonstop.

The 1990s was also a critical decade for private air travel, as jet ownership became increasingly popular. And several of the world’s most advanced private jets started popping up, including the Cessna Citation X, Embraer Legacy 600, and the Bombardier Challenger 300. These planes were comfortable, quiet, and could reach speeds of up to Mach .82.

The Modern Private Jet

New designs for private jets are continually introduced into the market. Over the last few years, travelers have flown on the Eclipse 2002, the first lightweight aircraft. There is also the Dassault Falcon 7X, the first plane that doesn’t require manual flight controls.

And in 2008, Gulfstream released the G650, which is considered the largest, fastest, and not surprisingly, the most expensive private jet. It even set a record-breaking speed for traveling around the world in just 41 hours.

Looking towards the future, there are several new models to get excited about. In 2021, Learjet is expected to launch the 70XR and 75XR. And the Cessna CitationJet CJ4 and Citation Hemisphere will follow.

Final Thoughts

When you think of traveling by private jet, you probably imagine a world of A-list celebrities, weekend trips to Europe, and free-flowing champagne. And while these are all possible situations, private jet travel is more than just opulence and extravagance.

The evolution of private air travel has changed drastically over the last 100 years. And with new models and technologies being introduced each year, we can’t wait to see what the future holds!