FrontRunners: Small Wonders

The personal minijet now is on the arrival screen. Just as deliveries of very light jets (VLJs) are commencing, some of their makers are turning their attention to even smaller craft. Among them is Epic Aircraft. The Oregon company, which plans to begin delivering an FAA-certified version of its $2.3 million, twin-engine Elite VLJ in 2008, also is working on a single-engine version called the Epic Victory (www.epicaircraft.com). The $1.4 million, carbon-fiber, four- or five-person jet will cruise as far as 1,380 miles at 368 mph. Likewise, Eclipse Aviation of Albuquerque, N.M., is contemplating producing a single-engine version of its $1.6 million, twin-engine Eclipse 500 VLJ. If built, the Eclipse Concept Jet (www.eclipseaviation.com) would seat four and likely would have a speed and range similar to those of the Victory.

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