I flew on the world's cheapest private jet, which charters for $3,000 an hour and seats 6 — see inside the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet

·8 min read
VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider
  • Private charter company VeriJet flies the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet jet for $3,000 an hour.

  • VeriJet's CEO says he prefers the single-engine aircraft because of its safety and performance.

  • I took a demo flight on VeriJet's Cirrus plane and see why clients say they feel comfortable on it.

VeriJet is a charter company born in late 2020 that exclusively operates the world's first single-engine personal jet: the Cirrus SF50 Vision Jet.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

The company started with three planes and in two years has expanded to 18. VeriJet has also built a crew of 40 skilled pilots in that time period. To be hired, the aviators need 1,500 hours of flight time and an airline-transport-pilot certificate.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

VeriJet's founder and CEO, Richard Kane, told Insider his company chose the Vision Jet because of the single-engine business plane's safety and high efficiency.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

With a list price of $3-$3.5 million, the Vision Jet is the cheapest private jet on the market; but it doesn't skimp on comfort and performance.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

According to Kane, the Vision Jet can fly at Mach 0.53 and has a range of 1,277 nautical miles, or 1,470 miles. This means it can easily connect small cities in the US that commercial airlines don't.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Major airlines typically fly through a central hub before heading to smaller markets such as Huntsville, Alabama, or Cody, Wyoming. Kane told Insider one of his customers lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, which has an airport that isn't served by any airlines.

Delta Air Lines Embraer 170 regional aircraft.
A Delta Air Lines Embraer 170 regional aircraft.Taylor Rains/Insider

Instead of driving an hour northeast to Birmingham and flying out via a hub, customers use VeriJet to travel directly from Tuscaloosa to their destination. Moreover, the client can fly out to a meeting and back on the same day.

Tuscaloosa Airport during University of Alabama football games.
Tuscaloosa National Airport during a University of Alabama football game.Tuscaloosa Airport

Kane told Insider that VeriJet charters cost $3,000 an hour with no repositioning fee within 700 miles of their Santa Monica, California, base.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

That drops to $2,750 with the company's jet card when the buyer commits to 100 hours.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

While VeriJet may be more expensive than flying commercial, Kane says those who can afford it find the convenience and time saved worth the money.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Insider took a demo flight on one of VeriJet's Vision Jets with Kane as the pilot to see what passengers could expect. Take a look.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

I met up with the CEO at Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Bridgeport, Connecticut, on a Friday for the demo.

Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.
Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.Taylor Rains/Insider

We departed out of Three Wing Aviation, which is one of the airport's fixed-based operators that provide things like fuel and maintenance to general aviation planes.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

When I arrived at the airport, I didn't have to go through security or have any of my belongings checked before boarding, which is a nice perk of flying private.

Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut.
Inside Bridgeport Sikorsky Memorial Airport in Connecticut. The hallway led from the entry directly to the ramp.Taylor Rains/Insider

I met Kane on the ramp of the FBO, where he gave me an exterior tour of the Vision Jet. I immediately noticed the paint job, which used dark colors and was easy on the eyes.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Walking around the plane, Kane showed me a few interesting features, like the infrared camera on the nose, which scans for wildlife or debris on the runway that might cause a collision.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

He also showed me the V-shape of the tail. According to Kane, the design uses turbulence-reducing technology meant to keep the flight smooth in weather or wind.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

We also discussed the placement of the engine. Kane said the design made the aircraft "bird-proof" because the engine wouldn't ingest birds, making the company's foreign-object-damage insurance "basically zero."

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

The engine also helps the plane to fly low and slow, reducing fuel burn and allowing the plane to get into airports that other private jets can't, like Santa Monica Airport in California. Biofuel can also be used for the engine.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Kane emphasized that the single-engine was safe and said the system emailed status information to the pilot after every flight, indicating whether the engine needed maintenance.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

After completing the walk-around, we boarded the plane and I got to sit at the controls.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

The displays were huge and the touchscreen was responsive, making it easy to input commands.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Kane could pull up airport diagrams, charts, checklists, and other necessary flight references with a simple touch.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Also configured in the cockpit are systems backed by artificial intelligence, which is one of Kane's biggest draws to the Cirrus jet.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Specifically, he told Insider the systems on the aircraft all worked to prevent crashes that had happened in the past, making the plane one of the safest in the skies.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

For example, when lining up for the runway, the jet knew our location at the airport and ensured we lined up for the correct runway given by air-traffic control.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

According to Kane, if we approached the wrong runway, the plane would give a warning.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Once we were configured to go, Kane lined us up on runway six for takeoff. He showed me how to use the controls and, at about 90 knots, I pulled back on the stick and we were airborne.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Kane then instructed me to pull up the flaps and landing gear, input the desired navigation, and press autopilot. The plane flew itself from there, which I found incredible.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

The system was intuitive and clearly designed to enhance safety and pilot performance.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Shortly after takeoff, Kane showed me the plane's deicing system known as pneumatic boots, which are grooves on the wing that break down ice.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

When Kane deployed it, the jet reminded him to also turn on the engine heat, which is the AI backing Kane discussed before the flight.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
The display had yellow caution warnings and told him what he was being cautioned about.Taylor Rains/Insider

For the 30-minute demo, we flew from Bridgeport to Groton, Connecticut, then over Long Island, and back. We inputted the routing on the ground and got clearance from air-traffic control before taking off.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Throughout the journey, ATC gave us instructions to descend, ascend, and adjust our heading, which was all very easy using Cirrus' flight-management system.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Flying at around 5,000 feet, we got great aerial views of the Long Island Sound and the communities around southern Connecticut.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

After about 20 minutes, we started preparing for landing, which was the most impressive phase of the flight.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Kane configured the plane and we got the runway in sight, but the aircraft told us we would be battling 19-knot crosswinds during our approach.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

In a regional jetliner, passengers could expect a bumpy ride, but, despite the gusts, I felt little to no turbulence as Kane easily navigated the plane to the runway.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

According to the CEO, the smooth ride is due to the turbulence suppressors on the tail.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

He further said many of his clients had previously been afraid to fly but the Cirrus' advanced systems and resistance to birds and turbulence made them feel comfortable flying in the jet.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

If things do go wrong, the plane comes with a parachute system meant to help recover the jet and safely lower it to the ground.

Cirrus Vision SF50 parachute system.
Cirrus Aircraft

A red handle located on the ceiling of the Vision Jet deploys the parachute. According to a Cirrus pilot website, Cirrus parachutes have been deployed more than 100 times on a variety of aircraft and saved more than 200 people.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Source: Cirrus Owners and Pilots Association

In addition to the parachute, Cirrus has also incorporated an auto-land function for emergencies. The feature is activated by pressing a red button on the ceiling.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

As far as the passenger experience, VeriJet's Vision Jet can carry seven people: six passengers and one pilot.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

One person could sit at the controls in the front …

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… while up to five can sit behind. Two seats are positioned in the middle of the jet, and a row of three is in the far back.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

While the back row doesn't recline, the two middle seats can lay nearly fully flat.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

They also offer plenty of legroom.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

When testing out each seat, I did find the far left and far right seats in the back row had minimal legroom, but that may not be a major inconvenience for the short flights.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

The middle back seat, on the other hand, has plenty of legroom.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

Overall, the seats were plush and comfortable. The jet also offered other amenities, like universal power ports …

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… seatback pockets …

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

... USB ports and cupholders ...

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

... lights and air conditioning ...

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

… and headsets.

VeriJet Cirrus Vision SF50.
Taylor Rains/Insider

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