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There is (2011) no internationally agreed definition of a "Very Light Jet” (VLJ) category. Several definitions may be found in specialized publications which do not differ significantly from one another.
In general "Very Light Jets” is a term used to describe a group of small jet aircraft with capacity of 4-8 seats and a maximum take-off mass below 3000 kg6,613.868 lbs
3 tonnes. In ICAO classification they are considered as "Light aircraft”.
In some sources instead of VLJ the terms “micro jet”, “entry-level jet”, “very light personal jet” or “personal jet” can also be met referring to the same category of small jet aircraft.
In principle VLJs have different performance characteristics compared to commercial jet aircraft, notably:
- Optimum cruising levels FL 210 – FL 390;
- Final approach speed of less than 100 knots185.2 km/h
- Cruising speed of Mach.55 – Mach.62;
- Rates of climb and descent between 2000 ft/min10.16 m/s – 4000 ft/min20.32 m/s.
In contrast the performances of commercial jet aircraft are the following:
- Optimum cruising levels FL 330 – FL 390;
- Final approach speed of more than 140 knots259.28 km/h
- Cruising speed of Mach.74 – Mach.78 (medium) and Mach.80 – Mach.86 (heavy);
- Rates of climb and descent between 2000 – 4000 ft/min.
Estimated Impact of VLJ Integration
The integration of VLJ in ATM operations requires more attention by the air traffic controller (ATCO) and generates additional workload due to the different performance characteristics of VLJ compared to those of commercial aircraft. The integration may affect significantly the airspace capacity, the provision of air traffic services and the air traffic flow management.