Others dismiss VLJs as so much pie in the sky.
NASA, which has been promoting VLJ technology, asked the National Research Council to report in 2002 on the feasibility of the concept. A committee of retired aviation industry executives and academics gave it the thumbs-down.
"The committee does not share NASA's vision," the report said, noting that aircraft could never be affordable for large numbers of people and businesses. It further concluded that they wouldn't attract passengers if they didn't serve big cities, and they couldn't use small airports that don't have navigation aids, control towers and radar. Noise would keep them away from small airports that did have such equipment, the report said.
Walker predicted the jets will appeal to wealthy businessmen eager to avoid the unpleasant and time-consuming experience of getting to an airplane at a busy airport. "It's uber-first class," he said.
Raburn differed from that characterization. "It's uber-convenience," he said.
On the Net:
Federal Aviation Administration: http://www.tsa.gov
Eclipse Aviation: http://www.eclipseaviation.com/
Adam Aircraft: http://www.adamaircraft.com/
The announcement is one of the biggest things to happen to general aviation in years.
The FAA estimates up to 5,000 VLJs could hit the skies over the next decade.