Photos Courtesy of Saker AircraftHaving your own personal jet is perhaps the ultimate mark of affluence, but some wealthy aviation enthusiasts aren't satisfied owning just any passenger jet — they want a fighter model. And there are those who do exactly that, buying decommissioned military aircraft like F-4 Phantoms or MiG-15s and using them for their own personal enjoyment. But that's not what these combat designs were made for. That's where Saker Aircraft comes in. The American aerospace startup recently announced plans to launch the S-1, a fighter-style personal jet you can buy — or will be able to soon, anyway.
Designed and styled to look like an F-15 or F-18 fighter but without the armament payload, the Saker S-1 has a tandem cockpit under a canopy and a pair of Williams FJ44-4 engines that are said to be capable of thrusting the aircraft to a top speed of Mach 1.1 — just above the speed of sound and square in the Transonic range. That would also make it faster than any current commercially-available aircraft, handily trouncing the Gulfstream G650 (Mach 0.925) and Cessna Citation X (Mach 0.935).
The Saker S-1 is designed to cruise at Mach 0.95, at which it will cover 1,600 nautical miles on its standard onboard 500-gallon tank, or reach 2,200 miles with the help of a pair of external fuel tanks that add an extra 100 gallons each. The whole plane is relatively compact at 40.5 feet long and 27 feet wide, and takes just a 1,500-foot runway to take off and land.
Though still in the concept phase, Saker expects to begin customer deliveries by 2019. With a $5 million starting price, the Saker S-1 won't come cheap, but its streamlined design will make it less expensive to operate than its competitors, while shaving a good hour off a 1,500-nautical-mile flight compared to its nearest competitor. And that time savings — coupled with the thrill of flying your own fighter jet — just might make the Saker S-1 the ultimate luxury toy for today's fliers.