History of Aviation Part Five: The Rise of the Corporate Jet

The history of aviation has flown from 13th century inventors only dreaming of a way for people to fly to the historic flight of the Wright Brothers, and through two World Wars.  Commercial jets’ growing popularity and improvements to passenger safety/comfort has made air travel almost as common as car travel.  Businesses now realized corporate jet ownership was not only practical, but also economical.

Early Corporate Jets

History-of-Aviation-Part-Five-The-Rise-of-the-Corporate-Jet-448x198After World War II, commercial planes powered by jet engines grew in popularity.  Jet engines were far more powerful and quickened time spent to reach destinations.   Less travel time meant more freedom for corporate travelers to conduct business and return to the office.  However, as more people chose to fly for both business and pleasure, the airports became complicated by reducing again the time corporate executives had to conduct business.  In the early 1960s Lockheed created the L-1329 Jetstar, a plane designed to carry ten passengers and two crew members, as one of the first corporate jets in the history of aviation.  Competitors soon followed with the Learjet and the Gulfstream II.

Only for the Wealthy

When corporate jets began servicing, only the ultra-rich could afford the high cost of owning a plane, with price tags that often exceeded $1 million.  The original corporate jets were lavish in offering larger seats, extensive workspace, and many amenities unavailable on commercial jets in the 1960s.  Many even provided sleeping spaces for longer flights.  Travelling executives used separate conference rooms available to conduct business. This era of the history of aviation was a time of opulence and outward display of corporate wealth.

Scaled Down

During the 1970s and ’80s, many businesses found it necessary to scale down these displays of corporate wealth, and some eliminated the corporate jet altogether.  For those who kept the aircraft, jet interiors became less lavish and more office-like.  Business amenities remained however, such as satellite phones and flat-screen monitors, so corporate executives could continue working with familiar technology.  As the history of aviation continued, the view of the corporate jet took yet another turn.

From the visions of Leonardo DaVinci to corporate jet ownership, the history of aviation has taken many twists and turns, but has always continued to expand and diversify.  For more information on the history of aviation, join Covington Aircraft’s social community on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.

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