Saker S-1: Military-inspired personal jet aims to reach Mach 0.99


June 3, 2013

Saker Aircraft claims the Saker S-1 will reach a maximum speed of Mach 0.99

Saker Aircraft claims the Saker S-1 will reach a maximum speed of Mach 0.99

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In the business world, time is money (and bragging rights). In April, the Citation X took said rights from the Gulfstream G650 with its maximum speed of Mach 0.935. Another contender could soon be on the tarmac in the form of the Saker S-1. With a design inspired by military fighter jets, US-based Saker Aircraft says its S-1 will cruise at Mach 0.95 and reach a top speed of Mach 0.99.

In keeping with its military jet inspiration, the S-1 is a tandem two-seater. This includes the pilot’s seat, so this “luxury” jet is aimed at those that consider time more of a luxury than comfort. However, the extra speed should translate to less time spent in the air, with Saker calculating the S-1 will shave an hour off a 1,500 nautical mile (2,778 km/1,726 mile) flight compared to its closest competitor.

The S-1 is also being designed to handle take-off and landing from runways as short as 1,500 ft (457 m) and climb at a rate of 14,000 ft/min (4,267 m/min). Saker anticipates the aircraft will have a service ceiling of 45,000 ft (13,720 m) and a maximum range of 1,600 miles (2,575 km) with its internal 500 gal (1,890 L) tank. However, two external 100 gal (380 L) pods can be added to increase the range to 2,200 miles (3,540 km).

Measuring 40.5 ft (12.3 m) long, 15 ft (4.6 m) high and with a wingspan of 27 ft (8 m), the S-1’s compact size should also keep hangar costs down. It has an empty weight of 5,500 lb (2,495 kg) and can carry a maximum payload of 6,000 lb (2,720 kg).

It will be powered by two Williams FJ44-4 engines that boast a 5,000 hour time before overhaul (TBO), which Saker says gives the S-1 an estimated operating cost of US$2 per nautical mile. Saker adds that the engines, combined with the S-1’s aerodynamic profile, will result in an aircraft that uses 20 percent less fuel than its competitors.

Despite its looks, Saker says no military training will be required to fly the S-1, which has a stall speed of 90 knots. The aircraft’s cockpit, systems and aerodynamics have all been designed so it can be handled by any properly trained pilot. And if the pilot isn’t up to the task, Saker will also offer the option of ejection seats.

Saker says the majority of the S-1 will be designed and manufactured in North America, and although the aircraft is still in the design phase, Saker has taken the ambitious step of accepting pre-orders. We’ve written requesting pricing and release info and will keep you posted.

Update (6/4/2013): We've been informed that Saker Aircraft is aiming for a price in the US$5 to $7 million range, depending on custom features, with hopes that if the certification process runs smoothly deliveries will begin in 2019. The company points out that since the S-1 is still at the concept stage, there will likely be some changes and improvements to ensure the aircraft meets regulatory requirements.

Source: Saker Aircraft

About the Author
Darren Quick Darren's love of technology started in primary school with a Nintendo Game & Watch Donkey Kong (still functioning) and a Commodore VIC 20 computer (not still functioning). In high school he upgraded to a 286 PC, and he's been following Moore's law ever since. This love of technology continued through a number of university courses and crappy jobs until 2008, when his interests found a home at Gizmag. All articles by Darren Quick

This is just asking for trouble... they will be shot down by accident for looking like a fighter jet...

Ian Kitney

And once this airplane goes in a slight dive it is at mach what...? The transsonic region begins at mach .93 so what training will pilots receive for that? Does it have a/an stabilitator/all moving tail plane? Why can the airplane fly so fast, but only climb at the rate it does? Why do the front and inlets look like they were taken from stealth fighters and the rear look like a mix between an F-15 and an SU-27? The bottom also resembles an f-35 despite having two engines. What safety precautions will be taken to make sure this doesn't end up like the bede-10? Which airplanes does it consider its competitors? Why does it have narrow chines and spoilers?

Ian Mitko

Bang goes the peace and quiet in the environs of any airport/airfield from which this rather silly aircraft might operate. Fortunately, the fun will soon wear off and they will gather dust and maintenance charges in their hangars.

Mel Tisdale

Also since it's a fast jet, it's going to be real fun trying to land it since the stall speed will be very high. This is going to need skilled pilots to fly;.


If only it had VTOL to land on the roof of a skyscraper or in the back yard. It would be cool if it could float too, for island hopping.

Anthony Parkerwood

Why the ridiculous Mach 0.99? At that airspeed, most of the flow over the (convex parts of) the plane will actually be supersonic. Is there a regulation they are trying to skirt, so that the 0.99 is like a regatta yacht being 1 inch shorter than the length allowed by regulations? Or are they trying to milk the market for what it's worth before making the S-2 go at Mach 1.01 and cashing in once again?


Anything on it allow you to drop nearly 3 metric tonnes of explosive whilst flying?

Ash Mills

Why the twin vertical tails, other than to look like an F-15. You don't need that much stability for the speed of this aircraft.


Watch out for Mach Tuck.

That's what did in a lot of early bizjets till they found out the pilots were disconnecting the Mach alert to skate the edge.

One guy with Navy experience recovered by immediately deploying the landing gear- the rest before him crashed.

It bent the gear flat against the plane.

So I heard,anyway.


It doesn't have the range. At least 2,400 miles from NY to LA.

Jerry Reyes

Hopefully this one will have large enough ailerons. That's what did in the last attempt at a Mach 1-ish personal jet. The prototype crashed, NTSB said the ailerons weren't large enough to control the plane at supersonic speeds.

The company went bankrupt and sold off all the tooling and everything else for building the planes.

Gregg Eshelman

VoiceofReason - what do you consider to be a "very high" stall speed? IMHO the 90 knots quoted in the article seems quite reasonable given that the design is somewhat radical in the world of personal jets.

The speed comparison with the Gulfstream, and the resultant reduction in journey times, is a bit of a non-starter as far as I am concerned. The Gulfstream is a business jet that will usually have a professional crew thus allowing the time strapped owner to hold meetings, manage the business, etc, during the flight. One of the main justifications for corporate jets is that they allow the work to continue even when away from head office.

The Saker, even if the owner isn't the pilot, has none of the space needed for such activities. It is a personal, as opposed to corporate, means of transport and so I see the main market as being the "gotta-haves". Those to who money is no object when it comes to buying toys. Those who will see it as just a nice add-on to their fleet of Bugattis, Ferraris, Maybachs, etc etc.

As for the possibility of a supersonic S-2 - surely the extra speed can be gained by the careful addition of go-faster stripes, 4 inch chrome tail pipes, and a 2KW+ music system? It works for cars - doesn't it?


Give a skilled man 3D CAD modelling software and he can draw up anything. Dream on ... just like the farsical Americas Cup sailing event starting in a month.


any defense interest in this plane Might sell to USAF & USN under lisc to NG Id fly in this awesome Great sport Exec jet Like L39 from Tomorrow Never Dies 007

Stephen Russell

Mitko Ian...?

what kind of climb rate is fast if 14,000 feet per minute isn't? For me 5000 feet per minute is very nice and 14,000 plenty fast. Certainly fast enough to clear anyone's Class B airspace in a minute if required.

Wow, seems to be a lot of skeptical haters (skaters?) out there.

For me the Javelin seems a much better deal for the money. More complete for less than half the price and delivery...not in 2019 but this year maybe? Just looked at an old post for it. It is also a fully aerobatic capable military jet trainer with multiple safety systems and design features, all for $2.8 million! I'll take two.

I'll give up the extra .06 Mach the $5-$7 Million and the Sucker-1 in 2019 for a real Javelin at $2.8 Million in 2013!

Dr. Veritas

Need something with a scramjet capable of storing air in excess enabling the craft to maintain propulsion (albeit briefly ) in LEO.

That would make it a big boy's toy and highly desirable. :)

Good point made about the VTOL. This thing would be a pig to land otherwise.

Deploy-able single use parachutes would not go astray for those pucker moments.


How ironic would it be after spending all that money and traveling at such speeds, just to be caught in a traffic jam here in the real world!


@Dr. Veritas. With 7200 pounds of thrust and an empty weight of 5500 pounds how fast do you think this would climb?

Ian Mitko

uuugh. Why don't you just pick of the assets of the BD-10 or the Javelin, pretty much the same plane, same market. If it ever flies, the market is so small. You can still pick up an ex-soviet plane much cheaper.

Doug Halkenhauser

Could be ideal for a drug cartel air force if it ever became more than a rendering.

Joe Acerbic

@Slowburn, a delta-canard layout is inherently unstable and is generally only adopted by the military for a small-sized aircraft like the S-1. Unless the owners of the S-1 wants to go for some aerobatic flights, then it's best to keep to the conventional layout.

Jeffrey Wu

@Mitko Ian: I'm highly skeptical about the whole thing also, but lets say this for a serious project then the images shown is likely more marketing and loads of small and big changes will come along the way. Just as when a car company shows a exiting prototype with wheels so big they can't turn in the wheel arches and without room for an engine.

Anyway the speed vs. climb rate could be a question of the thing not having an after burner and therefore lacking the massive acceleration power. This on the other hand means the plane is to almost be capable of supercruise which is a tall order even though not needing loads of military avionics and weapon space must help.


@Mitko Ian, you think 14,000 ft/min is an "only" sort of climb rate...That's a vertical velocity of nearly 160 miles per hour?

By "fly so fast" you mean "only" mach 0.99, well, to get up to high transonic speed requires less power than flying supersonic. And much simpler (and cheaper) engine inlets, too.

At 30,000 feet we're only talking about a calibrated airspeed difference of 50 knots, between mach 0.85 (a very ordinary jet cruise speed) and 0.99. Or about 73 knots true airspeed difference. Really not that much looking at each other out the window.


I am not a fan of the wings they chose. They could have had much greater volume in the wings if they would have went with a long delta and canard layout keeping the same length and width.


re; Jeffrey Wu

Assuming that the layout is in fact inherently unstable and not simply the aircraft that have been built using it designed to be unstable it still does not matter we live in the age of fly by wire control systems. Aerodynamic stability is not necessary for an easy to fly plane.



Why bother though? It will take more coding for the FBW system to deal with a delta-canard design thus costing more money. Second, if the FBW system malfunctions in-flight, it will be much harder to bring a delta-canard layout aircraft under control than a conventional layout aircraft. I doubt the pilot of the S-1 can bring it under control should the FBW system fail, even military pilots have a hard time doing so.

Just stick with conventional layouts for a plane of this size, close-coupled delta-canards are just unnecessarily unstable/agile for a business jet.

Jeffrey Wu

So wait a minute...This thing has a 6000 lb. max payload, and can carry ONE passenger. That means it's designed to carry say a 200 lb. corp. exec. - and 5800 lbs. of his LUGGAGE? WTF?? And by the way, it's pretty obvious that Saker Aircraft is doing this as a tax writeoff....... Selling these in the 5 to 7 million price range means they'll be able to easily write off a loss of about a 8 to 10 million-dollars each.


re; Jeffrey Wu

When You have a complete control failure the plane crashes that is why fly-by-wire control system are built multiply redundant.

Boeing and Airbus have been been putting fly-by-wire systems on their planes for years. (The Boeing system is safer.) but the first airliner that's design really needs it is the A380 (The center of mass is too close to the center of lift for stability. Nose heavy is stable but requires drag inducing control input to fly.) The instability induced agility doesn't matter the fly-by-wire system will make the plane no more agile than the airframe can handle. By what right do you decree the close-coupled delta-canards "just unnecessarily unstable/agile"? The purpose of the delta is the large internal volume. The canard fixes the inconveniences that a delta usually come with. (High stall speed because of the inability to use high lift devises.) You could use a delta and a tail like the Mig-21 but it is less efficient. Also putting the vertical stabilizers at the wing tips will increase stability by giving them smoother airflow to work with.

re; OuldBill

Corporate executives (especially sales) often take heavy things with them. (Samples and mockups) 6000 lb. of hard drives represent an almost inconceivable amount of data it would take days to steam the data. "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway."--- Andrew S. Tanenbaum


@Sleat my point is not that 14,000 feet a minute isn't a lot in absolute terms. The plane will have far more thrust than its empty weight and it should almost (possibly could) supercruise. Doesn't that seem off to you?

Ian Mitko

Mach 2+ - probably for less money:


re; Mitko Ian

Maximum sustained clime rate is determined when the plane is at maximum gross flight weight. All planes can exceed it when they are flying light.


@Mitko Ian: The transonic region can start well below an AGS of 0.93Ma. It all depends on the shapes. Many pilots are exposed to it already (especially over the top surfaces of the wings, etc). Not a big deal if they design appropriately. Also, on what planet is a rate of climb ~14,000'/min for a civilian plane not enough? Please give me an example of when you would need more. @VoiceofReason: I'd call 90kn (~160km/h, 100mph) a pretty low stall speed. @GizEngineer: The tailplanes are likely so large because they look very close to the main wing and centre of pressure - it's an issue of leverage. To get the desired manoeuvreability, you need either a small surface area a long way from the CoP, or a large one close. Two tails mean you can have them smaller than one ludicrously large one. @Slowburn: Mate, where to start? Deltas are inherently harder to control and have higher stall speeds. Wing tip vertical tails would induce massive problems with stability in the event of failure or damage. Why risk it for no advantage? I agree with @Jeffrey Wu, why bother with the increased complexity and cost when there are perfectly suitable alternatives that are simple to design - there's a reason wing-tip vertical tails are not common place. They're trying to do this on a budget, so stick to tried and true layouts. I do agree with regarding rate of climb though - thanks for pointing that out.


Two points:

General aviation jet traffic can become backed up across the entire country with bad weather over popular fields. This plane could change flight plan to a multitude of small alternate fields probably closer to destination.

Supersonic flight is being prepared on drawing boards across the aviation world. Civilian purchases of the Concorde plans have been refused by the consortium but round-the-world over-water-routing has been in place for 30 years. This plane could easily fit into that supersonic, inflight refueling, citizen-of-the-world, scenario.


@Sleat/Slowburn/Doerpfield I stated earlier on that my point was not that 14,000 feet a minute isn't a lot, but that it doesn't seem that an airplane would have that little weight, that much thrust and that little drag wouldn't climb faster. I say the plane wouldn't be fast enough at mach .99. It simply seems that if a plane is said to go mach .99 it is really going to be supersonic in a shallow dive so why make it that fast if you can't break the sound barrier over land without a waiver? The runway length (not take off distance) was an "as short as" guestimation so I am skeptical that the climb rate is given for the maximum gross weight and for a sustained climb. Also the picture looks like a lot of planes superimposed on top of one another.

It seems like everyone here just assumed I was saying it wasn't fast enough, but that wasn't my point.

Ian Mitko

@OuldBill - Even sportscars have a little room for cargo. And if it's really inspired by military jets it might have some empty space where a weapon bay would be.


.99 Mach will be a rough and turbulent regime. Read Yeager's description of this flight area.

Richard Baker

re; Doerpfeld

FBW solves the difficult to fly problem and putting elevator control on the canard allows high lift devises to be added to the delta wing salving the high stall speed problem. Losing a stabilizer is bad but bird strikes are no more likely at the wingtip than at the center of the fuselage. If the wingtip bumps something on the ground an inspection and if necessary repairs must be made before trying to takeoff whether or not there is a vertical stabilizer on the wingtip.

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