MS 760 Paris Jet: The ultimate way to fly, 1950s style
By James Grahame
Doesn't this image paint a distinguished picture of personal jet flight in the Space Age? The MS 760 jet first flew on July 29, 1954. It was initially designed as a 4-seat communications and training aircraft. In all, 165 aircraft were built for the French Air Force, as well as Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay. Alas, it never caught on as a weekend civilian "getaway" vehicle because of its price and steep learning curve.
The French military retired the aircraft in 1997, but more than two dozen of these machines have been restored for private use in the USA - someone quickly figured out that these aircraft are fast and relatively inexpensive to fly and maintain. The Paris Jet has a maximum speed of about 432 mph (695 km/h) and a very respectable maximum ceiling altitude of just over 39,000 feet. It offers a maximum range of approximately 1300 statute miles (2,092 km) and an initial climb rate of just under 2500 ft/min. This definitely isn't an old Cessna 172.
A restored MS760 will cost a six or seven hundred thousand dollars, but JetSet offers fractional ownership for $60,000, which includes 25 hours of flight time per year. There's also a $1,100 monthly maintenance fee and additional flight hours will run $1,100 each.
[October 2009 update: JetSet has reached an agreement with SOCATA for the purchase and transfer of the type certificate and associated rights for the world’s first Very Light Jet (VLJ), the MS760 Paris Jet. And, led by Captain Dale “Snort” Snodgrass, retired from the United States Navy, a new two-ship, aerobatic-formation jet air show team has been formed to showcase the MS760 for the 2010 air show season. - thanks, Natalie!]