The Beechcraft Starship was introduced to the market in 1983 and was destined to be an innovator, featuring the first glass cockpit in any business aircraft and an exceptionally “unique” design. There are 5 remaining Starships in the US that still hold FAA registration.
The Piaggio Avanti was introduced in 1990 with a similar design to the Beechcraft Starship. The Italian-built aircraft bears the nickname, “Catfish of the skies” because of its unique canard design. The Avanti has made a name for itself by offering jet speeds and superior onboard comfort at the operating cost of a turboprop. The Avanti is still alive-and-well, it is in its third design iteration dubbed “EVO” and can be picked up for $7.5 million USD new.
The Rutan Boomerang was built to reduce the adverse effects associated with losing one of the two engines on a twin-engine aircraft. The design results are interesting to say the least. The design never left the FAA certification process and only 1 aircraft was ever built.
Adam Aircraft Industries (AAI) first flew the A700 twin-jet in 2003 as a counterpart to the A500 twin-engine piston developed around the same time. Ultimately, the development of both aircraft met their ultimate fate after the economic crisis of 2008 leading to the bankruptcy of Adam Aircraft.
The first flight of the Edgley Optica was in 1979 and it was designed as a low-cost alternative to the helicopter for observational work. The UK built aircraft is powered by a lycoming flat 6 cylinder that drives a ducted fan behind the cockpit. 22 aircraft were delivered by Edgley and there is now hope that production will begin again in 2019.
Gee Bee R-2 Super Sportster
The Gee Bee is by far the oldest of the bunch (and not exactly a business aircraft), it was produced in 1932 as a racing aircraft identical to the original Gee Bee R-1. The aircraft had a reputation for being incredibly difficult to control and was inherently dangerous. The R-2 and R-1 were pieced together after a crash of the R-1. The aircraft was eventually sold to a private owner who added larger fuel tanks making the aircraft impossible to control, he crashed after takeoff and was killed - it was never rebuilt.