We saw a lot of remarkable planes at the Paris Air Show last month, but one new jet really stood out: the Gulfstream G650.
At $65 million, it’s the biggest, fastest, and overall best private jet money can buy.
It also takes a lot of patience to get your hands on one — order now, and you’ll get your G650 in 2017.
But once you’re on board, you can fly around the planet faster and higher than on any commercial jet, in a cabin flooded with natural light and filled with air that is actually richer than what you breathe in cheaper planes.
With the G650, Gulfstream “established a new market segment for the whole industry,” communications head Steve Cass said in an interview at the Paris Air Show. And there won’t be any real competitors until 2016/2017, when Bombardier’s Global 7000/8000 is scheduled to go into service.
Until then,the G650 will remain the gold standard, and it’s easy to see why.
The G650 is the largest purpose-built private jet on the market, and has the tallest, longest, and widest cabin in its class.
At its maximum takeoff weight, it can climb to 41,000 feet (above bad weather and crowded commercial jet routes) in just 22 minutes.
Its range is more than 8,000 miles. Flying from London at near its top speed, it can reach New York and Beijing. At a slower, more fuel-efficient rate, it can get to Buenos Aires and Los Angeles.
With two Rolls-Royce engines, the plane has a top speed of Mach .925 — nearly the speed of sound, and much faster than commercial jets.
Big windows in the cockpit allow the pilots to see the tips of the plane's wings, helpful for navigating on the ground.
The plane's Enhanced Vision System can project an infrared image of what its cameras see onto the pilot's Head-Up Display.
Pilots also have the Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display, which uses terrain data to create a digital view of the plane's surroundings, for use in low visibility conditions.
G650 pilots get the standard sheep skin cover for their seats — it's not only comfortable, it's great for absorbing sweat.
There's a separate compartment so a crew member can give passengers privacy and still be comfortable.
An iPhone app can be used to control the screens, as well as things like lighting and opening the shades.
During the day, the huge windows (16% bigger than those on the Gulfstream G550) let in lots of light.
The galley is equipped with a water sterilization system, as well as china, crystal, and flatware for serving excellent meals.
On top of the luxury amenities, the G650's structure and engines are designed so the cabin can be pressurised to a higher level than normal.
The result is that passengers feel like they're breathing at an altitude of 3,000 to 4,000 feet, not about 8,000, like on commercial jets. That makes flying less tiring and even more comfortable.
Have $65 million to spare? Sorry, but the next available spot on the list won't get you in a G650 until 2017 — and there's no way to cut the line.
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