Almost everyone, at some point, can relate to the discomfort of being crammed into a small, constrained space within a crowded airplane, where simply stretching your legs is already a feat on its own and getting from the window seat to the lavatory can be downright unimaginable, reports Thomas Hughes
Of course, if you are feeling fancy and you don't mind paying extra buck for your flight, you may swap your economy class ticket for a business class and enjoy upgrades in leg room, chair comfort, food and drink, available technology and other amenities. Alternatively, you could also get yourself a private jet.
Whether you are looking to acquire your own personal aircraft or charter the plane for a single flight, you want to enjoy the best service possible and travelling by private jet has more than a handful of alluring benefits from saved time and reduced stress, to the quality of service and luxurious accommodations. Most importantly, private jet travel provides the optimal efficiency, convenience and flexibility. Passengers can book the boarding airport and the destination of their choosing, thus bypassing the average man's hassle of airports, waiting lines, security checkpoints and layovers. A secure parking space is usually provided and the reservation and airport personnel will be there to assist the passengers with their luggage. Your belongings travel with you at all times, ensuring that nothing will be lost or misplaced during the trip.
Aboard your personal jet, there is no "deal with airline food" – the custom menu is tailored to satisfy the needs of the passenger, with an option to pre-order a specific selection of food and drink prior to the flight. Comfort plays an important role in the appeal of chartering a private jet. Aboard the aircraft, there is plenty of space to not only stretch your legs, but to move around, change places between a personal seat and a group table, and in the case of an overnight trip, to even lay down. Your privacy is guaranteed by the fact that as the lead passenger you get to choose the group that joins you on the flight, thus making your time aboard the plane the perfect opportunity to hold a meeting, to work undisturbed, or to relax.
The jets are equipped with a variety of new technologies, allowing the passengers to adjust the details of the cabin to their liking via touch-screen displays. The cabin is also most likely furnished with satellite TV, phones and outlets that allow for the use of personal computers on board. The most important advantage of flying in a private jet, above all, is an increase in productivity and saved time. Time, as we know, is money and if the hours aboard a plane are not wasted in waiting, but well invested, if the stress and the frustration of big airports can be reduced to none, then substituting a commercial airline with a flight aboard a private jet may well be worth the price.
Now, to charter a plane is one thing, but to buy one is a different story. So how does one go about making a decision on which private jet to purchase? There are several companies that manufacture personal aircraft for ultra high net worth individuals. Bombardier, Cessna, Embraer and Boeing all produce business jets, just to name a few. However, it is the G-series flagships, manufactured by Gulfstream Aerospace – a subsidiary of General Dynamics, that boasts the status of an icon. Introduced in 2004 and currently priced at $61,500,000 USD, the Gulfstream G550 is the evolution of the popular Gulfstream V model, equipped with state-of-the-art technology and several substantial improvements in both performance and passenger comfort. The primary users of this aircraft are the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the Israeli Air Force, and NetJets. Several celebrities are also known to enjoy the ownership of the G550, including: Jim Crane, Tiger Woods, Gisele Bunchen, Lakshmi Mittal, Phil Knight, Ralph Lauren and Steven Speilberg.
The winner of the highly acclaimed Robert J. Collier Trophy, the G550 presents its passengers with the highest performance, powered by two advanced Rolls-Royce BR710 engines that produce over 15,000 pounds of thrust each. With a maximum range of 6750 nautical miles and an increased fuel efficiency, the G550 is an ideal pick for intercontinental travel, its improvements in advanced aerodynamics offering an upgrade of 250 nautical miles from its predecessor. With a cruising speed of 0.885 Mach and the service ceiling set at 51,000ft, the Gulfstream aircraft is capable of travelling at altitudes much higher than commercial airlines; flying above regular traffic, adverse winds and unhindered by weather conditions, it does not have to compromise its routes, therefore it can get to its destination much faster.
Along with a crew of 2 pilots and up to 2 attendants, the aircraft seats up to a maximum of 19 passengers in its standard configuration, or 8 passengers with sleeping accommodations, making it best suited for small-to-medium sized groups, from individual travel, to flights with friends, family or business associates. With a cabin height of 6.2ft, a width of 7.4ft, an overall cabin length of 50.1ft and an interior seating length of 35.5ft, the G550 provides ample space for its passengers to enjoy unrestrained mobility. Its baggage capacity is of 170ft3, offering an increased amount of volume from the previous model.
The aircraft is equipped with sophisticated sound suppression techniques that keep the engine noise out of the cabin, so you can chat to your companions, enjoy music and televised programs, or simply rest without any disturbance. The new filtration system of the G550 supplies the aircraft with fresh air every two minutes and thanks to the low-altitude pressurization of the cabin, flights no longer take a tiring toll on the body, so upon landing, you will find yourself sharp and rested. To guarantee the safety of the passengers, the G550 is fitted with the Gulfstream Enhanced Vision SystemT - an innovative system designed to enhance the situational awareness of the pilots in the event of reduced visibility, in the air and on the ground. The PlaneViewT cockpit constitutes a highly sophisticated flight deck, featuring four large liquid crystal displays that facilitate the comprehensibility of terrain maps, navigational information, primary flight data and weather details.
An even newer model of the G-series, titled the Gulfstream G650 is also available and it is priced at $66,610,000 USD. The G650 is primarily employed by the United States Air Force, the United States Navy, the Israeli Air Force, and NetJets. It is also owned by the following celebrities: Bernie Ecclestone, Lauren Powell Jobs, Steve Wynn, Sir James Dyson, Phillip Green, James Arthur "Jim" Ratcliffe, Larry Ellison and Elon Musk who owns the G650ER – an improved model that features an even longer range. The G650 was known as the fastest and the longest flying plane ever built in civilian aviation.
At 92% of the speed of sound, the G650 has a maximum speed of 0.925 Mach at fast cruise, however the speed varies according to the distance: at long range cruise, it flies at 0.85 Mach and at normal cruise, it reaches 0.90. The long range of the G650 is 7,000 nautical miles while the fast cruise range is at 6,000. The powerplant has been upgraded to dual Rolls-Royce BR725 turbofans, each producing 16,100 pounds of thrust with unprecedented efficiency. Just like the G550, its maximum cruising altitude is set at 51,000 ft, however its maximum takeoff weight has been increased to 99,600lbs. Additionally, the new design features improvements in the wings –presenting a clean, simple and spacious structure that offers more room for fuel and allows for greater sweep.
While its maximum seating capacity remained at 19 passengers just like its predecessor, the G650 now sleeps up to 10 people instead of G550's 8. The size of the windows (now 16 of them instead of 14) has also been increased and every place has its very own opening, offering an amazing panoramic view from the sky and providing ample light to the cabin during the daytime. The cabin itself has been enlarged to 47ft in length, 6.5ft in height and 8.5ft in width, housing either 8 people in their most optimal comfort, or 19 in its most crowded configuration. It is equipped with the Gulfstream Cabin Management System which allows the passengers to control the temperature, the monitors and the lights from the GCMS app on their smartphone.
Improving upon the existing model, Gulfstream has also launched the G650ER. The new version has increased the ultra-long-range aircraft's maximum travel distance to 7,500 nautical miles at 0.85 Mach and 6,400 at 0.90 Mach, setting a new global standard for performance and stealing the spotlight as the world's longest travelling business jet, able to cover distances such as New York to Hong Kong and London to Buenos Aires in a single flight. Current owners of the G650 can upgrade to a G650ER for a week's time and $2,000,000. EG