My Ride in the Best Bizjet in the World
No matter how you cut it, the Gulfstream G650 is without peer.
By Robert Goyer / Published: May 21, 2013
There aren’t many of our readers who are likely to go out and buy a Gulfstream G650 at $60-million-plus per copy, but there are a few, and those few are most likely going to find themselves not in the left or right seat but in one of the seats in back, doing business, spending time with the family or just kicking up their heels and enjoying the ride. I had a chance to be one of those guys for a day when I flew in the G650 from London Luton Airport to Geneva, Switzerland, for the European business aviation convention known as EBACE.
It was a special flight, not because it pushed the G650 to its limits — far from it! It was because I got the rare opportunity to not be flying but to appreciate the airplane from a different perspective, from the cabin, the place that, we sometimes forget, is the reason that all the high-tech goodies and next-gen features of the airplane exist in the first place.
The G650 is the best bizjet in the world, and I don’t think there’s much debate about it. You can say BBJ — a non-bizjet (737) done up in bizjet style — or the Airbus ACJ — ditto — are, but even if they were actual bizjets instead of repurposed airliners, both are far slower and have shorter legs than the G650. Moreover, the G650 can operate from far shorter runways than its airliner competitors, it has a really low cabin altitude at cruise, it has the biggest and baddest (as in good) windows that we know of in any airplane, and it can cruise for 13 hours, going anywhere in the world with a single stop. The cabin is linked via high-speed Internet — I checked up on the baseball scores while en route to Geneva — and the galley offers operators the opportunity to prepare and serve the kind of world-class meals that Karin, our flight attendant, did for us on our short trip.
As far as other purpose-built bizjets are concerned, well, the G650 is just better. It’s faster, better equipped, more comfortable and longer-legged. Sorry, guys, the G650 has got you beat. Oh, sure, there are really nice bizjets in every niche, but for pure space-age planetary flying freedom, the G650 is currently the best ride on this planet.
On our way to Geneva we were powering along at Mach .90, a typical cruise speed for this airplane. The way it penetrated the turbulence made light work of the worst that nature had for us that day. Perhaps the greatest feature is it's quiet. Gulfstream leveraged the submarine expertise of parent company General Dynamics to keep the cabin of the G650 whisper quiet. I had lunch on the airplane with Gulfstream sales rep Trevor Essling and a couple of journalist chums, and we had what can only be described as a normal conversation at normal volumes. It was fantastic.
My trip to Geneva was short and sweet, exceptionally sweet thanks to the homemade ice cream served for dessert. Come Thursday I’ll be heading home to Texas via Boeing widebody with 300 of my closest friends.
I here and now make this bold prediction: It just ain’t gonna be the same.
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