“ While it may be tempting to use broad generalizations about the way business aircraft are most often used in America today, let’s not neglect the importance of business aviation as a crucial competitive asset to companies, an economic driver and lifeline to communities large and small. ”
Production models of Gulfstream’s new, near-supersonic flagship G650—which received FAA certification in the U.S. on September 7—have been rolling off the assembly line and winging their way to completion centers. The manufacturer expects to have the $64.5 million, 12,963-kilometer-range bizjet into the hands of customers before the end of this year.
The G650 is by far Gulfstream’s most ambitious project to date. It has not been without a few problems along the way, including the loss of a certification aircraft and crew in April 2011 that temporarily halted flight testing, and some software issues. However, the aircraft has been thoroughly tested and deemed airworthy, and more than 200 customers have lined up for deliveries, making the G650 one of the most successful business jet launches ever. The aircraft’s two chief attributes—size and speed—account for this popularity.
The G650 features 28 percent more cabin volume than the G550, itself a large 12- to 16-passenger jet. The G650’s main cabin door is 190 centimeters high, the cabin floor is 203 centimeters wide and the finished cabin ceiling is 196 centimeters tall. In back, you’ll find a cavernous, 5.5 cubic meters baggage compartment. All that space means room for larger seats, windows and monuments.
The cabin can be configured for up to 18 passengers in any of 12 floor plans, with either forward or aft galleys and with or without a dedicated crew rest area. The conference area is expandable from four seats to six by replacing the center cabin credenza with two single seats. With forward-galley layouts, an optional stateroom is available just forward of the aft lavatory.
The G650 cabin benefits from a combination of clean lines, high-tech accents and hints of art deco on the curved-edge cabinets. The absence of clutter and visible switching on this airplane is striking. The galley is large and decidedly high-tech.
The G650 mates its stylish, spacious and highly functional cabin to near-supersonic maximum cruise speeds. Earlier this year, the G650 set a speed record for business jets, making the trip from Washington, D.C., to Geneva, Switzerland, in 6 hours, 55 minutes, for a speed that averaged between Mach 0.90 and 0.92. It also flew from Los Angeles to Savannah, Georgia, in just 3 hours, 26 minutes. The G650 has a maximum cruising speed of Mach 0.925, making it the world’s fastest business jet.
Thanks to its comfort and advanced technology, the G650 sets a new world standard. Thanks to its blistering speed, that world just got a little smaller.
At a Glance
Price: $64.5 million
Range:* 12,963 kilometers
Maximum cruise speed: Mach 0.925
Cabin Length: 8.18 meters
Cabin Width: 2.59 meters
Cabin Height: 1.95 meters
Cabin Volume: 60.54 cubic meters
*at long-range-cruise speed of Mach 0.85 with 8 passengers, 4 crew, NBAA IFR reserves.