“Time is our most precious commodity, and there are conveniences that wealth brings to essentially get you more time. —retired Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, explaining why he commutes via private jet from his Seattle home to watch games of the Los Angeles Clippers, the basketball team he bought last year for $2 billion. ”
Trump Talks About His New Jet
“I bought a beautiful 757,” Donald Trump told Business Jet Traveler in late April. “It’s being retroed and will be in service in about three or four weeks. It’s being completed by Stambaugh Aviation Inc.” Stambaugh is located at Brunswick-Golden Isles Airport, in Brunswick, Ga.
Trump selected the aircraft, he said, because “I always felt the [Boeing] 757 was the best looking of all the commercial planes. I like the sleekness, the lines. I’m a very aesthetic person. The 767 is too heavy. The [757’s] interior is the right size. If you get a wider plane, you’re too far away from the other walls. It’s like being in a hotel lobby. It’s never felt comfortable to me.”
As on his other airplane, the top of the fuselage on Trump’s 757 is highly polished jet black. The wings, which include Aviation Partners blended winglets, are white, as are the engines and the interior. Besides being aesthetically pleasing, the winglets reduce drag on the 757 by up to 6 percent and increase range by 10 percent, according to Stambaugh.
In single-class airline configuration, 757-200s hold up to 234 seats. Trump’s 757 has about 28 seats, he said, plus two bedrooms and two showers. He described the cabin entertainment and other avionics as “top, top, top of the line. This is Paul Allen’s plane from Microsoft, so it is wired for unbelievable things. Paul did a beautiful job on this plane.” Trump said he does not like to talk about the cost of the completion, but news reports have pegged the price of the airplane at about $100 million.
Like the Boeing 727 he’s flying now, which is for sale, the 757 will be based mostly in New York (La Guardia), Florida and Los Angeles. Trump’s main destinations are Florida and California, “with a few trips to Europe, and a little bit to Asia,” he said. “I only do about 300 to 400 hours a year, so I’m not a heavy flier.” When flying out of La Guardia, he added, he sometimes takes his Sikorsky S-76B from Manhattan. He leased an S-76 for many years, but owns the one he has now. The helicopter is based at Teterboro Airport in New Jersey, just west of Manhattan.
Trump has his own flight department, about six people. “The staff from the 727 is going to my new plane,” he explained, “and actually they’re more equipped on the 757s. You know, they’ve been pilots for the airlines.”
At the time we talked, Trump hadn’t yet made a decision about a bid for the White House, so we asked him whether he’d use the 757 to campaign if he did opt to run.
“I would certainly think so,” he replied. “It would be the ultimate, right?”
–R. Randall Padfield