Reaching for the Sky: Gulfstream jets

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Gulfstream jets have long been synonymous with superior business travel. With each new model, the corporation exceeds its customer’s decidedly high expectations and raises the bar for luxury air travel. The recent release of the plans for the G550 (see our profile “Jet, Set, Go!” in the Dec/Jan 2008 of Haute Living) wowed connoisseurs and critics as never before, and sent those in the market for a private jet clamoring to reserve their model. If you haven’t put the deposit down for your G550 yet, don’t fret: Gulfstream will once again outdo itself with the new model, the G650.

The latest aircraft in Gulfstream’s line boasts an incredible array of features, keeping with the company’s reputation for being the best choice for private travel. Thanks to an innovative oval-shaped fuselage, the jet is 24 feet longer and 14 feet wider than its previous counterpart, with a ceiling a marked three feet higher, resulting in the longest and widest cabin in its class.

The jet has also increased the size of its windows by 16 percent, thereby enlarging them to an unprecedented 28 inches. With 16 windows running the length of the fuselage, the cabin is filled with a refreshing amount of natural light, while the windows’ higher-than-usual positioning makes for better views while taxiing down the runway.

For decades, Gulfstream has been partnered with Rolls-Royce, the quintessential brand for land-bound luxury and power. With a long history of producing increasingly powerful and robust aircraft engines, Rolls-Royce is taking its mightiness even higher through the creation of the BR725 for the G650. The engine utilizes a new swept fan technology that provides 16,100 pounds of thrust. This new technology also provides the craft with a 4.6 percent increase in maximum takeoff thrust and a higher bypass ratio, which makes for better fuel efficiency. The noise output of the engine is 33 percent less than that of the previous model, the BR710.

In addition to an increase in power, Rolls-Royce has improved the engine’s reliability. The BR725 is designed to have longer maintenance intervals and no midlife inspection. The time between overhauls is 3,000 hours longer than the preceding model, which allows the engine to spend more time in the air and less time in the shop, thereby reducing operating costs.

The long-distance capabilities of the latest aircraft are as impressive as its power. The G650 is noted as the longest-range traditional business jet in the world, and thanks to an advanced high-speed wing and a newly designed tail, the G650 is able to achieve a 7,000 nautical mile range. Flyers will also be able to wave goodbye to layovers; with an increase in cruising speed of 0.85 Mach, the jet is capable of flying eight passengers non-stop from New York to Beijing, Los Angeles to Cairo, or Tokyo to Miami, which will be made even easier with the new high-speed cruise control function. The aircraft will reach speeds of up to 0.925 Mach-in other words, nearly as fast as sound travels, although this speed reduces maximum distance to 5,000 nautical miles.

When Gulfstream released the G550, they debuted an exciting new technology that decreases the effects of altitude inside the cabin, resulting in less fatigue, higher alertness, and therefore, more productivity. Workaholics rejoice: the G650 has even lower cabin pressure. The G650 also promotes a new Advanced Environmental Control System that will provide a quieter distribution of 100 percent fresh air and lower cabin noise like never before.

Moving away from form to focus on functionality, the jet never ceases to impress. Gulfstream gives customers a choice of 12 floor plan options for the G650, which presents clients with the option to tailor the interior layout of the cabin to suit their needs. There is even the possibility of an improvised stateroom for long journeys and the cabin is airy, well lit, and spacious enough for meetings, discussions, or simple peace and quiet.

All of these improvements have been enacted with an impressively small cost to the environment. Gulfstream has always strived to create environmentally friendly jets, and last year, the Savannah Area Chamber of Commerce awarded the company the 2007 Environmental Excellence Award. In order to keep true to their accolades, the latest model even greener; the G650 produces five percent fewer noxious emissions and 10 percent less smoke than the G550.

The new G650 is a highly anticipated aircraft that will surely deliver on its promises of greatness. While private air travelers wait with bated breath for the latest flagship, we can rest assured that Gulfstream will not stop with this model, but will continue to break records with their innovations. As they put it themselves, “We may be the world standard in business aviation, but we earn our reputation everyday.”

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