The $64.5 million Gulfstream G650 was already a highly coveted aircraft, with a four-year waiting list for new purchasers, when Gulfstream announced an upgraded version in May. The new G650ER—the initials stand for “extended range”—can travel faster and farther than its progenitor: 7,500 nautical miles at Mach .85, or roughly 8,600 miles at 85 percent of the speed of sound (562 miles per hour), making it the longest-range business jet available. (The closest competitor will be Bombardier’s Global, arriving in 2016.) For $2 million, Gulfstream G650 jets can also be retrofitted to obtain the extended-range capability of the G650ER. Gulfstream aircraft are widely admired for their performance, but perhaps less appreciated are the meticulous detail and craftsmanship of their interiors. Here, a first look inside the business world’s latest highflier.
“We’ve been able to focus on the performance of the aircraft and on the cabin as well,” says Steve Cass, VP of communications. “It’s wider, taller and longer, and has better pressurization, larger windows and a quieter sound level.” The pressure inside the cabin—called cabin altitude—is 3,700 feet, almost half that of any commercial jet. The lower the cabin altitude, the easier it is for the heart and lungs to oxygenate blood, which reduces passenger fatigue.
A proprietary system controls every function in the cabin. “We use touchscreens as primary control devices,” says William Gay, director of completions sales . The system’s wireless controls operate lighting, electrical, water and entertainment systems. The latter can include satellite TV, high-definition monitors, media servers and internet connectivity.
The interior of the G650ER is customizable, but “neutral interiors are big with us,” says Tray Crow, Gulfstream’s director of interior design. Crow and his team meet with every client, using a material color board to help choose every interior element. “You don’t want to surround yourself with anything that is too busy or with too much pattern or movement,” Crow explains. “It really is about having a serene environment.”
Hides for the leather components are sourced from northern Europe, according to Crow. “They’re considered the finest hides in the world,” he says, because cows there are rarely exposed to barbed wire or insects, avoiding scarring and bite marks.
As with bespoke suits or custom car interiors, the stitching used in the jet’s interior plays an important role in personalizing the G650ER. Available options include contrast, flat seam, French seam and topstitching.
The G650ER offers 12 initial floor plans to choose from, and they are modifiable according to individual needs. “The cabin can be configured with the galley in the front of the airplane or in the aft end,” Gay says. “To the best of my knowledge, we are the only purpose-built business jet manufacturer that offers that option.” His team evaluates each client’s “mission” for the jet and guides the client toward an appropriate design.
Sixteen panoramic windows, each measuring 28 inches wide, flank the jet, allowing for more sunlight and magnifying the sense of spaciousness. “Those are super large windows for a business aircraft,” Gay says.
The wood veneers throughout the G650ER are unique to each aircraft. “When we show a wood sample to a customer, they’re looking at a piece from a lot that would be large enough to do their aircraft,” Crow says. Using wood from one lot—which is to say, one tree—allows for a consistent sequence in the color and grain seen throughout the plane.
Included with the aircraft are china, crystal, flatware and blankets—all selected by the customer, Crow says. Gulfstream does not release the names of suppliers, but assures that these amenities match the level of quality of the rest of the aircraft’s elements. Of course, buyers can always bring in their own as well.