There’s luxurious living, and then there’s the sort of lifestyle enjoyed by the private jet owners of the world. Setting off for Paris or Lisbon at a moment’s notice, zigzagging across the world in comfort en route to important meetings, enjoying views of the clouds in a lavish environment every bit as swanky as an elite and exclusive lounge — such is the lifestyle that a luxury jet affords. And when it comes to the Gulfstream G550, one of the company’s latest offerings, those in search of that opulent upgrade will fall a little in love with both its impressive technical specs and its ultra-swanky interiors.
Gulfstream has been leading the pack in aviation since its inaugural flight on August 14th, 1958. The company boasts that “all business aviation traces its roots to Gulfstream,” and ever since founder Roy Grumman first conceived the idea of a purpose-built aircraft capable of transcontinental business and leisure travel, Gulfstream has continued its impressive winning streak across the skies.
With a projected price tag of $43.5 million, the G550 isn’t Gulfstream’s most expensive offering (the Gulfstream G650 goes for a staggering $62 million) but it’s definitely in the elite class. “This is the aircraft that changed intercontinental travel,” promises Gulfstream. “The G550 blazes across oceans to connect far-flung business capitals or favourite retreat spots nonstop. And you’ll enjoy your time aloft inside a cabin designed for relaxation and productivity.” With a promise like that, we simply had to take a closer look.
This aircraft can seriously impress on the technical side of things. It can travel over 12,000 km without refueling, which amounts to a range of 12 nonstop hours of flight. Its max cruising altitude is 51,000 feet, considerably higher than the standard 35,000 feet that commercial airlines tend to fly, meaning a speedier journey. Practically, this amounts to direct flights from Shanghai to Los Angeles or New York to Dubai without the hassle of stopping, refueling, extra landing fees, etc. This efficiency is partially due to the G550’s two Rolls-Royce engines, which, according to Gulfstream, provide the most thrust of any jet in its class.
The flight deck is kitted out with a triple-redundant flight management system, which gives pilots access to, and command of, enhanced flight data. Other important features includes a Head-Up Display, which projects flight data to a transparent screen in the pilot’s forward field of vision, and an Enhanced Vision System, which uses infrared technology to display that which the human eye isn’t capable of perceiving. Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display also helps pilots contextually understand their surroundings with the help of three-dimensional graphics of the terrain overlaid with flight data. This works even in zero-visibility conditions.
Inside the cabin, things get seriously sleek and comfortable. The aircraft can carry up to nineteen passengers, and the options of four distinct living areas allow for plenty of space, privacy, and function. There’s a dedicated crew rest area, a private stateroom, a conference area, and an entertainment space, as well as the option to locate the full-size galley either forward or aft — a bespoke detail of the G550 which, according to Gulfstream, makes it completely unique in its class. Not only does the aircraft never feel crowded, but it’s also a quiet ride; advanced sound suppression techniques keep out engine noise, making it easy to conduct important meetings, watch a film, or sleep in peace. And when it comes to sleeping, the G550 can accommodate eight. Those plush, wide leather seats can be easily converted into comfy beds, making for the perfect sky-high siesta.
This being an aircraft designed for the business elite, its interiors are developed to accommodate those who travel in work mode. The cabin serves as a fully functional office, complete with a wireless network, satellite communication, Iridium phone, and a fax/printer. Gulfstream also promises Internet options to keep its passengers connected to life on the ground.
What also sets the G550 apart is the sheer amount to which it can be customized. Once the living spaces and galley position are chosen, each area can be outfitted with the unique signature style of its owners. Long, soft sofas, exotic wood details, hand-stitched leathers, and exotic textiles can be customized to any colour the heart desires. Further impress friends and colleagues with the high-definition quality of the video equipment, sparkling goblets and flatware, gleaming finishes on the ledges and tables, and signature Gulfstream oval windows, which allow for plenty of natural light. Every element of the cabin speaks to the craftsmanship and care of Gulfstream and its elite team of designers.
Ready to take to the skies? Click through the gallery above for some images of the G550 that will have you making a date with your accountant and packing your suitcases.
Photos via Gulfstream.