Gulfstream flew its newest large cabin jet, the G650, into Geneva on Sunday for EBACE, the European business aviation show, and I, along with six other journalists, was on board the flight from London Luton airport.
S/N 6013, which is on display here at EBACE, is the same aircraft Aviation Week’s chief test pilot Fred George flew earlier this year.
After Fred flew left seat in the aircraft, he told me there was very little noise in the cockpit. But on his flight Fred was up front doing bus driver duty. In the cabin, I was treated like a customer interested in buying the $65m flagship, so I wanted to experience the sound quality for myself. I can tell you that during our 1h 40m flight to Geneva, it really was incredibly quiet in the cabin. The only noise was from my fellow passengers marveling at how quiet it is.
Taking off from Luton was an adventure. The climb was rapid, with around 100 seconds from take off roll until we soared into the clouds. The media pack loved it:
“This is a rocket ship!”
“I’m struggling to hold on!”
“I think we’ve just achieved our cruise speed.” (while still accelerating on the runway)
“I’m practically doing a sit up here!” (facing backwards and sliding forward in his seat)
Demonstrating the speed of the world’s fastest civilian jet, we reached Mach 0.9 on our way to Geneva, but Gulfstream took the long way to Geneva in order to allow us enough time to enjoy the cabin and play with the gadgets.
The spacious cabin allowed plenty of legroom in the seating groups. No awkward knee grazing. And the seat configuration means everybody gets a window - there are no 'dark spots'.
The windows are huge, massively improving the view outside and bringing lots of natural light into the cabin.
And here comes the fun part (for me, at least). Gulfstream has a Cabin Control app for the iPhone that can be downloaded from the Apple store.
After connecting to the wifi on the aircraft, most functions in the cabin can be controlled in-seat from the CMS app.
I could select one or multiple seats and close some or all of the window shades.
My seat neighbour was cold after we took off, so I turned the temperature up.
The app also allowed me to check our flight information throughout the flight.
Flying as a passenger on the G650 was a real pleasure. The Gulfstream folks almost had to carry me off the plane.
If you haven't already seen it, click here to watch our video of Fred putting the G650 through its paces in the cockpit.