Gulfstream slapped down a new gauntlet on Monday with the introduction of the 7,500-nm range G650ER, claimed by the firm to be the world’s longest-range business jet. Just as impressively, Savannah’s new über-jet will be able to fly 6,400 nm at Mach 0.90.
“This opens up significant nonstop city pairs, including New York to Hong Kong, Dallas to Dubai and San Francisco to Delhi,” says Scott Neal, senior VP for worldwide sales and marketing. “G650ER owners in Dubai will be able to reach most of the contiguous United States. From Hong Kong, operators can connect with the Eastern Seaboard of the United States.”
Flight tests are well under way. Earlier in 2014, a G650ER set a new National Aeronautic Association record [pending] by flying the 7,494 nm from Hong Kong to Teterboro, New Jersey, in 14 hours 7 minutes, cruising at Mach 0.865 and landing with fuel in excess of NBAA IFR reserves. That means it should be able to dash between New York and Tokyo at Mach 0.90.
G650ER virtually is identical to the G650 that entered service in 2012, except for a 4,000-lb. increase in fuel capacity, max ramp weight and MTOW. BOW remains unchanged, thereby preserving the aircraft’s 1,400-lb. full fuel payload, assuming typical equipment. Sea-level / standard day takeoff field length for G650ER is increased to 6,299 ft. from 5,858 ft. for G650.
Fuel capacity of the wet wings is increased by a modification to the fuel system. That will be accomplished by means of an upcoming service bulletin due for release in 1Q15. The SB also will be available as a $2 million retrofit for existing G650 aircraft. List price for new G650ER aircraft is $66.5 million in 2014 dollars.
The added heft won’t have a significant impact on climb performance. Initial cruise altitude is FL410, unchanged from that of the base model. Current G650 operators say they routinely cruise at Mach 0.87 to 0.88 while burning an average of 3,100 lb. per hour [pph]. Fuel consumption at Mach 0.90 averages about 3,500 pph.
Only on the longest missions do they poke along at Mach 0.85, averaging 2,800 pph. Qualcomm’s chief pilot Candace Covington said she’s flown a G650 from Shanghai to Carlsbad, California, in 13 hours 33 minutes at Mach 0.85 and “landed with lots of reserves.” The extra hour-plus of range should enable G650ER operators to fly nonstop from Carlsbad to Shanghai.
Gulfstream isn’t discussing its order book for G650ER, but the makeup of current G650 operators provides an indication of sales potential. Large public companies that operate G650 include Dillard’s, Qualcomm and Walmart, plus Disney, ExxonMobil and, along with Starbucks, Precision Castparts and Nike, according to registration records. Dyson, Abraxis BioScience and Euclidean Capital, plus Wynn Resorts, Berwind and Telefónica Internacional, along with Digicel, Daisho and Third Point also own or operate the aircraft. The Kingdom of Jordan operates two G650s and others have been delivered in the Middle East.
While such organizations still comprise the majority of G650 operators, the innovative aircraft has attracted a larger portion of high-net-worth individuals [HNWIs] than previous Gulfstream models. This is apparent when one looks at the number of shell corporations, law firms and offshore companies associated with these aircraft. People who fly for HNWIs zealously guard their owners’ privacy.
Gulfstream’s trump card is its top-ranked customer support, long one of its strongest selling points. Most new Gulfstream buyers step up from older Gulfstream models, and more than a few switched brands from other large cabin makes.
“We’ve operated [another brand of large-cabin business aircraft] for several years,” says Bob Agostino, former head of’s flight operations, who now flies a G650 based in the southwest US. “[The other manufacturer’s] support isn’t the same and parts prices are too high. Gulfstream’s product support is beyond belief, unquestionably the best in my 45 years of flying.”
“The aircraft is incredibly well supported. And I’ve seen the efforts that Gulfstream puts into product support from both inside and outside the company. If you pick up the phone and call Savannah for help, Mark Burns [president of Gulfstream product support] hears about it,” says another operator based in the Middle East.