20/Twenty: The Long Reach Of Gulfstream's G650

Gulfstream G650ER
Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week

When Gulfstream revealed its new G400 and G800 twinjets to a select group of reporters, including from BCA, before the 2021 NBAA-BACE conference, the manufacturer acknowledged plans to eventually sunset production of the large-cabin, long-range G650ER.

With an advertised range of 8,000 nm, the G800 will replace the G650ER as Gulfstream’s longest-range business jet when it enters service in 2023. The G800 and its sibling—the G700, slated to enter service this year—will be manufactured at the company’s G650ER production facility in Savannah, Georgia; G650ER production is being relocated to another facility.

Gulfstream did not set a production stop date for the G650ER, which originally entered service as the G650 in 2012. “We will continue to build G650ERs for as long as there is customer demand,” said President Mark Burns, who noted that the backlog for the jet remained strong.

Aviation Week’s Fleet Discovery Database counted 475 G650s in-service worldwide in March, consisting of 166 G650s and 309 G650ERs. Nearly half of the fleet (233) operates in North America.

World Operators

Qatar Executive G650ER
A Qatar Executive G650ER. Credit: Nigel Prevett/Aviation Week

Qatar Executive, the private jet charter division of Qatar Airways, is the largest operator of G650s, with 12 of the business jets, according to Aviation Week's Fleet Discovery Database. Among operators with multiple G650s are fractional company Flexjet, with nine; Gestair Executive Jet of Spain, five; Global Jet of Luxembourg, four; Pfizer, four; Centene Corp., three; Chevron, three; Jet Aviation of Hong Kong, three; News Corp., three; Nike three; and Walt Disney, three.

The 2021 factory-new list price of a G650ER was $70.5 million, according to the Aircraft Bluebook. In March, the International Aircraft Dealers Association’s Aircraft Exchange listed four G650s for sale, years 2015-19, including a 2018 G650ER offered by Gulfstream for $52.5 million.

At Mach 0.85, the extended-range G650ER variant can fly eight passengers to 7,500 nm—500 nm further than the G650 at the same speed.

The type has set more than 90 city-pair speed records and was awarded the 2014 Collier Trophy for aeronautic achievement. In March 2019, a G650ER flew from Singapore to Tucson, Arizona, in 15 hr., 23 min., landing with fuel in excess of NBAA IFR reserves. The flight beat by 44 min. a speed record set earlier by a Bombardier Global 7500 and covered a record 8,379 nm, establishing the G650ER as flying farther, faster than any other business jet.

Market Makers

“The G650/G650ER created a market all their own and face little competition in today’s market,” asserted Scott Neal, Gulfstream senior vice president for worldwide sales. “The preowned G650 market remains extremely strong with a historically low percentage of the fleet for sale (less than 1%),” he added.

Powered by twin Rolls-Royce BR725A1-12 engines, each producing 16,900-lb. of thrust at sea level ISA, the G650 received FAA and EASA certifications in 2012. Gulfstream unveiled the G650ER at the EBACE convention in Geneva, Switzerland, in May 2014 and secured FAA certification in October that year. The ER variant has wing tanks that accommodate an additional 4,000 lb. of Jet A, boosting fuel capacity to 48,200 lb. from 44,200 lb. for the G650.

The G650 requires 5,858 ft. of runway at maximum takeoff weight (99,600 lb.) in sea level ISA conditions. The G650ER requires 6,299 ft. at MTOW (103,600 lb.) in sea level ISA conditions.

Yoke Controls

G650ER flight deck
Gulfstream PlaneView II flight deck. Credit: Bill Carey

Gulfstream’s first business jet equipped with a fly-by-wire system, the G650 is the company’s last model to feature traditional, yoke-operated pilot controls. Beginning with the G500/G600 jets introduced in 2018-19, and extending through the G400, G700 and G800, Gulfstreams will come standard with the Honeywell-based Symmetry flight deck with sidestick controllers and touchscreen displays. 

The G650/G650ER come with the Honeywell-based PlaneView II flight deck, which is distinguished by four large-format displays that pilots manipulate with side-mounted cursor control devices. The Gulfstream/Kollsman Enhanced Vision System II and Gulfstream Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display are standard equipment.

Pilots and operators value the G650ER’s “high-speed range, without question,” Neal said. “The G650ER is the only aircraft in the world that can fly 6,400 nm at Mach 0.90. When you slow down to Mach 0.85, the aircraft can fly 7,500 nm, which can connect you to almost anywhere in the world nonstop.”  

“Most operators tell us that they routinely fly between Mach 0.88-Mach 0.90,” Neal added. “Operators also appreciate the performance from short runways, including the ability to fly into London City Airport, which requires steep approach certification.” Owners should expect direct operating costs of approximately $4,800-$5,000 per hour, he said.

Four Living Areas

Gulfstream G650ER cabin
Gulfstream G650ER cabin. Credit: Gulfstream Aerospace

The G650/650ER cabin seats up to 19 passengers, or sleeps up to 10, and measures 46 ft., 10 in. long (excluding baggage), 8 ft. 2 in. wide, and 6 ft. 3 in. high. The cabin can accommodate three passenger “living areas” with a crew-rest area, or up to four passenger living areas without a crew rest. Most operators choose a crew rest area, Gulfstream said, and some customers have outfitted their G650s with showers and bedroom suites.

The cabin is illuminated by eight large wide-oval windows on each side of the fuselage. “Feels like” cabin altitude at the jets’ 51,000-ft. operating ceiling is 4,850 ft., with fresh air replenished every two minutes by the environmental control system.

Many G650s are equipped with the Honeywell/Inmarsat JetConnex high-speed Ka-band service for inflight connectivity. In August 2020, Gulfstream announced that it had received FAA approval to install a dual Ku/Ka-band satellite communications terminal from Viasat as a retrofit option.

“Passengers love the large cabin cross section—the widest in business aviation—and routinely comment on the supremely quiet cabin,” Neal said. “They also appreciate that it offers the lowest-in-class cabin altitude and 100% fresh air that allows them to arrive more refreshed after long-range flights. Finally, the Gulfstream hallmark windows are one of the best-selling features for the G650 family—also the largest in business aviation.”

The G650/G650ER basic maintenance interval is 600 hr. between major inspections. The BR725 engines have a 10,000-hr time before overhaul limit with no mid-life inspection, according to Gulfstream. 

BCA welcomes comment and insight from aircraft dealers and brokers for its monthly 20/Twenty pre-owned aircraft market feature. The focus aircraft for April 2022 is the Bombardier Global 5500. To participate, contact [email protected]

Bill Carey

Bill covers business aviation and advanced air mobility for Aviation Week Network. A former newspaper reporter, he has also covered the airline industry, military aviation, commercial space and unmanned aircraft systems. He is the author of 'Enter The Drones, The FAA and UAVs in America,' published in 2016.