Inside the Gulfstream G500 That Just Completed a 150,000-Mile World Tour
Cruising at Mach 0.85 — 650 miles per hour, or 85% of the speed of sound — Gulfstream's G500 can fly 6,000 miles without a refueling stop. But the company's latest private jet recently completed an outrageously long 150,000-mile world tour, where stopping was the name of the game.
On a tour that brought the plane to 18 countries on six continents in seven months, the G500 stopped at a total of 44 cities, where customers had an opportunity to come onboard and tour the cabin you see here. The plane also made several speed records, including West Palm Beach to Seville, Spain in 7 hours and 4 minutes, and Chicago to San Jose in just 3 hours and 34 minutes.
Since I'm not currently in the market for a private jet (boo!), I had to wait for the Farnborough Air Show to score some time onboard.
It was an especially interesting visit, given that I had just toured Qatar's version of the same plane, which has yet to be delivered by Gulfstream. Both jets look very similar inside, though I slightly preferred the Qatar interior — especially since it offered a private cabin at the rear of the plane. Qatar also had the blinds drawn, which made for a warmer, more pleasant feel.
Customers can customize the interiors as they wish, but many of the features were nearly identical on both G500s I visited, including the lie-flat cabin seating and rear lavatory.
While it's not gigantic, this is one of the highest-end lavs I've seen — the toilet even disappears entirely, hidden beneath a leather seat.
The forward crew lavatory is quite nice as well.
The crew areas are almost as attractive as the passenger cabin behind — the G500 has one of the nicest galleys I've seen on a plane.
My favorite section is the cockpit, however — the G500 offers Gulfstream's Symmetry Flight Deck, complete with active control (fully synchronized) sidesticks, replacing the traditional yoke.
Touchscreens on both the forward and overhead consoles replace traditional buttons and dials, too, making it easy for pilots to find exactly the control they're looking for, and for Gulfstream to provide updates long after an aircraft makes its way to a customer.
Just this month, Gulfstream received FAA certification for the $45 million G500. With that very important requirement now squared away, the first 19-passenger plane is expected to make its way to the first customer later this year.
For more on Gulfstream's private jets, see: