From Issue Two of the Gear Patrol Magazine. Subscribe today for 15% off the GP Store.
The smallest Gulfstream jet, the eight-passenger G150, costs $15 million. The big-daddy G650ER, which holds 19 passengers and can fly from Macau to Las Vegas nonstop, costs $68.8 million. Fifteen million bucks is a lot of money; $70 million is a hell of a lot. To put that uppermost price in perspective, for $68.8 million you can buy a different-colored Ferrari LaFerrari to drive for every week of the year. You can buy so many of A. Lange & Söhne‘s new $24,000 gold watch that you could give one to a retiree every day for the next eight years. For just $5 million more, you could fund India’s first mission to Mars.
So, why would you spend so much on a plane? Gulfstream will remind you that their private jets are a tool for businesses: they cite time savings for those who use the jet to travel of 50 hours a year.
This thought process on its own is ridiculous. If an executive used the plane for five years, they’d still have paid nearly $5,000 a minute for that saved time. That’s a hell of a salary, even for a time machine with wings.
And still, there are about 2,500 Gulfstream jets in use worldwide. The president has one — it technically turns into Air Force 1 when he’s on it. When a relatively unknown artist titled a song after a Gulfstream, that song went to number one on the Billboard charts. So you think: maybe reason doesn’t have much to do with it.
Then you visit Gulfstream’s Savannah facility and realize reason has everything to do with it. The production that goes into making the perfect traveling tool — not for saving time, but for flying around the world on your terms — is immense. There are 5,500 people employed here in Savannah to make a plane of mythical proportions. Their work is Herculean in a very real way. We got behind the scenes, including going inside a 300,000-square-foot production facility called “Building X,” to see how the dollar signs add up to a private flight around the world with HDTVs, champagne flutes, stone-tile flooring, and, if you want it, your very own bidet.
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A version of this story appears in Issue Two of the Gear Patrol Magazine, 286 pages of stories, reports, interviews and original photography from five distinct locations around the world. Subscribe Now: $35