The book “The Devil Dragon Pilot” features a variety of U.S. and Chinese military aircraft, but one corporate aircraft that I write about extensively is the Gulfstream 650ER. Fictionally borrowed from Corning, Inc. of Corning, New York, our main character Captain Ford Stevens does some remarkable stuff with this jet.
This model of the Gulfstream is their newest aircraft, and can extend the reach of the aircraft to 7,500 miles without stopping. Not only is that an impressive distance, but that is non-stop, flying at Mach 0.85. The jet can comfortably fit 19 passengers, sleep up to 10, have a maximum takeoff weight of 103,000+ pounds, and cruise at 51,000 feet mean sea level. Impressive performance in the pilot and passenger worlds.
The outstanding presentation of this jet is extraordinary to non-pilots and pilots alike. This extended range alone, to put it in perspective, makes it possible to fly from Hong Kong to Washington, DC, or Singapore to Houston, without stopping for fuel. Gulfstream pilots tell me no other jet has this combo of speed, aircraft performance, passenger load and distance, and is a real pleasure to fly.
The interior, which is featured extensively in “The Devil Dragon Pilot” in multiple scenes, provides extreme quietness, comfort, and luxury. Many configurations of the jet are available, from conference rooms to private bedrooms to leather couches. The 16 windows allow a terrific view of the sky above and earth below. Can you imagine having a shower in your jet? Yes, Gulfstream can make you one.
The cabin circulates 100% fresh air every two minutes, which helps cut down on jet lag. What also helps is that the cabin altitude is at only 4,000 feet, which helps all on board feel great as everyone crosses multiple time zones.
What also comes into play for Ford Stevens is the onboard technology. Without giving away too much to readers that have not read “The Devil Dragon Pilot” yet, Gulfstream has generated an extensive Cabin Management System that allows passengers and crew to control lighting, window shades, temperature and other “things” with their Apple iOS smartphone. This technology will provide the reader with a very exciting scene while airborne!
Lastly, the cockpit is a dream to any pilot. If there was a pyramid of aircraft on any pilot’s wish list to fly, this G650ER is at the top. The technical, high-end avionics and glass instrumentation help the aircrew fly and navigate to nearly anywhere on earth. Her onboard computers work with the Captain and First Officer in creating a smooth, safe flight for all. The large format screens give the crew the ability to move flight information information and instrumentation around, depending on what stage of flight they are in, right down to touchdown landing, rollout, parking, and shutdown. Impressive to say the least.
My friend and professional photographer Bill Young was kind enough to share some of his professional photos with me. Please visit his website at www.BillYoungImage.com if you would like to see some of his outstanding photographs.
The last portion I’ll mention about this G650ER jet is that I modified it a bit after reading about the great work being done at Gulfstream Special Missions in Savannah, Georgia. This office has the capability to custom modify any Gulfstream jet to a customer’s specifications. From Space Shuttle simulators to atmosphere studies to military missions, this special office deserves the title Special Missions.