Study Shows How Companies That Fly Private Perform Better

A great deal of my prior life was spent in the publishing and marketing business. I was obsessed with quantifying business results: which tactics worked best to move the sales needle: advertising (print or digital?), public relations, social media, email, sponsorships or events (spoiler: it’s a thoughtful combination of all of the above). As I was easing back into flying, I became intrigued with the question: Why do businesses use private aviation (either ownership or charter), and, what is the empirical data that proves its worth?

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Takeaways From The Business Aircraft Convention

I was hoping that looking through all of the pictures I took at the 2017 NBAA (National Business Aircraft Association) convention, in Vegas, would remind me of what I thought were the most important takeaways.

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Lights Out As GE Shuts Its Flight Department in Favor of Charter

It’s the twilight for General Electric’s flight department. After operating its own aircraft for nearly 75 years, GE has shuttered operations of its three Bombardier Challenger 605s in favor of flying charter. Equally efficient, and, at a fraction of the cost of operating planes, more companies are turning to charter. 

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I Have a Thing for Falcons

I’ve been an airplane geek since I was in 6 th grade at Lovett Elementary School, reading books on WWII fighter planes in the library. I grew up in aviation at Houston Hobby airport in the early 80’s. At the time, there were only a few series of private jets – Jetstars, Sabres, Lears, Gulfstreams and Falcons seemed to rule. I loved the nimble-looking, French-built Falcon 10 and it’s bigger sister the 20. In 1980 things changed. The Falcon 50 came out and I was in love (26 years later, I finally flew on a 50 from Loreto Bay, Mexico to DFW – I was beside myself). This was as beautiful as the prior Falcons but had three engines – causing quite a roar in the industry. It’s power allowed it to take off from high and hot airports (a challenge that I’ll get into in another article) and had the safety factor of the third engine (jet engines tend not to quite these days, but early on it was comforting to know you had one extra, and with the 50, now, two engines to take over if one crapped out). The 50 typically sat nine, and then the stretch model of the 900 came out six years later, having 12 spots for tushies and several hundred more miles of range. In 1995 the Falcon 2000 was birthed, a humble 10 seater with less than 3,000 mile range. This was the first private jet I flew on – a nice long weekend trip to NY, and it took my breath away. A beautiful airplane, even though it lacked the awe of the tri-jet. In 2007 the large cabin 7x shattered distance records of prior Falcons – 5,490 miles – think NY to the Middle East. The 50, 900 and 2000 could travel 3,220, 4,800 and 3,970 miles, respectively. Check out this great video of a 7X performing at the Reno Air Races – I wasn't shooting the video, but I was there, watching.

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—Editor

Learjet Family Rivalry

These two cousins are titans of the bizav world, and, both are hugely popular to own or charter.

The Lear 60 is the largest production Learjet ever made. A larger model 85 made it to prototype, but that line was squashed in the Great Recession. The newer 60XR version is the exact same plane as the classic 60, with upgraded avionics, reconfigured interior and a beefier braking system (which many classic 60s have been upgraded to include).

There have been over 600 Lear 45s made (versus just under 400 of the 60) and a 45XR version provides an engine modification that gives higher takeoff weights, faster cruise and better rate of climb. Today, the Lear 75 is basically the same as the 45 with modernized engines and enhanced winglets (and therefore better performance and efficiency) and different avionics. A model 40 and 70 were made, each of which were simply smaller versions of the 45 and 75, respectively.

Both climb fast to altitude (better to get away fast from the heat, the bumps and other planes) and are respectably fast. The Lear 45 has 8 seats standard and the Lear 60 has 7, though each can accommodate one more passenger on the cushioned and belted potty. I've personally flown the 60 with 8 businessmen –they put the smallest on the on the potty (the flight was less about an hour so no one needed to, shall I say, unseat him). I helped a friend charter a flight to a concert for 9 folks on the 45 with (the smallest) one passenger in the lav (again, less than an hour flight, and, lots of beer to sooth any ill feelings). Oddly, the smaller-interior 45 has a bit more baggage room. Simply put, the 60 is much roomier – with a 5’7” cabin height v. 4’11” on the 45. The 45 seats are slender, the 60’s are more comfortable. The 60 has longer legs and can run about 2,300+/- statute miles, or, about 400 miles further than its smaller cousin. With a little digging, you can sometimes find a 60 for nearly the same charter cost of a 45.

Here is an amazing video of a Lear 60XR being built that appeared onNatGeo’s Megafactories

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—Editor

Dream a Bit: Gulfstream 650ER Interior’s Video

 G650ER, beautiful inside and out.

G650ER, beautiful inside and out.

Dream big or go home, they say. Here’s is a walk-through of the G650ER’s interior, providing insight to the comforts given to the passengers.

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I recently had lunch with a couple buddies who fly a G650. I asked their thoughts on its best characteristics, from a pilot’s view. Number one: speed. They say they can make it to London from Houston about an hour faster than the airlines. If fact, the last time they flew overseas, an airliner on the over-ocean frequency asked what type of plane just passed overhead and what their speed was, “G650, Mach .9”. The next best thing is the ability to fly non- stop to so many destinations. Having to stop for fuel is a time-waster, plus, picking up an additional clearance and coordinating entry onto the over-ocean tracks is a pain.

- Editor

This video first appeared on AINONLINE.com. For more, visit AINONLINE.COM

Your BBJ’s Window to the World

By Mary Grady

The SkyView Panoramic Windowthe largest window available for any passenger jetwill offer Boeing Business Jet passengers an expanded view of the world below. At 54.5 inches by 19.5 inches, the SkyView is slightly more than three times wider than a standard window and about 40 percent taller. Boeing will be able to install as many as two pairs of the windows (each directly opposite the other) in a choice of locations aft of the wing.

 The SkyView Panoramic Window

The SkyView Panoramic Window

The windows are made of acrylic and produced by GKN Aerospace’s Fokker Technologies division, which has supplied all Boeing windows since 1996. Fokker treats each window’s surface with an abrasion-resistant coating so that it remains clear. Custom blinds can be installed, in case the window allows too much light into the cabin.

The SkyView will be available for the BBJ, BBJ 2, and all three versions of the BBJ Max, including the new BBJ Max 7. It can be ordered as a retrofit for the existing fleet or as an option on new aircraft. The window will be installed during the custom completion process, not during the aircraft’s production at the Boeing factory. It’s still undergoing development and certification, so pricing is not yet available. First completions are expected in 2018. (boeing.com, fokker.com)

This article first appeared on RobbReport.com. For more from Mary Grady, click here.