Flying the Big Jets – Ask the Pilot

Long range jets are seen as the supermodels of the private jet world. Flying the fastest and the furthest, long range jets cater for both larger groups and long-haul distances.

Long range jets are some of the most desirable and talked-about aircraft in the world, and have continued to show market growth despite the recession. But as well as profiling the aircraft, we wanted to go inside the cockpit to profile the people who fly them – the pilots.


The Gulfstream G550: one of the most iconic and coveted private jets in the world

The aircraft: Gulfstream’s G550 ultra-long range jet is often described as the Ferrari of the private jet world. It combines long range, high speed and superb power to weight ratio for optimal performance. Its extra-wide oval windows are a unique characteristic across the Gulfstream fleet, giving an excellent view from its luxurious cabin.

Released in 2003, The G550 has a range of 6750 nm, which at the time was the longest in its class. Seating up to 15, it cruises at 500 kts for up to 14 hours.

Izabela Lechowicz, International Flight Crew

The pilot: Izabela Lechowicz, a flight instructor on the Gulfstream G550, from International Flight Crew (

Izabela started her pilot career in 2003, before gaining her type rating on the Gulfstream G550 and G450 in 2007. As a SFI (Synthetic Flight Instructor), she conducts initial and recurrent training, as well as training for special airports, such as Chambery & Kathmandu. Izabela is also in the process of gaining her helicopter licence.

View from the flight deck: “The G550 is a delight, and I love being at the controls as well as training other pilots to fly it. It has very high quality interior, and its exterior finish delivers an excellent ramp presence.”

My favourite route: “Bora Bora and Tahiti are among the most interesting destinations with stunning island approaches. But I have also enjoyed flying the G550 across varied landscapes including Europe, China and Japan”.


The Legacy 650 has a spacious three-zone cabin and is the most economical long range jet

The aircraft: Manufactured by Brazilian manufacturer Embraer, the Legacy 650 is one of the most economical long range jets in its class. It has the same spacious three-zone cabin as its predecessor the Legacy 600, but delivers greater fuel efficiency and 12% more power from its enhanced aerodynamics.

First flown in 2009, the Legacy 650 seats up to 14 passengers, with a maximum cruising speed of 420 kts and an optimal range of 3900 nm.

David Wilson, Air Charter Scotland

The pilot: David Wilson from Air Charter Scotland, based in London.

David is a first officer on the Legacy 650, based from Luton airport. He qualified in 2007, and has also flown small jets including the Citation C525. He has flown the Legacy since October 2013.

View from the flight deck: “The Legacy 650 is a fantastic aircraft and I would argue the best in its class. With the biggest available hold compartment and easy inflight access, it is widely popular for music tours in particular. It also has a very spacious cockpit, and its range makes it capable of direct flights between London and New York or Dubai. I chose a career in flying so I could see the World, and the Legacy 650 gets me closer to achieving this dream”.

My favourite route: “I visited Tivat in Montenegro recently and the approach to the Northerly runway is incredible at sunset. But the view from the Legacy 650 on the approach to most New York airports takes some beating, especially from the front seat”.


The Falcon 900 with its distinctive three engines is built by French manufacturer, Dassault

The aircraft: The Falcon 900 is made by French manufacturer, Dassault Aviation. Along with others in the Falcon family such as the 7X, they are the only trijets, instantly recognisable by their distinctive s-duct central engines. The Falcon 900 is popular for long flights when a third engine can increase safety and flight planning versatility.

The Falcon 900 was first flown in 1984, and seats up to 12 people. It has a maximum range of 3800 nm and can cruise at up to 447 kts.

Matthieu Gaignard, IXAir

The pilot: Matthieu Gaignard from IXAir, based in Paris.

Matthieu has been a Captain on both the Falcon 50 and Falcon 900 since 2007. He is also an instructor and examiner for both aircraft. Flying since 2001, he has previously flown the Beechcraft King Air 200 for medical evacuation flights.

View from the flight deck: “For me, the Falcon 900 is the best long range jet for several reasons: the three engines create optimal safety and passenger confidence; it has a large, versatile cabin with adjustable seats that can become full length beds; you can operate with short or narrow runways, in very cold and hot weather conditions. It’s a very elegant aircraft, with a reputation for performance and innovation across both military and business aircraft”.

My favourite route: “I was based in Russia for 3 months last winter, in very remote and cold weather conditions, which was exciting flying. I also love flying around Africa, landing on short and narrow runways, which the Falcon 900 excels at.”

For private jet charter enquiries on Long range jets or any other aircraft, contact us or call the PrivateFly Flight team on +44 (0) 1747 642 777.