Your Guide To The Google Jet
It’s now confirmed that NASA has granted Google’s cofounders landing rights
for their private jet at Moffett Field. That’s a NASA-run airport practically next
door to Google, now making the founders the envy of other Silicon Valley execs
who could only dream of the same. With the news out, it seemed a good time to
revisit what’s known about that Google Jet. So here’s our guide:
What Type Of Jet Is It?
It’s a Boeing 767-200.
What’s It Look Like?
We found a bunch of photos
via this page. We’d
post the photos, but the copyright statements next to them are all scary and
make us afraid. No, it doesn’t have the Google logo on it. At Valleywag, they’ve
got the cockpit (at least how it looked three years ago, before the Google
balls were hung around the rear-view mirror).
When Did They Buy It?
We first got news of it being purchased back in September 2005.
How Much Was It?
Probably $15 million or less. It was built in 1987, and they bought it used
the Wall Street Journal back in 2005. However, refurbishment added on probably
another $10 million or more.
Who Actually Owns It?
Blue City Holdings. This is a holding company for the plane’s ultimate
owners, Larry Page and Sergey Brin. Eric Schmidt also is part of the holding
company, though he doesn’t appear to have paid for the plane. Google the company
actually doesn’t own it.
What’s It Called?
We call it the Google Jet, despite it not being owned by Google. We have no
idea what it might be called by its owners. Technically, it is N2767, the FAA
registration number of the plane. Well, maybe it’s now N673BF,
reports one person in a comment at Valleywag.
Who Flies It?
Not the cofounders, to our knowledge — though Google CEO Eric Schmidt is a
Who Flies In It?
We suppose anyone the owners damn well please.
How Many Can Fly In It?
The WSJ reported that a normal 767 carries 180 passengers, but this has been
refitted for comfort. It only holds 50. But part of that, the Wall Street
Journal reported, is due to FAA rules limiting the number of passengers.
How Comfortable Is It?
Well, it’s reported to have two staterooms, a shower, a large sitting and
dining area, and around 15 first-class style seats.
California King Bed Or Hammock?
We don’t actually know. A report that the two cofounders once fought over
what type of beds to put on the plane — king or hammocks — came out last
another Wall Street Journal article about a dispute with the contractor
refurbishing the plane.
The money quote from Eric Schmidt, who served as referee: "Sergey, you can
have whatever bed you want in your room; Larry, you can have whatever kind of
bed you want in your bedroom. Let’s move on."
It was also
reported in the New York Sun about full-sized sofa mockups being tested.
Isn’t It An Absurd Amount Of Money To Spend On A Jet?
Dude, have you used Google? Didn’t it help you find stuff? And now you want
to give grief to the guys who made that possible, because they want to have
their own jet? C’mon — you know you’d buy a jet if you had their money.
the record, Larry Page told the Wall Street Journal that "We looked at this
and we just did the economics and we said, ‘you know, it makes a lot of
sense.’ " If you carry all the people it can hold, it’s cheaper to run than a
typical executive jet, apparently.
What’s It Used For?
When the news first came out, Larry Page suggested it might be used to fly
large groups of people "to places like Africa," which would be "good for the
world," suggesting some philanthropic purposes. To date, it seems to have been
used to ferry a few key Google execs around to sales and business meetings.
Where’s It Gone?
The planespotters at Airliners.net
found it in China, Austria, Philadelphia and Honolulu. It was
spotted down in New
Zealand, once. You like the idea of tracking it? The comments in
this Valleywag post have lots of advice. Also see
Tracking the Google Founders Plane from the New York Times.
Isn’t Google All Environmental & Doesn’t This Go Against That?
Listen greenboy or greengirl, did you offset the environmental cost of ditching that perfect good
cell phone you had just to get that iPhone? Right. So stop complaining about
the plane you wish you had.
OK, seriously, good point. At the time they got it, Larry Page told the
Wall Street Journal that "We’ve worked very hard to make sure our [net] impact
on the environment is positive" though other means.
What’s Up With Moffett Field?
It’s a big former military airfield run by NASA, with super-cool giant blimp
hangars. It’s only a few miles from Google, so landing your private jet there
would be handy. Practically no private companies get to do this, but the Google
Guys seem to have managed it by putting scientific instruments on the plane.
There’s a two year lease now allowing landing rights, as a result. It’s a deal
done between NASA and yet another company the two are part of, H211. For more,
- Home for
Google founders’ jet part of Moffett Field deal, San Jose Mercury News
Google founders pay NASA $1.3 million to land at Moffett Airfield, San
Google Founders’ Ultimate Perk: A NASA Runway, New York Times
And The Google Helicopter?
It’s actually Larry Page’s, and yes, he can fly it.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.
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