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Monday, April 15, 2024

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 here 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 from Qantas, reported 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 jet pilot.

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 year in 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.

For 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 have 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, check out:

And The Google Helicopter?

Larry Page's Helicopter

It’s actually Larry Page’s, and yes, he can fly it.

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