By Jonathan E. Hendry and Simple Flying Staff
Bill Gates has caused quite a bit of debate with his private jet travel. The Microsoft founder turned climate activist owns no less than four business jets, which he calls his ‘guilty pleasure.’ His collection is worth nearly $200 million and features a top-of-the-line Gulfstream G650. What’s more, he has a private aviation management firm and has invested billions of dollars in the world’s largest business jet service provider.
Billionaire Bill Gates has written a book called How To Avoid Climate Disaster. In it, he confesses to being an ‘imperfect messenger’ as he lives in large houses and travels by private jet. Last year, Gates reportedly took 392 flights on private jets, an average of more than one per day.
Gates has defended his use of the exclusive means of transportation, most recently in an interview with the BBC earlier this year. He argued that he fully offsets his carbon emissions by buying clean aviation fuel (SAF) and funding carbon capture.
Which jets does he have today?
Since his first Bombardier BD-700 Global Express in 1997, Gates has owned a succession of aircraft, including a helicopter. According to the most recent publicly available information, the Microsoft founder owns four private jets. His collection is made up partly of not one but two Gulfstream G650ERs, which tally in at close to $70 million each.
The other two are Bombardier Challenger 350s, which come at a comparatively low $27 million apiece.
Going big with Gulfstream
The highlight of Gates’ fleet is his Gulfstream G650ER. He flew two of the type for many years, with one based on each side of the country. The two aircraft were built in 2018 and replaced his previous two Bombardier 700 Global Express jets.
One is registered as N887WM and the other as N194WM with a company called MENTE LLC in Washinton State. The WM in the aircraft registration most likely stands for William and Melinda. The couple met in 1987 and were married for 27 years beginning in 1994.
The G650 can fit 11 to 18 passengers, and the extra range edition has a maximum range of 7,500 NM or 13,890 km. It burns about 450 gallons of fuel per hour and can hit top speeds of Mach 0.925. The jet holds the fastest and farthest record for a business jet, flying between Singapore and Tucson, Arizona, in 15 hours and 23 minutes in 2019.
Gates’ Gulfstream jets have four areas for work, entertainment, and relaxation. Hand-crafted leather seats turn into beds, and the plane can sleep up to ten people. There are over 500 Gulfstream G650s in service globally, and the type has now set over 125 world speed records.
His second G650, registered N194WM, appears to have been sold last year. Research by Simple Flying found the aircraft is now registered to TVPX Aircraft Solutions in Utah. The company provides trust services to enable US-based aircraft registrations for purchasers not eligible to register an airplane in the United States, so it remains unclear who the current end user of the aircraft is.
Bombardiers through NetJets
Gates’ Bombardier Challenger 350s are owned through his partnership with NetJets, a company that sells fractional ownership shares in private business jets. They are registered as N769QS and N754QS and were manufactured in 2015 and 2018, respectively. The Challenger 350 claims the largest and quietest cabin in its class and can carry up to ten passengers. It has a maximum range of 3,200 NM or 5,900 km and a top speed of 0.83 Mach.
He most recently upgraded his small propeller plane at the end of last year. A Cessna 208 Amphibian Caravan seaplane, registered N897WM, was acquired to replace an existing floatplane of the same type.
His own heliport
Gates famously owns a floating heliport, the Hale Manu, which is moored near Seattle. According to FAA filings, Gates’s Mente LLC owns two helicopters. The first is a 2007 Eurocopter EC 135 with registration N608WM, which he uses to travel around Lake Washington. The second is a 2021 Airbus Helicopters MBB-BK117, registered N-621WM.
Meanwhile, Gates’ company Cascade Investment agreed to team up with Blackstone and private equity firm Global Infrastructure Partners in a $4.7 billion deal for the world’s largest private jet service company, Signature Aviation. While primarily using his own jets for work with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, investing in business jet maintenance might be more difficult when justifying overall CO2 contribution.
Source: Private Jet Charter
The article’s opinions are the author’s own and may not necessarily match Coverpage’s editorial stance.