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My Other Vehicle is a Gulfstream

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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 12:32 PM
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My Other Vehicle is a Gulfstream

WHETHER the joys of summer are riper for plutocrats than for the rest of us is always open to question. Would watermelon taste sweeter if you had a billion in the bank? Let me spit out this seed, check my bank balance and get back to you. As vacation season reaches its peak this month and millions of Americans jam the highways and skies seeking a precious portion of leisure, there is at least one way in which it becomes clear that the very rich are indeed very different from the rest of us.

That difference can be described in two simple words, almost magical to those who partake: flying private.

Just two decades ago, private aviation was exclusively the province of a global super- elite. That was before airline deregulation and 9/11 turned commercial air travel into the noisy, cramped, humiliating nightmare it is today. It was before the tech boom and hedge funds threw off bumper crops of multimillionaires. It was before innovations in the private aviation industry made it possible, first, for the ultrawealthy to use the time-share model known as fractional share ownership to enter the big leagues of private jet travel and, more recently, for the merely rich to buy into jet-sharing plans that are the deep-pocketed equivalents of a MetroCard.

When I was young it was quite rare, said a society decorator in his early 50s. Maybe you knew one older gentleman with a great deal of money who had his own jet.

Nowadays, private air travel has become so mainstream, relatively, that among the decorators numerous young and well-heeled clients is a couple in their 30s whose Cessna Citation X encountered instrument problems in this mountain resort town not long ago, forcing the couple and their sons to board an airborne cattle-car to Denver. There, the clients children, 4 and 6 never having experienced a commercial airport sat on the floor of the vast and bewildering concourse and wailed. And who among us, truly, has not at some point experienced a similar urge?

Seven years ago, I was traveling a lot and I just got sick of the hassles, said Gavin Polone, a former Hollywood agent and now a producer whose credits include the cable television show Curb Your Enthusiasm and My Super Ex-Girlfriend.
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aikoaiko Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 12:51 PM
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1. I'd do it if I could afford it.
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Jcrowley Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 06:04 PM
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5. Is that responsible?
But wait. Isnt wild weather happening everywhere? And isnt jet travel responsible for significant global warming? Arent sky-high aircraft emissions destroying the ozone layer? What about the effects of radiation exposure and lack of oxygen on humans as captive as astronauts on long haul flights? Is zooming through thin air more than two miles above the Earth worth the risk to planet and passengers? Or should we be booking with passenger-accommodating freighters, taking the train, or staying home instead?

This is a planetary emergency, after all. The once massive Arctic icecap is nearly gone, and the Awakened Giant of Antarcticas western ice sheet is melting much faster than feared, threatening to drown every coastline like a permanent worldwide tsunami. Nine of every 10 people on the planet lives near current sea levels.

The rising oceans are also turning to acid from all the CO2 pouring into them from our cars, planes and industrial processes. And we are heading quickly toward a cataclysmic release of more than a billon tons of methane from thawing tundra and ocean seafloors. Carbon dioxide is already doing us in. And methane traps 20-times more atmospheric heat than CO2.


Instead, scientists say that more than five million airline flights a year are continuing to significantly affect the rare and fragile atmosphere through which they spew their exhausts. Equivalent in thickness to a sheet of paper draped over a beach ball, this life-giving zone of oxygen and radiation shielding is already being hammered by outmoded carbon-burning engines, woodstoves, cooking fires, and smokestack industries all ceaselessly belching toxic gasses at ground level. Though airlines carry only a fraction of the worlds population, Swiss atmospheric scientist Robert Egli calculates that jet-induced cloud cover and heat-trapping gases account for more than 10% of global greenhouse warming.

Blowing holes in the ozone is stealing from the future and a punishment passed on to the children.

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 12:53 PM
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2. Our (future) tax dollars at 'work'
Since we are borrowing from the Chinese and others to pay for tax cuts for the super rich, basically we are supporting this kind of opulance. In the future we will be using more and more tax dollars to pay interest on the debt. If taxes were set at a level needed to fund Iraqwar and the bloated military budget, maybe these folks would find the excuse to fly commercial first class a bit more often...
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bleedingheart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 12:55 PM
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3. I have a friend who has a private plane
HOWEVER...her husband is a former fighter pilot and is currently still a pilot so they aren't hiring anyone to fly the plane.

She visits her grandkids who live out of state by flying on their own plane.
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Boogie Donating Member (202 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Feb-22-07 12:58 PM
Response to Original message
4. Let Them Eat Cake
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