Matching your favorite sportscar to your jet happens, but pairing the car to your jet and helicopter is almost unheard of—unless you own one of the world’s largest fractional aviation firms.
Flexjet Chairman Kenn Ricci, a Bentley owner for more than a decade, decided last year to launch “The Bacalar Project” with the engineers at Mulliner’s in-house design team to appropriate details from his two-door Bentley Bacalar to his new Gulfstream G650 and Sikorsky S-76 helicopter.
First, the liveries. Ricci’s own Bacalar—part of a limited edition of 12—is painted an unusual Julep color, so the team used the car as a model for silver-green accents for the aircraft.
On the interior, the Bacalar’s coachbuilt Linen and Beluga leather inspired the seats on both the Gulfstream and Sikorsky. The 5,000-year-old reclaimed river wood that forms the handcrafted veneer on Ricci’s Bacalar also inspired the matching wood-veneer species on both aircraft. Ditto the Bacalar’s satin-bronze fittings on the cabins and the diamond-carved carpet
Of course, the Bacalar finish is the ultimate window dressing on two of business aviation’s most popular aircraft. Gulfstream started its G650 program in 2005, revealing it publicly in 2008. It received its type certification from the Federal Aviation Administration in 2012.
Until last year, the 650 was Gulfstream’s fastest business jet, with a top speed of Mach 0.925 with a range of 7000 nautical miles. It was only recently surpassed by Gulfstream’s larger G70, currently moving through testing towards certification next year. The G650 has also been one of Gulfstream’s most popular models, with more than 500 G650s either ordered or delivered through this month.
Sikorsky’s S-76, the first helicopter designed by the company for the civilian market, has an even longer history. It was initially in high demand for the offshore oil drilling sector after it was certified in 1978, until executives and UHNWI discovered its benefits as a VIP helicopter. Multiple iterations, design changes and engine enhancements have defined the helicopter during its nearly 45-year history.
More than 875 S-76s have been built, though Skikorsky earlier this year announced it had halted new orders for the helicopter, saying it was considering manufacturing the icon overseas. Still, this new Flexjet helicopter joins an illustrious group. Ten countries use the Sikorsky S-76 to transport their heads of state.
Ricci, also part of Flexjet’s fractional program, will place the Bentley-inspired jet and helicopter in his company’s fleet. The Gulfstream made its public debut at the UK’s Farnborough airport late last week before a flight to New York. Ricci’s Sikorsky was first shown last summer at Monterey Car Week.