Palm Beach Cavallino Classic 26—Jet Aviation “La Bella Macchina”
PREPARED FOR TAKE-OFF
The Jet Reception inside the hangers of Jet Aviation and the runway area of the Palm Beach International Airport was held on the evening of the second day of the trip to Palm Beach. As part of the Cavallino Classic week, the Jet Aviation “La Bella Macchina” was one of the most anticipated and ‘must attend’ function of the year. Annually this would be where the VIPs, Honoured Patrons and members of the Palm Beach society meet up formally, leading up to the Concorso d’Eleganza at The Breakers. It was the night where Ferraris, many of which were to be on display at the Concorso, were present to give guests a taste of what was to come among other luxurious “toys”, such as helicopters, corporate jets—even a submarine.
Since it is what could possibly be “the party of the year”, the Jet Reception was well attended even since early evening. After the Track Day in the afternoon I came slightly later than scheduled and still it took me a while to enter, as guests from all over who possessed the much prized invitation cards continued to pour in well into the night. Once inside the Jet Aviation hangar, the scene was packed with people among the various “modes” of transportation apart from the 50-60 Ferraris that were parked uniformly outside leading to the runway. These included small aircrafts, a selection of helicopters such as the Bell 429 GlobalRanger, the stretched version of the 427 that it was based on primarily for medical services as much as for private use. There was even a submarine or a “submersible” for those with sea legs. Made by Triton based in Vero Beach, Florida, the 11650/3 LP on show that night is the smallest of such craft made, can be attached to a super yacht as its mother ship and can take three persons underneath the ocean to the depth of 500 meters (with air conditioning as standard).
While the selection of Ferraris of different vintages would have been a wonderful sight to behold already, I was more marvelled by the entire “landscape” of the event that was formed by a backdrop of executive jets—and the landings of several planes on the runway beyond. To my left was the Falcon 8x, the latest model introduced officially last year, following the 7x. The Pratt & Whitney engined jet looked sleek but can take up to 16 passengers, has a range of over 6,000 nautical miles and get up to Mach 0.9. On the opposite side of the Falcon 8x was the Gulfstream G550. It was a handsome craft and a personal favourite of mind. As such I had to queue up in order to take a closer look inside. Such was the popularity of the G550 that it took nearly as long for me to wait for my flight out Miami a few days later, before I can climb into the cabin! But it was worth it as the appointments inside was tremendous. The G550, with 8 passengers and 4 crew (but can be designed to accommodate 19 people) can have a range of nearly 7,00o nautical miles and has a top speed of Mach 0.85. It is the business jet favored by the likes of Jim Carrey, Tiger Woods and Rupert Murdoch.
After savouring the beauty of aviation, it was time to get back to continue and savour more of the Ferraris on the ground. Each year the major highlight of “La Bella Macchina” was the Jet Aviation Cup. A popular choice award as chosen by the guests who offered their vote on which Ferrari was their favorite on the night. For 2017, the Cup went to Matthew Ivanhoe and his 1967 Ferrari 330 GTS s/n 9691, a very pristine Spider of which only 99 are still in existence. It was a great car to cap off a great event as the Ferraris started to disperse one-by-one. But you can tell that it was a grand experience for anyone who was fortunate to be there, because it was one of those parties where not a lot people were ready to leave even when it was all over—myself included.