In the Unlikely Event of a Water Landing, Sergey's California King May Be Used as a Flotation Device
Larry Page and Sergey Brin are not your typical billionaires. In fact, if you type billionaire into Google, the picture that emerges–fancy cars, private jets, mansions, jewels, supermodel girlfriends–isn’t anything you’d find in the lifestyle of the Google guys. Page drives a Prius, which costs around $21,000. Brin gets around for the most part on in-line skates, and he still lives in a rented apartment.”
With its onboard hammocks, full-size sofas and California King beds, it’s a wonder Google’s “party plane” has room for scientific instrumentation befitting the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, but apparently it does. Google and NASA’s Ames Research Center signed a unique deal last month that allows the agency to “regularly collect Earth atmospheric and terrestrial observations in support of science research and analysis” on some of its flights.
In exchange, Google gets to park its customized wide-body Boeing 767-200, as well as its two Gulfstream Vs, on Moffett Field–a NASA-managed airport that is generally closed to private aircraft–for $1.3 million a year. “It was an opportunity for us to defray some of the fixed costs we have to maintain the airfield as well as to have flights of opportunity for our science missions,” Steven Zornetzer, a NASA official, told the New York Times. “It seemed like a win-win situation.”
For Google, certainly, but not for local residents, who’ve long opposed commercial use of the federally owned airfield and who worry that the deal could open Moffett up to other private flights. “The Google flights represent the possibility that the camel’s nose is under the tent, and that NASA is looking at opening up the use of the runways to help pay for it,” said Lenny Siegel, director of the Pacific Studies Center. “The majority of the people in the community are against that. If they are doing science missions, that’s OK. If they are doing it just because they are rich and popular, it is not OK.”