Dozens of pilots who fly Airbuses, Boeings and Gulfstreams live in Sai Kung, but at least one is somewhat unusual: Barry Collier, partner in Steamers. Now operational chief at Jet Aviation Business Jets flying fixed wings, Barry is a former Chief Pilot of Government Flying Services where he flew helicopters.
During nine years with GFS, Barry operated Sikorsky S76’s and the Blackhawk S70 in support of all government departments. He was awarded the Bronze Medal for Bravery for rescue work during a 1999 typhoon when two windsurfers were swept out to sea off Lantau. A father and a friend of one of the surfers set off in boats in Signal No.10 winds to find the young men. They got into difficulties too. Barry and his crew in their S76 winched three men to safety, despite the storm. However, one surfer was lost.
As Managing Director at Jet Aviation Hong Kong, Barry oversees a fleet of 30 Gulfstreams, Bombardiers and Falcons with a team of pilots and engineers. The aircraft are all owned by individuals or companies. Jet Aviation, a subsidiary of General Dynamics, provides “one-stop shop” facilities at CLK for the business jets and operates them.
“We often fly to exotic and unusual destinations with limited airport facilities and short runways,” Barry said. “Sometimes we’ve never been there before, so it can be challenging and fun all at the same time.”
If you would like to hire an executive jet, they cost anything from US$8000 per hour upwards depending on aircraft type, destination and duration. As an example a private flight to Beijing and back on a mid-sized Gulfstream would be approximately USD60,000. At the moment, none of the 30 aircraft Barry and his team look after in Hong Kong are for hire. However, making use of Jet Aviation’s worldwide aircraft (over 280) and other aviation partners, they can secure an aircraft that would mean your requirement.
The most exciting new jet on JetAviation’s inventory is the long-range fly by wire Gulfstream 650 which can cruise up to Mach 0.925 and has a 7000 nm range at Mach 0.85. With the introduction of the new ER version scheduled for delivery next year, direct Hong Kong to New York will be achievable.