Skyacht One Is an $83 Million Escalade of the Skies
This mahogany, gold and leather-lined jumbo might be the most luxurious jet in the world.
Never has a plane been so aptly named. Welcome, with 20-trumpet fanfare, the Skyacht One, an $83-million version of Embraer’s flagship Lineage 1000E that’s gone full Monaco. While some companies, say Airbus, liken their craft to buses for the sky, collaborators Embraer and SottoDesign would rather customers imagine this humongous, wood-laden plane as a yacht for the air. As you might discern from the tromp l’oeil mahogany detailing on the Skyacht’s hull, they’re serious about the comparison.
Of course, this isn’t the first time one genre of transportation has pulled from another to achieve design brilliance. Picture the “afterburners” on a ‘59 Cadillac, or more obscurely, the 1940 Thunderbird yacht, from which the Skyacht’s designer, David Earle, drew inspiration. George Whittell Jr., born to great wealth, was one of California’s most extravagant playboys, with a taste for real estate, exotic beasts and Duesenbergs. Above all those trinkets, though, reigned his boat, modelled after one of his Douglas DC-2s. The Thunderbird, as it came to be known, is a 55-foot-long mahogany yacht with a shiny aluminum cockpit shaped to look like the that of the DC-2. Outfitted with twin 500-horsepower Kermath V12 engines, the Thunderbird could pull 55 knots as it blasted around Lake Tahoe, where Whittell kept a lavish lake house.
The Skyacht was conceived with that similar category-crossing verve, commitment to luxury and, yes, joined-wood planking. The scale, however, is above and beyond. Upon entering, travelers pass through a chart room, complete with mural, a galley, a dining room, the main cabin and, ultimately, the master suit. All the controls are jewelry-grade, of engraved brass, gold, silver and platinum; the master bath has throttle-inspired fittings. Throughout, the finest leathers and wooden joinery is used to evoke the great yachts of the world, including Whittell’s mahogany masterpiece. Throughout, maps and sextants underscore the interior’s major theme, “navigation.”
Renting the Thunderbird, perhaps the world’s most beautiful wooden yacht, costs a very reasonable $5,000 per event. To purchase the Skyacht, however, will cost around the aforementioned $83 million, depending on fittings. Still, that’s not bad for a 119-foot long air-going yacht with a bejeweled interior able to fly you 4,600 miles from your problems. (Mostly, debt.)