loading Loading please wait....

If you are a registered, please log in. If not, please click here to register.


If you were one of the thousands to view the G550 business jet that Gulfstream Aerospace displayed this year at the National Business Aviation Association- you likely already know you were gazing upon a champion.

Dave Higdon   |   1st December 2003
Back to articles
Dave Higdon Dave Higdon

Dave Higdon writes about aviation from his base in Wichita Kansas. During three decades in...
Read More

Gulfstream Aerospace rapidly evolves expanded business jet product line.

If you were one of the thousands to view the G550 business jet that Gulfstream Aerospace displayed this year at the National Business Aviation Association- you likely already know you were gazing upon a champion.

Scant days before a Gulfstream crew completed a world-circling flight in the new G550 jet- establishing four new point-to-point records along the way. The final leg brought the Gulfstream G550 business jets for sale directly to Orlando – from Seoul- a huge distance of 7-301 miles. The business jets for sale- with a total of nine people on board- covered the leg in a scant 14 hours- 30 minutes – averaging a scorching 572mph.

Total flight time for the total 20-120 nautical miles traveled was 41 hours- 12 minutes- an average speed of 559mph. Such shows of speed and reach typify Gulfstream’s approach to garnering attention for its products dating back to the start of the company. However- this year Gulfstream’s record-setting trip with the G550 stands as but one of the many news-making aspects of a busy year.

In the year passed- Gulfstream Aerospace completed its assimilation of the former IAI Astra and Galaxy Aircraft product line- and also realigned its newly expanded product line with new labels to reflect their relative position in the market. To cap the year- Gulfstream also unveiled the existence of a new model- the Gulfstream G450 announced at the NBAA convention in Orlando during October.

Designed as the next-generation Gulfstream GIV-SP/G400 corporate jet- the G450 started development simultaneously with the G550- according to the company. Test flying began back on April 30 and- since then- the four test beds now flying are approaching 300 hours of test time. The second prototype G450 flew June 12- the third July 22 and the fourth September 18. With this depth in the test program- Gulfstream expects to certificate its newest large-cabin business jet aircraft for sale in the third quarter of 2004- and service entry with customers is scheduled for the second quarter of 2005. This ambitious schedule even includes new technology brought over from the G550 program.

Actually- advancing the technological level of its business airplanes has become something of a Gulfstream hallmark more than equal to its record of setting records. Those technology advances permeate the G550- the G400 and down the line to the G100 and G150 – another model variant launched since Gulfstream acquired the IAI/Galaxy product lines. With the addition of the G450- Gulfstream now boasts no fewer than eight models under its products heading – a significant change from before the acquisition- when the company had three.

Between the new private jets for sale development and technological advances- today’s Gulfstream in many ways seems like an all-new company with a product line that is rapidly approaching all-new- too.

Gulfstream G450 & G550:

In no products does the view of Gulfstream as a technology leader better come through than in the company’s two newest birds in the hangar- the G450 and G550. Not only do both bizjet models boast longer range capabilities than their predecessor models – 250 miles more than the Gulfstream G400 and about the same over the Gulfstream G500 respectively- but both new airplanes for sale offer equipment and features either previously unavailable or available only as an option- as a standard.

For example- the G450 sports a new nose assembly borrowed from the G550 that results in the cabin door moving aft three feet and consequently a more-open flight deck and entry area. Although the fuselage of the G450 stretches a foot longer than the G400s- at 89 feet- 4 inches- the main-cabin length remains unchanged at 45 feet- 1 inch.

Up front in the cockpit- the G450 sports the Gulfstream/Honeywell PlaneView integrated panel- featuring four flat-panel displays measuring 13 inches wide by 10 inches tall. Developed for the G550 – and standard now on G500 airplanes – the PlaneView system in the G450 also includes a side-mounted cursor-control unit for navigating the integrated aircraft avionics- flight-management and systems-monitoring system.

The jet sports three separate but fully synchronous flight-management systems- a heads-up display and the Gulfstream/Kollsman EVS – a synthetic-vision system already flying on more than 50 Gulfstream business jets for sale.

In addition- the G450 offers a lower maximum-cabin altitude of 6-000 feet- a reduction of 500 feet. The G450 also sports a new Honeywell APU- the 36-150- which generates less operating noise than its predecessor- while employing an improved variant of the Rolls-Royce Tay 611-8 engine already in use dubbed the 611-8C.

Both versions produce the same thrust – 13-850 pounds at sea level although the -8C generates six percent more thrust at 5-000 feet (ISA +15 Celsius) and burns 2 percent less fuel – the source of those 250 additional miles in range. Indeed- on a 3-000-nautical-mile leg- the G450 uses 1-300 pounds less fuel than the G400- according to Gulfstream Aerospace.

Differences between the engines include a new FADEC system- a wide-diameter inlet fan- an updated high-pressure turbine and a new bypass-core mixing chamber. The upgraded engine also brings with it longer maintenance intervals: 6-000 hours to a mid-time inspection- 12-000 hours to a complete overhaul.

Naturally- though- Gulfstream designed further enhancements into its G450 business aircraft- in its electrical system- pressurization and comfort systems – all of them selected to improve operating reliabilities and passenger comfort.

Security & Safety:

Just as Gulfstream poured some of its newest and best technological touches into the G400 to produce the G450- the company has also developed enhancements available to operators of other existing and new-delivery Gulfstream business jet models.

For example- Gulfstream remains the only manufacturer to offer corporate airplane operators an active countermeasures system designed to thwart the threat posed by many ground-to-air anti-aircraft missile systems – the BAe Systems AN/ALQ-204 Matador Infrared Counter Measure (IRCM). The FAA-certified countermeasure device is aimed primarily to deter the small- portable- easily concealed shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles believed to proliferate through the underground world of terrorists and warlords.

'As a result of recent events covered by the news media- we’ve seen an increased level of customer interest in Gulfstream’s Infrared Counter Measure (IRCM) system-' said Bryan Moss- president- Gulfstream Aerospace- during the NBAA convention in October. As of early October- the FAA-certified BAe Systems Matador system was flying on one Gulfstream GIV- two G400 and six GIV-SP corporate aircraft for sale. The cost for the installed system stands at $2.2 million.

'The IRCM addresses the ongoing threat many operators are concerned about when traveling in politically unstable regions. Their safety is our primary concern and- by offering the IRCM- we’re ensuring they have available the best possible onboard defense-' added Moss.

Earlier this year one international carrier suspended flights to one mid-east nation following discovery of a terror plot to attack commercial aircraft. Only a week later- U.S. authorities arrested a man on charges that he tried to smuggle a surface-to-air missile into the US as part of an effort to down a commercial jet aircraft for sale. With airports and security officials unable to patrol the entire perimeters of all airports- Moss noted- self-protection appears the best hedge against such an attack.

'With an IRCM-equipped Gulfstream aircraft- the passengers and crew have a level of protection that is reliable and tested no matter where that aircraft flies-' Moss said.

The Gulfstream/BAe system first won FAA approval for the GIV in 2000. Earlier this year- that same BAe system- won approval for installation in the GV. The anti-missile gear is available as a retrofit for both the Gulfstream IV business jet aircraft for sale and Gulfstream IV-SP jets for sale- as well as for G400 and G300 business aircraft. Gulfstream is also offering to develop the STC required for installation of the BAe equipment in the G550 and G500.


Avoiding missiles may be the latest example of Gulfstream at the head of a trend- but it isn’t the first. Arguably the first major trend pioneered by Gulfstream was its pioneering development of a synthetic-vision system to enhance the safety of operations in low-to-zero-visibility conditions.

Following several years of development work with partner Kollsman- Gulfstream in 2001 won approval for its EVS - the Enhanced Vision System.

The key element in the Gulfstream / Kollsman EVS is a specially designed forward-looking infrared (FLIR) camera. That image sensor produces a real-world infrared image on a Honeywell Head-Up Display (HUD) mounted on the pilot’s side of the cockpit.

Thanks to its unique cryogenically cooled sensor- the Gulfstream/Kollsman EVS provides an unparalleled degree of sensitivity to help detect runway lights during zero low-visibility conditions on approach.

The EVS allows the flight crew to see runway markings- taxiways- adjacent roads and surrounding areas in such conditions. The system also helps crews avoid runway incursion and hazards that would otherwise not be easily visible.

Operators- including the U.S. Air Force- were quick to embrace the system. Since the first in-service EVS went into an Air Force C-37A – a special version of the GIV-SP – another six of the Air Force planes have received the system. Additionally- operators of 44 Gulfstream V executive jets for sale have also opted for the system- for a total 51 aircraft.

With the EVS now standard on the G500- as well as on the upcoming G500 and G550- expect to see plenty more of this system in real-world use – and more Gulfstreams landing in conditions that would make birds think twice.

More to come:

Anti-missile systems- enhanced-vision systems- heads-up displays- upgraded engines and more: There seems to be no lengths to which Gulfstream’s engineers won’t go to improve the products their customers love to fly.

With two new models in simultaneous development – a first for the company – and new technology coming in navigation and air-space use- expect to see more new technology arrive on the flight decks of Gulfstream Aerospace products.

Advanced maintenance changes- new spares in stock- stronger marketing and a broader base for which to sell- are also part of the equation at the new Gulfstream. No longer the sleepy little Southern airplane maker of the past- Gulfstream in the years since it was purchased by General Dynamics seems to best exemplify the second word in its parent’s name: Dynamic.

• More information from Gulfstream; Website: www.gulfstream.com

Related Articles

linkedin Print

Other Articles