PAST & PRESENT
Gulfstream's iconic large-cabin jets combine speed, range and comfort
Theme of perfection in private air travel is evident in past achievements and future plans.
Special mission and interior completion success
Unique interior comfort and ambiance of large-cabin Gulfstream G650—with industry's largest cabin windows—have been popular with business leaders, heads of state, celebrities and assorted sultans for more than 5 decades.
From the earliest days Gulfstream aircraft have been adapted for government, military and special mission use. Today, nearly 40 countries operate Gulfstream jets, including 27 that use Gulfstream aircraft to transport their heads of state.
Gulfstream has also been very successful in the world of aircraft completion. When Grumman launched the Gulfstream in 1958 the intention was to produce green aircraft. Over the years, however, Gulfstream aggressively pursued completion business options.
In 1990 the company completed about 70% of the Gulfstream aircraft but by the mid-1990s had captured nearly all of the completions.
Latest G650 PlaneView flightdeck is designed to enhance pilot performance and safety and features large 13 x 10 in LCD displays.
In 1998 Gulfstream acquired K-C Aviation and this added 3 completion service centers—in Wisconsin, Massachusetts and Texas.
Business was good for the OEM, with exception of a notable market downturn in the early 90s, and by the time of rollout of 100th GV and 400th GIV, in Apr 2000, Gulfstream had solidified a reputation as a world standard for design, reliability, comfort and performance. Current Gulfstream large-cabin lineup includes G650, G550, G500, G450 and 3800-nm mid-range G350.
Into the future
In today's turbulent economic times large-cabin long-range corporate aircraft are the strongest sector of the market. Increasingly, sales of such aircraft have shifted outside the US, particularly to emerging markets.
With supersonic business aircraft options still years from reality top-of-class long-range business aircraft will remain the preferred option for global business, government and special mission applications.
The great design features that have made Gulfstream large-cabin models unique over the past 5 decades will continue to provide comfortable airborne living environments and productive offices in the sky with power reserves and reliability to maximize global commerce.
Editor-at-Large Grant McLaren has written for Pro Pilot for over 20 years and specializes in corporate flight department coverage.