Grumman Gulfstream I
|A USCG VC-4A Gulfstream I in flight, 1964|
|National origin||United States|
|First flight||August 14, 1958|
The Grumman Gulfstream I (company designation G-159) is a twin-turboprop business aircraft. It first flew on August 14, 1958. The aircraft has similar design characteristics to the Hawker Siddeley HS 748, especially the Rolls-Royce Dart powerplant.
Design and development
After first rejecting an idea to develop the Grumman Widgeon as an executive transport, the company studied producing an executive transport based on a turbine-powered variant of the naval utility transport Grumman TF-1 Trader. The company had already determined that any new aircraft would have to be turboprop-powered and the Rolls-Royce Dart engine was chosen. Further studies showed that the Trader-based design would not sell and they needed an all-new design with a low-wing and room to stand up in the cabin. In June 1957 the design of G-159 was finalised and Grumman started selling slots on the production line at $10,000 each. The initial customers worked with Grumman on the detailed design and avionics fit. The G-159 was given the name Gulfstream and on 14 August 1958 the first aircraft, registered N701G, took off from Bethpage, New York on its maiden flight. By 2 May 1959 the aircraft was awarded a type certificate by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).
The Gulfstream I is a low-wing cantilever monoplane with a semi-monocoque aluminium alloy fuselage structure. The aircraft is powered by two Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops with Rotol four-bladed constant speed propellers. The Gulfstream I has a retractable tricycle landing gear, with twin wheels on the two main units and the nose gear. The cabin is designed to take up to twenty-four passengers in a high-density arrangement or only eight in an executive layout, although ten to twelve was more usual. The aircraft has a hydraulically operated airstair in the forward cabin for entry and exit.
The United States military version for this plane is the C-4 Academe. The TC-4 is a version with added instruments and navigation. It was used by the US Navy for bombardier/navigator training for the A-6 Intruder. A VC-4A variant was flown by the United States Coast Guard as an executive transport until the early 1980s. It was later used as a logistics and long-range command and control aircraft until 2001.
A 37-passenger stretched version, the G-159C, was developed by Gulfstream for regional airline use. Five were delivered from November 1980. Air North (based in Plattsburgh NY and which subsequently changed its name to Brockway Air) was one of the few airlines in the U.S. to use this version before its acquisition by Brockway Glass. Another Gulfstream I-C airline operator was Chaparral Airlines which flew passenger services as American Eagle via a codesharing agreement with American Airlines. Royale Airlines also operated the G-I in scheduled passenger service in the U.S. operating as Continental Connection on behalf of Continental Airlines; however, its aircraft were standard length G-159 models and thus were not the stretched version. Several other airlines in the U.S. as well air carriers in Africa, Canada, Europe and the Mideast also operated standard Gulfstream Is in scheduled passenger service, including Peregrine Air Services in the U.K. which operated airline flights for British Airways.
As of August 2006, a total of 44 Grumman Gulfstream I aircraft remained in service. The major operator is Phoenix Air in the United States with 13 aircraft. Some 19 other airlines also operate the type. A G-I purchased by Walt Disney in 1964 and last flown on Oct. 8, 1992 is on display at Disney's Hollywood Studios. The aircraft logged 8800 flights and 20,000 flight hours with notable passengers Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, Jimmy Carter, Julie Andrews, Hugh O'Brian, and Annette Funicello. The Broadcasting Board of Governors operated a Gulfstream I as an airborne broadcasting studio for Radio y Televisión Martí in international airspace near Cuba from 2006 to 2013.
- G-159 Gulfstream I
- Twin-engined executive, corporate transport aircraft with accommodation for up to 14 passengers, powered by two 2,210-ehp (1648-kW) Rolls-Royce Dart RDa.7/2 Mk 529-8X turboprop engines. 200 built.
- G-159C Gulfstream I-C
- Stretched regional airline version. Five G-I aircraft were converted into Gulfstream I-Cs, by having the fuselage lengthened by 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m) to provide seating for up to 37 passengers.
- VIP transport version for the US Coast Guard. One built.
- United States military designation for a cancelled order for ten aircraft for the United States Navy for the navigation training and transport duties.
- TC-4C Academe
- United States military designation for a bombardier, navigator trainer trainer for the US Navy first flown in 1967. Aircraft were fitted with an Grumman A-6 Intruder nose radome, a simulated A-6 cockpit and four bombadier/navigator consoles for A-6 crew training, nine built.
Most of the 200 Gulfstream I propjets were operated by corporate customers, with a smaller number operated by regional or commuter airlines as well as by government agencies and the military. NASA, the U.S. space agency, flew the Gulfstream I as a passenger transport aircraft and operated seven (7) G-Is. Throughout the 1970s and mid '80's the Ford Motor Company operated a G-1 for their executives in Brazil. The Walt Disney Company also operated a G-1.
- Cimber Air - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Air Provence - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Gabon Express - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Aeroel Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- East African Safari Air - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Kenya Flamingo Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Seven Air - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Aberdeen Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Birmingham European Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Birmingham Executive Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- British Airways - Former scheduled passenger airline feeder service operated via contract by Peregrine Air Services.
- Capital Airlines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Air North - Former scheduled passenger airline operator of the stretched, 37-passenger Gulfstream I-C. Air North, which operated in the northeast U.S., subsequently changed its name to Brockway Air.
- Air US - Former scheduled passenger airline operator flying several commuter routes from Denver Stapleton International Airport (DEN). Fleet included stretched, 37-passenger Gulfstream I-C aircraft.
- Bonanza Air Lines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Chaparral Airlines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator of the stretched, 37-passenger Gulfstream I-C. Chaparral operated as American Eagle providing passenger feed for the American Airlines hub located at the Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW).
- Coleman Air Transport - Former scheduled passenger airline operator which operated a small hub at the Chicago Rockford International Airport (RFD) in Illinois.
- NASA - Former operator with seven (7) G-I aircraft being used to transport NASA and space program contractor personnel between the civilian space agency's various centers and facilities in the U.S.
- Phoenix Air
- Royale Airlines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator with some flights operated via a code-sharing agreement with Continental Airlines providing passenger feed for the Continental hub located at Houston Intercontinental Airport (IAH).
- Scenic Air - Former scheduled passenger airline operator with service from Oakland International Airport (OAK).
- Southeast Airlines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- Susquehanna Airlines - Former scheduled passenger airline operator.
- United States Army - The United States Army Corps of Engineers operated a single Gulfstream I (with a civilian colour scheme and registration) between 1961 and 1981. The US Army also later received at least one Gulfstream I that had been confiscated from drug dealers.
- United States Coast Guard
- United States Navy
Data from Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965-66 
- Crew: two
- Capacity: 10–24 passengers
- Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
- Wingspan: 78 ft 6 in (23.93 m)
- Height: 22 ft 9 in (6.93 m)
- Wing area: 610.3 sq ft (56.70 m2)
- Empty weight: 21,900 lb (9,934 kg)
- Max takeoff weight: 35,100 lb (15,921 kg)
- Powerplant: 2 × Rolls-Royce Dart 529 turboprop, 2,190 shp (1,630 kW) each
- Cruise speed: 348 mph (302 kn; 560 km/h) (max cruise, at 25,000 ft (7,600 m)
- Range: 2,540 mi (2,207 nmi; 4,088 km)
- Service ceiling: 33,600 ft (10,241 m)
- Rate of climb: 1,900 ft/min (9.7 m/s)
- Related development
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
- Related lists
- Taylor 1965, p.238.
- "U. S. Coast Guard Aircraft Types list". USCG web site. Retrieved 2006-12-27.
- Frawley, p.132
- Flight International, 3–9 October 2006
- Air Progress: 73. March 1993. Missing or empty
- Amy Thompson (October 2014). "AeroMartí Signs Off The airplane that doubled as a TV station". Air & Space Magazine.
- http://www.departedflights.com, Nov. 15, 1979 Official Airline Guide (OAG), Rockford flight schedules
- Harding 1990, pp. 131–133.
- Frawley, Gerard (2003). The International Directory of Civil Aircraft, 2003-2004. Fyshwick, ACT, Australia: Aerospace Publications Pty Ltd. p. 132. ISBN 1-875671-58-7.
- Harding, Stephen (1990). U.S. Army Aircraft Since 1947. Shrewsbury, UK: Airlife. ISBN 1-85310-102-8.
- Taylor, John W. R. (1965). Jane's All The World's Aircraft 1965-66. London: Samson Low, Marston.
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