|Headquarters||Savannah, Georgia, U.S.|
|Mark Burns (President)|
|Products||Jet business aircraft|
Number of employees
Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation is an American wholly owned subsidiary of General Dynamics. Gulfstream designs, develops, manufactures, markets, and services business jet aircraft. Gulfstream has produced more than 2,000 aircraft since 1958. Gulfstream's range consists of the G280, G350, G450, G500, G550, G600, and G650, G650ER.
The company that evolved into Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. started in the late 1950s when Grumman Aircraft Engineering Co., known for military aircraft production, developed a business aircraft at its facilities in Bethpage, N.Y., called the Grumman Gulfstream I (G-I). The G-I could seat 12 passengers, had a maximum speed of 350 mph (560 km/h) at 25,000 feet (7,620 m) and a range of 2,200 miles (3,540 km). The new aircraft, the first of its kind designed for business travel, was a success, prompting Grumman to develop the jet-powered Grumman Gulfstream II or GII.
At the start of the GII program, Grumman officials separated the company’s civil and military aircraft production to improve efficiency. In 1966, they relocated the civilian component to Savannah, Georgia where they found a supply of skilled labor, an airfield adjacent to the plant and room for expansion. Transportation facilities suitable for heavy equipment and machinery as well as weather favorable to year-round flight-testing and flight-training operations enhanced Savannah’s appeal. The new building opened in June 1967 and was dedicated on September 29, 1967. It housed production and flight testing for the GII. The 100-person work force that built the GII was 90% local, and grew to over 1,700 within a few years.
In 1972, Grumman merged with light-aircraft manufacturer American Aviation Corp. The 256th and final GII delivery took place in 1977. One year later, the Gulfstream line and the Savannah plant were sold to American Jet Industries, which was headed by entrepreneur Allen Paulson. Paulson became the president and CEO of the company, renaming it Gulfstream American. He made a priority of developing the Gulfstream III, a new aircraft designed to achieve greater range and speed than the GII. The GIII made its first flight in December 1979, with the first delivery in 1980. It was the first business jet to fly over both poles.
In 1981, Gulfstream introduced the Gulfstream GIIB. The GIIB had a modified GII fuselage and the GIII wings, complete with winglets. The variant offered weight and performance characteristics similar to the GIII, but with the shorter GII fuselage. Gulfstream completed and delivered approximately 40 GIIBs.
Under Paulson the Savannah work force grew to 2,500 by the spring of 1982. Also in this year, the company’s name changed to Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. to reflect its worldwide scope, and a new plane, the Gulfstream IV, was conceived. The following year, Gulfstream offered 8.8 million shares of stock to the public. In 1985, Chrysler Corp. acquired Gulfstream for $637 million as part of the automaker’s plan to diversify into high-tech industries. This was also the year that Gulfstream first appeared on the Fortune 500 list, at No. 417. Two years later, the 200th and last Gulfstream III was delivered, and the first delivery of a Gulfstream IV took place. The GIV was the first jet in business aviation to have an all-glass cockpit. In 1989 Chrysler decided to sell Gulfstream, and Paulson teamed with Forstmann Little & Co. – a private equity firm specializing in leveraged buyouts – and bought Gulfstream back.
The decade that followed the 1989 repurchase was a time of significant advancements for Gulfstream. The company signed a five-year contract with NetJets in 1994. It completed the Gulfstream V Integration Test Facility and rolled out the GV – the first ultra-long range business jet – in 1995. The opening of a $16 million Savannah service center with 136,000 square feet (12,630 m2) of hangar space followed in 1996. In 1997, Gulfstream began the simultaneous manufacture of two aircraft models – the GIV-SP and the GV. Within a few months of the GV’s first delivery in June 1997, it set nearly 40 city-pair and/or speed and distance records, and its development team was awarded the 1997 Robert J. Collier Trophy, the highest honor in aeronautics or astronautics in North America. In 1998, Gulfstream purchased K-C Aviation from Kimberly-Clark Corp. for $250 million, which had operations in Dallas, Appleton, Wisconsin, and Westfield, Massachusetts.
At the end of the 1990s, General Dynamics purchased Gulfstream, and it opened a $5.5 million aircraft refurbishment and completions support facility in Savannah in 2000. In 2001, it acquired Galaxy Aerospace and with it, the mid-size Astra SPX and super mid-size Galaxy, which were later rebranded the Gulfstream G100 and Gulfstream G200, respectively. Also in 2001, Gulfstream purchased four U.S. maintenance facilities in Dallas, Las Vegas, Minneapolis, and West Palm Beach, Florida. Those service centers, along with a Gulfstream facility in Westfield, Massachusetts, formed General Dynamics Aviation Services, which maintained and repaired Gulfstream and other business-jet aircraft.
In 2002, Gulfstream renamed its products, using Arabic numerals instead of Roman numerals to differentiate its aircraft. At the time, the company’s lineup included the ultra long-range Gulfstream G550 and G500, the long-range Gulfstream G400, the mid-range Gulfstream G300 and G200, and the high-speed G100. 2002 was also the year that Gulfstream introduced its Airborne Product Support aircraft, a specially equipped G100. It is used to deliver parts and provide any-time service to Gulfstream customers in North America and the Caribbean who are operating aircraft under warranty.
In 2003, Gulfstream acquired a service center at the London-Luton Airport, the first Gulfstream-owned service center to be operated outside the United States. Also, in 2003, the long-range Gulfstream G450 was introduced. The large-cabin, mid-range G350 was presented a year later. In 2004, Gulfstream was awarded the 2003 Collier Trophy for the development of the G550. It was the second time in less than a decade that Gulfstream had won the award. The G550 is the first civil aircraft to receive a Type Certificate issued by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) that includes an Enhanced Vision System (EVS) as standard equipment on an aircraft. The aircraft also contained the first cockpit to incorporate PlaneView®, an integrated avionics suite featuring four 14-inch (36 cm) liquid crystal displays in landscape format.
In 2005, Gulfstream began to offer an in-flight internet connection – its Broad Band Multi-Link (BBML) system. Gulfstream also designed and developed a means of reducing the sonic boom caused by an aircraft “breaking” the sound barrier – the Quiet Spike. The Quiet Spike is a telescopic nose device that softens the effect of the sonic boom by smoothing the pressure wave created by flying at the speed of sound. Gulfstream views lifting the current US supersonic ban as essential for a viable business case for supersonic aircraft.
In 2006, the 12-year production run of the G100 ended, and the Gulfstream G150 entered service to take its place. The G150 was the first business jet to be certified by the FAA for Stage 4, the industry’s most stringent noise standards. Also in 2006, Gulfstream announced plans to expand its manufacturing and service facilities in Savannah. The seven-year, $400 million Long-Range Facilities Master Plan included the creation of a new 624,588-square-foot (58,030 m2) service center, an independent fuel farm, a 42,600-square-foot (3,960 m2) paint hangar and the addition of a new Sales and Design Center. As a result of the expansion, employment at the facility was expected to grow by some 1,100 jobs. To meet the immediate need for engineering office space, Gulfstream opened a Research and Development Center (RDC). The RDC accommodates approximately 750 technical and engineering employees.
In April, 2007 Gulfstream broke ground for a new business-jet manufacturing building at its headquarters in Savannah. The following month, the company signed a nine-year lease with North Point Real Estate for a second Research and Development Center. The RDC II consists of an office building, which can accommodate 550 employees, and a laboratory building, which is designed for 150 employees and test equipment used in Gulfstream’s research and development work. Gulfstream completed the new Sales and Design Center addition in June and officially opened the first phase of the new Savannah Service Center in August.
In 2007, Gulfstream tested its Synthetic Vision-Primary Flight Display (SV-PFD) and EVS II together for the first time. The SV-PFD is an enhancement to the Gulfstream PlaneView flight displays. It features a three-dimensional color image of terrain overlaid with the primary flight display instrument symbology, which are arranged on the screen to create a large-view area for terrain. By early 2008, the FAA had certified both EVS II and SV-PFD.
On March 13, 2008, Gulfstream announced the introduction of a new business jet: the Gulfstream G650. The G650 offers the longest range, fastest speed, largest cabin and most advanced cockpit in the Gulfstream fleet. It is capable of traveling 7,000 nautical miles (12,960 km; 8,060 mi) at Mach .85 or will cover shorter distances at a speed of Mach 0.925, making it the fastest civilian aircraft flying. It can climb to 51,000 feet (15,540 m), allowing it to avoid airline-traffic congestion and adverse weather.
On October 5 of the same year, Gulfstream announced another addition to its business-jet fleet: the large-cabin, mid-range Gulfstream G250 (later renamed the Gulfstream G280). It is capable of traveling 3,600 nautical miles (6,670 km; 4,140 mi) at 0.80 Mach and has a maximum operating speed of 0.85 Mach. It can reach its 41,000-foot (12,500 m) initial cruise altitude in 20 minutes and can climb to a maximum altitude of 45,000 feet (13,720 m).
In 2009, the company conducted two powered rollouts one week apart. The Gulfstream G650 officially rolled out of the Savannah manufacturing facility under its own power on September 29, 2009. The G280 followed just one week later.
Both the G650 and the G280 flew before the end of 2009. The G650 took its first flight on November 25, while the G280 went up for the first time on December 11.
In November 2010, Gulfstream announced an expansion of its Savannah facilities through a $500-million, seven-year plan. The growth resulted in 1,000 additional Gulfstream jobs, an increase of more than 15 percent.
In addition to the Savannah expansion, Gulfstream’s sites in Westfield, Massachusetts, USA, and Luton, England, also grew in 2011. In October, Gulfstream announced an expansion of its service center at the Barnes Regional Airport in Westfield, Massachusetts, that will result in 100 additional Gulfstream jobs, a nearly 80 percent increase over the size of Gulfstream’s Westfield workforce. The Luton, England, service center also relocated to a 75,000-square-foot, more modern hangar. The hangar and accompanying office area nearly doubles space at the site, allowing Gulfstream Luton technicians to service Gulfstream’s entire fleet, including the all-new G650, the company’s flagship aircraft.
Gulfstream suffered a major setback on April 2, 2011, when one of its G650 ultra long-range business jets crashed on the runway at Roswell, NM, fatally injuring the two test pilots and two flight test engineers on board. The aircraft was conducting a takeoff-performance test during which an engine failure was simulated by reducing the right engine's thrust to idle. The G650 became airborne briefly at a high angle of attack before its right wingtip hit the runway, then slid on the ground and caught fire.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) determined the probable cause of the crash was an aerodynamic stall of the aircraft due to a failure to properly develop and validate takeoff speeds, persistent and increasingly aggressive attempts to achieve a V2 speed that was too low and an inadequate investigation of previous uncommanded roll events. Following the crash, Gulfstream raised the V2 speed of the G650. The NTSB accused Gulfstream of withholding information and the use of legal counsel during the investigation, which were denied by the company.
In November 2011, the Gulfstream G650 received its provisional type certificate (PTC) from the FAA. This cleared the way for the company to begin interior completions of the ultra-large-cabin, ultra-long-range business jet in preparation for customer deliveries in the second quarter of 2012, as originally planned.
In January 2011, General Dynamics Aviation Services was rebranded as Gulfstream to simplify its brand identity. Gulfstream now owns and operates nine service centers worldwide, plus one component repair facility.
Gulfstream employs more than 11,500 people at 12 major locations: Savannah, Ga.; Appleton, Wis.; Brunswick, Ga.; Dallas; Las Vegas, Nev.; Lincoln, Calif.; London, England; Long Beach, Calif.; Mexicali, Mexico; Westfield, Mass.; Sorocaba, Brazil; and West Palm Beach, Fla.
(Sources: Gulfstream Aerospace Archives and “The Legend of Gulfstream” by Jeffrey L. Rodengen)
Government and special mission aircraft
About 200 Gulfstream are used by 35 governments, mainly the G550 : air transports of heads of state and government, airborne early warning, medical evacuation, high-altitude atmospheric research, and intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance.
|Aircraft||Maximum Range||Passengers||Length||Cabin Height||Cabin Width|
|Gulfstream G650ER||7,500 nm (13,890 km)||Up to 19||99 ft 9 in / 30.41 m||6 ft 5 in / 1.96 m||8 ft 6 in / 2.59 m|
|Gulfstream G650||7,000 nm (12,964 km)||Up to 19||99 ft 9 in / 30.41 m||6 ft 5 in / 1.96 m||8 ft 6 in / 2.59 m|
|Gulfstream G600||6,200 nm (11,482 km)||Up to 19||96 ft 1 in / 29.29 m||6 ft 4 in / 1.93 m||7 ft 11 in / 2.41 m|
|Gulfstream G500||5,000 nm (9,260 km)||Up to 19||91 ft 2 in / 27.78 m||6 ft 4 in / 1.93 m||7 ft 11 in / 2.41 m|
|Gulfstream G550||6,750 nm (12,501 km)||Up to 19||96 ft 5 in / 29.39 m||6 ft 2 in / 1.88 m||7 ft 4 in / 2.24 m|
|Gulfstream G450||4,350 nm (8,056 km)||Up to 19||89 ft 4 in / 27.23 m||6 ft 2 in / 1.88 m||7 ft 4 in / 2.24 m|
|Gulfstream G280||3,600 nm (6,667 km)||Up to 10||66 ft 10 in / 20.37 m||6 ft 3 in / 1.91 m||7 ft 2 in / 2.18 m|
|Model||Designation||FAA approval||MTOW (lb.)||Engines||thrust (lbf.)||range (nm)||sold||length||span|
|G-1159||Gulfstream II||October 19, 1967||64,800||Spey 511-8||11,400||3,680||250+||79 ft 11 in||68 ft 10 in|
|G-1159A||Gulfstream III||September 22, 1980||69,700||Spey 511-8||11,400||3,760||200+||83 ft 1 in||77 ft 10 in|
|G-1159B||Gulfstream G-IIB||September 17, 1981||69,700||Spey 511-8||11,400||79 ft 11 in||77 ft 10 in|
|G-IV||Gulfstream IV/G300/G400||April 22, 1987||74,600||Tay 611-8||13,850||4,300||500+||88 ft 4 in||77 ft 10 in|
|GV||Gulfstream V||April 11, 1997||90,500||BR710A1-10||14,750||6,500||190+||96 ft 5 in||93 ft 4 in|
|GV-SP||Gulfstream G550/G500||August 14, 2003||91,000||BR710C4-11||15,385||6,750||500+||96 ft 5 in||93 ft 6 in|
|GIV-X||Gulfstream G450/G350||August 12, 2004||74,600||Tay 611-8C||13,850||4,350||330+||89 ft 4 in||77 ft 10 in|
Israel Aircraft Industries transferred ownership of the smaller Westwind Astra business jet, approved August 29, 1985 to Gulfstream Aerospace on March 26, 2002. Its derivative Astra SPX, approved January 8, 1996 was then named Gulfstream G100, approved August 9, 2002, and its second derivative Gulfstream G150 was approved on November 7, 2005. The larger IAI Galaxy Type certificate, approved December 16, 1998, was transferred the same day and renamed Gulfstream G200, approved January 16, 2002. It was developed into the Gulfstream G280 which have its own type certificate approved August 30, 2012. 
The Gulfstream American Hustler was a prototype business aircraft, which first flew on 11 January 1978, using a turbprop and a turbofan simultaneously. It was developed into prototype military trainer Gulfstream Peregrine 600, first flight 22 May 1981, and the prototype single jet Gulfstream Peregrine, first flight 14 January 1983.
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