Thursday, 8 October 2020

A Ninth Gulfstream Customer Joins A Prestigious Group

International Business Machines Corporation was added to an exclusive list of Gulfstream customers yesterday, when it took delivery of a new G650ER. With the arrival of N780TW (serial number 6435) at White Plains, New York. IBM became only the ninth organization to have operated at least one example of each of the first six Gulfstream generations.

The company received its first example 56 years ago, when a Grumman G-159 Gulfstream (serial number 173) was handed over to a completion centre in September 1964. Once furnished, it was assigned to IBM World Trade Corporation, wore N360WT and was based at Le Bourget, France. 

Photo of N360WT at London Heathrow Airport in 1970 by Chris England

During the subsequent five decades, IBM has operated three G-1159 Gulfstream IIs (sn 58/N720Q, sn 65/N720E and sn 66/N720F); two G-1159A Gulfstream IIIs (sn 428/N760A and sn 430/N760C); one G-IV Gulfstream IV (sn 1165/N780E); one G-V Gulfstream V (sn 530/N780F) and two GV-SP Gulfstream G550s (sn 5258/N780E and sn 5261/N780F). The GVI is the company's 11th Gulfstream - making it one of the aircraft manufacturer's most loyal and longstanding customers.

Incidentally, the Tango Whiskey suffix in the G650ER's registration stands for Thomas Watson. He was IBM's Chairman and CEO from 1914 until 1956. His son, Thomas Watson, Jr., was Chairman and CEO from 1956 until 1971. 

UPDATE: On January 11, 2021, IBM received its 12th Gulfstream when its second G650ER (sn 6442/N780RW) arrived at White Plains, New York from the completion centre at Appleton, Wisconsin.

Friday, 19 June 2020

Fifth Generation Production Winding Down

Gulfstream Aerospace recently announced that it had "sold the last commercially available Gulfstream G550". It is due to be delivered during 2021. GAC noted that this sale cleared "the way for production of the award-winning business-aviation icon to wind down." While "commercially available" might be interpreted by some that additional military orders are in store, the same press release definitively stated that "manufacturing of the G550 will end."

The initial fifth generation model, the GV Gulfstream V, first flew on November 28, 1995 and was certified on April 11, 1997. A total of 193 GVs were produced before its successor was introduced. Based on the GV's airframe, the GV-SP had two variants - the G550 and the shorter range G500. Only 10 of the latter model were built.

Since its certification on August 14, 2003, more than 600 Gulfstream G550s have been delivered to civilian and military operators. Armed forces have found the type's 6,750NM range suitable for head of state travel and for Airborne Early Warning (AEW) missions.

With more than 400 sixth generation models (G650 and G650ER) in service; ongoing deliveries of seventh generation models (G500 and G600); and the flight test programme of the eighth generation model (G700) underway; it was not surprising to learn that the production of the remaining fifth generation model (G550) will be coming to an end.

Gulfstream V N427HG departing Farnborough
Gulfstream G550 N550GA arrives into Farnborough

Gulfstream C-37A 01-0028 at RAF Fairford

Tuesday, 16 June 2020

Valuable Customer Receives A Seventh Gen Gulfstream

The Coca-Cola Company of Atlanta, Georgia received its first Gulfstream in March 1962. The Grumman G-159 (serial number 86) wore N678RW. During subsequent decades, the flight department has operated G-1159 Gulfstream II, G-1159A Gulfstream III, G-IV Gulfstream IV, G-V Gulfstream V and GV-SP Gulfstream G550 models. It has also flown IAI-built G200 and G280 aircraft.

More recently, the fleet has been a trio of Gulfstream G550s         (c/n 5370/N386RW, c/n 5448/N586RW and c/n 5484/N486RW). 

More than 58 years after it received is first Gulfstream, Coke took delivery of a seventh generation model last week. GVII-G600 Gulfstream G600 serial number 73023 wears N886RW. 

Registration Trivia: 86 = 1886, the year the original beverage's formula was created.
                                RW = Robert W. Woodruff, the company's President from 1923 until 1954.

Photograph taken by Westleigh Bushell at Farnborough Airport. 

Monday, 1 June 2020

A Longtime Gulfstream Operator Upgrades

Corporations that have flown Gulfstreams for more than half a century should be noted for their customer loyalty. One example is Eli Lilly and Company of Indianapolis, Indiana. The 144-year-old pharmaceutical giant received its first example in January 1966. The Grumman G-159 Gulfstream (c/n 161) wore N307EL.

During the past 54 years, the company has also operated two G-1159 Gulfstream IIs (c/n 68/N308EL and c/n 250/N309EL) and three G-IV Gulfstream IVs (c/n 1021/N310EL, c/n 1095/N311EL and c/n 1105/N312EL). The latter two (registered on May 23, 1989 and August 19, 1989, respectively) are currently the longest serving G-IVs with their original owner.

In addition to those six Gulfstreams, Lilly has operated a BAC 1-11-401AK (c/n 072/N310EL), a Boeing 707-323C freighter (c/n 18692/N309EL) and a Beech 200 Super King Air (c/n BB-708/N313EL).

On May 29, 2020, a new GVII-G500 Gulfstream G500 (c/n 72045) was registered to Eli Lilly as N307EL. A second G500 (c/n 72052/N308EL) is expected to join the flight department at KIND later this year. Given that the two G-IVs are 31-years-old, its seems likely that these veterans will be retired.

For a company with annual sales of US$22.3 billion and 34,000 employees, Lilly has been prudent with the size of its fleet. The fact that it has once again selected a Gulfstream model speaks volumes about its expectation that the G500s will be able to perform reliably for many years to come.

Monday, 11 May 2020

G700's Development Gains Momentum

Having flown for its first time on February 14, the prototype Gulfstream GVIII-G700 now has two fleet mates participating in the flight-test program. The second example (c/n 87002 N702GD) first flew on March 20 and the third (c/n 87003 N703GA) took to the air for its first time on May 8.

The three aircraft have accumulated more than 100 hours of flight time. As well, the new model has flown as high as 54,000 feet / 16,459 metres and as fast as Mach 0.94.

Production of Gulfstream's new flagship is ramping up and there are now eight airframes posted on the United States Civil Aircraft Register.

                                     Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Friday, 14 February 2020

G700's First Flight!

For those who love  Gulfstreams, this year's Valentine's Day was special.
At 1:19PM (EST) / 6:19PM (GMT), the prototype GVIII-G700 took off for its first time at Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport.
N700GA (serial number 87001) operated as GLF25 and used the model's new ICAO aircraft type designator (GA7C). After flying as high as 25,000 feet, it landed 2 hours and 32 minutes later.
Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Wednesday, 1 January 2020

Happy New Year!

Good Morning all,

Ted and myself just want to wish you all a very happy new year and hope that 2020 will bring us some exciting Gulfstream news.

One big milestone will be the opening of Gulfstreams Farnborough maintenance facility that is very much on target for a planned third quarter 2020 opening. To give you all an idea, i have added a photograph below of HZ-ARK seen just over the new Hangar on 30th December.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

The 400th* Gulfstream GVI Enters Service

Almost two weeks ago, on December 5, Gulfstream Aerospace announced that the 400th Gulfstream GVI had been delivered. It was the delivery of the 400th unit built. Serial number 6400, registered as N651MP, was flown to its new base at Birmingham, AL. Since then, the same owner has received its second G650ER - N652MP / 6405.

Today, a business aviation milestone was reached when the 400th* Gulfstream GVI entered service. Serial number 6401, registered as A7-CGG, flew overnight as QQE460 from Savannah, GA to Stansted, UK. Notably, it is Qatar Executive W.L.L.'s seventh G650ER. The Doha-based operator now has the world's largest fleet of the type.

The 400 GVIs delivered to date include 156 G650s and 244 G650ERs.

This remarkable event comes almost seven years to the day after the first two G650s were delivered on December 20, 2012. Serial number 6007 was delivered to Wynn Resorts as N711SW and serial number 6010 was accepted by Exxon Mobil as N100A.

 The EIS of the 400th GVI represents an average production rate of 4.75 units per month during the past seven years. A mighty impressive number for Gulfstream's flagship model.

* this number represents fully furnished aircraft and excludes airframes 6001 and 6002 that served as flight test aircraft for GAC.

G650ER (serial number 6087) N650GA  at Dulles, Virginia.
Photo by Frederick K. Larkin

Wednesday, 6 November 2019

First European G500

Following on from EASA Certification (15th October) Blackbird Air Charter of Billund, Denmark have taken delivery of G500 (72019) OY-WLD. Flying from Savannah to Miami on 26th October and then crossing the pond from New York JFK on the 28th October to its new home base in Denmark marking the first delivery of a European registered Gulfstream G500. Using the fixed callsign BBB1 OY-WLD was caught arriving into London Biggin Hill on the 6th November.

Tuesday, 22 October 2019

Gulfstream Introduces Its New Flagship - the G700

As expected, Gulfstream Aerospace unveiled its newest model yesterday at the NBAA convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. Formally named GVIII-G700, it is being marketed as the G700. Although its advertised range (7,500NM @ M.85 or 6,400NM @ M.90) is the same as that of the G650ER, industry sources have suggested that after the flight test program its range capability may match or slightly exceed the 7,700NM range of Bombardier's Global 7500.
The G700 has design features that set it apart from the company's current flagship. These include:
- a 10-foot-longer fuselage that will enable another cabin zone (four vs the three on a G650ER) in addition to a dedicated crew rest station;
- ten vs eight cabin windows per side;
- Rolls-Royce Pearl 700 engines that will each provide up to 18,250 lbs. of thrust, or 8% more than the 16,900 lbs. produced by each of the G650ER's R-R BR725s;
-new curved winglets designed by Daher; and
- active-control sidesticks (like those on the smaller G500 and G600 models), instead of the traditional control yokes.
After the Pearl 700 engines have been certified, the first G700 is expected to fly during the first half of next year. Post certification, entry into service should be during 2022. Thanks to its order for 10 units of the US$75 million machine, Qatar Executive W.L.L. of Doha is the G700's launch customer. Flexjet, LLC, with its impressive US$1.2 billion order for 16 G700s, will be the first North American fleet operator of the eighth generation Gulfstream.

Photo courtesy of Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation

Monday, 21 October 2019

The last Gulfstream II to visit the UK?

Departing Luton on Saturday 19th October was Gulfstream IIB N36PN, having stayed since its arrival on Monday 14th October. This 1969 vintage Gulfstream departed on a lovely Autumn morning heading across the Atlantic to Gander International.
With the sad realisation that this could very well be the last visit to the UK of a Gulfstream II is very sobering. 

Now this particular Gulfstream also is very poignant to the blog for one reason and that is because it was the last flying Gulfstream IIB that Bob saw and photographed.
Photo kindly provided by Mark Empson.

Sunday, 29 September 2019

Gulfstream GVI's 10th Anniversary

Ten years ago today, the first member of the Gulfstream GVI family rolled out of the plant at Savannah, GA under its own power. The flagship model had been introduced on March 13, 2008 and later flew for the first time on November 25, 2009.
Today, approximately 380 sixth generation Gulfstreams are in service with customers around the world. This number includes about 225 G650ERs that can fly 7,500NM while cruising at M.85.
There is industry speculation that Gulfstream Aerospace will be introducing a new model (G700?) that has a somewhat longer cabin and an even greater range capability. In the meantime, the G650/G650ER family continues to win orders from traditional Gulfstream operators as well as from organizations that have flown competitors' products.