Recently, Gulfstream, the Savannah-based aviation manufacturer re-introduced two impressive aircraft they plan to market to the business jet industry, the G500 and its sibling, the G6oo. The Gulfstream G500 and G600 were on display at the Asian Business Aviation Conference & Exhibition (ABACE) which took place at Shanghai’s Hongqiao International Airport last month. According to Gulfstream Corps’. President, Mark Burns, Asia is the jet developer’s largest global market contributor, therefore, it was only fitting they demonstrate the performance capabilities and state of the art design of the twin jets while there.
Aviation designer and jet developer, Gulfstream Aerospace Corps. is a subsidiary of parent company General Dynamics, an aerospace engineering entity, widely recognized as one of the largest defense contractors in the world. Gulfstream itself specializes in the conceptualization, development, and manufacture of business jet aircraft. Since the late 1950’s, Gulfstream has introduced no less than 2000 aircraft into the aviation industry. The company is hoping to achieve type certification for the newly developed G500 and G600 sometime this year.
Plans for both twin-engine business jets were initially introduced in 2014. Both jets are next-generation Gulfstream aircraft with the G500 superseding the G450 and the G600 serving as supplant to the G550. The G550 is expected to remain in production for now but the 450 will be terminated. That said, Gulfstream is expecting to receive orders more prevalently for the Gulfstream G500 and G600 as opposed to the 550.
Gulfstream’s G500 took off on its first flight in May of 2015 with developers anticipating certification of the jet in 2017. Its sister, the G600, had its initial flight on December of the following year with certification expected to be achieved two years later. Efforts to pursue certification for two aircraft simultaneously has seen developers crafting at least 5 prototype aircraft for each model and test flight hours extending into the thousands.
Improvements in the Gulfstream G500 and G600 models over their predecessors include more spacious cabins, with adjustments being made to extend both the width and height of the cabins and maximum cruise speed has been accelerated on both jets as well.
In outfitting both business class aircraft, Gulfstream’s development and design team’s objective was to create a pair of business class jets that delivered long range capability in conjunction with operator ease of use, and the utmost in comfort and functionality to passengers.
Gulfstream’s website indicates that the ideology behind the concept and design of the G500 was in arbitrating between performance and comfortability and in maximizing the travelers time spent inflight by striking a good balance between the two. Powered by Pratt & Whitney PW814 15,144 lbf twin turbofans, the G500 has an extensive range and at full fuel and while accommodating up to 8 passengers and their luggage onboard the jet can still pull off an impressive 5,200 nautical miles while achieving speeds of Mach 0.85. It can additionally achieve a max speed of Mach 0.925 at cruise altitude which is slightly over 50,000 feet.
The interior is reflective of the team’s desire to deliver the utmost in comfort to the G500’s passengers. Featuring four arc-shaped cross sections the cabin is spacious enough to allow for travelers to recline in ergonomically designed seats with footrests and plenty of headroom to move about the expanse of the 41 feet the cabin extends to freely. Fully functional connectivity allows for travelers to either remain in a state of repose throughout the flight or to allow for the aircraft to serve as an in-flight office space and the pedestal-mounted conference tables are height adjustable and substitute as an ideal workspace.
No interior design is complete without a few embellishments which in both aircraft can be customized. Owners have the option of a forward or aft galley and stunning interiors including flooring and carpeting derived from the finest silk or cashmere blends, hand-stitched leather facades and seating that can be dyed to specification and wood veneers and overlays to flesh out the luxurious center of the aircraft.
Gulfstream’s interactive Cabin Management System offers travelers full autonomy over the lighting, window shades, temperature and entertainment via the use of touch-screen devices.
Performance, luxury, and comfort collide in Gulfstream’s G6oo model aircraft. Innovative advances in airframe design and a revolutionary cabin composition deliver the ultimate in luxury for business class travel at an accelerated pace. Marketed as the fastest business jet aircraft and 20-plus percent more efficient than comparable aircraft in its class, the G600 can transport passengers 6,500 nautical miles while achieving speeds of Mach 0.85.
Its performance is a unique blend of an advanced state of the art supercritical wing design, its predominantly high strength aluminum alloy airframe and the powerhouse inclusion of 2 Pratt & Whitney PW815 15,680 lbf turbofan geared engines.
Both Gulfstream G500 and G600 flight decks feature fly by wire integrated avionics and improved safety as a result of infrared sensors boosting resolution and wider fields of vision to enhance pilot awareness.
The G6oo interior is reflective of design elements that immerse travelers in a luxurious and comfort infused zen-like experience in hopes of leaving them feeling rested and refreshed following their flight.
Fresh air is recirculated throughout every couple minutes in efforts to reduce jet lag and large windows allow natural light to fall across the expanse of the 45-foot in length cabin.
The G600 not only has the option of a forward or aft galley similar to its sister jet but only the G600 has the further option of a shower installation. Divan style sofas recline into beds for sleep accommodation and adjustable tables may be used as a workspace or for dining. Gulfstream’s designers work alongside owner/operators to create a customized interior design that reflects their unique personalities and tastes.
Each jet has the capacity to comfortably accommodate up to 19 passengers and two pilots. Max. payload on the G500 is 5500 lbs and on the G600, 6000 lbs.
In recent months, the G500 private jet has been awarded a number of city-pair speed records, eight to be exact, between cities like Singapore to Dubai in 6 hours plus and Dubai to Lagos in roughly 7 hours. Additionally the Gulfstream G500 and G600 have come together to establish a new tandem city pair record for flights between Shanghai and Honolulu in roughly 8 hours, 34 minutes at speeds of Mach .90 with the G600 arriving precisely one minute after its sibling.
Gulfstream president Mark Burns has said that Gulfstream customers have grown accustomed to Gulfstream manufactured aircraft delivering long range, high speed, comfort class capabilities to fly anywhere in the world and that even prior to type certification and delivery the G500 and G600 have been doing just that. The record winning impressive performance numbers being delivered by the Gulfstream G500 and G600 are any indication of the real world potential of these two aircraft, the implications for the business aviation industry and the sale of the two jets could reach new proportions.
Gulfstream customers and aviation insiders can hardly wait to see what happens when these two powerhouse business jets are introduced into service. The G500 is expected to certify by summer’s end and the G600 later this year.